For the last 15 years, Valve Corporation has held a monopoly in the world of digital game distribution with their platform, Steam. Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, Epic Games, is trying to challenge their market domination by been making moves with its own game store featuring gimmicks to lure people in such as free monthly games.
In the two decades that Steam has been around, many communities have been developed based on their many games. Some may argue that there is a big community evolving around the growing popularity of Fortnite; however, Epic’s forum is only centred on one game and their one forum on that came cannot even be viewed during games, while Valve has communities and forums for all of their games and can be accessed during games.
Many gamers have been on Steam for several years and have gathered massive collections of games on the platform. Changing to a new store such as Epic’s can be a hassle for both developers and consumers. For instance, the developer, Ubisoft, has recently announced that Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 will be launching on the Epic Games Store. This might be a problem for Ubisoft because they are leaving behind the massive Steam user base for a much smaller one, meaning less potential buyers.
The other reason why some people won’t switch over to Epic’s platform is that the number of games that is available to consumers cannot compete with Steam. Their library has a total of over 30,000 games while Epic Games are so small that when opening their store that you could literally count the number of games that are available.
The Epic Games store is a bare-bones platform with only the options to buy games and to add friends. Steam, on the other hand, has a fully-fledged chat system that allows users to communicate to friends and other gamers via text or voice. This is really useful because having to download another program to communicate with voice chat or text which can have many problems. Your friends don’t need to download a separate program just to talk to you. Also, Steam has a broadcasting system called Steam TV which allows the user to stream gameplay without any special software.
The Epic Games store offers some great things for gamers such as monthly free games. However, this is a double-edged sword: if people only use the store to get free content, then Epic won’t be able to turn a profit. They may be making bucket loads of money from microtransactions in Fortnite but like every other mainstream game, the game will lose its following and consequently, they will lose their cash cow.
Epic can not overthrow the king of game distribution. The Epic Games platform may offer great things to consumers like monthly free games but the platform still lacks many things of what makes a platform like Steam great. From a chat and broadcasting system to a library of a dozen games. Until Epic addresses these issues, they will join the ranks of EA’s Origin and the Discord Games Store as failed platforms.