If you spend any time on the games-focused areas of Reddit, it's easy to come away with the idea that everyone and their mother despises the Epic Games Store thanks to "shady business practices," "anti-consumer bias," and possibly worse. But at least one developer says the anti-Epic backlash is more sound than fury.
For Coffee Stain Studios, the developer behind Goat Simulator (opens in new tab) and Satisfactory (opens in new tab), the opportunity to trade exclusivity on Epic's storefront for financial security during development was well worth it.
"I think as an indie studio it's nice to have that security that you know that your game is going to get out there and you don't need to worry about making certain financial deadlines," Nathalie Verwei, a UI/UX designer at the studio, said in an interview with PCGamesN (opens in new tab). "You can just focus on making a good game. Of course, we had some backlash, but I think it's a loud minority."
Players more accustomed to Valve's older Steam platform have understandably complained about the Epic store's relative scarcity of features, which have slowly been making their way to the platform in the ten or so months it's been active. But more often, complaints are centered around Epic's insistence on exclusivity deals—where Epic pays a developer some amount of money in exchange for exclusive distribution rights, at least for some agreed-upon period of time.
Verwei says that financial incentive is a powerful and attractive one for indie studios—one that ultimately benefits consumers.
"Epic is trying to do something for game developers to make it better for them, so we can deliver better quality of products, basically," she said.
There are players who don't see it that way, and who have made their feelings known with torrents of abuse leveled at developers who have signed deals with Epic, as Ooblets developers Glumberland discovered (opens in new tab) first-hand this summer. But as numerous as the store's detractors may seem online, they don't seem to be hurting sales. Satisfactory, which is still in early access, has been Coffee Stain's "best launch ever," selling more than 500,000 copies (opens in new tab) in its first three months on sale. That's likely helped by the massive popularity of Epic's Fortnite, and the fact that the store boasted more than 85 million users (opens in new tab) mere months after it launched.