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Valve Adds New Clause to Steam Distribution Agreement, Could Block Epic Store Exclusivity

Helios

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Update
YouTuber SidAlpha posted a video, as a follow up to his earlier work on Steam’s “update” to their policies. In the new video, he states three sperate people informed him that the terms others had reported as “new” had been present for a long time.

SidAlpha then states he has a copy of the agreement from 2017, obtained via a Steam developer account “that may or may not exist.” The agreement from 2017 still has the same segment as mentioned below.

Continuing, SidAlpha states the terms would mean games such as Metro Exodus and Shenmue III would be in violation of the terms. As to why Valve has taken no action in those cases, SidAlpha proposes it may be Valve’s legal team are unaware of the clause (citing Valve’s allegedly unmanaged style of operation), or Valve choosing not to pursue it (due to not caring or fearing negative PR).







Steam has updated its terms for developers and publishers to seemingly ban them from announcing the game for the platform, only to back out later for exclusivity on another platform.

The news comes from an alleged screenshot (via Reddit) of Steam’s terms of service for those who wish to sell a game through their Steamworks program. The thing to make note of is the first segment of section 2 – Delivery (2.1).


“Delivery. Company shall submit the Applications to Steam for release no later than the first commercial release of each Application or Localized Version, or, if already commercially released as of the Effective Date, within (30) days of the Effective Date. Thereafter, Company shall submit to Steam any Localized Versions and Application Updates (in beta and final form) when available, but in no event later than they are provided to any other third party for commercial release. Company shall provide these copies in object code form, in whatever format Valve reasonably requests.”
In short, once a company has agreed to “deliver” their game to Steam for launch – the files must be submitted to Steam before it’s release (or 30 days after). Updates must also never happen later than on other platforms.

The new terms are most likely to counter the recent trend of games being announced on Steam, only to be later pulled for an exclusive release on the Epic Games Store. This has occurred with titles including Shenmue III, Anno 1800, and Metro Exodus (the latter even prompting a response from the series creator).

Others have rejected the Epic Games Store’s exclusivity offer outright, including Bandai Namco, Microsoft, and indie developer Unfold Games– going as far as to say pulling Darq from Steam for Epic Games Store exclusivity would ruin their credibility.
 
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Generic

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Not necessarily. Should anyone push updates for his game elsewhere, the patch should be simultaneously released on Steam as well.

Good on Valve. This forced Epic exclusivity was killing PC gaming.
This sounds like a very selfish move, considering most developers release patches for non-Steam platforms later. They are basically punishing the few developers who prefer other platforms.

Also not sure what you meant with "forced exclusivity". Nobody is forced to release games on the EGS.
 

Dontero

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Not necessarily. Should anyone push updates for his game elsewhere, the patch should be simultaneously released on Steam as well.

Good on Valve. This forced Epic exclusivity was killing PC gaming.
Good Valve now rest of folks like Discord store, gog, etc will have to eat shit just because they can't compete with Epic.

How to know if someone is monopoly ?
Monopolist likes to throw their weight around and force other stores to follow their rules.

Now let us see if Valve will use their position to force console developers to release their game patches and dlc same way for PC players. Oh wait they won't.

This is the same kind of bullshit Epic had to deal with when they announced they will take 20% off of every game thhey have out of their own pocket. Developers scurried away because they had signed deals with other stores that disallows selling their games at lower price elsewhere regardless if that is due to store promotion or not.

The answer is clear. We need 5 more Epic like stores so the competition will root out that bullshit.
 
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Generic

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This is the same kind of bullshit Epic had to deal with when they announced they will take 20% off of every game thhey have out of their own pocket. Developers scurried away because they had signed deals with other stores that disallows selling their games at lower price elsewhere regardless if that is due to store promotion or not.
Is this for real? Source?

If i recall MS did something very similar for indies releasing first on other platforms and it...err...it didnt work out very well.
The dark ages of X360 indies.
 
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Helios

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Also not sure what you meant with "forced exclusivity". Nobody is forced to release games on the EGS.
Epic is literally forcing indie developers to release it as an exclusive or not at all on their platform.
 
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This sounds like a very selfish move, considering most developers release patches for non-Steam platforms later. They are basically punishing the few developers who prefer other platforms.
Shouldn't everyone get update patches. That sounds selfish and stupid to not support the game where it was sold.
 
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-Arcadia-

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That seems completely fair.

If you announce for Steam, and then publicize it everywhere, you should deliver. I’m hard-pressed to think of any other industry where this kind of behavior wouldn’t be forbidden by contract, and subject to a lawsuit.
 

Mattyp

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Epic is literally forcing indie developers to release it as an exclusive or not at all on their platform.
He's point still stands, no one is forced to release a game on egs. Steam fanatics act like Epic is home invading developers with a gun to their head. You want the bonus money? You give us exclusivity its pretty simple.
 

FranXico

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The dark ages of X360 indies.
He's referring to early XOne days. It didn't work out at first, because MS had lost market dominance then. Now, it doesn"t seem to matter anymore, enough indies go to MS first anyway.
 

Lanrutcon

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This is exactly NOT what people wanted. Well done Steam, for once again not having any idea about what’s going on or what players want. Stay classy.
Uh. Speak for yourself? The new clause means that if a game is announced for Steam they can't pull out at the 11th hour. That's a good thing. Devs are still welcome to run with Epic, but now they have to be up front about it.
 

o'dium

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Uh. Speak for yourself? The new clause means that if a game is announced for Steam they can't pull out at the 11th hour. That's a good thing. Devs are still welcome to run with Epic, but now they have to be up front about it.
Take it you’re not an Xbox fan? Microsoft did the same sort of thing with Xbox, where a game couldn’t release later on Xbox without exclusive content. It sounds like a good move, but guess what happened?

Nobody released stuff on Xbox.

So yeah, this isn’t what the whole EGS thing was supposed to change.
 

o'dium

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This is EXACTLY what PC gamers want. Stop pretending you're a PC gamer. Nobody likes to see the game advertised on Steam just for the developer/publisher to pull out.
Pretending I’m a PC gamer? I’m a PC developer haha, but I do o lot have a 2080ti, is that better than a 960? Not sure.

The problem is what I’ve outlined above, games are skipping steam because EGS is financially better for them. All this is going to do, is force devs to not announce it for steam AT ALL.

Hell, I hate it when a game gets announced for a platform, but then they pull out. Likewise I hate it when it’s blatantly obvious a game will come to a platform but they go radio silent.

Sadly, this will just make devs not release anything. You don’t force hands like this.
 

Generic

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Shouldn't everyone get update patches. That sounds selfish and stupid to not support the game where it was sold.
Ideally, yes. But a lot of developers support the Steam version first (just ask any GoG user, some games there don't even receive uptades).

That seems completely fair.

If you announce for Steam, and then publicize it everywhere, you should deliver. I’m hard-pressed to think of any other industry where this kind of behavior wouldn’t be forbidden by contract, and subject to a lawsuit.
I'm more concerned about Steam not allowing developers to release uptades in other platforms first. If devs can choose to prioritize Steam, why can't them choose to prioritize other platforms?

He's referring to early XOne days. It didn't work out at first, because MS had lost market dominance then. Now, it doesn"t seem to matter anymore, enough indies go to MS first anyway.
Interesting. Although MS was pretty abusive during the X360 era.
 
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Helios

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He's point still stands, no one is forced to release a game on egs.
His point doesn't stand because he misunderstood what GrayChild GrayChild was talking about when he said "forced exclusivity".
You want the bonus money? You give us exclusivity its pretty simple.
They didn't want the bonus money that comes with exclusivity. They just wanted the game available on more platforms. But the platform that puffs it's chest and claims that multiple store-front releases are good for the industry doesn't actually want that.
 

Lanrutcon

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Take it you’re not an Xbox fan? Microsoft did the same sort of thing with Xbox, where a game couldn’t release later on Xbox without exclusive content. It sounds like a good move, but guess what happened?

Nobody released stuff on Xbox.

So yeah, this isn’t what the whole EGS thing was supposed to change.
Naw, I'm a tourist in console land, but those two things don't sound the same. Steam isn't asking for extra exclusivity: it's asking developers to follow through on their promises. They're still welcome to release on Epic as well.

Oh wait. Epic won't allow that, since they DO want forced exclusivity.

I don't see how Steam is at fault here.
 

o'dium

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Naw, I'm a tourist in console land, but those two things don't sound the same. Steam isn't asking for extra exclusivity: it's asking developers to follow through on their promises. They're still welcome to release on Epic as well.

Oh wait. Epic won't allow that, since they DO want forced exclusivity.

I don't see how Steam is at fault here.
I get that, but if you promise something and can’t go back on that promise, you have to deliver. If you don’t say anything, nothing has to happen.

That’s the problem I see with this. It will just make people not announce anything for steam at all, because it’s not 100% it will go there.

What steam should be doing is lowering the prices or the 30% take. The 30% take is already too high IMO for a storefront.
 

demigod

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Pretending I’m a PC gamer? I’m a PC developer haha, but I do o lot have a 2080ti, is that better than a 960? Not sure.

The problem is what I’ve outlined above, games are skipping steam because EGS is financially better for them. All this is going to do, is force devs to not announce it for steam AT ALL.

Hell, I hate it when a game gets announced for a platform, but then they pull out. Likewise I hate it when it’s blatantly obvious a game will come to a platform but they go radio silent.

Sadly, this will just make devs not release anything. You don’t force hands like this.
That is not what your first post implied and you know it. This is a good move by Valve.
 
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TheCockatrice

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Pretending I’m a PC gamer? I’m a PC developer haha, but I do o lot have a 2080ti, is that better than a 960? Not sure.

The problem is what I’ve outlined above, games are skipping steam because EGS is financially better for them. All this is going to do, is force devs to not announce it for steam AT ALL.

Hell, I hate it when a game gets announced for a platform, but then they pull out. Likewise I hate it when it’s blatantly obvious a game will come to a platform but they go radio silent.

Sadly, this will just make devs not release anything. You don’t force hands like this.
Still not so sure you know the Steam/PC platform that well. Common sense and facts dictate that games are financially doing great on Steam just as they would on Epic Store if they got the big fornite cash. Are all games doing great? No of course not. But that issue would also come up on EGS if they had over 10k games BUT at least Steam has amazing features like steam labs that can recommend you games you would not normally notice. "Devs wont release anything" is quite the hyperbole.
 
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Lanrutcon

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I get that, but if you promise something and can’t go back on that promise, you have to deliver. If you don’t say anything, nothing has to happen.

That’s the problem I see with this. It will just make people not announce anything for steam at all, because it’s not 100% it will go there.

What steam should be doing is lowering the prices or the 30% take. The 30% take is already too high IMO for a storefront.
Ah, ok. I see your point now. That's fair. I do think that this was the natural step forward in a world of contracts and corporations.

So now I guess developers need to make the call: will the game sell well? Steam and wherever else. Need to make sure that there's a minimum return? Epic exclusive. Won't really affect the big boys since they sell on name alone, but the little guys will have some serious thinking to do.
 

-Arcadia-

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I'm more concerned about Steam not allowing developers to release uptades in other platforms first. If devs can choose to prioritize Steam, why can't them choose to prioritize other platforms?
That’ll be up to the other platforms to include legal language that ensures they’re treated equally as well.

In the end, you’ll end up with games getting on-the-spot timely updates, no matter which store you’re on. To my understanding, this requires no extra work on the part of the developer, as the game files are all the same regardless of storefront, so that seems like it would be a really positive thing for gamers.
 
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thelastword

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This sounds like a very selfish move, considering most developers release patches for non-Steam platforms later. They are basically punishing the few developers who prefer other platforms.

Also not sure what you meant with "forced exclusivity". Nobody is forced to release games on the EGS.
Well if they prefer other platforms, these platforms should take care of them then.

I think steam just want games to go to all platforms. In that scenario all PC gamers win.... You can purchase your game on any platform of choice or even purchase the same game on multiple platforms, in that scenario the dev wins too...
 

Dargor

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Epic is literally forcing indie developers to release it as an exclusive or not at all on their platform.
Video footage of said devs as they were forced to sign the deal just surfaced

 
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Rya.Reisender

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Not being allowed to pull out seems to be a good thing, but I'm not sure about having to push updates on Steam first. There should be some kind of grace period like "Not later than 3 days after the first update".

Also, generally I'd wish all games would be available on all stores, so people could actually choose the store based the service it provides rather than "If you want the game you have to buy it here".

Imagine a food store had exclusivity on bananas. There would definitely be an outrage here. I always wonder why nobody ever complains about Steam.
 
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The_Mike

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Pretending I’m a PC gamer? I’m a PC developer haha, but I do o lot have a 2080ti, is that better than a 960? Not sure.
PC developer, but doesn't know the difference between a 960 or a 2080ti.

I call extremely bullshit. If not, please tell me the name of the studio, so I can avoid the unoptimized mess of games you put out.
 

o'dium

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Hello, I would like to welcome you to todays lesson in "sarcasm". Please, take a seat over here. :messenger_beermugs:

EDIT: Man, sarcasms is lacking on the forums right now, huh? You all better stay away from the UK, good lord, you would be eaten alive old beans.
 
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The_Mike

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Not being allowed to pull out seems to be a good thing, but I'm not sure about having to push updates on Steam first. There should be some kind of grace period like "Not later than 3 days after the first update".
This would be crucial for online games, as you won't be able to connect to the server.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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"If you advertise and claim you want to release on our platform, then you should release that product on our platform"

It makes perfect sense. Valve seems to be trying to preserve the "storefront" model (as opposed to "yet another stupid exclusive launcher" model). You don't tell the store you're going to release a product on it only to pull the game last-minute. Epic Game Store is mooching off the notoriety of Steam for their own benefit by snagging indies who've been advertising to Steam's significantly larger customer base. From Valve's perspective, why would you let your storefront be an advertising front for games that are going to sign deals with your competitors?
 

Hudo

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"If you advertise and claim you want to release on our platform, then you should release that product on our platform"

It makes perfect sense. Valve seems to be trying to preserve the "storefront" model (as opposed to "yet another stupid exclusive launcher" model). You don't tell the store you're going to release a product on it only to pull the game last-minute. Epic Game Store is mooching off the notoriety of Steam for their own benefit by snagging indies who've been advertising to Steam's significantly larger customer base. From Valve's perspective, why would you let your storefront be an advertising front for games that are going to sign deals with your competitors?
Well, one could argue that Steam is not a storefront but a stupid exclusive launcher already, as it gates your access to the games you've bought. But your point still stands. I wouldn't be a fan of advertising a competitive launcher on my launcher as well.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Well, one could argue that Steam is not a storefront but a stupid exclusive launcher already, as it gates your access to the games you've bought. But your point still stands. I wouldn't be a fan of advertising a competitive launcher on my launcher as well.
iTunes allowed one to rip their own music to the service, but the software was still required for upload to an iPod or similar device.

Steam has countless de facto exclusives but as far as I know none of them are required to stay on Steam alone. The major draw -- like iTunes -- is that Steam offers an audience and a suite of tools above and beyond the game purchased. Other platforms are fully capable of imitating those features and offering better ones.
 

Dontero

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Is this for real? Source?
ARTICLE on it

Basically Epic wanted to take 20% off from any purchase (yes even new games so 60$ game = 40$ game). Developer would get full 60$ - store cut. So both user and developers should be happy. This cause developers to delist their games from Epic store.
 

GrayChild

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I want to clarify on my previous points.

1. No one is against any game being published on EGS or any storefront outside Steam. A lot of people (me included) are just upset at the numerous bait-and-switch cases where the game is being advertised on Steam, after which it disappears without prior notice (usually just a couple of weeks before its intended release date) just so that it becomes a temporary EGS exclusive. And all because of Tim's moneyhatting.

2. Every developer is free to ditch Steam in favor of any other store. Of course that means less exposure and I can't think of much cases where the developer has willingly chosen to tie their title to a lesser known launcher with significantly smaller userbase.

An exception to that rule would be Borderlands 3 which (if I'm not mistaken) was directly announced as a temporary Epic store exclusive. However, it doesn't even have a Steam page and does not use Valve's services for free advertising and support so it's a fair game.

3. The 70 vs 88 percent revenue explanation is total bullshit. If that was the sole reason for all temporary exclusives, why not go with Discord which provides 90% cut:

https://blog.discordapp.com/why-not-90-10-3761ebef4eab

Right, no moneyhatting on their end.

Another very important thing to note is that Valve still allows any developer to generate an unlimited amount of Steam keys which can be sold through any other reseller (i.e. HumbleBundle) without any of the funds going to Valve. Those greedy monopolists.

Helios Helios has already covered the topic of forced exclusivity

Epic is literally forcing indie developers to release it as an exclusive or not at all on their platform.
If Tim was so anti-monopoly driven and advocating for fair treatment of all developers, he could've allowed for any of the EGS exclusives to be distributed through other storefronts like GOG, Itch.io etc.

Finally, I don't think Valve needs to lower their price cut. After all they still have the best infrastructure and feature-rich client in the industry. Needless to say, its development and maintenance is not cheap:



Don't forget that Epic still haven't implemented even a simple forum system, so everyone uses Steam for technical support questions. Below are just two examples (Control and Metro: Exodus):

https://steamcommunity.com/app/870780/discussions/0/
https://steamcommunity.com/app/412020/discussions/

If I were Gabe, I'd be severely pissed off at everyone who spits in the face of both the company and its userbase but still relies on their infrastructure and store features.
 
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Apexhell

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The bait and switch is fucking bullshit. specifically kickstarters that I backed years ago which promised steam keys, opened up steam store pages only to then come out and say naa fam we took a check from epic, so now we are switching platforms. to a platform that lacks so many god damn features.
 

Shifty

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I'm surprised it took them this long, to be honest. Epic have been publicly embarrasing them with all of these last-minute title snatchings.

I almost want to see them double down and introduce clauses like "your game must ship on Steam in order to make use of SteamVR" to further curtail any cases of Epic leaning on Steam for free functionality, but that would be a loss for SteamVR as a whole since its openness is one of the best things about it.
 

Kadayi

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I get that, but if you promise something and can’t go back on that promise, you have to deliver. If you don’t say anything, nothing has to happen.

That’s the problem I see with this. It will just make people not announce anything for steam at all, because it’s not 100% it will go there.

What steam should be doing is lowering the prices or the 30% take. The 30% take is already too high IMO for a storefront.
What the cunt with the 30‰ BS still? Its a sliding scale. The more you sell the less you pay.


As for what Valve are doing here. Epic has basically been trawling Steam for upcoming games and blatantly been pilfering the top ones, often to the annoyance of the customer base. This move seems entirely appropriate tbh. If you want that EGS money then you need to tie your flag to them from the beginning and forego any free advertising on Steam.
 
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Shifty

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That’s the problem I see with this. It will just make people not announce anything for steam at all, because it’s not 100% it will go there.
Why is that a problem? If a title doesn't get a lengthy pre-release lead-up on Steam because the developers didn't know for certain that it would ship there, then fine. Great, even.

I would much rather game devs nailed down their release plan before getting customers' hopes up, rather than putting up a 'coming soon' entry for their game on every storefront available only to later pull down all the ones that didn't offer them some form of compelling exclusivity deal.

Sadly, this will just make devs not release anything. You don’t force hands like this.
I find it kind of hilarious that you're looking at Valve here like they're 360-era MS brandishing a parity clause, but somehow okay with Epic and the devs that take their money forcing the hands of potential customers.

Valve aren't trying to force anything with this, they're curtailing the bad behaviour that is putting out pre-release materials on a given platform, then pulling out at the last minute.

Hello, I would like to welcome you to todays lesson in "sarcasm". Please, take a seat over here. :messenger_beermugs:

EDIT: Man, sarcasms is lacking on the forums right now, huh? You all better stay away from the UK, good lord, you would be eaten alive old beans.
Putting across sarcasm in text form is a rare writing skill that is sadly lacking from your posts in this thread.

Take it from a fellow brit- it's better to keep a stiff upper lip and gracefully admit defeat than it is to pretend you were joking the whole time. Old chap.
 
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Yumi

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I think its good to have clear line drawn when there is competition. Thats what it is now and its good to have clear rules. If you have a team of players you cant just go to another team offer them a better deal and cut the ties with the original just like that. I dont think that's fair. Interested to see how this all pans out.
 
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Pretending I’m a PC gamer? I’m a PC developer haha, but I do o lot have a 2080ti, is that better than a 960? Not sure.

The problem is what I’ve outlined above, games are skipping steam because EGS is financially better for them. All this is going to do, is force devs to not announce it for steam AT ALL.

Hell, I hate it when a game gets announced for a platform, but then they pull out. Likewise I hate it when it’s blatantly obvious a game will come to a platform but they go radio silent.

Sadly, this will just make devs not release anything. You don’t force hands like this.

Fekking LULZ