Epic Focus On Money 360

By Jim Rossignol on February 14th, 2008 at 11:59 am.

How to become very rich, part 1
In a recent interview Cliffy ‘Gears Of War’ Bleszinski, he say:

I think people would rather make a game that sells 4.5 million copies than a million and “Gears” is at 4.5 million right now on the 360. I think the PC is just in disarray… what’s driving the PC right now is ‘Sims’-type games and ‘WoW’ and a lot of stuff that’s in a web-based interface. You just click on it and play it. That’s the direction PC is evolving into. So for me, the PC is kind of the secondary part of what we’re doing. It’s important for us, but right now making AAA games on consoles is where we’re at.

It’s true, we’d all rather be insanely wealthy than mildly wealthy. And talk about a role-reversal, eh? The PC becoming the casual gaming platform where Peggle and friendly MMOs dominate? Weird ass. He’s right though, what terrible times for PC gaming. Disarray, you might call it. The full story is over on MTV’s blog thing.

__________________

« | »

, , .

67 Comments »

  1. Irish Al says:

    The PC rises and the PC falls over time with regard to the non-hardcore gamer, but the huge base load of people who like flight sims, FPS, RTS, MMORPG and all the other stuff that requires a mouse and keyboard to play properly remains.

  2. Butler` says:

    Barely know where to start with this one. I have a decent amount of respect for the guy as a creative person and games designer, but far less so as a person and ‘thinker’.

    He might as well just go all out and say “UT3 failed and Valve have out done us in every respect, we’re going to stick to the big ‘n’ easy $$”.

  3. arqueturus says:

    That’s called spitting the dummy.

  4. Cigol says:

    I have a four letter word for him; [Cigol, this is a family blog - RPS]

  5. Meat Circus says:

    Company shit at making PC games to stop making PC games shocker?

  6. Meat Circus says:

    @Cigol:

    I think you made a spelling mistake.

  7. Kieron Gillen says:

    At times like this, I suspect a re-introduction of AP’s swear-word replacement gag is a good idea. Or it may be a load of (“Nonsense” – Ed) and I’m a (“Coat” – Ed) for thinking of it.

    KG

  8. arqueturus says:

    The kerazy thing is that they aren’t bad at making PC games but have been burnt in the innovation stakes (UT3 vs TF2). GOW was actually fairly innovative but works better on a console.

    Oh and supporting windows live was a bit of a bum move on GOW PC too.

    They need to make a proper sequel to Unreal, that’s what they need to do.

  9. Ging says:

    It’s basically just good business sense – id are doing the same thing.

    No matter how long you hold out for, eventually you have to go where the big money is, for games, right now, that’s in the console market. Even Valve are shifting that way – I wouldn’t be too surprised to see all their future titles hitting consoles at around the same time as the PC release.

  10. Irish Al says:

    Crysis has out-teched UT.
    Valve has outdone them in multiplayer.
    Dry your eyes, Epic.

  11. Chis says:

    When did RPS mods go soft on us then? What tosh.

    (And Cliffy B is obviously more interested in moolah these days, so Epic can go hang as well.)

  12. Seniath says:

    I wonder, along the lines of what id had to say, how much piracy has affected this decision.

  13. Muzman says:

    I wonder how Bioshock did on the PC and if 2k feel similarly. It’s probably not representative but the sense I have is that for Gears the Xbox crowd thought ‘Cool!!!11′ but PC gamers sort of said ‘Eh, seen it. Looks nice, you can duck and shoot but whatever’.
    Bioshock; same sort of thing. Xbox “OMG Revelation!”, PC “eh, same shit, weaker, watery-er even, different bucket”.
    The inclination to take your wares to the newer audience that’s easier to impress (no slight meant) makes some sense, even aside from monetary reasons. They just want to be loved, bless.

  14. Irish Al says:

    WRT Gears, and Halo 3, I think there was a definite ‘meh’ from the PC crowd. Although I think the co-op aspect of Gears and the online aspect of Halo 3 are really what the console guys are raving about.

  15. Taxman says:

    I fail to see how this is a surprise to anyone all the former well known PC devs are console focused these days, Bioware, iD, Infinity Ward, Lionhead, Irrational, Monolith etc.

    iD are looking to get back into the middle ware licensing arena in a big way which is why the hired/lured away one of Naughty Dog’s star engineers to handle the PS3 version of their new software.

    I think Epic have just finally come to the realization that the games they like to make are far more popular on the consoles than on the PC & I’d wager it’s just a matter of time before Epic simply quits making PC games at all. There was also a bit of the PC gaming master race snobbery going on as Epic is more focused on marketing their games on the consoles & PC gamers didn’t like that, Gears was a game with a silly story but it was great fun to play & the PC version was definitely the better version.

    Valve are PC gaming fanboys darling and obviously as a business they have a vested interest in the platform with steam. It will be interesting to see if the next titles from Valve will still be the poor ports that the Orange Box was on the consoles. It works both ways and a lot of console gamers turned their nose at Valve’s product because of the poor performance of it.

  16. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Whatever you do, don’t do what I did and foolishly get involved in the Eurogamer comments thread re: this news. Why do I do it to myself!?

  17. C0nt1nu1ty says:

    bah humbug, pc gaming will always be there and will always be bigger/stronger/faster than consoles

    and we have mods! mods are good, consoles cant make crysis into a mech game or quake into a chess based hoverboard hopscotch sim!

    Long live PC gaming

  18. Zarniwoop says:

    I think this is great news. The fewer big names there are in pc gaming, the more room there is for the smaller indie developers with niche and progressive ideas and gameplay styles. It’s no secret that games in general have been stagnating recently, perhaps due to over consolification (if I may make that word up).

    That isn’t to say games produced by Epic or anyone else are /bad/ per se, the quality of the games isn’t really the point here.

  19. SwiftRanger says:

    CliffyB, shut up and get us that Jazz Jackrabbit 3, mate. Or a UTIII bonus pack for free. :)

  20. Kareem says:

    I guess the point is yet to be made that UT3 sold like crap because it was a bad game.

  21. Ging says:

    C0nt1nu1ty: Except UT3 on the PS3 can do mods… They want to do them on the 360 too… Admittedly, it’s not perfect on the PS3 yet (something about Sony’s proprietary audio codecs not being available for use to modders), but it’s a huge step forward.

    With hard drives on consoles and greater support behind user created content, the time of mods being a PC only thing are, I suspect, coming to an end.

  22. CdrJameson says:

    Hmmm.

    Well, put it this way. Do you want to sell four and a half million copies, or with a tiny bit more effort, five and a half million?

  23. Ed says:

    Well, if Gears was on Steam, I’d get it. Until it is, I won’t. I really only buy games on Steam now.

  24. Homunculus says:

    Epic (read: mostly “Mark Rein”) have been carefully pushing talking points in their interviews that reposition themselves from being primarily a PC developer from before Gears of War appeared on the 360. It was fairly easy to see, even that early, what was going on; that they wanted to disengage from PC game development and follow the money to, at least, the 360.

    Quite why such a disingenous method of slowly letting their PC fanbase down was settled upon rather than just outright stating it (as this current quote does) initially is rather baffling, though, and smacks a little of a lack of intestinal fortitude. Maybe some tickling of shame at repudiating the folk who made the company sufficient bank to fund GoW’s 360 development was involved.

  25. Monkfish says:

    Epic are really getting my goat these days. If it isn’t Mark Rein opening his cakehole to spew some form of hyberbolic nonsense, we now have Mr. Bleszinski joining the party to shoot his mouth off, informing us that the PC gaming scene is in “disarray” when last year’s PC release list clearly shows otherwise.

    Perhaps he should spend a bit of time in the company of Gabe Newell. That may help him realise that there’s gold in them thar PC gaming hills – it’s just that it’ll take a little effort to get at it.

    CliffyB obviously doesn’t like effort right now, preferring to go for the “easy money”. I imagine the formulaic sequelitis that the Gears franchise is about to enjoy will demonstrate that.

  26. Butler` says:

    Sorry, but for all those are struggling to see the core issue here (i.e. CdrJameson, Ging, Taxman, albeit on different levels):

    He stated “I think the PC [platform] is just in disarray…”

    THAT is my problem.

    No one is doubting that consoles are more profitable; no one is saying this is bad move in business terms.

  27. ran93r says:

    I tend to take whatever Cliff says with huge servings of tasty salt, he was after all the one saying, not too long ago, that Bombing Run was going to be the next big evolution in e-sports.

    Uh-huh, that’s right Cliff.

  28. Yhancik says:

    By “‘Sims’-type games”, he means, basically, The Sims and the numerous expansion packs ?

    And by “lot of stuff that’s in a web-based interface”, does he mean that Offroad Raptor Safari is already driving the PC platform ?

    “You just click on it and play it”. That reminds me of the usual pro-console argument. “You just put the disc in and play it”…

    Oh well, anyway, I won’t really miss Cliffy’s ‘Unreal’ type games, so whatever :p

  29. Butler` says:

    He’s basically referring to the ‘Web 2.0′ (*cringe*), social and online direction gaming is going in, spearheaded by the PC.

  30. Nick says:

    Oh no.. no more games with over sized beefy men and graphics that make it hard to distinguish friend from foe from wall?

    Gears was fun but Epic get a resounding “meh” from me.

  31. Ging says:

    I suspect he’s actually referring to the flash game portals like Newgrounds and Kongregate, rather than Offroad Raptor Safari or much else.

    Butler – I talked about money because that’s what he’s talking about; his full quote, beyond just the disarray part is to a degree, true.

    The fact that games other than WoW, the Sims, casual (Popcap) games and Valves output don’t get much of a look in does indicate that there’s some instability (perhaps even disarray) in the PC world.

    Take a look at the RPS advent calendar, 24 games, 9 are multi-platform, 6 are pure PC (2 RTS and 2 MMO) and “AAA” – the rest are either mods or “casual” games, the chances of those being played by more than a (relative) handful of people are minimal compared to the ~10 million subscribers playing WoW.

  32. Gylfi.Fenriz. says:

    I agree with just about everyone here. What the Cliffy boyo doesn’t understand is that PC doesn’t sell if the game SUCKS and with a console-port that’s always the case… he considers “games” as a whole, not particular cases.

    While console playing freaks will enjoy everything as soon as the rumor says it’s KOO.

    Luckily for us there are people who simply care about that smaller slice of players, or those who simply have to because They aren’t good at making arcade crap

  33. Rook says:

    So how much of this is bad blood over poor sales of Unreal Tournament III? I mean what do they expect when it takes them 3 years to add normal maps to UT2k4, and somehow still manage to forget to bring over all the things that made it a great game in the first place?

    Single player campaign? Utter shit. Bot AI? Utter shit. Interface? Well admittedly it only went from Terrible to Utter shit so it’s not really a drop in standards. The engine is very scalable, but that’s more of a fact that you can turn the normal maps off and have it look like 2k4 rather than amazing tech.

    I find it kinda funny that last time I went online there were more playing Dark Messiah of Might and Magic Multiplayer than Deathmatch UTIII.

  34. C.D. says:

    Cliffy, Cliffy, Cliffy…

    It’s okay, we understand where you’re coming from. I mean, who would honestly favor the PC gaming format to some next-gen console system? I mean, you don’t have negative opinion because of Epic Games’ recent success on the PC, do you?

    I’m talking about Gears of War for PC and how there were no dedicated servers, and that it required you to go through Windows Live? You don’t remember? Oh…perhaps you recall Unreal Tournament 3 which turned out to be a game that had great graphics, lackluster content, and a whopping 100 people playing in a day’s time? No? Nothing yet?

    Get with it Cliffy. E-Sports is only as prestigious as PC gaming has made it out to be. Companies like http://www.esportsea.com and the CGS on DirecTV are redefining the games. More people play Counter-Strike 1.6 than any other game in the world currently, and it has had more tournaments for more money than any other game, that’s a first person shooter, Cliffy!

    Zzz…

  35. Ging says:

    I struggle to believe that CS1.6 has more active players than WoW – but I can’t find the stats for it on steampowered.com, the list of valve games has vanished from their stats lists (which is itself a bit odd). But I can see that steam, as a service, peaks at around 1.3 million people online at once – I suspect (though have no figures to back it up) that WoW peaks at about the same point (perhaps slightly less – but not all of those people on steam will be playing games, let alone CS1.6).

    As for pro gaming, ergh – if only it didn’t give birth to things like tournament.com or Kwari, it might be slightly more bearable.

  36. C.D. says:

    WoW is popular because of the “9 million active subscribers,” and obviously, CS 1.6 doesn’t have 9 million users online at once, but as far as player minutes, CS 1.6 gains around 8 billion player minutes, far surpassing all of WoW. We’re talking about a 7 year old game, too :)

    CS 1.6 makes up over 80% of Steam’s subscribers. “As for pro gaming…” it has given birth to the CGS, a televised league with over 350 million viewers that pays each player over $30K for participating in only 3 months of gaming. Winners of World Finals gain an additional $75K…Tournament.com is far from e-sports, and is very irrelevant to the activity level in e-sports/pro gaming.

    GotFrag, CEVO, ESS, CPL, CAL, and numerous high-end companies such as Tylenol, Nvidia, Intel, Microsoft, Subway, Dell, and many more have begun aiming their advertising to the younger generations that participate in PC games largely based on their successful partnerships with professional gaming teams which introduced the big name companies to the vast communities located in CS 1.6. So to say that e-sports hasn’t produced much, I think you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. But that’s fine, just filling you in :D

  37. Chaz says:

    Well I can kind of see both sides of the fence here because as some one who has been a PC gamer for nearly 20 years, I have to admit that last year I myself have finally succumbed and bought a 360 for my main games machine. And it’s not just me either I would say that in the “clan” I’ve been a member of for the last 8 or more years, about three quarters of us have slowly but steadily emigrated to the 360 as our main gaming platform since the console’s release. I use the term “clan” loosely BTW as we’re really just a bunch of gamers that meet on a forum to bicker and bitch at each other as well as play the odd online game. So declining PC games sales and a shift to consoles by some of the main developers doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me.

    I think the PC would do well to look to Eastern Europe for its successes now, as both Stalker and The Witcher are both excellent games and are easily good enough to drag me away from anything my 360 has to offer. In fact I’m rushing to kill off Mass Effect now just so that I can get some more time in with The Witcher. But for online gaming I have to admit that the ease of using XBL coupled with being able to slum it on my sofa whilst getting my online thrills, has kicked my PC into the shade for the time being.

  38. Butler` says:

    Ging: I’m not arguing that PC is in any great spree of good form, quite the latter in fact, but it certainly isn’t in ‘disarray’ – basically thanks to MMO/online gaming.

    Having said that, when I look down play.com’s ‘recent games’ PC list I have to hold back the tears.

    As for professional gaming I’m with C.D on this, although I doubt 1.6 itself has the numbers proclaimed here.

    I’d summarise by saying:

    The market is strong, the developers aren’t. Sort out decent copy protection, make decent games, think big, online, social, competitive, THE MARKET IS THERE.

  39. Muzman says:

    Actually, as someone said, the ‘disarray’ part is the interesting bit. He’s been in the biz for quite a while. Was there ever a time when PC gaming wasn’t fairly chaotic, with people stumbling over upgrades and OSs and graphics accelerators and APIs?
    His ‘taking of the easy option’ isn’t only for money. CliffyB is getting old and looking to move to a nice, quiet, stable platform in the country after too many years in the rat race.

  40. Grue says:

    I have lost all respect from CliffyB and Epic for that stupid comment. The fact that I’m actually bothering to comment and say this shows how much that pisses me off.

  41. Rich Powers says:

    I lost all respect for Epic after Unreal Tourney III.

    Anyone else think that Epic is offended! Insulted! Aghast! over UTIII’s sales? Like PC gamers were supposed to ignore the game’s crappiness and buy it solely because it has “Unreal” and “Tournament” in the title.

    But when the PC market saw past this, Epic didn’t know what to do. Instead of improving the game or making a product PC gamers want, they throw their hands up and blame some intangible shit like “disarray.”

    If the console market provides easy money, I can’t blame studios eagerly diving in. If anything, this will provide new opportunities for niche-market studios. Besides, the so-called classic PC studios like id and Epic haven’t made a game I’ve really enjoyed in years.

  42. CrashT says:

    When you have the marketing budget of Microsoft behind you it’s going to be a lot eaiser to shift 4.5 million units.

    The whole “PC Platform is dying” crap is starting to become a self fulfilling prophecy. Some Publisher \ Developer gets it into their head that the PC is dead so decides to save money by making the PC version a port and not bothering to market it other than through specialist outlets. That in turn leads to low sales which reinforces the belief that the “PC Platform is dying” and the cycle starts all over again.

    It’s amusing to note that several years ago people were holding up the consoles as the bastions of innovation and niche artistic products, Rib Vibbon, Rez, Ico etc now they are all about the Triple-A titles and it’s the PC that is the platform of the innovators, swings and roundabouts…

  43. Hitchhiker says:

    Epic’s attitude toward PC gaming really shows with GoW PC. It’s a mess of technical issues: crashes, lost saves, no real surround sound and more.
    The official forums are filled with frustrated customers, but to no avail.

  44. UncleLou says:

    “Anyone else think that Epic is offended! Insulted! Aghast! over UTIII’s sales? Like PC gamers were supposed to ignore the game’s crappiness and buy it solely because it has “Unreal” and “Tournament” in the title.”

    Hehe, most certainly. Especially as I remember them saying how they heart the PC, and how they knew what they owe their fans, shortly before UTIII was released. Or maybe they were just plain lying. :)

    Anyway, of course I can see where they’re coming from when they prioritise consoles, but next time with less bullshit, please. I am also not quite sure what they mean – no PC exclusives/PC as the lead? Not exactly new news. No ports/multiplatform games? And do without the ” 1 million sales”? Why?

  45. terry says:

    Bad porting, crap sales
    then Cliffery B defends
    the Unreal Engine.

  46. BrokenSymmetry says:

    RPS should follow Cliffy’s lead!

  47. Matt says:

    I agree with most of the comments above.

    In the case of Gears of War it came out after having been on console. In the consumer society we live in a large number of people have a PC and gaming consoles so anyone who has both has already played the game and isn’t going to buy it again just for a little extra content. Especially when it is reputedly buggy on release and attached to Windows Live which I have only heard bad things about. It might also be a factor that more PC gamers are becoming a bit harder to convince with console ports because they are almost always done so badly.

    I never bought UT3 because I tend to play story based games, I’m not a twitch gamer really and the only online FPS game I play is TF2 because it is more forgiving to those of us who mostly play RPG and adventure games. Plus I really like TF2′s fresh design, it has a lot of character.

    It is also worth mentioning that UT3 came out in a year when FPS games swamped the market. I had already bought Bioshock, the Orange Box and chose Crysis over UT3 and was still playing through STALKER. (I still haven’t bought CoD4 yet)

    It is a self-fullfiling prophecy, if the focus is put on consoles when making and marketing a game then that is where it will do best.

  48. Larington says:

    Disarray. Heh, as far as I can tell, this disarray has been caused by the PS3 and XBOX360 pushing graphics and system performance far faster than was advisable from a development and production sense.

    Sure, there are plenty of early adopters who have systems more than capable of running UT3 etcetera (And finding dissapointing, console inspired over simplification) but the vast majority of PC gamers are only just starting to consider getting a new PC, I myself am caught out, having discovered that I should’ve forked the extra cash out for a 1033 Mhz system instead of the now severely underpowered 800 Mhz one I have.

    Which brings me onto another bug issue, why are so many laptop suitable games (Settlers IV anyone?) carrying system requirements that say “Lap Tops not supported”, surely they’ve noticed the market for lap top supported games following the boom in lap top sales???

  49. Larington says:

    Err, the above should read:

    Disarray. Heh, as far as I can tell, this disarray has been caused by the PS3 and XBOX360 pushing graphics and system performance far faster than was advisable from a development and production sense.

    Sure, there are plenty of early adopters who have systems more than capable of running UT3 etcetera (And finding dissapointing, console inspired over simplification) but the vast majority of PC gamers are only just starting to consider getting a new PC, I myself am caught out, having discovered that I should’ve forked the extra cash out for a 1033 Mhz system a year ago instead of the now severely underpowered 800 Mhz one I have – Next computer will HAVE to be state of the art in case they pull this crap again.

    Which brings me onto another bug issue, why are so many laptop suitable games (Settlers VI anyone?) carrying system requirements that say “Lap Tops not supported”, surely they’ve noticed the market for lap top supported games following the boom in lap top sales???

  50. fluffy bunny says:

    “It’s amusing to note that several years ago people were holding up the consoles as the bastions of innovation and niche artistic products, Rib Vibbon, Rez, Ico etc now they are all about the Triple-A titles and it’s the PC that is the platform of the innovators, swings and roundabouts…”

    QFT