Shenmue III Kickstarter backers to get refund over Epic exclusivity

Shenmue III developer Ys Net has bowed to pressure from Kickstarter backers who were promised Steam keys as a reward for investing in the action-adventure game back in 2015.

Last month, it was confirmed that Shenmue III won’t actually be available on Steam until November 2020 – due to publisher Deep Silver and Ys Net making a year-long exclusivity deal with Epic Store.

Epic Store’s Tim Sweeney naturally blamed Valve:

> “As far as we and our partners can determine, Valve policy prohibits providing Steam keys for games that aren’t going to be available at launch on Steam. This would make it impossible to deliver Steam keys for a game releasing exclusively on Epic at launch. Epic would be happy to fund partners paying 30% for Steam keys for backers if Valve were willing to provide Steam keys for a game that’s not actively in release on Steam.”

Epic continues to undercut Steam on developer revenue split, taking 12% compared to Steam’s 30%, so it’s unsurprising that Epic Store exclusives continue to be A Thing. Meanwhile, Shenmue III backers absolutely have the option of accepting an Epic Store key instead, switching platforms to PS4, or waiting a year. But, uh, well …they don’t want to. So they can just go ahead and have their refund.

“In response to backers who have requested Steam keys for their rewards, we discussed offering the keys on the day of release,” the developers revealed. “However, coordination with the sales policies of the involved companies was untenable, and as a result we are not able to make a day one distribution option for Steam keys available. That we are not able to offer Steam keys for Kickstarter rewards at the time of the game’s release is a great disappointed (sic) and inconvenience for those backers who were expecting to receive them. We deeply apologise for the unrest caused by the announcement… Along with Deep Silver and Epic Games, we have agreed that should the above proposal not be acceptable to backers, refund requests will be honoured.”

Further info on the proposed Shenmue III refund will be announced soon.

Wireframe #16 is out now.

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