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Remember the good old days of playing Unreal Tournament at your friends lan party? I know I sure do, which is why I found a recent interview with Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, slightly disconcerting.

According to the interview, Capps listed piracy as the main reason Epic Games has shifted its focus away from the PC.

Capps stated, “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 went on to say: “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. 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.”

When asked about the future of PC gaming, Capps had this to say: “Most publishers I’m speaking to right now think their money’s going to be shifting back to PC and away from traditional consoles, 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.”

While this isn’t breaking news to anyone who follows the games industry, I believe it offers some important insight to what developers/publishers consider when making a game.

There is no question that piracy is a huge problem on the PC, however I feel that the games industry goes about dealing with it in the wrong way. My views on piracy tend to mirror those of Valve CEO and founder Gabe Newell. In numerous interview Gabe has said that Valve fights piracy by offering the consumer added value, not with Obnoxious DRM, like Ubisoft’s. Things like Valve’s Steam service, which is a method of DRM, actually helps gamers by giving them access to things like friends lists, cloud support for saved games and settings, localised language settings and drastically discounted games.

Another thing most publishers ignore is that, just because someone pirates a game it doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t buy it. I know several people who pirate games just to get an idea of the gameplay and how well it will run on their system. If they like the game and it runs up to snuff they buy it. By simply writing off all pirated copies as lost sales, I feel that the games industry is in some sort of denial.

What do you guys think? Is piracy that big of a problem, or is it being turned into a problem by the games industry? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Note that neither I, nor Gamer Limit, condone piracy in any form.

Source: Shacknews.com

  1. I think developers are more concerned about setting a precedent where anything digitally produced automatically becomes free, as has partially happened with the music industry. Even if not everyone pirates or pays for the product elsewhere, some people will still try to game the system. That’s probably why publishers make such a fuss about piracy: they don’t want to seem like they ACCEPT it.

    As far as Epic Games’ decision, I don’t blame them. Valve may be able to outcompete the pirates, but that’s at least partially because the Steam platform is heavily entrenched. It’s impractical for every publisher to develop and market their own added-value distribution platform, and it’s also impractical to develop for Steam every time.

    Honestly, I’m more sympathetic to the games companies than most people, even if their decisions can be outright idiotic at times.

  2. I always perceived Valve as the “Pixar” of game developers.

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