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Epic calls for open pricing on next-gen consoles

Mike Capps urges Microsoft and Sony to give developers control over prices

Mike Capps, president of Epic Games, has called for Microsoft and Sony to facilitate price elasticity and new business models if they want their next consoles to be relevant.

In an interview with Develop, Capps explained that services and micro-transactions now dominate game revenue.

"Consoles need to start being comfortable with that," he said. "They need to be able to do something where small virtual items can be sold and bought for 20 cents without a long certification process and a price approval process."

"Right now we're not even allowed to change the prices of virtual content. 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."

Capps suggested that rigid policies on the pricing of virtual items is "the best way of driving developers to PC," and that Valve's Steam distribution platform would be a good model for the level of freedom required of the next generation of consoles.

"Double-A games will never come back unless we get rid of this notion of a game being $60 or not released. The console manufacturers need to let this happen."

Capps also discussed the need for console technology to produce results that the consumer can immediately see, "is not possible on current consoles."

"And that's a very tall order. I mean, PlayStation 3 is still very bad-ass - Heavy Rain looks great. To blow that away we need the hardware to do it."

This echoes comments Capps made at GDC Europe, where he explained the significance Epic's next generation tech demo, The Samaritan.

"It was just a way of showing what consoles could do and putting it in front of console manufacturers and saying - please, we love you, please make it do this."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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