id and Epic: Multiplatform because of piracy

By Chris Faylor, Mar 10, 2007 9:17am PST Across two separate lectures at this week's Game Developers Conference, id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead and Epic Games president Michael Capps both admitted that piracy of PC games caused their companies to pursue developing beyond the PC platform. "Piracy has pushed id as being multiplatform," stated Hollenshead, whose company contracted Z-Axis to handle the PlayStation 3 version and Nerve Software the Xbox 360 edition of Splash Damage's forthcoming Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (PC).

Comments made by Epic's Capps carried a similar tone. "PC gaming is really falling apart," he revealed. "It killed us to make Unreal Tournament 3 cross-platform, but Epic had to do it," adding "the market that would buy a $600 video card knows how Bittorrent works." Epic is currently developing Unreal Tournament 3 for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in-house.

Meanwhile, Firaxis designer and programmer Soren Johnson remained confident in PC development. He suggested that "game design on the PC is going to bend toward persistence," noting Blizzard's World of Warcraft is "successful because you can't pirate WoW. You cannot pirate an MMO. Period."

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159 Threads* | 1,346 Comments

  • When I hit the point of being financially stable in my life/career, I started buying all of the games I play. The ultimate effect of this however, is that the developers get a little more money, but I play FAR fewer games. Although getting older has some effect I'm sure, I'm a significantly less enthusiastic gamer because I don't have the opportunity to play lots of different games all the time compared to when I downloaded a lot and couldn't afford anything. The frequent demos on the console services are moving things in the right direction though.

  • Allright, Thats enough. This is going from bad to worse. Why not they try to name some very good non-ported pc game from the last few years that did not sell well? Is id basing this on doom 3 sales? Or are epic basing this on ut2003/04 sales? Those were the last games i remember being released by them and both of them sold well and they made a profit. What the hell else more do they want? Both those games continue to sell too.

    They realized that it would be far more easier and faster to develop for consoles a few years ago.... somewhere around 2003/04 when the shift started happenning, everyone wanted a piece of it.

    Copies of a game has nothing to do with them moving to consoles. They gradually shifted because they wanted more money, on top of pc development and profits. Same as how many companies try out the mmo bandwagon but give illegal copies of previous games and loss of sales as a reason. That is not the reason. They all are smart business people and realize that the fast ticket to the largest stash of moolah currently lies in console and mmo development.

    I am not even bothered when quality pc titles fail to come out and console sales boom. Its how times change and one has to run with it. But companies as big as these making a speech about illegal copies of games being the only reason to shift to consoles is a blatant lie to my face. Copies of games or any other data were being made since day one. Its not some new phenomenon.

    Also, about the cost of pc gaming... is everyone nuts? My card is a 6800GS 512MB [ almost 2 years old ]and every single game, including cnc3 and supcom demos run on it without issue. On top of it i only have 1gb of ram. The dude who plays on a 24 inch or bigger screen can as well spend on a gpu or shut up about it. Lcd's with their stupid native resolution is another factor causing people to become dumb and making them buy the latest gpu. Sitting in india where the prices are inflated to the extreme on computer components, if i am able to enjoy playing any latest game, on my modest system, i do not see why anybody should be complaining about component prices.

    Things are still the same as they were on the gaming front, only the mindsets of the people have changed... or should i say, manipulated. Gradually.

  • Okay, I'm really getting sick and tired of seeing news headlines like this. This is just stupid.

    If you know your game appeals to a limited audience, just how does one advertise to ALL of that limited audience or even know if they all want to play your game?

    Sometimes I think PC gaming dug it's own grave with the word 'patch'. That and the 'casual' group of people who try to play the latest FPS game on their onboard video chipset & 128mb of shared memory. That's like the surest way to generate negative publicity. They don't know, nor care. Ohh look the game is also on this cheap console that I own and I can bring my friends over and play together on my big screen TV!

    Has anyone paid attention to these stats on Steam? A lot of people have computers that barely meet the minimum specs for these games.

  • Piracy has always been easy on the PC. The real problem is that the cost of creating cutting edge graphics games has been rising faster than the user base over the last decade. Just read of Epic's recent interviews where they claim that the cause for the delay of UT3 is the difficulty of getting things just right with Unreal Engine 3.

    If you ask me, things were already "just right" with Unreal Engine 1 and UT1, Quake engine 1 and QuakeWorld/HalfLife 1, and Tribes 1. There has been no progress since then in FPS except for vehicle-based gameplay (bf) and some team play elements (rtcw/et). Neither of those things require advanced graphics.

    Since the end of the last millennium, PC gamers have been fed a steady stream of sequels whose only real claim to fame has been that they have better graphics. These graphics come at a cost of frequent hardware upgrades to the user and huge production costs for the developers. And what benefits do they bring? A few "wow" moments? Does anyone play fast multiplayer FPS games (that's the focus here with id/Epic) for more than 10 hours because of eye candy? Since the PC golden age when those games I mentioned were released, the aggressive push toward photorealism has done nothing to improve gameplay.

    And what sucks the most is that the prohibitive development costs prevent upstarts from breaking into the market, especially when they have to compete with the now established brand names like id/Epic/Valve, as well as the PC siphon in the form of WoW.


  • I don't see how it's an increased problem. The market that could buy $600 videocards 8-10 years ago also knew how to use Usenet/ftp/etc. Not to mention the p2p apps that started to proliferate. Maybe it's because of the increased availablility of broadband? Or maybe they're comparing the PC market to console gaming too much? PCs don't have near the marketing power behind them for gaming as Sony/MS and Nintendo do. Not to mention the increased costs of development compared to the last couple of generations.

    How about instead of blaming it on piracy, they just say "we want more money?"