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Epic Games blames piracy for its focus on consoles

By Jos ยท 44 replies
May 18, 2010
  1. We've heard countless times how weak sales as a result of piracy have changed the gaming industry dramatically by eating into developers' profits. While we don't believe the blame can be put exclusively on illegal downloads, piracy is understandably a huge concern for those making games for a living. In the case of Epic Games, it has completely changed their business model and given them a newfound preference towards console development.

    Read the whole story
  2. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,094   +1,545

    Thank you thieves for doing your part in forcing the PC gaming industry to steer towards consoles.
  3. it may not have so much to do with piracy as it does with making easier money. Piracy can be just an excuse to focus exclusively on a platform that has higher profit margins. I could be wrong
  4. screw consoles and give us pc users games worth buying!
  5. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,073   +164

    I'm with Tom. I have no doubt that this is the valid reason for them to shift focus to consoles. I am always amazed at the attitudes of so many that its entirely acceptable to help themselves to the labor and efforts of others by way of theft, and the ability to make preposterous rationalizations as to why its justified to be a thief.
  6. I don't claim to know all the answers here, but the PC industry clearly needs a better model to avert privacy. And I'm not talking ridiculous DRM style protection. But I think all you need to do is ask Valve how much piracy hurts them. They've developed a distribution and buying system that is attractive to buyers and discourages piracy without being the least bit invasive. Hasn't everybody already noticed this?

    But on another note, piracy is too hard to quantify to blame this problem squarely on, although from a high-level perspective is certainly does look like piracy makes consoles an attractive alternative.
    For what I mean, think about this:
    How many people who pirated a game would or could buy the game had they not pirated it? Statistics don't show the whole picture here, just that "####### people pirated our game". (Still an eerily large figure though.)
    Some of these pirates are kids with no salaries who otherwise would not purchase the game.
    Some want to try the game out before paying hard earned money on something they may not like.
    Some have the money and just choose to pirate the game, and these are the ones they truly lose money on.
    Don't take the above to mean I look kindly on piracy, it's just one of those things that's very hard to put into proper scope.
  7. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,990   +76

    I've been amazed at this myself. There are those out there that see as their right to do with whatever they please with other people's hard work and expenditure of money because they can. While I loath EA's anti-midas touch of destroying francises one after another and find their and other's use of DRM schemes to be punishing to legit owners, I can -- to a degree -- see companies choosing to focus on consoles if it means more $ and less loss due to theft.

    On the other hand how many gaming companies have released bug ridden, glitch filled "final" PC titles that were actually betas at best? Perhaps there wouldn't be so much lost revenue in the process if people didn't keep having to read about games needing several sizable patches in the weeks and months to follow. Quality Control seems to be in name only.

    Sloppy coding has a lot to do with it and dependency in some cases upon the community to fix these problems, i.e. can anyone say Gothic 3 and the Temple of Elemental Evil? How about Might & Magic V and its 7 Patches - 7!

    But turning to PCs you have three operating systems at this time: XP, Vista, and 7 and all three in either 32-bit or 64-bit along with Service Pack Updates. Then throw in cpus from both AMD and Intel that are single core, dual, tri-, quad, and now 6 core.

    How about the myriad of Nvidia and ATI graphic card offerings in DX 9, 10, and 11 in either single, SLi, or Crossfire configuration possibilities.

    Yes, piracy can be a reason but I suspect that the myriad of PC configurations would make any programmer cry and wish for the simpler world of the console.
  8. HaMsTeYr

    HaMsTeYr TS Guru Posts: 377   +6

    @Route44: Its not really that much of a hassle developing for the pc as it is for the consoles, as a game dev student myself, though i've mostly only dabbled with Epic's UDK (has great cross platform capabilities) I can say that i don't think thats mainly the issue.

    Unless you're writing up the engine itself from scratch, most game companies don't have to worry much about these things.

    I'd have to say that the reason people don't buy games as much is because of either DRM or the quality of the game in itself. I for one only buy games that i enjoy thoroughly. I own Bad Company 2, Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2 (Though that was more of the love of the first to buy the 2nd), Battlefield 2 and a few other games...

    Possibly the recurring trend here is that these games have excellent Multiplayer aspects, so that could be leading to something. It can be easily said maybe that the Gears series didn't have multiplayer that matched up to a lot of other titles, and for some the only justification to buy a game is for the multiplayer aspect.

    Not to put singleplayer in bad light however, as there is plenty more than can be offered by single player than can't be in multiplayer. To me, my 2 cents is somewhat in the attitude of the game devs as well. Do you develop the game, with the intent of making it an awesome game that everyone will love, or are you creating a mash up of popular games around, then just sitting back and relax waiting for the income to roll in? Surely in the latter you'd foresee the quality of what you're actually developing no? And then come in complaining about how you don't make money out of it and blaming piracy.

    As a final statement, i'd say that when Dead Space 2 gets out, i'm buying it. I loved the first game and the 2nd just looks kick *** to me. In the end, guys, as a dev, i don't really mind as much if a game is pirated, but if you love the game, buy it. It supports plenty of independent devs out there to make better games and motivation for us. :X
  9. HaMsTeYr

    HaMsTeYr TS Guru Posts: 377   +6

    As an added thing, i don't think piracy can ever be averted. If you can build it, you can destroy it. If you can build a wall high enough to block people out, in the end the wall can still be destroyed. Its just the nature of things. Rather DRM would be a deterrent to buy the game itself. I know plenty who loathe steam and steam is actually not THAT bad.
  10. It's not because of piracy, It's because consol games are more profitable. It is easier to design I game for one system than for many different yet similar systems.

    Also it's easier to buy a console and play the games. You don't have to know system requirements or spend 800-2000 dollars to play the game.
  11. I agree Steam rocks. Of course it sucks when you want to play a game and it takes a day to download. But I don't have to put in a disk everytime I want to play, I don't have to worry about loosing the disk or it getting scratched, and I don't have to go through the hassle of finding a crack that works for the version of the game that I have so I don't have to worry about the previous worries.
  12. Excuses... excuses...
  13. Consoles? The X-Box360 is home to the most pirated games of all consoles so they aren't any better, as last year alone MW2's Xbox 360 version bled 970K pirated copies a few weeks after release. While the PS3 remains piracy free. M$ had to ban up to 1 million mod from live.
  14. Eddo22

    Eddo22 TS Booster Posts: 169   +11

    Piracy? How about lack of developer focus and follow through. Let's face it, Epic used to make awesome PC games, lately they have been taking the easy cheap road by porting popular Console games. Epic is going downhill that's all there is to it really. How about making Unreal 3 and taking the time and effort to make the game a success?
  15. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,372   +17

    A bit disingenuous from Epic Games but not completely by blaming it all on piracy. I think everyone knows by now that big money is with consoles, you have the most control, better ability to market DLC, and easier time selling your title. That's not to say you can't make money on PC's though as plenty of studios have demonstrated you can even with piracy. I don't know if I can fault a company for its greed. In any case they may still love the PC, but they did abandoned it.
  16. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,990   +76

    @HaMsTeYr - thanks for the clarification on developing aspect. And I agree 100% on game developers attitudes.

    As is evident from many responses there are several reasons for PC abandonment but piracy seems to be the catch-all for developers because then they let themselves off the hook without any admittance to their culpubility.
  17. PanicX

    PanicX TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 648

    This looks like a serious concern. So I did some googling of independent game developers and piracy.
    Oddly, every page of returned hits are to quotes by Mike Capps. There's not a single page showing any list of any developer put out of business or "killed" by piracy.

    Well to be fair, I only checked the first 3 pages of each of my searches.. maybe somewhere there is actual mention of these poor saps? Who they are and how the piracy murdered them (figuratively speaking).

    This looks to me like yet another knee jerk over reaction by a suit that can't understand his numbers.
  18. Emin3nce

    Emin3nce TS Rookie Posts: 129

    "Techspot reader Emin3nce blames Global Warming on Epic Games"

  19. OneArmedScissor

    OneArmedScissor TS Enthusiast Posts: 50   +7

    Gee, I guess UT3 was just soooooo great and it was all in my head that there is less to it than the original UT from almost 10 years earlier, and the delays and everything they hyped up that didn't really end up in the game or amount to anything worthwhile was all in my head.

    It didn't sell just because of those damn pirates, yeah, that must have been it!

    Jesus McChrist, that excuse got old like five years ago. It just goes to shows how much of a joke and unimaginative they really are that they took years to make a crap sequel to a great series, shift to watered down console franchises, and then way after all of that has already played out, jump on the piracy blame bandwagon. How the mighty have fallen...
  20. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,469   +1,254

    Some how, I believe this is more of an excuse to drop the pc as a gaming platform, piracy is just an excuse to bad sales when really, it wouldn't have been pirated any where near as much if it had been decent, ut3 is a good example. I did buy that game as I owned ut2004 and that was truly outstanding, the multiplayer just simply never gets boring, even today I play on the odd server when I can find one, as ut3 just sucked, it was buggy and glitchy, wasn't fun until they brought out about 1.76gb+ of patches, I can actually see why people would have pirated that game, the reviews even said it was fairly good but it really wasn't.

    piracy also exists on the console and I cannot wait until it becomes as easy as downloading iso's of cracked console games to burn to disc. Then the pc might start being taken seriously again.

    I do believe piracy hurts developers, but not as much as they claim, as someone above said, if the developers made awesome games for the pc they do see a return in profits even if it Is pirated for example:

    world of goo
    half-life series
    doom 3
    battlefield series
    fear2 (although I believe 1 got pirated even less)
    call of duty series

    the list goes on and on with good games that made good profits just because they were good games, yes they all got pirated (except world of goo as it had no drm and could be had for anything about 1p, I got it for 7p) but made an extreme amount of profit.

    What I'm saying is, it's now too easy to blame piracy for bad games and bad profits but at the end of the day, devs need to have the same attitude as hamsteyr, make an awesome game that everyone is talkin about and you have a winner, I think the c&c series is evidence of another severly pirated game because the latest installments have been rubbish compared to past installments.

    Devs, pull your finger out if you want anymore of my money is the basic rule.
  21. Darkshadoe

    Darkshadoe TS Guru Posts: 567   +111

    When in doubt...blame piracy.

    Wanna stop game piracy?..go back to making the cartridges like Atari or Nintendo used to have. Make a cartridge reader for the PC even. This solution could have been done YEARS ago and prevented most of the piracy. The game maker will then argue cost is why they haven't done this but with all the money they have spent hiring lawyers to battle pirates, they could have paid for this easily. Its just sooooo much easier to hire a lawyer and sit back and whine and ***** about how your crappy game got copied and downloaded.

    Again...when in doubt, blame someone else.
  22. Ok!

    R.I.P. Epic Games.
  23. yukka

    yukka TechSpot Paladin Posts: 866   +73

    Honestly didn't Gears of War run like a **** on the PC? Seem to remember people downloading it just to check it ran before they risked spending money on it.

    I agree with an earlier poster - the 360 isnt free of piracy.

    Also what do you do with your 360 if you don't update to the latest games? It just sits there generally. PCs are used for many things and there is no requirement to validate the purchase by jumping on new releases like there is with the 360 which would gather dust without a new game to replace the old overplayed ones. If a games crap PC owners don't usually buy it.

    Shame Epic won't be updating Unreal any time soon but then again I haven't played the last 2 versions anyway so I don't give that much of a crap. Decent multiplayer fps games sold via Steam are the way forward for PC gamers imo.
  24. Critias

    Critias TS Rookie

    Are they seriously suggesting that piracy hurts them to such a degree that they make more money by forcefully excluding from their games all the people WITHOUT the damn xbox or ps3?

    Are PCs some kind of a black hole that by default generates so much piracy as so completely negate all the additional revenue from this platform and in the process also hurt the sales of xbox? Is it yet time to run around yelling "the sky is falling, PC game developers are dying, etc"?

    Poor game developers, if you also take into account that recent article about how much hypothetical money they lose from second hand games, sharing and renting, it makes it seem like they should have gone bankrupt a long long time ago. Which seems even more ridiculous given how the record-high sales figures from hit games seem to get broken every year.

    Kinda like all the Hollywood movie producers, who also play the world's smallest violin and blame pirates and renters for all their misfortunes. Because , surely, nothing else they are doing is ever wrong , right?
  25. I'm sorry but to blame piracy is BS,if they said they would only make games for the PS3
    then i would believe them.
    The xbox(a console) is one of the worst,i know a few people that play pirated games on their 360's yet the people i know with the PS3 have all original games and i know more people that have original PC games than copy's.
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