Of all the major PC games coming out in February, three will not be sold on Steam. Instead, they’re launching on other PC game stores.
These aren’t small titles either. 4A Games’ Metro Exodus, BioWare’s Anthem, and Sumo Digital’s Crackdown 3 all won’t be available on Steam. For PC, Metro is releasing on the Epic Games Store, while Anthem is launching on EA’s Origin, and Crackdown 3 is releasing on Microsoft’s Windows Store. It’s a trend that will continue throughout 2019. Although February’s Far Cry New Dawn is releasing on Steam, another big Ubisoft game—March’s The Division 2—left Valve’s store and is now scheduled to launch on Epic.
Steam hasn’t been totally left out in February. The store is still getting the aforementioned Far Cry New Dawn, as well as Jump Force, but it’s clear the overall landscape of PC gaming is changing. Steam has held a fairly large monopoly on the PC gaming market for the past decade, but developers’ decision to create their own stores has created unprecedented competition.
Although alternate PC game stores have existed for a while, it really wasn’t until late 2018, and the announcement of the Epic Store, that Steam found itself losing high-profile launches. Epic offers developers a more lucrative split of the profits they might make off of their games—especially if the title is made with Unreal Engine. Other than Metro Exodus and The Division 2, Epic also has the exclusive rights to the PC versions of Journey, Ashen, Hades, the final two episodes of The Walking Dead: The Final Season, and several other games as well. Epic has also changed its refund policy to match Steam’s.
As you might assume, Valve isn’t happy to see plenty of high profile games leave its store. The company described the decision for 4A Games to take Metro Exodus off of Steam and put it onto Epic as «unfair» for Steam’s customers, and one made by the game’s publisher without Valve’s knowledge beforehand.
Anyone who’s previously pre-ordered Metro Exodus on Steam will still be able to play on the platform, but future orders must be done through Epic. That said, the PC version of Metro Exodus is only $50 USD on Epic, as opposed to the previous $60 on Steam.