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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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  • They can keep them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:41AM (#38165188)

    All this means is that Ubisoft makes me proud to never have pirated or bought any of their games. Apparently they are of so low quality that they themselves does not belive in them.

  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) * on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:42AM (#38165192) Journal

    Ubisoft has gotten itself into such a complete knicker-twist over the PC games market via its groteseque DRM efforts that it wishes to give up on the whole affair as a bad job. But, like the classic stroppy teenager, it wishes to make clear to all and sundry that it's not being sent home in disgrace, it's making its own decision, for its own reasons, to take its ball and go home.

    I am not an anti-DRM fundamentalist. I'm fine with the DRM requirements imposed by the base Steam DRM package, by Xbox Live, and with the exception of a few games (like Bionic Commando), by PSN. That's not to say I am in love with the idea of DRM or even accept it as inevitable. I like the concept behind GoG - particularly of extending it to newer games - and support them where I can. But I'm not going to boycott games over DRM on the basis of an abstract principle. I'm only going to do so where the DRM inconveniences me personally. And Ubisoft's always-on DRM system is the only one (leaving aside a few small EA experiments such as C&C4) to have passed that barrier. My connection tends to blip and reset itself every couple of days - losing 20 minutes of play-time because of it is not acceptable.

    And because it's so offensive, I didn't limit the boycott to not just buying the games on the PC. I skipped the games across all platforms. No Assassin's Creed for me? It's a bit of a pity, but I'll live. I mean, really, I'm not the kind of gamer it's a fantastic idea to be upsetting. I buy 30+ games per year (as you can see from the end-of-year roundups I do in my journal). The last game I pirated was the original Crimson Skies, back in 2000 (and I went on to buy that a month or two later). I always buy new, not second hand, except on the odd occasion when I hear about an old game that I "missed" at release which really appeals to me, and which I can't find new). I'm not sat there moaning about the lack of Linux ports and boycotting anything that has even a sniff of a CD-key. I want to be reasonable.

    The Mettra comments appear to be based on faulty data on PC game sales. They're going only on boxed-copy sales, which have been declining on PC for a decade or more now. What isn't declining are download sales, primarily through Steam but also through a variety of other sources. Even going off simultaneous players-online stats (which will substantially under-estimate actual copies sold), the PC version of Skyrim shifted some pretty epic numbers via Steam.

    It's a slight pity in this case. I Am Alive looks fairly interesting and it's pitched at a price point that tends to fare reasonably well on the PC. But can I live without it? Sure...

    Besides, as we drift to the end of this console cycle, the PC is not the only platform with a piracy problem. Ok, the PS3 has always remained difficult from a piracy perspective. And the 360, while easily hackable, does carry a very high risk of getting an XBL ban. But the Wii, DS, 3DS(?) and PSP are all pretty much wide open these days (and have been for a while in some cases).

    PS. This story has been carried across multiple mainstream gaming media outlets over the last few days - Kotaku, Eurogamer, IGN, 1up etc. Could we try to get a link in TFA that is to a site that won't be blocked by most common workplace filters (ie. not TorrentFreak)?

  • Pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tomato42 ( 2416694 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:43AM (#38165196)
    Any chance for statistics backing the 95% number? How many of those pirates actually played the game for more than an hour?

    Just be honest and say that the console players will put up with worse games and more expensive games.
  • AWWWWW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:43AM (#38165204)
    Yet somehow in this environment full of pirates, Call of Duty manages to make a billion dollars, Skyrim manages to make over 450 million dollars, etc. Ubisoft is full of shit and their games stopped being good a long time ago. Come to think of it no, SSI was good. But who the hell is Ubisoft? Ahh yes, they wanted to become another EA studio-devouring machine. Well the experiment has failed.
  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:44AM (#38165212)

    Maybe you could give people an incentive to actually buy a PC game? First step would be to stop releasing broken-ass console ports to the PC market, I bet that would help sales a lot. Also, get rid of any additional software to run, i.e., Steam and the other ridiculous spyware crap that is bundled with so many PC games today.

  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:50AM (#38165252)

    And the 360, while easily hackable, does carry a very high risk of getting an XBL ban.

    In all honesty, all the people I know with modded 360's don't connect them to Xbox Live. Many of them actually have two consoles: the one they bought originally that got the RRoD or disc tray errors that, due to being out of warranty anyway, they had repaired and modded at the same time...and the regular one they had to buy to replace it with so they could play on XBL.

    Not speaking for everyone, obviously, but it seems silly to even bother trying to play a modded 360 on XBL. Everyone I know that's tried had their accounts banned pretty quickly years ago, hence nobody even really tried anymore. In my experiences, anyway.

  • Different audience (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:51AM (#38165256)

    The real reason is that a game dumbed down for console players won't sell well on PC.

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:52AM (#38165268) Homepage Journal
    Um, no. This seems to be a common meme on slashdot, but it has very little to do with reality. While the increased number of possible graphics cards/hardware configs of PCs are a problem, the cost of supporting them is dwarfed by the license costs for consoles. Anyone can release a game on Windows/OS X and not pay Microsoft or Apple a dime, but you cannot release a game on a console without giving Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo a cut of your revenue. Long story short companies that don't release games for the PC aren't doing so because they simply don't think it will sell for whatever reasons. If companies thought they could sell as many copies of a game released only on the PC as they could console games you bet they would release more for the PC even if it requires spending a little bit more on doing QA.
  • by g00mbasv ( 2424710 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:56AM (#38165292)
    so Ubi calls the vast majorty of us pc gamers THIEVES and then they expect us (the non pirate ones) to support them? wow! now that's the most weird customer loyalty tactic I have ever seen. reverse psychology perhaps?
  • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheCarp ( 96830 ) < minus pi> on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:58AM (#38165310) Homepage

    Lol so true in so many ways. Though, lately, I get all my games via Steam because either my wife or I see a game package for sale and it goes something like this:
    "Baby they have the entire X Series for $15, I am getting it"
    "Oooh get it for me too"

    The last game I "pirated" was one that I had purchased a copy of, but used some silly DRM and.... lo and behold... the company went out of business. Luckily someone released a DRM-free full version for download (JFK Reloaded btw).

    I think thats part of it right there...I can afford games. So I buy them usually. Wasn't there a study a while back that found.... people who can afford to buy things do, and only people who can't really afford them pirate? Hmmm... so that 95%, who as you say probably only play for an hour (I think thats true of most players with most games...theres tons of games I played for a short time and never returned to)? Most of them probably couldn't afford to buy lots of games anyway....

    so thats 95% loss of.... um... what? The vast majority of them were never going to buy it in the first place.

  • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @10:58AM (#38165316)

    Just be honest and say that the console players will put up with worse games and more expensive games.

    It makes sense if you think about it. I mean, how many parents go out and buy console games for their kids without really knowing a damn thing about the game itself? I know when I was a kid back in the NES and SNES eras I used to get shitty games all the time; the givers meant well, and I was always gracious, but obviously all they had to go on for a gift for me was "He has a Super Nintendo, therefore, any game is a good gift."

    It stands to reason that a ton of parents do the same for their kids with the Xbox 360 today. Plus, most of the places I've been in that sell games have had either clueless employees or people that will tell you a piece of crap isn't a piece of crap just to get it out of their inventory.

  • (B)ubisoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yodleboy ( 982200 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:01AM (#38165336)
    See ya Ubi, won't be missing you. Your games are really nothing special anymore and your insistence on requiring your own DRM service ON TOP OF STEAM is just ridiculous. I won't log in twice and maintain separate accounts for you anymore. Likewise, I won't have to lose access to my games when not online (something that Steam is frequently accused of, but MOST games can be played offline on Steam after the initial download and activation).

    You look at a PC market where other companies are making millions in SALES and blame piracy for your woes. I haven't bought an Ubi game since the last Splinter Cell, I must be pirating your crap now right? Wrong, I'm just spending my money on games from other publishers. Take your ball and go home, I didn't even know you had a ball anymore.
  • by dskzero ( 960168 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:03AM (#38165350) Homepage
    ... conveniently forget your games are terrible.

    Ubisoft is a terrible company, most of their games are bugged mess with monstruous DRM that no one on their right minds would ever pay for them: do you really think you're losing money because people pirate your games? Do you even think these people would even buy them if they couldn't pirate them? Take the last HOMM game, for example: a terrible, dumbed down version of a once great series: frankly, the only way peple are going to play that is pirating them. How come Skyrim, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Crysis and other AAA titles on the PC still manage to sell? Because they are *good* games. Stop trying to make yourself look good: The Wii must be the most pirated platform of all time, yet it's by far the most succesfull one in terms of money. You're just being thick now.

  • by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:09AM (#38165390) Homepage

    Wasn't Ubi's absurd DRM supposed to fix this piracy thing? I guess it didn't work, and rather then admit that it drove all the paying customers away instead they want to say that somehow it failed and everybody pirated everything.

    News flash - Your DRM sucks. I still haven't bought Settlers 7 because of it, and I likely never will. Another game got that money instead.

    But I guess there's too many MBAs working there to figure out something so simple.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:11AM (#38165404)

    I am not an anti-DRM fundamentalist...

    In other words: "I'm fine getting screwed in the ass when the stuff I paid for no longer plays, just so I can appear reasonable to paranoid and greedy corporations."

    Have fun in 20 years in your DRM future, when everything is under lock and key. Hell, with android's face recognition, it won't be long before you're the only one who can read the article in the magazines/newspapers you subscribe to and if you hand it to someone else the screen will go blank.

  • by Tei ( 520358 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:15AM (#38165422) Journal []

    The thing is... pirates are not your customers, are a pool of people that may or may not buy your stuff, but your market is the people that buy games. This is obvious for a lot of people now, and for some of then, is a way to make a lot of money. Valve is swimming of money because understand this. Ubisoft is full of retards that can't understand this.

  • Re:AWWWWW (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdamJS ( 2466928 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:16AM (#38165436)

    The hype came from Oblivion being a good game, TES being a good series and some good and not-totally-lying marketing.

    The example is a great one. Bethesda delivered good game after good game and gave the series a reputation.
    Thus, that allowed greater initial sales. "That:" being "making a good bloody game."

    Of course, there's also the fact that they aren't complete assholes and actually encourage interaction and fostering growth with their PC userbase.

    Which Ubisoft does not do. They hate PC gamers, especially the ones that buy their games; unless they are grossly incompetent, they are actively spiting their paying customers because they know that a given DRM implementation will not do anything but fuck over legitimate consumers.

  • by daid303 ( 843777 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:28AM (#38165548)

    Maybe you could give people an incentive to actually buy a PC game? First step would be to stop releasing broken-ass console ports to the PC market, I bet that would help sales a lot. Also, get rid of any additional software to run, i.e., Steam and the other ridiculous spyware crap that is bundled with so many PC games today.

    Funny that you mention steam. Because me (and more people like me) see steam as "DRM done right", instead of locking down the game so it becomes unplayable, steam has added value. No more hassle with keys. Download it everywhere. Easy access to forums with problem solutions. Integrated friends/join game functions (making playing with friends easy). Lots of discounts, and many indie games.

    Now excuse my while I go kill mom in binding of isaac.

  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:35AM (#38165608)

    Because me (and more people like me) see steam as "DRM done right", instead of locking down the game so it becomes unplayable, steam has added value.

    That's all well and good; I know plenty of people that feel the same way about iTunes, but it should be up to the consumer to decide if they want to use that software. Many games are coming out nowadays requiring Steam, games that don't even have an online component at all require it.

    Besides, what happens when Steam goes offline? Millions upon millions of copies of games out there are going to turn into coasters or useless bits on a hard drive, and all because some far flung authentication server went offline. Certainly doesn't leave me with too many warm and fuzzy feelings...

  • Yeah right... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:39AM (#38165652)

    It's all the pirates fault, and has nothing to do with buggy games and utterly obnoxious DRM.

    I refuse to buy Ubisoft stuff because I refuse to jump through their nonsensical hoops. Meanwhile, I've spent more money on Steam than I have my entire life before. The prices are far more reasonable, they back up my game data, and if I switch platforms I don't have to re-buy the game again. The value I get out of steam is absolutely immense.

    Now say it with me:
    You give me value, I give you money.
    If you give me what only you perceive to be value, along with a ginormous stick to whack me over the head with, I give you my middle finger.

    See how this works?

  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:49AM (#38165778)

    It's ridiculous to consider anyone playing the same game in 10 or 20 years.

    Yeah, that explains the lack of emulators, roms, and disc images all over the internet, am I right??


  • by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:58AM (#38165876)

    Same here. I've been burned way too many times buying full-priced games at launch that ended up being buggy pieces of crap or just pieces of crap entirely. There are few developers out there that I trust to release consistently good games. I always test drive before I buy.

    The harder they make it for me to do so, the less inclined I am to buy their game.

  • Re:AWWWWW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:01PM (#38165886)

    They're just another greedy business. The only reason they bother making a good game is to bilk you out of your money.

    To be fair, actually working to earn that money by creating something of value to exchange for it isn't terribly greedy.

    Usually "greed" wants to short-circuit this process and get something for little or nothing, or use anti-competitive tactics, or vendor lock-in to escape competing on merit, or abuse the political system to get laws written in its favor.

    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.

  • Re:AWWWWW (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flimflammer ( 956759 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:16PM (#38166032)

    You're absolutely correct, which is why Bethesda is one of the few game companies that openly embraces modding to the extent that they do. Bethesda understands that modding is only a good thing that extends sales far beyond what's considered normal.

  • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:19PM (#38166064) Homepage
    "Own" the game? No, no, no, you own the media. At best, you have some sort of vague and revocable promise to not get sued for making copies of it in your hard drive and RAM.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @12:26PM (#38166148)

    Why do they need more than 2 years copyright, then?

  • Re:Pirates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bucky24 ( 1943328 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:55PM (#38167034)
    Just playing devil's advocate here:
    If they do release the game, and finish it (since from TFS it sounds like they just abandoned the project), they would have paid extra to get it finished, only to have it pirated. Sure, if they've already done the game, it's ridiculous not to release it for this reason, but if it's not finished yet I could see them saying "well it's only going to get pirated anyway, and we probably won't recoup what we've spent, might as well not spend any more"
  • by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:57PM (#38167050)

    For me, DRM is fine in theory if the only people you piss off are pirates. The minute you cause trouble for innocent consumers you're crossing the line.

    In practice, however, DRM stops more than just stealing and is used in an anti-competitive manner, and companies that use DRM have so far univerally proven they are willing to abuse it

  • Re:Pirates (Score:2, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus ( 757119 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @02:37PM (#38167484)

    VGchartz is not a respectable source for numbers so your argument is bullshit. Your numbers for skyrim are way off base as well.

  • by just_a_monkey ( 1004343 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @02:46PM (#38167626)
    This is nearly gibberish. You should learn the differences between "there", "their" and "where". You can't just pick which you use at random.
  • by kyrio ( 1091003 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:37PM (#38168238) Homepage
    So, what's the point you're trying to make now? That you are an idiot who uses a Mac and that's why your first instinct wasn't to remove Steam and reinstall it but to contact support?
  • by Cito ( 1725214 ) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:19PM (#38168582)

    that's why every game I legitimately buy, if it requires steam the first thing I do is log on or and download the cracked exe, I don't download the entire thing just the crack

    then I can play the game I bought how I want.

    I have never installed steam on any computer I own, yet I play 4 games that require steam, Skyrim is one, but I bought Skyrim and installed the crack so it doesn't require steam.

    easy peasy fuck steam.

    Hell the skyrim forums are full of page after page of steam bugs with overlay causing skyrim to crash to desktop... but zero crashes for me :)

    Always grab a no stream crack for your games, the games play better and less cpu/ram that steam is eating is more for the game :)

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray