Talk about major "suckage." Epic Games’ Michael Capps predicts that the future of DLC may be geared towards consumers who rent games or buy them used, aka the "secondary market."
His revelation comes from a recent interview with gamesindustry.biz, as the Epic Games’ president talked about numerous gaming issues ranging from his view on the new Xbox Live Experience, to social gaming and the Gears of War movie. But what really stuck out like an iron spike planted firmly on the seat of a chair was his views on downloadable content, and what other developers were considering in regards to consumers who rent games or purchase them used.
Basically, they all want to make money off the cheap gamer, those who refuse to buy the new, retail version, as only retailers rack in the money when it comes to used products and rentals. One of the ideas currently thrown around development houses call for saving the final boss fight as downloadable content, costing consumers $20 if they want to finish the game. As for consumers who actually buy the retail version, the game would come with a code to unlock the ending without additional cost.
According to Capps, Epic claims that more than twice as many people played Gears of War than the ones who bought it. "I’m not sure how big it is here [in Europe], but the secondary market is a huge issue in the United States," he told the website. "Our primary retailer makes the majority of its money off of secondary sales, and so you’re starting to see games taking proactive steps toward that by... if you buy the retail version you get the unlock code."
He goes on to ramble about how Epic employees don’t buy used games, that sales of new retail products put food on the table and supports their gaming industry friends as well. In fact, Capps came across as sounding a bit prejudiced against the used-game buyer, as if everyone can afford sports cars or in-house arcade machines. Eventually the interview trails off into Piracy Land, and Capps blames the 20:1 pirated to non-pirated ratio as the reason why there is no Gears of War 2 on the PC. It’s certainly clear on where Epic is focused in regards to consumers who do not buy their games at full price : they’re purchased used, picked up as a rental or stolen outright through file-sharing networks or newsgroups.
"I think DLC will be increasing in scope just because in the US we really need to make strides against the second-hand market," Capps said.
But if anything, his words definitely sound off an alarm as to where the industry may go in a few years. While Capps stated that he doesn’t want to hurt the consumers who want to play Epic titles, there’s definitely motivation to address the financial concerns regarding the secondary market, backed by the annoying leech that is software piracy.