The Epic Games Store makes total sense from a business standpoint. It leveraged the success of Epic Games’ Fortnite to create a rival to Steam. Naturally, it came out the gate with guns blazing, offer developers and publishers more money and promising a more curated experience for users.
That’s all well and good because Steam has basically not had any competition since the beginning of its existence. But things took a negative turn when Epic Games started doing things that were perceived as “shady” by other people, starting with the exclusivity of Metro Exodus on their store.
All of the other Metro titles were available on Steam, but if you wanted to play the latest game in the series, you needed to sign up for an Epic Games Store account. As you can imagine, this kind of heavy-handed action did not sit well with people (read: gamers), and they made their displeasure known through the oft-used tactic of review bombing all of the other Metro games on Steam’s storefront.
While there is no indication that this kind of exclusivity is a permanent thing, it still left a bad taste in the mouths of many gamers who don’t like to be forced to do things.
Yet there was also the concern about the unnecessary fragmentation of PC gaming that the Epic Games Store is introducing. No one liked it when EA launched Origin, but people got over it. It probably helped that EA didn’t try to secure exclusives for Origin and, in general, seems to play well with Steam as a competitor. There’s also Good Old Games which has managed to avoid all of this controversy while still offering Steam robust competition.
So that’s why the announcement that Borderlands 3 would be an Epic Games Store exclusive was so surprising for anyone paying attention. Why would a game like Borderlands 3, a title guaranteed to make a ton of money on day one, want to weather a storm of controversy on the internet prior to release?
Yet that is exactly what is going down and no one knows what this means for the future. And Borderlands 3 isn’t immune to the internet outrage machine. Nothing is, but it is still kind of amazing that Borderlands 3 would choose this route.
Explaining the move, 2K President David Ismailer said in an official statement: “The PC gaming community has been an important part of the success of the Borderlands series, and we are excited to be partnering with Epic who recognize its worldwide popularity and share in our commitment to bring Borderlands 3 to this rapidly expanding audience…Our mission, in addition to delivering the most engaging and captivating entertainment experiences, is to embrace new distribution platforms that will contribute to our effort to grow the audience for Borderlands 3.”
The exclusivity for Borderlands 3 on the Epic Games Store will run through April 2020.
Naturally, if Borderlands 3 underperforms, we can expect that 2K will avoid things like this in the future but that remains to be seen. But as it stands right now, the Borderlands 3 exclusivity does matter to a very vocal group of people who don’t want unnecessary fragmentation in the PC gaming space.