Epic Blames PC Piracy for Its Focus on Consoles

By Alice O'Connor, May 18, 2010 9:00am PDT Piracy is responsible for Gears of War developer Epic Games' waning enthusiasm for the PC, CVG spotted president Mike Capps saying in this month's issue of Edge.

"We still do PC, we 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," he said.

"If you walked into this place six years ago, Epic was a PC company and always had been. We did one PS2 launch title, which was a port of Unreal Tournament, and everything else was PC," Capps reminisced. "And now, if you read our forums, people are saying: 'Why do you hate the PC? You're a console-only company.' And guess what? It's because the money's on console."

Capp echoes similar comments he made before the release of Unreal Tournament 3 at GDC 2007, an event where Doom developer id Software's CEO Todd Hollenshead revealed "Piracy has pushed id as being multiplatform." Crysis developer Crytek has also cited piracy as the reason behind its decision to stop developing PC exclusives.

As for what the future holds for PC gaming, Capps highlights microtransaction-driven casual gaming. "Most publishers I'm speaking to right now think their money's going to be shifting back to PC and away from traditional consoles," he explains, "just because folks are in that mode of wanting to spend a little bit of time every now and then, and paying money to save time because there's so much media competing for it... So maybe Facebook will save PC gaming--but it's not going to look like Gears Of War."

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86 Threads* | 396 Comments*

  • This topic reminds me of what Google's CEO had to say about Pakistan banning a bunch of websites because there was some contest to draw Mohamed. Namely, there is some reason given as a "front" and behind that is a real reason.

    And I'm not saying that piracy of PC Games is NOT an issue. I'm just saying I suspect there is some other "real reason", which the management of Epic Games don't want to admit. It could be something as simple as they see the console market as more lucrative. And they're too lazy to be bothered porting games to the PC.

    That at least makes sense. I mean, even though there are lots of PCs, most of those are not gaming platforms. It's so much easier for Mommy and Daddy to buy the kid a console to shut him up, than to buy a good gaming PC (then keep it upgraded!). So it's only natural for skinflint game studios to program for consoles because of that market's potential.

  • Seriously Epic, you're getting beyond being idiots now. You have the audacity to say that piracy kills PC gaming? Do you have ANY fucking clue how many people pirate console games? Well I personally know about 40 people who don't buy a single console game and just download them ;-) Do I? No, because I can't be arsed. But I could post a screenshot of my Steam window with 93 purchased games on it, and then maybe a photo of my wall of PC games...ALL purchased.

    The reason console gaming has become so big is because kids "these days" can actually use them. I mean, I remember being 5 years old, building my own fucking computer, transferring and freeing up memory in DOS just to be able to run a game. Show that to kids nowadays and they'd have a brain faulure. All these parents thinking their kids are smart because they can press a button to turn on a computer and aim a mouse at something and click. Pisses me off.

    But to continue...why is console gaming so big? Another MAJOR reason is the fact that retail stores make an absolute fortune from them. Why? 2 words: Trade-Ins. They sell you a game for £45-50, then expect you to trade it in, in 1-2 weeks later, knock £20 off the price of a new game (IF you use in store credit, as opposed to cash which will net you less than half that value...AND you need ID to do so), so the new game you're getting is only costing you £25, which STILL makes the retail store a bloody profit. And then what do they go and do? Put the traded in game, back on the shelf for £5 less than the NEW game! They are absolutely raking it in. Can they do that with PC games? No. Why? Because we either a: Need to install it, or b: Need to activate our copy online and thus have that copy tied to one person. So in turn, the retailers decide to piss on PC gamers and therefore retail sales slump and DUMBASS FUCKING DEVELOPERS like Epic decide "It's because of Piracy". Let me tell you now, if PC Gaming is so majorly affected by Piracy, then please explain how we have companies like Valve and Blizzard etc?

    God, this shit pisses me off so much. Apologies for the rant, but people are reading this tripe that dev's like EPIC are sprouting and it's absolute rubbish. (On a side note: Piracy was killing the music industry 5-10 years ago because of "online downloads". Oh how the tides turn eh? ;-) )

    And just so you know, I do actually own a 360, a Wii and a PS3. But what do I buy the game on given the choice? My PC! Why? Because it is far superior, customisable to different people's needs and the games are about £10-£20 CHEAPER than their console counter-part. Rant over :P

  • Thanks Cliff, Mike, Todd and the others for the wonderful games you released on the PC. I hope you still continue to port your console games to the PC. If that becomes unprofitable, don't worry about it. I work for money, so do you, so does everyone else.

    Lowest common denominator in terms of hardware is improving all the time. There are still more PCs in the world that can play an average spec game (WoW, etc.) than consoles. I'm sure there are companies out there trying to fill the void left by the big guns like id, Epic and others.

    No need for trading insults any more. Let's go our own way on good term and please leave us alone and we'll leave you alone.

  • Ah love it another year another whine that it's the strawman of piracy that is the reason why a company or sector is doing bad.

    Here's a tip I've been around pc games since ohh 1987 and have heard the whine since there. Lemme check a second, yep it's 2010 and titles are still being produced.

    So please just go make up some more bogus out of the air numbers of lost sales and put out your press releases for the year to justify the little industry wannabe strongarm groups.

    Business 101: produce what the consumers want and you won't have to whine about piracy.

  • I'm going to be a bit of a troll and say honestly there hasn't been anything worth buying released in the last six years or so for the PC. Every company is making crappier and crappier games that cater to the console crowd and they wonder why they don't get PC sales... 'obviously it's because of piracy!' they exclaim.

    It makes me wonder if game developers actually play their own work or just look at what everyone else is producing now and how much it nets. MW2 has sold a lot of copies! Lets MWize everything! Before that it was CS:S and before that UT.

    I don't remember who said it, but there was a game developer that said some companies should just STOP making games because they're releasing garbage and flooding the market milking everything dry. It's even worse now with microtransactions. I remember playing UT2K3 and it was alright compared to everything else out at the time, UT3 wasn't anything special at all.

    They really need to take a step back from deadlines and trying to put out the next best thing by upping the graphics or making it even more scripted and figure out what makes a good game good. It isn't all graphics and scripted death sequences.

    The reason why games like LFD2 and MW2 are topping the charts is because there honestly is nothing better out there right now and gamers are starved for good games, so they just buy the best crap they can.