Thought I’d take this chance to mention that Epic, this shining beacon of virtue which will put the evil, corrupt, and greedy Valve to their rightful shame!
Epic, I was saying, had a Subnautica update released which is intended to hinder, if not fully prevent, the ability to run the game without having the Epic Client.
It’s not full-on DRM yet, and yet the game will no longer start without the Epic Client. This measure can, for the time being, be easily circumvented by launching the game with the parameter “-EpicPortal”.
The update was released a couple weeks ago, but I only noticed recently because I had some snafu moving the game, an operation that is rather more fiddly than it ever was in the Steam client, and I had been running the original release without noticing.
I guess if most people around here are happy with playing the game through an alternative client, are their behaviors representative of the entire playerbase?
Because, there’s an amusing side effect to this, as some users have supposedly been buying Subnautica on Steam as a consequence of its being featured on the Epic Game Store (we only know because they’re telling us, mind, so…).
But, I was noticing, for instance, playing Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth on Twitch, how there’s a part of the game that’s simply missing, and that’s achievements.
Now before someone jumps in with the customary “achievements are stupid”: Pillars, as I was noting some time ago, does not really seem to be bursting with player agency or offer a ton of meaningful consequences for the decisions made by the player. I went through one of the initial sequences three times and it was almost on rails.
Achievements seem to be one of the major ways the game communicates with the player and provides signals about different paths and branches, and if you’re playing the game on Twitch, as I did, it’s gone without a trace.
Anyway, it would be weird if the money being funneled into promoting these alternative clients ended up paying for demos for the Steam store. There would still be an upside to this, though, and that’s indie devs getting paid twice.