Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, spoke to PC Gamer about the requirements that a title will have to meet in order to be eligible for sale in his company's store:
"We'll have a quality standard that doesn't accept crappy games," he said. "We'll accept reasonably good quality games, of any scale, whether small indie games to huge triple-A games, and we'll take everything up to, like, an R-rated movie or an M-rated game. A GTA game would be fine to us, but Epic's not going to distribute porn games or bloatware or asset flips, or any sort of thing that's meant to shock players. The PC's an open platform and if we don't distribute it in our store you can still reach consumers directly."
Tim Sweeney points out that these are store requirements only. The conditions of use of the Unreal Engine remain unchanged - it is still possible to create everything as long as it is legal. When asked how the company will decide what is good and what is not, he answered:
"We're not going to have something like the console certification process involved in releasing a game, but I think we'll be aware of the quality of what's submitted prior to making a decision to list it in the store—somehow.”
“Humans can make those judgment calls, and they'll be pretty reasonable," he added.
It's understandable that Epic doesn't want to repeat Valve's mistake, which by implementing Steam Direct led the platform to be flooded with low quality productions. On the other hand, subjective selection of titles for the store can lead to the rejection of many good productions, at the expense of better-looking but much weaker works. GOG.com found this out the hard way, when the company did not accept Opus Magnum just because it looked like a simple mobile application. When the matter came to light, the store was criticized for its decision and the title (with a long delay) was finally put up for sale at GOG.com as the company caved in under pressure from the users.
The company has repeatedly emphasized how developer-friendly it is – to the extent that the store has reduced its revenue share to 12% (while the industry standard is 30%). Selection of titles will probably not affect large publishers, but will hit smaller studios – those that could use the higher earnings instead of the top cats like Ubisoft or Take-Two Interactive. It will probably result in a situation where small studios, producing titles that are not attractive enough for Epic Games, will have to settle for a 30% share at the competitiion, while wealthy companies will become even richer.
During the Game Developers Conference, Epic Games announced that their store already has 85 million registered users.