Breaking Through the Echo Chamber of Hate Towards Epic Games Store

April 18, 2019
Breaking Through the Echo Chamber of Hate Towards Epic Games Store

There is a huge echo chamber of hate towards the Epic Store and as time moves on, the people screaming at the top of their lungs against Epic Store might start doing more damage than helping. So let’s calm down and be sensible about it for a moment.

Chinese Spyware

Let’s start with the malware accusations since everyone loves citing that one. There are two separate parts to it, one which is completely fake and one that is a legitimate complaint.

The completely fake part is that the store client is Chinese malware, that it collects and sends your information to Tencent. This ridiculous accusation comes from a Reddit user who was proven wrong so fast that it will make your head spin.

Almost everything that the user claimed was suspicious or straight up malicious is perfectly normal and is how such a client works. Most of it is connected to the fact that the store is structured and built like an internet browser and it simply functions like that.

The part that is worrying is the fact that Epic made a copy of your Steam profile information. This was done without you being asked or informed about it and is then supposed to be used to connect with Steam friends on the Epic Store.

Epic gave a statement about all of these accusations and they did admit that collecting information from Steam like that is something that should have never happened. Even though you were never asked if you want to allow the Epic Store to do it, they claim it doesn’t do anything with that information until you try to connect with Steam friends, when it will ask you if you’re okay with it.

People seem to disregard that the Epic Games Store is the same launcher used for the Unreal Engine which has been used by developers and movie makers for years. How did they never call it out as malware?

On a similar note, Riot Games has been completely owned by Tencent for a while now, yet nobody is going around calling the League of Legends client malware, are they?

Making money and growth

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Moving on to the really important part, money. The Epic Store can make money in two ways, the first focuses on slowly bringing in users and building the store bit by bit to make it a more attractive option compared to Steam, thus having a steady income. This way, the main focus is the user and his trust, stock values are just something that will come with time.

The second option is the opposite, growing the companies valuation and as such making money from the stock prices increasing, this puts developers and investors first, and users are something that just has to follow.

The second option requires a huge investment (which they can afford) and it is very risky since your end user is not the group you’re focused on (which they are okay with). It’s pretty obvious which of the two options they picked and that’s fine, it makes sense for them to try.

It sounds completely insane for a store to put gamers second since gaming is a very delicately balanced ecosystem. Developers, publishers, and gamers need to respect each other for everything to work, if someone is unhappy, the rest need to see what can be done to make amends.

Well, a platform based around developers and in extension publishers is something gamers should respect. Instead, they are asking the people that make the very games they play, to pick a store where they get a smaller cut for their work, just because it’s more convenient.

True, it isn’t quite user-friendly currently and gamers should also be respected by the developers, but review-bombing, calls for piracy and other threats sure as hell aren’t going to help that cause.

Remember, the Epic Games Store is only a few months old while Steam is turning 16 this year, of course, there is a difference in available features. Give it some time to grow and adapt instead of trying to kill it fresh out of the womb.

Same song and dance

ye_olde_steam
Image source: A nostalgic Reddit post

So let’s look at what is going on with the store itself. When it was made it was home to a few first-party exclusives, this made managing those games a lot easier, allowed for a bigger profit and it was very limited in features. Some bigger games started showing up on the store and gamers weren’t happy that they have to use that store now, especially since the game might have been previously available elsewhere. People are also unhappy due to the fact that you have to be online at all times to play. There were even some accusations of spying and misuse or bad management of private information. Many called it the worst thing to happen to gamers and a threat to PC gaming in general.

No, not Epic, I’m obviously talking about Origin, or was it Uplay, it might have even been Steam… Every big digital storefront has gone through the same stuff, people are quick to defend Steam since it is so old and most don’t remember the early days or are just so used to Steam as their main digital store.

To be fair, the exclusives in other stores were first-party and admittedly it’s a bit scummy to buy exclusivity for games that were previously announced on different stores. Still, Epic is not the first to do it, and it won’t be the last time someone does it, but that’s just how you secure users for a new platform.

Conclusion

Instead of raising pitchforks and torches for God knows what time at this point, stay calm for five minutes and let’s see how it plays out. Everything I’ve seen so far sounds exactly the same as things I remember people saying about other storefronts and nobody is complaining about them anymore and all of them have something that makes them unique.

I'm not trying to say the Epic Games Store is great, it's not, it has flaws and there is still a lot that needs to be done. Give Epic a chance on this one, it has the potential to be good for everyone. Publishers and developers will get larger cuts, the Unreal Engine is sure to get even more love as new developers start using it, hand-picked games so you don’t have to go through a ton of garbage when looking for new games and possibly cheaper games than elsewhere.

I mentioned all the anger has potentital to do more damage than good, well piracy is a very touchy topic for developers. With that in mind, stop saying things like “Piratebay here I come”, because we’ll end up going through a new line of horrible DRMs, which is undoubtedly going to make you mad, again.