Epic Games Store's first sale is off to a rocky start
May 17, 20193 min read
Remember that really good sale the Epic Games Store started yesterday? Turns out not everything is going well in paradise. As has been discovered over the last day, a lot of publishers are not happy with Epic dropping a sale out of the blue. As a matter of fact, a few games that were previously up for pre-order on the store are now not available because Epic didn't inform anyone of its plans. Publisher Paradox Interactive, specifically, has pulled Vampires: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2since it didn't want to participate in the sale.
While that sounds a little odd, it has to do with the offer Epic is giving buyers for spending more than $14.99. Since you'll receive an additional $10 off of more expensive games, it creates a scenario where games are now being devalued before they even launch. While Epic is taking the hit with regard to its own profits for that deal, it is creating a scenario where the publishers cannot compete on other platforms for the same games (Bloodlines 2 is not an Epic exclusive).
Speaking with Kotaku, a Paradox representative said, "We are in discussion with Epic regarding the temporary removal of Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines 2from the Epic Game Store. The game will return to the store soon! Any purchases made while the game was discounted during the Epic Mega Sale will be honored and no Masquerade violations will be assessed." It would have been nice if Epic allowed companies to opt out of the sale, though.
Another odd case comes with Supergiant's Hades. Originally listed at a sale price of $6.99, the developer quietly raised the price of the game to $24.99 and altered the sale price to be $14.99. While the increased price was something Supergiant always intended to do as it added content (the game launched in early access with the Epic Games Store last year), it originally pledged to inform buyers well in advance of any price hikes. With Epic surprising the world with this mega sale, Supergiant felt the need to increase the price at the last minute. The studio has since apologized, but this could have all been avoided if Epic was more transparent with the publishers and developers it is hosting.
As for the consumer experience, this sale has showcased just how lacking the Epic storefront is. Since there still isn't a shopping cart function, users that are attempting to buy more than a handful of games are reporting their accounts getting locked down to prevent fraud. There's also no way to gift your friends titles, which means you're unable to surprise your friend with a game they may like. You can't even create a wishlist to inform you of sales prices, something that seems basic by today's standards.
I can't fault Epic for wanting to jump into the digital distribution game, but the whole situation with its first sale really shines a light on how ill-equipped the company is for running a storefront. Without the proper user features or respect for publishers selling games, the endeavor has turned into a shitshow. Things can only get better from here, but the lessons Valve learned with Steam over the past decade should not have been ignored.