When 4A Games announced that Metro Exodus was going to be a timed Epic Games Store exclusive, a lot of gamers were angry. Valve, which had been up until that point selling pre-orders of the game, was upset too: In a message to customers who had already purchased the game on Steam, Valve called the move “unfair to Steam customers.”
“We think the decision to remove the game is unfair to Steam customers, especially after a long pre-sale period,” Valve said at the time. “We were only recently informed of the decision and given limited time to let everyone know.”
But Steam business developer and designer Nathaniel Blue tells Kotaku that what he meant then was to refer only to the timing of the announcement, not the entire concept of Epic selling games on its own storefront.
“I don’t think our intent was to upset people,” Blue said. “It was about the timing. The game was about to launch, and then it was [exclusive to the Epic store]. So that was the only goal of that. What came out of that was not what we expected. It wasn’t meant to be a lightning rod.”
Nonetheless, a lightning rod it was. Beyond the review bombing campaigns leveled against the Metro series, any announcement of Epic Games Store exclusivity has been greeted with angry online mobs calling the move “anti-consumer.”
That’s never been Valve’s goal, Blue said.
“Our goal is not to upset the community or light anyone’s hair on fire,” he said. “Our goal is to get developers close to customers, have a really valuable place for people to play games, and stay focused on that.”
As far as what Epic has been doing to compete, Blue says the “unfair” comment was only ever meant to refer to the timing.
“It wasn’t meant to be this lightning rod,” he said.