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Unreal Tournament 3 -- why is no one playing?

Alan Tsang

An editorial over at Strategy Informer by Marco Fiori attempts to answer a simple but important question: why is no one playing Unreal Tournament 3? At one point, we were all excited about this quasi-PS3-timed-exclusive (it was first released on PS3 and PC, with the 360 version to be released nine months later); being part of the legacy that is the Unreal franchise, it will prove the PS3 can handle the hardcore FPS genre.

Epic recently leaked some screenshots to generate buzz for the 360 version, but the truth is, no one cares because no one is playing the versions that are already out. With almost 1000 servers, 12,000 player spaces, the game's player rate is about 500 a day. Patches were released to remedy various online problems, coupled with price drops, yet there is no improvement. Fiori lists possible culprits; has Call of Duty 4 replaced UT as the new poster child for FPS? Did Epic abandon the UT franchise for the more lucrative Gears of War? Is PC competitive gaming simply on a decline? Was it bad timing similar to what happened to UT2003?

Though he doesn't arrive at one specific conclusion, Fiori asserts the failure of UT3 comes from the existence of the console versions in his concluding paragraph: "The solution is not the same as it was in the past. PC-centric development meant that patches or even complete rebuilds could be done within a year as in the 2003/2004 situation. The modern multiplatform development cycle makes it virtually impossible." What do you guys think? Is the PS3 and upcoming 360 version to blame for UT3's inability to repeat the success of its predecessors?

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