Sloth Mom @CaseyExplosion Internet sloth, and gigantic nerd. Profile pic by @Skutchdraws and banner by @LiquidAzalea. She/her. Streaming Wednesdays at: May. 18, 2019 3 min read

Hey folks, today let's talk about the Epic Store sale, and why it's pissing off gamers and developers/publishers alike. Because it's easy to snark and say "lol, the Gamers™ are angry about a sale!" but this is a good deal more serious.

To understand why, let's talk about sales!

Now, what normally happens during a sale event (like a Steam sale) is that the publishers or developers opt in, and they set the discounts. What Epic is doing however, is something very different.

Take special note of this: " no cost to the publisher or developer."

That additional $10 discount? That is money that Epic is paying out to the developers. They are effectively buying those discounts, so even though a game is significantly reduced for the customer, the developers still earn the same revenue they would have at full price.

So, why are developers pissed off about this, and are yanking their games from the Epic store, or altering the prices? Even though they still get paid for it out of Epic's pocket? Because they had no say in this, and it immediately devalues their games, especially indie titles.

Epic are paying developers that $10 even if their games are only just up for pre-order, which means that for indie developers pricing their games around $15, it's now worth $5 in the eyes of customers before it's even out. It's been devalued for good, and they had no say in it.

With indie games, pricing and discounts are very serious subjects, because the perceived value is on shaky ground. Ever see snarky responses to indie devs at launch? It's sometimes downright cruel!

"Why would I pay 20 bucks for this, when it'll be in a bundle in 6 months time?"

So right now, you can buy a game that isn't even out yet for a third of the full asking price, because Epic is paying that $10 discount. So before this game is even out, it's perceived value is $5.19.

That's why games are being pulled from the store, or controversially bumping their prices, see for example indie titles Hades and Oxygen Not Included suddenly bumping their prices. They didn't have a say in their games going so cheap, even if they still got paid for the discount.

And the reason that The Gamers™ are furious over this, and saying silly things like "Epic are BRIBING gamers!" is that it's another example of Epic throwing their money around. As reactionary, and over the top as they can be, it's not entire wrong...

They're buying customers.

There's an anxiety about Epic because what they're doing is aggressive. They don't want to be competition, they want to be the last man standing and be the defacto monopoly. That's the end goal, drive Valve out of business and reap the benefits.

And they have the money to that.

To a lot of gamers, competition would be someone coming along and building a better platform than Steam. They never imagined someone could just come along with more money than god and buy a load of exclusives to force them to use a garbage platform nobody wants or even likes.

They're mad at Epic, but often enough they can't really articulate why. They know Epic aren't playing fair, and they know something is wrong here, but they can't quite put their fingers on it...

They're mad at capitalism and don't even know it.

To put this in perspective, see what Amazon did to diapers .com

Amazon aggressively discounted diapers on their own site, undercutting their competition. Diapers .com became unprofitable, was bought out by Amazon, then shut down. That's capitalism baby! 

Gamers™ are extremely concerned about what Epic is doing, but it's coming out in an inarticulate mess, they fear that Epic is trying to pull an Amazon and be the only game in town.

They certainly work their employees like Amazon! 

That's just how things work in capitalism, you don't make money because you make a better product, or innovate. You make money by pushing others out of business. Whoever has the most money already wins. It's a rigged game.

I deleted a previous reply, because I was being a bit too glib, but now that I have your attention...

Can I interest you in some socialism?

Gamers rise up!

Wow, this thread is getting a lot of traction!

I'm gonna plug my Steam Curator page, because it should hopefully highlight some good games, mostly indie/mid-tier titles, with the odd AAA title thrown in. 

You can follow @CaseyExplosion.


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