It has been announced in a Kickstarter update that backers of Shenmue 3 may not get Steam keys after all. Despite an original statement promising Steam keys to PC users one year post release, recent negotiations between Ys Net and Valve have lead to that statement being rescinded.
The update posted on September 20 doesn’t confirm that Steam keys will never be distributed. Depending on the ongoing discussions there is still hope if you are looking to play it on something other than the Epic Store. Requests for Steam keys are currently open, however Ys Net notes that the eventual availability of these keys will depend on the rest of the Valve negotiations.
Discussions surrounding the availability of Shenmue 3 have been ongoing since its original Kickstarter campaign. Originally aiming to ship at some point in 2017, the launch has now been set to November 2019, following several delays. Although it seems that date has stuck, there are still some ongoing complications it seems.
In the primary launch of the Kickstarter, it was understood that Shenmue 3 would use Steam as its storefront, however Epic snagged the title as an exclusive for its first year, with Steam availability thereafter. Backers that were unhappy with this change were offered Steam keys or a refund. In this update it appears that that this deal may have yet again changed, and with no more details than the update provides, it may be some time before we understand what is really happening with Shenmue 3 availability.
With the release of Shenmue 3 around the corner, we’re going to have to wait and see what happens next in its development.