Tim Sweeney and his Epic Games Store team hope that its store library will “grow faster than ever before”, as the self-publishing tools launch will be a direct alternative to Steam Direct.
Epic Games announced on Twitter that the developers can now register to test the self-publishing tools of the Epic Games Store. It could change the platform a lot: until now, a game was only approved and published if the devs worked directly with the company at every step of the process. However, Sweeney wants to streamline this process by allowing developers to “set up their product pages, achievements, pricing, offers, and upload builds and updates.”
The system is similar to Steam Direct: you can submit your game to Steam to publish it on the platform for one hundred dollars. While it did significantly increase the available titles on Steam as a plus, it came with a downside of having several asset flips (default Unreal Engine or Unity models, graphics, maps with minor modifications sold as a game…) or low-quality titles. Valve’s response was to iterate on the filtering tools and algorithms that determine which games we see first on the Steam storefront.
According to Epic, the tools will result in less independence on the Epic Games Store (EGS onwards) team, but we have yet to see what the devs would have to pay and if there would be individual reviews for the games before their launch. The company says that the main requirements for publication are for games to successfully launch, run, and be consistent with the description on the game’s page. Multiplayer games also need to support crossplay across all PC storefronts fully.
The prohibited content list includes anything “hateful or discriminatory,” pornography, illegal material, and things like scams and malware masquerading as games. (Steam has similar rules, but pornographic games are sold there if they don’t depict real people.) except that Steam does allow pornographic games so long as they don’t depict real people (a distinction that has caused some confusion and controversy in the past). The closed beta is running now to “stress test the toolset and improve it with developers’ feedback.”
We have yet to see what Tim Sweeney, the head of Epic, meant when he wrote that the EGS wouldn’t accept “crappy” games…