Epic to Cover All Refund Costs for Shenmue III and Future Crowdfunded Projects Going Epic Games Store Exclusive
When Shenmue III was announced to be the latest big Epic Games Store exclusive (for one year) at E3 2019, that sparked a rather large controversy within the passionate Shenmue community, mostly because Ys Net and Deep Silver didn't initially provide an option to refund disgruntled Kickstarter backers.
Yesterday, Ys Net and Deep Silver announced refunds would now be available, as well as optional Steam keys for when the game will eventually launch on Valve's platform. As it turns out, these funds will come directly out of Epic's pockets, as confirmed by Tim Sweeney on Twitter. Moreover, the same will happen for future crowdfunded projects that switch from Steam to Epic Games Store-exclusive.
Epic is funding the cost of all Kickstarter refunds resulting from Shenmue III’s move to the Epic Games Store so that refunds won’t reduce Ys Net’s development funding.
When future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores, we’ll either coordinate with colleagues at the other stores to ensure key availability in advance or guarantee refunds at announcement time.
A while ago, Tim Sweeney even suggested Epic would be amenable to funding the Steam keys for backers of crowdfunded projects as well, but apparently Valve won't allow it.
Shenmue III isn't the first crowdfunded game to make the jump, by the way. An earlier example is Phoenix Point, the turn-based tactics game by former X-COM creator Julian Gollop, which got funded on Fig for a release on Steam and then switched to Epic Games Store exclusive a few months ago. However, Snapshot Games offered two options to its backers: either get a full refund or free DLC during the game's first-year post-launch support.
Shenmue III was recently delayed once again, hopefully for the last time, and is now scheduled to hit PC (Epic Games Store) and PlayStation 4 on November 19th.