Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Epic Store

Allow me to play devil's advocate.

There are some baffling incongruities with the Epic Games Store. It launched as a skeleton, really, missing even basic features. Certainly, it wasn't the kind of polished storefront you'd expect.

Then there's the aggression. Epic has been incredibly aggressive in terms of buying exclusives and giving away free games. In some ways, it's fair to say the exclusives are actually anti-consumer, even though Epic is presenting itself as pro-developer and pro-consumer. They've also been staggeringly aggressive in giving developers an 88% cut of the revenue.

Everyone is interpreting this aggressiveness as a sign of strength. There are times, though, when ultra-aggression masks weakness, and the more aggressive Epic gets, the more I wonder.

Something about this just doesn't smell right.

Why launch the store at least six months before it was ready? Why take such a small cut? Why be so aggressive in buying exclusives? Giving away a free game each week?

Is it possible that Epic doesn't consider their core business model sustainable? Is it somehow possible that this is a Hail Mary to establish another revenue source on the services side? What if they only have 12-18 months for this to reach critical mass or they run out of money?

Let me be clear that I don't have any sources on this. There's a smell, though, and I don't need a source for that.

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