• The GiftBot 2.0 Launch Giveaway Extravaganza has come to a close with an astounding 8073 games given away to the community by 696 members, a huge success thanks to you! The gifting now continues with more official prizes in the new Gaming Giveaways |OT|. Leftover Steam codes are also being given away to the PC Gaming Era community.

Let's Talk About Borderlands 3, Epic Store Exclusivity, And An Uncontrolled Market [Jim Sterling]

Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,611
NYC
The idea that they would buy a company and not even set growth targets is kind of hard to believe. Maybe they don't interfere creatively or strategically at all, but not even any expectations?
No, they don't. They're very hands-off, to the point where it's actually kind of damaging, because they'll let you sit there and waste money with no returns.
 

demondance

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,580
No, they don't. They're very hands-off, to the point where it's actually kind of damaging, because they'll let you sit there and waste money with no returns.
Then why did all those key figures at Epic leave over a perceived shift to service games under Tencent? Which is exactly what happened (to great success after stumbling with Unreal Tournament and Paragon).

But that aside, Tencent is just one stakeholder (one that happens to have two of their appointed members on Epic's board of directors). Epic also received over a billion dollars in investment from other sources. These people all have demands. They don't dump cash down a black hole and wait around.
 
Last edited:

Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,611
NYC
Then why did all those key figures at Epic leave over a perceived shift to service games under Tencent? Which is exactly what happened (to great success).
The entire industry shifted to GaaS. I don't like to use Wikipedia as a source, but it's convenient here:

Coupled with their desire to move away from being beholden to a publisher, Epic Games observed that the video game industry was shifting to a games as a service model (GaaS). Sweeney stated "There was an increasing realization that the old model wasn't working anymore and that the new model was looking increasingly like the way to go."[21] In an attempt to gain more GaaS experience, they made an agreement with Chinese Tencent, who had several games under their banner (including Riot Games' League of Legends) operating successfully as games as a service.[38] In exchange for Tencent's help, Tencent acquired approximately 48.4% of Epic then issued share capital, equating to 40% of total Epic — inclusive of both stock and employee stock options, for $330 million in June 2012. Tencent Holdings has the right to nominate directors to the board of Epic Games and thus counts as an associate of the Group.[3] However, Sweeney stated that Tencent otherwise has very little control on the creative output of Epic Games.[21]
Not that I'm regurgitating Wikipedia info. Everything I've posted is from my own experience working with Tencent and also from what I've heard from people working at Epic. But yeah, Tencent is not the driving force here, Epic is.
 

Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,611
NYC
But that aside, Tencent is just one stakeholder (one that happens to have two of their appointed members on Epic's board of directors). Epic also received over a billion dollars in investment from other sources. These people all have demands. They don't dump cash down a black hole and wait around.
Separate post to respond to your edit, sorry for the double.

Not to pick on you in particular, but I think this is a common misconception when it comes to Era understanding the business side of developers and publishers. I have no doubt that if Epic was publicly traded, this thread would be inundated with complaints over shareholders or whatever. But because it's privately owned and operated, people are generally looking for a financial bogeyman to blame, when the reality is that private or public, most companies have the same general ambition--to increase their revenue potential.

Yes, investors can, and generally do, have some influence in, and have expectations around, a company's KPIs. Yes, a company with investors will want to demonstrate continued growth in order to drive continued investment. This doesn't change whether a company is private or public, and mostly doesn't change whether or not there's external investors either. It's a rare situation where a company is generally happy being small--generally sure, your arthouse indies aren't trying to be the next Riot Games, but even they have investors. And of course, different investors have different expectations and behaviors.

Anyway, Tim Sweeney has said on multiple occasions that it's not investors driving their business decisions. I think you should just take his word for it--I mean, why wouldn't you? If you hate Epic, then it just solidifies Tim being the boogeyman. If you love/like/tolerate/don't care for Epic, then, well, Tim's the reason Epic's so successful.
 

A.By

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,109
Are you an addict? Are you in recovery because it really sounds like you have no understanding what the heck you are talking about and are just using addicts to forward an agenda.
What the hell lmao

There have been plenty of people who have talked about how they became addicted to buying loot boxes

Like, just read the experiences of people who have lost a lot of money to these kinds of things.

Lootboxes are not illegal even if you feel it should be. It's not apples to apples but it's still anti consumer.
It's literally illegal in Belgium, buddy.
 

Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,601
Are you an addict? Are you in recovery because it really sounds like you have no understanding what the heck you are talking about and are just using addicts to forward an agenda.
Oh well that's an interesting new angle.

Yeah so people get addicted to behaviors all the time. I believe it was added in DSM-5 a few years ago.
 

Alexandros

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,755
This post made me snort at work and now my coworkers think I'm weird. It seriously may be the most uninformed take I've ever read in an Epic thread.
Damn, that's pretty harsh. What did I ever do to you? Anyway, I think you'll never be able to understand some of the expressed points, by me or others, until you try to look at things from the customer's perspective. If nothing else, these threads have shown that there is a big disconnect between developers and customers.
 

Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,611
NYC
Damn, that's pretty harsh. What did I ever do to you? Anyway, I think you'll never be able to understand some of the expressed points, by me or others, until you try to look at things from the customer's perspective. If nothing else, these threads have shown that there is a big disconnect between developers and customers.
It was definitely harsh, sorry.

But no, I understand 100% why some people don't want to engage with EGS, and I respect that. I have said in other posts that I have my own reasons for not wanting to give Epic my business, and I'd expect people to respect those reasons too.
 

Amiablepercy

Member
Nov 4, 2017
2,855
California
Oh well that's an interesting new angle.

Yeah so people get addicted to behaviors all the time. I believe it was added in DSM-5 a few years ago.
It isn't predatory that they exist. I've actually been in sober and in GA and NA for 7 years. Walking down any street you see liquor stores at every corner and advertisements everywhere. On business trips to vegas I see gambling ads and promotion everywhere. Again, It isn't predatory that they exist or their advertising. It is my job, as taught in the programs, to manage my spiritual malady/illness. I can't demonize liqour stores or casinos for my condition. That is the opposite of recovery. That's my problem when people having no idea what they are talking about uses terms like "predatory". Predatory is a person who knows I'm on the right track and encourages a relapse or tries to lure me into a situation knowingly aware of my condition that could activate me in that way. They is preying. The nicotine industry might be the exception but that is complicated.
 

Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,601
It isn't predatory that they exist. I've actually been in sober in GA and NA for 7 years. Walking down the street and you see liquor stores at every corner and advertisements everywhere. On business trips to vegas you see gambling ads and promotion everywhere. It isn't predatory that they exist. It is my job, as taught in the programs, to manage my spiritual malady/illness. I can't demonize liqour stores or casinos for my condition. That is the opposite of recovery. That's my problem when people having no idea what they are talking about uses terms like "predatory". Predatory is a person who knows I'm on the right track and encourages a relapse or tries to lure me into a situation knowingly aware of my condition that could activate me in that way.
I had to quit drinking and not a drop for over 15 years before I was sure that i could handle it again and not end up in ruin. I understand the program but I don't use it. I agree that I will always have the problem, as stated in the program. anyhow, I appreciate what you're going through and I know you're talkin about.

And I've met people who gamble and can be just as big of an issue. Once it's a problem, its practically the same as alcoholism. It's not the fault of the gambling self. Most people can handle it. But there are those that cannot handle it. And they get addicted to it. And they start putting too much attention into it, abusing it. Then they look around one day and their life is ruined.

I do find loot boxes in gambling more predatory, though. A business model built around specifically poaching whales. Some people really do have a lot of money to throw around, but a lot of these whales are compulsively burning money that they may not have. And yes, I think these gacha systems are looking to directly exploit them.
 

Alexandros

Member
Oct 26, 2017
7,755
It was definitely harsh, sorry.

But no, I understand 100% why some people don't want to engage with EGS, and I respect that. I have said in other posts that I have my own reasons for not wanting to give Epic my business, and I'd expect people to respect those reasons too.
Don't worry about it. Epic may be great at doing business in all sorts of ways but I, as a devoted PC gamer, only care about their words and actions in that context. Epic decided to abandon the PC gaming space proclaiming its death just as it was about to experience a huge boom. Simply put, it is going to take many years and a consistent customer-friendly attitude from them until I can seriously consider paying them money and trusting them with my games library.
 

Amiablepercy

Member
Nov 4, 2017
2,855
California
I had to quit drinking and not a drop for over 15 years before I was sure that i could handle it again and not end up in ruin. I understand the program but I don't use it. I agree that I will always have the problem, as stated in the program. anyhow, I appreciate what you're going through and I know you're talkin about.

And I've met people who gamble and can be just as big of an issue. Once it's a problem, its practically the same as alcoholism. It's not the fault of the gambling self. Most people can handle it. But there are those that cannot handle it. And they get addicted to it. And they start putting too much attention into it, abusing it. Then they look around one day and their life is ruined.

I do find loot boxes in gambling more predatory, though. A business model built around specifically poaching whales. Some people really do have a lot of money to throw around, but a lot of these whales are compulsively burning money that they may not have. And yes, I think these gacha systems are looking to directly exploit them.
I appreciate the response. I do believe that gacha and loot boxes should be age gated to the regions laws according to legal gambling age. I just think some of the hyperbole is a bit much. Awesome about your sobriety and whatever keeps it manageble for you must work. I couldn't handle the whiteknuckle fix so I attend but I would not say I'm a program zealot, so to speak.
 

Menx64

Member
Oct 30, 2017
3,123
Epic is doing what Disney is doing. Buying every bit of competition so they can create their own monopoly. Every sector of the economy is the same. Nobody wants competition, but monopoly.
 

Border

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,480
It is strange to me that a guy whose content is largely flaccid, impotent rage would create a video just to tell others how flaccid and impotent their own rage is. "Sorry gamers, that's just the way this capitalist world works."

I think Sterling's attitude towards this whole thing is basically "LET THEM FIGHT." Neither store is great, and maybe the two of them butting heads will bring about improvements in both.
 

Nome

Designer
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,611
NYC
What are your reasons anyway? Or is it something more to do with your professional experience?
Take everything in this post with a grain of salt because this is secondhand information I got from drunken Discord conversations with friends who work at Epic, and separate informal conversations with industry connections at Tencent and PUBG Corp. Nothing here can be corroborated through publicly sourced information, and frankly, I don't know how much of it is accurate, but because it came from people I trust, I personally believe it.

I take a lot of issue with their business ethics with regards to how Fortnite BR came to be.
Bluehole did not sign a custom Unreal engine license with Epic, so when PUBG was starting to blow up, Epic was making bank on PUBG, and thus had incentive to directly help Bluehole optimize their business. This may have involved Bluehole sharing important information (e.g. monetization metrics) with Epic under the auspices that Epic was trying to help, completely unaware that Epic was--potentially using this privileged information--simultaneously developing Fortnite BR. This is a serious ethics violation to me, if it is true.

As a designer, I believe strongly that it's okay to "copy", and that the industry doesn't grow through revolution, but from careful, measured improvement. I have no problem with fast follows, "me too plus one", or anything like that. What I have issue with is the nature of the relationship between Epic and Bluehole, and that Epic pulled what is probably one of the most profitable, but shitty dick moves in the history of the industry. So I'm never going to touch Fortnite. I might budge on EGS if they get an exclusive I can't resist.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,409
U.S.
Take everything in this post with a grain of salt because this is secondhand information I got from drunken Discord conversations with friends who work at Epic, and separate informal conversations with industry connections at Tencent and PUBG Corp. Nothing here can be corroborated through publicly sourced information, and frankly, I don't know how much of it is accurate, but because it came from people I trust, I personally believe it.

I take a lot of issue with their business ethics with regards to how Fortnite BR came to be.
Bluehole did not sign a custom Unreal engine license with Epic, so when PUBG was starting to blow up, Epic was making bank on PUBG, and thus had incentive to directly help Bluehole optimize their business. This may have involved Bluehole sharing important information (e.g. monetization metrics) with Epic under the auspices that Epic was trying to help, completely unaware that Epic was--potentially using this privileged information--simultaneously developing Fortnite BR. This is a serious ethics violation to me, if it is true.

As a designer, I believe strongly that it's okay to "copy", and that the industry doesn't grow through revolution, but from careful, measured improvement. I have no problem with fast follows, "me too plus one", or anything like that. What I have issue with is the nature of the relationship between Epic and Bluehole, and that Epic pulled what is probably one of the most profitable, but shitty dick moves in the history of the industry. So I'm never going to touch Fortnite. I might budge on EGS if they get an exclusive I can't resist.
That is definitely ethically questionable, I was already deadset on avoiding EGS, this makes that even easier.
 

mutantmagnet

Member
Oct 28, 2017
8,703
The first 3 pages were difficult to read.

Either people said Jim was treating Epic softly or he was being defeatist.

The point of this video wasn't to call out Epic but the society we live in.

His point was to stop whining at gaming companies moving to Epic and to start whining to your government to increase regulation because that is 1 of the 2 only options to unfuck this problem and it is the only 1 that is realistic with "gamers rise up" mentality. Until you change your attitudes and thought patterns option #2 is impossible for you.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,409
U.S.
The first 3 pages were difficult to read.

Either people said Jim was treating Epic softly or he was being defeatist.

The point of this video wasn't to call out Epic but the society we live in.

His point was to stop whining at gaming companies moving to Epic and to start whining to your government to increase regulation because that is 1 of the 2 only options to unfuck this problem and it is the only 1 that is realistic with "gamers rise up" mentality. Until you change your attitudes and thought patterns option #2 is impossible for you.
I mean the other option is to boycott, but I guess people are too weakwilled for that to work.
 

moyad0

Member
Apr 1, 2019
39
The first 3 pages were difficult to read.

Either people said Jim was treating Epic softly or he was being defeatist.

The point of this video wasn't to call out Epic but the society we live in.

His point was to stop whining at gaming companies moving to Epic and to start whining to your government to increase regulation because that is 1 of the 2 only options to unfuck this problem and it is the only 1 that is realistic with "gamers rise up" mentality. Until you change your attitudes and thought patterns option #2 is impossible for you.
Lets bring the goverment into gaming economy, what could go wrong?
Goverments are made of people with good will and principles, way better than shitty companies.

/s
 

cnorwood

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,583
Very disappointed in this video. While Jim admits that Epic's moneyhats are bad for consumers, he keeps calling it the correct thing to do.

I strongly disagree with that. Companies shouldn't use anti-consumer practices to achieve their goal, whatever that goal is.
He is saying its the correct thing to do in this current system of capitalism that lets them do this. Which he is right, the problem is the system not companies who dont act like a friend
 

mutantmagnet

Member
Oct 28, 2017
8,703
Lets bring the goverment into gaming economy, what could go wrong?
Goverments are made of people with good will and principles, way better than shitty companies.

/s
We get it. Your shtik is to make dumb sarcastic posts that macroeconomics is fantasy and governments don't help people. People who are happy with governments will never see eye to eye with you. Just admit you are part of the problem and that you don't have a clue what it takes to change Epic.


You only have yourself to blame because you don't understand that it takes power (the government) or money (other corporations) to usually force changes. Leveraging public shaming is possible but it will always be slower, less coordinated and not as effective as the other two.
 

moyad0

Member
Apr 1, 2019
39
We get it. Your shtik is to make dumb sarcastic posts that macroeconomics is fantasy and governments don't help people. People who are happy with governments will never see eye to eye with you. Just admit you are part of the problem and that you don't have a clue what it takes to change Epic.


You only have yourself to blame because you don't understand that it takes power (the government) or money (other corporations) to usually force changes. Leveraging public shaming is possible but it will always be slower, less coordinated and not as effective as the other two.

You want the government into your business until someone you cannot trust takes the power and then you are fuck** and regret everything.

EPIC will win if sell enough games or will fail if don't. There is no other solution.
 

Komo

Member
Jan 3, 2019
3,721
I'm just going off of experience. My two, and only tickets to try to contact their CS were never replied to, maybe they changed over the years but I try to avoid having to deal with valve since those experience, and I was very cautious and slow to get FFXII TZA when it came out, since I had to get it for steam.
I mean you see it right infront of you that they have changed.
 

Eorl

Member
Oct 30, 2017
2,221
Australia
The first 3 pages were difficult to read.

Either people said Jim was treating Epic softly or he was being defeatist.

The point of this video wasn't to call out Epic but the society we live in.

His point was to stop whining at gaming companies moving to Epic and to start whining to your government to increase regulation because that is 1 of the 2 only options to unfuck this problem and it is the only 1 that is realistic with "gamers rise up" mentality. Until you change your attitudes and thought patterns option #2 is impossible for you.
I'm curious, how would government change exclusivity contracts for games? At the moment the core issue is Epic utilising Fortnite money to purchase games for 6-12 months in order to drive traffic and hopefully have people purchase other games on the store while they are there. The problem is most of the games are exclusives, so Epic isn't really making much money when customers buy from the store because they've already forked over a cheque to gain that title.

The best case scenario is one or two titles as exclusives for a set period and the rest is a storefront full of games that are on other stores but at a cheaper price due to the developer revenue stream. Such would give more choice to customers while also giving a more solid reason to investing in the Epic Game Store through cheaper prices but better dev splits. Right now you've got the opposite where devs are charging more for games despite a better cut AND getting a better ROI through exclusivity cheques.

There is of course the stipulance of a service coming out in end of 2018 start of 2019 to actually have decent, default features available but such has also been handwaved for some unknown reason. Accessibility is a massive thing, and needs an even bigger push but right now Epic have none of that yet are trying their hardest to "topple" a Steam "monopoly" by being their own worst enemy. I can't see how government would fix this?
 

mAcOdIn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
651
The problem that regulation could theoretically address isn't so much Epic throwing it's money around but on the barrier of entry and the idea of too big to fail. One of the things mentioned was, what if Epic did beat Valve and supplanted them, and maybe Epic was better at that point but what happens to all your purchases with Valve? There needs to be a modern take on sold goods with drm so that you're not out all your purchases when the Nintendo Wii shop closes, how many mp3 shops closed, if Steam were to close. You have to create a system of regulated interoperability so that store fronts rising and falling isn't catastrophic otherwise you kinda are stuck begging for a juggernaut like Valve to remain on top so all your shit stays working.
 

saenima

Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,328
Sterling's point falls flat when it can be used to dismiss almost every video he has ever done about consumer issues. 'It's capitalism' is not a valid excuse to avoid criticism as far as i'm concerned.
 

Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
10,601
Sterling's point falls flat when it can be used to dismiss almost every video he has ever done about consumer issues. 'It's capitalism' is not a valid excuse to avoid criticism as far as i'm concerned.
Thats the long and short of it. This makes two softball jim videos about epic.

I really thought he would dish it out to every company under the sun. It appears that's not the case after this enemy of my enemy is my friend act.
 

Ploid 6.0

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,732
I mean you see it right infront of you that they have changed.
Replying to the person I quoted which said.
Kylac said:
https://store.steampowered.com/stats/support

How is Valve's customer service worse then any other company's customer service? No other company is this transparent with their information. One bad experience doesn't mean anything.
I had no clue how Valve compared to the others other than what I experienced.

I'm just going off of experience. My two, and only tickets to try to contact their CS were never replied to, maybe they changed over the years but I try to avoid having to deal with valve since those experience, and I was very cautious and slow to get FFXII TZA when it came out, since I had to get it for steam.
The graph provided didn't really show how they compare to other services today as well, but I do know that when I try to contact EA or Amazon I could get answered within minutes and communicate directly, when I needed them they were both were good experiences, using a seemingly customer first policy. Also Microsoft PC (windows issue), oh and Square Enix was super fast as well, though both times they would not let me reset my FFXI password without my phone number from 2005. PSN is also felt super quick, I had to deal with that one to help family recover PSN passwords, and someone kept taking my PSN. I can only imagine how fast it would be to contact Valve now, at least it won't take weeks and cause me to move on and delete the ticket so that if they do waste time on my old ticket it will just probably cause some other person to go unanswered for a bit. I hope I never have to find out though.

Valve just left me with a bad experience and I have a burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me mind set. It's not that I won't buy games that require Steam if I can't help it, but I make sure it's the only option before I do.
 

mutantmagnet

Member
Oct 28, 2017
8,703
I'm curious, how would government change exclusivity contracts for games? At the moment the core issue is Epic utilising Fortnite money to purchase games for 6-12 months in order to drive traffic and hopefully have people purchase other games on the store while they are there. The problem is most of the games are exclusives, so Epic isn't really making much money when customers buy from the store because they've already forked over a cheque to gain that title.

The best case scenario is one or two titles as exclusives for a set period and the rest is a storefront full of games that are on other stores but at a cheaper price due to the developer revenue stream. Such would give more choice to customers while also giving a more solid reason to investing in the Epic Game Store through cheaper prices but better dev splits. Right now you've got the opposite where devs are charging more for games despite a better cut AND getting a better ROI through exclusivity cheques.

There is of course the stipulance of a service coming out in end of 2018 start of 2019 to actually have decent, default features available but such has also been handwaved for some unknown reason. Accessibility is a massive thing, and needs an even bigger push but right now Epic have none of that yet are trying their hardest to "topple" a Steam "monopoly" by being their own worst enemy. I can't see how government would fix this?

It's really hard to fix the problem even with the government involved.

Ultimately the problem (within in a capitalist framework) stems from the same issue many businesses deal with constantly in any industry, the barriers to entry.

Unless the problem a business creates threatens citizens with physical harm or financial ruin the government is unlikely to focus on any specific industry.

As a result any fix for the videogame industry has to also be molded as a fix for any immaterial threatening industry.

Another way to fix the underlying issue is to address our adherence to capitalism itself. The government would have to be able and willing to help foster a system that allows companies to profit from good deeds. One of the biggest mechanisms that makes capitalism what it is today is GDP. If the financial health of a country was measured not in terms of the price of basket of goods but instead of the happiness and well being of the citizens then their greed for more dollars would be converted to greed to make more people happy and healthier.

That is only one example of how we should start thinking about the underlying issues. Another way is to make the barter economy more potent. Andrew Yang running for the presidency actually has proposed a system on his website that does exactly this.

Besides those two difficult and direct methods, the government could always try to address this by side stepping the issue.


How they choose to sidestep it would make a lot of people unhappy including those who aren't into gaming in the first place because tax dollars are involved. While such solutions are only bandaids they would still have real results unlike trying to shame Epic into stopping what they are doing.
 

N. Tyranno

Member
Nov 6, 2017
2,182
I'm not sure PC gaming would even be a thing today without digital distribution and I would hate to see what it would look like if it was Microsoft instead of Valve that made it what it is today.

So while digital distribution does have risks involved I am perfectly fine with them. Just as with anything in life, there is no guarantee you will have access to the things you buy forever. Someone might steal your shit or a fire could destroy all physical possessions. Pros and cons to both.
Digital distribution isn't the problem. It's that you're effectively paying for a license to use stuff, not real ownership. Steam helped propagate that in the PC gaming landscape. When and if Valve ever goes out of business, you will lose access to your games, because your "ownership" is reliant on them continuing to exist.

Them being the least bad about something does not mean the situation isn't bad.
 

Uthred

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,266
Sterling's point falls flat when it can be used to dismiss almost every video he has ever done about consumer issues. 'It's capitalism' is not a valid excuse to avoid criticism as far as i'm concerned.
Exactly. "It's the right thing for a company to do" is at best orthogonal to consumer rights (more more often directly antithetical). It's a meaningless defence. It's just weird to see Mr Sterling consistently go soft on EGS.