First and foremost, I can't speak for anyone else, everything below is only representative of my train of thought and in no way do I presume that it represents anyone else's, although some may agree in full or in part.
1- "They would instead prefer to go through one service, to pay one bill, to be secure in the knowledge that if their social circles start talking about some hot new series, it will be readily accessible to them without the need to juggle another subscription. In short, they want cable."
No, I think they want real a la carte and an end to artificial segregation of content like you get from easier to access illegal sources, you watch what you want, how you want, when you want, where you want. No BS, no gouging, no juggling, max convenience.
2- "triumph of convenience at all costs."
Someone doesn't understand here... See above^^ This is what a triumph of convenience would be, it's anything but that atm and the trend is going the OPPOSITE way hence part of why illegal access is thriving.
3- "Valve's virtual 'monopoly'"
Yeah let's just ignore the dozen or so other stores out there that are all free to compete ( and some do compete ) on price and features without resorting to anti-competitive practices, np.
4- "you can't expect them to come with a good faith reading for nuance and context."
No, the crux of the issue ( at least for me, although I suspect for many others too ) is that you can't trust the word of someone who, say, is raping people saying it's to eradicate raping. Same as you can't trust someone who engages in anti-competitive practices justifying it by saying it's to promote competitiveness.
Principled people TRUST ACTIONS, NOT WORDS. You want me to trust you want competition? Well, engaging in anti-competitive practices is THE OPPOSITE of what will convince me to trust you. Stop raping people and actually do something to stop rapes and THEN I'll re-evaluate my trust in your pledge about eradicating raping.
"I want to build a better world" *Starts a genocide*
"Oh, you don't trust me?" *Shocked Pikachu*
See how that works?
How utterly gullible you have to choose to act to buy one of the oldest tricks in the book is beyond me.
5- "We asked Epic if we could talk frankly about the situation and they were like whatever."
Which goes to show how they don't give a shit as long as $ flows in. But that's ok, it's a business, it's nothing personal, it's just the nature of the capitalist beast. It doesn't care about principles, it only cares about the bottom line. Well too bad because I do ( see fourth reply above ) have principles, so your bottom line won't get padded by me until you change your ways, sorry.
6- "Exclusivity deals can be annoying and inconvenient, but there's no world in which they would justify the kind of abuse we've seen, or any abuse at all."
I do agree that it's regrettable and I certainly condemn any free will infringing actions if any happen in the future, but if you can't even deal with non-free will infringing actions, you probably shouldn't associate with businesses showing no sign of certain principles. If you do, there's no safe space for you. It's true in gaming as it's true in say the oil sector. You do business say with the Koch Brothers and endorse their methods, don't complain about the consequences. Same if you do business with Epic and endorse their anti-competitive practices, don't complain about the consequences. At least assume your choices, own them, be honest about them.
"Yes we went for the Epic Game Store exclusivity because we needed the money, it's regrettable, but it was either that or 'insert whatever worse consequence here'."
This is a good example of how to do it and despite not agreeing with your choice, It would certainly at least earn my ( and perhaps others ) respect as well as avoid you a lot of backlash.