Monday, June 10, 2019

Shenmue 3 Epic Store Exclusivity Creates Kickstarter Controversy

After Shenmue III has been announced as Epic Games Store exclusive for PC, backers are now even denied refunds on Kickstarter.

At E3 2019 event, renowned Sega developer and Shenmue creator Yu Suzuki took stage during PC Gaming Show 2019 to showoff brand-new gameplay trailer for Shenmue III and reveal that PC version will be an Epic Games Store-exclusive.

Now whether or not they decided to make it a timed exclusive is not clear yet but many backers are very upset over this decision of shifting platform since it was originally planned for a Steam release and are already asking for a refund.

shenmue 3 epic store exclusivity kickstarter controversy yu suzuki game
Shenmue 3 Epic Store Exclusivity Creates Kickstarter Controversy

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Right after their announcement at E3, development team has updated their Kickstarter page with new information to declare Epic Store exclusivity. What they explained as reason for their recent decision of changing outlet is given below.

We are happy to announce that Shenmue III for PC will be an Epic Games Store exclusive. Development for Shenmue III has been moving forward using Unreal Engine and the support we have received from Epic has been excellent. But most importantly, in looking for the most enjoyable experience on PC, it was decided together with Deep Silver after much discussion that the Epic Games Store would be the best distribution platform option.

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Apparently, it was publisher Deep Silver that pushed for Shenmue III exclusivity and their official statement of most enjoyable experience on PC being on EGS clearly shows how detached they are from players these days.

When they removed Metro Exodus from Steam earlier before launch to make it a timed exclusive at Epic Store, fans were enraged. They started review-bombing to plummet its overall score, which then took Steam to intervene and stop them.

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Official Kickstarter page of Ys Net is flooded with angry response from fans seeking either an explanation or their money back. Some pointed out that it was mentioned in early phase of campaign that they are to provide Steam keys for PC platform.

Even those who would purchase a physical copy would only have a box with a code in it that still need to be activated via Epic Store. Charging a $59.99 amount for a box that doesn't even come with a disc seems like a scheme to get some extra money.

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After Yu Suzuki launched the Kickstarter project looking for $2 million in funding back in 2015, it has been backed by nearly 70,000 people and raised over $6 million in a month, only so they can screw over players on PC four years later.

When you thought Epic Store exclusivity was the worst thing to happen to the game, Ys Net has denied granting any refunds for making this change, therefore leaving PC players with no option to either get their hard-earned money or preferred platform.

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Epic Games are definitely favoring developers by taking only 12% cut from sales rather than 30% and started a trend for exclusive games to incite competition but that is also leading studios into taking such controversial decisions.

A few months ago, Epic Games Store has bagged crowdfunded project Phoenix Point out of nowhere that was originally promised to launch on Steam but in that case, developers were generous enough to offer a refund to its backers at least.

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Denying request for refund was perhaps the most anti-consumer act from their part and maybe even led to some legal action, because ripping off people for their money with false pledges like this need some serious consequence enforced by law.

What happened as a result will now have people to be more suspicious before crowdfunding any project on Kickstarter. There is currently a Steam page for the game though but that is probably because they forgot to remove it.

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Epic may have given a hefty amount to Deep Silver and Ys Net for a store exclusivity deal like they did with Snapshot Games for having Phoenix Point. However, they should have considered how it would ruin reputation for both companies.

After years of development and a couple of delays, Shenmue III is finally all set to arrive on November 19 for PC and PlayStation 4. Only if they have kept promise of delivering Steam keys to backers, there would probably be a little less backlash.