Despite some big-name exclusives, the Epic Games Store is still missing a lot of features.
As more and more PC games are starting to favor Epic Games Store exclusivity, the idea that it’s the first real threat to Steam is becoming increasingly likely. The first big game to abandon Steam was The Division 2, but Metro Exodus recently removed itself with little warning just weeks before launch, and players are understandably upset.
Frankly, I thought these kinds of high profile games camping out at the Epic Games Store would take a whole lot longer. I figured Epic would make it an enticing place for developers, but I didn’t think we’d see an exodus (sorry) of this nature so quickly. Primarily because the Epic Games store just isn’t really ready to be the sole platform for such big games.
Before we go any further, let me be very clear about one thing: making games exclusive to one place sucks. There is no world in which limiting a game to a single platform (be it a PC storefront or specific console) is good for anybody except the company who owns that platform. It’s especially annoying to see this happening on the traditionally platform war-free PC.
But beyond my frustrations that these games aren’t launching on both stores, Epic’s hasn’t really earned the trust of PC players yet. It could be a great platform for developers, and I am all for a competitor rising up to challenge the Steam monopoly, but the Epic Games Store is still woefully under featured when it comes to the things I expect as a player.
One big omission is the lack of cloud saving, but it’s also missing even more basic stuff like the ability to chat with friends. Popular extras like achievements and user reviews are nowhere to be found. But maybe worst of all is that there’s also no offline mode, which means your purchases are locked off from being played if you aren’t connected to the internet – that would be a dealbreaker in so many other instances.
Epic has also had struggles with account security as recently as two weeks ago, with an actual incident happening early last year. Those concerns are mixing with recent complaints about mishandled regional pricing, which led to Epic actually having to partially refund some customers just this week – meanwhile, people have apparently encountered difficulties with full game refunds of their own.
I previously complained about the Epic Store’s handling of Early Access games as well, which has thankfully gotten better, but it still hides most of its information on a different tab of the game’s store page. Mistakes like that are hard-learned lessons Valve only figured out over years of trying stuff, screwing up, and learning from those screw ups. I’m not saying Epic won’t do the same, but the store as it stands needs a lot of remodeling.
People hated Steam when it first launched too, and that’s because it sucked. But it’s been over a decade since then, and it got better. Epic has essentially created a year one games store trying to compete with a year 15 Steam store. It’s doing a lot of cool things, is certainly helping out developers, and is giving free games to players – there’s definitely promise here, but it’s still early days.
And there’s the main problem: the Epic Games Store is swinging above its weight. This would be like an up-and-coming amateur boxer trying to steal Muhammad Ali’s sponsors. Games are being exclusively released onto a platform that isn’t really good enough to support them yet. It’s the bones of a store ready to be built upon, but it’s forcing players to use it like it’s fully featured right now.
I truly hope the Epic Games Store succeeds enough to substantially improve. More competition is always a good thing as long as it doesn’t create some artificial platform war in the process. But the store we are being shanghaied onto hasn’t earned our trust yet no matter how many exclusives it has.
Tom Marks is IGN’s PC Editor and pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.