PC gamers have grown accustomed to a unified digital platform over the past two decades. For better or worse, Steam has become the de facto game launcher. Most PC titles, since the platform’s debut in September of 2003, have released through Steam. The Epic Games Store has changed all that. For a variety of reasons, many players find this newly fractured PC landscape unacceptable.
While many other companies have tried to compete, only the Epic Games Store feels as though it’s any sort of legitimate threat to Steam. Buoyed by Fortnite’s unprecedented success (and partner Tencent’s deep pockets), Epic has become a force in the PC market. The company’s main tactic has been purchasing timed exclusivity for highly anticipated releases. This has caused a considerable backlash, mostly for developers. Gamers worldwide have united on Reddit and turned their ire towards developers who take Epic’s money in exchange for PC exclusivity on the Epic store.
But that’s not what we’re here to discuss today. Instead, we’re going to take a look at some other options if you’re determined to avoid the Epic Store. Several of these do require additional resources. Keep in mind, it may cost you extra time or money if you’re determined to avoid Epic completely.
Option 1: Be patient
If you want all your PC games on Steam, remember that the majority of Epic’s exclusives are timed deals. As such, they will make their way to other platforms eventually. PC gamers often have to wait before console exclusives make it to their chosen platform. Look at Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World. It didn’t arrive on PC until eight months after its debut on the PS4 and Xbox One.
Most exclusivity agreements expire after one year, and some of the earliest Epic exclusives such as Supergiant’s Hades may be available on other platforms as soon as this December. Fear of missing out is a real concern, but try to ignore it. If you don’t mind waiting for a little while, it’s likely you’ll be able to play the games you want via the platform or launcher of your choice, eventually.
Option 2: Other systems
Recently, I’ve been playing Annapurna’s excellent The Outer Wilds, currently a PC Epic store exclusive. I haven’t been playing through Epic’s launcher, however, since The Outer Wilds was included with a service I already subscribe to, Microsoft’s Game Pass.
Subscribing to the service allows me to download and try out every Microsoft Exclusive. This includes a number of games which are Epic Exclusives on PC. Granted, this method requires access to a console (The Outer Wilds is only available on the console side of Game Pass, due to Epic’s exclusivity deal). However, many of the titles people have expressed frustration over in recent months do make their way to other platforms, and most of them show up on Xbox Game Pass.
Even high-profile titles like Metro: Exodus and Obsidian’s upcoming The Outer Worlds can be played on the Xbox One through Game Pass. Additionally, many indie titles make their way to Nintendo’s Switch or the PlayStation 4 at the same time they release on Epic’s store. Of course, this does involve a tradeoff. You have to factor in the not-insignificant cost of a console and online service as opposed to Epic’s PC client, which is a free download.
Option 3: Find alternatives
Last year, I was one of the first people in the world to play Ooblets, the most recent game drawn into the Epic store exclusivity battle. While it offers a fairly unique blend of Pokémon, Stardew Valley, and Animal Crossing, any one of those other titles can be played right now. All without the drama of fussing with Epic.
There are more games available now than at any other point in human history. If you are determined not to buy an Epic Exclusive, there are plenty of other options to look into.
Skipping Close to the Sun but you still want to play something like BioShock? Try Soma or 2017’s Prey. Avoiding Auto Chess? There’s always Teamfight Tactics or Underlords. You may not be able to discover a perfect replacement, but odds are you can find an acceptable substitute if you’re willing to dig a little.
It’s very likely more games will end up becoming Epic Store Exclusives on the PC. Thus far, Epic shows no signs of slowing down. If this upsets you, the best thing you can do is vote with your wallet. Just don’t support Epic financially. Hopefully, it goes without saying, but doing so sends a far better message than harassing game developers who accept Epic’s generous terms.