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Shenmue 3 Is An Epic Games Store Launch Exclusive, And Fans Can't Get Their Money Back

How do you hide bad news while still making it public? You can push it out at 5 p.m. on Friday (the 'Friday news dump'). Or you can stick it at the end of a trailer during the PC Gaming Show, like the Shenmue 3 team did. That news, of course, was that Shenmue 3 is backing out of its initial Steam release in favor of launching on the Epic Games Store first. And that's something that fans and Kickstarter backers are not happy about.


Destructoid is reporting that backers of the Shenmue 3 have been flooding the game's Kickstarter page, demanding refunds after the team behind the game inked a limited-time exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store. That deal means Shenmue 3 won't be coming to Steam right away as promised, essentially giving players something completely different than what they paid for. On one hand, it might not seem like such a big deal; it's just a PC game launcher, right? You just have to click a different icon to open the game. On the other hand, however, the Epic Games Store is lacking a lot of the features found on Steam; for example, achievements.

What should've been clear to the Shenmue 3 team — based on what every other game has gone through in moving to the Epic Games Store — was that there was going to be some blowback from this decision. And rather than try to battle back against the wave of disappointment from fans and backers, the team should've just offered refunds to those who wanted them and waited for the story to fade into the background.


Unfortunately, that's not what happened.

"Thank you very much for contacting us," the Shenmue 3 team said in a message to those asking for refunds. "The launch was previously planned for distribution on Steam, however it was decided together with Deep Silver after much discussion that the Epic Games Store would be the best distribution platform option."

And it got worse.

"Shenmue 3 will be distributed through the Epic Games Store and will require the Epic Games Store Client to activate. We apologize for the sudden change in platform, however, refunds will not be granted for this change. We thank you for your support and look forward to delivering the Shenmue experience fans everywhere have been waiting so long for."

Admitting that you altered the deal while simultaneously denying refunds? It's a bold strategy, Cotton.

Some might just throw their hands up in the air, resigned to the fact that they'll be playing Shenmue 3 on a platform other than Steam. Others reportedly plan to initiate chargebacks through their credit card companies. The entire ordeal has to make Epic wonder if these exclusivity deals aren't ultimately hurting the public perception of its store in the long run. There certainly haven't been a lot of celebrations thrown in honor of them.


And as for the folks behind Shenmue 3? The time to get a community riled up is definitely not before the game is released. We'll have to wait and see if Epic Games Store exclusivity ultimately hurts sales of the game.