After racking up $765,948 in crowdfunding money from backers through Fig, Snapshot Games pulled a swerve ball by garnering additional funding from Epic Games in exchange for making Phoenix Point exclusive on the Epic Games Store for a year.
A percentage of the backers are now asking for refunds and offering advice on what sort of steps need to be taken for possibly launching a lawsuit against Snapshot Games, since some of the backers in Fig are also investors, and they obviously won’t be making back their investment if the game doesn’t sell that well being exclusive on the Epic Games Store.
There’s a PSA over on the Phoenix Point sub-reddit, where some people have requested refunds directly through Fig. They’re also saying that if you have plans to file a lawsuit, DON’T request a refund, this way you have something on file showing that you’ve invested in the project.
The developers are attempting to assuage angry fans who will have to wait a year for the Steam key or those who feel betrayed by the exclusivity deal. They attempted to address some of the concerns on Twitter at first.
We are not available on the Steam store and we are not able to provide Steam keys. We are not hiding the fact that we had originally planned to release on Steam and GOG. The opportunity with Epic came much later and after careful consideration we made the change.
— Phoenix Point (@Phoenix_Point) March 12, 2019
However, the discontent continued to mount from gamers who didn’t like the decision that Snapshot made to sign the exclusivity deal with Epic as opposed to delivering the Steam keys as promised to backers who originally invested their money into the project.
Julian Gollop, the creative head of Phoenix Point at Snapshot Games, attempted to clarify the company’s decision by telling Eurogamer…
“For those backers who are upset by our switch of delivery platform, we are truly sorry. It was not our intention to scam anyone. The best we can do is offer compensation in the form of free extra content, which we will deliver throughout the launch year. This will include at least three major DLC packs. They will also receive a Steam key or GOG key, in addition to their Epic key, at the end of the exclusivity period. If they are not happy with this, we will give a full refund.”
Some people have taken them up on the refund offer, while others are angry in feeling as if they’ve been taken for a ride.
The thing is, with Fig there is the option to invest in the project in hopes of gaining something back through the sales of the game when it releases. The issue here is that some investors fear that they won’t make back anything on their investment in Phoenix Point because there’s not enough market share in the Epic Games Store to move the amount of product in the same breadth as Steam.
This issue was also covered in a video by AstartesGaming, who noted that the developers are basically positioning their entire community against them.
However, Gollop isn’t too worried. He explained to Eurogamer that only about 5% or 6% of the total 47,000 backers from across both Fig and those who contributed to the game through the official website, will likely request a refund…
“”I don’t think the Epic deal will affect Phoenix Point on launch. By that time the Epic store will be more established, with more features. I know Epic are genuinely committed to building a store which is both developer friendly and consumer friendly, and they have some good ideas to make it more distinctive than alternatives.
“We sent an email to all our 47,000 backers on Tuesday informing them about the Epic deal. The following day we had 1300 requests for refunds. The day after it increased to 1600. We don’t anticipate that more than five to six per cent of our backers will actually request refunds in the long run.”
Some people may not mind, but as word continues to spread it could result in a much larger backlash.
That’s not to mention that it’s rather presumptuous of Gollop to believe that the Epic Games Store will be “more established” by September, 2019, when Phoenix Point launches. The storefront has run into a number of issues that has hampered its mind share and potential spread, from the lack of basic user reviews and forums, to the more heinous datamining that some users discovered, it’s going to be an uphill struggle for Epic Games to acquire the goodwill from the community to start rivaling the kind of sales a developer would see from selling their game on Steam.
(Thanks for the news tip RandomDev and Jack Thompson)