Pachter: Epic regrets Microsoft exclusivity

Neowin has learned via 1UP that high-profile analyst Michael Pachter believes Epic Games now regrets its exclusivity deal with Microsoft for Gears of War. Talking on GameTrailers Bonus Round, Pachter said, "I think the Epic guys can't wait until they can start doing multiplatform games."

Selling over 3 million copies in just ten weeks, Gears of War was the fastest selling game of 2006, and the second most-played game on Xbox Live in 2007. Without a doubt, the game has helped Microsoft push it's console as a hardcore gaming platform.

Asked as to whether he thinks future Gears of War games could be released multi-platform, Pachter unsurprisingly said no.

"I don't, I think Microsoft has a contract to make sure they get that sequel," he said. "But I think Epic regrets signing that contract. You're up to 11 million PS3s in the U.S. and probably similar number in Europe, you got a 20 million addressable market with a game like Gears of War. I mean, that thing would easily sell 3 or 4 million on the PS3, that's a lot of profit. No way is it worth it."

Pachter also argues that first-party titles will be the ones doing exclusives while third-party developers will begin shifting to multi-platform.

While this is simply the speculation of an outsider, and not inside word from Epic themselves, it does provide an interesting point. Will more developers seek to release multi-platform games over single-platform exclusive deals?

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hotdog963al said,
Would be nice to play it without all that GFWL ****. My PC is NOT an Xbox damnit!

So don't use it? I have it installed through Halo2 and RE5 but I don't log in and stuff, Unless you really wanna play multiplayer. Then I suppose you should just man up and deal with it like the rest. GFWL is no different than doing it through Steam as well.

i cant stand companies that go for exclusivity instead of doing extra work to make extra money, take GTA4 or anything else thats just a crappy port or what have you, companies sell themselves short at exclusive titles and thus, they are tools.

Alex2190 said,
i cant stand companies that go for exclusivity instead of doing extra work to make extra money, take GTA4 or anything else thats just a crappy port or what have you, companies sell themselves short at exclusive titles and thus, they are tools.

That's a pretty narrow view, exclusivity and working on one platform means you don't have to split up your devs into two teams, you don't have to take more time and spend more money making and supporting 2 or more copies, you can focus on specific hardware and get the most out of your game for that hardware than if it was multiplatform and you had to go with the least common denominator or pull a feature/effect/look/gameplay element out of both because one version couldn't do it the same or at all.

Now, if you don't like the crappy PC ports that come off of console exclusives, that's another matter in the end. Those PC versions come after as a bonus, if they sell at all and make some money that's great, but in the end the dev was banking and working on getting the most out of it's console exclusive it got paid for upfront to make.

Edited by George P, Jan 22 2010, 6:46pm :

GP007 said,

That's a pretty narrow view, exclusivity and working on one platform means you don't have to split up your devs into two teams, you don't have to take more time and spend more money making and supporting 2 or more copies, you can focus on specific hardware and get the most out of your game for that hardware than if it was multiplatform and you had to go with the least common denominator or pull a feature/effect/look/gameplay element out of both because one version couldn't do it the same or at all.

Now, if you don't like the crappy PC ports that come off of console exclusives, that's another matter in the end. Those PC versions come after as a bonus, if they sell at all and make some money that's great, but in the end the dev was banking and working on getting the most out of it's console exclusive it got paid for upfront to make.

Indeed. Plus some of these development houses may not be able to finance a multi-platform game (Or single platform) to its completion... By signing these deals with Microsoft or Sony they are able to get help with the financing of the game (As well as marketing, etc), so they may be able to complete a more ambitious game than they otherwise would be able to on their own...

Why does anyone every pay attention to Pachter anymore?

Any dolt should know by now that GoW was a MS/Epic project that was to also showcase the the 360 technical abilities. (Epic had a big say as to how much RAM the 360 would have or something to that affect). GoW sold well, so they signed back up.

They act as if Epic didn't realize that GoW would sell well... wouldn't any developer or publisher hope that their titles sell well? So, the exclusivity wouldn't have happened if Epic didn't want it. They may other games that are multi platform. Sheesh!

I think all Epic regret is MS anal approach to DLC and user generated content.

Wouldn't allow mods in UT3, wouldn't allow free DLC for gears and obviously wouldn't allow the huge UT3 update for free either (PS3 got it).

Lots of exclusives don't sell worth s**t. It is a gamble. This game sold well but many exclusives are crap. I am sure Epic weighted the pros and cons.

Indeed NeoTrunks. They said that they needed the 512mb of unified ram to stuff that much texture work into the works. 256mb wouldn't have been enough.

Seeing how well UT3 ran on the PS3, I don't think it was impossible for Gears in its current form to run on the PS3, either.

NeoTrunks said,
Seeing how well UT3 ran on the PS3, I don't think it was impossible for Gears in its current form to run on the PS3, either.

No one said it is, or was, the thing is EPIC got paid to bring gears to the 360 and PC by MS. When you have someone footing the bill for your development costs, marketing and so on, you do the work you've been paid for.

There will ALWAYS be 3rd party devs who can't quite get enough money together to do the game they want so they go to a publisher, if that's MS and they like the game MS will pay to make it and have it be exclusive. That's just how the business works. EPIC isn't a huge studio, neither is ID, and so on. You don't see a flood of games coming out of them like EA or Activision.

Going multiplatform could and probably does make you a bit more, but then who's for sure? What are the overall dev costs for that extra system you have to work on? What extra costs in royalties do you have to pay to the platform holder? How long with making 2 versions compared to one cost you? It's not just a simple question of, oh look there's 11million ps3 users, lets make a ps3 version as well!, and it happens.

GP007 said,

No one said it is, or was, the thing is EPIC got paid to bring gears to the 360 and PC by MS. When you have someone footing the bill for your development costs, marketing and so on, you do the work you've been paid for.

There will ALWAYS be 3rd party devs who can't quite get enough money together to do the game they want so they go to a publisher, if that's MS and they like the game MS will pay to make it and have it be exclusive. That's just how the business works. EPIC isn't a huge studio, neither is ID, and so on. You don't see a flood of games coming out of them like EA or Activision.

Going multiplatform could and probably does make you a bit more, but then who's for sure? What are the overall dev costs for that extra system you have to work on? What extra costs in royalties do you have to pay to the platform holder? How long with making 2 versions compared to one cost you? It's not just a simple question of, oh look there's 11million ps3 users, lets make a ps3 version as well!, and it happens.

I should have noted that I recall in some interview in the past, EPIC, I think it was Cliffy B., stated that it was they who pressured MS into boosting the RAM on the 360 to 512MB, to make Gears the game that it is today. That was sort of a hint that it was technically not possible.

NeoTrunks said,

I should have noted that I recall in some interview in the past, EPIC, I think it was Cliffy B., stated that it was they who pressured MS into boosting the RAM on the 360 to 512MB, to make Gears the game that it is today. That was sort of a hint that it was technically not possible.

The PS3 has 512mb of ram... just not setup the same as the 360.

You think Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2 run on 256mb of ram? lol

Audioboxer said,

The PS3 has 512mb of ram... just not setup the same as the 360.

You think Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2 run on 256mb of ram? lol

It can't be shared, lol.

Audioboxer said,

The PS3 has 512mb of ram... just not setup the same as the 360.

You think Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2 run on 256mb of ram? lol

When talking RAM for graphics it's well known the GPU has 256MB while the cell has the other 256MB, thus if a game needs more than 256MB for textures it has to hop through hoops to get to the other side to that other 256MB which slows things down in the end.

It's no different than a game on the PC taking up all your gfx cards super fast GDDR5 ram and having to fall back to slower system ram. Which is also why faster main memory shows an overall boost in gaming benchmarks.

You, out of all people, should know these things anyways.

GP007 said,

No one said it is, or was, the thing is EPIC got paid to bring gears to the 360 and PC by MS. When you have someone footing the bill for your development costs, marketing and so on, you do the work you've been paid for.

There will ALWAYS be 3rd party devs who can't quite get enough money together to do the game they want so they go to a publisher, if that's MS and they like the game MS will pay to make it and have it be exclusive. That's just how the business works. EPIC isn't a huge studio, neither is ID, and so on. You don't see a flood of games coming out of them like EA or Activision.

Going multiplatform could and probably does make you a bit more, but then who's for sure? What are the overall dev costs for that extra system you have to work on? What extra costs in royalties do you have to pay to the platform holder? How long with making 2 versions compared to one cost you? It's not just a simple question of, oh look there's 11million ps3 users, lets make a ps3 version as well!, and it happens.

Indeed. Plus you now have to finance the game yourself, market it, etc... How many development houses have gone under trying to finance a game to it's completion? For these smaller guys it's well worth it to have a company like Microsoft help them to completion... Microsoft also gets very involved in supporting these developers as well (I'm not sure about Sony), so time to completion can decrease as well...

GP007 said,

When talking RAM for graphics it's well known the GPU has 256MB while the cell has the other 256MB, thus if a game needs more than 256MB for textures it has to hop through hoops to get to the other side to that other 256MB which slows things down in the end.

It's no different than a game on the PC taking up all your gfx cards super fast GDDR5 ram and having to fall back to slower system ram. Which is also why faster main memory shows an overall boost in gaming benchmarks.

You, out of all people, should know these things anyways.

+1

And as for Epic's request for Microsoft to up it to 512, a LOT of development houses and publishers were asking for that. That was all discussed publicly after the release of the XBox 360. Microsoft listened to the input and made it happen (In a way that was easy to take advantage of, unlike Sony). I think this showed their commitment to making good games and making it easier to do so. To giving developers what they want...

GP007 said,

When talking RAM for graphics it's well known the GPU has 256MB while the cell has the other 256MB, thus if a game needs more than 256MB for textures it has to hop through hoops to get to the other side to that other 256MB which slows things down in the end.

It's no different than a game on the PC taking up all your gfx cards super fast GDDR5 ram and having to fall back to slower system ram. Which is also why faster main memory shows an overall boost in gaming benchmarks.

You, out of all people, should know these things anyways.

My point was the best looking games have come from the PS3 this generation so you're argument over memory and how it has to be used is a little fruitless.

Audioboxer said,

My point was the best looking games have come from the PS3 this generation so you're argument over memory and how it has to be used is a little fruitless.

Best looking is subject to debate and overall up to ones personal opinion.

I played a bit of uncharted 2, sure it looks good, but if it can be done on some other platform and look the same or better we'll never really know.

too bad, they can keep their gears... i for one don't want it.
the first was fun coop @ insane diff. other than that it was a breeze. mp was a joke.
never played the 2nd. don't care for it either.

Pachter needs to factor in development costs in porting the game over to the PS3 and making sure it was a quality port. Microsoft's exclusivity money might've outweighed the net profit from a PS3 development effort.

Elliott said,
Pachter needs to factor in development costs in porting the game over to the PS3 and making sure it was a quality port. Microsoft's exclusivity money might've outweighed the net profit from a PS3 development effort.

So true.

mark rein its just a big liar, he first said that he couldnt get UE3 on the wii but then he port it to the iphone.

if we talk about marketplace the wii should be the platform for new games.... anyways going multiplatform its always good news, exclusivities only benefit sony microsoft and nintendo and not the consumers in general.

"Mark Rein is hardly going to call out Microsoft saying the deal is bad for them while they still have obligations to fore fill. His comments are just to get rid of the bloggers asking stupid questions."

If that is what you want to believe, you are surely entitled to your opinion.

I think I might become a financial analyst, apparently all you need is a lobotomy and a $2000 suit (apologies to Breakfast Club fans).

For the lazy, Mark Rein's reply to Pachter:

"We have a great relationship with Microsoft and we have no regrets",' Rein.

Pachter needs to be jobless sooner than later.

Audioboxer said,
Naughty Dog are 1st Party jerzdawg, not 3rd party like Epic.

Insert any 3rd party developer that has a PS3 exclusive and my comment still applies.

jerzdawg said,

Insert any 3rd party developer that has a PS3 exclusive and my comment still applies.

That is not all that many games though. Besides games on the PSN, I am finding a hard time thinking of one off of the top of my head. Metal Gear is the only one I can think of.

Edited by DirtyLarry, Jan 22 2010, 3:17pm :

DirtyLarry said,

That is not all that many games though. Besides games on the PSN, I am finding a hard time thinking of one off of the top of my head. Metal Gear is the only one I can think of.

Insomniac is another that is 3rd party.

DirtyLarry said,

That is not all that many games though. Besides games on the PSN, I am finding a hard time thinking of one off of the top of my head. Metal Gear is the only one I can think of.

Doesnt matter how many there are, my point was that as long as any company is willing to pay for exclusives there is always going to be someone saying "oh, we could have sold X number of games for a profit if we didnt go exclusive". They decide not to talk about the $$ they got up front for that deal.

AWBrian said,

Insomniac is another that is 3rd party.

While they are independent they've never released one title for another platform or expressed any interest to - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insomniac_Games

They're practically 2nd party devs.

Audioboxer said,

While they are independent they've never released one title for another platform or expressed any interest to - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insomniac_Games

They're practically 2nd party devs.

You are correct (not releasing a title other than on the Sony platform), but they are 3rd party. And this is what we are talking about here. They can develop for any platform, and they are not owned by Sony, nor are they contracted to work with Sony. They are 3rd party.

"However, that's not to suggest that the company isn't looking to expand. Price did note that although the company "doesn't have the bandwidth to be able to" create multiplatform games, he did say that he thought it was "impressive to see some of the sales numbers for people who are going cross-platform."

So there are also reasons financial reasons for not going MP.

Edited by Kvally, Jan 22 2010, 6:12pm :

jerzdawg said,

Doesnt matter how many there are, my point was that as long as any company is willing to pay for exclusives there is always going to be someone saying "oh, we could have sold X number of games for a profit if we didnt go exclusive". They decide not to talk about the $ they got up front for that deal.

Exactly. Money that for some of these smaller development houses may have funded the project to completion... I remember when Eidos was exclusive to Playstation. That didn't work out very well for them in the end... I honestly thing that exclusivity is going to be less and less common in the future...

Isn't this how it always works though? Companies like MS and Sony pay to keep certain titles exclusive in order to push console sales. I am sure Epic made out just fine with their deal from MS, just like ND will make out on their deal with Sony.

jerzdawg said,
Isn't this how it always works though? Companies like MS and Sony pay to keep certain titles exclusive in order to push console sales. I am sure Epic made out just fine with their deal from MS, just like ND will make out on their deal with Sony.

Of course, he also seems to forget that Epic gets loads of money just licensing out it's tech to other devs to make games on while it does around 2, maybe 3 projects of it's own. They don't have the size nore the need to try and hit every platform with every game they make.

Do they regret not being able to release gears on the ps3? Maybe so, but have they lost out in some way? I doubt it, Gears 2 will be on the PC at some point and so will gears 3, and that ends the triligy.

jerzdawg said,
Isn't this how it always works though? Companies like MS and Sony pay to keep certain titles exclusive in order to push console sales. I am sure Epic made out just fine with their deal from MS, just like ND will make out on their deal with Sony.

Exactly.

They want to do multi-platform, but don't want to release Gears of War 2 for the PC - even though they could? Hmm... so they are just sorry they can't develop for the PS3 not multi-platform.

Daedalus said,
They want to do multi-platform, but don't want to release Gears of War 2 for the PC - even though they could? Hmm... so they are just sorry they can't develop for the PS3 not multi-platform.

Yeah... apparently multiplatform excludes PC gamers now :\ kinda lame and sad. PC gamers are getting shafted (for the most part) these days

Edited by Chsoriano, Jan 22 2010, 5:39pm :

Chsoriano said,

Yeah... apparently multiplatform excludes PC gamers now :\ kinda lame and sad. PC gamers are getting shafted (for the most part) these days

Yeah, I've noticed that too. When they're referring to multi-platform anymore they only mean other consoles... It seems odd to me.

Chsoriano said,

Yeah... apparently multiplatform excludes PC gamers now :\ kinda lame and sad. PC gamers are getting shafted (for the most part) these days

Yea, it's a shame. I don't wanna buy a console. Gears of War 2 on PC would be epic lol

LOL @ Pachter. He is such a tool. Epic has ALWAYS been third party, you dolt. Gears of War was financed and designed around the Xbox 360 between MS and Epic. Did he forget that Unreal hit both consoles even after Gears of War was released?

They actually pay this guy for his lack of knowledge?

AWBrian said,
LOL @ Pachter. He is such a tool. Epic has ALWAYS been third party, you dolt. Gears of War was financed and designed around the Xbox 360 between MS and Epic. Did he forget that Unreal hit both consoles even after Gears of War was released?

They actually pay this guy for his lack of knowledge?

Uh, he obviously means exclusivity for Gears of War, not for everything that Epic releases.

Though, the statement about first party titles being exclusive is just plain stupid. Of course they are, thats what a first party title is.

AWBrian said,
LOL @ Pachter. He is such a tool. Epic has ALWAYS been third party, you dolt. Gears of War was financed and designed around the Xbox 360 between MS and Epic. Did he forget that Unreal hit both consoles even after Gears of War was released?

They actually pay this guy for his lack of knowledge?

Looks like it, the majority of games do and are going multiplatform, but there will aways be that handful of exclusives published by MS or Sony and made by some 3rd party studio. Plus all the 1st party titles ofc.

episode said,
Uh, he obviously means exclusivity for Gears of War, not for everything that Epic releases.

Apparently not. Read his quote again:

"I think the Epic guys can't wait until they can start doing multiplatform games."

Edited by Kvally, Jan 22 2010, 2:40pm :

episode said,

Though, the statement about first party titles being exclusive is just plain stupid. Of course they are, thats what a first party title is.

i think the point was that first party titles will be the only ones left who are exclusive...

He also mentions 11 million PS3s, but forgets to caveat the huge number of those who ALSO own a 360.

This would have been much more interesting if he'd had numbers for how much Epic got from MS to produce GoW and compared them to numbers based on how other multi-platform games sell on the PS3 (minus additional dev cost of supporting both).

Instead we get this totally useless speculation, with comments like the one you mentioned which make no sense.

Wow... This has to be one of the most worthless statements I've ever read... Pachter's an idiot...

Even saying that his statement wasn't completely full of stupid, just because they would want to publish multi-platform again doesn't mean they regret their arrangement with Microsoft... Gears of War was apparently an amazing game (I don't like shooters), but if it had been multi-platform they wouldn't have had the financing from Microsoft, the level of development support, the cost would be much higher (As would development time), etc.

What a fool...

episode said,

Uh, he obviously means exclusivity for Gears of War, not for everything that Epic releases.

His quote in the article states:

"I think the Epic guys can't wait until they can start doing multiplatform games."

...