Recently, Epic Games announced its intentions to make cross-play easier on developers in 2019. This includes services such as cloud backup, voice chatting, and matchmaking. They stated that these services will be free for all developers and will come in segments throughout the next year. This comes riding the heels of their announcement of their own game store. Epic has confirmed that features such as cross-platform login, data storage, and cloud-saved games will be coming in 2019’s second quarter. PC/Mac overlay, cross-platform voice comms, and achievements are soon to follow in the third quarter, with matchmaking coming in the fourth.
Great timing on Epic Games’ part
This comes at some fairly fortuitous timing. A hot topic in gaming as of late has been the reluctance of console developers and gaming companies to offer cross-platform. This is a source of frustration for many gamers. After all, if two friends have different consoles, or one of them plays on PC, why should the platform restrict them playing together? A major sore note for fans of Fallout was, for example, Sony blocking cross-play for Fallout 76. Other titles such as For Honor restrict gamers to their respective platforms with regards to playing together. A massive drawing point of gaming has always been the social aspect. Everyone wants to play games they enjoy with their friends. It brings a higher degree of replayability and commitment to any video game. This is an ever-growing complaint in the world of online gaming, and Epic Games’ decision to move in this direction is a very smart one.
Epic Games coming for Steam?
On its Epic Games Store, the gaming giant promised better revenue for developers. This might be a shot at Steam, the current video game marketplace industry leader. While Valve takes 30% of all revenue that developers make selling through Steam, Epic Games takes under half of that cut at 12% revenue. So far it’s working because many developers are abandoning Steam in favor of Epic Games. Epic CEO Tim Sweeney stated that, as developers themselves, Epic has always wanted a platform with great economics. It will be very interesting to see how this pans out for Epic, and how it affects the global digital economy.