Steam VS Epic Games Store

Which is better for gamers and developers, Steam or Epic Games Store?

PC gaming used to have one almost universally accepted choice in terms of an online game store, Valve’s Steam Store. Now, the creators of Fortnite, Epic Games, have started their own store for games. Not only does it have Fortnite and Unreal Tournament but many other developers are now exclusively making games for this new Epic Games Store. Epic even accepts games made with Unity, Epic’s main competition in terms of game engines.

In terms of exclusives, Epic has a few good games going for them. They obviously have Fortnite, but also Metro: Exodus, the first AAA game on Epic Games Store only and was not made by Epic. SuperGiant Games released their latest title, Hades only for Epic Games. This is probably because Epic only takes twelve percent of revenue that a game makes from their store, which I will get to later. Steam has more exclusives, however, but this is because they have been around for way longer. They have all Valve games, a few indie titles, and some large AAA games like Middle Earth: Shadow of War.

One downside of Steam is that all games purchased through Steam are licensed under this thing called DRM or Digital Rights Management. This basically means if you are running the game and have it installed on a friend’s computer, only one person who has access to your copy of the game can play it. If two people try playing the same Steam game copy on separate computers, one will crash. With Epic, they have no such DRM, and therefore you can install your copy of whatever you want from your Epic library on as many computers and they all work. Everybody with your copy of the game can run it at the same time.

One of my favorite parts of games, after I finish them, is installing mods until you don’t know what game it even is. Luckily, both services deliver an easy modding system. Steam has Steam Workshop, where you can install mods just by pressing a “Subscribe to mod” button. Unlike in separate games like Minecraft, you don’t need to be a genius to find which file to put your mods in. Epic has their own modding system that even comes with a mod editor. These are basically the same, and I prefer them both to the old creaky way of installing mods. It’s also harder for someone to put a virus on your computer this way. Some shady troll could still break your save files, however.

One thing about Epic Games Store is that every month, they give you a game for free. Not just a free-to-play game, but a game that would cost you at least twenty dollars. For absolutely nothing. For their first free game, they set a high standard for their game giveaways by letting all Epic users have a copy of Subnautica for free, which would normally cost them $25. Their February game giveaway was another classic, called Axiom Verge. This is so more people move from Steam to their new platform.

Okay, Epic does a lot for players, but what do they do for developers? Firstly, if you use the Unreal Engine, their free game engine, and publish your game under something other than Epic Launcher, they take a share of your earnings. If you publish it under Epic, they don’t take as much, meaning Unreal could technically be used for 100% free. Steam takes 30% of all revenue from games published on Steam, whereas Epic takes 12%. If you want to support the developers of the games you buy, buy it from Epic Store if you can, so the developers can make more money.

I still have many games on Steam, but I can see many developers switching to Epic Games, not just to make money, but because of the DRM, which some developers don’t want to support. Either way, at least Valve doesn’t have a monopoly on online game stores anymore.