As a result of its unprecedentedly generous sale, some game publishers are pulling their titles from the Epic Games Store, including Gearbox Software's highly anticipated Borderlands 3. It seems that the digital distributor may have fully neglected to notify publishers of the final sale prices at which their games would be sold prior to the start of the Epic Mega Sale, a clear attempt to compete with Steam's famous sales.
Beyond attempting to compete with Steam on price-slashing sales, the Epic Games Store as a whole is a direct response to Steam's longtime domination of the digital distribution market. However, Epic has made it clear that they don't want to copy Steam's business model, instead opting to sweep potential major releases right out from under its feet by making expensive deals with publishers in exchange for Epic Games Store exclusivity on PC. And the Epic Store has made huge, largely negative waves in the PC gaming community in the past months doing just this, with notable examples being the exclusive launch of Borderlands 3 and the company's recent acquisition of Psyonix, the lauded developer of Rocket League.
However, it seems that Epic has now shifted its weight to not only step on the toes of PC players, but also the publishers whose exclusivity deals it depends on for survival. A PC Gamer report notes that 2K Games' Borderlands 3, Paradox Interactive's Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2, and Klei Entertainment's Oxygen Not Included have been pulled from the Epic Games Store by their respective publishers. It appears the reason behind these games' sudden disappearance from the storefront is due to a dispute between the publishers and Epic over price changes brought on by the Epic Mega Sale, which takes $10 off any game priced at or above $15 on top of sale prices determined by publishers.
Bizarrely, it's likely that this pricing snafu could have been easily avoided had Epic simply communicated better with publishers, as it's the additional $10 off on Epic's side of things that resulted in the temporary mass exodus. Epic has since changed the way that pricing is displayed on the Epic Mega Sale main page, despite maintaining their promised $10 discount on games priced at $15 or greater, and Borderlands publisher 2K Games has stated,
"We are working closely with Epic and have temporarily removed Borderlands 3 from their storefront. We look forward to the game being back on the Epic Games Store very soon. Games bought during their Mega Sale will be honored at that price."
Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford recently went on record that his company believes the Epic Games Store is the best way forward for PC gaming after a long period of stagnation and publisher discontentment under Steam. However, it's doubtful that the future he envisioned involved Epic undercutting the competition so steeply with Borderlands 3 that publisher 2K had to step in to prevent any more revenue from being lost before the game can even release.
Source: PC Games