PC Gamers all-around have rejoiced in the platform being an open one. Gamers for the platform have always enjoyed Steam as their primary game market. Even though, companies like EA and Ubisoft have tried to push their solutions. Uplay and Origin have used their games as exclusives to their respective launchers to make gamers jump aboard. Still, this was more of a “per company solution” and nothing as aggressive as Epic Store’s attempt to become serious competition to Steam. These are some reasons why Epic Store exclusives are good for gamers.
Competition is never a bad thing in a free market
The idea of competition brings some pros and cons but ultimately results in variety and accessibility in prices. PC is different from consoles in the sense that it is a single platform. But, competition within that platform behaves very much like competition in the console realm does. Sony and Microsoft have been rivals for decades. Apart from some hardware capability differences, both companies compete through each other mainly through exclusives.
This model results in constant exclusives through the year; arguably, those exclusives are the best games in each respective platform and generally drop in price after some months in the market. They are even bundled in with consoles to make the purchase more attractive. This result in great games and platform availability. Xbox offers a much different platform with a robust online ecosystem and game subscription access. PlayStation, on the other hand, provides a big catalog of fantastic exclusives.
The urgency of change
Competition keeps companies innovating around a personal vision of what they believe will appeal to their audience. The same happens with Epic Store and Steam. Epic Store closes exclusive deals with studios they think will make their clients happy, by offering a better deal to developers than Steam does. In this sense, developers get more revenue and can continue funding upcoming projects much more accessible, while gamers still get the same game they were going to get from Steam in the first place.
Due to competition Epic Store is trying to get as many big exclusives as possible and is giving out free games to keep their players invested. Steam will have to retaliate eventually. They´ll have to drop the cut they take from sales and developers and possibly start their loyalty program by giving out some freebies here and there. Steam sales are the best, and PC games have, in most scenarios, been cheaper than their console counterparts. This fact doesn’t mean that Steam can’t get better. Their launcher looks dated and in need of an overhaul already. This changes wouldn’t be triggered as soon or with such priority if a direct competition wasn’t out. Epic Store is creating a balance in a somewhat monopolized game distribution in the PC platform.
Lack of features?
It’s true that Epic Store is not ready to go face to face with Steam yet. The platform is pending to release many features that Steam has had in place for years already. Still, Epic Store has a plan towards that and is vocal about the need to evolve to reach the quality level, and feature-set gamers expect from them. Time will tell if they can keep themselves relevant by continuously improving their platform.
One way or the other, their openness to address this is a good thing. It also makes Steam a reactionary company now, rather than a stationary decision maker. Steam needs to evolve and improve their offering for developers and gamers to keep their position in the market; sales alone are no longer good enough. Steam used to decide on what was the best approach. With added competition, they now need to react to the move of Epic Store instead of just deciding what to do on their own.
Epic Store is making Steam better
Steam is fantastic; their sales are the best ones in the gaming scene. Still, there’s always room for improvement. Every company becomes better when they don’t only want to be better but are forced to do so to keep their market share.
PC is a single platform and has no competition against other platforms since consoles are their own thing. Still, the PC market keeps a balance in competition when it comes to hardware, the options are varied, and companies are creative to keep their prices down, and their loyalty benefits up. The same competitive scene needs to apply for software distribution in PCs. This new market dynamic is going to make Steam a better platform, by giving developers more empowerment. This changes will eventually lead to better games and better purchase incentives for gamers.