In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Epic Games (creators of the Gears Of War and Unreal series) President Dr Michael Capps has spoken about the burgeoning battle between the games industry and games rental and resale services. Capps suggests one possibility to make sure games companies got money from renters that is being mooted is: “If you want to fight the final boss you go online and pay $20, but if you bought the retail version you got it for free.”
Capps pinpoints the problem in the interview as: “The secondary market. Our primary retailer makes the majority of its money off of secondary sales. We don’t make any money when someone rents, and we don’t make any money when someone buys used – way more than twice as many people played Gears than bought it.”
Capps goes on to attack piracy on the PC as the reason that market is dying: “The reason there’s no PC market right now is piracy. I mean, Crytek just put out some numbers saying the ratio was 20:1 on Crysis, for pirated to non-pirated use. So guess what? That’s why there’s no Gears of War 2 on PC.”
Despite piracy and rental services eating into Epic’s profits, there’s a problem with Capps’ plan, of course: consumers won’t accept it. Games publishers need to learn the hard lessons of the music industry – beating the consumer with a stick and treating them with mistrust doesn’t make them less likely to turn pirate, but more likely. Capps himself hedges away from suggesting Epic would itself follow such a controversial course by suggesting merely: “I think DLC will be increasing in scope” and by praising services such as Valve’s Steam.