Epic: PC piracy â??turned us to consolesâ??

Illicit filesharing â??killed lots of great developersâ? says Mike Capps
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Epic Games has cited piracy as the key explanation behind group’s transformation from dedicated PC development to console-focused work.

The US-based indie giant – responsible for Unreal Engine technology as well as the Gears of War series – told Edge Magazine that consoles today offered more lucrative opportunities than the PC platform.

"If you walked into [Epic's Offices] six years ago, Epic was a PC company,” said the group’s president Mike Capps.

”We did one PS2 launch title, and everything else was PC. And now, people are saying ‘why do you hate the PC? You're a console-only company’. It's because the money's on consoles,” he added.

”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.”

Capps’ comments are echoed by a vast array of companies that have switched from PC dedication to multi-platform plans.

Frankfurt-based company Crytek, a close rival to Epic in the game engine business, announced three years ago that it would switch to multi-platform game development as a way to safeguard itself from piracy.

Numerous publishers still ensure their games are released on PC, though Valve’s digital distribution service – Steam – is emerging as the primary destination for the PC, largely due to how Steam has a proven track record of being difficult to illicitly play games from.

Today, few companies dare take the risk of publishing on the PC only without putting in place some kind of online verification process.

Some, such as Blizzard’s login requirements for World of Warcraft, are subtle enough to remain unnoticed. Others, such as Ubisoft’s ‘always-on DRM’ process, quickly become magnets for controversy.