The latest development update for the ultra-cute farm life sim Ooblets says that "we did the thing," which in this case means that it's become an Epic Games Store exclusive on PC. The update also includes a very frank, and frankly funny, explanation of exactly why the decision was made, and what it will mean for the future of the game.
Designer and writer Ben Wasser said the decision to go exclusive was made because Epic offered a minimum guarantee on sales. "That takes a huge burden of uncertainty off of us because now we know that no matter what, the game won’t fail and we won’t be forced to move back in with our parents (but we do love and appreciate you, parents!)," he wrote. "Now we can just focus on making the game without worrying about keeping the lights on. The upfront money they’re providing means we’ll be able to afford more help and resources to start ramping up production and doing some cooler things."
The move will also enable the studio to pick up resources that will ultimate speed up development. Thus far in the process, there's only been one programmer, Rebecca Cordingley, "who makes everything [and] also does most of the art, UI, and other stuff on the game." Ironically, it might also actually delay the initial release slightly as the studio seeks that help—and also because there's no longer financial pressure to get it released.
Wasser acknowledged that there's been a backlash against Epic Games Store exclusives, and while he doesn't think the bulk of the Ooblets community is likely to be interested in any of that, he shared his own thoughts on the complaints about it.
"As a user of both Steam and EGS myself, I haven’t had any issues with using EGS to buy and play games personally. But regarding the features that are still missing, that’s just sorta the way software is developed," he wrote. "Things take a lot longer to develop properly than people tend to realize and nobody comes to market with perfect software."
He also noted, as many others have, that Steam was a "barely-functional mess" when it went live (which, believe me, is true), and that continued work on Epic's storefront "depends on the platform being worthwhile from a market-share perspective to keep going."
He spent more time talking about the "anti-consumer" complaints about the store, pointing out that unlike HBO, Netflix, or game consoles, there's no extra cost to using Epic's launcher. "It’s also really disappointing to see folks threatening to pirate a game just because they can’t get it on the game launcher they’re used to," he wrote. "Feeling like you’re owed the product of other people’s work on your terms or else you’ll steal it is the epitome of that word 'entitlement' that people use to discuss immature, toxic gamers."
"I get the appeal of wanting to seek out things to get angry about. Venting anger is cathartic and natural, but let’s have just a little perspective about what we decide to get angry about. Look at the things going on around you and ask yourself if there might be anything just a tad more worthwhile to be upset about … So let’s remember that this is all low-stakes video game stuff we’re dealing with here. Nothing to get worked up about."
Ooblets will be an EGS exclusive for "a pretty long while," although the specific period wasn't revealed, nor was anything said about a possible release date. I've emailed for more information and will update if I receive a reply, but you can also ask him yourself if you like: Wasser is also answering questions and talking about concerns over on the Ooblets Discord server.