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Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store

There are lots of opinions being expressed about the features and royalties of the new Epic Games Store, and how this impacts gamers and rival service Steam. DSOGaming notes a bunch of thoughts on these topics are available from former Valve developer Richard Geldreich, whose credits include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Portal 2, Alien Swarm, and Left 4 Dead 2. Richard has been posting to his twitter feed on the topic for a few days, saying Steam "was killing PC gaming," with an "unsustainable" cut that became "[ridiculous] and oppressive." Here are some collected thoughts from several of his recent tweets:

Steam was killing PC gaming. It was a 30% tax on an entire industry. It was unsustainable. You have no idea how profitable Steam was for Valve. It was a virtual printing press. It distorted the entire company. Epic is fixing this for all gamers.

So Steam was first - so what? At the time, Steamís 30% revshare looked good compared to the 50% revshare from retail. Now - itís ridiculus and oppressive to game developers. Valve became abusive to its partners and employees. It took them for granted.

I think gamers are going to remain mad for a long time, as these exclusives wonít stop anytime soon. Could last 1 year or more. Steam will be for indy/2nd tier/shovelware/porn, Epic and other launchers for AAA. This seems to be where the market is heading at the moment.

I think whatís likely is that Sweeney will push his team to add features to EGS until itís somewhat at parity vs. Steamís key features. The exclusive backlash will only cost them a few percent of sales (maybe 5-10%?)

If gamers *really* want to fix this, they need to stop whining and hand wringing over Epic. It will get them nowhere. Instead, tell Valve to lower their revshare to 15% across the board. That will suck a lot of wind out of Epicís sails.

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89. Re: Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 10, 2019, 15:11 Kxmode
 
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 18:28:
Kxmode wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 17:41:
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 12:19:
I keep hearing that Epic does nothing for PC gaming, as if they didn't create and constantly update Unreal Engine or something. I mean if they really wanted to, they could be the only place to buy games that used unreal.

"Epic does nothing for PC gaming" means their openness about abandoning the PC platform for consoles as it was, according to Tim's thoughts at the time, the future. Epic keeps updating its Unreal engine because plenty of console titles use it.

Ohhh please, Epic didn't abandon the PC, they had to expand their business model to include consoles to increases their market share and profit margins. Do you really believe that a gaming studio has no business expanding their target demographic? Epic recently unveiled their ray tracing features in Unreal engine, tell me exactly which conslow was that targeted at?

https://www.wired.com/2008/03/unreal-creator/

Entire article quoted for context:

Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney thinks consoles are beating PCs, and the PC gaming industry has no one to blame but themselves.

The industry, he says, has changed dramatically over the last decade, and that the constant advancements in technology have given game creators an excuse to cater specifically to the tiny portion of PC gamers who own high-end systems.

This shift leaves all those with lower specifications Ė what Sweeney calls the "mainstream PC" Ė out in the cold with computers much better suited for "Facebook, MySpace, pirating music or whatever," and as a result, that becomes those computers' sole function.

Consoles, which are an unchanging platform designed and marketed for one purpose, he argues, simply beat PC games by virtue of the "mainstream" audience that they don't neglect.

PC gaming fans may remember the recent, eerily similar words of Epic Games Lead Designer Cliff Bleszinski, who said the company is focusing so heavily on console development because "the PC is just in disarray."

In Epic's defense, after Bleszinski's comments Epic's Vice President Mark Rein came out in fervent support of the recently announced PC gaming alliance, but does anyone else get the feeling that Epic's love affair with PC gaming has fizzled?

Unreal creator Tim Sweeney: "PCs are good for anything, just not games"

They along with Cliff Bleszinski have shown where their loyalties lie with PC gaming. However, that's completely separate from the Unreal engine, which, as stated before, powers a lot of console products. So obviously Epic would need to keep their engine updated.
 
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 ó Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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88. Re: Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 10, 2019, 08:08 Kain
 
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 18:28:
Ohhh please, Epic didn't abandon the PC, they had to expand their business model to include consoles to increases their market share and profit margins. Do you really believe that a gaming studio has no business expanding their target demographic? Epic recently unveiled their ray tracing features in Unreal engine, tell me exactly which conslow was that targeted at?

They absolutely did abandon the PC, its well documented and they were quite ruthless in doing so, using all sorts of lame justifications. No one is saying they deserve to be punished forever for it but the idea that they are somehow doing PC gaming a favor is laughable. They are undercutting on industry standard margins because they have some Fortnite money right now to do so. None of that has any benefit to consumers either. Say what you will about Valve but they pretty much saved PC gaming in the early 2000s while companies like Epic were making a fortune in consoleland.

Both are just companies who are out to make money but the way they've treated the PC platform differs greatly.
 
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87. Re: Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 19:46 RedEye9
 
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 18:28:
Epic recently unveiled their ray tracing features in Unreal engine, tell me exactly which conslow was that targeted at?
Actually both
 
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"The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you." Neil deGrasse Tyson
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85. Re: Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 18:28 Riahderymnmaddog
 
Kxmode wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 17:41:
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 12:19:
I keep hearing that Epic does nothing for PC gaming, as if they didn't create and constantly update Unreal Engine or something. I mean if they really wanted to, they could be the only place to buy games that used unreal.

"Epic does nothing for PC gaming" means their openness about abandoning the PC platform for consoles as it was, according to Tim's thoughts at the time, the future. Epic keeps updating its Unreal engine because plenty of console titles use it.

Ohhh please, Epic didn't abandon the PC, they had to expand their business model to include consoles to increases their market share and profit margins. Do you really believe that a gaming studio has no business expanding their target demographic? Epic recently unveiled their ray tracing features in Unreal engine, tell me exactly which conslow was that targeted at?
 
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84. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 17:41 Kxmode
 
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 12:19:
I keep hearing that Epic does nothing for PC gaming, as if they didn't create and constantly update Unreal Engine or something. I mean if they really wanted to, they could be the only place to buy games that used unreal.

"Epic does nothing for PC gaming" means their openness about abandoning the PC platform for consoles as it was, according to Tim's thoughts at the time, the future. Epic keeps updating its Unreal engine because plenty of console titles use it.
 
Avatar 18786
 
William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 ó Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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83. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 13:13 Avus
 
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 12:19:
I keep hearing that Epic does nothing for PC gaming, as if they didn't create and constantly update Unreal Engine or something. I mean if they really wanted to, they could be the only place to buy games that used unreal.

It is because if they do that, they will make A LOT LESS $$$, is it so hard to understand that?? Making Unreal Engine for EVERY platform is not because for PC gaming, it is for their BUSINESS. (you really have no business sense)
 
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ďI am not a Mac user unless under duress.Ē - John Carmack
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82. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 13:10 Sepharo
 
Riahderymnmaddog wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 12:19:
I keep hearing that Epic does nothing for PC gaming, as if they didn't create and constantly update Unreal Engine or something. I mean if they really wanted to, they could be the only place to buy games that used unreal.

Where are you hearing that?
 
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81. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 12:19 Riahderymnmaddog
 
I keep hearing that Epic does nothing for PC gaming, as if they didn't create and constantly update Unreal Engine or something. I mean if they really wanted to, they could be the only place to buy games that used unreal.  
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80. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 09:45 Creston
 
Orogogus wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 09:06:
Nucas wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 17:13:
i don't personally like it, i like the social features of steam and having all my games in one place, but its over. valve slept on their mountain of gold like a morbidly obese dragon for over a decade, while they jerked off in their retarded libertarian ~flat hierarchy~ office, doing fuck-all, and here we are.

Given the current situation, it's hard to say that this was the wrong strategy. If anything, they should have spent less on features, and gone all in on squashing competitors from day one. They could have tried to become a patent troll, I guess. But if Epic can launch a storefront with basically no features and only suffer 5-10% lower sales, then improving the customer experience was probably money poorly spent.

Well, not really. I mean, right now the only reason people are buying anything at EGS is because of the exclusives. Nobody would buy anything there if they had a choice because it has literally nothing to offer.

Eventually I'd imagine Sweeney is going to stop with the exclusives since it's a non-viable business model long-term, and at that point they better have SOMETHING to offer features and customer service wise, otherwise they'll just watch all their customers immediately abandon them again.
 
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79. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 09:06 Orogogus
 
Nucas wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 17:13:
i don't personally like it, i like the social features of steam and having all my games in one place, but its over. valve slept on their mountain of gold like a morbidly obese dragon for over a decade, while they jerked off in their retarded libertarian ~flat hierarchy~ office, doing fuck-all, and here we are.

Given the current situation, it's hard to say that this was the wrong strategy. If anything, they should have spent less on features, and gone all in on squashing competitors from day one. They could have tried to become a patent troll, I guess. But if Epic can launch a storefront with basically no features and only suffer 5-10% lower sales, then improving the customer experience was probably money poorly spent.
 
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78. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 08:39 Creston
 
Taulin wrote on Apr 9, 2019, 08:17:
If anything, I think this recent focus on Steam's 30% is a marketing ploy by competitors that are selling a cheaper product with less features. Kind of like Kia saying their cars are cheaper than BMW, so you should drive theirs. It's madness that BMW is charging so much!

The thing is, nobody would care about that. Kia is perfectly free to say that their cars are cheaper so buy theirs. Anyone who cares about quality is going to realize that Kia doesn't match up with BMW and will keep buying BMW. (In all fairness, there's probably maybe one guy in the US who cross-shops BMW and KIA , and Kias are actually excellent value for money these days.)

But to complete the analogy, now imagine Kia just buys exclusivity with every fucking tire manufacturer in the world, so the only car you CAN drive is a Kia.

I'm sure that EVERYONE in the world would just go "oh guys, but just wait five years, Kia will make the car market better!" Rolleyes

Apparently the Tim Sweeney kool-aid makes it really hard to think normally. Exclusives are SHIT for customers. Always have been, always will be.

Edit: Grammar.

This comment was edited on Apr 9, 2019, 08:52.
 
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77. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 08:26 Creston
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 16:30:
1) You're comparing EGS to Valve today. Think further out. I know, so many here hate doing that, but who gives a shit about today? Think 5 years out. It's worth going through something slightly shitty today to be in a much better state at the end. Especially since I'm discussing games that won't be out for years, because they're being planned around EGS now.

Why would it get "much" better? At BEST, EGS will achieve feature parity with Steam (and quite frankly I seriously doubt that, they'll get to somewhere near and then call it good enough.) As a customer, how does that benefit me?

Also, let's wait and see if EGS is around for that long before we start talking five years out. That Fortnite money isn't going to last forever.

2) And you're comparing the savings with EGS to the product of EGS. EGS is a product, the game is a separate product, and my psost was about the game

I genuinely don't understand this point? Can you explain?

3) No, the game is not made up of the game. It's made up of assets. Of models. Of levels. Of a script. Of voice acting. Of animations. Of textures. And all of this can be polished. If a developer knows they'll be making X% more, they can spend Y% more making the game. Which can be a longer game, or better polished game, or better looking game, or better acted game. Maybe it has more cutscenes. Game budgets have lots of line items that get repeatedly cut during production.

Okay, fair enough, but you again fall into this weird belief that somehow a DEV is responsible for how much money gets spent on a game. Unless we are talking about a 2 man indie garage team, this is simply irrelevant, because Devs do not determine this. This is 100% determined by a publisher, and said publisher isn't going to take savings and put it back into their games. That money is going to fucking Bobby Cocktick and his cronies.

Except for the indies, who do keep their money, but by and large they aren't the ones getting the exclusivity deals.

A better analogy is two malls. One has high rent, and another has lower rent. A great new burger place opens in the lower rent mall. It's a better burger, but there's nothing else in the mall. I'd still go to that mall for the better burger, knowing that more stuff will be coming down the road. But, for that burger, I'd go there today, and for other things, I'd go to the bigger mall.

This is a false equivalency, because people aren't pissed about Epic giving devs a bigger cut (the better burger.) People are pissed about Epic buying exclusivity. So in your analogy, sure, the better burger is in the shitty mall, but it's also the ONLY place you can buy that burger anymore.

So yay, give it five years guys, and that mall will be awesome. Great...?

(To be fair, I don't think it's going to take the EGS five years to get better, I think by the end of this year it'll be okay feature-wise.)
 
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76. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 08:17 Taulin
 
Valve should be ashamed of themselves for trying to make a profit. Even more ashamed of having a product that people use and love.

If anything, I think this recent focus on Steam's 30% is a marketing ploy by competitors that are selling a cheaper product with less features. Kind of like Kia saying their cars are cheaper than BMW, so you should drive theirs. It's madness that BMW is charging so much!
 
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75. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 06:41 Jonjonz
 

It's always appalling when an expert any field thinks they can spout off about basic economics.

30% or higher is a world standard in retail, get over it.
 
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Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
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74. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 03:34 Simon Says
 
jdreyer wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 18:08:
Sony and MS have been paying for exclusives for years, and you're getting upset about it now?

Consoles /= PC
 
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73. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 9, 2019, 00:27 Kxmode
 
Jerykk wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 23:14:
Beamer wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 16:30:
1) You're comparing EGS to Valve today. Think further out. I know, so many here hate doing that, but who gives a shit about today? Think 5 years out. It's worth going through something slightly shitty today to be in a much better state at the end. Especially since I'm discussing games that won't be out for years, because they're being planned around EGS now.

As a consumer, why should I concern myself with how product or service might turn out in the future? I'm not an investor. Why should I tolerate an inferior service now when there's a superior alternative available? I owe nothing to Epic nor am I obligated to wait for them to provide a worthwhile service. I also owe nothing to developers and publishers who are willing to force me to use an inferior service so they can make a quick buck.

The reality is Valve has gotten complacent and brought some bad habits in. Epic isn't at feature parity but is looking to correct these habits. Both are likely to meet in the middle within a few years, and we'll all win.

I keep hearing this from Steam haters/Epic apologists and it's kind of baffling. How has Steam gotten complacent? They've done more for PC gaming over the last decade than all of their competitors combined. While Epic was jumping ship to Xbox, Valve was working to make PC gaming relevant again. I'm not seeing anything different with EGS nor do I have any reason to believe that will change.

Things Steam has added over the past decade:
- Big Picture Mode.
- Family Sharing.
- Universal controller support.
- Proton.
- Steam Controller.
- SteamOS.
- Steam Machines.
- Steam Link.
- Steam Workshop.
- Steam Wallet.
- Curators.
- Early Access.
- Steamworks.
- User reviews.
- Screenshot manager.
- Hub pages for every game that feature popular community guides, screenshots, art and forum posts.
- Coupons.
- Music, movies, TV shows and software support.
- F2P and subscription support.
- Discovery Queues.
- Multiple UI overhauls.
- Broadcasts.
- Trading cards.
- Badges.
- Community Market.
- Steam Guard.
- Personalized Recommendations.
- Steam Stats.
- Greenlight.
- Direct.
- Family View.
- In-home Streaming.
- Steam Play.
- Profile XP and leveling.
- Mobile app.

Yes, Valve has definitely been stagnant and complacent.

Significant major revisions to ratings. The most recent now filters review bombs out of the score as demonstrated on Borderlands. That's more than what the Epic Games Bore offers.
 
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 ó Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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72. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 8, 2019, 23:54 Jerykk
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 23:30:
Devs/publishers definitely can NOT generate "as many keys as they want". Requests for large volumes of keys will be denied if the dev/publisher does not offer their Steam customers a good value.

The keys are also not meant to be sold cheaper in order to increase competition or lower prices. Valve explicitly says that "Steam keys cannot be sold on other sites unless the product is also available for purchase on Steam at no higher a price than is offered on any other service or website.".

Clearly those guidelines aren't enforced because tons of third-party sites sell Steam keys for far less than their regular price on Steam. Just take a look at Isthereanydeal.com to verify this simple fact.

It's hardly zero cost. You are paying with your data. Every mouse click, every move of the mouse and every keyboard stroke is monitored by Steam. They monitor everything regarding your gaming and shopping habits. Every tiny little detail.

Welcome to any storefront in 2019.

RotTR was only a two months exclusive on Xbone when compared to PC, not one year. The one year was only wrt the PS4.
Microsoft has done many more shittier timed exclusives when the first Xbox came out. It was rather common for games to be 12 to 18 months exclusive on the Xbox then. It was also really lame of them to discontinue series like Halo or GoW on the PC after throwing the first game on PC as pure Xbox bait.

Yes, MS has a history of timed third-party exclusives. Thankfully, those have become far rarer in recent years. Now Epic is holding the torch of shitty anti-competitive business practices. Ironically, MS is now far more PC-friendly than Epic. Every new first-party Xbox game launches simultaneously on PC and most of them include both versions. MS is even bringing Halo: MCC to Steam in addition to the Windows Store, something many people never believed would happen. MS is increasing value for customers while Epic is removing it.
 
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71. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 8, 2019, 23:36 Primalchrome
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 16:30:
You're comparing EGS to Valve today.
Somehow I don't think you'd make this analogy if Epic was releasing it's 2019 Shooter X featuring the Carmack Wolfenstein3D engine. When you release, you are competing at the level of the current market....not 15 years ago.

A better analogy is two malls. One has high rent, and another has lower rent. A great new burger place opens in the lower rent mall. It's a better burger, but there's nothing else in the mall. I'd still go to that mall for the better burger,
It's August. The shitty mall has no AC. It's on the other side of town in a highly insecure, seedy neighborhood. Their burgers are the same as the first place...but they give their food supplier an extra 5% (not the rancher that raised the beef). Cell coverage doesn't work there so that you can talk to your friends. Oh, and there is no health code rating for the burger joint because the health department is somehow outlawed in the shitty mall. That's a bit closer analogy. And if you're being honest....you wouldn't go there unless you had some grossly overriding dislike for the first business or the four or five other places serving the EXACT SAME BURGER.
 
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70. Re: Ex-Valve Dev on Epic Games Store Apr 8, 2019, 23:30 CJ_Parker
 
Jerykk wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 22:51:
I'm pretty sure Steam is acting in the best interests of consumers. Valve lets devs and pubs generate as many Steam keys as they want, completely free of charge, and Valve takes a 0% cut from any revenue generated by those keys.

More factually incorrect drivel from you just like in the other thread.
Devs/publishers definitely can NOT generate "as many keys as they want". Requests for large volumes of keys will be denied if the dev/publisher does not offer their Steam customers a good value.

The keys are also not meant to be sold cheaper in order to increase competition or lower prices. Valve explicitly says that "Steam keys cannot be sold on other sites unless the product is also available for purchase on Steam at no higher a price than is offered on any other service or website.".

Straight from the corresponding Steam page...

While there is no fee to generate keys on Steam, we ask that partners use the service judiciously.

[...]

Steam keys shouldn't be sold in bulk. For example, you should not sell your game on sites that offer customers the option to purchase large numbers of copies of your game for a lower price. You should also not include your game in bundles on sites that allow customers to purchase multiple copies of the bundle for a lower price.

[...]

We reserve the right to deny requests for keys or revoke key requesting privileges for partners that are abusing them or disadvantaging Steam customers.

If we detect that you have requested an extreme number of keys and you aren't offering Steam customers a good value, we may deny your request.

We reserve the right to remove key requesting privileges from any partner whose sole business is selling Steam keys and not providing value or a fair deal to Steam customers.

NOTE: Requests for large amounts of keys will be manually reviewed by Valve before processing.

[...]

Please note that Steam keys cannot be sold on other sites unless the product is also available for purchase on Steam at no higher a price than is offered on any other service or website.

[...]

Q: Why was my key request denied?
A: Your request may have been denied due to the amount of keys requested. If we detect that you have requested an extreme number of keys and you aren't offering Steam customers a good value, we may deny your request.

Q: How many keys can I request?
A: You can request as many keys as you need, but your request will be reviewed on a case by case basis by Valve staff to make sure Steam customers are being treated fairly and keys are not being abused.

Jerykk wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 22:51:
Another difference is that Sony, MS and Nintendo all charge a subscription fee if you want to get basic functionality like multiplayer support. Hell, Sony even charges for cloud saves. Steam offers far more functionality at zero cost to customers.

It's hardly zero cost. You are paying with your data. Every mouse click, every move of the mouse and every keyboard stroke is monitored by Steam. They monitor everything regarding your gaming and shopping habits. Every tiny little detail.

Jerykk wrote on Apr 8, 2019, 22:51:
First-party exclusives are common. Timed third-party exclusives are not and are generally frowned upon. See Rise of the Tomb Raider and the shitstorm that ensued from their one-year Xbox exclusivity.

RotTR was only a two months exclusive on Xbone when compared to PC, not one year. The one year was only wrt the PS4.
Microsoft has done many more shittier timed exclusives when the first Xbox came out. It was rather common for games to be 12 to 18 months exclusive on the Xbox then. It was also really lame of them to discontinue series like Halo or GoW on the PC after throwing the first game on PC as pure Xbox bait.
 
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