What just happened? The anger some people feel at game companies signing exclusivity deals with the Epic Games Store isn’t going away. The latest firm to experience this wrath is indie studio Glumberland, which recently announced that its upcoming title, Ooblets, would be a timed Epic exclusive.
Last week, Glumberland revealed that Ooblets would be the latest in a line of PC games skipping Steam in favor of becoming an Epic Games Store timed exclusive. As reported by gamesindustry.biz, the deal includes a "minimum guarantee on sales" that matched Glumberland's original forecast for sales across every store.
"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," the studio said.
While the UK developer, which consists of just Rebecca Cordingley and Ben Wasser, was expecting some backlash from its decision, the extent of the anger took it by surprise.
"We really misjudged how angry so many people would be," the pair said, in a message to the Ooblets Patreon community.
"This whole thing has just devastated us. We've been getting thousands if not tens of thousands of hateful, threatening messages across every possible platform nonstop. It's especially hurtful since we've had such a positive, supportive relationship with our audience throughout development."
This sort of reaction isn’t new. Metro Exodus, Phoenix Point, and Borderlands 3 also faced a backlash over their Epic Games Store exclusivity deals. But company CEO Tim Sweeney says these agreements will ultimately benefit gamers, as they are the “only strategy” of ending the current 70/30 industry-standard model that sees 70 percent of a game’s sales go to the developer/publisher and 30 percent going to a storefront. Judging from the Glumberland response, it appears that many gamers disagree with Sweeney's statement.
Update: The Epic Games Store team has published the following statement:
We at Epic Games have often shared our views about the game business and companies in it, and we support the entire game community’s right to speak freely and critically about these topics, including the topic of Epic, our products, and our store. When everyone shares their earnest views, the best ideas ultimately prevail.
The announcement of Ooblets highlighted a disturbing trend which is growing and undermining healthy public discourse, and that’s the coordinated and deliberate creation and promotion of false information, including fake screenshots, videos, and technical analysis, accompanied by harassment of partners, promotion of hateful themes, and intimidation of those with opposing views.
Epic is working together with many game developers and other partners to build what we believe will be a healthier and more competitive multi-store world for the future. We remain fully committed, and we will steadfastly support our partners throughout these challenges. Many thanks to all of you that continue to promote and advocate for healthy, truthful discussion about the games business and stand up to all manners of abuse.