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E3 PC Gaming Show 2019 is being sponsored by Epic (See EGS Guidelines)

Oct 27, 2017
764
You say this like it's a bad thing Valve does not throw money around to assert their dominance. I see this as a good thing. Valve never bullied their smaller competitors, never forced people to just sell on Steam, never paid off anyone to withhold a frigging digital, infinitely reproduceable, product from someone else. In summary they never brought the annoying and anti-consumer mindset of the console wars (that every PC gamer just rolls their eyes at) to PC and picked winners/losers.
You call it bullying, but there are probably a huge number of indie devs out there that would cry tears of joy if Valve used their immense profits to offer programs like Sony's pub fund, Microsoft's [email protected], Nintendo's Nindie initiative, Epic's exclusivity deals or even something like the Indie Fund. I consider all those programs an unquestionable net good for gamers and the industry.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,547
Ottawa Canada
I can't say whether games media is being directly paid by Epic. (Fwiw, I don't think that's the case).

What I can say is that the way most media outlets unanimously started pushing the narrative of "White Knight Epic is finally here to save us from the evil clutches of Steam by delivering COMPETITION (TM) via exclusive games" was strange and off-putting. Whenever individual staff would engage in comments with Epic detractors, I tend to see the same rhetoric of "it's just another launcher" and all detractors are dismissed as "vocal minority of Steam fanboys" .

Given that this was preceded by a whole bunch of stories about how bloated and lazy Valve was (to which valve generally didn't respond), I can totally see how said staff who already had an ax to grind against Valve would find Epic's narrative to be be more...agreeable?
Add to this Epic's rhetoric of "focusing on developers and content creators" (and many members of the media ARE also content creators), and I can very much see how Epic could cultivate a positive bias without any direct financial contributions.
Very interesting thread.

I am not in any way involved in game development. So I have no special knowledge about how it works, or how the game enthusiast press works either. But I have worked for a government regulatory agency for 20 years.

For the first 10 years of my career, I worked on the policy side. I spent a lot of my time with lobbyists. None of them paid for my travel, or gave me money. None ever bought me a drink or lunch either. However, since I spent so much time in meetings with them to gather/consult on their point of view, I could not help but become friendly with them. There is no way that John Q public could ever gain the same familiarity with me. They just do not have the resources or the access.

My own impression is that the pc game enthusiast press is friendly with game developers. But they do not have access to Valve and are not so friendly with them. Over time, pc game devs complain that their success hinges on how well seen they are in steam. So they complain, a lot, about it. The press hears these complaints and takes them seriously. The people that they are friendly with lose jobs, or funding for projects, because their games don't succeed.

Then a new store comes along and they provide actual funding to game devs so that they can actually complete a project. Game devs are happy, and the press that they are friendly with are happy to see them happy.

Hence, positive coverage of EGS. I think this is what we are seeing here, and it is going to be very hard for the press to balance against.
 
Oct 28, 2017
429
This is largely true. Epic doing a massive marketing push on the E3 stage is fine. I think the problem is they're in a position of promoting "PC Gaming" as a whole, and they're a terrible steward of it. If they were coming up to tout the incredible success of Fortnite, of Unreal Engine, to celebrate the purchase of Psyonix (ouch.), it would be a logical press conference for basically a major publisher.

But as a representative of "PC Gaming", Epic has literally done nothing to make it more convenient, user-friendly, forward-looking compared to consoles. All they've done is add one more storefront/downloader to an already-saturated and frustrating market. At the same time they've tried to situate themselves as a somehow more friendly actor than Valve, which is a laugh.

None of this is to stan for Valve. If Epic (or anyone) came through with a gaming portal that was better than PS4's OS, I'd love to see it. There's no indication they're going to do that, and Valve has been making substantial progress in that direction.

What's really going on is a fight over the cost of stewarding PC gaming. Publishers seem unwilling to pay it. Epic is giving them a way out without the features. Maybe the answer is that Valve should slash their % and pass the costs of Steam development onto gamers. Either way, this is bad for the longterm health of PC.

And NONE of this addresses a major longterm problem that only Valve is touching: the direction of Windows and Microsoft's control over the platform. Epic is just going to punt on that question despite Tim Sweeney's high profile concern on this issue. Valve are taking big risks to solve the problem for all of us:
https://venturebeat.com/2016/03/05/...ted-micrsooft-in-bid-to-keep-windows-10-open/
I think this is a great post. I just don't know that I fully agree regarding stewardship of the PC, it's a platform that by definition and design doesn't have a centralized identity or representative. Everyone does that, in their beautiful diversity.

I think the idea of a centralized steward is something publishers very much wish for in that it would allow a degree of control and thus abuse that they are familiar and comfortable wish. Consoles are a good example. This is why Valve is the target of all these attacks, because in their popularity they became a target to remove while EGS carries clearly the average AAA publisher's agenda and playbook.

I don't think I agree about PS4's OS being better than Steam as a gaming portal. I mean, its design is for controller in the first place. I also think as a developer-facing infrastructure Steam is probably vastly superior but I don't know enough.

Beyond that this is a really good summary of the situation and worries about the real concern of where Microsoft is headed with Windows, UWP and user control.


Don't you know? A lot of people here are so used to the corporate bullshit that its absent is seen as wrong.

Valve doesn't have a PR team carefully word every response to maximize public reception? How dare they! Let me go praise the outright bullshit my favorite corporations tell me.

Valve doesn't spend millions on enormous marketing campaigns? They're doing something wrong! I'm all excited for the next AAA title my favorite corporation has spent millions to influence me on! Hype check?!

Valve doesn't release yearly sequels of its franchises? They're so lazy! Why can't they milk me every year instead of supporting their games for a decade? *Sees the success and player-counts of Overwatch and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege* Why haven't they made a sequel yet?!

It's appalling that so many act like they're stockholders when they're just consumers.
You're completely right and more than that, I think there's also a disingenuous angle behind those requests. They are also asking Valve to enter this whole fray actively and I think it's the worst thing they could do. Not only because they have better things to do, because it makes them a target and it gains them very little but also because it makes them vulnerable to the media who will then twist their words, if their coverage of EGS is anything to go by.

It's also a waste of money. I mean, the E3 PC gaming show, really?
 
Last edited:
Oct 25, 2017
1,118
Can't wait for it to be revealed that Halo: MCC is now an EGS exclusive!

... I kid.

Maybe.

Seriously though: This show was already kind of a mess. I can't really imagine how that chat is going to go when this thing airs on Twitch.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,780
“Valve has too much power on PC gaming and it makes the market not healthy”

“Valve should be the one to provide marketing for developers, basically dictating which games end up successful”

Make up your mind.
 
Oct 28, 2017
429
“Valve has too much power on PC gaming and it makes the market not healthy”

“Valve should be the one to provide marketing for developers, basically dictating which games end up successful”

Make up your mind.
Also, "please give us valid reasons to hate you".

It's a little like the discussions about features

"Valve has 10 years worth of features, exclusives are the only way to compete"

"Features don't matter, what matters is the cut"

Pick one.
 
Nov 10, 2017
616
I think this is a great post. I just don't know that I fully agree regarding stewardship of the PC, it's a platform that by definition and design doesn't have a centralized identity or representative. Everyone does that, in their beautiful diversity.

I think the idea of a centralized steward is something publishers very much wish for in that it would allow a degree of control and thus abuse that they are familiar and comfortable wish. Consoles are a good example. This is why Valve is the target of all these attacks, because in their popularity they became a target to remove while EGS carries clearly the average AAA publisher's agenda and playbook.

I don't think I agree about PS4's OS being better than Steam as a gaming portal. I mean, its design is for controller in the first place. I also think as a developer-facing infrastructure Steam is probably vastly superior but I don't know enough.

Beyond that this is a really good summary of the situation and worries about the real concern of where Microsoft is headed with Windows, UWP and user control.
My preference would be that there are open, industry-wide standards for the kinds of community features we expect from a game system. So all developers basically use something like SDL, but it provides friends list, party invites, trophies, etc. That way there could be maximum competition in distribution, user experience, 3rd party integrations, etc. I could easily see Kodi being a great gaming front-end, for example.

But we don't have that, and I don't think we're going to get it.

So then the best thing that seems actually feasible would be multiple "stewards" (i.e. walled gardens) competing for their vision using the x86 (ugh, windows) platform as their base. Similar to the competition between Oculus and Vive. Unfortunately, it's really only Valve doing this. Nobody else has stepped up, and particularly EA + Activision have had a decade to try. It's not in their business plan. Maybe Epic will get there, but I think they would've launched with a stronger feature set if that was important to them.

I'm not saying that simply replicating PS4 OS on the PC is the goal (though I would be interested in that). Personally I mainly play PC on the couch with a gamepad. But there's no reason that has to be the exclusive way to play. I think Steam is basically doing it right with their window UI and big picture mode. I just want that to continue advancing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,823
My preference would be that there are open, industry-wide standards for the kinds of community features we expect from a game system. So all developers basically use something like SDL, but it provides friends list, party invites, trophies, etc. That way there could be maximum competition in distribution, user experience, 3rd party integrations, etc. I could easily see Kodi being a great gaming front-end, for example.

But we don't have that, and I don't think we're going to get it.

So then the best thing that seems actually feasible would be multiple "stewards" (i.e. walled gardens) competing for their vision using the x86 (ugh, windows) platform as their base. Similar to the competition between Oculus and Vive. Unfortunately, it's really only Valve doing this. Nobody else has stepped up, and particularly EA + Activision have had a decade to try. It's not in their business plan. Maybe Epic will get there, but I think they would've launched with a stronger feature set if that was important to them.

I'm not saying that simply replicating PS4 OS on the PC is the goal (though I would be interested in that). Personally I mainly play PC on the couch with a gamepad. But there's no reason that has to be the exclusive way to play. I think Steam is basically doing it right with their window UI and big picture mode. I just want that to continue advancing.
They have stated that the current situation of the stores (not theirs, but in general, so think uPlay and Origin) is good enough for consumers and there is no real need to push for more feature set. That plus the smaller cut means (which normally tends to mean lower investment to maintain profitability) probably means that they wont push it that much in that sense.

Also, why would I want PS4 OS on PC? That thing is bs and pretty bad features wise. Steam BP mode is quite good (needs to be improved and made easier to directly launch on it).
 
Nov 10, 2017
616
They have stated that the current situation of the stores (not theirs, but in general, so think uPlay and Origin) is good enough for consumers and there is no real need to push for more feature set. That plus the smaller cut means (which normally tends to mean lower investment to maintain profitability) probably means that they wont push it that much in that sense.

Also, why would I want PS4 OS on PC? That thing is bs and pretty bad features wise. Steam BP mode is quite good (needs to be improved and made easier to directly launch on it).
Yeah, I agree re: EGS, which is why I find their entrance on the scene to be so pernicious. The PC experience offered by Steam is already undermined by a half-dozen lousy publisher-specific portals, and now EGS is making it worse by buying up exclusives to another underbaked system.

As for PS4 OS, look I'm not saying literally the PS4 experience on PC. What I want is to turn on my PC, and from boot onward, the entire gaming (+ multimedia) user flow is controllable with a gamepad. I don't want to take away your preference if you like a desk and a keyboard/mouse, but we shouldn't have to choose. I bring up PS4 because I think it's the best example of an integrated experience so far. Ideally PC would be even better than that. TBH I'd settle for Big Picture, but I wish the pace of development was faster.

Also, I see Windows as a fundamental roadblock. There's too many aspects from login to system updates to driver installs to DirectX installer wizards, etc that get in the way of a smooth gamepad experience. If I have to get off the couch to pick up a keyboard, something is wrong. That's why I strongly support Valve's efforts on Linux. It's not that Linux is so much better, it's that all aspects of the system are open to modification. So there's at least a path to get to the great PC gaming set-top-box future.
 
Feb 19, 2018
1,818
I actually never ever did I find pc gaming show to be interesting.... hopefully with epic sponsoring them it might make it exciting for once instead of talking none sense the whole hour or so with little to show.
 
Oct 28, 2017
429
My preference would be that there are open, industry-wide standards for the kinds of community features we expect from a game system. So all developers basically use something like SDL, but it provides friends list, party invites, trophies, etc. That way there could be maximum competition in distribution, user experience, 3rd party integrations, etc. I could easily see Kodi being a great gaming front-end, for example.

But we don't have that, and I don't think we're going to get it.

So then the best thing that seems actually feasible would be multiple "stewards" (i.e. walled gardens) competing for their vision using the x86 (ugh, windows) platform as their base. Similar to the competition between Oculus and Vive. Unfortunately, it's really only Valve doing this. Nobody else has stepped up, and particularly EA + Activision have had a decade to try. It's not in their business plan. Maybe Epic will get there, but I think they would've launched with a stronger feature set if that was important to them.

I'm not saying that simply replicating PS4 OS on the PC is the goal (though I would be interested in that). Personally I mainly play PC on the couch with a gamepad. But there's no reason that has to be the exclusive way to play. I think Steam is basically doing it right with their window UI and big picture mode. I just want that to continue advancing.
I don't think a standardized feature set is a good idea. If you thought Steam was slow, wait until you see a committee. I can get behind the intention of raising the bar but I don't think it would have the consequences you are hoping for. Seems like a fertile ground for politics between companies too, with the user caught in-between.

I think you are misusing the term walled garden here, it's about the ability of the user to install anything he wants from any provider on his hardware. And you're right, Valve is the only one doing the right thing as of now, which makes the attacks on them a travesty, especially when you look at the tragedy they call a platform with EGS.