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Tim Sweeney blames Valve for crowdfunding uproar, claims Steam "traps crowdfunded projects" on their platform

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Tim Sweeney, founder of the mega-popular studio Epic Games, took to Twitter in a dialogue regarding the recent Shenmue III fiasco.

For those unaware, Shenmue III is a crowdfunded game produced by Ys Net. At E3 2019’s PC Gaming Show, Ys Net announced that Shenmue III would be launching on the Epic Games Store, instead of the previously announced Steam platform. Many backers were aggravated at the bait-and-switch, with no option to receive a Steam key, nor a refund.

Sweeney revealed an alleged Steam policy discovered through partner discussions, “Valve policy prohibits providing Steam keys for games that aren’t going to be available at launch on Steam.”

Furthermore, Sweeney criticizes the policy, “Steam policy change traps crowdfunded projects into either launching on Steam for 30% or offering backers refunds.”

He further clarifies, “By “traps”, I just mean: requires that the game be distributed on Steam, ruling out any funding opportunity associated with exclusivity or preferential terms that might “disadvantage Steam customers””

Finally, when inquired about the fairness behind paying for exclusivity, Sweeney states “Valve has every right to make deals with developers and publishers to secure more exclusives, just as Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Epic Games do!”

What are your thoughts on the matter? If Valve truly has a policy prohibiting keys for non-launch titles, would you agree that Steam is "trapping crowdfunded projects"?

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He is basically whining about how developers can't abuse Steam's platform and customers while also getting paid handsomely to "exclusively" release the title on another platform so it's only available for purchase on that platform, and not on Steam. Although going by recent reveals about the "exclusivity contracts" are all about timed "non-Steam exclusivity" (e.g. developers are free to release on other platforms as long as they don't release on Steam), there's even less weight in his words.

Quote

"Stop it Steam! We want to pay developers to keep away from your platform, while you're also supposed to lay down and take it, and grant developers Steam keys to hand out to some customers (so they don't whine!), all while denying the rest of the Steam community an option to purchase the game on Steam! Why don't you want to help us by paying the infrastructure costs of those few customers for free, while we pay the developers handsomely to try and pouch your customers away from your platform, by keeping the game away from your user base for a while? Let us help ourselves by exploiting your platform!"

Sweeney should be well aware right now that Steam does not take any cut at all from sales of Steam keys. They haven't done so for years, and this policy of not providing Steam keys to games unavailable for purchase on the Steam store is not new. The revenue generated from Steam keys goes 100% to the developers (and any possible offsite retailer that might be involved). Steam gets 0% of that money.

This is why his whole "complaint" is baseless and misleading as hell. Of course Steam won't provide any Steam keys for games that don't intend to be available for purchase on the platform. Doing so would be a net loss for Steam. The only reason why Metro Exodus purchases on the Steam store was "honored" was because those customers had already bought the game on Steam and so Steam had received their 30% cut.

Color me shocked that a digital distribution platform would deny requests for keys they wouldn't see any money from, as the alternative would see them provide operational costs etc for those users for free on their platform... Or maybe not...

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4 hours ago, Mastan said:

they all have been released in GOG from the very start.

Yeah, this is immidiately what I was thinking. Almost all things I have backed have promised at least GOG.com and Steam key, earlier they promised Steam key as long as the game was greenlit 😛 

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All I can think of when reading this, and including all the stuff Tim's said recently, he's either high or doing what he perceives to be damage control. This sort of behavior is not sane.

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Anyone who's still believing anything this guy says needs their heads examined. Whenever someone criticizes him with legitimate complains he ignores them or spurts the usual "30 O/o bAD; EpIc GOoD" BS. His Twitter is full of that.

Then (as a CEO of a major company) he also thinks it's funny to put "Devil in Disguise" into his Twitter info and when someone asks he says "iTs a ReDdIT jOkE" (the guys at r/fuckepic gave him that user flair btw on which he is a living joke himself).

And then there's also the fact that he doesn't seem to have an opinion of his own, constantly changing his mind on things. In 3 years going from "Microsoft tries to build a monopoly and it's bad" to "I'll build a monopoly". Check this for more examples:

https://www.reddit.com/r/TimCriticizesTim/

Like man the cringe I experience whenever this guy says something it's UNREAL, Bobby Kotick deserves more respect from me simply because he stays quiet.

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15 hours ago, Oxion3 said:

Bobby Kotick deserves more respect from me simply because he stays quiet.

Say what you want about him, but you can't deny that he revolutionized the company.  It was his idea to reboot old IPs like Pitfall the Mayan Adventure, which was one of the first major games to get a computer port that wasn't a joke.

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Valve is not "trapping" crowd funded projects into a Steam release. If a developer starts a crowdfunding effort for their game then they are allowed to choose where to promise for you to play the game. If they promise a Steam release then it's their own fault if they don't like it later but no one trapped them. If you don't want to do what you said then you have a problem with honesty, not with digital game stores.

Additionally there's no reason to expect Valve to allow a game on Steam when it's not being sold there as well. Steam isn't a public service or utility and I don't believe that it should be either. The worst part is that you can bet that Tim Sweeny is fully aware of all this and is either just letting his mouth run without thinking or he's deliberately trying to mislead anyone too dumb to see through the nonsense that he's spouting.

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On 6/27/2019 at 8:45 PM, MichaelNorth said:

Valve is not "trapping" crowd funded projects into a Steam release. If a developer starts a crowdfunding effort for their game then they are allowed to choose where to promise for you to play the game. If they promise a Steam release then it's their own fault if they don't like it later but no one trapped them. If you don't want to do what you said then you have a problem with honesty, not with digital game stores.

Additionally there's no reason to expect Valve to allow a game on Steam when it's not being sold there as well. Steam isn't a public service or utility and I don't believe that it should be either. The worst part is that you can bet that Tim Sweeny is fully aware of all this and is either just letting his mouth run without thinking or he's deliberately trying to mislead anyone too dumb to see through the nonsense that he's spouting.

I definitely agree with this. Hosting game files isn't free, and I don't think Valve should have to host games that aren't being sold on the platform.

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