Shenmue 3 PC backers will get refunds over Epic exclusivity

Ys Net and Deep Silver will reimburse backers who expected a Steam key for the game

Kickstarter backers of Shenmue 3 will be able to get a refund if they requested the PC version of the game, due to Ys Net and Deep Silver agreeing an exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store.

Developer Ys Net and publisher Deep Silver announced that Shenmue 3 would be a timed Epic Games Store exclusive at the start of June -- long after a Kickstarter campaign had raised money with the promise of availability on Steam.

Before now, it wasn't clear whether backers insistent on a Steam version would be able to claim a refund, but Ys Net has now confirmed that refunds will be available in most circumstances.

At the time of launch, Kickstarter backers of the game will only receive Epic Games Store keys. Ys Net will allow those backers to switch to the PlayStation 4 version, or wait a year for the timed exclusivity period to expire.

However, Ys Net, Deep Silver and Epic have all agreed that "refund requests will be honoured" for PC backers who don't want to switch to console or wait for the game to hit Steam.

"In response to backers who have requested Steam keys for their rewards, we discussed offering the keys on the day of release," Ys Net said in an update on Shenmue 3's Kickstarter page.

"However, coordination with the sales policies of the involved companies was untenable, and as a result we are not able to make a day one distribution option for Steam keys available.

"That we are not able to offer Steam keys for Kickstarter rewards at the time of the game's release is a great disappointed [sic] and inconvenience for those backers who were expecting to receive them. We deeply apologize for the unrest caused by the announcement."

Epic Games' use of exclusives to gain a share of the PC distribution market has proved divisive among gamers, but many within the industry are keen to see the Epic Games Store succeed. The main reason is its revenue share model, which gives the developer 88% of revenue compared to the industry standard 70%.

Paradox Interactive's Fredrik Wester spoke on the subject at Gamelab in Barcelona last week, calling the 70/30 split "outrageous" in a digital landscape with lower distribution costs.

You can read our report on the Gamelab session here.

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Latest comments (1)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic A year ago
I mean, it would be good to note in the article that the lack of an immediate Steam key is not the only reason why a backer may want a refund. The physical release tier for PC has changed from "all necessary data to play the game contained on the disc" to "the disk will contain the Epic Games Store installer and not the actual game data." Which means Mr Sweeney's exclusivity deal has a) obliterated a DRM-free version, and b) needlessly contributed to environmental waste (is there anything more wasteful in this industry than a disc with a store client installer on it?).

In addition, it seems quite a few people may be refunding on principle of how they've been treated, or as a warning-shot against Epic/pubs/devs for treating Kickstarter like an interest-free loan.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 3rd July 2019 1:49am

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