Fortnite is the main reason that we are hearing the name Epic Games so often these days. Most of the gaming franchises try to avoid controversies but Epic Games somehow got mixed up in a bundle of controversies simultaneously. Whether it is a publicity stunt or plain bad luck, but Epic games manage to stay in the headline week after week. The controversies are positive and negative at some points but the latest one is surely tipping the negative scale in the favor of Epic games. Let’s discuss the latest controversies and try to understand the viewpoint of the Epic games as well.
Work Conditions at the Franchise
Polygon went around interviewing the employee of the Epic games and conducted proper interviews to get the good stuff out of the employees. They invested their time wisely and gathered the information over the tenure of two months. One thing that all employees said is they had to work 70 hours a week and that is common. Few employees work around the clock and go up to 100 hours per week. All the excessive workload fall into the category of voluntary work and the employees seemed okay with that. They also said that they are expecting this kind of demand from the company. Epic games do not force them to work excessively but the nature of the work and increasing demand left them with no choice but work and work. Fortnite is the thing that is causing all the trouble to the employees with all the demanding updates and making sure that the game is running smoothly without any bug or issue. It has become the priority of the Epic games to fulfill the higher demand for maintenance and upgrades.
The severity of the work is too sensitive. If one item gets affected by a bug or something, then the developers cannot let that issue lurk in the game for the week and fix it in the next week’s update but they had to do it immediately and also keep working of the updates that are expecting in the coming week. The job and demand are dependent on the time and unfortunately, the time is not on the side of Epic games employees. Some ambitious youngsters are also spoiling the peace at the workplace by putting in unnecessary efforts to make sure their boss is happy and pave their way to the promotion. With the culture like that, managers tend to ignore the basic complaints of the employees by giving examples of their colleagues who had got the job done before them. Last but not least, it is shockingly surprising that the Epic games are not hiring more people instead they are letting the current workforce to work overtime and get the job done. It is not like that they can’t afford or handle the new employees but they did not choose to go with this option. Polygon made sure to cover all the basic points in their article and shed the light on the persisting issue.
The issue with the Steam
Epic games are trying to win back some of the positivity by blaming the steam that they are accepting the offer and turning the tables on to them rather than focusing on the current issues. The gamers are complaining that limiting the games only to Epic store is causing the sizable amount of gamers to not able to buy the game or resources because of the geographical restrictions. So the gamers are demanding Epic to put their games back on steam so everyone can access the game. In the recent tweet, Tim Sweeny said that “If Steam committed to a permanent 88% revenue share for all developers and publishers without major strings attached, Epic would hastily organize a retreat from exclusives (while honouring our partner commitments) and consider putting our own games on Steam.” Rumors are also there in the industry that Epic games are currently suffering the loss in numerous areas of the world with their unsustainable economic structure of 12 88 percent. Epic games take 12% of the total earning and 88% is divided among the developers and the team. However, Epic game had to pay the taxes for the services like PayPal from their cut, hence suffering the loss in some part of the world. Fortnite is the only thing that is keeping them afloat as millions of dollars are earned from the single game, Fortnite.
Fortnite is actually trying to outsmart the steam with their economic model and trying to create their own user base at the expense of some loss. Once the user base is big enough they can take the leap from 12 to 20% and the business will be more secure. Epic games are trying to force the hand of the Steam to drop their percentage but it is not that easy to compromise on the terms and conditions of the well-developed company like Steam. Steam is spending more money on the forum and Cloud services which explain the increase profit percentage. So, even if Steam thinks about the offer, the expenses are bounding the Steam to take a step like that. And after all, steam is the giant in the PC gaming world, so there is no need for them to take the challenge seriously as the only party that is desperate here is the Epic games.
Epic Games have always been the supporter of an open platform model when you are talking about the game of any sort. While the majority of the companies are rooted for cross-platform gaming. We have heard Microsoft agreeing that they would like to see Xbox games being able to play on any system and Google Stadia is the newest entry with the revolutionary idea of streaming and playing the games directly from the Google servers without having to worry about the PC or graphics card. Other major Game developing companies like EA, Call of duty franchise. Ubisoft is also supporting the idea and claiming that the users need to decide on which they want to play the game rather than the game dictating the requirements.