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Shenmue 3 developer Ys Net announced last month that the crowdfunded game's PC version would first launch as a timed exclusive on the Epic Games Store, an announcement that, like many other exclusivity reveals, was met with no small amount of backlash online.
In its latest Kickstarter update, Ys Net has now outlined how distribution will move forward on PC, offering multiple solutions for those that prefer Steam to Epic’s PC games storefront and lightly discussing the reasoning for the distribution switch in the process.
On PC, backers have the option of receiving an Epic Games Store key for Shenmue 3 at launch, as well as an additional Steam key one year later after the exclusivity window has passed. Otherwise, Ys Net is working on a refund request process but notes that reward tiers featuring in-game content that have already been created and implemented may not be eligible for a full refund.
The Kickstarter campaign for Shenmue 3 ended in 2015 with $6.3 million raised on that crowdfunding platform alone. Ys Net made the announcement that it and publisher Deep Silver had struck an exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store just last month, the latest of several PC games to do so. But while a fair amount of online push-back seems to have become the standard for Epic Games Store exclusives, crowdfunded games like Shenmue 3 and Fig-funded Outer Wilds face an additional layer of criticism from backers that say they funded the game expecting a Steam key in return.
“As noted in the updates and survey at launch, we had originally planned for PC distribution through Steam. Taking publishing and sales considerations into account, Ys Net and Deep Silver agreed to our partnership with Epic Games Store on PC version distribution,” reads the update. “As a publishing partner, Deep Silver has greatly contributed not only to sales and marketing, but to scaling up the game so there is more Shenmue 3 to begin with. Also, Epic Games has been with us from the start of the project when we adopted Unreal Engine 4 for development, and have given us their support throughout the development process.”