Epic Games Store Still Needs an 'Appear Offline' Option
The Epic Games Store came out in December 2018, and since its release, it has certainly made itself a topic of discussion among the PC gaming community. With a formula that releases free games from the Epic Games storefront every week, the massive success it has experienced with the battle royale Fortnite, and the acquisition of now free-to-play games such as Rocket League, the launcher is at least worth having downloaded for most people if not solely to claim free games.
Unfortunately, the Epic Games Store has been scrutinized in the past for grabbing exclusive titles before the client was fully optimized, not listing game sizes on the download page, having a slow-loading launcher, and its lack of community, especially when compared to Valve's more popular Steam client. It seems it will be quite some time before Epic Games can overtake the likes of Steam, Battle.net, Origin, Bethesda Launcher, and other respectable alternatives, but an 'appear offline' option would be a good place to start.
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While the developers are beginning to add more games to its library, like Genshin Impact, League of Legends, and Grand Theft Auto 5, the client is still lacking in various areas. Even after recent updates to the Epic Game Store, one of which includes a brand-new rating system that will be available to players after two hours of playtime in a game, it doesn't feel like the store is maturing quickly enough. For instance, it's still missing discussion boards, which are said not to be a priority for the company.
The progress of this launcher has been slow, and it was only as of May 2022 that users could even filter through their own Epic libraries by genre, feature, type, or platform. Library filtering isn't just a nice or convenient addition to the client; it's an essential element of a game browser. It seems strange that a company of this magnitude maintains a game launcher that lacks so many standard features.An Offline Option is Still Not Available
A significant variety of changes need to be made that have come to be expected of a game launcher, but hopefully, these updates will be available in the Epic Games Store in the near future. In the same vein, somehow there is no official way to set a user's profile to "Appear Offline." Multiplayer games are encouraged in this client, but there isn't a real way for someone to remain online and stay invisible to their friends if they are simply trying to relax on their own.
The only two current options are to appear "Online" or "Away", none of which yield the same benefits. Most people don't want to appear rude if someone asks to play with them, and they simply aren't feeling it, so an "Appear Offline" function is the perfect solution.
At the moment, the only way to play games while appearing offline is to simply not sign in to one's profile, enable offline browsing, or disconnect from the internet, but then any online experiences will be unavailable. For some games such as Fortnite, players can find an option under the main menu to set themselves as a way, in a private party, and turn off notifications for friends. The closest thing to being invisible online is the "do not disturb" feature, which is truly not the same.
Other users have created alternate accounts to get around the issue but quickly learned that the primary game library was not available to them anymore. Free games would still be playable, but it certainly seems like a lot of effort to take a break from social interaction. Additionally, none of these methods are very self-explanatory, and Epic Games could easily solve the issue by implementing a real offline option.
It's pertinent that Epic Games incorporate this "Appear Offline" function if it wants to hold its own against distribution services such as Steam, which is also beginning to give away free games. Perhaps the Epic Games Store will soon evolve beyond its simplistic roots and begin to yield more variety as more updates come out.
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