Ys Net, the developer of the long-awaited Shenmue 3, recently announced that the upcoming third entry in Ryo Hazuki’s tale will be a timed exclusive for the Epic Games Store.
Shenmue 3 is the latest in a long line of games snatched up by Epic, which excludes it from sale on Steam and other PC-focused digital retailers. Fans are, as you might expect, frustrated by the news, especially since many of them will have contributed to the game’s initial Kickstarter success.
As one poster mentioned on the ResetEra forums, Ys Net has also confirmed that no Kickstarter refunds will be given to those unhappy with the change from Steam to the Epic Games Store.
Most recently, the Shenmue developer insists that it is taking note of fans’ concerns. In an update posted to their Kickstarter page (as reported by MCV UK), Ys Net insists that they intend to assess the situation once the chaos of E3 has settled down.
Personally, I can’t fault one retailer for signing exclusivity deals with certain publishers. Steam had a monopoly over PC sales for years, and it was inevitable that a challenger would one day appear.
It’s the matter of Kickstarter backing that is a bigger cause for concern here. Much of Shenmue 3’s initial funding came from people eager to continue a saga that was believed for years to be forever unfinished, and it seems questionable for a player-backed game to be published this way.
At the end of the day, though, the Epic Games Store is no less accessible to customers than Steam is. Although it understandably has ruffled some feathers, this is a much less restrictive arrangement than the hardware-based exclusivity that console owners are very familiar with.