The “Holy Grail” That is a Single Games Launcher
First off, the title of this post is meant with a liberal does of irony. Secondly, here is a left field anecdote that does have a bearing on the forthcoming discussion. I can remember going to the local Co-op Supermarket with my Mother circa 1975. A small selection of groceries were purchased. My Mother then went to pack the shopping when she realised that she didn’t have her regular shopping bag with her. If memory serves it was a typical seventies monstrosity made out of lurid coloured nylon. However she did have a plastic bag from a rival supermarket. I vividly remember the outrage this breach in social etiquette caused. Simply put, the Co-op did not like its products being put in the bag of a competitor. Needless to say, words were exchanged, there were red faces and indignation all round and we left after threatening to write a strongly worded letter to The Times.
Moving on to the present, it would appear that the Epic Games Store is continuing to batten down the hatches of “exclusivity”. Not only are they offering games developers lucrative deals to tie new titles to their platform for a limited amount of time, they’re apparently blocking their games from being accessed by rival launchers. Steam currently has a facility where you can search your PC for games bought and installed elsewhere and launch them with their client. But it would appear that titles bought and installed via the Epic Games Store, are not shown. There may well be a workaround and if there isn’t, I’m sure some cunning gaming zealots are busy working on one to circumnavigate this “outrage”. However, in the meantime, it would appear that Epic Games are pursuing a protectionist policy, not unlike my light-hearted anecdote. I’m not exactly sure how I should react to this. Seems to me to just be business as usual.
I have written before about having to come to terms with multiple online game stores and their bespoke launchers. There are some legitimate concerns regarding their proliferation, but I do not consider the minor inconvenience of having to juggle multiple games launchers to be the highest on the list. I appreciate that some gamers have hundreds of titles that they’ve bought overtime and that curating them may well be a chore, but excuse me if I don’t compare it with one of the twelve Labours of Hercules. We have to face similar inconvenience with such services as Netflix and Amazon Prime. As far as I’m aware society is coping and the issue hasn’t become a major campaign point in any western country’s electoral proceedings. The video game market is fragmented and is likely to get more so in the years to come. Therefore contriving some myth about a single game launcher being the new “Holy Grail” is spurious, specious and some other word beginning with “S”.