Epic: Consoles must quit virtual price control

Epic: Consoles must quit virtual price control
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

October 26th 2011 at 3:36PM

Lack of freedom will drive developers to other platforms, Mike Capps says

Console manufacturers must abandon strict control over virtual content prices to reflect industry changes, Epic Games president Mike Capps has said.

In a newly published interview with Develop, Capps said game revenue has moved to the service and microtransaction model, and console makers must adapt and allow developers greater control.

“Right now we’re not even allowed to change the prices of virtual content,” said Capps.

“We’re not even allowed to set the prices. I just don’t think this protectionist approach is going to be successful in a world where the price of virtual items changes on a day-today basis.”

Most mobile platforms allow developers to set their own pricing schemes, and Capps said the process of purchasing virtual goods on apps is far more flexible.

He added that double-A games will never come back unless manufacturers lose the notion of a game being $60 or not released, and that if it continues developers will move to PC to release their games.

“The console manufacturers need to let this happen,” he said.

“The best way of driving developers to PC is telling them they have no freedom in what prices they can set for virtual items. It would be great to have the level of freedom that, say, Steam gives you.”

Capps also said that in the next generation of consoles, as well as recognising changes in industry trends, it’s important for them to display a big jump in technology.

“I think it’s very important that a gamer sees an Xbox Next or PlayStation Next and can clearly see the tech is not possible on current consoles.

“Otherwise they won’t be a success. And that’s a very tall order. I mean, PS3 is still very bad-ass – Heavy Rain looks great. To blow that away we need the hardware to do it.”

The full interview with Mike Capps can be read here.