Epic Games CEO says exclusives are the ‘only’ strategy to shake up PC gaming status quo

The Epic Games Store pushed its way into the PC games marketplace war late last year with the promise that it would give developers a larger cut of revenue than Steam. Epic started locking down exclusive rights to sell certain games on PC to grow its platform, a decision that hasn’t sat well with some fans, but that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney feels is necessary.

In a recent Twitter thread, which originated from a tweet by Sweeney about GOG’s goal of connecting all of the various PC launchers together, fans brought their criticism of Epic Game’s exclusivity choice directly to Sweeney. After a lengthy back and forth in his mentions between fans arguing whether exclusivity was good or bad for gamers as a whole, Sweeney himself weighed in on the topic.

“We believe exclusives are the only strategy that will change the 70/30 status quo at a large enough scale to permanently affect the whole game industry,” Sweeney tweeted. “The 30 percent store tax usually exceeds the entire profits of the developer who built the game that’s sold. This is a disastrous situation for developers and publishers alike, so I believe the strategy of exclusives is proportionate to the problem. If the Epic strategy either succeeds in building a second major storefront for PC games with an 88/12 revenue split, or even just leads other stores to significantly improve their terms, the result will be a major wave of reinvestment in game development and a lowering of costs.”

According to Sweeney, he sees the exclusives route as disruptive, but that the ultimate question is whether this solution is proportionate to the problems developers are facing with the current profit splits that most storefronts are offering.

“We believe the lock-in effect of having a large library of games on a dominant storefront is more powerful than features, and hence a dominant store can only be challenged through exclusives,” he stated.

Sweeney concludes his tweets by saying, “I believe this approach passes the test of ultimately benefitting gamers after game storefronts have rebalanced and developers have reinvested more of their fruits of their labor into creation rather than taxation.”

This isn’t the first time Sweeney has made similar remarks on this subject. Back in April of this year, Sweeney said that the Epic Store would stop offering exclusives if Steam changed its model to provide a bigger cut to developers. That comment was similarly made in response to criticism of the store’s use of exclusives to try to build its user base.

Much of this criticism started after games like The Division 2 and Metro: Exodus accepted pre-orders on Steam before being made Epic Games Store exclusives.

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