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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 Iím a first time developer, Iím 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 Amazonís history ó 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 itís 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 itís 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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