The Epic Games Store has been a constant source of controversy since it launched at the end of 2018. It’s been covered pretty extensively by us and many others, mostly because of their stance on exclusive games to the storefront. One aspect that’s been somewhat unexpected is about games that were crowdfunded. There’s been a lot of seemingly last minute exclusive deals, and a few of those have been around games that were originally crowdfunded by actual fans who put their money toward a project that developers promised would also be available on other storefronts.
The most recent example is Shenmue 3, with which many players were not happy because they had explicitly backed the game on PC for a Steam version. It’s one thing to snatch up an exclusive months (or even weeks) before release, but when you’re talking about something that had a fan element built in, things get messy and personal. Well, Shenmue 3‘s developer revealed earlier today that they will be supplying refunds to PC backers despite originally saying they wouldn’t. Why the change of heart? Well, it seems Epic had a big hand in it.
As Epic CEO Tim Sweeney revealed via his Twitter, which you can see below, Epic is funding the cost of the refunds for the game, so it will not affect Ys Net’s development funding. He also mentions that when this happens with future crowdfunded game, Epic will work with their partners to get a similar deal.
It’s a nice gesture, and at least this had a somewhat positive outcome. Unfortunately, Steam backers will still have to wait a full year before they get their version of the game. And Sweeney’s tweets seem to imply that they are expecting this to happen again with its wording. So, who knows- but I won’t be surprised if we have to relive this controversy all over again soon.
When future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores, we’ll either coordinate with colleagues at the other stores to ensure key availability in advance, or guarantee refunds at announcement time.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) July 2, 2019