Tim Sweeney regularly uses Twitter to either answer questions or to provide new details. He did just as such in the past couple of days.
With the Epic Games Store, we have seen many times if a developer says exact numbers about their game (Saber Interactive – World War Z), or if they use some slanted comparison (4A Games – Metro Exodus compared to Metro: Last Light). „When we or partners announce copies sold, these numbers always reflect actual copies of games to Epic Games store customers. When we provide funding to developers or publishes, that does not affect the calculation of copies sold,” Sweeney said.
The other main topic is Kickstarter. It was brought up because Shenmue III, which was announced in 2015, got a ton of cash here, and back then, Epic Games Store didn’t exist… but Ys Net’s game has moved over here on PC since! „The Kickstarter situation is tricky because, as best as we understand Valve policy, the only way the developers can make Steam keys available to backers is if they offer their game for sale publicly to everyone on Steam with the store taking 30%. If there were a way to deliver Steam keys to existing backers, the developers, publishers, and Epic would love to make that happen even after going exclusive, and we’d be happy to pay 30% for the keys. But as we understand it, Steam takes an all-or-nothing stance,” Sweeney responded.
„There are two distinct cases here. The first case is when backers spend money on an effort. In this case, everyone is working on this situation and we urge patience while we sort it out, as explained here. The second case is where a developer simply tells the public about their future plans. Here, it’s completely reasonable to change plans and announce a new plan,” Epic Games’ CEO said. So they’d pay 30% per key to Steam with Shenmue III, as initially the game was announced for this platform, and Ys Net should keep its promise to its backers…
What about exclusivity? „The first 9 months of store announcements are skewed towards games that are coming soon and hence we’re coming in very late in the development process. 2020 announcements will include a much wider variety of funding arrangements. Also, much of our early-stage project funding comes with no strings attached (no Epic Games store exclusivity or even release obligations),” Sweeney says.
„I’d like to challenge critics to state what moral principle you feel is at stake. If it’s okay for one company to avoid the 30% Valve tax by selling exclusively through their own store, why is it wrong for multiple companies to work together to achieve the same goals? Is escaping the 30% Steam tax a privilege reserved only for games made by powerful corporations? What moral principle prohibits smaller developers and publishers from making deals to get funding and lower 12% store fees, or prohibits Epic from offering them?”, he asks.
He also said a few words about payment processing fees (which is also deducted from your bank account on top of the game’s cost): „We’re all for discounting games for consumers (see the Epic MegaSale), however, we aren’t eager to subsidize high-overhead payment processing companies. We’re in the early days of a long-term push to economize digital payment processing around the world. For more context, high-overhead payments aren’t a structural feature of developing economies. China’s AliPay, TenPay, and Union Pay all demonstrate better-than-credit-card levels of efficiency in a country with a $12,000/year average income in 2018. [a note here: Hungary’s current annual average income is 15K USD… that’s not that much more, is it? – the editor] By covering reasonable payment processing fees (up to 8%) and passing on costs for high-overhead payment methods, Epic is encouraging customers to adopt efficient payment methods, and encouraging payment companies to operate more efficiency as their costs are no longer hidden,” Sweeney says. However, not everyone can be blamed for this: if they live in a second or third-world country, they don’t have much choice, and making them pay more is not fair.
And to wrap it all up, the shopping basket, which is still not on the Epic Games Store yet: „The two hardest problems in computer science are cache invalidation and shopping carts!”.