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Epic Says Its Store Won't Sell 'Porn Games Or Bloatware'

Illustration for article titled Epic Says Its Store Wont Sell Porn Games Or Bloatwareem/em

It’s been a big day for the Epic Games Store. During its GDC keynote, Epic announced a boatload of new exclusives (including Detroit: Become An Epic Games Store Exclusive) and a deal with Humble. Momentum appears to be on the store’s side, with Epic now touting strong early sales and a more curated approach than that of its main competitor, Steam.

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Love or hate the current barebones Epic store, you can’t deny that a) it’s making waves, and b) Epic execs sure have been talking about those waves. Today, during the keynote, Epic Games Store head Steve Allison boasted that Metro Exodus—which became a last-second Epic Games Store exclusive, prompting an unusually pointed message from Valve and review bombs from Steam users—sold 2.5 times as many copies at launch as its predecessor, Metro: Last Light, did on Steam. “It’s really about your games, and not about the store you sell it on,” said Allison.

This, in conjunction with Epic’s 88 percent revenue share (as opposed to Steam’s default 70 percent), will likely make for intriguing news to game makers worried about backlash and a potential loss of exposure that, some feared, could result from moving from Steam to the Epic Games Store. That said, Epic did not provide actual sales numbers, and it’s worth noting that Last Light came out in 2013, during a different era of PC gaming. On top of that, Exodus was a much larger production and got a marketing push from its publisher to match.

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Going forward, Epic said it intends to focus on quality over quantity—or, more precisely, quality over anime porn. “We’ll have a quality standard that doesn’t accept crappy games,” CEO Tim Sweeney told PC Gamer. “We’ll accept reasonably good quality games, of any scale, whether small indie games to huge triple-A games, and we’ll take everything up to, like, an R-rated movie or an M-rated game.” He went on to draw the line at irritating or illicit apps that piggyback on others—bloatware, as they’re sometimes known—and other overtly explicit or low-quality games: “A GTA game would be fine to us, but Epic’s not going to distribute porn games or bloatware or asset flips, or any sort of thing that’s meant to shock players. The PC’s an open platform, and if we don’t distribute it in our store you can still reach consumers directly.”

In contrast, Steam has adopted an (almost) anything-goes policy over the past year, with exceptions stemming from games that are “illegal, or straight up trolling” or, evidently, people getting really, really mad at Valve. The two companies are increasingly opposed in their approaches, recently coming to figurative blows over usage of users’ data, as well.

The Epic Games Store is still very new, having only launched in December of last year. It’s managed to lasso a handful of high-profile exclusives, but it’s still relatively lacking in games and features. It remains to be seen whether Epic can make good on its promises and maintain its momentum, but it’s certainly shaking things up.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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DISCUSSION

Epic can still get fucked. Throwing around Fortnite money to make the PC space genuinely worse when it’s finally on the rise after being neglected for multiple console generations is a shit move, and supporting it, as well as Tencent, makes the people defending their practices a part of the problem.

Feel how you want about Steam, and Valve in general, but thinking Epic is out to do anything but fuck the market and especially the consumer over here is naive.

All this is going to do is put piracy back on the map in full force, which is eventually going to come back around to screw over everyone. Two years from now we’re going to have to deal with publishers at large pissing and moaning all over again about all the pirates stealing their games while they were active participants in steering the market back in that direction by degrading the services designed specifically to combat it.

Epic’s practices are not good for games, the industry, and especially not the people who enjoy them.