Alex Birlo on September 10, 2019
We all remember the shock of the day when it all began, the streak of exclusivity deals with the Epic Games Store. And the first of the big deals was Metro Exodus in January of this year.
A lot of things have been said since then, and the argument continues on whether the actions of Epic Games are ethical or not. But one of the parties involved kept mostly silent and said very little to weigh in on the argument – Valve, the owners of Steam, the biggest player on the field of video game distribution.
Back in January excitement for the new installment of the Metro franchise was high and preorders for the game were on a roll. Many players have already made their preorders on Steam and were awaiting the release.
But then, Deepsilver had informed Valve about their last-minute decision to make a one-year exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store and not sell Metro Exodus on Steam at least until February 2020!
This was obviously a shock to all players and a cause for an enormous wave of disapproval from the public. Although people who already made a preorder on Steam by that time were still going to receive their game and access to future DLCs and updates.
The official response from Valve on the matter was “We think the decision to remove the game is unfair to Steam customers, especially after a long pre-sale period, we were only recently informed of the decision and given limited time to let everyone know.”
For a very long while this statement was taken literally, but recently
Steam business developer and designer Nathaniel Blue explained in an interview to Kotaku what they actually meant by “unfair“.
What Blue essentially said was that they never intended for this announcement to become a spark for accusations of unfair practices towards Epic.
What they said referred to the timing of the announcement, not to the business decision itself.
Blue goes on to say “Our goal is not to upset the community or light anyone’s hair on fire, our goal is to get developers close to customers, have a really valuable place for people to play games, and stay focused on that.”
When you look at this whole situation from their perspective it is true, the exclusivity deal was only a business decision for all parties involved. But the timing of the announcement was extremely sudden and the notice should have come much earlier.