Epic's VP talks next-gen

Written by Brett Thomas

September 26, 2005 // 6:36 p.m.

Tags: #dvd #eula #mark-rein #the-future #unreal-engine #unreal-tournament

Companies: #blu-ray #epic #steam #valve

The guys over at CVG managed to corrall the Vice President of Epic Megagames, Mark Rein, for an interview on Monday. Known for the blockbuster titles of Unreal and Unreal Tournament, Mark answered questions about everything from UT2007 to future distribution to the size of future games. Though we won't reprint the entire article (we suggest you read it here, it's very interesting), we figured we'd give you some highlights.

On Used Games Purchases:
If you walk into EB in the US, they try and sell you a second hand version of a game before a new one. I think that's bad. It would be fine if they share that revenue with us. They can also be marketing partners with us as well. We can have an official refurbished games policy. That's the problem. Those resold games use server resources, tech support. The majority of guys calling up saying "I don't have my serial number", I'm sure a lot of those are resold. It costs us money. Those customers think they paid for it, and they're entitled to support. The reality is, we didn't get paid. They didn't pay us.

On the cost of games:
There's no excuse for us to raise the price. I hope retail and rental dovetail into that and hopefully reduce the people playing our games that aren't paying us. When we worked with Atari, they sold our games for $39 and we actually agree with that policy. Reduce the price of our game, not increase it.

On Retail vs. Electronic Distribution:
I think if they don't start finding more ways to be open with the revenue stream, and encourage us to make that more a part of the business, then obviously people will tether their games like Steam has done. It's an unfortunate inconvenience that you've got to take your game home and before you can play you have to open an account online at Steam. It just shows that's the only way to combat piracy.

On the Future Size of Games:
Unreal Tournament was 6GB compressed. Next Generation games are going to be 20GB plus, and how we're going to fit them on DVD9's I don't know, they'll probably be a few of them. On the PS3, we're going to be using the majority of the space on those Blu-ray disks. So, online isn't really the best option in some instances. Downloading 30GB isn't really feasible.

The rest of the interview is just as interetesting, so make sure you stop by and take a read. I agree on a few of his points, but I have a big issue with the resale of games. The EULA of a game is based on a per-unit of software. If Mr. Rein had his way, there would be no way for someone to transfer their ownership to another person because that person didn't pay the game maker for the right.

The game manufacturer already made their money from the first sale, so providing tech support to the second person instead of the first is not an "extra" cost as he makes it out to be. It's his same argument that the MPAA and RIAA are using to protect their money, saying that the second person didn't pay the royalties for the music...a policy that I strongly disagree with.

What about the thoughts on digital distribution? Is 30GB too much to download efficiently? Stop by and give us your thoughts in our forums.
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