Then quickly announces this will happen again.
Shenmue 3

If you've been following the Shenmue 3 development saga for any length of time, you are probably well aware of a few things. First, you are probably well aware that the game pulled in over $6.3 million on Kickstarter alone. After the Kickstarter run ended, it used another service to keep collecting from fans that wanted to help fund the game. The total amount pledged rose to almost $7.2 million. Deep Silver was then selected as the game's publisher. However, it is not clear how much, if anything, they contributed as a publisher towards additional funding on Shenmue 3.

The game has seen a few delays so far, which is understandable. That's really nothing too egregious about that. What can be viewed as egregious is the fact that over these handful of years in development, the game was announced for, and promised for, the PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam. Surveys had gone out requiring backers to select which platform they wanted and it always listed Steam as the distribution platform on PC. Steam was even listed as a requirement for playing the game on PC. Backers supported the game with these details in mind. There has even been a Steam page live for Shenmue 3 for a considerable amount of time now.

After years of development and after years of promising that the game would be released on Steam, along came Epic Games at the 11th hour to purchase the exclusive rights to the game on the PC. Everybody that selected the PC as their platform of choice would get an Epic Games Store code to redeem and not that Steam one that was promised for years prior.

This happened just under one month ago. The announcement was actually made by Shenmue 3's developer, Ys Net, during E3's PC Gaming Show that was, amusingly, sponsored by Epic Games. That's pretty short notice for a game coming out this November and, up until that point, was still "known" to be coming to Steam.

To say that many backers were pissed off about this would be an understatement. Countless supporters that backed the game with the promise of a Steam key for the PC for launch immediately demanded refunds or the Steam keys that they paid for.

For weeks, Epic, Ys Net, and Deep Silver tried to work out how they would handle this situation that they created. It was initially said that refunds would not be issued to those who wanted them. Epic's Tim Sweeney tried to place the blame on Valve for the entire Shenmue 3 Kickstarter controversy. In a series of public tweets, Sweeney tries very hard to turn the public outcry against Valve because Valve won't provide free keys for a game that is no longer launching on their platform for at least another year.

You can't make this stuff up.

In a series of Tweets, Sweeney explained the situation: “As far as we and our partners can determine, Valve policy prohibits providing Steam keys for games that aren’t going to be available at launch on Steam. This would make it impossible to deliver Steam keys for a game releasing exclusively on Epic at launch.”

According to Sweeney, “Epic would be happy to fund partners paying 30% for Steam keys for backers if Valve were willing to provide Steam keys for a game that’s not actively in release on Steam.”

In response to the game’s recent pick up by the Epic Store, Tim Sweeney said the following: "Epic’s not going to refuse funding worthy exclusivity partners just because a Steam policy change traps crowdfunded projects into either launching on Steam for 30% or offering backers refunds."
Despite some devout Epic fans, these statements really didn't go over well with backers and the push for refunds continued.

Yesterday, Sweeney finally announced some good news. He says that Epic is "funding the cost of all Kickstarter refunds resulting from Shenmue 3's move to the Epic Games Store, so that refunds won't reduce Ys Net's development funding."

On its surface, that's a very nice gesture from Sweeney and Epic Games. However, this gesture only had to be made because of a problem that they, Epic Games, created in the first place. It's like pushing someone down a well, blaming the rain for filling the well with water, and then patting yourself on the back when you toss them down a rescue rope.

Right after Tim Sweeney made this announcement, he promised that this situation with Kickstarted games will happen again.

You really don't even have to read between the lines on that follow-up tweet. He literally says "when future games go Epic-exclusive after offering crowdfunding rewards on other PC stores," right there and clear as day. In one tweet, Sweeney effectively made sure that you should not bother supporting any Kickstarter game that says they will offer Steam keys during their campaign. Supporting Kickstarter projects is already a risky proposition for many people. Now, there is the added risk that Epic will come along after a game is funded, purchase exclusive rights to it, and take away the product that you were promised.

As it currently stands, those who backed Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter are left with the following options, as announced yesterday on the game's Kickstarter page:

Version Availability

a. PC Physical: Package (Disc) + EGS Key

b. PC Digital: EGS Key

c. PS4 Physical: Package (Disc)

d. PS4 Digital: PSN Voucher Code

*If selecting either the PC Physical or PC Digital version, an option to also receive a Steam key one year later will be available. Backers must manually select this option in the survey to receive the Steam key.

**If you had previously selected PC and want to change to PS4 or vice versa, you may do so.
However, there is yet another catch to all of this. If you ordered a physical version on the PC, you will still get a disc along with a case, but the disc will only contain the Epic Games Store installer. I'm not kidding about this, Ys Net literally said as much in the same Kickstarter update that the "version availability" information above was pulled from.

PC Physical version

The PC Physical version will be delivered on disk. However, the disk will contain the Epic Games Store installer and not the actual game data.
Keep in mind that the physical copy required you to back the game at $60 or more. The digital copy pledge was just $29. Both of these are still very clearly shown on the right side of their Kickstarter pages under the support tiers. That means those that went with the physical PC release just paid $31 additional dollars for a disc with a 32.2MB installer on it and a case.

If you would like to be refunded for your pledge, there will be additional details on how to do this announced soon. And even then, once that happens...

In the case rewards within your reward tier, such as in-game content, have already been created and implemented, a full refund may not be possible.
Good job to Epic and Tim Sweeney. You're really doing a bang-up job screwing over the entire PC market for consumers.