I finally spent money on the Epic Games store and I have mixed feelings about it
January 01, 2020

So it would appear that I have finally, for the first time, paid money on the Epic Games store. I had avoided doing this up until now for a variety of reasons; firstly because of the aborrhent way that Epic treats its in-house developers; secondly, the way that Epic hoards triple-A releases before allowing them to be published elsewhere, and mostly importantly, the fact that the Epic storefront is a bland, featureless thing with a limited selection of titles. The free titles they've been releasing every week have already started to repeat, for instance, and the threadbare offerings feel akin to the Uplay or Origin stores whenever I get the urge to browse. There are also basically zero social features, no community groups, no user profiles, no cloud saves and no achievements. Prices are always listed in USD even if you are in a different region. As stated in this Kotaku article: "...booting up Epicís store is like walking into a post-apocalyptic supermarket."

So why, then, have I finally bought a game from there? The answer is simple: The price was right. It's the same reason I buy things from Walmart even though I hate going there. I bought a copy of Vampyr, a game that had been sitting on my Steam wishlist for well over a year. It's an action RPG game about a vampire living in 1918 London. I'd heard good things about it and some not-so-good things. Apparently the combat and RPG mechanics are fine, but the adventure aspects are bogged down by wooden storytelling and poor voice acting. However, it always seemed like it might be one of those titles that could scratch the itch I've always had ever since I played Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines. At the very least, I figured that it might be entertaining enough for a weekend or two, even if it ends up not being all that great.

The problem was pricing. The game is priced like a triple-A game at over $65 CAD, which is far too much for me to invest in a game that I am not entirely sure about. So, I kept it on my wishlist and waited for one of those big sales. I watched as summer sales, autumn sales and winter sales came and went, but the price never dropped below 50%. I always had other games on my list that took priority, so it simply remained on my list.

But then, I was browsing the Epic Games store during their Christmas Sale, I noticed they were offering the "Epic Coupon," valued at $10 USD, which would be applied to every purchase on top of the sale prices. Apparently Vampyr was on sale for 66% off this year (as it was on Steam), which was generous enough. However, with the coupon applied, I ended up getting it for a paltry $9 CAD instead of $23. The price, in this case, was definitely right. The Epic Coupon is a brilliant scheme. The human mind is hard wired to respond to limited-time offers like this; that's basic marketing and psychology at work. On the one hand, I hate that it worked, but I also appreciate that I am now able to play this game without the risk of feeling ripped off if I end up not liking it.

I still dislike the Epic Games Store for all of the reasons I've already mentioned. However, I also remember disliking Origin for the same reasons when it was first released, but I've actually spent more time there this year due to my addiction to Apex Legends than I have logged hours on Steam. Has it killed me to divide my time between two platforms? Of course not. Will it kill me to add another platform? Probably not. It's an inconvenience, but one that has saved me money.

It also sounds like Epic is offering a sweet deal to developers too, taking only 12% of sales as opposed to Steam's 30%. Knowing this, those "unfair" exclusive releases make a lot more sense. It almost makes me want to buy more things on the Epic Store, as I prefer to support developers directly whenever possible. Perhaps all of this is simply a case of good old fashioned capitalism at work. Competition can be good for both consumers and developers, and in this case, it is doing exactly that.

I haven't delved into Vampyr yet, but perhaps when I get through it I will write a review.

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