Hitman 3 will be a timed Epic Store exclusive and that is not doing Epic any favors in their ongoing legal dispute with Apple.
Hitman 3 has been revealed to be a timed-exclusive for the Epic Store when it launched on PC at the beginning of next year. This announcement has caused a lot of backlashes online, as might be expected from any statement of exclusivity.
The big issue for Epic is that they’re currently embroiled in a legal dispute with Apple over the latter’s monopolistic practices. This continued seeking of exclusivity is hurting Epic’s public image.
In the current lawsuit against Apple, Epic has been accused of weaponizing its fans. The Epic marketing team came up with a #FreeFortnite hashtag, which was all over Twitter when the lawsuit first came to light.
If Epic is trying to use their fans to win public favor, then this Hitman 3 situation will probably undo a lot of that work. Most people see these exclusivity deals, timed or not, as Epic trying to monopolize popular video games.
While the legal battle will be down to a judge, the court of public opinion is just as important for a gaming company. If the people turn against Epic, they could lose everything they’re trying to achieve.
Whether or not deals like the Hitman 3 exclusivity contract are a monopoly or not is debatable. It’s not like you can’t get Hitman 3 anywhere else. Hell, if you wait a year, you’ll able to play it on PC without using the Epic Store.
In the end, whether the deal is technically a monopoly or not isn’t important. If Epic wants to remain successful after the lawsuit, win or lose, they need public support. Keeping Hitman 3 away from Steam is no way to do that.
It’s not precisely monopolizing the game, but it’s not particularly consumer-friendly either. Epic is acting like a downtrodden, smalltime company out of one side of their mouth while reiterating their multi-billion-dollar business policies out of the other.
If Epic wants to win this fight, they need to be very, very careful. If the Hitman 3 situation shows anything, it’s that they’re not careful enough yet.