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An Interview with Epic Games' Mark Rein

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March 3, 2008 1:21:49 PM

Interview by Travis Meacham.

While at GDC we sat down with Epic Games' Vice President Mark Rein to talk about the future of PC gaming, the dangers of piracy and how the Unreal Engine is leading the charge in dancing games.

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/03/03/mark_rein_interview/
March 3, 2008 3:21:31 PM

Quote:
Mark Rein: I don't know. Yeah... I think... you know... I don't know. I haven't really thought about that. Let's move on to a different question.

Mark Rein: Hang on, can I stop and get a cookie?

Mark Rein: Nope. Never underestimate the lack of "savvy-ness" of the American public.


Too bad he couldn't have stopped to get a clue as well.

What a tool! I think....you know... he's an idiot. He should have just turned down the interview if he didn't having anything meaningful to say. With guys like this working for Epic, it's no wonder they can't get the code base for their Unreal III engine straight.

Certainly he didn't just publicly insult his customers as well... He's talking about the lack of savvy-ness among the American public when he doesn't even know the difference between Gears of War and UT3.
March 3, 2008 3:53:53 PM

Agreed. The fact that he couldn't give an answer to the Gears of War on PC questions (did he even know it is available on PC?) kind of made him sound like a dope. If he'd given a real answer or at least acted like he cared I may have considered giving GoW on PC a try where as I previously hadn't given it much thought. But if he doesn't care why should I? Then he has the gall to bash gamers as not being very savy. What an idiot.
Related resources
March 3, 2008 4:08:45 PM

Typo: raison d'entre

should read: Raison d'être

(if you can't apply the accent, atleast get the 'n' out of there)
March 3, 2008 4:51:47 PM

purplerat said:
Then he has the gall to bash gamers as not being very savy. What an idiot.


In Mark's defense I think this needs clarification. Here's the exchange in question:

TG: The mainstream media loves to beat up on video games. Do you think that because games are so prevalent now that people know when the media is getting it completely wrong? Do you think that people are savvy enough to know that by now?

Mark Rein: Nope.

TG: No?

Mark Rein: Nope. Never underestimate the lack of "savvy-ness" of the American public.

My impression as the interviewer was that Mark was talking about the American public of non-gamers. I wanted to know if he thought that gaming had penetrated our culture so much that even non-gamers could tell when news outlets were going after gaming with innaccurate facts and his response was that it hasn't.

I really don't think he meant it as a slight against gamers. After all, we're his customers.



RE: hixbot

I fixed it, thanks.
March 3, 2008 5:16:49 PM

That exchange wouldn't have really bothered me, except that he didn't really seem to care much about answering other questions. Most of the interview seems he seems to have a "who cares" attitude to issues that matter to his customers. Almost like he really thinks gamers are too dumb to care.
March 3, 2008 5:23:53 PM

I think it's funny he thinks console games aren't pirated as much as PC games are.
March 3, 2008 5:36:23 PM

crom said:
I think it's funny he thinks console games aren't pirated as much as PC games are.

Well I don't think they are pirated "as much", but the threat is there and it will definetly grow as more games become console exclusive. I think as the market for pirated console games increases they will prove to be easier to pirate and probably even more in demand than pirated PC games.
March 3, 2008 5:54:18 PM

WTF was going on in this interview? Man, not exactly hopeful for PC gaming - he sounded like he could not give a crap.
March 3, 2008 7:06:56 PM

Maybe he got caught up in the event? Was looking towards his fun n games? He does sound waaaay too laid back and non compliat
March 3, 2008 7:08:48 PM

What a terrible interview on the interviewees (sp?) part. I was immediately put off when he couldn't answer questions about GoW on PC and then just blew off so many questions or gave "joke" answers. I'm sorry TG, but he didn't take you guys or the interview seriously.
March 3, 2008 7:40:57 PM

San Pedro said:
What a terrible interview on the interviewees (sp?) part. I was immediately put off when he couldn't answer questions about GoW on PC and then just blew off so many questions or gave "joke" answers. I'm sorry TG, but he didn't take you guys or the interview seriously.


Yes, I definitely think Travis should have beat Mark Rein over the head for not giving us more info on Gears of War PC. That would have helped the situation.

Personally, I don't think Rein meant any disrespect to Travis or Tom's in general. I just think his answers are indicative of a larger issue.
March 3, 2008 7:56:37 PM

Quote:
I just think his answers are indicative of a larger issue.

I agree, but what also made this interview very disapointing is that it lead by mentioning the PC Gaming Alliance and gave me the impression that Mr. Rein was a part of it. Then to hear his responses was pretty discouraging if that is how members of this "Alliance" really feel about PC gaming. Honestly I don't think that's the case. I just hope future reference to the PC Gaming Alliance come through in a little better light.
March 3, 2008 8:08:03 PM

Mark Rein has been with Epic from the early days. He has always been pretty laid back in most cases. If you google up some history and statements though you will find much from him about his love for the PC. Epic in general have been very PC-centric. Their PC games have been solid additions to us all. I personally love the original Unreal as well as all things UT. Even the new UT3 is great.

They have tried to get in on the console crowd before but Gears was certainly their pinnacle. Regardless of platform, it is a fun well made game.

Having said all that, I hear much remorse in their latest interviews. (mainly Mark and CliffyB) It is truly heartbreaking if you are a builder that creates something with sweat and passion only to have it stolen, kicked around or worse yet... unnoticed.

Example: Gears of War and UT3. Both are great games in their genre. Both had a ton of dev time. Both have minor quibbles about small things but still fared well impression-wise. Both are solid and devoid of the controversy like GTA/Doom/mass effect violence/sex and have no issues with DRM like bioshock... one made it big, one has yet to realize sales even close to the other. I think it is beyond coincidence that the platform that succeeded was NOT the PC and it hurts when the heart of what you are started there.

The PC is what MADE Epic... and they know it.

What I hear in the interview is a great angst that they WANT to make great PC games but are struggling against so many things beyond their control and trying to find a solution for (most of) them.

Honestly, how many of us have pirated games? It has been only in recent years that I have quit grabbing ANYTHING pirated. Yes, this means I buy/own less games. Yes, it means that overall if everyone did that there may be fewer games played overall by all gamers. But much like the decline of movie watching I think that has more to do with the quality of the crap that is put out rather than the industry health. In the case of Epic, they have yet to disappoint me with my purchases of their games. (one of the few developers that I always buy from)

Basically what I am saying is that don't bag on him for being sad or listless about the PC gaming outlook... it IS SAD! Also, don't complain about how bad it is if you are one of the contributors to the condition. Instead offer help and/or solutions instead of squeeky-wheel complaining.

/rant
March 3, 2008 8:20:04 PM

San Pedro said:
What a terrible interview on the interviewees (sp?) part. I was immediately put off when he couldn't answer questions about GoW on PC and then just blew off so many questions or gave "joke" answers.


Which answers do you think were joke answers?
March 3, 2008 8:24:54 PM

I wish some of those answers were meant as jokes. :( 
March 4, 2008 12:40:38 AM

lmao, this Mark Rein sounds like a total pothead, but in the best possible way.
March 4, 2008 2:01:08 AM

Ok first off I do not have a single pirated edition of any game on my computer sojrner, so I get to bitch about whatever I want. I bought Gears of War for PC and guess what IT DOESNT WORK! And here is the link to the Epic forums (http://gearsforums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=58316...) with almost 1200 post over the game not running. The two patches released has done nothing to fix the problem and people wonder why the PC market is dying. I spent $60 on a game that now is no more than a book shelf piece.

I would say the problem with the PC gaming community is the developers. I have bought very few PC games due to being burned by my purchases. Dont know if anyone remembers Iron Storm but that was another buggy game when released. The PC gaming industry very rarely releases new games, and I believe took there market for granted. Now they develop games that have been beaten to death, Unreal, Quake, Half Life Episodes. Seriously these are not new games but prettier rehashes of games that have been released. I have turned to the mod community of games because there is damn good support for most mods and developers actually listen to what most players would like fixed or changed in games. I do not steal games and do not mind paying for good games. However when I get burned by buying a **** game its hard for me to justifiy not just pirating the copy to see if the damn thing will run. Him having no answers for GOW for PC is even more aggravating to me and shows the lack of care for PC Gamers that has been prevalent since 360 and PS3 were released.

Developers need to develop better games and put some thought process into new titles. I was completely excited about buying GOW even though it was not a new title and now it has turned me away from buying new PC titles period. Epic will now be black balled by me because of the lack of support for the PC market they themselves express.
March 4, 2008 3:58:24 AM

beerpapasmurph said:
Ok first off I do not have a single pirated edition of any game on my computer sojrner, so I get to bitch about whatever I want. I bought Gears of War for PC and guess what IT DOESNT WORK! And here is the link to the Epic forums (http://gearsforums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=58316...) with almost 1200 post over the game not running. The two patches released has done nothing to fix the problem and people wonder why the PC market is dying. I spent $60 on a game that now is no more than a book shelf piece.


Bummer man that yours does not work. Does that automatically make it Epic's fault? I read a bunch of the posts there and it looks like alot of ppl ignored the list of issues w/ fixes on the starting post... others are just repeating (seemingly) the same issue. It is so similar with ANY software issue, ppl just don't understand that w/ all the possible configurations of a PC you can probably find one that was not tested. Not defending Epic on this, just saying that mine worked fine and I thought the experience was better than on a 360.

I would say the problem with the PC gaming community is the developers. I have bought very few PC games due to being burned by my purchases. Dont know if anyone remembers Iron Storm but that was another buggy game when released. The PC gaming industry very rarely releases new games, and I believe took there market for granted. Now they develop games that have been beaten to death, Unreal, Quake, Half Life Episodes. Seriously these are not new games but prettier rehashes of games that have been released. said:
I would say the problem with the PC gaming community is the developers. I have bought very few PC games due to being burned by my purchases. Dont know if anyone remembers Iron Storm but that was another buggy game when released. The PC gaming industry very rarely releases new games, and I believe took there market for granted. Now they develop games that have been beaten to death, Unreal, Quake, Half Life Episodes. Seriously these are not new games but prettier rehashes of games that have been released.


k, the fact that you have bought fewer games is the same thing I was saying... as for the games you listed, you just listed some of the more solid offerings. Relatively bug-free and fun to play. Sure, not "new"... but fun still. Like movie sequels, they sell b/c ppl recognize it and know what to expect. I am all for original games and love them, but original does not always sell well. (psyconauts anyone?) So in order to make money (to survive) you must make something that DOES sell, and until ppl are willing to risk the purchase it is prb gonna be sequels. Also, you seem to be implying that there are no bad games on the console. tbh, I think there are MORE crap games there as more devs are making for it... but that may just be me. ;) 

I have turned to the mod community of games because there is damn good support for most mods and developers actually listen to what most players would like fixed or changed in games. said:
I have turned to the mod community of games because there is damn good support for most mods and developers actually listen to what most players would like fixed or changed in games.


good for u, lots of good mods out there...

I do not steal games and do not mind paying for good games. However when I get burned by buying a **** game its hard for me to justifiy not just pirating the copy to see if the damn thing will run. Him having no answers for GOW for PC is even more aggravating to me and shows the lack of care for PC Gamers that has been prevalent since 360 and PS3 were released. said:
I do not steal games and do not mind paying for good games. However when I get burned by buying a **** game its hard for me to justifiy not just pirating the copy to see if the damn thing will run. Him having no answers for GOW for PC is even more aggravating to me and shows the lack of care for PC Gamers that has been prevalent since 360 and PS3 were released.


Just b/c one dev makes a crap game or you get burned by buying one (or more) does not justify piracy IMO. As for "lack of care"... I personally don't think so. Granted, I have been wrong before. ;)  I just don't think it has anything to do w/ the 360 or the ps3. When the first xbox came out or even the first ps we had similar trends where the hardware resulted in similar looks to PC games and so many said "why go to PC?"... currently however the ease of piracy and the crap level of many games on all platforms is more the contributor than. This includes games that reviewers gush over but are really junk IMO. THAT is the really cause. Thus you must vote w/ your money. Don't pirate, but only buy good ones. If it sucks, take it back and fight. If the game does not work, fight for the return.

Honestly, we are the customers. WE pay THEIR salaries. If I bought a game that did not work I would take it back and fight for a return. The last time that happened to me was with Aquanox when it came out. Boy that game sucked. Tried to play it and was so pissed I took it back. Fought hard for that and they took it back. If enough games are returned or not bought (with NO piracy!!) they will get the message... lol.

Developers need to develop better games and put some thought process into new titles. I was completely excited about buying GOW even though it was not a new title and now it has turned me away from buying new PC titles period. Epic will now be black balled by me because of the lack of support for the PC market they themselves express. said:
Developers need to develop better games and put some thought process into new titles. I was completely excited about buying GOW even though it was not a new title and now it has turned me away from buying new PC titles period. Epic will now be black balled by me because of the lack of support for the PC market they themselves express.


Again, bummer that it did not work for you. Honestly though, you should not take it in the shorts and just "black ball" Epic. If it doesn't work, you were sold a faulty product and should get your money back. period. Saying all PC games suck b/c of one game that might be crashing on an "off-broadway" software app running on your system conflicting with it is a bit much though. That is like saying that you went to see Citizen Kane in the theater but the projector broke so now you will never see another movie b/c all the other movies are like "daddy day camp"... and you got screwed...

...uhh, get a refund and find a theater that has a working projector... and then still only see Citizen Kane... ;) 

my 2 bits man

rock on.
March 4, 2008 12:40:48 PM

I think Unreal Tournament 3 is a good example as to how Epic feels about PC gaming in this day and age. The game itself is fun, however it is extremely buggy. How many other developers have you mod the .ini files in the game to get simple things accomplished, like changing the color of your crosshair? The server hosting and administration in the game is a joke, and the cheating is so rampant at the moment it's not even worth ladder or league play, not unless you're at a LAN event. At this point they only care about the PC audience that bakes out mods and maps for UT3 so they can be downloaded and played on the PS3. I'm a longtime competitive player in the UT series, but myself and most of the people who have been playing this since UT99 have left to play COD4 or some other game. I'm glad companies like idsoft and Valve are still on board with PC gaming. Epic is only trying to sell a graphics and physics engine to smaller developers who can't afford to build one themselves. That's their true business model.
March 4, 2008 9:52:32 PM

Ok I would never say all PC games suck because I still play quite a few games and still am very happy with my decision to move away from the Console market and onto the better PC market. I was not trying to support Pirating software and I will pay for an excellent game, I was trying to refer more to making sure the actual game works. I also understand the difficulty in trying to develop games for the million different setups computer users have.

Also, I was a console baby, had the NES, SNES, Dreamcast, and finally the Xbox, and I can promise you this. There are more **** games made for console than anything compared to the PC. Im a person that does a ton of research before I go out and buy anything, except for GOW which I bought opening day.

I truly believe the problem with the PC Gaming market is A) Pirating and B)Lack of inovation and poor funding. The poor funding comes from Pirating but the inovation comes from design teams. Yes I understand that a business needs to make money so keep releasing your money making products, like the ones I listed in my previous post. However you cant expect to keep making the same rehash of a game and having people still go out and pay top dollar for that product. I think a great example from last year that turned out to be a great release was Orange Box. This not only added a continuation of the Half Life story, but an updated Team Fortress, and a risky and new title Portal, which I have heard some great things about except that its to short. This is a great example of making money and managing to take a risk at the same time.

I still truly believe the PC market can make money if customers would truly go out and buy the games that they play. I will go out and buy more PC games, just bought an updated version of Close Combat: Modern Tactics and one of the older Close Combats. However developers need to market and advertise there games much better, but that also will hurt the bottom line of the company. The bottom line is this, buy the games you play and support the developers, but developers must remember that if they release a game that doesnt work and has say a 1200 page thread on there forums, they might want to look into the problems being discussed there. Even Sojner said it, most of the problems are related to a couple of issues. My question is this, if its a couple of issues quite a few people are experiencing, whats the hold up on the patch's for these couple of issues?


There needs to be an overall change in PC gamers and developers to help out the industry. And this interview is the example I dont want to see from a company such as epic towards the PC gaming market. PC gamers also need to quit Stealing games and buy them to support the Devs.
March 5, 2008 12:31:20 PM

I disagree with you about why PC gaming is shrinking. The primary reason is the cost of the hardware to play games, and the non-standardization of things. Case and point are AMD and Intel. Each changes motherboard sockets with almost every revision of their chips, making upgrading a computer much more expensive than it used to be. Couple that with, once you've either built or bought a system that is able to play modern games, you've probably spent $1,000 or more.

PC gaming has always been a niche market, and I'm sure it will continue to do so. With consoles becoming more PC-like, I think you'll see PC gaming push back to more independent studios, with a larger studio like EA or Activision tossing over console ports hoping for PC users to build mods to "innovate" their games.

I also disagree with you about lack of innovation. I see it as the opposite. Aside from the Wii, which is a fantastic system, the 360 and PS3 are the exact same machines as the previous versions playing the exact same games, except with better graphics. On the PC front you've got studios pushing the envelope. Valve and Wil Wright are examples of that. Portal and the upcoming Spore are very innovative titles.

Piracy is hurting PC gaming, this is true, but I would like to counter that it's equally as rampant on the "next-gen" consoles. Look around on any torrent site, and you'll find ways to rip and burn console games to play on your PS3, 360, or Wii. The numbers are different between consoles and PC's because people are ripping games that they rent from say Blockbuster. Since Blockbuster is buying a bulk version from a publisher, it looks like better sales than PC games which you can't rent.
March 5, 2008 1:58:28 PM

Lack of Innovation - say what?

The PC is the platform of invention. I could compile an exhaustive list to prove this point, but I simply do not have the time. Get real.
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