I think you guys are blowing this up into something bigger than it is. Please listen to the entire podcast before jumping to conclusions.
What we have here is simply a difference of opinion on how to maximize the return on Gears of War - something both Epic and Microsoft want to do. While we create products like Gears because we love games, and we have a passion for making them, at the end of the day this is a business for both companies and how we earn our living.
Epic thinks the way to maximize the return on Gears of War is to give the maps away for free and Microsoft thinks the way to maximize the return on Gears of War is to sell the maps. So what we’ve agreed to do is to put these maps on sale at a reasonable price then make them free a few months later. They did this with the original Halo2 map pack and it was a huge success. Lots of people bought the maps and lots of people downloaded them when they became free. That’s what is going to happen and it seems like a fair compromise for both companies and a win-win for Gears players.
Why does Epic not have control over this even though we created this content on our own time and our own dime? Quite frankly Xbox Live Marketplace isn’t our store. It’s Microsoft’s store. Like any retailer they have the right to figure out what goes on the shelves of their store and what price they sell it at. They spend the money to operate the store and deliver the content. They’ve also spent billions of dollars to create and build Xbox and subsidize it’s the price so you can afford it and we can make games for it. As our publisher, they also invested tens of millions of dollars marketing Gears of War, and have done an awesome job for us, so they have a right to a good return on that investment.
As Tim Sweeney and I said in the podcast, we want the download economy to work – it is something the industry needs, something we hope to use in the future, something that will help bring more variety to end-users and ultimately could help bring prices down for end-users. If we had to put this map pack on a disc and sell it in retail it would be more expensive to end-users and maybe we wouldn't have done it because of all the extra work and cost involved.
In the mean time we are planning to bring out an awesome new Gears of War multi-player gametype called Annex that works will all of the existing multi-player maps and the new pack we're talking about here. The 1UP guys who got to play it a few weeks ago left the office raving about how it could be our best Gears gametype yet and I think a lot of people will enjoy it. Best of all, it is totally FREE and will come in the new Gears update that we expect to see released this week.
Last edited by Mark Rein; 04-08-2007 at 05:55 AM..