Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has backtracked on statements made by his company regarding exclusivity deals. The company had previously stated it didn't want to pursue exclusivity deals with games close to a Steam release, but Tim Sweeney is now saying otherwise.
Back in March, Epic Games Store boss Steve Allison said the company "[didn't] want to do that ever again", in reference to signing Metro Exodus as a timed Epic Store exclusive so close to its intended Steam release. Despite these comments, Epic recently announced that real-time strategy game Anno 1800 would be an Epic Store and Uplay exclusive. This despite the fact that Anno 1800 was - and still is, at time of writing - accepting pre-orders on Steam. According to the Steam page for Anno 1800, Ubisoft will still fulfill Steam pre-orders on that platform, despite there now being no clear release date for the Steam version of the game.
Sweeney confirmed the company would backtrack on previous statements made during an exchange with a user on Twitter. The user asked Sweeney "what happened to 'we don't want to do that ever again'" in relation to Anno 1800's exclusivity. Sweeney responded that the Anno deal "was signed before Steve's statement". He also said the company would be open to signing in with "any devs or pubs who are willing, regardless of their past plans about Steam". This is a pretty direct contravention of Allison's statement, which was made less than two weeks ago. Allison was making a direct reference to the timing of the Metro Exodus announcement rather than simply signing an exclusivity deal, but the Anno 1800 situation is very similar. The game was due to be released on April 16th, but the exclusivity announcement was made less than three weeks before the game was due to launch on Steam.
The Epic Games CEO made similar statements to a different user who was asking about sci-fi adventure Observation. That game is also now an Epic Store exclusive but was not accepting pre-orders when the announcement was made. Tim Sweeney's comments are similar in that case, though; he says Epic has "had a lot of discussions about this" since GDC, and that the company will continue to sign deals with publishers regardless of any prior involvement with Steam.
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