Were you able to get your pre-order of Deep Silver/4A Games’ Metro Exodus on Steam before the game disappeared? By now you’ve likely heard about Koch Media and Deep Silver’s decision to sell Metro Exodus exclusively on the Epic Store. Depending on your interest in the game or whether you care where you get your games, you may not have even given this switch a second thought.
Initially my only reaction was restricted to private grumbling and annoyance. However, I had the game on my Steam wishlist since the day it was made available and I was eager to unite Metro Exodus with its predecessors sitting in my Steam library. The complete collection under one roof, how it should be.
Slowly my annoyance with this disruption to my universe started to become outrage. This is just not cool, I felt obligated to sound out . It goes beyond not wanting to install yet another game storefront on my PC, there was a path being forced here and I am not about to be pushed down that road.
For The Benefit Of Metro Fans
First, just to put all the facts out there for dissection. Deep Silver initially centered their decision to move to Epic Game store around the interest of the players.
“Epic’s generous revenue terms are a game changer that will allow publishers to invest more into content creation, or pass on savings to the players. By teaming up with Epic we will be able to invest more into the future of Metro and our ongoing partnership with series developer 4A Games, to the benefit of our Metro fans.”Deep Silver CEO Klemens Kundratitz
Clever marketing spin. If you take the time to do the math, Deep Silver will make about $2 more per sale by going to Epic. Given Steam’s user community, number of players that already own the earlier editions of Metro on Steam and Steam’s lengthy marketing of Metro Exodus on the platform, is $2 the real reason? I am not a gambler but I’d have to question that bet, especially two weeks before the release date. My hunch, and this is only my opinion, some additional money was offered to get Koch Media to move to Epic. Would you move from a proven retailer that already has an established customer base for your product to an untested, unproven retailer for $2 and a likely smaller market?
How Many Is Too Many?
When Bethesda announced the latest game in the Fallout series was only going to be available through the new Bethesda launcher, I sighed and quietly contemplated whether I’d purchase the game or not. In the end I decided not to, partly due to the game’s direction with the multiplayer implementation and admittedly I didn’t want to install yet another launcher on my PC. I have every Fallout game on Steam, why should I be forced to segregate Fallout 76?
So why the stronger reaction to Metro Exodus moving to Epic store exclusively? I am partly annoyed by it being marketed, and accepted by many, as benefiting the gamer “for the sake of competition”. How does it really benefit us? Competition? How does exclusivity promote competition? If the new iPhone was only available through a certain carrier, different from the one you currently use, is that promoting competition? If they wanted competition, why not offer Metro Exodus on both platforms, even for $10 more on Steam, and let the consumer choose? The answer is simple, because most people would choose Steam.
As consumers we should be upset that the decision was made for us and essentially we’re being blackmailed into adopting yet another platform if we want to play the game. Additionally, what does this move say about the publisher and how they think about their players? Sure, they will honor pre-orders on Steam but if you ordered a physical copy, or a pre-order outside of Steam, those orders will now arrive with an Epic Store key. What about your Steam community of friends? It is now splintered with those that were able to pre-order on Steam and those that missed the boat.
What Is Missing?
Also be aware the Epic Store does not offer many things you may take for granted on Steam. Maybe you don’t pre-order games; you’ve been burned in the past with less than stellar game releases after forking over $60, perhaps you prefer to wait to sift through those initial player reviews before parting ways with your cash. On Epic store you won’t be able to go through user reviews to get the skinny. Epic Store doesn’t allow user reviews. Sure you can go to review websites but I’d question the reliability of many, especially when the reviewer doesn’t have money invested in the title. I find it beneficial when I can find user reviews from those with hardware similar to mine, similar interests or have encountered issues that might be relevant to my system. This is my process now before buying games, something I would be unable to do on Epic.
Let us not forget Mac and Linux gamers. Region pricing? Cloud saves? Do you like collecting achievements? None of that is possible with Epic.
The Power To Choose
Ultimately, the power of choice is the burning ember at the core of this controversy. Yes, pulling the game just weeks before its launch is a pretty shady move, but being forced to use another platform or wait a year.. that is the bite that stings. The fact that Epic Store is using this tactic to try to build their customer base and a publisher is willing to turn its back on its customers for the sake of profit, simply disgusts me.
Deep Silver and Epic Store want to convince you they have only your interests in mind. This is better for you. Surely the best way to help us was to remove your options. Nevertheless, we do still have the power to choose. We can allow ourselves to be corralled like cattle to the Epic Store or we can stand our ground by closing our wallets.
Sorry Artyom old friend, you’re going to have to go it alone this time, I’m siding with Steam