I was reading some comments lately regarding Epic Games and their Store. Of course, I was reading these on Reddit, and as a whole they’re pretty mixed. Acknowledging that something was needed to provide competition to Steam, but generally upset about exclusivity.
It was particularly interest to watch people argue about their free games. Y’know, the ones I’ve been covering in my Something New posts. The next one is Transistor which is, in fact, one of these free games. Now, there are several reasons why a business might give something away, or running a sale for that matter. One of the biggest benefit is obviously getting people to visit the store, be it physical or otherwise. I realized a don’t visit the store section of EGS very often so figured I would take a look.
It took all of three seconds to remind me why. They have this awful “tile” setup where the games are presented in groups of three, one large image on one side and two smaller images next to it, and it just switches sides for each group. I was curious how many actual games they were selling so I started by counting these groups of three, of which there are currently 16. 48 “titles.” There are no list views, categories, or tags so narrow things down. You either scroll through it or do a text search.
Now, three of these are free, Fortnite BR, Unreal Tournament, and Transistor. It also includes a couple of “groups” which include more than one item, like Overkill TWD’s various pieces and a different Jackbox Games packs, but they only show up on the main store page as a single image, so that’s nice. Another 8 of those titles are currently in “pre-purchase.” So they have roughly 35 actual items for sale.
They have an additional 18 titles in the “coming soon” section, but at least one of those is their next free game. There is no indication on the store page when these “coming soon” titles are actually expected, either. There’s absolutely no review system, and most of the game pages don’t really provide much information to make a decision with, usually just a short bit of text, a trailer, and maybe a dozen screenshots tops. It’s just not a very user-friendly store, at least in my opinion. It really needs some work.
On the bright side, their free games so far have been absolutely superb titles with a strong preference towards puzzle-solving and narrative-driven experiences. Which is good, because I just don’t see this as being overly competitive with Steam in its current state. It is, at best, funneling money away from Valve using exclusives, but it’s by no means cheap. I just got a notice of a reddit post alleging that EGS paid 3.3M for the Phoenix Point exclusive. Don’t get me wrong, if I had to pick one game from their library to buy, this would probably be it, but they need to sell some 118,000 copies just to cover the exclusivity, not including the cost of bandwidth and hosting. That might be pushing it for the crowdfunded first title by a new studio in a niche genre. Not saying it’s impossible, just seems that many things are stacked against it.
I guess we’ll see. I’ll continue covering their free games, but so rarely venture any further than I need to that most of it will go by without my even noticing.
Y’all take care, and please remain behind the yellow line while the hype trains pass through the station.