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Epic Games Signs Microsoft Publishing Deal 44

Thanks to Gamers.com for the news that Unreal creators Epic have signed a long-term publishing deal with Microsoft. According to the piece, "Microsoft will publish 'several' future Epic projects - as yet unnamed - exclusively for Xbox and Windows", and it's noted that "Epic is the sole owner of the Unreal name and franchise", although Atari is still publishing Unreal Tournament 2004 for PC this November. Included in the Microsoft deal are two projects from new Epic offshoot Scion Studios, promising to "explore development opportunities within Epic Games' established action titles, and beyond", possibly implying at least one Unreal-branded, Microsoft-published title - unless the "established action title" in question is Jazz Jackrabbit.
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Epic Games Signs Microsoft Publishing Deal

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  • Cool? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:29PM (#6981255) Journal
    No conspiracy here. Microsoft does what it does best: spot talent and buy it.
  • If I had 40+ billion dollars just burning a hole in my pocket I'd buy my way into the games industry too.
    • Why? I am sure that there are less volatile markets you can get involved in. If you've got 40 billion dollars, don't risk that money in the video game industry! That's madness! It's a fickle industry where companies rise and fall overnight.

  • That can't program/design their way into the market - so the just buy the whole slices of the market from under everybody else.


  • Note how (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:47PM (#6981380)
    Microsoft's acquisitions are always designed not only to serve as revenue generators, but also as cockblockers for the competition.

    In the games industry alone, they've done this to Mac users (Bungie), Nintendo (Rare - honestly, Nintendo got rid of them at the right time, IMO), and now Linux gamers (Epic/Unreal).

    Basically, they use their large coffers from their Windows/Offce monopoly to prop up their side projects and diddle with everyone else.
    • Did they say they won't allow them to publish games for Linux? Can't fault them for trying to make their Xbox look better to people, can you? Good move on their part in my opinion. Unreal Championship is great on Xbox Live, I'm sure any sequels will be also.
  • Mac would have become one of the greatest gaming platform with a powerful processor and huge amounts of bandwidth... until now. MS is fucking everybody again - with profits from its illegal monopoly.

    Thanks Bush admin for laying off of MS.
  • Many years ago (maybe 7 or 8?) I played a game that I could have sworn Epic put out, but I don't see it on the Epic Classic Games site. Maybe some of the folks here remember it.

    I don't remember a whole lot, other than it was a 2D side-scrolling game where you were a wizard, and were collecting little lightning bolts and things. The only other thing I remember is that we spent hours on that game passing time on 12 hour midnight shifts as airmen in an Air Force network operations center... :)
  • by Murdock037 ( 469526 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {nrohtnartsirt}> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @08:59PM (#6981463)
    I wonder how this affects games that are supposedly already in development. Unreal 2 came and went, and they're milking all the good will they can out of the UT franchise, but that leaves the in-house project they've supposedly been developing for the next major iteration of the Unreal engine-- supposedly called, if memory serves, Unreal Warfare.

    This was the game of the trio that always seemed the most interesting to me-- they talked about it being the most advanced of the three, what little snippets we got implied that it was far more ambitious, and, well, the name is simply the coolest.

    The article (short as it is) says that Epic still holds the Unreal franchise, but I wonder if they won't be tempted to abandon it-- has anybody seen any new screens in the last, oh, year?-- for a bigger and better deal from their new patrons.
    • Actually, as I recall, "Unreal Warfare" is the official name of the current engine. They probably just decided it sounded cooler than "The Unreal 2 Engine" (particularly since Unreal 2 was rather a lackluster game beyond the graphics).
    • Unreal 2 hasn't been abandoned, they've already announced a free multiplayer expansion.

      It seems odd that Unreal Warfare intrigued the most. It was never announced, there were never any details of it, Epic never openly talked about it, and there was essentially nothing to get intrigued over. It's a rumored long term project for Epic, and one of those things that we will "know about when we can". IOW, they're still building the technology for it. This is where the "Unreal Warfare Engine" term came from -
      • My impression is that the Unreal Warfare engine is actually now just the Unreal engine - in other words, they decided against changing the name branding.

        In fact, I think the game originally branded Unreal Warfare turned into Unreal Tournament 2003? It's notable that most press mentions of Unreal Warfare were in early 2001, and that Unreal 2 was listed in some places as running on the Unreal Warfare engine (presumably the same one as UT2K3.)
  • and Linux? (Score:4, Informative)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday September 16, 2003 @09:25PM (#6981652) Journal
    I'm going to miss those Linux ports.

    Reminds me of when MS bought Rare (unconfirmed, my little bro says so).

    Time to boycott Unreal. Quake still seems to be un-bought, right?
    • They did grab them (Score:3, Informative)

      by August_zero ( 654282 )
      Yes, MS owns Rare, Nintendo dumped them a year or so ago after Rare failed to generate any sort of significant revenue.

      It is however unclear as to if Rare is going to be much use for MS though. In their last couple of years working with nintendo, Rare had gained a notorious rep for failing to get anything released even close to its deadline (perfect dark, starfox adventures and some others were all 2 years or more late) And their recent efforts while solid, have of late lacked the craftsmanship that the
      • Unreal ports on consoles haven't done well. Unreal Championship(UT2k3) on Xbox is doing pretty well I believe. Always alot of people on Xbox Live playing it, although I've been on a Wolfenstein kick lately. And your going to be boycotting a game that could be good because it's owned by Microsoft? Or does it make you more popular to say that?
        • boycott? what the hell are you talking about?

          I never said or implied anything like a boycott, I just stated my knowledge of the rare/ms relationship. Please save your insults for someone that deserves them.
        • I will be boycotting any game that requires that I buy an xbox or a copy of Windows. If it's really a good game and works under Wine/WineX, I might buy it. I use Linux, and I'd been enjoying the Linux ports.

          I can certainly see MS trying to keep stuff away from other consoles, but can't you see this as also just another strategy to lock out Linux?

          And whatever happened to Indreama? That was a good idea, but there ended up being a grand total in the single digits of the number of games for it. Why?

  • Does anybody have a link to a site that has a quote like "There are (small X) game publishers that made up (large Y%) of the total games published in the last year"?

    I've got a feeling that we've gotten down to a few large houses, which are all cramming what I consider overreaching EULAs and aggravating copy protections down our throats, and would like to confirm my suspicion (didn't gaming feel a bit more diverse and fun between five and ten years ago?)

  • So you won't see a Linux UT2005 client, well, very few people use that particular client, so I'm sure it won't effect sales too much. But what about the server? As it stands, Linux runs 85% of UT2003 servers. Not having a linux server will diminish the product many times more than not having a linux client.
  • Atari IS Epic Games

    Epic Games owns them and released Unreal Tournament in North America under the Atari name because it is more well known. I wouldn't expect that this would change just because of this deal.
    • Re:But! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rwven ( 663186 )
      No, Atari is NOT epic games... Atari used to be called infogrames. They are nothing but publisher...and microsoft took over their gig...
  • When there aren't coming games anymore from Epic because of the deal with MS to Linux, so be it.

    Those games will be (i think) DRM enabled and when you don't have DRM enabled on your linux box you can't play/serve them.

    Time for something else.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford