Striked vs Epic Games
Today, we're diving into the next chapter of our gaming platform comparison series. In our last posts, we explored the features and history of GOG and itch.io. Today, we'll be looking at a platform of a completely different caliber that has been gaining extra attention in recent years: the Epic Games Store. By comparing the Epic Games Store to Striked, we aim to provide you with valuable insights that will help you make an informed decision about whether Striked is the right choice for you, be it for personal or business purposes.
As always, let’s take a deeper look at history first. Founded in 1991 by Tim Sweeney (who is still the CEO to date), ‘Epic Games, Inc.’ is an American video game & software developer and publisher that has evolved into a household name within the gaming industry and has also come a long way from its humble beginnings as a ‘garage-based game developer’ in Maryland, USA. The company has been around for over two decades and has developed some of the most popular games of all time, including Fortnite, Gears of War, and Unreal Tournament.
Tim Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, had a passion for computers from an early age. While studying mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland in the late 1980s, Sweeney received an IBM Personal Computer/AT from his father, who worked for the Defense Mapping Agency. Tim started a consulting business, Potomac Computer Systems, to offer computer help, but it never took off. Sweeney then began programming games at night and on weekends, while he was still in college. He created a text editor based on the Pascal language to be able to program the game, which led to the idea of making a game out of the text editor itself. This became the basis of ZZT, which he distributed using the shareware model. The game sold well enough that he decided to make developing games his career, and he renamed Potomac Computer Systems to ‘Epic MegaGames’.
Sweeney's next game, Jill of the Jungle, required a team to complete, and he eventually partnered with Mark Rein, who had just been let go from id Software. Rein helped manage the company's growth, and Sweeney started work on the Unreal Engine, which was developed for the first-person shooter Unreal and licensed by multiple other video games. Unreal's success led the company to relocate to North Carolina in 1999 and change its name to ‘Epic Games’. Sweeney's background in computer consulting and his passion for programming led to the creation of one of the biggest video game companies in the world.
Since 2008, Epic Games has been acquiring various firms to expand its support for Fortnite and the Epic Games Store as a whole. These acquisitions have also allowed Epic to acquire additional software, tools, and platforms that are integrated into the Unreal Engine. Among the companies Epic has acquired are ‘Chair Entertainment’, ‘Cloudgine’, ‘Kamu’, ‘Psyonix’, ‘Cubic Motion’, ‘Quixel’, ‘SuperAwesome’, ‘Hyprsense’, ‘RAD Game Tools’, ‘Tonic Games Group’, ‘Capturing Reality, ‘ArtStation’, ‘Sketchfab’, ‘Harmonix’, ‘Bandcamp’, and ‘Aquiris’. The acquisitions have enabled Epic to expand its offerings in various areas such as cloud-based gaming software, anti-cheat software, digital human creation, architectural design, social networking, photogrammetry asset library, facial animations, middleware solutions, professional artists' marketplace, music game development, and indie music platform. These acquisitions also support Epic's broader plans of creating its own metaverse.
Over the years, Epic Games has continued to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible in video games. In 2006, the company released the first version of the Unreal Engine, which has since become one of the most popular game engines in the world. The engine has been used to create some of the biggest games of all time, including Batman: Arkham City, BioShock (modified), and Rocket League. In recent years, Epic Games has become perhaps best known for their massively popular game, Fortnite. The game, which was released in 2017, quickly became a cultural phenomenon and has since become one of the most played games in the world. Fortnite has also been a major success for Epic Games from a financial standpoint, with the company reportedly making billions of dollars from it.
However, Epic Games has not been without controversy - Silicon Knights, a Canadian game studio, sued Epic Games in 2007, claiming that the latter failed to provide a working game engine, resulting in considerable losses for the studio. Silicon Knights alleged that Epic Games was sabotaging Unreal Engine 3 licensees. However, Epic Games counter-sued the studio, claiming that Silicon Knights had made unauthorized use of Epic's licensed technology and had infringed Epic's intellectual property rights by incorporating Unreal Engine 3 code into its own engine, the Silicon Knights Engine. The court ultimately ruled in favor of Epic Games in 2012, and Silicon Knights was directed to destroy all game code derived from Unreal Engine 3, all information from licensee-restricted areas of Epic's Unreal Engine documentation website, and to recall and destroy all unsold retail copies of games built with Unreal Engine 3 code, including Too Human, X-Men Destiny, The Sandman, The Box/Ritualyst, and Siren in the Maelstrom. Silicon Knights filed for bankruptcy in 2014. In 2020, Epic Games sued both Apple and Google for antitrust and anticompetitive behavior, which led to Fortnite's removal from their storefronts, and sought injunctive relief to allow fair competition in the digital storefront market. Epic Games was officially seeking "injunctive relief to allow fair competition" in the app market. They argued that consumers should have the freedom to install apps from sources of their choosing and for creators of apps to distribute them as they choose. Apple responded by terminating Epic's developer accounts, but the court granted a preliminary injunction against this action. In September 2020, Epic Games launched the Coalition for App Fairness to improve the inclusion of apps into app stores. In September 2021, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled in favor of Apple on nine of ten counts but did issue a permanent injunction against Apple from preventing developers from linking app users to other storefronts from within apps to complete purchases or from collecting information within an app to notify users of these storefronts.
Also, since the partial investment by the Chinese company Tencent, Epic Games' reputation has been called into question by some consumers, leading to concerns about the use of their data and general distrust of Chinese corporations among some Western video game players. Epic has reassured that Tencent does not have access to private data nor shares it with the Chinese government. In March 2020, accusations surfaced on social media claiming that the Epic Games social networking app Houseparty led to hacks of other services, which Epic and Life on Air have denied as a smear campaign and offered a $1 million bounty for proof.
Despite the controversy, Epic Games remains one of the most innovative and successful companies in the gaming industry. With a track record of developing groundbreaking games and technologies, it is clear that the company will continue to shape the future of gaming for years to come.
Striked is a young gaming startup from Hamburg, founded in 2022, with the goal of providing developers with effective tools for the successful distribution, marketing, and hosting of their games. The fully automated platform with a strong focus on the indie sector also aims to give the gaming community as well as game developers a voice in the funding of prototypes and the general direction of the platform itself to incorporate their wishes directly into the development process. The idea of Striked came about during a discussion between the founders at a gaming event in 2019. Since then, Striked has worked with various (indie) developers worldwide in close feedback loops to meet their needs and incorporate their feedback. The founders seek to bring gamers and developers together worldwide by building a platform that unites the values of all - to create a platform for gamers, by gamers. In particular, Striked aims to lower the barriers to success and make market access more democratic and lucrative for all, especially by offering a fair and transparent pricing model. At the same time, the integrated social network for gamers and developers creates synergies and feedback loops for unique innovation potential and a community that supports and develops each other. Whether alone or with friends, Striked is available on desktop and mobile devices and creates a new gaming experience by integrating social features. This allows developers to find the right audiences and build long-lasting communities.
Epic has adopted a two-pronged approach. The company has developed the Unreal Engine and made it available to other developers, which powers many popular games. The engine is free to use and developers only pay a royalty fee of 5% on games made with the engine that generate over $1 million in revenue. Meaning - You are only required to pay a 5% royalty fee if you use Unreal Engine code in an off-the-shelf product, such as a game, and your lifetime gross revenue from that product surpasses $1 million USD. You are exempted from paying any royalty on the first $1 million of your product's revenue.
Secondly, for its online store, the Epic Games Store, the company offers a revenue-sharing model similar to that of the Unreal Engine (or other industry standards). Developers pay a 12% fee on the revenue they generate from the sale of their games, compared to the industry-standard 30% fee charged by other online marketplaces. Striked handles the pricing slightly differently. The platform is completely free of charge for all users, with no setup fee required for any game submissions. Unlike Epic, Striked does not take a percentage of the revenue generated, allowing developers to keep 100% of their earnings. Striked is financed through monthly subscriptions, which are tailored to the specific needs of the developers. There is also a free package available for users that provides attractive terms and can be used indefinitely. By using Striked, developers are able to grow their business without worrying about any additional fees, hidden costs, or losing a portion of their revenue to the platform owner.
Community & social features
Epic Games provides rather limited social features for its community and developers which leaves not too much space for interactive possibilities. While the platform allows users to add friends to their list and join parties, it currently offers no direct chat functionality within the launcher. However, Epic Games’ Voice, a cross-platform voice communication service, empowers developers to integrate in-game voice chat functionality into their projects using any major game engine. Additionally, the platform supports cross-platform play, meaning players can play with friends on other platforms like Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. Epic also regularly hosts in-game events and offers an achievement system where players can earn XP. Currently there is no option to use and spend the earned XP, which might be planned for things like profile design, avatars, or similar features. Epic Games also allows the creation and participation in tournaments or events like game jams, in which developers can win great prizes. It's also important to note that Epic Games does not support mods or custom content.
Striked on the other hand has an entire social network that offers a variety of ways to engage with your audience and other players even if some features are still being developed or are in the planning stage. Integrating community services directly into the game takes the burden off of developers by allowing community building to take place very close to the product, rather than on third-party channels. The platform gives the community its own tools to make the platform, what they want it to be: there are also forum-like so-called ‘spaces’ for chatting or just hanging out (similar to Discord), custom profiles to showcase your own gaming personality, curated feeds, which you can shape yourself, with friends' activities and news from the whole gaming world, and livestreams that anyone can start with the click of a button. Striked offers broadcasting services, meaning you can establish your streaming presence directly on the platform and gather your community in one place. By the way, streamers keep 100% of their donations (minus payment provider transaction fees). In addition, users can earn digital coins by completing missions, unlocking achievements, testing new games, and being active members of the community. In the near future, these coins will be redeemable for exclusive rewards and discounts in the store or marketplace. Striked is also running events with great rewards to give developers opportunities to present their work to a worldwide community, in order to get a more exclusive opportunity to raise more awareness. And last but not least, Striked offers developers the opportunity to receive donations via the community, so that players can support their favorites at any time independently of buying the game.
Striked already supports a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Web (HTML5) and Mobile. Gamers can access their favorite games on their preferred device, whether it's a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. Epic Games on the other hand supports PC, Mac, web games, iOS, Android, and several consoles such as Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, but lacks support for Linux.
Epic Games is not DRM-free and uses a form of digital rights management (DRM) to protect games from piracy and unauthorized distribution. When you purchase a game from the Epic Games Store, it is linked to your account and requires you to be logged in to play. While some developers may choose to release their games without DRM, this is not a requirement on the Epic Games Store. However, the company has been known to work with developers to find a balance between protecting their games and respecting the rights of consumers. Striked gives game developers the option to decide whether or not to use DRM on their games. It’s up to you to enable DRM in order to protect your game(s) from being copied or distributed without permission, and Striked will automatically take care of it.
Currently, Epic Games does not offer the possibility to unite multiple game libraries in one place yet has also developed its own cross-platform social system called ‘Epic Friends’, which allows players to connect with friends across different platforms and join games together. With the Striked launcher, all your PC games can be easily managed in one place, but friend lists from other platforms can't yet be integrated to keep e.g. track of all your friends and their activities at a glance.
Epic Games prides itself on offering a more curated selection of games, with a focus on quality over quantity. They regularly offer free games on a weekly basis to its users, allowing players to quickly build up their game library at no cost. For some people this is considered difficult, as it only tempts them to grab games without actually playing them. In addition, the discussion about exclusive titles being withheld from other platforms always boils up - Tim Sweeney believes that exclusive titles are the only way to attack a ‘top dog’ like Steam. He accuses platform providers like Valve, Apple, and Google of taking far too much of the revenue for themselves, at 30%. At Striked, the full process of publishing a game can be done by a developer on their own. While the process can be daunting for new developers, there is documentation and the process is designed to be as self-explanatory as possible.
Besides that, Epic also offers the so-called ‘Easy Anti-Cheat’ software which aims to prevent cheating and hacking in online multiplayer games. The program is designed to detect and prevent the use of third-party programs and other cheating tools that give players an unfair advantage over others - something that Striked does not yet have to offer, but is already in the pipeline.
Epic Games has a diverse and growing selection of games that includes approximately 1,500 titles across a range of different genres and platforms. The company offers both its own original games, such as Fortnite, as well as games developed by other publishers and independent developers. When it comes to game selection, Epic Games undoubtedly has a massive advantage over us - obviously. Striked does not have that yet, but that is to be expected from a very new player in the market. Let's see how it looks in a few years!
In conclusion, both Striked and Epic Games offer distinct advantages. Epic Games offers a two-pronged approach, providing a free-to-use Unreal Engine and revenue sharing model with developers, and features like cross-platform play, digital and in-game events, achievement systems and free weekly game rotations. However, Epic Games has limited social features for its community and developers thus still have a few things they can tweak for a better overall experience. It is not to take away from the launcher, but it just doesn’t offer as much as Striked when it comes to other activities (streaming support, community place, marketplace, or customization). Striked is completely free and does not take any cut of the revenue generated by developers, providing an entire social network and various interactive possibilities for the community. While Striked is currently in the early stages of development, it supports a wide range of operating systems and offers a library sync feature, which is not (yet?) available on the Epic Games Store. As a new platform focused on the indie sector, we provide a fully automated and transparent process for game developers to create, sell, and distribute their games worldwide. You can use our services completely for free, with no setup fees or hidden costs.
We value feedback and are always open to suggestions for improvement. We take constructive criticism seriously and believe that nothing is set in stone. Our commitment to continuous improvement is reflected in everything we do. We hope this article has given you some insight into our company's status and practices. If you found this article helpful, keep an eye out for other articles in this series that will provide more information about Striked and how we compare to others in this dynamic industry.
As a new player in the market, we want to make a meaningful impact on the global gaming industry, and we believe that we can do so by providing a platform that is accessible, transparent, and user-friendly. Join us on this journey and let's grow together!
Thanks for reading!