In addition, the company will either cover refunds or secure advance keys on rival stores for any future crowdfunded games that switch to Epic Games store exclusives, it said.
Shenmue 3 developer Ys Net announced on Tuesday that refunds will now be offered to Kickstarter backers unhappy with the decision to release the PC version of the game exclusively through the Epic Games store for its first year of availability.
Ys Net said affected backers can choose to receive the Epic Games store version at launch and recieve a free Steam key too, which will arrive a year after the game’s launch, once the exclusivity period ends.
Alternatively, the developer announced that refunds will now be offered to backers unhappy with the decision to release the PC version of the game exclusively through the Epic Games store.
Epic’s Tim Sweeney wrote on Twitter: “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.”
Epic boss Sweeney has recently defended the company’s strategy of signing PC exclusives for its digital storefront, claiming it’s the only way to challenge Steam.
“We believe that there’s no set of features which Epic, or any other store, could add that would be so revolutionary as to lead to a large-scale move of gamers from a dominant storefront to a new one,” the executive said.
“We believe the lock-in effect of having a large library of games on a dominant storefront is more powerful than features, and hence a dominant store can only be challenged through exclusives.”
While Epic’s strategy has been unpopular with some players, it’s proved a hit with many game developers.
The Epic Games store offers developers an 88 per cent share of the revenue their games bring in, compared to the 70/30 per cent revenue split offered by rival Steam, as well as digital platforms operated by companies including Microsoft, Sony and Apple.