Game Review Random

The Epic store’s way forward, on how the Wool King grew up


About EPIC, two very interesting things happened last week.

First, the Unreal 5 engine is finally available for the first time. The demo that blessed with the latest global illumination and virtual polygon technology is believed to impress many players. Especially not long ago, Ubisoft announced the “Assassin’s Creed: Heroes’ Palace” which will be released on the host of the next era, comparing the quality of the two, and the difference is more than one “watchdog” level, so eat melon The masses expressed their unconsciousness.

Another thing is even more interesting, just last Friday, the Epic store opened a limited time free collection of “GTA5” Deluxe Edition. As an entertaining entertainment event, a large number of enthusiastic players poured into the Epic store, and huge traffic once paralyzed Epic’s servers. Later, this part of the “Bai Yan” players couldn’t help but feel the inexpressible excitement in their hearts, and rushed to the Steam platform to brush “praise”. As a result, the “Baishen Zhenshuang Party” and “I am a stupid party” occupied the entire game review area, and the contradiction between players once again rose to the contradiction between platforms.

However, I do n’t want to analyze the grievances between the two game platforms Steam and Epic today, but want to simply talk about the Epic store, how this “Wool King” has taken a unique path in the game market.

Divided into, exclusive, low-cost, trinity of attack

From the beginning of the official launch of the Epic store, its owner Tim Sweeney has always emphasized that he wants to change the entire pattern of the game retail industry through reasonable platform division. When platforms such as Steam, App Store, and Amazon still comply with the traditional 37-70 ratio, Epic has given developers a 88% distribution ratio.

Even before the launch of the Epic platform, V had adjusted the Steam platform to maintain a 15-year distribution agreement. When the sales of game manufacturers reached 10 million US dollars, the platform’s cost would be reduced from the initial 30% to 25%. When it reaches more than US $ 50 million, the platform’s cost will be further reduced by 5%. However, after the Epic store officially announced the ultra-low draw, this method of abandoning the car was still condemned by some small developers. They believed that the so-called reduction in draw was not painful for developers with fewer sales. No itchy, the reason why V agency does this is nothing more than to please large game manufacturers. For a time, the year-round “waiting for the wind and the wind” was pushed to the cusp of public opinion. However, this is only the beginning.

Before long, the chain reaction began to ferment. On January 29, 2019, the pre-order “Metro: Departure”, which had been pre-ordered on the Steam platform for half a year, suddenly issued a statement that the publisher Shenzhen Silver had reached an agreement with Epic, and then directly “defected” “At the Epic store. From this beginning, Epic’s exclusive strategy officially kicked off. Subsequently, dozens of masterpieces including “Borderless 3”, “Control”, “Sammu 3” and so on were officially announced that they will exclusively occupy the Epic store for half a year to a year before they will land on other platforms.

Unlike consoles monopolizing their own IP games, Epic’s business strategy is more like “buying” game monopoly. Digital Bros, the parent company of 505 Games, the publisher of “Control”, mentioned in its 2019 financial report that Epic paid them 9.49 million euros for the “Control” exclusive agreement, of which 55% went to 505 Games. Coincidentally, another game exclusive to Epic, “Phoenix Point”, was also revealed. The revenue from the exclusive fee alone reached 2.25 million US dollars, which also allowed the game to successfully realize the profit before it was released.

In response to these two unusual business strategies, some people believe that Epic is to destroy the entire industry model, and by burning money, it wants to break the net with the biggest competitor Steam. In fact, in March 2019, in an interview with foreign media MSV, Tim Sweeney talked about his views on the existing game retail industry. He believes that players find that the ultimate carrier of new games is not from the platform store but from development This is why Epic has included support developer plans for the operation of the gaming platform. Developers have received far more attention than any platform. In China and South Korea, the distribution of games is social, such as WeChat, QQ, KakaoTalk rather than any platform storefront. Just as they experienced the twists and turns in the development of “Fortress Night”, we should not apply the business model of Steam and App Store to the final EPIC store.

Therefore, the above-mentioned “divided” and “exclusive” combined punches are actually not “sao operations” that are released to destroy the entire game market, as the outside world analyzes. Obviously, they are prepared. Through low-cost extraction, some high-quality developers are stationed on their platforms to expand the game market of the entire platform, and then some large game manufacturers are impressed by huge exclusive fees, forcing core players to make choices. For core players, the one-year monopoly time is obviously too long, and once one platform is selected, the possibility of secondary consumption on another platform will gradually decrease.

After getting the developers and core players, the next step is even simpler, through “low price” and “free games” to attract a lot of traffic, expand the influence of the Epic store in the game market, so as to divide the original market of Steam Share. According to Epic official data released in January this year, last year the Epic store sent a total of 73 free games with a total value of more than $ 1455. So far, this number has increased to 108 models, with a total value of more than 2140 US dollars. Even though there have been episodes that lock the country, it is too much to send, many players who originally contradicted the platform can only shout “true fragrance” now. At the same time, in order to counter the impact of Steam Summer Promotion, Epic Store also launched its own epic sale. While all games share discounts, an additional unlimited $ 10 discount volume is also provided, creating an unprecedented marketing model of “doll”. That is, once the discount coupon is used, players can receive it again, forming an infinite loop of discount offers.

For players who have long been used to Steam’s fixed discounts, this kind of discount is undoubtedly more attractive. Take “Underland 3”, which was not yet available at the time, as an example. The price of the regular version was originally $ 59.99. Due to the low price zone, the country area was only sold for $ 39.99, plus a half-price special and a $ 10 discount. Counting this, the 3A masterpiece that has not yet been released actually costs only $ 9.99. The low price brings huge flow, and the obvious blood loss price brings the “torrent”. Three days after the opening of the epic sale, “Borderless 3” officially issued an announcement to temporarily withdraw from the sale and then re-launch it.

Conclusion

Judging from the data currently released by Epic, 108 million platform users and 680 million US dollars in sales are indeed a success. However, for Epic, Steam is still a huge challenge. On the one hand, due to the adjustment of Steam distribution policy, the platform has been continuously revised, and some big game manufacturers have begun to return. Including Microsoft, EA, and Bethesda all landed their games on the Steam platform last year, to a certain extent, breaking the barriers between the various gaming platforms and weakening the dominant power of Epic’s exclusive strategy. As a result, the number of Epic exclusive games dropped sharply this year, from less than 30 last year to less than 10.

On the other hand, the imperfect function of the Epic store itself will also become a potential fatal injury. Compared with Steam, the lack of relevant communities, user reviews, creative workshops, and card system will not only reduce the player’s viscosity, but also greatly reduce the player’s experience. Although in essence, players are playing games rather than platforms, but under the trend of declining monopoly, the advantage of user loyalty will be magnified infinitely. After all, a player who can stand a year of loneliness, and then backhand: “Epic you are stupid, Lord can afford it”, there are many players.

As far as the current domestic game market is concerned, 50% to 50% and 6 to 4% have become the norm in the industry, so the Epic store’s 12% bonus is very attractive to many developers. However, due to the invitation system adopted by the Epic platform, many domestic game manufacturers can only sigh. If you can gather this part of the game manufacturers to open up the domestic game market, it may be an unexpected shortcut for the Epic store. Especially as early as the end of 2018, Epic raised a new round of financing of US $ 1.25 billion. Whether it is “薅 毛” or cooperation with small and medium-sized game companies, Epic can easily put on a “not bad money” appearance .

Author: Black Cat
Source: Game Tea House
Original address: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/n_HDfjFQVgidnz0OV_FVcQ

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