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Gearbox CEO Defends Epic Games Store and ‘Borderlands 3’ Exclusivity

Earlier this month, developer Gearbox Software revealed the PC version of its anticipated co-op shooter “Borderlands 3” is coming exclusively to the Epic Games Store. This created some blowback from fans who prefer Valve’s digital storefront Steam. Gearbox founder and CEO Randy Pitchford defending the decision in a lengthy Twitter thread on Saturday (helpfully recreated in this Reddit post), saying competition between stores will be “absolutely best” for consumers, developers, and publishers.

While the Epic Games Store is currently missing some basic features, the company recently shared a roadmap detailing upcoming changes, and Pitchford believes the website will look quite different by the time “Borderlands 3” launches in September. He admitted, though, it’s also possible Epic won’t have the new features ready in time, but he said that’s a risk Gearbox and publisher 2K are willing to take.

“I worked with Valve for many years (20) both as a developer in the ‘Half-Life’ franchise and as a developer and publisher on the Steam platform,” he said. “I have also worked with Epic for about as long, too, as a licensee of their engine and, more recently, as a retail publisher of their game, ‘Fortnite.’ I know a lot about these people and these businesses. From a track record point of view, my expectation is that Epic’s investment in technology will outpace Valve’s substantially. When we look back at Steam in five or ten years, it may look like a dying store and other, competitive stores, will be the place to be.”

Pitchford goes on to say that while the Epic Games Store might not be the industry leader in 10 years, Steam won’t be either, because Epic’s moves right now are opening the door for a more vibrant and competitive economy.

“And so we’re going to swallow the Epic Game Store pill with ‘Borderlands 3,'” he said. “And some of you guys are going to hate it and scream bloody murder and you’ll even blame me, personally, for it. And you can bitch and moan and brigade and stalk my shit, but at the end of the day when we look back at this moment we’ll realize that this was the moment where the digital stores on PC became unmonopolized.”

The Epic Games Store launched in December 2018 with an 88%/12% revenue share model for developers. Valve quickly responded to the new competition by lowering its usual 30% take to 25% for Steam titles that earn more than $10 million. Since then, Epic has scored a number of high-profile PC exclusives, including “Tom Clancy’s The Division 2,” “Metro Exodus,” and “Borderlands 3.”

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