Epic skeptical about Games for Windows

Epic Games' Tim Sweeney has revealed the studio is skeptical about Microsoft's Games for WindowsLive due to the restrictions it places on developers - and PC gamers.

Speaking in a 1UP.com podcast, Sweeney opined that the key problem with Games for Windows Live currently "is that any feature that Microsoft implements and charges for, the developer can't implement themselves."

"As a PC developer, we're used to having complete freedom and defining our feature set - what we can give gamers and what they can do in our game. That's a big change, quite a huge change, for PC developers to now have features that we simply can't do,"Sweeney said.

However, he wasn't writing the service off completely and obviously sees potential there, adding that Epic would "wholeheartedly jump onto Games for Windows [Live] if it evolved into the sort of system that's compatible with gamers' expectations on the PC platform."

But Sweeney still sees an issue with the Gold paid-for part of the service, even though Microsoft is offering a considerable portion of Games for Windows Live's feature set for free in the Silver level.

"Taking all of these things that everybody has come to expect for free and now yanking them back and trying to sell them isn't going to fly with the Windows platform -not with Epic and not with the big publishers," he said.

Cross-platform gaming between Xbox 360 and PC is of course a major part of the Gold level of Games for Windows Live, and it will be interesting to see how readily such is embraced by publishers.

Microsoft's Rich Wickham, director for Games for Windows, recently told us that the company is "working really closely with third parties, to make sure there's third-party content out on the service as well" in relation to cross-platform support, but to date first-party titles Shadowrun and UNO remain the only games confirmed that support cross-platform play.

Spotted by Next-Gen.

April 10, 2007