CEO of Gearbox Explains Why Borderlands 3 is Epic Games Store Exclusive

Gearbox CEO Borderlands 3

CEO of Gearbox Randy Pitchford has taken to twitter yet again, but this time reasoning as to why the company is investing in Epic Games Store with Borderlands 3. The explanation came to a question that was asked of Pitchford, where he gave out numerous reasons regarding their decisions.

Pitchford addressed many questions raised with the decision to be an Epic exclusive. He addressed questions from store features, Gearbox’s history of working with Epic, how the business model compares of both the stores (Epic and Steam), and finally also talking about how the decision is ultimately of 2K Games and not the Gearbox.

Addressing the issue of Epic Games Store not having enough features like Valve’s Steam, Pitchford acknowledged the issue, and stated that the store will be getting many features and will not look like it does now when Borderlands 3 comes out in September.

Currently Steam has a bunch of features that the Epic Games Store does not. That’s fact. We could probably rank the priority of those features from top to bottom and while we may disagree a little on the ranking, there is probably an optimal priority to go after features.

We also must acknowledge that Borderlands 3 does not exist *today* but rather it will exist in September. The store will be different when the game launches. It will become a boon to their store if they bring sufficient features to make the customer experience great for us.

When asked if the both the game stores have the same goals and objectives, and how gamers will know if this is the case, Pitchford said,

Some features that Steam has may be features that are not part of Epic’s vision and some features Steam never contemplated may be part of Steam’s vision. The vision for how a store should interact with a customer and a developer and a publisher is all part of the equation.

Agreeing that Epic Game Store still lacks features, Pitchford recognizes that they are taking a risk in Epic Games Store not knowing for certain whether or not it will meet expectations based on the Road Map they published in March.

Epic has published a near term road map. This road map includes a look into things they are committing to. If I were a betting man, I would expect that there are more things that happen than what they are committing to…The store will be different when the game launches. It will become a boon to their store if they bring sufficient features to make the customer experience great for us. Epic will suffer (again) if, by the time Borderlands 3 launches, the customer experience is not good enough.

This is a tremendous forcing function for Epic. This is also really good for Borderland 3 as Borderlands 3 will be the biggest, by far, new game to arrive on the Epic store since they launched and Epic can be sure to invest huge amounts of resources specifically for the features most important for Borderlands 3. The forcing function of that will, in turn, make all those features available on a faster time-line than otherwise possible and this is good for all games from both the customer perspective and the developer/publisher perspective.

Pitchford continued to discuss why it is good for PC gamers to have another neutral online store for developers and customers as well.

The biggest discussion between the two stores, is arguably the amount of revenue that each takes from the developers, in respect to every purchase made from their stores. Epic had recently detailed the amont of revenue taken from them and Valve. Epic Games Store only takes 12% from the revenue while steam takes 30%.

In his twenty year career between both Valve and Epic, Pitchford says that he is very well aware of how both the companies work and why he thinks that Epic can likely bring an end to Steam if Valve does not go for major changes.

From a track record point of view, my expectation is that Epic’s investment in technology will outpace Valve’s substantially. When we look back at Steam in five or ten years, it may look like a dying store and other, competitive stores, will be the place to be…Epic has credibility here because they have been supplying engine technology to the industry for over 20 years and we have all come to be able to trust and rely upon Epic’s fair play and good will…

Meanwhile, as the quality of Epic’s technology improved, so did its success in business. What did Epic do? They used their increased success to lead they way in business terms. They reduce licensing rates for developers and created new ways to become a licensee…Meanwhile, Valve has taken an absurd cut of the revenue – which would be fine except they have not reinvested it. This is where looking at the values of the company are important…

[Steam] have also taken a significant amount of value off the table and, when they’ve reinvested, they’ve tended to put it to a lot of other activities besides the store that is generating all of the revenue. They’ve been able to do this because they haven’t had to worry about it. There has been no viable competitor to Steam. They have had no external force sufficient to challenge their revenue share and no external force sufficient to motivate a sufficient reinvestment of revenue… The faster Valve can maneuver, the longer it can stay ahead of Epic on features. But, if I were to bet on this (and remember I’ve got a pretty good seat with a great view of this competition), Epic will inevitably surpass Valve on features and quality of service.

Pitchford also adds that he wanted to have such a discussion officially, but claims that whenever the situation was brought up, 2K games was quick to shut him down.

While many are still divided on the issue of Epic Games Store and its exclusivity deals, we can only hope that Epic works on to add more features to its games store. it would also be better for the community for developers to be transparent about their exclusive deals so that both the Epic and Valve game stores can exist in harmony, and work for everyone.

Borderlands 3 is set to release on September 13 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC exclusively from Epic Games Store. What do you think of the discussion of Gearbox CEO? Post your comments below.

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About the Author: Salik Shah

An ardent lover for first person shooter games, Salik has been part of GamesHedge all through its journey. His love for competitive gaming started with Counter Strike and Call of Duty.

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