Epic Games and Koch Media found themselves in the middle of a messy, complicated controversy after it was announced that Metro Exodus would be an Epic Games Store exclusive title two months ago. It's a move that Valve evidently hadn't expected, as the digital distribution platform had been actively collecting pre-orders for Metro Exodus on Steam. The sudden exclusivity contract resulted in review bombs for several Metro titles along with conflicting statements from both THQ Nordic, a 4A Games developer, and Koch Media.
At the end of the day, though, it looks like the controversy didn't hurt the initial sales of the game: Metro Exodus sold about 2.5 times the sales of the last Metro title when comparing Epic Games Store sales to Steam, indicating a strong sales launch period on the Epic Games Store. The actual sales number this represents has not been revealed, but it's sounding like Koch Media's decision to sign with Epic Games may have been a good one after all.
It's still early days for the new digital storefront, but the positive sales news surrounding the controversial title is a good indicator for other developers who have been snapped up by the exclusive-hungry Epic Games. Steve Allison, the head of the Epic Games Store itself, reacted to the sales news by pitching a statement directly to developers:
"It's really about the games, not the store you sell on. We're super stoked to see this result, and one thing we can say for certain is Epic Games Store is sure to make many hundreds of millions of dollars for our development partners this year."
For its part, Deep Silver had stated that "generous revenue terms" were a key factor in the exclusivity deal. This is the real game-changing number for developers: Steam takes a steep 30% revenue cut from developers, whereupon the Epic Games Store only takes a 12% cut. If the latter has enough active users to sustain healthy sales, the ability for developers to retain 18% more could be make a significant fiscal difference. There's no telling how many sales the game would have garnered had it released on Steam, but both Koch Media and Epic Games will likely be happy with what is being touted as a highly successful launch.
The Epic Games Store has also running promotions to encourage growth of its userbase, releasing a free game every two weeks or so in an effort to draw in users. Subnautica was downloaded 4.5 million times while it was free, and current freebie Slime Rancher looks like it'll beat that download count by the time its free run is up. It'll be interesting to see if Valve changes any of its commercial practices to thwart off the encroaching competition, or if Metro Exodus' early success on the Epic Games Store was an exception rather than a standard.
Metro Exodus is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: Games Industry