Epic Games released their own digital video game store, the Epic Games Store. Before its initial launch, many people called this as a competitor for Steam, one of the biggest digital software distribution platform in the world. Let’s take a look at the Epic Games store, and how it fares against Steam. I have listed pros and cons of both stores.
If anyone didn’t know, Steam is a digital software store made by Valve Corporation (also known as Valve Software) in 2003. Steam was originally made by Valve for updating their games and to add anti-cheat/anti-piracy measures. After its release, Valve decided to turn Steam into an full blown game store. This proved to be a master move on Valve’s part, since the popularity of Steam only grew. Steam was constantly updated to include more and more features to help gamers, which led to the software’s popularity growing even more. Steam has now replaced almost all of the original offline game distribution companies and is the #1 game store existing.
Pros of Steam:
- Very popular
- Free cloud storage for all of its users
- User reviews
- The Steam Marketplace allows users to trade and buy items from other users
- Built in chat functions for both the Steam software and for any game running Steamworks
- Screenshot capturing/sharing abilities
- The Community Hub allows gamers to discuss about games and post questions/complaints/suggestions/etc
- The Steam Workshop is a place where creators can post mods/maps/user-created content
- Steam has built in broadcasting/live streaming support
- Steam has very good controller support for games
- Steamworks is available for all developers free
- Steam has custom achievements
- Steam is available for all 3 major operating systems (OS X, Windows, Linux)
- Valve also puts in a lot of effort for Linux users, something that not a lot of companies do. Their proton tools and WINE are some examples of them supporting Linux users
Cons of Steam:
- 30% cut for all developers (some devs with high selling games may get a larger cut). It seems that many developers feel like this is too much
- Their customer service isn’t the best
Let’s go onto the Epic Games Store. The Epic Games Store launched on December 6th last year. It was called as an alternative for Steam after it was revealed that the Epic Games Store will only collect 12% of the game revenue. Some developers responded to this and decided to publish their games on the Epic Store. Ubisoft announced that they will publish Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 for UPlay (Ubisoft’s own game store) and the Epic Games Store.
Relevant story: About 2 days ago, the game Metro Exodus, developed by 4A studios and published by Deep Silver (owned by Koch media and subsequently THQ Nordic. Note: Koch media is not related at all to the Koch brothers owned Koch industries) was decided to be sold exclusively on the Epic Games Store for 1 year. The game was previously available for pre-order through Steam (release date is Feb 15), but the publishers made a surprise move and decided not to publish on Steam. This caused major outrage at the publishers (the developers had no say in publication process) for three reasons:
- The Epic Games Store had many problems (more info below)
- It looked like the publishers were using Steam just to promote the game. Pictures of the publishers saying that players who ordered a physical copy will get a Epic Games Store key back in December was evidence enough for most that Deep Silver never had any intentions of publishing Metro Exodus on Steam)
- It was widely assumed that Epic Games paid the publishers to move the game to their store
Epic Games is currently facing a lot of criticism and dislike from the gaming community for their problems and especially them buying out games. r/pcgaming flipped when they heard about Metro Exodus. Not really an epic moment for Epic Games right now.
Pros of Epic Games Store:
- 12% cut. The cut gets even lower if the developer uses Unreal Engine
- Has chat features
Cons: oh where do I even start…
- Almost no features. Like, literally almost none. It lacks many features that Steam has.
- It has no Linux version
- No cloud saves, meaning that your progress on a singleplayer game will only be saved to that device. So if you switch computers, well you’re out of luck.
- It doesn’t even have screenshot abilities. If Epic Games were going for a soft launchy style (as in add more features as time goes on) then they made a really bad judgement
- Bad customer service. Like really bad
- Concerns over user account information and security