Epic Fa… Oh, You Know.

By Kieron Gillen on May 17th, 2010 at 6:37 pm.

Epic's new DRM involves releasing a mutagen to horrifically warp the bodies who infringe upon their IP, tooling up in power-arm and then shooting and/or giving their neck a nice hug.

Alec sighs and points at Blues News who points at The Sixth Axis who points at Edge magazine who points at Epic President Mike Capps in an interview situation who points at Piracy for Epic’s pointing away from the PC. He says things like “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.” and “So, maybe Facebook will save PC gaming… but it’s not going to look like Gears of War.”. More here. I’m sure everyone agrees, so I’m tempted to just close the comments thread because there’s nothing to say, but maybe I’m wrong.

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267 Comments »

  1. Fitz says:

    Valve.

    Ends thread.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I can’t believe that other companies are SO incredibly, painfully short sited, that they can’t just look at valve, realise what they’ve done right, and apply it to themselves.

    • Bhazor says:

      Yes Valve, if only more publishers would realise the benefit of invasive, mandatory and often unreliable DRM in securing their PC profits.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Here we go again.

    • MWoody says:

      Valve own their own store. I question how successful they’d be if they were still just a ‘dev.

    • Davie says:

      Well, since every game they’ve ever made has been met with critical success and excellent sales, I’m sure they’d be doing fine.

    • Crush says:

      Valve dont make expensive eye candy games like Epic do, sure their nice but they are by no means pushing the visual envelope.

      Plus Valve makes games for the Xbox 360 too so they are not exactly PC exclusive. They are merely two sides of the same coin Valve puts the PC first and treats it’s console versions as second tier games whereas Epics puts the console version first and the PC version second (if at all).

      Mr Capps could have worded it better like, studio growth, rising development costs given the type of games Epic makes coupled with piracy leaving a pool of paying PC gamers that simply meant staying PC exclusive is financially untenable for them.

    • Carra says:

      Blizzard.

      End end thread.

    • frymaster says:

      people keep using the word “invasive”

      I don’t think it means what they think it means

      (a system which installs no drivers, and has no obfuscated registry keys or file paths, and that appears in add/remove programs, doesn’t qualify)

      there are at least some ligitimate reasons why people might wish to avoid steam (“what happens if it all goes tits-up” is a fair point, assuming you aren’t talking about a multiplayer-centric game, since they pretty much all require a central system of some kind) so I don’t know why people have to spout the same old catchphrases, when they don’t even apply

      as regards the original statement: I think they’re just sick of piracy. Even if people come up with lots of numbers suggesting it doesn’t affect sales – and that’s not something that can be shown, at least to any sort of actual rigour – that still doesn’t mean it isn’t pissing them off. “I was never going to buy your crap anyway” is pretty poor consolation for someone ripping you off and taking advantage of your hard work for free, emotionally, and since they probably make less money from the PC market anyway, I can see why they’d go “bugger it”

      these are the 2 ways piracy affects PC gaming: by distorting the data bean-counters use to make decisions, and by seriously pissing off the creating people who actually make the games. At the intersection of the two lines is something like ubisoft, and each step on the road was so small they probably can’t recognise their own madness.

    • Gutter says:

      Valve works because they are unique.

      When Valve stops being unique, and it’s coming, things will regress to the way they are now.

  2. Vinraith says:

    Epic has only been relevant on PC lately because of the Unreal Engine, UT modability, and the Make Something Unreal contest. If they abandon that, I suspect “Source 2″ will pick up the slack (and move us all a little further down the road to total Steam dependence, dammit).

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I think you are right, while the loss of Unreal Engine for PC would be bad, (the Loss of gears of War, not so much) others will take it’s place.

      Apart from about Source 2, which I don’t think will ever be made, or to be more accurate I think it already has been made and was called Source again. Episode 1 used a different engine from HL2 as did Episode 2 and Left 4 Dead, Valve don’t need to write a new engine from scratch, they can just keep updating the one they have indefinitely.

    • Mithrandir0x says:

      Why I don’t see anyone talking about ID Tech 5?

    • Heliosicle says:

      Source and Unreal have both been around for a while, and Id Tech 5 seems to run on magicalness that it can run so well and look so good. Plus no one except games press have seen Rage so its an unknown quantity.

    • Vinraith says:

      Plus didn’t they explicitly say they weren’t opening Rage’s engine to modding? So it’s totally irrelevant, basically.

    • Wulf says:

      Vinraith is correct, as he frequently is, despite our disagreements about Steam. >.>

      Rage uses a special sort of Übertexture which is wrapped around a level, this Übertexture needs to be processed by Übercomputers which Ordinary Gamers don’t have access to, or something of the sort. So sayeth Id as to why their engine can’t be modifiable and why it’ll never be available as a standalone engine except to those who can afford the aforementioned necessary Übercomputers.

      I’m hoping Source will pick up the slack and become even more friendly to developers and more enticing to them if Unreal Engine drops the PC. I’m not so bothered by that, anyway, really because I’ve never been a huge fan of the UE. I had many reasons, some of which are down to how people misuse it, and some of which are down to limitations of the engine myself. The biggest problem I have, I think, is that every game I’ve seen use it (Borderlands, UT3, Gears of War 2, Mass Effect 2) has Dead Face Syndrome.

      Mass Effect 2 was a great game, but geez did it ever have dead faced people with staring, empty eyes (this is a well known thing, no?), and Borderlands had the same problem, those still, staring eyes, so did all the other UE games, which I shudder at. The reason I hope that Source picks up is because, by comparison, you have Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2, and Zeno Clash. All of which had really lively and emotive characters, who actually had visible emotions tied to what they were saying. Their faces weren’t made of plasticine. And on times they’re almost bloody lifelike, and I’d love to see a game take character emotions to the same levels as Vampire. Truly, I would.

      So I’m not too bothered by any of this, really, since things that would probably never bother console users bug me, and things they might never notice but appeal to me would be more en force on the PC.

    • jeremypeel says:

      @Wulf: As a pretty frequent console (Xbox) gamer, I can tell you it is something that bothers even us, the consoletard underclass.

      I played Mass Effect directly after running through Half Life 2 for the first time and spent a lot of time wondering how much more emotive it could be with some proper facial animation. Bioware have come along leaps and bounds since KOTOR in this regard and I understand the emergent nature of the dialogue makes detailed facial animation a much bigger task, but I’d love to see it happen.

      (On a related side note, did anyone here read Edge’s feature on LA Noire? Exciting stuff.)

    • Wulf says:

      @jp
       
      Hrmm. None of my console friends ever really mentioned this to me (or that they had any issues with Mass Effect, visually), and I tend to think of that sample as representative, but now I’m beginning to think that I just need smarter friends whom also enjoy console gaming.
       
      Furthermore, I’d made this assumption because the Unreal Engine is more prevalent–on the 360, at least–in games like Gears of War, I’d begun to think that console gamers had just become desensitised to that. They might have embraced an attitude where they didn’t give a shit if the characters were emotive or not if the game was actually fun, at least, that was my assumption. Again though, I’m glad that there are console owners who want better than that. I’m actually glad that there are people like you whom are sticklers for detail in general, since it’s your opinions that might eventually lead to more detailed console games. I’d love to see the console audience kick up a fuss about this stuff, really, because then when I play these games on the PC I’d get the stuff I want to see, regardless of their origin.
       
      As it stands, I thought that Mass Effect 2 was a brilliant little game, it really grew on me, even though it was a slow burn, and I enjoyed my time with it. I’m definitely looking forward to Mass Effect 3 as much as I’d look forward to most things. It’s hanging somewhere behind Guild Wars 2 on the list of things I really, really, really want to play. The thing is though is that there’s part of my brain that’s dreading that the characters will have those dead, dead staring eyes again. Part of my brain really wishes they’d move to the source engine, but I know that’s never going to happen, even though it should.
       
      I apologise if that comes over as a sleight, anyway, as it wasn’t meant to be. In the same way that a film fan might not care if tiny details from the books a film was based on were just left out, the film fan would just enjoy a great film and not be a stickler for detail, and I can’t blame them for that. As it stands though, both you and I have seen how emotive characters can be–thanks to Valve–and it’s good to know that that desire goes further than the PC.

  3. Bigglesb says:

    Meh, don’t really care, tbh. Haven’t made a game I’ve wanted to play for aaaages. Let the consoles have their pumped up tripe : )

  4. Schrodinger's Lolcat says:

    Someone should send these guys a telegram. They seem a little out of touch.

  5. Sagan says:

    The one thing I would really like to know is how much any random game, say BioShock 2, made on consoles and on PC. I would like to know what kind of numbers we are talking about here.

    Other than that: I’m pretty sure that we have had this discussion before, and I’m already pretty certain as to how the comment thread will turn out.

    • bob_d says:

      “Bioshock 2″ is probably a bad example, as it was seen as a console game primarily, and was thus #1 in Xbox sales but didn’t make the top 20 in PC sales (where sales were absolutely dismal).
      “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2″ is probably a better example, as it was top 10 for both consoles and PC. In the US, in November, it sold 6 million console copies (4.2M Xbox 360, 1.8M PS3), but only 170 thousand boxed copies on the PC. There were *perhaps* as many Steam sales as boxed PC sales, but all in all it probably didn’t sell over 300K on the PC in that period. This sort of sales disparity is usual for games with PC and console versions. You begin to see why publishers consider the PC a sinkhole in which sales are lost to piracy, whether that’s true or not.

    • redrain85 says:

      Meanwhile, the original Bioshock is probably a good example: as of June of 2008, about half of the copies sold by that point were the PC version (1 million out of 2.2 million).

    • Mechorpheus says:

      Those ‘Chart’ sales figures will forever be meaningless until they include Digital Distribution numbers. Bioshock 2 most certainly gained a significant number of sales from Steam, myself being one of them.

    • bob_d says:

      @redrain85
      “Bioshock” is pretty atypical, actually, in that half its sales were the PC version (at least by that point; the PS3 version came out later.) I can’t think of another game with such strong PC sales relative to the console versions. Every game where I’ve seen numbers, the console versions outsell the PC version by 4-to-1 or more; granted, this doesn’t include digital download sales, but it doesn’t appear that more than half of the Bioshock PC sales were downloads, so I can’t believe it would make up the difference in all the other cases. Also, anecdotally, friends who work at game companies that make both PC and console versions tell me that the console versions always sell better.
      @ Mechorpheus
      The Bioshock 1 sales numbers given above *do* include digital downloads, as that 1 Million PC sales number came from the company, not retail trackers.

    • Wedge says:

      Games that actually have some marketing put into the PC audience, like say BFBC2, sell quite well on PC. In fact it outsold it’s console counterparts on either system. But when a game is primarily marketed to a console base and they’re like “oh, there’s a PC version too”, which is clearly a port of the 360 version of the game down to the GFWL and often still having button mappings for a 360 controller… well then of course it sells much better on a console. And even then the PC version can provide nice supplementary sales, provided the PC version you give out isn’t abhorrently broken (which they often are).

    • plugmonkey says:

      You think MW2 only sold 300k copies? Seriously?

      There were 82k people were all playing it yesterday at the same time. Six months after it was released.

      http://store.steampowered.com/stats/

      That must be a very loyal 300k. Either that, or by the same calculation, L4D2 must have only sold about 50k copies.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @bob_d
      “can’t think of another game with such strong PC sales relative to the console versions. Every game where I’ve seen numbers, the console versions outsell the PC version by 4-to-1 or more; ”

      Dragon Age.

  6. redrain85 says:

    As soon as I read that article: I laughed, then concluded that Mike Capps is clearly out of touch with the PC market. Since companies like Valve (pretty much any title), Blizzard (WoW and Starcraft 2), and EA (Sims, BFBC2) will be able to tell a different story.

    Epic is in Microsoft’s back pocket now, anyway. So what else should we expect to hear from him?

  7. Tei says:

    “So, maybe Facebook will save PC gaming… but it’s not going to look like Gears of War.”.

    And maybe no. Who knows? but the PC market is alive and is always generating new ideas and stuff, because is innovative.

    The console market, on the other hand, is home for derivative repetitive shallow blockbuster-fest of “games”.

    “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.”

    Yea ,heres a list for you:
    - Pandemic.
    - Bullfrog
    - Westwood Studio
    - Origin
    - ….

    Bad publishers has nothing to do with Studios releasing popular games and be forced to closed doors.

    • Alastayr says:

      Tei, man. I’m serious, you should make Michael Pachter your bitch and get paid for this.

    • Brumisator says:

      Pachter is already a bitch

    • Bret says:

      But not Tei’s bitch.

      So, you know, room for improvement there.

    • Stromko says:

      Several of those studios were very good, until they were brain-drained and soul-sucked by their overlords. Being gutted or forced to churn out progressively shittier expansions isn’t piracy, not user-end piracy anyway. It’s more like mobsters who acquire a liquor store via racketeering stealing all the merchandise and burning it down for the insurance money. You know, modern free-market stuff.

  8. Mac says:

    Not really fussed – when was teh alst time they released a blockbuster? UT2004?

    UT3 was okay, but it didn;t really do anything different to UT2004, and it was missing Assault mode.

    GoW sucked nuts on the PC and was only released a milenia after teh 360 release.

    If this is their business model then – meh, who cares ….

    • suibhne says:

      UT3 was also missing the Onslaught gametype, not just Assault; its new Warfare was a paltry imitation of both. And it was missing the large number of truly good maps released with UT and UT2k4, made by third-party mapmakers like Hourences, as Epic moved all mapmaking in-hour for UT3 and was unable to replicate the same level of high-quality gameplay.

      UT3 did some things very well, but it was overall a huge disappointment and a very sad swan-song for Epic Games on PC.

      Also, UT3′s state at release, and for almost a year afterward, makes BC2 look downright polished. xD

    • bob_d says:

      UT3 was a game? I assumed it was a tech demo used to sell their engine to game developers…

    • Mr_Day says:

      It is kind of sad that Epic’s contribution to gaming was to allow a bunch of other developers to make good games.

      I mean, I love the Unreal Tournament games, but you can’t help but feel that they only needed one. Not one every other year. How did it go again?

      Unreal Tournament
      Unreal Tournament 2003
      Unreal Tournament 2004
      Unreal Tournament 2008
      Unreal Tournament 3 (because we can’t count)

    • Bobsy says:

      I did like Jazz Jackrabbit. He was… er… green? Or was that just Bucky O’Hare?

    • ZeeKat says:

      Yeah, Epic Pinball was cat’s pyjamas too.

    • Mr_Day says:

      Do you know, I had completely forgotten about Jazz Jackrabbit. I stand corrected.

    • Stromko says:

      The original One Must Fall was pretty good, though the 3D-engined sequel was absolute ass. Unreal 3 was an abomination on release, terribly controls and sickeningly swimmy interface, only mods make it worthwhile at all and even that, barely … Nice of them to release the engine to developers though, their engines will be missed.

  9. robrob says:

    Lovely weather today isn’t it?

    • Larington says:

      I say! Yes, tis smashing weather, what what!

      Good lord, I just dropped my monacle!

  10. Chris says:

    Remember, boys and girls, every pirated copy means a lost sale. We know this because we know how many copies we would have sold.

    I’m assuming he’s actually trying to piss off PC gamers by even mentioning Farmville, which seems to be a cross between Amway and an incentive to delete my FaceBook account.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      Zynga seem hell-bent on making their own place outside Facebook to put Farmville, probably because they realised Facebook had managed to become even more evil than they had.

    • bob_d says:

      The music industry is pretty bad about claiming piracy = lost sales (in some cases the claimed “lost sales” nearly exceeded the GDP of the countries in question), but I’ve not seen anyone in the game industry make such comments with a straight face.
      He brings up Farmville because, in the last year-plus, game sales have seriously slumped (PC game sales have been going down for a decade) while Farmville made crazy, crazy profits ($250 million in one year). The publishers started asking why they were spending $50+ million dollars to make a AAA title that had a very small chance of even making its money back when they could make Facebook games at 1/1000 the cost with a much bigger potential for profit. For various reasons (piracy plays some role, but it’s not clear how big of one) PC game development is becoming unsustainable, but the casual, social-gaming market is booming. Soon there will be more money in the casual market than in the traditional PC market (if there isn’t already). The result of which is the move towards making the PC the platform for cheap casual games and the console would have the AAA titles.

      @ Flimgoblin
      Facebook is now demanding a rather large percentage of the profits from games on Facebook; since Zynga owns most of that market, they’re looking to set themselves up as an independent portal where they don’t have to deal with Facebook on those terms.

    • Luckylad says:

      He’s what I like to call a professional troll. He says things just to get a rile out of PC users and then goes “oh look at just how violent and unstable to PC userbase is.” This coupled with their idea that every single game on the PC is pirated 20x more than actual sales means that we are at a crossroads. More than anything they want to make simplistic games with even simpler control schemes for the console. The question is do we try and get them back or do we flip them the bird and say good riddance. I’m more for the latter.

  11. RogB says:

    Theres more of their target audience (12 yr old male) on xbox. (Meeow)

    • Rich says:

      Mummy and daddy forking out £50 a pop for their darling pubescent grease-stain’s latest grey-guys-killing-other-grey-guys-in-a-grey-world* fix, is undoubtedly a more lucrative market.

      *Art direction, what’s that?

    • Phoshi says:

      I do believe art direction is something those “homo sexuals” their fans keep telling them about use to excuse their lack of shotguns with chainsaws tied to them.

  12. Finn says:

    Blizzard, Valve, Bioware.
    Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more.

  13. GT3000 says:

    I won’t go into how I’ve seen Valve’s products being pirated but the system isn’t fool-proof, no system is. Going off of that, it’s hard not to see his point of view. You don’t see pirated games on the consoles because it’s virtually impossible. I think he’s a product of his environment. Or at least has grown accustomed to the security afforded to consoles not rivaled in PCs. Not defending him but he is spot on about F2P microtransactions, they work. Even if you hate them with a burning passion.

    • Tei says:

      “You don’t see pirated games on the consoles because it’s virtually impossible.”

      R3 chips for PSP, Xbox360 warez sites, modded WII consoles,… thats hardly true.

    • redrain85 says:

      You don’t see pirated games on the consoles because it’s virtually impossible.
      The 360 torrent ISOs that I see days, or even weeks, before each new title’s release indicate otherwise.

    • Clovis says:

      Of course, Tei didn’t mention the PS3 where it really is still almost impossible. The XBOX can definitely be pirated though. That’s why PS3 game sales are so insanely higher (per machine) than the XBox.

      Oh wait, that last bit’s not true at all …

    • Jay says:

      Only the PS3 seems to have avoided piracy so far. And, incidentally, has the lowest sales.
      (Unless that’s changed).

    • Jay says:

      Bah!

    • GT3000 says:

      Right but these are apples and oranges. It isn’t as accessible as PC-based pirating where the only thing barring you is an executable or key-gen. Never mind that you aren’t logging on and playing with other people via Hamachi (or in Ubisoft’s case, their own servers) whereas if you pull that stunt on any of the consoles, your console gets shit-canned for life.

      Like I said, no system is fool-proof but it’s significantly harder for the masses to pirate on a console than it is on a PC.

    • Simon says:

      I would hardly say it is ‘Apples and Oranges’.

      Sure, it is somewhat more difficult to pirate Xbox 360 games than PC games but finding someone to flash the firmware on your Xbox 360 drive is not particularly difficult if you can’t do it yourself.

      The Wii is incredibly easy. The PS3 is really the only one that is ‘impossible’ at this point.

      Note that you said:

      You don’t see pirated games on the consoles because it’s virtually impossible.

      That is just plainly false.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I play internet on my Xbox just fine whenever I bother to look at the dumb thing.

      I also refuse to pay for Xbox Live.

    • Psychopomp says:

      The problem isn’t that piracy on the PS3 is impossible, it’s that it’s fucking expensive. Blu Rays, and a real Blu Ray drive will cost you half a mountain of gold.

  14. Demon Beaver says:

    I guess Survival of the Fittest also works in the pc game developer market. Let’s hope for more new good games and less Gears of War.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Because, what, Gears of War is a bad game? Have you played it?

      The whole “I never fancied her anyway” angle really doesn’t buttress your (their) argument.

    • Red Avatar says:

      Actually, GOW is a very overrated game. I played it on both the Xbox and PC and yes, on the Xbox it felt more right but it didn’t stop it from being a shallow game. It’s a “blockbuster” game as has been said – popular but shallow. Fine for those that like to keep things simple but it won’t hold my attention for too long. Especially not since the PC conversion felt cheap and came months too late.

      Anyway, Epic are idiots. I supported them and bought UT3 and due to a wide-spread bug I couldn’t see more than 10 servers at any given time. It took them THREE MONTHS to fix the bug by which time I had already sold my copy because by then they had already started whining about poor sales. Boohoo Epic, you fucking cry babies.

  15. geldonyetich says:

    “Dude, do you think 9 out of 10 PC gamers being pirates is severely hurting the platform?”

    “No way! Me and 8 out of 10 of other posters on this comment thread think piracy is a great, guilt-free occupation. Therefore, the PC platform is fine.”

    “How very unexpected.”

    • rocketman71 says:

      http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/05/Another-view-of-game-piracy

      Besides, the 360 has the same piracy (less in relative percentage, more in total numbers).

      The reason everybody goes to consoles is because developers like Epic get a turd, put it in a box, and it sells 5 million units. PC?. Not so much. UT was great. UT2003 was a mod. UT2004 was a nice improvement. GoW was totally broken. UT3 was completely consolized.

      They’re not even trying because they know we don’t trust them anymore. But yeah, it’s our fault for being pirates, if you listen to anything CliffyB, Mark Rein or Mike Capps have said in the last 5 years.

      There was the same level of piracy in 99. They didn’t complain then. Perhaps it was because then they used to make good games. Now, like id, they just make good engines.

    • Finn says:

      I don’t see any commenter supporting piracy or denying it’s existence; that said, successful games are successful (ah!) regardless of how much they are pirated, all the companies indicated above (Blizzard, Valve, Bioware) have had their games massively pirated and still they rack a very good profit, good enough for them to know that piracy doesn’t hurt them as much as alienating their consumer base by releasing games solely for other platforms.

      I really don’t care any more, it’s like neodarwinism applied to game developers: the good stay, the bad migrate to the consoles, fine by me.

    • Vinraith says:

      @rocketman
       
      Yeah, that article really needs to be emblazoned in flaming letters outside the corporate headquarters of every major game publisher. There an irrational panic surrounding piracy, and if anything is damaging the platform it’s that panic, far more than the actual phenomenon. The only saving grace is that the more rational developers seem to not-so-coincidentally produce most of the better games.

    • Hallgrim says:

      PC: Develop game, pirates download game and don’t pay us.

      CONSOLE: Develop game, people buy used games and don’t pay us.

      PC gaming didn’t fail Epic, Epic failed at PC gaming.

  16. BB says:

    Every Epic game looks the same, every Epic game plays the same, and every Epic game for the last 7 years has been a complete snooze-fest. Of course no one’s buying these half-assed console ports on PC, they are awful, derivative, crap.

    • Mman says:

      “every Epic game plays the same”

      Because UT3, Gears of War and Shadow Complex play exactly the same. That’s a ridiculous statement whether you like the games or not.

    • NekoDaimyo says:

      Yeah, but mind you, Shadow Complex wasn’t really developed by Epic, but Chair Entertainment. Buggered if I know what Epic did in Shadow Complex’s development, of course.

  17. rocketman71 says:

    There’s really nothing to say, except that Epic is a joke, and that CliffyB is a clown.

  18. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Really, I’m all hyped! Only the good ones are staying.

  19. WildeAnarchist says:

    Gears of Snore!

    Ah ha ha.

    I rest my case.

    P.S. Anybody else having trouble logging into their wordpress account?

  20. blargy says:

    -.. . .- .-. . .–. .. -.-. … – — .–.

  21. Hmm says:

    It’d be great if RPS could conduct an interview with someone from Epic and have a chat about them covering subjects like PC gaming, why Epic is so clueless and completely forgot how to make their PC business successful, that joke of an organization called PCGA , how nasty it was to release Gears 1 on PC and NOT the vastly improved sequel and so on.

    Anyway, EPIC FA… you know what.

    • Hmm says:

      Oh, and show him how well STALKER or the Witcher performed. Dragon Age also sold rather well, didn’t it?

    • archonsod says:

      Yup.

      I think the problem is that certain devs/publishers have this expectation that a good console game is the same as a good PC game, and therefore if the game does well on one format you can simply port it over to the other and achieve the same success.

      Not only is this untrue of many games, but one has to ask whether the lack of success of things like Gears of War on the PC has more to do with it being a lazy, half arsed port than any inherent problem in the market or the game idea.

    • Stromko says:

      They should just admit they aren’t willing to pay enough in money, effort, and talent to make a decent PC game.

  22. Petethegoat says:

    That was beautiful, Uhm.

  23. adam says:

    Piracy isn’t to blame for business failure. Not knowing how to manage a business when money gets a little tight is though.

    Stop using the piracy cop out. A very small percentage of sales is effected at best by piracy. The only research demonstrating anything contrary makes use of unscientific polls and fudged numbers by the music industry. Most repeat piracy is by people who wouldn’t pay for the stuff anyway and are merely “collecting” anything they can get free.

  24. Vadermath says:

    Hold. The phone.

    We won’t be getting more titles like Gears of War?! Dear mother of god!

    Seriously now, without the sarcasm; Lately, the PC market has been simply bustling with amazing new indie titles, and PC-oriented companies have been churning out games regardless of piracy, as it should be. If you want to go develop games for kiddie consoles, fine. You’ve set money as a priority then, which is also fine. But it’d all be so much less annoying if you wouldn’t give us the (extremely popular, as of late) “We’ve moved away from the PC because of piracy” excuse. I honestly haven’t seen piracy run more rampant now than, say, half a decade ago. If you really don’t care about the cash, and are honestly concerned about piracy, why not do something to make games more accessible? Just take a leaf out of indie gaming’s book. Be honest to your fans, make good games, and put them at accessible and reasonable prices (not bleedin’ 60 bucks, that is) and people will actually buy them out of pure good will, and desire to play with honesty instead of stealing. Those that still won’t are probably pirates who’ve never even bought a game, and aren’t really considered a part of the PC community. The only thing Ubisoft has achieved with its new policy is, ironically, a large number of honest gamers pirating their games (or not buying them at all) out of pure angst.

  25. Risingson says:

    Sometimes the piracy argument can be valid. This isn’t one of those cases.

    • Vadermath says:

      Has there actually been a reported case of that argument being valid?

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @vandermath

      Do not fall for the trap that it is thinking piracy has no effect on sales whatsoever. It’s as insulting as Epic arguments.

  26. Flakfizer says:

    “..it’s not going to look like Gears of War”

    Excellent news.

    I’ll be glad to see brown, third person space marine shooters become console exclusive.

    • Feet says:

      Yeah, that bit made me giggle. Presuming that Gears of War and it’s ilk are the epitome of what a game should aspire to is such a blinkered and moronic statement all I can do is laugh. Way to undermine everything else you said Epic! Which considering the preceding statement about Facebook, is probably for the best.

      So much wrong in one sentence, it’s quite incredible.

  27. teo says:

    Epic are talented at saying stupid shit about PC Gaming

    Hate on their games all you want though but they’re responsible for the biggest innovation in shooters since regenerating health, gotta give them credit for that regardless of the infantile sensibilities in their games.

  28. Kalain says:

    I know a man who will chip your Xbox for £20 and he’ll do it whilst you wait. He’ll also sell you the games you want, released and ones yet to be released when he has them. I don’t know anyone, aside from my son, who has an unchipped Xbox.

    The DS has a higher piracy rate than the PC because its even easier to pirate software for it (copy -> Paste)

    The only console thats foiling people is the PS3, but thats not selling as well as expected anyway.

  29. Skurmedel says:

    I wonder how all these companies survived the early PC gaming days where piracy was ripe. It would be nice if somebody could present the business benefits of moving your games to consoles (and exclude the harder-to-pirate-benefit) so one could know how much skepticism one should apply to these statements. While I buy everything I play it still feels like console games just is better business.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Piracy wasn’t ripe in the early PC days. Piracy is ripe today. But anyways, costs of production were much lower. Games were also usually developed by one guy or a small team of developers. So the effects of sales were more pronounced, and less sales still amounted to a hefty gain on most cases.

      Not that this makes a case for Epic. But I don’t see why we should bring false assumptions into the mix. That’s their strategy.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      How far back are we going, Mario? Because if you’re talking Atari days, companies pirated game ideas off each other. If we go farther out, sharing discs was enough, then we could copy discs, then the internet became prevalent.

      Piracy has always been around. Just depends on how you define it.

      And in regards to this news story? It’s about time they went away. Nothing of value was lost here, folks!

    • Walsh says:

      Absolutely false, piracy was far more casual in the early days of PC gaming. It was so easy, it was ridiculous to hand someone a floppy copy of a game with a copy of the goofy code well.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      “Piracy wasn’t ripe in the early PC days.”

      So those code wheels and manual page passwords were… for added fun?

    • Skurmedel says:

      Where I live it was extremely ripe, CDs packed with games circulated. You could get a CD with like 5 to 10 high profile games on them, often stripped of superfluous resources. And before that you could more or less get a couple of floppies by somebody and you would have the whole game. Maybe you couldn’t get the games through a simple Google search, but piracy was still there, just a more manual process. I don’t know if this constitutes as “early” to you, around 98′. But I know piracy was around on Atari as well.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I don’t see where I said there was no piracy back then. But I’ll be hard pressed to ever agree that the piracy levels of yesteryears were as high as they are today. For one there was no mass distribution of pirated material. There’s wasn’t even a mass computer gaming market. P2P was still a pipe dream and the more mundane online distribution channels were either private and kept “secret”, or simply not at the reach of the vast majority of gamers who didn’t even have a internet connection. For another copying or lending disks was no more easy than today’s ability to reach pirated content.

      You can argue otherwise. It just won’t get through me.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      @Mario: If my 12 year old self could figure out how to get pirated games with a modem and BBS access, it wasn’t quite the secret distribution channel you think it was. Casual copying was probably even a greater threat at the time, since literally everyone did it.

      My Boy Scout troop, which met at a Mormon Church (and which was predominantly Mormon by membership) was a HOTBED of such casual pirating.

      In any case, as I suggested above, if piracy wasn’t so rampant, why would game publishers go to the added effort and cost of including copy protection schemes (however rudimentary) with their games?

      In the early days, printed materials had a TREMENDOUS overhead cost, and manufacturing one of those wonky little code wheels wouldn’t have been cheap. So why bother, if pirating wasn’t anything like it is today?

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      @Mario:

      > For one there was no mass distribution of pirated material. There’s wasn’t even a mass computer gaming market.

      It would be really interesting to see figures for piracy rates (or best estimates thereof) as a percentage of game sales for the last 20-30 years. I honestly doubt the percentage has increased, though clearly the number of people pirating games has increased just as has the number of people playing games.

    • LukeE says:

      Yeah I don’t think I ever bought a game before I turned 14. All the games I played were passed from one friend who had more pocket-money than the rest of us, to another friend on disks alongside badly sketched copies of the box cover art drawn on one side of a photocopy of a code-wheel.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      @Velvet

      Yes, I believe the numbers have increased significantly. The percentages of gamers who pirate games however, is left for anyone to guess. Neither I think a reliable study can ever be made on that matter. I don’t suggest anything about the latter. But I’m a strong believer the former is true. The number of pirates have been consistently increasing over the years. Piracy has not been as widespread in the past as it is today. Neither it has been so easily accessible or has served so many different types of consumers markets. Yes, piracy is ripe today. There’s no possible comparison with the past.

      But, let it be known that I personally don’t consider the gaming market as the most problematic. For it’s nature, I think the book publishing industry to be one of the most sensitive industries to piracy. And the one that has been suffering the most.

      @Corporate Dog
      Boy, those were the days, were they not? In any case, I don’t agree. BBSs were a safe heaven for piracy indeed. They were totally uncontrolled, almost completely free of any kind of monitoring. Only the big ones had to keep on their toes. But piracy was essentially an underground activity, performed on smaller ones and with very little public exposure. Certainly not anywhere near the level of public exposure offered by P2P. Besides, online access was rare. You would count with the fingers of one hand the number of people online on a small town. If indeed there was anyone.

      It was cheaper, more practical and much quicker to just copy the disks from someone. Downloading a 1.4 Mb floppy disk worth of gaming material could take you anywhere from half an hour to several hours depending on your speed and if you had to wait in line for your turn.

      BTW, I hypothesize the resurging of BBSs to serve darknets sometime in the near future if the current trend to fight piracy based on court issued subpoenas requesting ISP logs increases and gets widespread governmental support.

    • damien says:

      @ mario:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64_software#Software_Piracy

      a bit of history helps a great deal when talking about what were and were not historical conditions.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Oh, cmon Damien. Keep in context. We are talking of PC games. You could say the same of Sinclair games.

      And again… you didn’t have such a widespread use and access to piracy. Neither the C64 or Sinclair markets were anywhere close to what is the PC market today. Neither I see anything on that article that hasn’t been discussed here by everyone.

    • Nick says:

      Remember how video piracy and copying music cassettes killed the Film and Music industry?

    • archonsod says:

      “Neither the C64 or Sinclair markets were anywhere close to what is the PC market today”

      It was probably bigger. Everyone I know had a spectrum or commodore, I didn’t know anyone with a console. Plus, IIRC the spectrum caught the tail end of the first big game boom.

  30. Nick says:

    I don’t see how quoting Blizzard and Valve as counter examples really seals the argument – the fact is, it implies that you HAVE to do something monumentally different (Steam) or special (WoW) to really get security as a PC-only developer.

    Hell, nobody likes ‘Cliffy B’ or whatever the fuck he’s called, and Gears is a bit of a twelve-year-old boy’s wet dream, but I would at least agree that the days of premier, PC-only AAA titles WITHOUT some kind of service component are drawing to a close, and like it or not, most developers AND publishers would blame this on piracy, fair or not.

  31. TCM says:

    To summarize, he doesn’t pay any attention whatsoever to the thing he’s criticizing.

  32. Vadermath says:

    @Mario Figueiredo: Please, I by all means didn’t think piracy has no effect on sales. But I believe it has a far smaller effect than it is presented to have.

  33. DMJ says:

    I bought Gears of War for PC.

    * I had to run it in a little window because it wouldn’t run fullscreen.
    * It kept hanging.
    * A patch made the entire game unplayable because patching the game made the game think it was a “hacked” version.
    * The frame rate was hideously erratic – from running smooth as melted butter when there were twelve million things happening at once to juddering to a halt when chainsawing just one enemy.

    I had less technical trouble with STALKER, and that’s saying something.

    Once a series becomes a “killer app” on Microsoft’s little box-toy they release a half-hearted port of the first one on PC with no fanfare 18 months later, then declare that piracy means that in future this flagship series will only appear on console.

    I can’t decide if I’m talking about Gears of War or Halo with that last bit.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @DMJ

      I also bought GoW 1 for PC and had the awesome bug where I was two thirds through the game and the online save system managed to corrupt the single save file you are allowed. Start over from beginning, yay!

      I am really worried about Epic not making more games for PCs though. It would be awful to miss out on mature, original and well written games such as GoW2: (not safe for work)
      Youtube

    • Nick says:

      I was fortunate enough to win a copy from PC Gamer (well, it was supposed to be Microsoft but they never sent it so kind Mr. Pearson sorted me out with one) and it was quite fun, but I never finished it after I got bored about 2/3rds of the way through. Its not a bad game just nothing special.

  34. Dan says:

    Epic is still sore that UT3 was such a poor seller.

    • jackflash says:

      I wouldn’t even buy the thing when it was, what – $4.99? – on Steam. That’s how uninteresting it looks. Oh, also, I’m a pirate. Not.

      In reality, I spend probably $200 – $400 a year on Steam games. Epic just never made anything worth buying. I didn’t think the original Unreal was any good, either.

  35. Quests says:

    If a pirate didn’t download, he wouldn’t buy either.

    How hard can it be to get this?

    PIRATES will never buy, no matter what you do to them. Because they simpyl don’t have the money to.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      I think you wrote “money” there when you meant to write “morals”.

      Ta.

    • Apsas says:

      I spend more money then you on games.

      And.
      I Pirate.
      Why do I pirate? Cause I’m not paying 50-60E for a consoleport, or for a game I can’t test before I buy it. (GTA IV fooled me for the last time.)
      Why have I bought ~120 games on steam the last 12 months? Cause I’m a pirate without money and morals.

      I’ve bought games I’d never buy if I hadn’t had the chance to ‘try’ it first. I’ve canceled preorders after ‘trying’ a game.

      http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/05/file-sharers-are-content-industrys-largest-customers.ars

    • RedFred says:

      Especially given the fact most shops won’t let you take a game back that does not work on your computer.

  36. RQH says:

    I wish they would just say “More people buy the types of games we make on consoles these days, so that’s where we’re putting our investment.” Because that’s, you know, the truth. Especially when you release an inferior PC version months after everyone’s bought your game on console. As someone who pays for the games she plays (in spite of having very little disposable income), I resent the widespread idea that PC gamers are all entitled brats who want their games for free. Some of us are just discerning consumers.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      It’s particularly offensive because I could put my money on the bet that the vast majority of console owners are also PC owners. So, they are calling pirates to the vast portion of their console market too.

      Meanwhile, I have to agree. I think it also is happening because developing games for the console is far less costly. The real problem with PC gaming, in my view, is the ubiquity of the platform coupled with a lack of standardization. It’s too spread out. AAA titles have very rigid technical requirements and it’s becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to develop for it when one has to tackle with all sorts of hardware drivers and whatnot. This does not only increase development costs, but also after sales costs. Here, I accuse the PC platform of becoming a developer’s nightmare. Consoles are far simpler. Developers need only to worry with one hardware set. That’s it.

    • AndrewC says:

      Consoles have certification processes to go through and the platform owners take a big old percentage of every game sold. Epic, in fact, having some cast-iron franchises to fall back on, are in a perfect position to release a PC exclusive AAA title (or at least an AA title. Maybe ABB. Yeah.) direct to cutomers. Not even using Steam. It would certainly make a nice experiment.

  37. Saucy says:

    Piracy funds terrorism and kills children.

    Not paying for things gives terrorist magical power to create money out of thin air.

    That’s how bad piracy is.

    Epic know the score.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      To take this ridiculous argument further, you know how the buying system normally works. You give publishers money and they give you a game. Well the money doesn’t go anywhere when you pirate! And when nobody buys anything, we go into a recession!

      PIRATES ARE THE REASON FOR THE RECESSION!

    • AndrewC says:

      Umm, the organised crime argument is aimed at the buying of pirated games or movies at car boot sales or from that Asian man who comes round the pub with a rucksack.

    • RedFred says:

      Well good on them. The recession has cleared out many substandard businesses and piracy seems to be doing the same for the gaming industry.

      Think of this as a purge.

    • bob_d says:

      @Andrew C, too:
      Industry organizations have semi-successfully conflated _copyright violation_ with _piracy_ with _theft_ (none of which are remotely equivalent to any of the others). The end result is that they just sound absurd when trying to dissuade people from copying or buying pirated copies. Sometimes they *are* absurd when they’ve become so confused by their own propaganda that they suggest that downloading is the same as stealing a car. They’re not really helping the industries they represent with rhetoric like that.

  38. colinmarc says:

    It’s not because of piracy, but it seems like there is a bigger/easier-to-reach market on consoles. A whole lot of people who are happy spending $60 on Gears of War.

  39. Turin Turambar says:

    Epic pc game doesn’t sell = piracy! = they left pc

    But myself, i wonder if doing a game totally designed around console hardware and audience (GeoW) and a new UT game totally out of place and time, with “advanced graphics” which actually made the game worse instead of better has ANYTHING do with the fact of their poor sales in pc.

  40. TheSombreroKid says:

    he’s always been smoking shit but why the fuck did they bother with the pc gaming alliance?

    P.S. if unreal 3 had been on xbox and GoW was a pc exclusive, GoW would still have sold a tonne and Unreal 3 would still have sold like shit.

  41. Collic says:

    Piracy is just the wipping boy publishers can blame for their own failures. You’ve made a game that’s bombed on PC; perhaps because it wasn’t a very good game; perhaps because it was designed for a console with little no effort put into it’s PC equivalent; perhaps because you released it as an xbox exclusive only bringing it to PC years later when everyone even marginally interested had already played it, or something shinier; or perhaps it was because of those evil, insidious pirates.

    I wonder which one implies no blame on their part, and is easier to explain in the tense shareholder quarterly meeting.

  42. Gwyn says:

    The piracy argument is total bullshit from their perspective though, as everyone had to buy UT99, UT2K3 and UT2K4 so they could be played online.

    UT3 needs a legal copy to play online too, of course, but it’s shit and outdated and people have moved on. Piracy is just a convenient red herring for Epic to divert attention from the fact that their once-loyal fanbase has outgrown them, and that they’re not really relevant anymore.

  43. TheSombreroKid says:

    also more people are connected to steam regularly than xbox live, it also has more peak users and total accounts.

  44. Bleeters says:

    Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  45. Sir Derpicus says:

    I’m fine with epic going consoles only. Their business.
    What I’m not fine with is them citing piracy as the cause.
    Yes, PC games sell like shit compared to their console counterparts nowadays, but I refuse to believe that the development cost for PC ports of console games (because that’s what they usually are nowadays – a port of a console game rather than console games being PC ports) outweigh the profits gained from legitimate PC game players.
    I mean shit, there’s a million accounts on Bad Company 2 (I think, don’t cite me on this), and I can hardly think that it cost more than 20 (or even 2) million dollars to make Bad Company 2 run on the PC.
    Maybe Epic doesn’t have enough resources (manpower) to dedicate efforts to another PC installment, maybe Epic didn’t do so well with Gears (2) and unreal (I’m guessing neither), but piracy is NOT a valid excuse.
    (I’ve pirated my share of games, I’ve yet to even bother pirating gears of war/2. I never played either of those games on console either. I also bought Unreal 3 during a special on steam. I prefer team fortress 2 by MILES.)

  46. Frankle says:

    Didn’t a guy from a different publisher recently state that that was utter horse doo doo. and it was just a lousy excuse by game developers?
    Anyway MY opinion is:
    Pc gamers are generally more mature and don’t get pocket money any more. so have an understanding of the value of money. Left 4 dead sold well at first, but sales went through the roof when steam had a sale. that sale clearly didn’t hurt valve in the slightest. quite the opposite. (try selling games at a reasonable price)
    If you make a lousy console port it shows you don’t care. So why the hell should we care about you?
    Indy developers who don’t have restriction from men in suits. They A, make quite often great games and B, also care about the consumer. mostly due to the fact that they are like us.
    Like any of you care about my rants… *cries in corner*

  47. Klaus says:

    …it killed a lot of great independent developers…” Citation needed! While I’m sure piracy has some effect, I’m also sure it’s not that bad. Why not focus on just making a quality product? Spending so much resource on something that is inevitable is silly.

    Piracy; it destroys jobs, steals children away into the night and was responsible for the destruction of Pompeii (The Doctor is, of course, innocent).

    I have never played Gears of War, and I really have no desire to. I don’t even want to pirate the damn thing.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      I’m also sure it’s not that bad.

      And that belief is based on what? Insight devirved from the magic space fairy? And yet you demand citation’s from the other side of the argument.

    • Klaus says:

      And that belief is based on what?
      Some sort of logic or common sense? Or maybe it is indeed from my lovely magic space fairy. Who knows.

      Their statements seem pretty hyperbolic to me. Killed ‘great independent developers’? Ok, I’ll bite. Who, exactly?

      I’m not the one making these allegations, they are. And since they are, it would be… courteous of them to cite some examples to back up those seemingly reasonable allegations.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Klaus: logic is not data, neither is common sense. Without data the whole argument is futile, whether its them saying “Piracy is killing us” or you saying “Nah, it doesn’t hurt at all”.

      What’s good for the goose is good for the gander though, you have no facts to back up your belief either.

    • Klaus says:

      I’m not saying piracy isn’t hurting them at all. What I find so hard to buy is that piracy is so potent that it killed ‘a lot of great independent developers.’ That means these companies would have absolutely flourished if not for piracy, because he isn’t saying piracy helped speed up their demise. He’s saying that these unnamed companies died because of piracy.

      you have no facts to back up your belief either
      True enough, however I am willing to meet them halfway or somewhere short of there and they are complacent with what I see as irrationality.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      The trouble with “meeting them halfway” – and I completely understand why this approach seems reasonable – is that its still an uninformed position.

      It seems to me that the msall to mid sized producers would be hit hardest by piracy, but there’s very little to back this up (the World of Goo figures suggest indie piracy rates, some figures put about by indie devs on these boards) – but again, its extremely uninformed, and hence, useless.

      MORE DATA NEEDED

    • archonsod says:

      Piracy may have harmed the great independent studios, but I can’t help but think that people like EA offering an obscene amount of money from them probably helped along the way. Particularly considering half the time these independent developers then go on to form a new game studio ….

  48. drewski says:

    Gears of War is alright multiplayer, but the single player is nonsense.

    Epic haven’t released a game I particularly liked since…ummm…maybe one of the Unreal Tournament games.

  49. Wodge says:

    Must admit, the only thing i buy on PC nowadays is indie stuff and RPGs. Most games get so little support on PC, whereas the XBox version usually gets the DLC, Patches and all the other good stuff months before.

    If Epic want people to buy their PC games, best put some effort into them, UT3 was just a generic sci-fi shooter, with an over hyped single player. As someone mentioned earlier, was just a tech demo for UE3.

    Epic needs to make UT4 the most comprehensive multiplayer shooter going, more focus on persistant stats (every game has them now), maybe an unlocking system for cosmetic upgrades to your characters (not just a few items, hundreds of ‘em, think Brink) and do what Dice did with Battlefield, let PC gamers know exactly what they’ve done to improve the experience on PC, from the menus through to the improved graphics.

    Level design that’s not completely forgettable is nice too. UT3 had nothing like UT2k4s Rankin, and Deck 18 (or was it 17, I forget, all looks the same) was just a direct remake, and the maps i enjoyed the most were remakes of Q3A maps, which were completely wrong with UTs movement and dashing malarkey.

    And PLEASE sort out warfare/onslaught/assault. Make your mind up what it is, having a map list populated with supposed Warfare maps which are infact assault with orbs is daft, just put the gametypes back in, thanks.

  50. Adamos says:

    Look at Valve Epic. A platform that more than 25million people have access to games
    But is not only Valve. Look at Stardock. They relatively success with impulse let alone Sins of a Solar Empire a game with a budget of 1million and sales of 1 million
    and there are alot of ecamples. Bioware with Dragon age and Mass effect, Creative assembly , Relic, GSC with original Stalker more than 1,5 million copies sold, Cd Projekt they sold enough to ensure witcher’s successor, Crytek apparently made a lot of money from Crysis since they bought Timesplitters devs and now they are developing Crysis 2 for all 3 platforms
    But gueess what Epic the only reason your games dont sell on Pc is because the only decent Pc game you made was back in 2004 with Unreal Tournament, SInce then you only gave us a direct port of Gears instead of taking any advantage of Pc platform and Worst of all you destroyed UT franchise with the mediocre UT3 and yet you expect us to buy your games

    • PHeMoX says:

      That sums up nicely how I feel about it too. Although Valve isn’t doing a good job at STEAM when it comes to currency exchange rates and localized discounts or availability when games launch.

      Buying games on their release date feels somewhat like getting ripped off in my opinion.

      In the end it’s marketing crap and complaining retail we as customers can do without and it’s defeating the very point of having a digital distribution in my humble opinion too.

      I do like the Weekend Specials and the big discounts they’ve often got going though. But it’s also probably the only time I still buy games on STEAM.