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Epic Games CEO Says it Will Still Sign Exclusivity Deals With Steam Games

Just two weeks after the head of the Epic Game Store and the director of Epic’s publishing strategy said the company would eventually stop courting exclusives, especially ones that were already available for sale on Steam, Epic Games CEO said that’s not the case.

In a series of tweets this week, Tim Sweeney said that since GDC the company had a lot of internal discussions, which apparently lead to a change of opinion.

We’ve had a lot of discussions about this since GDC,” Sweeney said in one tweet in reply to a question about exclusivity and games already being sold on Steam. “Epic is open to continuing to sign funding/exclusivity deals with willing developers and publishers regardless of their previous plans or announcements around Steam.”

During a talk about the Epic Game Store, both the head of Epic Game Store Steve Allison and Joe Kreiner, head of business development for the store, said that the company expected some pushback from the community when it was announced that “Metro: Exodus” — which had been available for pre-order on Steam  — would be pulled from Steam and made an Epic Game Store exclusive. But they said they said they were caught off guard by how bad it got. They also said it was a misstep.

“We will definitely avoid that in the future,” Kreiner said at the time.

Sweeney on Monday said that those comments at the talk “prompted further discussions at Epic. leading to the realization that these calls must be up to developers and publishers, and Epic wouldn’t tell them ‘no’ on account of existing statements made about Steam.”

In terms of Epic Games Store exclusives, Allison said at GDC he doesn’t think the company plans to do that “forever.”

“We will probably do it for a while,” he said. “It’s about pushing the business model and helping (developers) thrive. But at some point, the industry will move down and match us (in terms of Epic’s 12% cut of sales.) At some point, we could go to zero exclusives or very, very few. We definitely won’t be doing it at the scale we’re doing it now.”

It’s unclear if that’s still the case or if opinions have changed on that front too. We’ve reached out to Epic Games for some clarity on his statements.

In another Twitter thread this week about the sort of profit the company is seeing from the store, Sweeney noted that the company’s “up-front investments in exclusives and free games are significant and may exceed net profits from third-party games in 2019.”

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