DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity

A post on Medium by DARQ developer Unfold Games follows up on some Twitter posts to discuss why they turned down an offer from Epic Games to sell DARQ on the Epic Games Store (thanks MeanJim). This indie action/adventure set in a lucid dream just launched on Steam, and the post describes being approached by Epic to make the game an Epic Games Store exclusive. This came just days after a Steam release date was announced, and the decision to not accept Epic's offer was a sacrifice of an immediate cash influx for the longer-term goal of sticking to their commitment to release the game on Steam as promised. In the end no deal was made because Epic was not interested in a deal that did not make them the exclusive seller of DARQ. Unfolding the following bullet points outlines their position:

  • I like money, and getting some upfront payment on top of guaranteed revenue sounds great. But although I’m a first time developer, I’m very serious about working in this industry for a very long time. I had just announced DARQ release date on Steam - pulling the game off Steam a few days after Steam release date announcement would forever ruin the credibility of my studio. I woud like for my customers to have confidence that my word means something, especially when making announcement as crucial as release date / platform. Turning down the Epic exclusivity offer might have been a foolish decision in the short term, considering the amount of money that might have been involved. When thinking long term, however, this was an easy & obvious decision to make (in my case).
  • DARQ was listed on Steam since late 2018. A lot of Steam users added DARQ to their wishlist and patiently waited for its release date for almost a year. Pulling the game off Steam, especially so close to the release date, would surely make a lot of DARQ fans unhappy. Apart from the moral issues involved, would it be worth it if given a large sum of money? Consider Amazon’s history — the company remained unproffitable for many years by ALWAYS putting their customers first. They had made many decisions in the past that were extremely pro-customer, even if it meant leaving money on the table (for which they got a lot of criticism from Wall Street). Now, Amazon is one of the biggest companies in the world, and it’s because customers know Amazon will always be on their side. Their refund policy has always been the industry standard, and their delivery promise was always fulfilled to the best of their ability. Will I make less money on Steam than I would have by accepting the financial guarantee from the Epic Store? Probably. But it’s a fair price to pay for establishing an ongoing trust between my studio and its customers. Unfold Games (my studio) is here to stay, and DARQ is just the beginning.
  • It was important to me to give players what they wanted: options. A lot of people requested that DARQ is made available on GOG. I was happy to work with GOG to bring the game to their platform. I wish the Epic Store would allow indie games to be sold there non-exclusively, as they do with larger, still unreleased games (Cyberpunk 2077), so players can enjoy what they want: a choice.
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32.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 19, 2019, 18:55
32.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 19, 2019, 18:55
Aug 19, 2019, 18:55
 
Sepharo wrote on Aug 19, 2019, 15:53:
though he had also removed the Cyberpunk part in his original quote of Creston as well.

Because I was replying directly to Creston (all good, just stating).
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31.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 19, 2019, 16:28
31.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 19, 2019, 16:28
Aug 19, 2019, 16:28
 
Kxmode wrote on Aug 19, 2019, 14:17:

You might want to make that point explicitly clear since the default topic is Darq.

uh.... you may want to read the full context of what you're replying to instead of hastily replying to comments. I usually give that courtesy to the posts I react to.
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30.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 19, 2019, 15:53
30.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 19, 2019, 15:53
Aug 19, 2019, 15:53
 
Or you could just read.
Funnily enough you're the one that cut out that he was replying to Creston originally, though he had also removed the Cyberpunk part in his original quote of Creston as well.
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29.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 19, 2019, 14:17
Kxmode
 
29.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 19, 2019, 14:17
Aug 19, 2019, 14:17
 Kxmode
 
Drayth wrote on Aug 19, 2019, 05:44:
Kxmode wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 23:51:
Drayth wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:39:
Personally I think any PC gamer who doesn't buy that one directly off of GoG should be slapped across the head, but that's another story.

The Dev could have gone exclusive on GOG. They wanted to give their customers the choice of which platform to play from. I went with Steam and paid the full price as a thank you for not compromising. I may even end up loving the game in the process... or I'll have nightmares for life.

I was talking about Cybberpunk. Were you..?

You might want to make that point explicitly clear since the default topic is Darq.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
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28.
 
Re: Evening Legal Briefs
Aug 19, 2019, 12:08
28.
Re: Evening Legal Briefs Aug 19, 2019, 12:08
Aug 19, 2019, 12:08
 
Bhruic wrote on Aug 19, 2019, 10:42:
Verno wrote on Aug 19, 2019, 10:12:
[ Meanwhile EGS has been outspoken in saying they care more about developers than consumers.

I think this post does a good job of pointing out that they don't care about developers either. At least, not indie ones. Unless they can use them to boost their platform with exclusive deals, they can, apparently, fuck right off.

Yes indeed. They can fuck off and never come back.
27.
 
Re: Evening Legal Briefs
Aug 19, 2019, 10:42
27.
Re: Evening Legal Briefs Aug 19, 2019, 10:42
Aug 19, 2019, 10:42
 
Verno wrote on Aug 19, 2019, 10:12:
[ Meanwhile EGS has been outspoken in saying they care more about developers than consumers.

I think this post does a good job of pointing out that they don't care about developers either. At least, not indie ones. Unless they can use them to boost their platform with exclusive deals, they can, apparently, fuck right off.
26.
 
Re: Evening Legal Briefs
Aug 19, 2019, 10:12
Verno
 
26.
Re: Evening Legal Briefs Aug 19, 2019, 10:12
Aug 19, 2019, 10:12
 Verno
 
NKD wrote on Aug 19, 2019, 01:16:

Is it really competition if you only have one place to buy any given game? When I think of competition I think of competitive pricing for the consumer, something I haven't seen on EGS.


I agree. People usually trot out the "long term competition" argument but its been debunked numerous times. Steam already has competition doing similar things, just look at Origin and uPlay. Has that vastly improved the market somehow? Nope. Steam is already a relatively consumer friendly marketplace for consumers. Meanwhile EGS has been outspoken in saying they care more about developers than consumers.
Playing: Trials of Mana Remake, FF7R
Watching: Into the Light
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25.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 19, 2019, 05:44
25.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 19, 2019, 05:44
Aug 19, 2019, 05:44
 
Kxmode wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 23:51:
Drayth wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:39:
Personally I think any PC gamer who doesn't buy that one directly off of GoG should be slapped across the head, but that's another story.

The Dev could have gone exclusive on GOG. They wanted to give their customers the choice of which platform to play from. I went with Steam and paid the full price as a thank you for not compromising. I may even end up loving the game in the process... or I'll have nightmares for life.

I was talking about Cybberpunk. Were you..?
Avatar 36713
24.
 
Re: Evening Legal Briefs
Aug 19, 2019, 01:41
JTW
24.
Re: Evening Legal Briefs Aug 19, 2019, 01:41
Aug 19, 2019, 01:41
JTW
 
NKD wrote on Aug 19, 2019, 01:16:
JTW wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 22:26:

Is it really competition if you only have one place to buy any given game? When I think of competition I think of competitive pricing for the consumer, something I haven't seen on EGS.

It is competition when EGS puts a big enough dent in the market that Steam and Epic start competing actively with each other for customers, yes. And right now, Steam is so huge that the only way to break into that market is by taking more 'extreme' steps. Free games, big sales (once they figure out how to do that right), and exclusives. Once they have a customer base that can compete with Steams, that's when we (consumers) can start seeing the benefits, and Epic can dial back the tactics. If they don't take those steps right now, though, they don't have a chance in hell of their client ever being competitive.

Or not. They could end up being hostile and consumer-unfriendly after they've established themselves. We won't know for years.

What scares me, though, is what happens if Steam turns hostile without any competitors.
23.
 
Re: Evening Legal Briefs
Aug 19, 2019, 01:16
NKD
23.
Re: Evening Legal Briefs Aug 19, 2019, 01:16
Aug 19, 2019, 01:16
NKD
 
JTW wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 22:26:
Cutter wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:08:
Nice to see a dev who gets it.

They all 'get it'. We all 'get it'. Some of us think that the long-term benefits of a competitive marketplace outweigh the issues of exclusivity deals.

In five years we may even know who was right. Until then? Just guesses.

Is it really competition if you only have one place to buy any given game? When I think of competition I think of competitive pricing for the consumer, something I haven't seen on EGS.
"Fuck off, bard." -Geralt of Rivia
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22.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 23:51
Kxmode
 
22.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 23:51
Aug 18, 2019, 23:51
 Kxmode
 
Drayth wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:39:
Personally I think any PC gamer who doesn't buy that one directly off of GoG should be slapped across the head, but that's another story.

The Dev could have gone exclusive on GOG. They wanted to give their customers the choice of which platform to play from. I went with Steam and paid the full price as a thank you for not compromising. I may even end up loving the game in the process... or I'll have nightmares for life.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
Avatar 18786
21.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 23:48
Kxmode
 
21.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 23:48
Aug 18, 2019, 23:48
 Kxmode
 
Just when I thought Epic couldn't sink any lower: "They made it clear that releasing Darq non-exclusively is not an option. I rejected their offer before we had a chance to talk about money." So now they're employing fear tactics on indie studios to go EGS exclusive.
"Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times." - Those Who Remain by G. Michael Hopf
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20.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 23:35
20.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 23:35
Aug 18, 2019, 23:35
 
Drayth wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:39:
Personally I think any PC gamer who doesn't buy that one directly off of GoG should be slapped across the head, but that's another story.

Amen.
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19.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 22:53
19.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 22:53
Aug 18, 2019, 22:53
 
I don't care if games get released on EGS and Steam, just as long as they get released on Steam as well because that is the platform I choose. This exclusive BS ruins choice. EGS can burn in hell for trying to cash grab all these developers so that we have no choice but to buy through their app.

How about I prefer Steam because it does contain 99.9% of my game library and I don't need ANOTHER app running in the background, consuming resources, sending me notifications, and that I need to remember another password for.
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18.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 22:34
18.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 22:34
Aug 18, 2019, 22:34
 
Props to this dev.
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17.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 22:31
17.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 22:31
Aug 18, 2019, 22:31
 
Pepe wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 20:00:
Not sure what you have been smoking, but a lot of AAA games will launch on their publishers proprietary launcher, ie Battle.net, Origin, Uplay, Bethnet. Only some smaller publishers will go EGS exclusively (for AAA games that is) like 2K with borderlands 3, and even that is only 6 month exclusivity.

Destiny 2 is even going to steam, that might have been one to grab if they wanted to make a statement at EGS.

Yeah, all the games that wouldn't have gone to Steam anyways; which has been going on before the EGS. Yet there are still people who will complain about wanting to 'have everything under Steam'. Imagine that.

It's why I wrote "as much as possible". It's pretty clear Epic's going to try and snatch up everything else it can. The only major publisher still throwing stuff to Steam seems to be Bethesda. You can bet they're just looking to restrengthen their brand enough to switch back to being Bethnet exclusive (like F76 was and Rage 2 had been planned to be orinally), so why bother getting involved with Epic's contracts...

Destiny 2 is a nice win. Obviously if Epic fails in snatching up enough AAA's then my point is moot, but it hasn't been the trend.
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16.
 
Re: Evening Legal Briefs
Aug 18, 2019, 22:26
JTW
16.
Re: Evening Legal Briefs Aug 18, 2019, 22:26
Aug 18, 2019, 22:26
JTW
 
Cutter wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:08:
Nice to see a dev who gets it.

They all 'get it'. We all 'get it'. Some of us think that the long-term benefits of a competitive marketplace outweigh the issues of exclusivity deals.

In five years we may even know who was right. Until then? Just guesses.
15.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 22:03
15.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 22:03
Aug 18, 2019, 22:03
 
RedEye9 wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 20:20:
Slashman wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:44:
Wait where is the "Epic is fantastic and always on the side of good" cheerleader?
You're probably unaware that Epic has never forced anyone to an exclusivity deal, as a matter of fact they haven't even done anything illegal, immoral or fattening.
I'm sure you'll sleep better at night w/that little tidbit of knowledge .
You can thank me later. Wink

I never said they did anything illegal or fattening. You seem fixated on those terms for some reason. It's like you're telling yourself that if they didn't break the law then anything they do is A-OK.

If that helps YOU sleep better at night then more power to ya.

14.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 20:20
14.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 20:20
Aug 18, 2019, 20:20
 
Slashman wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:44:
Wait where is the "Epic is fantastic and always on the side of good" cheerleader?
You're probably unaware that Epic has never forced anyone to an exclusivity deal, as a matter of fact they haven't even done anything illegal, immoral or fattening.
I'm sure you'll sleep better at night w/that little tidbit of knowledge .
You can thank me later. Wink
“The time has come for us to move beyond seeing public health as the ax in the display case, where the sign says IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, BREAK GLASS.”
Pandemics don’t end because the economy is suffering and we want them to.
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13.
 
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity
Aug 18, 2019, 20:00
13.
Re: DARQ Developer on Turning Down Epic Games Store Exclusivity Aug 18, 2019, 20:00
Aug 18, 2019, 20:00
 
Drayth wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 19:39:
Creston wrote on Aug 18, 2019, 14:35:
I'm going to guess it'll be very, very few.

There will be some. You'll have the people who think to themselves, 'I like to keep my game collection under one roof (as much as possible), and since Epic looks to be the new home for the majority of AAA games...'.

It's what their tactic is all about.

Not sure what you have been smoking, but a lot of AAA games will launch on their publishers proprietary launcher, ie Battle.net, Origin, Uplay, Bethnet. Only some smaller publishers will go EGS exclusively (for AAA games that is) like 2K with borderlands 3, and even that is only 6 month exclusivity.

Destiny 2 is even going to steam, that might have been one to grab if they wanted to make a statement at EGS.
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