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Epic is funding Shenmue 3's refunds, will do the same for future exclusives

Remember those Shenmue 3 refunds we wrote about yesterday? It turns out that a not-so-mysterious benefactor is funding them, ensuring Ys Net gets to keep its Kickstarter money.

Epic's Tim Sweeney announced yesterday on Twitter (thanks, Game Rant) that Epic, not Ys Net or Deep Silver, is responsible for unhappy Shenmue 3 backers getting their money back. That's surprising, mainly because the entire reason these players are upset is because of Sweeney's strategy of signing exclusives to the Epic Games Store. Sweeney, too, apparently feels a line must be drawn when Kickstarter backers donate to a game with the promise of it coming to one platform, only to watch it change gears and go to another. So he is greenlighting refunds out of Epic's coffers. The Shenmue 3 team isn't putting up a dime.

And Epic plans to continue doing this going forward.

"Epic is funding the cost of all Kickstarter refunds resulting from Shenmue III's move to the Epic Games store, so that refunds won't reduce Ys Net's development funding," Sweeney said. "When future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores, we'll either coordinate with colleagues at the other stores to ensure key availability in advance, or guarantee refunds at announcement time."

You can gather two bits of information from Sweeney's above statement. The Epic Games Store is not going to stop signing exclusives, even if the developer has promised availability on another storefront. And Epic will do its best to settle up with crowdfunding backers who aren't getting what they anticipated. That'll either come in the form of Epic working with that other store (such as Steam) to make sure those backers get their promised keys anyway, or it'll involve refunds, as was the case with Shenmue 3. In either scenario, Epic appears to be doing a lot of the heavy lifting.

We've wondered aloud in the past about what exclusives do for the Epic Games Store versus how they might hurt Epic's image. The company's policy going forward — to offer refunds to crowdfunding backers should Epic sign a game to exclusivity — is a small step in the grand scheme, and a situation Epic won't find itself in often. But it's still a positive story when the Epic Games Store really needs one. So credit where credit is due.

We'll have more for you on Epic and its store as news comes in.