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Piracy Games

Ubisoft Claims PC Piracy Rate of 93-95% 464

silentbrad sends this quote from GamesIndustry: "Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has told GamesIndustry International that the percentage of paying players is the same for free to play as it is for PC boxed product: around five to seven per cent. ... 'On PC it's only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It's around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content.' ... 'We must be careful because the consoles are coming. People are saying that the traditional market is declining and that F2P is everything — I'm not saying that. We're waiting for the new consoles — I think that the new consoles will give a huge boost to the industry, just like they do every time that they come. This time, they took too long so the market is waiting.'"
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Ubisoft Claims PC Piracy Rate of 93-95%

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  • by matthiasvegh ( 1800634 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:52PM (#41083705)
    So remind us Ubisoft, why exactly did you create that horrible DRM?
    • by fredprado ( 2569351 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:55PM (#41083763)
      Because otherwise some people would want to buy their games. Oh, the horror!
    • Maybe they're just counting every download of a no-cd as a pirate. I mean, that makes at least as much sense as the figures he's spouting.
      • by Creepy ( 93888 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:15PM (#41084083) Journal

        I think he's putting spin on this - he doesn't say 93-95% is pirated, he says 5-7% pay for free-to-play compared to BOXED SET, as in retail. He doesn't mention how much business is digital download, and TFA is reading into it to say he means the rest is pirated (but that is all due to the spin he wanted to put on it). It would not surprise me AT ALL if only 5-7% of game sales is retail these days (probably more on console than PC, however).

        • by daenris ( 892027 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @05:03PM (#41086595)
          Actually, he is saying it's 93-95% pirated.
          this is a quote from TFA where it is quoted from Yves Guillemot

          On PC it's only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It's around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage.

        • Wow... Slashdot - Fox News for Nerds.
      • by gmueckl ( 950314 )

        I heard (through channels that I can't even reconstruct) roughly the same numbers from Ubisoft a couple of months ago. That same source said that the numbers were obtained by checking the game copies that conntected to the metaservers for online play. So if that's true, the numbers are valid, and probably even too low because pure offline play isn't included.

        The caveat: if they can detect pirated copies that way, why aren't they blocked?

    • Didn't you read the summary?

      The DRM scheme is working fine their piracy rates are by 5-7% from 100% piracy to 93-95%

      /end sarcasm.
    • by brit74 ( 831798 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:12PM (#41084013)

      So remind us Ubisoft, why exactly did you create that horrible DRM?

      My guess is because:
      - They hope that the next DRM will work
      - They hope that, even if the DRM gets broken, that they'll still have a period of time when it's not broken. Having a few months of sales with zero pirates (even if the DRM gets broken on the third month) is actually useful.

      • What if the DRM costs $$$ via increased customer support and returns (if possible)? Or just people avoiding buying their games? I know as a paying customer, I avoid companies that give me a hard time using their product, if possible and decent alternatives exist. Not so much games (I don't play) but utilities and the like.

      • Instead of charging $50 with DRM, charge $10 with no DRM. That would be a less expensive to produce and support. In addition, MANY more people would be willing to pay just $10. If even 50% were pirates, they make up the lost income from the lower price through additional sales, less support costs, and less development/licensing for DRM. And talk about customer satisfaction!!! They just don't get it through, do they?
    • by mkraft ( 200694 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:12PM (#41084017)

      It's likely the DRM is driving people to piracy, even those who purchased the game, since the DRM frequently makes the game unplayable.

      • by djdanlib ( 732853 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:24PM (#41084205) Homepage

        Yup, their DRM makes their games unplayable on my computer. Standard Windows PC with the only optical drive being a DVD burner. You know, one of the standard choices available on most PCs. Their customer support people got angry that I kept pressing the issue and told me to read the box more carefully next time I buy a game... Guess what, I will do that: I will skip anything that says Ubisoft on the box. It didn't say anything about not working if a burner was present.

      • Or even just driving the legitimate buyers away. They may not turn to piracy, but if 50% of your paying players leave (and go buy someone else's game instead), that drives up the proportion of your players who are pirates.
    • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ayertim]> on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:16PM (#41084095)

      So remind us Ubisoft, why exactly did you create that horrible DRM?

      The DRM is the only thing keeping piracy rate under 100% and away from the natural 1000%-1300%!

    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:05PM (#41084847) Homepage Journal
      Without DRM I'm sure he would be quoting piracy rates of 120-140%.
    • by zarthrag ( 650912 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:06PM (#41084869)

      As someone who bought up every game leading up to GRAW2, Pretty much every Prince of Persia, and most of the Splinter Cell games, but only the first AC game - that's a significant amount of cash. So this is an important point:

      Ubisoft, a couple of years ago....I QUIT YOU.

      I put up with the lack of patches for some games, and the Single-player games laden with always-on connections/drm/rootkits are where I draw the line. Just because you have some franchises, doesn't mean you no longer have to compete. There are plenty of new games every week that are vying for my money. I have NO problem finding entertainment that isn't trying to piss me off. (The way I see it, that 7% deserves to dwindle, the pirates clearly make a better product than you. How can you spit numbers like that, and have no clue) I've flipped you guys the bird, and it's still flyin'....C'est la vie, looks like I wasn't the only one.

      Sad, I *still* play my Ghost Recon games...but Future Soldier is off the table for my pc. Maybe I'll pick up a copy for the PS3.... ....Used.

  • Riiiight (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:52PM (#41083711)

    The catch is they were measuring the number of people who pirate Ubisoft games to get away from their shitty DRM. Somehow, I feel over 90% of people willing to do that is accurate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:53PM (#41083731)

    over a million copies of Ass Creed 2 on the pc? Are they straight faced saying that almost a hundred million people played Ass Creed 2 on pc?

    • Re:Didn't they sell (Score:5, Informative)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:40PM (#41084473) Homepage Journal

      Your math is off. It would be 20-30 million. Still unlikely, I admit.

      But the thing that's missing from the headline is that Guillemot is claiming 95-97% pirated copies for all games, not just Ubisoft's. And the only reason he even cares is that it helps justify him switching to a Free to Play model, where the percentages of users who pay is also about 5% and costs are much lower.

      So, even though his facts are very dubious, he's using them to justify moving away from DRM. So, who cares?

  • DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:55PM (#41083759) Journal

    So what's the point of all that DRM if 90% of your potential customers are breaking it? Wouldn't it be better to go DRM free so that people could actually play the game as shipped instead of downloading a crack and getting counted as a pirate?

    • Re:DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:59PM (#41083839)

      A better argument is you're wasting huge amounts of programming effort, support costs, and bad PR on something that fails far more often than 19 out of 20 times, so you'd have a higher profit margin if you didn't waste money on it. Sort of a "once you find yourself stuck in a hole, rule one is stop digging"

      • Re:DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

        by twocows ( 1216842 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:27PM (#41084243)
        DRM is usually in place to stop day 1 pirating. So here's my suggestion: go ahead and ship it with DRM. Then, once it's been cracked by the community, release a patch that removes it.

        Civ4 BTS no longer has DRM, though they did it sometime around the time Civ5 came out.
    • DRM is so old school my friend. Diablo 3 showed us that people will pay for a single-player game where only the art is on the client and the code runs on the server. Fast forward ten years: computing and bandwidth will be much cheaper and more powerful and the whole thing will be transparent to nearly everyone.

      Diablo 3 will be the model for making people buy games.

      • by g051051 ( 71145 ) *

        Well, best of luck with that for them. I know I'll never buy another Blizzard game that is built that way. I got Diablo III as part of my 1 year WoW subscription, so I didn't even bother looking into the DRM aspects, otherwise I'd have never purchased it (in spite of being a huge fan of the other Diablo titles). I haven't bothered playing it since I discovered it was online only.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:34PM (#41084355) Journal

        That's OK. We have three decades of gaming to choose from. If they stop making games today, I'll have plenty of games to play for the rest of my life.

        The only loser in the deal is the gaming industry. If they want my money, they have to make games on acceptable terms. Otherwise I don't need them at all.

  • by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:56PM (#41083785)

    If there's one thing I learned, it's that companies will do whatever the hell they want and as customers we can suck it up or do something about it. Unfortunately, like spam, they make enough money from people that they see no reason to change.

    I refuse to buy Ubisoft products anymore. Same with Blizzard and Sony. And when other people complain about how they got screwed as if it was some new revelation, I just sit back and enjoy the schadenfreude.

    • Hell yeah. Buy games from companies who care about their customers. The more money the nice companies make, the more incentive for the giants to mend their ways - otherwise they might one day become extinct as the nice companies will make so much money that they will out-compete the giants.

      • Alternatively, another wallet-vote is to buy Assassin's Creed I from DRM FREE!!! and supporting GOG is never a bad thing, plus it's a way to tell UBISOFT that you're willing to give them money when they stop being "random epithet".
  • [citation needed]

    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      It's not that hard to verify numbers. World of Goo and Demigod both reported piracy numbers in the upper 80% range, if I remember correctly. In Demigod's case, I believe they were verifying serial numbers - the game was checking in with the servers to verify their legitimate status before allowing people to play online.
  • by Silentknyght ( 1042778 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:59PM (#41083833)

    ...lest we forget aftermarket sales. It's a physical disc that can be sold & resold. These people are not pirates, but their purchases are not going directly to the game production company as attributable to that particular game, either.

    • "These people are not pirates,"

      I suspect Ubisoft would disagree.
    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      How do you know how they're calculating their piracy rate?
    • For greedy companies like ubisoft, piracy and second hand sales are both seen as unwanted competition.

    • by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:39PM (#41084437) Homepage

      People are playing the game without paying money to Ubisoft. Even worse, there are these "first-hand" owners who are profiting from Ubisoft's hard work and intellectual property. If that's not piracy, what is?

      Don't you know that every time someone plays the game and the publisher receives less than the full retail price, it's stealing? If you buy last year's $60 game new-in-box off the $10 bargain shelf, then 5/6ths of the game's cost is lost to piracy. It's plain old mathematics. Why is this so hard for you people to understand?

  • by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @01:59PM (#41083843)
    This isn't nearly as impressive as their shit game rate, which last I checked was holding steady at 100%.
    • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:32PM (#41084335) Journal

      Added to that is the fact that free to play is generally cheaper to produce and distribute, able to cannibalise existing assets and avoid the costs of getting boxes on shelves. Whilst this does make the creation of new games easier, Guillemot was keen to point out that it's not a magic recipe - games must still be tailored to fit the audience's needs.

      "We also take content which we've developed in the past, graphics etc, and we can make cheaper games and improve them over time. What's very important is that we change the content and make it a better fit to the customer as time goes on."

      Does this sound to anyone else, like he's advocating cookie cutter games that are bulked up with updates after their release?
      Sounds to me like they're aiming for a shit game rate of 105%

  • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:00PM (#41083855) Homepage

    So if we had 0% piracy, should their games cost $3.00?

    • by brit74 ( 831798 )
      If piracy went down, then game companies would have more money. This would allow them to do any of the following: reduce the price, pay their employees more, use bigger budgets to create more expensive games (which hopefully results in greater depth, quality, game-balancing, etc). Consider the depth of a $50 or $60 game in 2012 compared to the depth of a $50 or $60 game in 1985. Some of those old Atari 2600 games were created by a single person in less than a year! And, modern games are cheaper once you
    • If their games cost $3 we would have zero piracy, or at least near zero piracy. (Just like back in the days when Bill gates was charging hundreds of bucks for a poor version of Basic for the Altair and Tom Pittman released his "Tiny Basic" for $5. There were plenty of stories of him going to is mailbox and just receiving envelopes with $5 inside with simple notes that said things like "I stole a copy of Tiny Basic but it is too good and I wanted to pay you for it." )
  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:00PM (#41083859)

    The traditional lifespan between consoles is 5 years, going all the way back to the Atari 2600 days. This time, MS is now at 6 years old with no new console in sight, and Sony is at 5 years, also with no new console in sight. A lot of developers are getting nervous, and a lot of franchises are growing stale.

    • by arkane1234 ( 457605 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:07PM (#41083939) Journal

      It's not the console stopping them, it's not making good games.

    • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

      We're increasingly getting diminishing returns with new console generations; the difference in what you can do with a 7 year old XBox 360 and what you can do with a modern top-of-the-line gaming PC has not yet become compelling enough to justify new hardware.

      I also don't see why staleness has anything to do with the console generation. There's nothing new in terms of story or gameplay that a new console would enable...

      • We're increasingly getting diminishing returns with new console generations; the difference in what you can do with a 7 year old XBox 360 and what you can do with a modern top-of-the-line gaming PC has not yet become compelling enough to justify new hardware.

        get a 1080p monitor with multiple hdmi inputs. hook your modern gaming pc up to one input, and your ps3 or xbox up to the other. pull up a game released for both platforms. one of the call of duties, mass effect 3, whatever. go to the same scene on both platforms. flip back and forth. I guarantee you'll be amazed at how much better the pc version looks. it's easily a "generation" ahead. when you stop to consider that most of the time these games are programmed for console first, and then later retrofitted f

    • there's no new sony console in sight cause sony is -still- recouping costs for the rediculous development cost of the PS3.

      no idea what MS's excuse is.

      honestly, I'm not sure why either one of them doesn't just grab the cheapest phenom quad core, slap in a GTX650 and 8gb of ram, write "legitmately 5x faster than waht you've got now", and sell it for $250.

      i mean seriously, the existing consoles have a tri-core that nobody can program for, and the rough equivilent of an geforce 7800 (although with unified shade

  • by Eldragon ( 163969 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:03PM (#41083891)

    1 - ((Number of sales title actually got) / (Number of sales title the studio wanted to get)) = Piracy Rate.

  • by Foo2rama ( 755806 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:11PM (#41084001) Homepage Journal
    Lets do some math....

    The last ghost recon has sold 1.03 million units so far world wide. Which assuming the 95% piracy rate means 20.6 million units would have been sold or 14.7million units at the 93% piracy rate.

    The original Bioshock on xbox360 only moved 2.53 million units worldwide, and we can assume a very low piracy rate as it was on Xbox 360 only. That game was a huge hit, the Last Ghost Recon did well not amazing.... So you are saying that between 5-9 time more people played Ghost recon vs Bioshock? Yes the lat Ghost recon has cross platform but even if you take that into account...

    Anyone else see the math issue?

    Data pulled from here. []
  • I love MBA math. You can concoct any numbers you like to support your business case. I tried this in pre algebra, x*2=20; I answered x=pi. I failed. Why don't they?
    • Algebra rejects rounding, so the correct answer should actually be x=+- root 20. Making it a question so obvious it should not be in the paper.
  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:12PM (#41084021)
    So I'm pretty sure what Ubisoft is telling me is that if I buy one of their titles, I'll not only be paying for the game, but the price reflects that they believe I'm also paying for up to 19 other people who play it but don't buy it! No wonder the price is so high for just a piece of game software! I don't want to pay for up to 20 users of the software (myself included), and I don't like having to deal with DRM that those other 19 player apparently can avoid. Thanks for the info Ubisoft, it will affect my decision next time that I want to play a game.
  • by InvisiBill ( 706958 ) <slashdot&invisibill,net> on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:12PM (#41084025) Homepage

    "We want to develop the PC market quite a lot and F2P is really the way to do it," said the French CEO. "The advantage of F2P is that we can get revenue from countries where we couldn't previously - places where our products were played but not bought. Now with F2P we gain revenue, which helps brands last longer.

    It sounds like he's referring to the typical countries where counterfeit and pirated products of all types are sold on every corner (as opposed to the dirty thieves in the US who are just too cheap to pay for it). I'm sure there are many US pirates that they are now getting more revenue from as well, but it sounds like this is specifically targeting the locations where bootlegs are the norm over legitimate products.

  • by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:15PM (#41084075)
    So what you're really saying is that it is just like we've always been saying. Only people with money to pay for games will pay for games. I would have never guessed that the pre-teen and early adolescent crowd couldn't afford to buy your games at the store or make online micro-payments with their personal credit cards. I mean really I'd be quite happy to store my credit card on my kid's Xbox live account and give them carte blanche to buy whatever swag they like. You mean parents don't really do that?
  • by Windwraith ( 932426 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:17PM (#41084117)

    Because a simple game like Minecraft has several, millions of paying customers. And most of them came in when the game was at full price, as opposed to the cheaper prereleases.
    So... how come people are willing to pay for Minecraft and not for Ubisoft's games?

  • by Roogna ( 9643 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:19PM (#41084147)

    I'm willing to bet they're actually counting a whole lot of us in a percentage that high as pirates, who actually just aren't playing their games at all. Once they started down their horrible DRM path I just stopped playing their games in any fashion. After all, they're just games, not a one of them will kill me if I don't play it.

    • Ditto, I refuse to buy any game with always online DRM for the single player part of the game for the moment (I'm so glad that prevented me from buying D3 BTW). When BG&E2 comes out I'll have to revalue that position, but for now Ubisoft is losing sales in my case.

  • Contrast to Valve (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Raven ( 30575 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:40PM (#41084455) Homepage

    Valve has indicated, in their public statements on the issue, that piracy has has a negligible impact on their bottom line in any market they make their product available in. Notably, they indicated that when they made their products available on day 1 in the Russian market, Russian piracy dried up.

    Any bets on whether Ubisoft checks the IPs and ignores 'piracy' in areas they are not making the game available in? No takers? Didn't think so.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GoblinKing ( 6434 )

      Valve's ability to make available popular titles through Steam in many markets and their near non-existent DRM probably contributes to the decline in piracy of Valve titles. Sure you need to be logged into a Steam account to run them but some of those Steam games are actually free to play anyways.

      I bought CS:GO yesterday and will continue to buy my games from Steam. Assuming that Valve follows through on their promise to make Linux ports of their games and I'll even support their efforts by buying extra cop

  • by AdmV0rl0n ( 98366 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:43PM (#41084533) Homepage Journal

    Simple facts. Nasty company. Nasty DRM.
    I don't tend to pirate games now, because of two core reasons:
    1. Steam, and steam value - I feel in most cases I can buy games for a fair price, usually in the sales. The sales are probably at a level that I am willing to pay. Companies are *going to have to accept low price, high volume. Not the reverse.
    2. The virus and malware landscape simply means I am generally unwilling to allow unknown/untrusted exe or similar files on my systems. Thats fundamentally a deeper threat to me than evil gamesellers DRM, but both are a threat.

    But Ubisoft, frankly, you are a foul, nasty company. Your DRM antics mean you don't deserve to survive. Either learn the lessons or go die. Seriously.

  • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @02:53PM (#41084681)

    Or maybe Ubisoft just make games people don't want?

    According to some random web site [] Skyrim has sold 2.36 million copies on the PC. So by their 93% number 31.4 million pirates must have "stolen" it - three times the total sales on PS3 and xbox. Even for a purely single player game with a readily available warez copy hat doesn't pass the smell test.

  • by Torp ( 199297 ) on Wednesday August 22, 2012 @03:21PM (#41085045)

    Killed the Might and Magic series (especially the RPGs, but Heroes is just a shadow of its former self as well).
    Killed Beyond Good and Evil.
    Killed Settlers.
    (Personal opinion) Splinter Cell is just a Metal Gear solid clone, and Assassin's Creed is a medieval GTA.
    Used all forms of shitty DRM across the years. Everyone is complaining about UPlay, but I remember getting a free Splinter Cell disc with a video card and not installing it because of StarForce.
    The result?
    I don't even read news or reviews about Ubisoft games. How can I pirate them when I don't know what they have out?
    And of course the Assasin's Creed lovers will pirate the game because the piratebay version actually works.
    Note 1: I have 120ish purchased games on Steam.
    Note 2: I own a PS3, I have a stack of about 10 unopened PS3 games waiting for me to have time to play them, plus a stack of 30+ games that i've at least ran once.
    Note 3: I still wouldn't buy Ubisoft games for the PS3 for fear of what they might do to my console.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.