Epic Blames Pirates For Console-First Development

Epic, and its series of Unreal Tournament games, used to be known as a PC-centric developer. These days, consoles come first, something that rankles PC gamers no end.

If you were wondering why Epic made that switch, you only need to look to company president Mike Capps, who tells Edge magazine, "If you walked into [Epic's Offices]six years ago, Epic was a PC company. We did one PS2 launch title, and everything else was PC. And now, people are saying ‘Why do you hate the PC? You're a console-only company.'"

"And guess what?" says Capps, "It's because the money's on console."

"We still do PC, we still love the PC, but we already saw the impact of piracy: it killed a lot of great independent developers and completely changed our business model."

"So, maybe Facebook will save PC gaming, but it's not going to look like Gears of War."

Interesting words, given the fact EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Capcom, Lucasarts and THQ all publish games on the PC.

Epic President: "The Money's On Console" [The SixthAxis, via Rock, Paper, Shotgun]


Comments

    Capps is right! I know loads of people who will pirate any PC game they can, but can't be bothered pirating console games.

    Honestly, the entire idea of pirating is just senseless and disgusting. Sure, there are a few exceptions in my book (if you already have the game on disc, if your original copy was destroyed, if you plan on using the dl'd version as a demo), but really, downloading a pirated copy for the reason that you don't want to spend in money is robbery and thus illegal and immoral.

      I purchased UT3 when it came out and sure it didnt sell that well but frankly how they treated us PC gamers with it was a joke. Console style server browser and no Linux support.

        Surely, being a PC game, Linux support is an extra accessory ('tis a PC game after all) that a small minority use?

        As for the server browser... I'll concede that it wasn't as great in the PC version. Felt like a bit of a port, really. But that doesn't compose much of the game, so it really isn't much of a problem.

        And I hate most DRM measures, I admit. My favourite is Steam, because besides of having built in programming, they also have a reason to NOT pirate the game: achievements. Sure, it might be better if Achievements unlocked something, but they provide incentive for those who follow the rules, not a punishment for everyone. And, yes, it's far from perfect: I've sometimes been disallowed from playing in offline mode because I'm not connected to the 'net, and can't play my games then.

        Also, even though I don't think it lasted long without being cracked, the Batman Arkham Asylum one was hilarious. :P

          achievements :(

          to me acheivements are normally a way to cop out of adding content instead just setting some moronic goal of get 200 kills without using the forward portion of the joystiq

          i still find it wrong that so many morons went and bought bloody avatar just to increase there gamerscore and there for there epeen

          if they were tied to unlocks theyd be slightly more worthwhile but then i only think theyd be useful in things like open world games which should come with all sorts off wierd cheat type glitch things to be messed around with after games end

        Reason? I once bought the VHS of it. XD

      What about buying the PC game, then downloading a cracked version to get around the draconian DRM on the disc?

      Not that I'd do that. I'm not financially supporting a company that's only going to treat me like a criminal, while the pirates get it sweet.

      I'm looking at you Ubisoft. Too bad too, I was looking forward to Assassins Creed III.

        Bypassing the DRM, even if you own the product in question, is clearly illegal. In the US, such circumvention falls foul of the DMCA. Australia adopted similar copyright laws as part of our Free Trade Agreement with the US.

        You might be able to argue that it is morally okay, but it is definitely illegal.

        well the law doesnt give 2 shits if youve owned a 100 real copies because technically you altered a copyrighted property or youve downloaded it from ze terrorists(apparently they do all the pirating so by dvds keeps telling me)

        i would say youd be able to argue a pretty fair point and doubt the company would come after you as the case would probably put large negative light on there DRM

        As for downloading for a demo in my mind this should never occur because the developer should be releasing it themselves. and people who do it normally play for 2 hours realised there half finished and finish it anyways.

        and while the Op says that people are too lazy to pirate on the console i know people who went out and purposely got a better computer just to make the whole console pirating easier and they pirate everything regardless if theyll ever play it

      PC gaming is in an downwards spiral now. Some people pirated, they put DRM on it. People pirated because of the DRM (no one wants rootkit shite or uninterrupted internet connection to play something they bought). Devs put more DRM on.

      So yeah, piracy is not the good thing here, but it gets to a certain point where I'll buy a console game over a PC game because legitimately purchasing a PC game just isn't worth the hassle. There's a lost sale right there without a download.

    I blame EA, MS and Ubisoft for the first buyer DRM issues today. They are targeting their golden goose - "Consumers" when they should be targeting Game Stores forcing them not to sell 2nd hand games. PC beautifully gets console versions afterward and with added graphic boosts. If Gears 3 has this first buyer download stuff they can join Dante in the 10 Circles of Gaming Hell. A pox on thee Ubi/EA/MS and any others charging extra for free downloads that should be on the disc.

      I'm sorry, but second hand games are hardly the industry's main problem. The main problem are the torrent sites which are, in my opinion, instigators and accessories to the crimes of pirating.

        The act of distribution is a crime just so you know. It's fairly easy to pirate something without breaking any laws.

        Wrong again, mate. The problem? Games are all the same, and there's no incentive to buy new over preowned. But even more than that, it's publisher greed - working for a game company, I can tell you that if we make 20% profit on a game that sells for $100AUD, we're extremely lucky. It's usually less than that, due simply to cost. And good luck finding people who pay that much - everyone makes you price match another retailer who buys more so doesn't have as high costs. It's cost and greed that fuck everything over; not Piracy.

    I also think its easier to develop for one or two consoles as appose to countless combinations of PC hardware.

    Look, no matter the argument, if you offer someone something for free even if it is illegal, provided risk is low enough, people will take the option. This is true for everything, games are no exception. It's sad, disgusting even, sure i don't approve of it, but it is true none the less.

      Disgusting? I don't see how. What's disgusting is companies making a product that is inferior to the pirated version.

    Seems the sensible thing to do. I mean in the end, consoles are made for games, so if your a game dev, why wouldn't you focus on consoles?

      Well there are many times of games that don't do well on consoles. RTS, certain RPGs, and Sims will never really do well on consoles, unless those console support a keyboard and mouse input and accessories.

      And there are still many PC orientated development teams around, like Blizzard.

      Hehe. No consoles are made for the brain dead who just wants things to work. Screw everything else.

      Customisation? Nope. Online that won't break down in a few years when company x drops servers? Nope. Delayed patches? Yes.

    Its true, console gamers are quite lazy when it comes to pirating, but I believe Epic is just making excuses. This article should just have been Capps stating “It’s because the money’s on console.”, Epic began to fail after they soldout to Microsoft and now with Valve upgrading their engine, PC's have a new easy to use engine (especially for homemade mods).

    I know, Blizzard really seem to be having this same issue; that's why Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 and WoW: Cataclysm are all being made primarily for console gamers, with PC as an after-thought to try and milk some money from PC gamers...oh wait

    Man that sucks, EPIC have been one of my favorite devs since forever. Screw you pirates! I want my Epic back...

    Don't you guys read Kotaku?? I forget who, but that indie dev the other week did a study of pirated games, and very few people (10% I think) that downloaded the games illegally would have paid for it anyway, and therefore bugger all sales are lost.

    If it wasn't for Steam and their overseas sales tricks, I sure as hell wouldn't buy games - maybe one or 2 a year, as opposed to the 1-2 per month that I generally buy now with Steam sales. Aussie prices are a downright joke. Screw your pos box (which btw is becoming VERY cheap and crap anyway) - I'll take my Digital Content.

    That's a funny thing, what with console-exclusive Gears of War 2 getting leaked and pirated a full month before release. Problem, officer?

    It's a viscious cycle - developers focus more on consoles cuz of PC piracy then put out a half arsed console to PC port that isn't worth buying. I sure as hell am doin my best to buy all the PC games I want but so many developers are making it hard to give me reason to give them my money.

    I'll buy anything that seems like a decent effort. It was a push but I even bought Splinter Cell Conviction for the PC (I did however rid myself of DRM). Given more time, console pirating may run rampant too.

    The thing I don't get about the whole pirates have killed PC gaming argument is that I know many, many more people with chipped consoles playing pirated console games than I do PC pirates. Coming soon in 2012 "Pirates have killed console gaming"

    *sigh* another developer who makes lazy rehashes of console games blaming piracy on poor PC sales.

    Here's a thought, how about you actually work on the PC versions of your games. Then maybe people will buy them. GoW 1 PC and UT3 were so consolefied it was a joke.

    Interesting words, given the fact EA, Activision, Ubisoft, Capcom, Lucasarts and THQ all publish games on the PC.
    >implying developer=publisher

    I love my PC, I think I truly prefer it as my Gaming medium. I have a 360, a Wii and soon I hope to have a PS3. Just to provide perspective.

    But at the end of the Day when a Graphics Card costs more than a Console, the DRM on games makes you not want to bother, and the developers beleive (not saying they are correct or not) they lose money to the pirates hacking their games. Why should they take the risk?

    Would you put your money in a place where people could steal it with little effort or repercussion and hope they are honest?

    Ubisoft are making games I want on the PC, but their DRM means I can't play them when I want because my connection isn't 100% reliable.

    I don't like DRM it's usually more effort for the legitimate user than for the Pirate. Take a look at DVD's they basically tell you that your a sneaky theiving bastard, that it's wrong to steal movies, that the Pirate version is inferior and than they make you sit through unskippable trailers. And this is a Movie you just paid $20-30 for Brand new from JB Hi-Fi.

    Now what does the Pirate do? He downloads the DVD/Blu-Ray Rip from America that comes out months before it gets here and doesn't sit through five minutes of garbage before he watches the movie he got for free.

    Why not get the movie star to shoot a quick message for the DVD/Blu-Ray more along the lines of: "Thanks for buying this movie, when your done check out the trailers." It's short and makes you feel good about it. Heck keep a short unskippable anti-pirate message on the Rentals.

    I suppose DRM is like dating a Girl and having her Dad tag along. But if you want to continue gaming on PC get used to it. You just have to hope that it's a Cool Dad who'll put a bit of faith in you after talking to you for awhile rather than Stalker Dad who sits behind you in the movies and keeps leaning forward to remind you he's watching.

    Cool Dad is something along the lines of Sega's 12-18 month register online and only 5 installs vs Ubisoft's Stalker Dad.

    games cost a lot. especially here in australia, and europe. games in australia are almost double the price of US games. i certainly consider it 'robbery'. it might not be against the law but certainly isnt moral.

    the main argument for pirates is money. if games didnt cost so much, a lot less people would pirate. it doesnt cost an extra $50 USD to ship a game to australia, and it absolutely doesnt cost $50 USD to digitally distribute to australia.

    I still take the view tho that if they want more business lower the prices 100dollars for 8-10 hours entertainment is a little light based on some of the games ive played recently

    while some people will just steal others have limited funds with which to purchase there games and when they get a couple of rip offs based on length or crappy development it will cause them to be more willing to steal

    games should be priced on quality and quantity over some set standard industry price but hey im a dreamer thatll never happen

    but its why i refused to buy RE5 but was more than willing to buy fallout 3 on my PS3 and then bought it again on PC over the holidays and bought the DLC as well(the Ps3 saves were no more and i wanted to have a play with modding the game)

    This is just a lame excuse by epic. The pc gaming industry is still huge and definitely a profitable way to go. Developers need to understand that if they support their games rather than just try and beat the pirates by implementing new draconian types of DRM that they will be successful. A good example of this is Team Fortress 2. Yes steam is a form of DRM but Team fortress 2 is constantly updated for free to all of its purchasers. This has sent sales through the roof. An even better example is that of the Humble Indie Bundle. 5 indie games developers releasing their games for any price with no DRM. Has made the teams thousands and thousands of dollars in money they desperately need.

    So Epic's excuses that the PC gaming industry is unprofitable is just a lame duck excuse.

    rant finished...

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