Epic doubtful about Vita, not keen on “port-itis”

Wednesday, 7 December 2011 22:28 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Gears of War developer Epic Games doesn’t feel the need to appear on every bit of hardware available.

“We’re not currently making a Vita game; I’m not sure how well it’s going to be accepted in our Western market which is primarily where our games sell,” Epic president Mike Capps told GamesIndustry.

“It’s a really cool platform, but I have a phone, and it’s really hard to compete with that. So I’m not sure if it will be successful or not, I hope they are, it’s good for the games industry.”

Although it won’t be making its own Vita game just yet, Epic has investigated the tech and worked support for the new handheld into the Unreal Engine.

“We were, I think, one of the very first people to get one and work with it and we were on stage at the launch, because we have a lot of licensees who are curious about it and so we did the first part,” Capps continued.

“But we can’t really fully support that platform unless we’re shipping our own games, that’s how we know we know that platform, and it’s really important for us to do that. And so with Vita we’re not planning on shipping a game and so that means we’re pretty honest with folks and say ‘you can have the Vita code we’ve got but this is not the same as us having shipped on Xbox or iPhone.’ It’s the same business decision I think that anybody makes, is this a platform for me?”

Epic has traditionally been quick to support new hardware with tech demos and engine support, and has been a visible presence in Vita marketing.

“But that’s very different from saying we’re going to do a launch title, which would be huge support, but costly in terms of poor install base on the platform,” Capps explained.

“The first year is always bad, it’s always hard, and so we just prefer to wait. And with Xbox we shipped a year after it came out and had a better install base.”

Epic doesn’t feel the need, in general, to have games on every possible platform.

“My god, if you make World Of Warcraft and you also have to have an Xbox version, you won’t ship World Of Warcraft,” the executive pointed out.

“And there’s a lot of great entertainment that’s a really good fit for the phone, but, Infinity Blade on the Xbox? Maybe it would be cool with Kinect, but I think it’s great where it is.

“And then you get port-itis, which really irritates the hell out of, well, you pick! PC gamers hate it, console gamers hate it.”

Thanks, Shack.