As the Epic Games Store continues to score big names for timed-exclusives, the microscope is firmly situated on Valve and how they've been handling the Steam platform through the years. The culture of Steam has be under fire numerous times in the past, but one ex-Valve employee is speaking up in defense of the Epic Games Store by saying it's fixing what Steam did wrong.
Richard Geldreich took to Twitter with an outpouring of statements about his time with Valve and the current state of PC gaming. "Steam was killing PC gaming. It was a 30% tax on an entire industry," began his Twitter statement in a long series of tweets made about where Steam 'went wrong'. "It was unsustainable. You have no idea how profitable Steam was for Valve. It was a virtual printing press. It distorted the entire company. Epic is fixing this for all gamers."
He added in response to one PC gamer's statement to not support Epic:
It’s not potential spyware, that’s insane. Anyone with procmon and some knowledge can see this. I worked for Valve and believe me they gather huge amounts of data about virtually everything you do with the Steam client. Yet no one calls Steam spyware.— Richard Geldreich (@richgel999) April 5, 2019
If it wasn’t for Epic the entire industry would still be crunching away to support Valve’s 30% revshare. Most of these profits went to a tiny handful of people who could care less about the industry or working conditions. Thank the gaming gods for Epic.— Richard Geldreich (@richgel999) April 5, 2019
Gamers don’t see how incredibly difficult and stressful it is to make these games. Epic has given these creators a chance to strike a better deal. If you don’t support them you are basically hurting the developers who will get stuck under Steam’s thumb.— Richard Geldreich (@richgel999) April 5, 2019
He also added that the previous incentive to go with Steam has dwindled as the digital prices continue to change, and that the Valve-owned client isn't evolving with the market, "Publishers gladly favored Steam vs. retail because they made a lot more money. Today the costs of digital distribution have plummeted and Steam hasn't adjusted. This isn't a competition over features- it's a competition for who gets the privilege of publishing specific releases."
Right now, many of the 'exclusives' seen on the Epic Games Store are simply timed, which means that the titles will eventually make their way back over Steam. Borderlands 3, for example, is a 6-month timed exclusive, meaning that players - should they choose to remain loyal to Steam - could simply wait to play the game then. That being said, the time spent waiting can be frustrating - though that's not limited to PC.
Consoles have seen their fair share of timed exclusives, remember Tomb Raider? Even smaller timed exclusives as seen with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 with premium content seeing the PlayStation 4 a week before everyone else is evident.
Geldreich did a deep dive into the spyware concerns, which can be seen littered throughout his Twitter, though our previous coverage here shows off a different side of the privacy challenges. While Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has mentioned that he "doesn't want" to keep poaching exclusives, it doesn't seem like they are slowing down any time soon so for those with concerns, this sort of insider perspective is valuable.