Shenmue 3 Steam key rewards no longer offered at launch

Shenmue 3 will no longer send Steam keys to backers at launch, instead offering Epic Games Store or PS4 keys.

Shenmue 3 Steam keys will no longer be sent to backers who requested the game on PC at launch, switching over entirely to the Epic Games Store.

Previously, after announcing they had secured an Epic Games Store publishing deal, Ys Net tried to assure backers who had selected a PC key as their preferred platform reward that they would still receive a Steam key, though a one-year exclusivity contract would mean it may not be on launch.

Now that has been cemented in a backer update posted today, saying that PC backers could opt for one of five options including two PC alternatives, two PS4 and, of course, a refund.

"In response to backers who have requested Steam keys for their rewards, we discussed offering the keys on the day of release," the team posted on their Kickstart update. "However, coordination with the sales policies of the involved companies was untenable, and as a result we are not able to make a day one distribution option for Steam keys available.

"That we are not able to offer Steam keys for Kickstarter rewards at the time of the game’s release is a great disappointed and inconvenience for those backers who were expecting to receive them. We deeply apologize for the unrest caused by the announcement."

The team does say that PC backers will still have the option to receive a Steam key one year later, and that they must manually select this option in the survey to choose their new method of delivery. Seems like a long time to wait just to be reunited with your precious forklift.

The methods offered for PC backers to receive Shenmue 3 are now:

  • PC Physical: Package (Disc) + EGS Key
  • PC Digital: EGS Key
  • PS4 Physical: Package (Disc)
  • PS4 Digital: PSN Voucher Code

However, the PC disc package contains an installer for the EGS launcher and nothing else, making it mostly useless as an archival tool. PS4 and PC players can choose to swap to the other platform if they want, as well as request that Steam key to be delivered a year later.

Ys Net also said they had arranged with publishers Deep Silver and the Epic Games Store to offer refunds if none of the above options are acceptable to Shenmue 3's PC backers. Further details about how to apply for a refund will be given in another update to come soon.

Shenmue 3 steam keys
© Ys Net / Kickstarter

As far as the game itself goes, the backer update also shows that a number of unreached stretch goals have been implemented into the game. However one achieved stretch goal, to allow you to play from the perspective of other characters in the story, has not been possible to add to "this game". Given that Yu Suzuki has said that Shenmue 3 will get us "40% of the way" through Ryo's story, we imagine there's another few games to come that might have these implemented. If they can get the crowdfunding right for them.

It seems a little unfair to us that Shenmue 3 Steam keys won't be supplied at launch, given that's what backers signed on for. Although the way the Epic Games Store is eating up exclusives at the moment, it's maybe not such a surprise.


Chris is the captain of the good ship AllGamers, which would explain everything you're seeing here. Get in touch to talk about work or the $6 million Echo Slam by emailing or finding him on Twitter. 


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