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Piracy DRM Games

Ubisoft Blames Piracy For Non-Release of PC Game 424

New submitter Azmodan sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "Ubisoft is known for laying the blame for many problems on the unauthorized downloading of its games. Stanislas Mettra, creative director of the upcoming game I Am Alive, confirms this once again by saying that the decision not to release a PC version is a direct result of widespread game piracy. However, those who look beyond the propaganda will see that there appears to be more to the story than that." Another Ubisoft employee made similar comments about upcoming Ghost Recon games. Regarding Ghost Recon Online being free-to-play: "We are giving away most of the content for free because there’s no barrier to entry. To the users that are traditionally playing the game by getting it through Pirate Bay, we said, 'Okay, go ahead guys. This is what you’re asking for. We’ve listened to you – we’re giving you this experience. It’s easy to download, there’s no DRM that will pollute your experience.'" Regarding Future Soldier having no PC version: "When we started Ghost Recon Online we were thinking about Ghost Recon: Future Solider; having something ported in the classical way without any deep development, because we know that 95% of our consumers will pirate the game. So we said okay, we have to change our mind."
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Ubisoft Blames Piracy For Non-Release of PC Game

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  • Valve Software (Score:5, Informative)

    by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:53AM (#38165272)

    They should take a leaf out of the Valve Software marketing handbook. []

  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:08AM (#38165388)

    After that, maybe we'll get better clarity on why companies seem to be walking away from the PC more and more these days.

    The fact that they can milk the fuck out of console players with DLC probably doesn't hurt, either.

    This is why developers love the shit out of consoles. []

  • Re:AWWWWW (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:15AM (#38165428) Homepage

    Yeah, I think it's pretty clear gamers aren't buying Ubisoft's PC games... I wouldn't either, who knows what crap they'll bundle with their next game. Really, really horrible DRM is a piracy driver, not a sales driver. Most people are lazy and uninformed and will buy that shit the first time, but then you've pissed on all your sales after that. They're just too dense so understand the pool of piss they're in is of their own making.

  • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Informative)

    by AdamJS ( 2466928 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:29AM (#38165562)

    I had to crack almost every Splinter Cell game because their DRM measures essentially "locked" my disc drives entirely when installed, regardless of whether the game was running or not. On my PCs and laptops.

    And this was AN INTENDED EFFECT.
    These guys are off their rockers. They make Capcom's business decisions look wise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:39AM (#38165650)

    Dude, fuck off. The stuff I paid for plays fine and has always been playing fine ever since I installed Steam so many years ago. Are you anti-DRM chucklefucks so dense that you can't realize that for the most of us, it doesn't inconvenience us at all? The only problem is with extremely shitty DRM like Ubisoft's where you actually can't play if your internet drops for half a second. Steam always works when you ask it to, it doesn't suffer from those stupid issues. Spore is a different deal; it severely limited your ability to play the game if you had a lot of computers. That is annoying DRM. The one that I don't even notice when I launch Skyrim? Fine in my book. VALVe has already said they would unlock the games in case of the company going down (and they have the capability to do so if required)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:44AM (#38165710)

    I wouldn't laud Steam too much. All it takes is a memory glitch, and VAC has a good chance of perma-banning your account, and there goes all your game multiplayer access. To boot, you won't even have a manual or a little ring to show for the purchase. Good luck posting on the forums about that -- you will definitely be presumed guilty and laughed off the site.

  • by jefe7777 ( 411081 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:03PM (#38165906) Journal


    a series of subdued and mirthful acts of coitus?

  • Re:Pirates (Score:2, Informative)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:23PM (#38166112)

    Okay, I know posting anything that sounds even remotely negative about PC gaming is very taboo here, but I'd rather post and be realistic than watch Slashdot continue it's circle jerk into a pit of self-reassuring ignorance.

    I doubt for a second that he meant the 95% figure literally, but simply meant that a high proportion of PC players pirate the game.

    It's nothing whatsoever to do with console players putting up with worse games, that's one of the most blatant demonstrations of jealous bitterness I've seen here.

    The fact is there's some truth in Ubisoft's stance and whilst I have little sympathy for them as a company because of their misguided DRM attempts that doesn't mean they are wrong.

    The fact remains that PC game sales are lower, see here for example with 2 major releases listed for the week ending 12th November: []

    We have, for MW3:
    X360: 6.6 million
    PS3: 4.7 million
    PC: 0.3 million

    Okay, how about something that's always been designed more as a PC game, and IMHO plays better on a PC and reaps the advantages of mods where consoles can't - Skyrim?:
    X360: 2 million
    PS3: 0.9 million
    PC: 0.5 million

    These figures are quite depressing for the PC, perhaps the biggest selling PC release in the last few years (decade?) Starcraft 2 shifted 3 million in it's first month. Very respectable for presumably the highest selling one off it still doesn't really come close to say, the Call of Duty series in the 360 which breaks 5 mill in a week (not a month like SC2) each year for the past few years despite the game IMO having gone downhill.

    It's pretty well established then that the PC market just doesn't shift as many units as the console market does, it just can't compete in this respect, but there are other factors too - PC gamers are used to paying only £29.99 at most in the UK market for games, versus £39.99 for console games, so not only does the PC face lower sales figures, but lower sales profit also.

    The problem is made worse by the fact the PC is simply more expensive to develop for and support, because of the unfortunate situation of having a massive set of hardware and software combinations to deal with many of which can result in sometimes show stopping bugs if not resolved, and, to further maximise sales, where a larger set of configuration settings is needed, and in some cases a large set of content to support these varying configurations giving varying levels of performance each person's system provides.

    The net result is that there's really questionable benefit to supporting the PC platform, particularly when the time spent to support the PC would probably better spent making DLC for a console release in terms of profit, and whilst you may well want companies to release for the PC anyway, they're not charities, they're businesses, and they'll do whatever maximises their profits. That often means not supporting the PC.

    But it's not all doom and gloom for the PC, I think it's somewhat beneficial, the last few years has seen a massive boom in really really good indie games on the PC because large companies abandoning the platform for higher profit console platforms has left that hole open for indies to compete. There are still areas where PCs are king too - games where decent worthwhile mods can be made, and MMOs - whilst there have been attempts, consoles are next to useless for both of these things.

    I know some people will argue with me and say "Well, Steam doesn't release their stats" and that sort of argument, but it doesn't matter- the reality is that these companies have deemed developing for PCs to be not financially worthwhile however you try and spin it, and getting mad at them wont help.

    Personally? I just enjoy gaming, so prefer to be pragmatic and have a gaming PC as well as an XBox 360 so that I can enjoy the best of both worlds. I can enjoy console only releases and some pretty fucking great ind

  • Re:AWWWWW (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:24PM (#38166120)

    If you think Bethesda honestly created a great game that is worth what they charge and you buy it, they deserve and have earned the money they made.

    Yes I do. Skyrim is fun. It's not without its problems, but it's fun and it's beautiful and it's a great pass-time. I bought Silent Hunter 3 from Ubisoft and it was a buggy piece of shit. I bought Silent Hunter 4 hoping for improvement. They made it worse. I tried Silent Hunter 5 without buying it and was convinced I would never give Ubisoft another penny.

  • by Jibekn ( 1975348 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:43PM (#38166336)
    Do some research, Steve Jobs has(had?) actually applyed for a patent on that very idea.
  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:48PM (#38166392)

    "Question: Must all of my computers have internet access to use Steam?"

    "Answer: Steam requires an internet connection for each computer intended to play Steam games." []

    "Question: What is Steam's Offline Mode and how do I use it?"

    The Steam client application's files must be updated to allow for the use of Offline Mode. []

    So, in order to play offline, I must go online to enable playing offline? And the game must be fully patched even if I am playing offline? And how does it verify if the game is fully patched? Does it need a web connection to check?

    Yeah, much easier to just steal the fucking game and have this idiotic shit stripped out from get go.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:49PM (#38166406)

    Story has already changed by the time it was posted to slashdot.

  • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jibekn ( 1975348 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:12PM (#38166644)
    Those numbers you posted do not include digital sales. I have yet to find a sales stats site that did not exclude digital sales. The 3.4 million number is ONLY retail sales.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:56PM (#38167038)

    The big one is something another posted pointed out: Those are retail only sales. A lot of people on PC buy their games via digital download these days. Just ask Gabe Newell about that, he has gotten exceedingly rich off of that, and Steam isn't the only DD service. In particular, Skyrim probably sold a ton digital since it is a Steamworks game (meaning it needs Steam to play). Might as well get it on Steam, since that's what the retail copy uses anyhow. Skyrim peaked at more than 300,000 people playing it AT ONE TIME on Steam, so I'm going to guess more than 500k copies for the PC sold.

    The other is that total numbers don't matter, it only matters that you make enough to justify the cost. After all if we went by your metric of "total numbers after 1 week of sales" then there should be no Skyrim for PS3. The 260 sold twice as many copies, so that should be the only platform right?

    Nope, all that matters is you make enough to make it worth your while. So, presume PCs only did sell 500k copies. A standard retail markup is about 100%. It might be less for software, I don't know, but we'll assume 100% markup. That means Bethesda made $15 million on Skyrim for the PC so far. So long as their porting costs were a non-trivial amount below that amount, it was worth doing. If they spent $5 million on the PC version (which is unlikely it was most likely much less) then that is $10 million they walked away with already.

    Then there's the fact that, no, PC are NOT more expensive to develop for. One big reason is licensing fees. Consoles take a cut, a non-trivial one, of every game you sell for licensing fees. It is how the companies make money. So $5-10 of every single copy sold goes to MS or Sony for the console versions. No such issue on the PC. You keep 100% of the profits.

    Also porting from the PC to the 360 is quite easy. MS has seen to that. It isn't quite as simple as clicking "cross compile" but close. MS wants games on both platforms, and they make the tools to do it. The tools are also the same (Visual Studio) in both cases.

    A more minor fact, but still one that matters too, is that digital distributors charge less than retail stores. Their markup is more like 25-30%. So for all the copies you sell there, you get even more money per sale.

    This idea that the PC just isn't worth it is silly, and not backed up by reality. If it weren't, the why the hell are there so many PC games? Go to Metacritic and ask it for a list of releases for the PC. Have a look at the massive list in recent months. You think companies would keep doing it if there was no profit in it?

    This is Ubisoft whining. Even they still do not just PC releases, but PC exclusives. They just released Anno 2070, a PC only strategy game. There is no console version, nor is there one planned (not the kind of game that would play well with a controller). Again, you think they'd do that if there was no money?

  • No kidding (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @02:01PM (#38167098)

    I skipped Assassin's Creed 2 because of the DRM. I didn't pirate it, just didn't play it. I don't lack for good games to play (I have a backlog of games, damn Steam sales) and I wasn't going to put up with always on DRM so I gave it a miss.

    Looking to be the same thing for Anno 2070. Sounds like it is really well done and I like the Anno series but it uses a TAGES 3 machine activation deal. Well I'm not ok with that. Not that I want it on more than 3 computers, but that it only gives you 3 installs total, with no revocation. I'd eat that up easy, as I reinstall my system a minimum of each new Windows version, and usually more often because of new hardware.

    So I'll probably have to give it a miss too. Too bad, I would have liked to play it but if they want to be dicks there is no lack of other companies that aren't who are waiting to take my money. Never mind the games I have a backlog of now (meaning I own but haven't yet played) I have a list of 10 other games I'd really like to get, but haven't because I have this backlog to play.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court