Stealth-launch? Soft-launch? Accidental early release? Who knows; but the Epic Store is now live on the new Epic Games launcher.
Everyone was wondering exactly what had prompted Valve to reduce its revenue share on games earning over $10 million. Clearly, there is a desire to keep big games on the platform and avoid publishers spinning off their own storefronts, like Bethesda with Fallout 76.
But it felt like there had to be something that spooked Valve, who has to date never blinked over its 30% cut on Steam, into action.
Perhaps it was the knowledge that Epic Games was about to launch its own digital storefront, the Epic Store.
A fairly unassuming patch note on the Epic Games website tells us that a new-look Epic launcher is available to all players, as of December 2nd, 2018. And that’s it. There are no details of what changes are included in this update, other than the new launcher features “a sleeker look with new visuals and functionality”.
Upon firing up the Epic Launcher today – and thanks to Ryan Evans on Twitter for the tip – we now see that one of these pieces of “new functionality” is a tab labelled simply “Store”.
oooh gonna be a good week on gamedev twitter pic.twitter.com/DqqaboHzmL
— Ryan Evans (@rje) December 3, 2018
Currently, there are only three things in the Epic Store: Fortnite and Unreal Tournament, both of which are free, and Shadow Complex, which is priced at $17.99. There are also a bunch of free dev and modding tools for games like Ark, Conan Exiles, and Unreal Tournament.
Yes, the Epic Store is such an early release that it only has three games for “sale” and the one game that isn’t free? It hasn’t even converted into our local currency. It’s not an auspicious start. You might even wonder if it soft-launched in error, given the lack of fanfare and the fact there is so little to populate the store, it doesn’t even have any search or discovery tools baked in yet.
But it’s not just a new digital storefront. The Epic Store is a statement of intent from one of the biggest players in the industry, that they believe there’s room for other distribution platforms to exist in addition to Steam.