Fun fact: Several drafts of this article were attempting to ask the quest on whether Epic Games could be trusted, if there was some integrity to Epic Games that we could hang on to as they constantly screw the pooch every few days. The answer is hardly. The only thing that Epic Games has over Steam in terms of anything good is quality control, to which Steam still somehow struggles to do after nearly a decade of trying with Steam Greenlight and Steam Direct, allowing a game where you can literally graphically rape people to be fully purchasable on Steam until it got taken down nearly a month later. At the end of the day, Epic Games has only sought to brutally buy top release exclusives to slam into the Epic Games Storefront. Many people, including myself, had an interest in Epic Games then. If Epic actually decided to bring something to the table to outdo Steam, it’d have a head in the competition and possibly have a broader library while keeping the troll achievement farm games out of its system.
Fast forward to five months, and the Epic Store has yet to have a fucking shopping cart. Epic games has also reportedly leaked millions of users’ credit card info… twice… within the same year…
there were two Epic Forum posts on either case but both have since then been removed as the Epic Forums moved to a different website. Rachel Kaser, a journalist on TNW, made a post about this describing a vulnerability on Fortnite accounts last year.
“Once the fiend accessed the login credentials, they could potentially take over the account, access financial information, and pose as the user online. Startlingly, Check Point’s researchers apparently found this exploit also allowed an attacker to “listen to and record in-game chatter as well as surrounding sounds and conversations within the victim’s home or other location of play.” The risk of credit card theft is particularly alarming. Suddenly that report about the game generating billions in revenue begins to look a bit sinister. The fact that there are so many players in Fortnite spending money makes the game look like a big, juicy target.” (Kaser 1)
While Fortnite is definitely a good attraction for a large audience to buy more games on the Epic Store, with breaking the thick barrier of “Only people who play this game or similar games know this game”
as it took over global popular culture by storm. However, with the lack of security beefing, this has made Epic Games all the more a large target rather than a sense of brand pride.
Epic hasn’t done anything to strengthen its storefront either. It’s literally missing a Shopping Cart, something that webstores since the 90s have had. Promising a road map… for a storefront. A roadmap. For a storefront. You get why this is just silly? Why didn’t Epic plan any of this while they were trying to buy off every PC game in the market? Furthermore, if players buy too many games in a quick succession, their account gets disabled. Your account disabled. For buying games in quick succession. Because they forgot to add a shopping cart.
You get why this is just silly? Not only have Epic screwed over their customers but the publishers they so proclaim to fight for as well. Most of the sales were involuntary and mostly pre-ordered. Many publishers had temporarily pulled their games out due to the horrid slash of prices. Games like Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, Oxygen Not Included pulled out of the sale immediately when the sale. In response to Paradox pulling Bloodlines 2, Epic simply let it happen. Saying that “If a developer or publisher chooses to not participate in our sales, we will honor that decision. Paradox Interactive has chosen to not participate in the Epic Mega Sale and the game has been temporarily removed from sale” in a Kotaku interview. So Epic lets them leave the storefront to avoid the sale but they won’t let them choose the discount or choose whether or not to be the sale? That makes loads of sense, clearly. Not only that but Bloodlines 2 was still in pre-order and not even coming out until 2020, just think of the amount of money they lost for development because of Epic’s move to force it on sale.
If you still think Epic still cares for the developers, I have some bad news to go with that as well. While Steam has an awful creative control problem and the bottom bin is rampant with achievement farms, at least Steam doesn’t abuse the shit out of their employees with 100 hour workloads and abuse contractors. A couple months ago, Colin Campbell from Polygon was able to investigate Epic Games and how they abuse employees to make Fortnite content. Because the stream of content is endless in an live service, including constant bi-weekly updates to keep the audience engaged, employees have been seen to work 70+ hour work weeks.
“Polygon interviewed current and former employees of Epic, including full-time staff, managers, and contractors working in development, QA, and customer service departments. They all requested that their identities be protected, for fear of retribution from Epic or other employers in the game industry. Epic requires that current and former staff sign nondisclosure agreements limiting their ability to speak about the company’s operations. “I work an average 70 hours a week,” said one employee. “There’s probably at least 50 or even 100 other people at Epic working those hours. I know people who pull 100-hour weeks. The company gives us unlimited time off, but it’s almost impossible to take the time. If I take time off, the workload falls on other people, and no one wants to
be that guy.” (Campbell 1)
Epic Games has created a culture where freedom is possible yet that freedom’s costs rest on the shoulders of your coworkers. So if Epic Games wants to create a storefront that is all pro-developer, why are they psychologically abusing and manipulating their own developers for their own games? Not only that but they see their own contractors and employees as “bodies.”
“Another source said that contractors who declined to work long hours were often replaced. “You’re on a contract. It could be three months, it could be a year. But if you don’t do the extra work, it’s most likely that your contract won’t be renewed.” “All [management] wanted was people who are
disposable,” said a source. “The situation was, ‘Come in and do as many hours as we need you.’ They put the contractors in a situation where if they don’t do that overtime, they know they’re not coming back. “One senior guy would say, ‘Just get more bodies.’ That’s what the contractors were called: bodies. And then when we’re done with them, we can just dispose of them. They can be replaced with fresh people who don’t have the toxic nature of being disgruntled.” (Campbell 1)
Epic not only throws employees in the heat of constant work but they also constantly use contractors as figurative bodies. Not only that but taking care of yourself mentally almost guarantees that you won’t be coming back as a contractor and definitely not hired as an employee. Again, how is Epic Games “for the developer” if they live and breath by employee abuse patterns to stay ahead of the game? That doesn’t seem for the developer to me or to anyone else with a functioning brain.
In case you still had any respect left for Epic Games, saying that they’re still for the consumer, then I’m ready to knock that all down with one last bit of proof. Epic on January 17th of this year already had a security hack that exposed more than 200 million players and their data. This was when they were already pushing the storefront as much as possible. One of the larger and more embarrassing moments for Epic was just a month ago when their own support, when a player requested private information to be sent to them, sent private information to an entirely different and random player. At least they told the player that they did so by accident afterwards, but that random player now has their credit card info, house address and God knows what other private information the account kept. This is what happens when you throw money at other game companies without spending a dime on your own security, they end up making these mistakes and screwing over players and customers.
In conclusion, Epic Games only pretends to be for the developer, for the player, to be the fair, true and just company. Instead of lying and being the regular corrupt megacorp, they seem to be far worse than that. Not only is Epic Games a morally corrupt corporation but the company equivalent to Youtuber RiceGum, a rich kid who throws words and money around wherever he can to race to the next headline. One that only cares about money and status no matter who they throw in harm’s way. Fortnite was a fun game and even used the clever idea of monetizing forged rarity and not lootboxes, yes. But the fact is that Epic has pushed a storefront to take on Steam far before any of it was developed, so all they can do is throw around their money to take as many games as they can, not only frustrating the entire audience involved but looking like a total jackass as more security failures and player data leaks ensue.