Controversial, albeit arguably unfairly so, digital distribution platform the Epic Games Store is continuing its slow march to feature parity with Valve's rival Steam with the addition of cloud save functionality - though only for two titles at present.
Unveiled back in December last year following $1.25 billion in external investment funding, the Epic Games Store is no less than an attempt by Epic Games to unseat Valve's Steam from its position as the most popular storefront and distribution platform for PC games around. Currently available exclusively on Windows, in contrast with the cross-platform Steam, the Epic Games Store has been the subject of considerable controversy over the company's cash-rich approach to gaining market share by grabbing timed exclusives on games including The Division 2, Metro Exodus, and Borderlands 3 - many of which had previously been offered on Steam, only to be removed once a deal had been struck with Epic.
The exclusivity deals, critics claim, bring with them a poorer user experience: Cross-platform compatibility aside, the Epic Games Store currently lacks a wealth of features available on Steam. One of these, the ability to store save games in the cloud for synchronisation between multiple machines, is a particular thorn in gamers' sides - but one which is to be removed with the addition of support in the Epic Games Store.
'Cloud saves are enabled for a couple of new games right now,' explains Epic Games founder and chief executive Tim Sweeney on his personal Twitter account. 'We have a bit more work to do before rolling it out more widely.'
Those two games are This War of Mine and Moonlighter, the two titles selected for the Epic Games Store's weekly game giveaway. It's an undeniably smart move: By adding the feature to games currently available for free, Epic avoids too much heartache if the implementation is a little buggy while ensuring that it has a decent test population to iron out the bugs before the feature is added to paid-for games - a process which, Sweeney explains, is done manually by Epic Games Store developers and which does not require any work on the part of the games' original developers.
July 1 2020 | 17:34