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Metro Exodus ditches Steam for Epic Games store, Valve calls it 'unfair'

Steam preorders will still be fulfilled, but the game costs $10 less on Epic's rival storefront.

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Deep Silver

The Epic Games store seems like it was custom built to take on Steam, and the fledgling platform has been securing a steady stream of PC exclusive games since its official reveal at the 2018 Game Awards. Now, those exclusivity deals may be getting to Valve. Developer Deep Silver recently announced that, despite having been available for preorder on Steam for quite some time, first-person shooter Metro Exodus would be an Epic Games store exclusive. Valve is calling the title's new exclusivity "unfair."

The reaction was posted to the game's Steam store page on Monday. Specifically, Valve says "the decision to remove the game is unfair to Steam customers, especially after a long presale period." Customers who preordered the game from Valve will still be able to access the game and future DLC on Steam after it launches on Feb. 15, but sales for new customers will be discontinued later today.

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Screenshot by Sean Buckley/CNET

Valve's frustration is understandable. Not only is the game being removed from its distribution platform, but it's also being sold for less on the Epic Games Store. Customers in the US who buy Metro Exodus from Epic will pay $50, a full $10 discount over the Steam price. It's a price reduction that speaks directly to how Epic Games is luring developers to its platform: Valve takes a 30 percent cut of all sales on Steam. As a new challenger, the Epic Games store takes just 12 percent -- and that reduced revenue seems to directly correlate to Deep Silver lowering the price on the Epic store.

"Epic's generous revenue terms are a game changer that will allow publishers to invest more into content creation, or pass on savings to the players," Deep Silver CEO Klemens Kundratitz said in the company's announcement on Monday. "By teaming up with Epic we will be able to invest more into the future of Metro and our ongoing partnership with series developer 4A Games, to the benefit of our Metro fans."

THQ Nordic, the Austrian video game publisher that acquired Deep Silver parent company Koch Media last February, tweeted that the decision to publish Metro Exodus on the Epic Store was "made entirely" by Koch. Since Koch is considered "a sister company," THQ declined to comment.

However, the tweet said the game was "a timed Epic Store exclusive," implying that it could be available on Steam eventually -- if Valve allows it.

"We do not want to categorically exclude the possibility of timed exclusives for any of our games in the future, but speaking in the here and now, we definitely want to have the players choose the platform of their liking and make our portfolio available to as many outlets as possible," the publisher wrote.

Deep Silver says games purchased through third-party key seller stores like Humble Bundle will be honored too, but the specifics are still unclear. Humble Bundle's page for the game is currently not accepting new orders, but still specifies that gamers will need a Steam account to access the game. 

Humble confirmed to CNET that it's working with Deep Silver to ensure customers get the game on release, delivered in the form of Steam codes, but declined to comment further on the situation. Valve didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

First published Jan. 28 at 11:10 a.m. PT.
Update, Jan. 29 at 8:37 a.m. PT: Adds THQ Nordic tweet.

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