Ooblets Developer Glumberland Announces Epic Exclusivity In Very Intriguing Fashion

A very good lesson in public relations.
The floss before the storm.
The floss before the storm. Glumberland

The existence of the Epic Games Store and its ways of breaking through the PC gaming market has been nothing short of a long-winded and ongoing controversy. Whenever a developer or a publisher comes out and says that their game is going to be exclusive for at least a year on the Epic Games Store, it’s bound to be talked about, in particular due to most games being marketed before as games that will also release on Steam.

Whatever your take on this matter is, however, there is one thing to gather from almost all of these announcements: they’re often as blunt as possible, and with very little things said. While this may anger some consumers for a while, with this way you are not adding fuel to the fire. It’s probably a lesson that Ooblets developer Glumberland will look on in the future, and one that will kind of serve as a reminder to all future developers who wish to take the deal with the Epic Games Store.

In a blog post on the official site of Ooblets, the developers behind the life simulation sim made their announcement of the Epic Games Store exclusivity. However, unlike others who came before them, which were at the very least passive and to the point, Glumberland developers Rebecca Cordingley and Ben Wasser felt the need to stretch out this PSA into a long-winded and defensive stream of thought about the entire matter. You can check out the entire thing and see for yourself if the whole post was necessary.

Here’s a pretty hot take: of all the ways to announce you’ve gone Epic-exclusive, this is probably the worst one. As much as people take the plights of smaller developers pretty seriously, customers won’t take too kindly to being talked down like children who don't understand how the world works and whose opinions don't matter. Playing the whole issue down by comparing it to real-world issues like climate change and human rights is not that commendable either; by that line of reasoning, people will have no reason to take your game, or your own plights as a developer, seriously.

This brings me to the question of what exactly was the point being made here. Sure, you can chalk it up as wanting to make a statement about why you took the deal, but I feel like it should've ended there. Funnily enough, the developers got the point across in a few words, which is all they had to say in the first place.

"Because Epic doesn’t yet have the same market share as their competitors, they offered us a minimum guarantee on sales that would match what we’d be wanting to earn if we were just selling Ooblets across all the stores," the post reads. "That takes a huge burden of uncertainty off of us because now we know that no matter what, the game won’t fail and we won’t be forced to move back in with our parents (but we do love and appreciate you, parents!)."

This is the crux of the argument, and if the whole post was condensed to this, then I feel like there wouldn't be any real backlash behind it. Sure, some of the more involved drama happening behind the scenes like the game's Discord and Patreon may bubble up eventually, but in the end Glumberland will be saving themselves the pain of having to deal with backlash. However, the overly long post came across condescending at times, and I kind of wonder why they felt the need to announce exclusivity like this in the first place. There's nothing to be gained, and keeping it short, sweet and to the point could have achieved what was needed to be said - that Ooblets is now an Epic exclusive, and that you did it to not have to worry about sales anymore, since Epic essentially paid for the game and its 'success' upfront.

In all honesty, it’s always nice to see smaller developers make it and have some kind of fallback plan in the Epic deals they take. Taking everything into consideration, players who are looking forward to Ooblets get a better-funded game thanks to the financial support, all without the developer worrying whether or not it will sell. Sure, it speaks volumes about a developer's confidence in the product they’re selling, but in the end it’s part of business, and as far as everybody’s concerned exclusivity within the gaming industry isn't illegal. Having said that, throwing gasoline over an already burning wreck is only asking for trouble, and that might’ve cost Ooblets in the long run. Such a damn shame, too, because the game looks half-decent – yet every time someone hears of it now, they’ll be thinking of lines about Marxism and passive-aggressive statements about the value of exclusive titles.

Ooblets will be releasing on the Xbox One and PC via the Epic Games Store sometime later this year.

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