How an anti-piracy war shaped the fight between Valve and Epic

Earlier this month, PC gaming fans learned that the long-awaited Borderlands 3 would initially launch exclusively on the Epic Store, not Valve Corporation’s older and more popular Steam platform, and a number of them exploded with rage. Steam users review-bombed the earlier Borderlands games, calling Epic Games a “scummy company” and its actions “a slap in the face.” Critics posted a litany of reasons to hate the Epic Store, ranging from minor feature complaints to serious concerns about privacy and security. They’d made similar protests against earlier Epic exclusivity deals, including the shooter Metro: Exodus.

Other reviewers, however, were incredulous at the level of anger. “Review bombing? Seriously? Over your favorite choice of DRM…

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