Epic Games has recently acquired exclusive streaming rights to the highly anticipated third season of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, also known as OreGairu. The anime series will be distributed on the Epic Games Store at $1.99 per episode.
This marks a first for Epic, who previously only dealt with video games. The distribution of anime on game storefronts is not anything new. In 2017, Steam partnered with Crunchyroll to allow its users to stream anime before the service was largely deprecated earlier this year.
Epic’s distribution of OreGairu, however, is different as the company has obtained exclusive rights to sell the series on their storefront, preventing other online platforms from streaming the series.
Crunchyroll, which hosts the first two seasons of the show, has spoken up regarding the matter in an official statement:
“Streaming of OreGairu season 3 will not take place on Crunchyroll due to a publisher decision to make the anime exclusive to another platform. Unfortunately this is a factor is beyond our control.
We think the decision to withhold this content is unfair to Crunchyroll subscribers, especially after such a long period of anticipation. We apologize to Crunchyroll subscribers that were expecting it to be available in our catalog. We will continue to work hard to provide subscribers with other upcoming series in the near future.”
Anime fans have not taken the news very well, directing backlash toward Epic Games. Similar situations arose with game titles such as Metro Exodus and Borderlands 3 which were abruptly announced not to be coming to the Steam digital storefront and instead being made exclusives on the Epic Games Store.
OreGairu publisher TBS defended the decision as a way to encourage competition in the marketplace among major streaming services in North America and definitely not the result of some deal where Epic Games had paid a large sum of money in exchange for exclusivity rather than building a legitimately good platform to attract content on their own merit.
Fans criticized the claim, pointing to things like how the Epic Games Store lacks proper categories for sorting through shows, has no user feedback system to indicate potentially bad content, and has no proper queue feature found on many other video services. Many other users also stated they didn’t want to be reminded of Fortnite every time they booted up their computer to watch anime.
Epic has yet to make a statement in response to the situation.
In related news, Ubisoft also announced that the highly anticipated third season of A Certain Scientific Railgun would be coming to their Uplay platform. We attempted to verify this claim, but were unable to due to Uplay servers being down.