8 September 2021
Archival Archive Billy D Coffee Stain Epic Games Epic Games Store OAG oneangrygamer pc Sales Data

Anyone with any common business sense will tell you to sell your product through the largest distribution pipeline whenever possible. The larger the market reach, the greater your opportunities to sell to more customers. It’s common sense. However, a lot of ignorant game journalists and uneducated developers have been roped into believing that selling exclusively on the Epic Games Store is a great opportunity because Epic only takes a 12% distribution cut as opposed to the 30% cut every other major distributor takes. Well, one developer learned the hard way that just because the distribution cut is lower at the Epic Games Store doesn’t mean that you’re going to reach more customers.

While Epic has been heavily promoting their store as being developer friendly, they’ve been also heavily promoting their store as anti-consumer as well. There aren’t a lot of consumer-convenient features in place, which has created lots of negative word of mouth among gamers who feel safer making purchases on Steam, GOG.com, and even EA’s Origin. Customer reluctance is so high that sales for Coffee Stain Studios’ Satisfactory was only in the single digits… after refunds.

The developer brashly lamented their sales figures in a Twitter thread posted on April 24th, 2019.

People began mocking the developer for not releasing on the Steam store, where they likely would have had a lot more than just nine sales. This rings especially true since according to Steam Spy, most of Coffee Stain’s games sell upwards of at least 1 million copies. So there’s a huge drop-off going from 1 – 2 million copies down to just nine.

Coffee Stain also gained a lot of positive press when they originally released the meme game Goat Simulator, which went on to move millions of copies across both PC and home consoles. So they went from being a mid-sized player down to being a back-alley peddler that no one wanted to buy their wares from. It was so bad even they had to acknowledge that the sales were not… satisfactory.

Coffee Stain Studios’ developer quickly acknowledged that the vitriolic remark was made from the wrong account, revealing that some of them were so on edge about the failure of being an Epic Games Store exclusive that they were sending invectives through the wrong Twitter handles.

It turns out that Snutt and Jace actually run the Satisfactory account, and were alternating. Jace then comes on to admit that he has bipolar disorder.

It didn’t matter, though. People were calling out the ridiculous PR bubble that Epic had managed to envelop indie developers in by promising them higher distribution cuts (even though there was ZERO guarantees there would actually be sales volume there to justify the cuts, especially given the massive disparity in market share between the Epic Games Store and Steam).

Worth the 88% cut of revenue pic.twitter.com/wG5yW0x1PV
— compoter enginering (@gamersnamedpaul) April 26, 2019


Coffee Stains then begin to go after the people joking about pirating Satisfactory as a way to stick it to Epic Games.

This caused an irascible response from the indie developer, lecturing people about piracy and how hard the 30 of them had been working over the course of three years on the first-person factory-based simulator only to sell nine copies on the Epic Games Store.

It didn’t stop gamers from peppering Coffee Stain Studios with some iconic quotes with which Valve has used over the years to shape what people believe to be a pro-consumer stance on delivering software to gamers.

Nevertheless, Coffee Stain Studio continued to react to everyone trolling them about pirating their game instead of purchasing a copy from the Epic Games Store.

After nearly two days of going back and forth with lost sales and potential customers who would have bought the game had it not been exclusive on the Epic Games Store, the developers finally gave up on the argument and decided to focus on other things.

This is basically a lesson on how not to conduct business as an independent developer.

If you want some quick cash and fast trip down the road of losing consumer trust, then feel free to definitely take the cash upfront from Epic for a year’s worth of exclusivity.

The thing is, you lose all integrity to argue and complain about piracy, backlash, or poor sales.

In real life, there are no shortcuts. Every action has a reaction, every choice has a cost, and some of those costs come with severe consequences.

If you do not want to face those consequences then do not make the choice that leads you down the path toward tumult and ruination.

Now I imagine with this lesson learned, Coffee Stain Studios will be very reluctant to take another exclusivity deal at the cost of selling copies to an actual consumer base.

Don’t be surprised if more developers start to react negatively to their nonexistent sales on the Epic Games Store in the coming months. Because at the end of the day, Epic can talk a big game about putting developers first, but if you don’t have customers then you won’t have much volume for your sales.

(Thanks for the news tip Tomato Tentacle)

NOTE: This article has been republished to honor the journalistic integrity and previous work of William Usher (Billy D) formally of oneangrygamer. The purpose of this is to archive and honor the dedicated efforts of one of the last few people who stood up against the tyranny of faggots and Grabblers within this field. This is not my work, but it has been bestowed upon me to both preserve and promote the work of Billy D.

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