Epic Games Store Exclusives coming to an end?

Today: Ubisoft’s NFT ambitions are not quite coming to fruition — Double Fine is getting ready to start new projects in the new year — The PC version of Horizon Zero Dawn can be played in virtual reality

Christmas Break: We'll be taking a short break over the Christmas Holiday to catch up on all the great games we've missed this year. We’ll be looking forward to seeing you all again when we return on the 5th January. Merry Christmas from everyone at DailyBits!

Epic Games no longer offers revenue guarantees for exclusivity deals

Data slide from unsealed court documents

Epic Games have offered studios a minimum revenue guarantee in exchange for Epic Game Store exclusivity, but those days might be over as the return on investment has been underwhelming.

The new model will look more like publishing than distribution deals, and it is safe to assume that the ‘minimum guarantee’ deals were a way to attract attention, establish relationships and assure the industry that Epic Games were serious about competing with Valve and Steam.

  • Much fewer minimum guarantee deals signed from late 2019
  • Tier 1 guaranteed over $30 million and had biggest ROI of 70%
  • Tier 2 between $10 million and $30 million with lower ROI of 36%
  • Tier 3 guaranteed under $10 million with lowest ROI of 20%
  • Each tier has only had a single title hit its minimum revenue guarantee target

Unsealed: The sales data was found in documents from the Epic vs Apple lawsuit, which included fairly detailed information about the Epic Games Store and revealed that smaller exclusives provided a particularly bad return on investment.

Publisher: Epic Games Publishing launched in March 2020, and deals would often include limited exclusivity for Epic Game Store, while still allowing Epic to make real money on Steam.

Which less-than-famous company is behind Santa Claus Saves the Earth?

a) Nordcurrent
b) Trashmasters
c) Burut CT
d) Ivolgamus

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

NFT speculators not embracing Quartz

Ubisoft Quartz logo and NFT Digits

Ubisoft recently announced Ubisoft Quartz, an NFT platform for buying and selling in-game assets called Digits. Apart from facing major backlash from their audience, the service is not exactly taking off either.

Third-party blockchain markets track the activity on Quartz, and there appear to be very few NFTs traded: Only 15 were traded in the past week.

Buy low: The biggest purchase on Objkt was worth $80, while Rarible had a $161 transaction. Some are currently attempting to resell the NFTs for around $10,000 denominated in cryptocurrency.

Sluggish: This underwhelming start could be a sign of a general indifference to game NFTs or perhaps simply a general lack of enthusiasm for Ubisoft's toe-dipping, but it's still early days and you never know … that golden sniper rifle skin could secure your pension!

Psychonauts 2 is essentially done, and Double Fine is starting new projects

Psychonauts 2 animation

The latest update to Psychonauts 2's Fig campaign reveals that Double Fine is “splitting up into various teams” that will start working on all-new projects next year.

That means they consider Psychonauts 2 is “essentially wrapped up as a project”, although Double Fine will keep an eye on the game and make sure bugs or other problems are fixed.

The game was originally announced at The Game Awards in 2015 and launched earlier this year, after a long and probably rather arduous development. Double Fine is pretty happy though, and think they “stuck the landing.”

New ideas: “We like experimentation here at Double Fine. Every game is a chance to explore new ideas, new visual styles or gameplay, emotions, and more,” they said. Double Fine was acquired by Microsoft in 2019.

Double Fine: Broken Age is now available on Xbox Game Pass, after starting as a Double Fine Adventure on Kickstarter, and is often credited with showing that crowdfunding is a good way for well-established companies to test the waters with and build an audience for their ideas by involving them in the whole development process.

Last minute Amazon deals for Christmas

Pac-Man S.H.Figuarts poseable model

The yuletides are nearly upon us, but Amazon still has time for a few last-minute deals! You can grab Far Cry 6 for PlayStation 5 for just $24.99, or A Plague Tale: Innocence for PlayStation 5 for $19.99.

You can get a physical copy of the Hotline Miami Collection for Switch for $36, and Atelier Ryza 2 Lost Legends & The Secret Fairy for Switch for £31.99.

If you're more interested in merchandise, you can grab a Mario Kart 2022 Wall Calendar for $11, or a multi-jointed posable Pac-Man figure for $17.

P.T. hallway recreated as custom VR home

A fan of the cult horror classic P.T. demo from Kojima Productions has remade its infamous creepy hallway as a custom VR home for Meta Quest. Grab it for free from Sidequest.

Horizon Zero Dawn playable in VR

LukeRoss has created a VR mod for the PC version of Guerrilla Games' Horizon Zero Dawn, so you can enjoy Eloy's adventure in a whole new and more immersive way. It looks pretty fantastic, to say the least.

Finger Gun for Meta Quest next year

Put your fingers to the test in the aptly named Finger Gun for Meta Quest. It’s a wave-based shooter from developer Miru Studio, and is scheduled for launch next year.

Murder Diaries 3 – Santa’s Trail of Blood Giveaway for the Nintendo Switch

Murder Diaries 3 - Santa's Trail of Blood banner

In Murder Diaries 3 – Santa's Trail of Blood you take the role of a free-floating, ghostly being piecing together memory fragments as you follow a young man's slide into insanity. Merry Christmas!

Here's the winners for this week's giveaway:

  • Rhonda Dunlap
  • Maddie Logemann
  • Alexander Wolf
  • Mark Sato
  • Amber Peralez

Which less-than-famous company is behind Santa Claus Saves the Earth?

The box art for Santa Claus Saves the Earth, showing Kris Kringle surrounded by various monsters

ANSWER: Ivolgamus!

Sometimes a bad game is just what you need to get in good spirits. Nothing brings Christmas cheer like spectacularly bad Santa Claus Saves the Earth by Lithuanian company Ivolgamus. It launched for Game Boy Advance and PlayStation in 2002, quite a while after Sony's first console went out of fashion.

It's a frustrating, ugly mess with an incredibly annoying soundtrack – and that's why it's so lovable, or at least memable, just like Hong Kong '97 or Zoo Race. It's not a game you play to enjoy yourself but to entertain others. If that's not in the spirit of the season, then what is?

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!