– I have no joke planned for these today,
I just saw ’em in the studio and thought,
“Yeah, puttin’ those on.”
♪ Born different ♪
♪ Born innocent ♪
♪ Born perfect ♪
♪ I’m not like you, I’m a ♪
♪ Born lover ♪
♪ Born livid ♪
♪ And I know I’m, I’m
not like you, I was ♪
♪ Born clever ♪
♪ Born knowledgeable ♪
♪ Born better than ♪
– You know folks, I find myself
with an interesting dilemma.
On the last video I did in this series,
I made a joke about
desperately begging for people
to like and subscribe on the video.
The thing is, then actually did see
a significant uptick in subscribers.
So the thing is that begging
for likes and subscribes
is pathetic and worth making a joke about,
except it legitimately really does work.
So please like and
subscribe, please! (sobbing)
I’ve got crab gloves on!
Oh, I left this light on.
It should be fine.
I mean, it fucks with
continuity turnin’ it off.
Anyway, we’re going to have
ourselves a grown up discussion
about the Epic Games Store,
a subject that’s gotten very
touchy, a little bit emotional,
and some might say just
a touch ridiculous,
but we’re gonna try regardless
to discuss this in an adult manner.
Now, I’m gonna say some things
that the Epic haters are
gonna really, really like,
I’m gonna say a couple things
that they may not appreciate so much,
but I urge you all to
take on board what I say,
hear me out and come to a
sensible, calm, rational
That ain’t gonna fuckin’ happen!
It’s no secret by now
that the conversation
around the Epic Games Store has
gotten really fucking nasty!
I mean really fucking nasty.
When the Epic Games Store started
it all seemed like a good idea, initially,
and theoretically it still is.
Epic had a major market
leverage with “Fortnite”
and was rolling in Tencent money,
the digital storefront it was
positioning itself against
was in dire need of real competition.
The stage was set for
I mean Steam was a mess of a storefront
with an oversaturation of garbage,
a number of genuinely hateful communities,
and such a crowded storefront
that many good indie games
were dying on the vine.
However, it soon became clear that Epic
wasn’t interested in merely competing,
it was out to throttle its opponents
by throwing huge stacks of cash around
and buying up exclusivity deals
with games both large and small.
It did so in some pretty shitty ways, too,
with major games like “Metro Exodus”
disappearing from Steam less
than a month after launch
and a number of Kickstarter
projects leaving their backers
feeling cold after promising Steam keys
that would no longer be available.
Epic has since said that it will continue
to pursue exclusives regardless
of the games’ prior status or promises.
Now overall I have a big problem
with Epic Games as a company.
Their treatment of
workers has been abusive
with unreasonable perpetual crunch periods
resulting from the perpetual
service nature of “Fortnite”.
Tencent having so much
control and influence
over the industry is
something I never like to see
any one single company have, Disney!
And Epic’s exclusivity spending spree
has been a capitalistic
juggernaut of bullshit
that demonstrates how cash can be used
to shortcut one’s way onto the
path of a de facto monopoly,
and that’s clearly what they want.
Epic’s Tim Sweeney talks a big game
about merely wanting Steam to offer
the same generous revenue split
with developers that they do,
but the stated goal
makes no business sense.
You do not get into a market with the aim
of making a rival copy your
biggest competitive advantage
and subsequently disarm
your biggest weapon.
Epic’s tactic of aggressively
from indies to so-called AAA games,
is a power play that attempts
to starve the market of goods
and turn itself into the sole distributor.
However mad you are at the
latest game going exclusive,
it’s ultimately not the fault
of the game or its developer.
Epic Games is the problem with Epic Games.
Epic Games and the economic
system it operates in
allowing and encouraging businesses
to behave the way it’s been behaving.
And I really feel we need
to refocus ourselves here
because if you do have an issue
with the way Epic’s been doing business,
you ultimately have an issue
with the unchecked capitalism,
or ca-triple-apitalism as we call it here,
that’s allowed all this to happen.
In this market, Epic is
free to spend its money
and swallow up games by the bucketload.
In this market, Epic is free to gain
a stranglehold grip on
PC digital distribution.
In this market, Epic is
free to pretty much do
whatever the hell it wants,
provided it has the money
to pick up the tab, which it does.
It’s got lots of money, lots of a capital.
Sadly, and we’ve got to address this,
leveling criticism an
Epic has gotten harder
because bad actors have kind
of ruined it for everyone.
We’re at a point where
criticizing the Epic Store
gets one tarred with the same brush
as complete imbeciles
flinging their shit around
incoherently just to dogpile
in on a hot controversy.
Anyone with criticism of the Epic Store
is now lumped in with caterwauling idiots,
and, well, it’s really
easy for them to do that
because there are so
many caterwauling idiots.
Because the internet is the internet
and game discussions particularly tend
to get just plain
horrible with enough time.
The subject of the Epic Store
has turned thoroughly poisonous
and the outrage around Epic Games
has officially gotten out of control.
The breaking point for
this has been “Ooblets”,
a game that signed an
exclusivity deal with Epic
resulting in the developer Glumberland
getting bombarded with hate
speech, harassment, and threats.
Now I had issues with the way
Glumberland announced the deal,
dismissing what I feel
are some genuine concerns
about Epic’s business practices,
but a video I’d published on the matter
is currently set to private after seeing
just how fucking vile the
attacks on the team had gotten,
because I don’t wanna be
even indirectly contributing
to the kind of horror show displayed here.
And if you’re offended
that I censored myself,
well, sorry but I’m not gonna
accept blame for taking it down.
I want no part of that bullshit.
Blame the abusers, I want
no part of that toxic shite.
Nobody deserves what that team got.
Physical threats, hate speech
of pretty much every stripe,
outright lies and sheer gibbering hatred
made up thousands of
messages sent their way,
and, folks, that’s just
not fucking helpful, is it?
Anyone who did that really
fucked things up for everyone
because once we get to the point
where developers are
receiving that kind of vomit
it poisons the well, totally overshadows
any illegitimate critique
of Epic there might be
and paints any problem people
might have with the store
as coming from a group of
screaming maladjusted morons
thanks to the screaming
And Epic Games knows it, too,
it played up to the
situation pretty effectively,
promising to support developers in future
and help them cope with abuse,
which is what it should
be doing, absolutely,
but one can’t deny the corporation
also walked away from this problem
with armfuls of positive PR for itself
and a lot of games media headlines,
and the abusers handed
Epic that publicity.
Even if you’re a heartless fuck
who doesn’t care about
people being abused,
then I will appeal to your
pragmatism at the very least.
Harassing and threatening developers
will not get you what you want,
it will get you the opposite,
and also you’re a dick.
As I said when a “Wolfenstein”
level designer was
harassed off Twitter over
it makes their job of criticism
so much fucking harder
when idiots spill their monstrous rhetoric
at any accessible target they can find.
It taints the whole
debate, jerks the spotlight
violently away from credible discussion,
and unfairly sets the sights
on ground-level individuals
who are simply not the goddamn problem!
If any abusers out there genuinely care
about the subject they’re
acting so mad about
and not just attacking
for the sheer fun of it,
then they’re scoring an own
goal every time they decide
to throw their anger at
completely the wrong people.
This is especially worth remembering
when it comes to indie developers.
Look, you’ve gotta give them some slack!
It’s a dog-eat-dog horror show
out there in game development!
I’ll say what I’ve said every single time
I’ve talked about this:
I do not blame any one
indie developer whatsoever
for taking the Epic exclusivity deal.
Barring extra circumstances,
like crowdfunding promises
or last-minute changes
that fuck with pre-orders,
I think smaller games
need your understanding.
They’re not big AAA publishers,
they’re not acting out of a
malice or bloody-minded greed,
they’re just trying to
survive like the rest of us.
Be the game “Ooblets”,
“Shakedown: Hawaii”, “Hades”,
whatever, there are very
to want to sign with Epic.
The revenue split is
with Epic only taking 12% of the cut
as opposed to Steam’s 33%,
and for any small studio
that’s hard to pass up.
Plus, any struggling small
developer is gonna benefit
from the upfront exclusivity
cash that often ensures
a game’s financial success
regardless of sales.
I think that’s a deal a lot
of you watching out there
would find fuckin’ tempting!
On top of that, the Epic Store is not full
of asset flips that bury their release
or games about school shootings
and killing gay people
that the algorithm might
associate genuine games with.
– A lot of indie games
have struggled on Steam.
The market is so crowded
and the lack of oversight
has led to the underhanded
exploitation of many features
that can push down quality work
and elevate bad actors peddling
what Valve itself calls fake games.
But to bring this back to reminding you
what the real problem is, there’s a bit
of a sinister side to
indies taking the deal,
and the blame is with,
well, take a wild guess.
Stories are starting to
circulate that Epic Games itself
is courteously railroading developers
into going exclusive with them
or not having a shot on
the storefront at all.
Recently the developer of “DARQ” revealed
that Epic approached them about
taking an exclusivity deal
and, when refused, said it couldn’t
let “DARQ” be sold as
a non-exclusive game.
“I felt like going for an exclusivity deal
“would show that my word means nothing
“as I had just promised the
game would launch on Steam.
“I thought it was a bad idea
to disappoint all those people
“and prove to the world that
my announcements mean nothing.
“Epic made it clear that they
“reached out to me with
an exclusivity deal.
“I politely turned them down
“before we had a chance to discuss
“any details, money offered, et cetera.
“I asked them if they would be willing
“to sell ‘DARQ’ non-exclusively
“and they explained at this point in time
“it’s not something they can do.”
This ain’t the first time it’s happened.
“SkateBIRD” was turned down by Epic
when it wouldn’t pledge its fealty,
with the developer saying:
“Epic doesn’t want SkateBIRD,
“they say they’re focusing on exclusives
“and SkateBIRD promised Steam keys
“in its Kickstarter, therefore nah.”
Epic is actively pursuing
a number of indie titles
that show significant pre-launch interest
but Epic’s own interest
is purely conditional.
It’s eager to work with small companies
only if it can be the
sole seller of their work,
which says a lot, I feel,
especially for a company that
claims it’s doing all this
for the betterment of the PC market.
That’s been Tim Sweeney’s whole angle.
What this says is that
the Epic Games Store
is about disrupting the market
more than being a decent storefront
for customers and game purveyors alike,
that its snapping up games
simply to have them as exclusives
rather than offer them to shoppers at all,
that it only cares about indie games
if it can use those indie
games to hurt its competition
and feed into that disruption.
Epic knows full well who
has the power in the dynamic
between it and a tiny indie company
and it’s exploiting that
power to the fullest.
And if you’ve ever read about the way
Epic is said to treat its workers,
exploiting power dynamics
for selfish gains
is something Epic’s very,
very well-versed in.
If you’re a small-time dev
who wants and needs that safety
net of success Epic offers,
if you’d like the extra security
that a platform like Steam can’t offer,
well, Epic can offer it to you,
but only if you cut Steam
out of the equation entirely.
Some people perceive even
small Studios taking the deal
as something motivated by sheer greed,
but Epic’s revenue split
isn’t merely attractive bait,
it’s being used to effectively
strong-arm creators with an ultimatum,
an ultimatum that I’m not entirely sure
has been given to AAA publishers,
some of whom seem to enjoy
being on both the Epic
Store and Steam just fine,
and are literally in it for the money
because they’re big honking corporations
and that’s all they ever care about.
Epic is actively putting indie developers
into awkward positions,
profiting off them,
using them to inflict
damage on the competition,
and exploiting the backlash they receive
for its own advertising.
Doesn’t sound like a corporation
that cares about the PC market.
And even if it wasn’t doing all that,
I’d still understand
indies taking the deal,
but the generosity of the deal
combined with the railroady
conditional nature of it?
Yeah, indies are in a tough position
and they don’t deserve the
community dumping all over them.
But, again, in the economic system
that we here call ca-triple-apitalism,
everything Epic’s doing
is just fine and dandy.
It’s how businesses get ahead,
with brutal, ruthless,
You’re mad about what Epic’s doing?
Get mad at a system that ensures
the most effective way to complete
is to pay for your
This is capitalism unfettered
and it’s at the root
of the video game industry’s
Money flows to money,
the rich are always
positioned to get richer
because the more money you have,
the easier it is to get even more.
You just use the cash you’ve got
to spend everyone else to death.
Steam needs competition but
this is what competition looks like.
Using bottomless reserves of riches
to buy up all the goods and
replace the de facto monopoly
by transforming into
the de facto monopoly,
a monopoly you’ll keep
until a richer company
comes along to replace you.
The big fish poaches exclusives
from the little fish.
Epic has tons of money
and with tons of money
you don’t have to build a quality product,
offer a superior experience,
or otherwise give
advantages to the end user.
You just have to have more
cash than the other fuckers
and crush them with it!
Anything less than that
would be seen by executives
as a waste of time and resources.
Why bother being better
when being richer gets
you what you want quicker?
There’s nothing preventing this
and in a market where the only golden rule
is to make all of the money
as swiftly as possible
and damn the consequences,
it’s something that will
just keep happening.
Oh, well that’s a shame.
Saved me some money, I guess.
Thanks to a lotta the nonsense
with the Epic Games Store,
a lot of people have decided to
not take any of it seriously,
but I do still think
there are serious concerns
to bring up with Epic,
not just as a storefront
owner and a platform holder
but as a company overall.
There’s a lot about that
business and how it operates
that I do not like, do not
appreciate and worry about.
I was talking about this
with friend of the show
and internet sloth Casey Explosion
the other day where she pointed out that
because Epic Games is a disruptive force
and only really cares about
being a disruptive force,
what happens if the Epic Games Store
doesn’t work out the way they want it to?
We’ve already seen with a lot of
the diversified television
a lot of those end up falling apart,
the smaller ones, things
like Seeso just disappeared,
I think that’s the one.
You know, they take these exclusive shows,
some of them quite good,
and then just evaporate
and you’re often left wondering,
well, where is the show gonna go?
where is the stuff I
was enjoying gonna go?
And in any one of these
services that have splintered
back from when we only
had one or two big things,
you know, their future is uncertain.
And that’s something to worry about,
like, there shouldn’t
be one single entity,
there should be competition,
but when it splinters and
splinters and splinters
and goes off in all these
some of them just aren’t gonna make it
and they could take down some
good video games with them
and that’s something to also
be concerned about with Epic.
The fact that they have
this roadmap of content
and they haven’t really met a lot of it,
we’re still waiting for crucial elements.
I bring this up a lot,
things like a shopping cart.
There are many things, many conveniences
that other storefronts
have and people have said,
“Oh, well, give it time, give it time,”
that Steam didn’t work out too well
when it first occurred,
when it first appeared,
it had so many years to get good.
But, by the same token, other storefronts
have had that time, that
exact amount of time,
to learn from those mistakes.
You know, if I brought out a
video game console right now
and it didn’t even have HD,
I couldn’t point to things
like the Sega Genesis
and say, “Well, that
didn’t have HD at the time,
“so cut me some slack!”
Anyway, I’ve totally
gotten away from my point
and I am too sleepy now to get back to it,
so I’m literally just gonna end
the video, thank God for me.
(energetic triumphant music)