In brief: Not for the first time, there has been a backlash after a title that was supposed to arrive on Steam has become an Epic Games Store timed exclusive. To try and appease angry backers, those who contributed to the Shenmue 3 campaign are being offered refunds, and they’re coming from Epic Games itself.
Shenmue 3 developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver revealed the Epic Games Store exclusivity deal back at E3, which will see it launch on Steam after a year on Epic’s storefront. As we saw with Metro Exodus and Phoenix Point—another crowdfunded project—people were angry by the decision.
After it was initially reported that Ys Net wouldn’t be providing refunds, the company announced in a Kickstarter update that it would be offering people their money back. They can also change from the PC to the PS4 version, and those who stick with the Epic Games Store release will have the option of getting a Steam key.
To protect Ys Net’s development funding, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney announced that his company would be covering the cost of all the refunds. He added that the situation shouldn’t be repeated in the future as Epic plans to coordinate with other stores to ensure Steam key availability in advance, or guarantee refunds at announcement time.
When future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores, we’ll either coordinate with colleagues at the other stores to ensure key availability in advance, or guarantee refunds at announcement time.— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) July 2, 2019
While Epic Games Store head Steve Allision suggested in March that its exclusivity deals would eventually end, Sweeney later confirmed they would continue—regardless of a game's previous plans or announcements around Steam.
Last week, Sweeney said the Epic Games Store exclusives would ultimately benefit gamers, thanks partly to its 88/12 split, which sees 88 percent of a game’s sales go to the developer/publisher, and 12 percent to a storefront. Steam still uses a 70/30 split.