By now you have likely heard that the highly anticipated Gears of War 2 will not be making its way to your PC. Assuming that you wanted to play it there in the first place, the news may have come as a disappointment to you.
Personally, I don’t play very many games on my PC, with the exception of an obscure MMO called World of Warcraft that you may or may not have heard of. Regardless, according to the PC Gaming Alliance, which I had the opportunity to speak to at the past GDC, the PC gaming population is alive and growing.
Epic Games VP, Mark Rein, is a member of this alliance which also includes representatives from NVIDIA, Dell, Intel, Gateway, and others.
That said, I decided to reach out to Mark and ask him personally about his company’s decision to not release Gears 2 on the PC. Specifically, I reiterated the statements made in a recent interview, by his lead designer (CliffyB if you live under a rock), where he had cited piracy concerns as the reason for the focus on the 360.
Here’s the problem right now; the person who is savvy enough to want to have a good PC to upgrade their video card, is a person who is savvy enough to know BitTorrent to know all the elements so they can pirate software. Therefore, high-end videogames are suffering very much on the PC.
Right now, it makes sense for us to focus on Xbox 360 for a number of reasons. Not least PCs with multiple configurations and piracy.
I asked Mark to respond to the statements made by his designer, stating "Your lead designer has been quoted saying that piracy is the main concern", to which he responded:
The reason we decided not to develop Gears 2 for PC was so that we could focus our resources on making Gears 2 the best possible Xbox 360 game it could be rather than splitting them across multiple platforms like we did with the first one. I think Gears 2 will be a better game for it and that this was the right decision.
Mark’s response makes no mention of piracy as a deterrent in the game’s creation for the PC, and by not doing so it almost directly contradicts it as the motive. Taking Mark at his word, it is still hard pill to swallow for PC gamers.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with Cliff’s savvy consumer analogy, you can hardly disagree that piracy adversely effects the bottom line of digitally distributed media creators. Some may argue both points as rubbish, and it would be their right to do so, but I can understand the logic behind both.
Finally, I asked Mark about the piracy concern in general on PC’s and if he and the PCGA had any plans to deal with the concern in the future, to which he responded:
"This issue is something we’re looking at as a group..."
He then added that I would be better served contacting the group’s Intel representative for further insight into their plans, which I fully intend to do. There was a time not long ago when piracy was a major concern for consoles, but due to technology advances, that has become less of a mainstream problem. Here’s to hoping a solution is arrived upon for the PC sooner rather than later. More PlayStation 3 News...