Following the addition of Spotify to the Epic Games Store, five more non-game apps have been added to Epic's shelves—including rival games store Itch.io.
The bundle of new software packages adds some welcome new tools to the Epic Store, including digital arts package Krita (opens in new tab), open-source web browser Brave (opens in new tab), quick 'n' simple 3D modelling tool KenShape (opens in new tab), and (for US users) digital radio channel iHeartRadio. These are all now listed under a new 'Apps' (opens in new tab) subcategory on the store, making it easier to find things that aren't games.
But the real head-scratcher is the addition of Itch.io, a competing storefront focussed on platforming experimental indies. You can now download the Itch.io App (opens in new tab) from Epic, though I'm struggling to understand why you'd ever want to go through one games app to open a second.
For my money, Itch is a better storefront—and not just because it has all my games on it. But while it's a great spot for launching weird experiments and running game jams, it doesn't have nearly the same cultural footprint as Epic. Finding a spot on Sweeney's platform might help bring a whole lotta indies in front of a new audience.
Epic's motivations might not be quite so generous, mind. The publisher is currently embroiled in a massive legal battle with Apple over the tech giant's monopoly on iOS. Epic wants to be able to put its own store on the App Store—in giving Itch a home on the Epic Store, the company is effectively trying to show up Apple by saying "if we can do it, why can't you?"
Of course, the Itch app (opens in new tab) will remain downloadable outside of Epic, and it seems Epic won't be taking any kind of cut from sales made via the launcher. Doing so would be a tad hypocritical, given CEO Tim Sweeney's crusade against unfair store cuts, and besides—Epic has already proven it's willing to throw millions of dollars away (opens in new tab) to ensure its storefront is here to stay.