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THQ's Fitch Pegs Piracy For PC Failings, Iron Lore Closing

THQ's Fitch Pegs Piracy For PC Failings, Iron Lore Closing

March 3, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander

March 3, 2008 | By Leigh Alexander
More: Console/PC

Following Titan Quest creator Iron Lore Entertainment's recent announcement that it has closed its doors and ceased its development efforts due to lack of funding, THQ creative director Michael Fitch has spoken out, placing the blame for the studio closing on piracy.

In a post on the Quarter To Three forums titled "Venting my frustrations with PC game-dev," Fitch explains that the costs of PC game piracy extends beyond lost sales, suggesting that pirates confronted with games that crash due to security code and copy protection may spread negative advance buzz about a game, using Titan Quest as an example of a "self-fulfilling prophecy".

Said Fitch, "If 90% of your audience is stealing your game, even if you got a little bit more, say 10% of that audience to change their ways and pony up, what's the difference in income? Just about double. That's right, double. That's easily the difference between commercial failure and success... if even a tiny fraction of the people who pirated the game had actually spent some god-damn money for their 40+ hours of entertainment, things could have been very different today."

He also lashed out at hardware vendors, calling integrated video chips and integrated audio "two of our biggest headaches." Compatibility issues and uneducated PC users are also a huge obstacle, he says, pointing out that there are endless possibilities for user configurations and many users have several apps running at once.

Said Fitch, "PC folks want to have the freedom to do whatever the hell they want with their machines, and god help them they will do it; more power to them, really. But god forbid something that they've done - or failed to do - creates a problem with your game. There are few better examples of the "it can't possibly be my fault" culture in the west than gaming forums."

He also lambasted a game reviewer for failing to alter Titan Quest's score even after admitting he had made a crucial oversight in evaluating the game's features.

"Making PC products is not all fun and games," he concluded. "It's an uphill slog, definitely. I'm a lifelong PC gamer, and hope to continue to work on PC games in the future, but man, they sure don't make it easy."

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