This is something currently going on in the windows world which I posted on another forum. Posting it here as well because it has huge implications for the entire PC gaming ecosystem- windows, Linux and Mac OSX.

The curse of backroom paid exclusivity deals is something that has been a blight on the world of consoles for many generation with companies like Microsoft and Sony competing to see how much money they can thrown around to keep developers off competing platforms, either for a period of time or sometimes even permanently. It's a losing situation for consumers with games not being available on the platforms we want and developers becoming reliant on the platform gate keepers rather than on selling as many copies as possible across multiple channels.

Speaking to PC gamer Tim Sweeney made the following comments
"These exclusives don’t come to stores for free; they’re a result of some combination of marketing commitments, development funding, or revenue guarantees. This all helps developers."

Upto now for the most part this cancerous practice has not taken hold off the PC gaming world. The major players are Steam, Origin, GOG, Uplay, Battlnet, Humble Store with Steam obviously being the dominant platform. None of these platforms offer exclusivity deals to 3rd party devs. As a result there are lots of games available on multiple store fronts, this makes sense for the dev as well to reach as many consumers as possible. Some games rely on one store by choice, for example Valve keeps their games exclusive to steam, EA keeps their games on Origin. This is their choice of course, what we have to ensure is that they do not incentivize independent 3rd party devs to stay off competing platforms. There have been some attempts to introduce paid exclusivity amongst PC launchers, by the Windows Store and the Oculus Store. For example Microsoft paid to keep Rise of the Tomb Raider away from Steam and PS4 for a while when it was available first on Xbox and then on the Windows Store. Fortunately it did not escalate into an arms race.

I am 100% in favour of having multiple store fronts. I support Epic in their endeavours with this new PC gaming store. One of the things that defines us as an open platform is that we can purchase and install software from different sources and anybody can choose to open a store or even sell their game direct to consumers. Steam itself would never have been able to spring up and revitalize PC gaming if not for this fact. We need open competition, new stores will spring up, some will die and some will thrive. This concept is more important than convenience.

It's great that epic has made over a billion from fortnite and they want to invest it to put themselves in a position (like valve) where they make money by providing a store and infrastructure services to other devs. That is all good. The difference is that Valve attracted people to steam via there own games like HL2 rather than paying off 3rd party devs to take games off other stores.

An example of how this can damage the market; The PC platform consists of three operating systems- Windows, Mac OSX and Linux. Some stores like Steam and GOG support all three, some like Origin are windows only etc. When Epic pays people to stay away from other stores they are effectively paying them to stay away from Linux too.