Epic Games Store has significantly changed the PC market.
Tim Sweeney‘s digital store has taken several games away from Gabe Newell. Epic Games Store wanted to gain itself attention and revenue with exclusives (such as Metro Exodus or Borderlands 3…), while Steam – which itself didn’t lack many functions, to begin with… – started to improve. However, having two captains at the helm has caused a financial change…
„The great PC distribution platform wars of 2019 did not do consumer spending on PC content any favours btw. Priorities of enhancing consumer experience & choice and minimizing confusion were all deemphasized in 2019, contributing to lower overall consumer spend on PC content,” Mat Piscatella, NPD’s analyst, wrote on Twitter. He quickly added that „PC content sales were down in 2019. Data suggest to me that all the movement with dist platforms contributed to that, as did several other factors. I wouldn’t point to a single platform. PC was a rocky market in ’19 with quite a bit of disruption,” meaning he did not blame Epic Games Store for this change.
In a blog post, he went into the subject in detail. Piscatella believes that traditional game sales could have a double-digit decline this year, as the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One are both six years old, and the only way they could get more reach is by making them cheaper. This could impact the PC, too. Epic Games Store started to add more functions, but it’s still far behind Steam. Competition is good, but it might not be with the exclusivity deals.
Gabe Newell could have an ace up its sleeve: Half-Life: Alyx is unlikely to show up on the Epic Games Store. (Even with it being a VR game – it could make virtual reality mainstream!) We’ll see what this year brings. Perhaps a few PlayStation 4-exclusives (The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima) could improve the industry’s sales, but that would be temporary.
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