The Epic Store is about as safe as online marketplaces get. Whilst there is always a minor risk when using any kind of online store, Epic Games put a lot of time and money into making it a safe space to purchase. There are also similar safety and customer service safety nets that you will find on other online game marketplaces such as Steam. Whilst news of the Epic Store was not warmly received by all, the issues are more widely with the fact that it means users will no longer have their PC games in one place, rather than the solidity of the store itself.
Just How Safe Is The Epic Games Store?
All online marketplaces, from your local take-out to the goliath that is Amazon, have a risk when buying things online. The risk is incredibly small, only affecting the tiniest of fractions of the millions of daily buyers and so for the most part you will be safe as long as you stay away from risky sites. If something does go wrong the big companies will often reimburse anything they are responsible for, unless it says so in their terms and conditions.
Epic Games is a trustworthy company that has a lot of money behind it, and the need to impress upon the public their reliability and willingness to help so that they can challenge their bigger and more established competitor, Steam. As such they will bend over backward to make your shopping experience the best that it can be. To this end, they always have free games that you can download. That may seem fishy at first if you don’t know Epic Games, but they pay the developers behind the scenes to allow them to give the game away. The reward they get for this is more people logging onto the store and potentially spending even more money.
Staying Safe While Buying Your Games
There are a few things you can do to increase your safety while shopping online. The most important one is to make sure that you are on the correct website. Many fake websites are set up to trick you and many are incredibly convincing, we only normally spot the bad ones. The best way to do this is to search for a website on google and never trust a link. The Epic Store has its own app which makes things easier and safer, just make sure to get a legitimate copy.
Another thing you can do to increase your online safety is to never save your card details. Whilst it is convenient and quicker to save them, the act of having it saved means that the company has a copy of your details stored somewhere. A good company like Epic will make sure these details are encrypted, but even the biggest companies in the world like Facebook, Yahoo, and Linkedin have been hacked and details were stolen, so the safest way is to make sure they aren’t there to steal in the first place.
Why Does The Epic Store Give Away Free Games?
One thing that often confuses people and even makes some people not familiar with the company to be suspicious of them is the fact they are always giving away games, sometimes major ones, for free. Whilst the free games are great for those of us playing the games, Epic and even the games developers and publishers get something from the deal, so it’s not entirely altruistic. The reason they give the games away is to get people to log into the store to check what games are free, and some of those people will go on to buy something while they are there. It also has the added bonus of causing people to repeatedly log in to play the game each day, bringing them back to the store over and over. The bigger the player’s library is the more likely they are to return, so it’s in Epic’s interest to give you free games. It also helps them build up a userbase fast as their main competitor, Steam, has had many years of building up a user base.
The next question tends to be, how are they allowed to do it? Short of pirating a game you are unlikely to get a game for free. Epic actually pays the developer or publisher an amount of money beforehand to allow them to release the game for free. There is a gamble involved here, as the developer needs to get enough money to cover any potential loss of sales, but Epic needs to make sure they can recoup the costs from other store purchases. Luckily, due to the size of the company and the bonus it gets from returning customers, they can afford to take a loss here with the idea of future gains. All in all, it can be a win for all three parties, the player, the developers, and Epic.
The Negative Energy Towards The Epic Store
This all sounds good, but it’s impossible to ignore a lot of the negative energy that is directed towards Epic Games over their store. Why would people be angry about more PC game sale competition and free games? For many, the anger comes from the need to split their PC game libraries. For the longest time Steam has dominated the market and been a way to pool all of your games in one place. Whilst there are others such as Ubisoft Connect and CD Projekt Red‘s Good Old Games, none come even close to Steam’s dominance. Epic’s store is the first true competitor and they have the money to throw at it to make it work. As such they are also getting exclusive deals similar to what consoles do as well as publishing their own games only for their store, although they have confirmed that they will begin to stop doing this once they have established a foothold. For this reason, they are slowly starting to split people’s libraries, and some people really don’t like that.
Epic Store Is Great For Developers
It would be remiss to talk about the negatives without talking about the positives. Besides the free games and more competition for prices, Epic takes a significantly smaller cut of sales than Steam does, which means more of your money ends up in the developer’s hands. While that might not seem important to the end-user, it means the company will have more money to build bigger and better games, or if a game does badly, might save them from going under or having to make cuts.
As a developer who has worked with Epic to release a title, I can confirm that they support their developers well and offer a lot of support in many different ways that you generally don’t get with other stores. Getting to work with the developers of Unreal Engine directly also helps greatly.
Is The Epic Games Store Worth It?
Many people ask if the Epic Store is worth it. Considering it’s free and they give way games for free, it’s a no-brainer in terms of getting bang for your buck, even if you never spend a penny at their store. If you are against them because you disagree with their working practices it’s still arguably a good deal to go on there for the free games, As they will likely have to pay more to the developers if they expect more people to download them and all they get is an extra user that they can brag about, so overall it’s a bad deal for Epic if people don’t spend at the store. Either way seems like a win-win for you, the risk lies with Epic.
Will The Epic Games Store Replace Steam?
So there is a lot of positive points to the Epic Store and with the huge amount of money that Fortnite has earned Epic Games they have a near bottomless pool of money to make this work, so will they replace Steam? It’s highly unlikely. Steam is so entrenched at this point that it will be very difficult to remove from the top spot. Valve has the accumulated wealth of the majority for PC game sales for many years, so it’s really a clash of the titans where large amounts of money won’t be enough.
It’s impossible to tell the future, but my best guess would be that Steam will remain the biggest but Epic will be big enough competition to keep it from being a monopoly as it has been in the past. It may one day reach a similar point to Playstation and Xbox, where they switch back and forth for who is bigger but never wiping the other out completely. Even if that becomes to case, the Epic Store has a long way to go before reaching that point.