In a good move considering the controversy that Epic Games Store exclusivity can kick up, Epic’s Time Sweeney has stated that the company will cover any refunds for dissatisfied backers of Shenmue III and any other crowdfunded games that go exclusive to EGS.
When future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores, we’ll either coordinate with colleagues at the other stores to ensure key availability in advance, or guarantee refunds at announcement time.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) July 2, 2019
Additionally, Ys Net have stepped away from their previous decision to not offer refunds and have updated backers with a series of options for those affected. If you’d previously picked the PC version as a backer reward, you can now either accept the EGS version of the game, switch to the PS4 version of the game, or wait for the Steam version to be released in one year’s time. Alternatively, you can just get a refund.
There will be a short period of time following this announcement for Ys Net to make changes to the backers survey to let you make changes to any previously submitted choices. For more details on this, head to Kickstarter.
Epic’s policy of securing exclusive games on their store has not been a popular one with many PC gamers, and especially when concerning games that have been crowdfunded. Shenmue III has been the latest game to draw the ire of fans, with developer Ys Net having held a successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2015 and having previously stated that the PC version of the game for backers would be supplied via Steam. An exclusivity deal later and Steam was off the table, frustrating those that don’t want to touch Epic Games Store with a barge pole.
This decision follows a rather confusing set of tweets from Sweeney last week, where he claimed that Steam had a policy of not allowing Steam keys to be distributed for games that would not be available on Steam due to exclusivity deals, and that this “traps” crowdfunded games from going to other stores.
As far as we and our partners can determine, Valve policy prohibits providing Steam keys for games that aren’t going to be available at launch on Steam. This would make it impossible to deliver Steam keys for a game releasing exclusively on Epic at launch.
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) June 23, 2019
This is alluded to by Ys Net, who say that distributing Steam keys now will not happen because of logistical reasons… but I really can’t see what the problem is here. The clause that Sweeney cites simply says that Steam “reserve the right to deny requests for keys or revoke key requesting privileges for partners that are abusing them or disadvantaging Steam customers.” I’d say that effectively selling access to a game on Steam, but withholding it for a year is a disadvantage to Steam customers.