Borderlands 3 is the latest high-profile game to announce that it is ignoring Steam and other PC platforms in favor of an exclusive launch on the Epic Games Store. Developer Gearbox Software and publisher 2K revealed this morning that the game will be an Epic exclusive from its Sept. 13 launch through April 2020.
“The PC gaming community has been an important part of the success of the Borderlands series, and we are excited to be partnering with Epic who recognize its worldwide popularity and share in our commitment to bring Borderlands 3 to this rapidly expanding audience,” 2K President David Ismailer said in a statement. “Our mission, in addition to delivering the most engaging and captivating entertainment experiences, is to embrace new distribution platforms that will contribute to our effort to grow the audience for Borderlands 3.”
Borderlands 3 joins previous Epic exclusives including The Division 2 and Metro Exodus and upcoming PC releases including Control and Detroit: Become Human, which will only be available on Epic’s storefront.
Those games’ publishers were likely lured away from Steam and other competitors at least in part by Epic’s more generous revenue sharing arrangements. But Epic CEO Tim Sweeney has said that the company offers “some combination of marketing commitments, development funding, or revenue guarantees” to get games away from other PC storefronts.
Sweeney told Ars last month that Epic exclusives so far are “in most cases… on track to match or exceed the [projected] Steam revenue.” Metro: Last Light in particular sold 2.5 times better on Epic Games Store than its predecessor did on Steam (compared to a 1.5x uplift for the console version).
Many PC players, though, have said they aren’t happy with exclusivity deals that force a game onto a platform that is lacking important Steam features like achievements, mods, user reviews, purchases in many foreign currencies, and more. Epic has laid out a roadmap to introduce these and other features to the Epic Games Store in the coming year. Other users have expressed concern about Epic’s data security practices, too, though Epic has pushed back against those concerns.
Compared to Valve’s thousands of games and mostly laissez-faire approval process, Epic has been slow to expand the selection on its Games Store. So far, the number of games there is still in the dozens. While Epic plans to open the store to public submissions later this year, Sweeney tells Ars the company plans to be very selective about what games its offers on its storefront.
“Epic is going to apply a high quality standard to games,” he said. “We don’t want asset flips, we don’t want porn games or controversy. We’re not going to be that sort of venue [that accepts everything] because we don’t think we can help those games to reach users. So it’s going to be driven by quality.”
Borderlands 3, which received its first gameplay trailer last week, will be available in multiple packages ranging from a $59.99 standard edition to a $249.99 physical “Diamond Loot Chase Collector’s Edition” from GameStop. The latter includes 10 character figurines, four keychains, five lithographs, and a cloth galaxy map, among other bonuses.
In its announcement, Gearbox also mentioned that 2012’s Borderlands 2 has now sold more than 41 million copies, and the game “still draws in more than one million unique monthly users” to this day. The sequel will also be available on Xbox One and PS4.
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