Epic Games have recently begun their four-week long “Epic Mega Sale” on the Epic Games Store.
However, some developers refused to take part, temporarily pulling their games from the platform. Other problems have also arisen, such as accounts being locked for buying too many games at one time.
The sale itself offers $10 off any game over $14.99. This also includes pre-orders. Twitter account Wario64 noted Hades was down to as low as $6.99, even while the title was in early access.
He then noted the price rose to $9.99 a few hours later. In addition, there are reports of the game’s base price rising from $19.99 to $24.99. Speaking on Twitter, publisher SuperGiant Games explained:
“The price point you saw earlier today was offered in error. We apologize for any confusion this caused and hope customers who got the deal enjoy the game. The corrected sale price is still a 25% discount off of the original price point.”
We also have reports that SuperGiant Games issued this statement on their official Discord. They explain the increased base price reflected the stage of development Hades was at, and it merely coincided with the Epic Mega Sale:
“Hey, we wanted to let you know Hades is currently on sale for $14.99 after discounts on the Epic Games store. Folks can pick it up at www.PlayHades.com. We think there’s never been a better time to experience our rogue-like dungeon crawler!
The game’s retail price is now $24.99, up from $19.99 at launch, based on continued improvements and additions we’ve made so far in Early Access, including: an entire new biome, 7 new fully voiced characters including 4 new bosses, hundreds of new fully voiced narrative events, 10 new enemy types, a new weapon, and dozens of new powers and abilities.
All told, we think this new price point reflects the game’s current value in Early Access. As we expect to continue in Early Access until sometime next year, it’s possible we adjust the price again by the time Early Access is complete. We’ll strive to provide plenty of advance notice if that happens. Thank you for your support of this game!”
On the first day of the sale two games – Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 and Oxygen Not Included – were not available to purchase, their store page listings now display a 404 error. Within the last 24 hours, they have returned but are unavailable to be purchased. They are now listed as “Coming Soon”, even though they were available for pre-orders and buying in Early Access respectively.
Many gamers and social media users have theorized that games were being pulled from the Epic Game Store due to publishers being unhappy about factors that were unknown to them (the exact sale amount, what their revenue of sales would be, etc).
All official statements however indicate that the publishers and/or developers knew about the sale’s terms in advance, those opting out of the sale pulling their game assuredly for the duration of the sale.
Speaking to Kotaku, an Epic representative explained specifically why Paradox Interactive had pulled Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2.
“If a developer or publisher chooses to not participate in our sales, we will honor that decision. Paradox Interactive has chosen to not participate in the Epic Mega Sale and the game has been temporarily removed from sale. If you’ve purchased Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 during the period when the discount did apply at the time of check out, Epic will honor that price.”
Epic’s Director of Publishing Strategy Sergey Galyonkin also spoke to Russian gaming website DTF issuing a similar statement. Speaking in the comments section, Galyonkin laid out plainly what was going on (please bear with our basic translation of the comment):
“1. Anyone who managed to buy the game at a discount – will receive it at a discount.
2. The game will return to the store.
3. We fully compensate the discount to the publisher, they do not lose money.
4. The publisher was informed in advance about the sale mechanism and was aware of its conditions.”
Galyonkin elaborated further on point 4, stating: “Okay, regarding point 4. I was sure that Paradox were aware of the sale mechanism. After a little investigation, it turned out that I was wrong.”
Replying to others, Galyonkin stated “I do not know [why the publisher no longer wished to take part in the sale]. The publisher suddenly changed his mind.”
Paradox Interactive also issued a statement to Kotaku, with a little wry humor mixed in:
“We are in discussion with Epic regarding the temporary removal of Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 from the Epic Game Store. The game will return to the store soon! Any purchases made while the game was discounted during the Epic Mega Sale will be honored and no Masquerade violations will be assessed.”
A third game was later removed from sale- Borderlands 3. While the game was originally available for pre-order, now the game is merely “coming soon“, before the other two removed games also returned under similar conditions. When Tech Raptor reached out to Epic for a statement, a representative is claimed to have said they would “have to discuss the matter with the publisher.”
This is surprising, considering Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford defended the exclusivity of Borderlands 3 on the platform. He defended the ongoing controversy surrounding the Epic Game Store exclusivity agreements with developers and publishers, stating he felt the platform was helping “unmonopolize” PC Gaming.
We have also heard reports via Spieltimes, of an alleged tweet by Pitchford advertising Borderlands 3 being discounted during the Epic Mega Sale.
If true, this would indicate that at one point, it was planned that Borderlands 3 would be part of the sale. However, we must emphasize the only source at this time is a single image of the alleged tweet, which may have been falsified.
Gamasutra, Games Industry.biz and Kotaku all note that the Epic Mega Sale would be “courtesy of Epic”, indicating that the developers and publishers would still receive the same amount of profit as if the game had been bought at full price, while Epic Games takes less revenue than usual.
These are not the only problems the store has had during the sale. There have been reports of users being locked out of their accounts, for allegedly “buying too many games”.
Attention was drawn to this partly by a very public figure, Patrick Boivin (YouTuber, Streamer, Castle SuperBeast Podcast host and former member of the Super Best Friends YouTube channel), who has over 67,000 Twitch followers and 83,000 Twitter followers.
Boivin expressed his displeasure about being locked out of his account on Twitter. Later he alleged that buying five games in a relatively short span of time triggered the store’s anti-fraud measures erroneously:
“So I can confirm that me buying a whopping 5 games (ranging from 5 bucks to 50) on the Epic Store flagged my account for possibly fraudalent. Maybe if you guys had a fucking shopping cart jesus christ.”
Boivin later expressed how he felt the fraud detection was over-reaching, considering the sale and the measures already taken by Epic and other related businesses to prevent his accounts from being illicitly accessed:
“Like for fucks sake. 10 bucks off bordeylands and vampire, and a couple 10 buck indie games HOLY SHIT SOMEONE MUST HAVE
1. Hacked into this guys 2factor paypal account to buy games on his
2. 2-factor and email verified Epic account during a
3. FUCKING SALE”
This is not the first time the Epic Game’s Store has come under fire. Despite offering developers 88% of revenue from sales, they have fallen under fire for having features Steam and other platforms offer- even those deemed basic by some, such as shopping carts and user reviews.
As briefly aforementioned, Epic have also come under fire for having titles be exclusive on their platform, in some cases resulting in games coming off of Steam or cancelling plans to launch there. Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeny insisted that they would stop pursuing exclusives if Steam also offered 88% revenue to developers.
The most infamous example of Epic’s exclusivity came from Metro Exodus, resulting in fans review-bombing the game and others in the Metro franchise on Steam.
The series’ creator Dmitry Glukhovsky seemingly defended the decision but a developer at 4A Games expressed his dissatisfaction, claiming the franchise would boycott the PC platform if it did not sell well. The official social media accounts for the game later re-affirmed their commitment to PC.