What are PC storefronts?
PC Storefronts are basically places you can buy games on the PC Platform – all of them are free to use and do not have a level of entry as consoles do. Examples of this are Steam, Epic Games Store, Discord Store, Good Ol’ Games Store (GOG), Microsoft Store, and alike. As we know not a lot of you may not support one or the other, or overwhelmingly support one over others, we are going to do our best to cover all avenues long-term to make sure people can get the game where they believe best-suits them, in addition to platforms we deem beneficial to us as a whole. We even intent on having our own launcher with Xsolla’s framework.
Note: All PC storefronts listed here are all considered for games under Affray (SCP: Ascension, Pandemic demo, Foundation Command, etc).
Why isn’t Steam strongly considered anymore for Affray Studios’ titles?
A plethora of reasons. We love Steam as users (for the most part), but as developers, it gets extremely grey. This isn’t even just because of their horrible cut for being purely a digital store – we also worry about being drowned out by Steam’s hit-or-miss algorithm and overall being drowned out by asset flips, other “meh” games under SCP, and alike. The other PC stores allow us to stick out from the crowd a lot more and to be discovered as ourselves without the worry of the typecast the others may cast onto us.
Definitely not ignoring Steam’s anti-indie revenue split, as they only lower their 30% take if your game exceeds $10mil in earnings and another cutdown after $50mil. If not for the egregious cut it is for Steam just being a digital storefront without hardware like PSN or Xbox Live that require to recoup of costs, just the sheer hit on morale it brings on us to support that. Hence why we are focusing on other stores for now unless Steam really takes a hard look at itself, improves quality control, lower their awful cut for non-AAA income, and more control of the actual store pages. Other storefronts have more to offer here, hence why we aren’t taking Steam as seriously for the time being. We would love to be on Steam, so-long as they become fairer to smaller creators.
What are you going to do to ensure the community isn’t divided by the different PC storefronts?
Well, with the power of beautiful things like GOG Galaxy 2.0 and Epic Online Services, we have free and amazing solutions for cross-play, de-fracturing of storefronts, and alike while still having the individual benefits if each storefront in addition.
Small Q&A segment for this:
Q: Will I need an Epic Games account for Epic Online Services?
Nope. We aim to have our own website as an option (Xsolla, likely.) in addition to options like PC store accounts, Google, Twitter, Nintendo, PSN, Microsoft, and alike. You can practically use whatever the hell you want to get started with EOS and it’s functionality.
Q: Who can manage information utilized by Epic Online Services?
No data is sent to Epic Games unless you opt-in when in need of support beyond our ability of the moment – as well as the account data if you use an Epic Games account, only we can manage it otherwise. We will also never have access to your personal info outside of your identifiers (username, IP, hardware info, and alike), but this is mostly for summarized data, support ticketing, and anti-cheat. No bullshit.
Q: What other games utilize this service thus far?
Examples thus far are Fortnite, Dauntless, Spellbreak, and several others still in development.
We will also be using mod.io in alternation to Steamworks Workshop. This enables cross-store and (possibly) console mod support.
How will you get out there if you aren’t relying on Steam’s algorithm?
Our plans are always forged without reliance on third parties in mind. Our focus is to broaden our scope so whichever route we have to take will be maximized to its potential.
Are you guys willing to take a PC storefront co-exclusivity deal?
It honestly depends. We aren’t gonna outright refuse or go all-in to the idea for the time being until the option is fully presented itself by Epic Games. We intend to only accept this idea if we were able to use our custom launcher in addition to the Microsoft Store – which is well within commonality in exclusive titles. we don’t want to force people to use something they absolutely don’t want to use, we feel that’s bad practice. But, when it comes down to it – it’s always long-term actions over short-term. Short-term, an exclusivity deal would make a lot of people dismayed, but long-term, we could get significant funding and more industry contacts for our long-term plans to be carried out more fruitfully. You have to consider the situation of a smaller studio like us with as big of plans as we do.
Every action is always a measurement of risk v. reward – this is a bigger one that we will likely face in the near future. All we ask is to keep an open mind, we will always communicate, build healthy relations within our ability, and make sure you guys are fully in the loop. Choices made for long-term growth and development may get hairy – but we care for the utilitarian approach the most early on to ensure we have what we need early on and being able to move from there into a more “less controversial” way of day-to-day operations; we have to have our footing before we can please everyone.
As commonly stated, we will always be open about our intentions, plans, possibilities, and alike. We never want you guys to be in the dark.
Ew Epic Games, I hate them because of Fornite and Tencent!Things I legitimately hear all the time…
Not too worry, Tencent has no decision pull on Epic Games, Inc. so-long as Epic Games earn money to meet their shares. Stakes =/= decision power onto a company unless you exceed 51% – Tencent has 40%, which means they have no power, only the CEO of Epic, Tim Sweeney, has that form of power. We are not Epic shills or anything of the sort, in fact, some people in the Project Team & Community Team aren’t fond of Epic – but the facts are the facts. Everything else is merely hearsay if that (most of the time). I’m not gonna touch upon objective subjects like exclusivity – it’s not my place to defend or go against that, really. Things like that are purely up to opinions of the people who witness it – there is the reasoning for both sides of it.
I only care about this stuff so-long as people look at things objectively with their heads and not emotion where it isn’t needed. I’ll also leave off with the fact that the Spyware hearsay (allegations) have timelessly been proved false. Epic Games Launcher is pretty garbage for the most part, but time will most certainly let it see improvement.
Let’s just see how things actually unfold, yeah?
Distribution method (PC Stores) w/o having to recompile the game for different store:
We intend on utilizing this method so we can compile one base build for Ascension (and other games) for PC once, then going into Visual Studio to compile application extensions (DLL) that call for specific store API w/ Epic Online Services C++ distributables. For normies, this basically means compiling for individual stores is a few minutes rather than several hours each – very good. This ensures easy(er) cross-play and services so things are able to be healthily managed without an ENORMOUS headache.