This Little-Known Indie Studio Just Stood Up to Epic Games

Tiago Manuel @LeTiago
August 23, 2019 14:46 UTC

By CCN Markets: When Epic Games tried to force the creator of DARQ, a promising indie horror title, to sign an exclusivity contract, the fledgling indie developer refused to back down.

Now, gamers are hailing that developer – Unfold Games – as a hero for having the courage to stand up to the Fortnite creator – even if it means missing out on a massive payday.

Epic Games Tries to Force Small Studios Into Exclusivity Agreements

Following the monumental success of Fortnite, Epic Games launched its own digital game store to compete with Steam in late December.

At first, the Epic store looked like an industry disruptor, as it would only take a 12% cut of game sale revenue, as opposed to Steam’s 30%. That’s great, but it’s also where the good news ends.

Before long, Epic began using exclusivity contracts to poach games from the Steam store. Multi-million dollar titles like Metro Exodus and Borderlands 3, games many had already preordered on Steam, disappeared from Valve’s store only to appear on the Epic Games platform.

Epic tried doing the same with DARQ, but this time they weren’t dealing with a multi-million dollar game studio. It should have been an easy deal for them, as well as a breakthrough for Unfold Games.

Unfortunately for Epic, Unfold had already promised its fans DARQ would be releasing on Steam. And the underdog studio refused to back down – even when Epic Games said it wouldn’t agree to a multi-platform release.

That’s curious because Epic Games boss Tim Sweeney is all about multi-store positivity, as Unfold noted in this withering Medium post.

Source: Medium

 

Epic Games Wages Scorched-Earth War on Indie Gaming Industry

Of course, critics rightly note that Steam’s not perfect either. However, Unfold says that Epic’s scorched-earth fight over indie game rights is also devastating smaller stores like GOG.

“It was important to me to give players what they wanted: options. A lot of people requested that DARQ is made available on GOG. I was happy to work with GOG to bring the game to their platform. I wish the Epic Store would allow indie games to be sold there non-exclusively, as they do with larger, still unreleased games (Cyberpunk 2077), so players can enjoy what they want: a choice.”

Epic’s unfair tactics reveal that the gaming giant has clearly forgotten its roots.

Remember that Fornite, which has made as much as $300 million in monthly revenue, was once an unsuccessful game before it became a massive hit…

After Epic stole another game’s concept.

Maybe we should have seen this coming all along.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.