Epic will refund Shenmue 3 backers upset by game’s move to Epic Games Store

Some of those who backed the campaign to make Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter were upset when developers moved the retail product from Valve’s Steam storefront to the Epic Games Store. Today those same backers were informed that, even though they were promised a Steam code at launch, they won’t be able to get one. Those upset by the debacle are being offered a full refund by Epic Games, not Shenmue 3 developer Ys Net.

The announcement comes courtesy of a Kickstarter update from the game’s development team and a series of tweets from Epic CEO Tim Sweeney.

“We had originally planned for PC distribution through Steam,” Ys Net said. “In response to backers who have requested Steam keys for their rewards, we discussed offering the keys on the day of release. 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.”


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The post goes on to offer either physical product or digital game codes for Shenmue 3 via the Epic Games Store or on PlayStation 4. If that’s not sufficient, developers say they will give backers their money back.

Some restrictions may apply, however. Those who backed the project at higher tiers, for instance, may not be able to get all their money back.

Here’s the kicker though: Any and all refunds will come courtesy of Epic Games, not Ys Net or Shenmue 3’s current publisher, Deep Silver.

“Epic is funding the cost of all Kickstarter refunds resulting from Shenmue 3’s move to the Epic Games store,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney today on Twitter, “so that refunds won’t reduce Ys Net’s development funding.”

That’s already a bold move by Epic, but Sweeney went even further: “When future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores,” he said in a follow-up tweet, “we’ll either coordinate with colleagues at the other stores to ensure key availability in advance, or guarantee refunds at announcement time.”


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Shenmue 3’s move to the Epic Games Store isn’t the only such maneuver to raise eyebrows. The company behind the smash hit Fortnite has been locking in exclusive titles left and right for its store. Sweeney recently went on the record saying that such deals are the “only strategy” that will change the “status quo,” where developers typically receive only 70 percent of the revenue from their games. Epic takes considerably less than the 30 percent cut common among its competitors like Valve and Apple.

Initially pitched on Kickstarter with a delivery date of December 2017, Shenmue 3’s crowdfunding campaign closed with more than $6.3 million pledged in July 2015. The project has had multiple delays, and is currently expected for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC via the Epic Games Store on Nov. 19.

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