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Ubisoft Blames Piracy For Non-Release of PC Game

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the and-for-earthquakes dept.

Piracy 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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They can keep them (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Non politically correct comment (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165190)

DIE a SLOW and PAINFUL bleeding death ubisoft.

My interpretation... (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165192)

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)?

Re:My interpretation... (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:My interpretation... (5, Interesting)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165372)

"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."

and that's the reason I don't purchase Ubisoft games. Period.

Their DRM has more than once caused my computer to freak out and force me to reinstall everything over again. I did purchase one years ago and I traced it back to their DRM solution. I gave up and today won't purchase any of their games. If one is a gift I go back to the store and with an unopened product replace it with something else (or just get the refund or credit).

Too much of a pain and not worth my time troubleshooting their crap.

Re:My interpretation... (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:My interpretation... (5, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165474)

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.

Damn right. I read an article a year or so ago (that I can't seem to find now, unfortunately) about patents for ways to use face tracking to ensure you were actually watching the ads being served on your device; if you weren't giving it your full attention, the ad paused until you did. It's not bad enough we have to sit through ads anywhere and everywhere anymore, now we'l have no choice but to watch the things...

Re:My interpretation... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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)

Re:My interpretation... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165688)

You know, most people won't consider playing a game that's more than a year old. It's ridiculous to consider anyone playing the same game in 10 or 20 years. Only a small selection of games have been good enough to warrant that kind of long-term fanbase, and those types of games aren't made anymore -- they were designed for hardcore PC gamers. Counterstrike, UT2004, Tribes, OFP, and BG2 for example. It's rare to find non-simplified games these days.

Re:My interpretation... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165440)

If I wasn't AC and had mod points, I'd spend them on this post even though it's 5 Insightful already. It's bang-on.
 
I pirate myself, but I also purchase said game if I choose to keep it. I have no issue supporting those that created something I enjoy.

Re:My interpretation... (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165530)

I think Ubisoft's problems are numerous but the two that spring to mind are a) they don't produce many good games and people know it, and b) PC gamers are averse to DRM at the best of times and inflicting a DRM which needs internet access is plain stupid.

The stupid part is the PC represents money for old rope. They already have probably 95% of the code and 99% of the assets required to make a PC port from the 360 & PS3 versions so it doesn't make any sense to ignore the market. Port the game, throw it up on steam for a reasonable price and it will happily sell with negligible piracy.

Re:My interpretation... (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165590)

you said it. there declining pc sales is not the pirates. for one fps sales as a whole are down as a whole due to a flood of them. i wanted silent hunter 5 and assens creed as well but when they said they where going to have insane drm not just the standard steam drm i skipped both titles. drm only hurts people who buy the games and in this case there sales being everyone on the pc didn't want to deal with that.

Frog boiling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165718)

SecurRom 1.0 was less restrictive than SecurRom 2.0. And so on up to 7.0 which Ubisoft used, IIRC. Online activation and limited installs are bound together: you can't limit installs without having online activation.

What's to say Steam 2.0 won't have online activation.

Pirates (5, Insightful)

Tomato42 (2416694) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Pirates (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165310)

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"
"ok"

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 (4, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Pirates (1)

dskzero (960168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165366)

Heh, didn't think of it that way. Another nail!

Re:Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165400)

I think we can be sure that the number 95% is wrong. Their user base should then be 20 times larger than the amount of sold copies. If that was true, Splinter Cell would have a user base of 38,000,000 users and Assassins Creed 2 close to 200,000,000 users.

Re:Pirates (2)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165406)

I'm more interested how many of them actually own their games and downloaded the cracked version just to escape the horrid DRM...

Re:Pirates (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165420)

Or, how many of those 95% actually bought the game, but also downloaded the crack to keep the draconian DRM from hosing the computer? Actually, I am surprised that 5% didn't...

Re:Pirates (5, Informative)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165606)

It's all my fault, I was mocking too loud and mentioned in the wrong place that I re-filled /dev/zero and /dev/one entirely with the bits from pirated games, music and movies. Especially Ubisoft's games.

They took me seriously.

I am the 99%

An eventual negative return on investment (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165200)

At what point do investors realize that digital games and feature films are an excessive risk and stop funding developers and studios?

Piracy blames Ubisoft (5, Funny)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165202)

For delaying the cracks for better games.
How's a guy supposed to pirate and play the latest GoodPCGame_X if all of the crackers and scene releases are busy spending their time mocking Ubisoft with pre-release cracks?

Easily the most terrifying and effective of anti-piracy measures: Flooding the pros with entertaining shit to do.

Re:Piracy blames Ubisoft (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165434)

Easily the most terrifying and effective of anti-piracy measures: Flooding the pros with entertaining shit to do.

That was awesome!

AWWWWW (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:AWWWWW (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165364)

CoD is mainly a multiplayer game that requires authentication, you can pirate the single player experience but that's less than half of the game, and Skyrim is Skyrim, hyped for 3 years on top of the 3 years of Oblivion hype. Should Ubisoft either move into the multiplayer market, or put all their efforts into marketing its single most popular title like Bethesda? Not saying the rest of your post is wrong, but those examples aren't the best.

Re:AWWWWW (4, Insightful)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165436)

hyped
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.

Re:AWWWWW (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165702)

Ya you have to consider the fact that years and years after releasing Morrowind the modding community for it is still alive. Oblivion's modding community is also still alive, and the Skyrim modding community is waiting to blow up.

Hell I own an actual physical disk of Morrowind, but it came up the other day on Steam for like 10 bucks and I still bought it just because steam's install process is much easier and I don't generally like having to dig through my CD collection any time I want to play Morrowind.

Re:AWWWWW (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165378)

I agree. I couldn't figure Ubisoft out. They had some great games in the 90s. But seemed to putter along in the 2000s. But what you said is correct, they were trying to be EA.

Re:AWWWWW (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165428)

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.

Not piracy... laziness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165210)

The "piracy" aspect is pure BS. Ubisoft is just too cheap to want to deal with QA on anything but a console. Yes, there are a lot of CPU/graphics card/motherboard/GPU combinations, but instead of blaming it on "piracy", perhaps they just should have said they only want a nice, closed platform they can write code on, and tack on tons of DLC?

If Ubisoft leaves the PC market, I'm sure not shedding any tears. There will always be someone who will come in and make reasonably good games. Perhaps another ID.

Re:Not piracy... laziness (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165268)

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.

Re:Not piracy... laziness (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165346)

You're not actually wrong as such, but there's a bit more complexity here than your post acknowledges.

There are indeed licensing costs associated with the consoles. However, these are habitually passed directly on to the consumer. In the UK, for example, the console-manufacturer's slice on a newly released game tends to be £10. This is why a new PC game in the UK will retail for £30, while the same game, released for the consoles in the same week, will be on sale at £40.

The additional development/testing costs associated with the development of a PC version, however, tend to be borne by the developer directly.

Re:Not piracy... laziness (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165558)

Well in the US the price of the games are usually the same, but there is a difference that your post helped me to realize, the costs with licensing are based on how many copies you sell, however the extra costs associated with PCs are sunk by the time the game is released, whether it sells well or not.

Re:Not piracy... laziness (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165568)

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.

I think it's more that the companies know that they can't sell ridiculous reskins for $2 a pop to the PC market.

This is why the major developers love the console market. [cracked.com] Also why they're starting to move to the Facebook and mobile game markets. They want to cash in on the millions of people that say "Eh, $2 isn't that much." Next thing you know they've sunk $100 into new buildings for their farm.

Crazy idea, I know... (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Crazy idea, I know... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165462)

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.

"Ohhh... This games looks cool. Reviews are good. Wait a minute. It is Ubisoft. I better check to see if it is buggy crap like the last 20 games they released.... Yep. Ohhh... THIS game looks cool..."

Here's a even crazier idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165526)

Since it's physically impossible to own, sell, steal or buy a game itself (hence it is just saying "license"), and all you do is buy a box with a medium with the game on it, how about..., you know..., give up the delusion and start living in reality?
"But then our protection racket won't work anymore!" Oh noes!

Making software is a service. It always was and it always will be. You ask money for the production of the game, because it is work. You can not ask money for the result of that work itself, since it is not a physical object, but information, which is free, in a sense that it can not be controlled who passes it on to whom, without putting chips in each and everyone's head, and that it doesn't cost any work at all to make a copy for everyone to use.

All they do, is do work *once*, but demand to be paid *infinite* times, without doing any more work.
Which is fraud. Plain and simple.

Re:Crazy idea, I know... (5, Insightful)

daid303 (843777) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Crazy idea, I know... (4, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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...

Re:Crazy idea, I know... (2)

BeeRockxs (782462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165738)

When Steam goes offline, you start Steam in offline mode, and still play your games.

Re:Crazy idea, I know... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Maybe it looks like f***cking shit compared to BF3 (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165220)

Maybe it looks like f***cking shit compared to BF3...

And Ubisoft knows it.

Re:Maybe it looks like f***cking shit compared to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165374)

do you fanboys think that anyone cares to read these posts? nerd rage!!!!

Consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165226)

As we all know, there is absolutely no piracy present on any of the available consoles!

captcha: burglar

What do you expect? (3, Interesting)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165232)

The fact that many games (including this one) does not sell well among PC gamers is no secret. I don't like Ubisoft because they do lots of bad ports and put very aggressive DRM on some of their games, but right now I can't blame them for being realistic. This is no WoW, no StarCraft, no Minecraft, its one of those games that can sell tons on consoles but almost nothing on PCs. It's not like this is something new, the data is there, it's not an opinion. They know it isn't going to sell well in the PC platform and I don't think you can blame them for not throwing money at a risky move right away.

Re:What do you expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165284)

There's a difference between saying "hey, we did some math and figured that our profit margin probably won't be where we like it, so we'll put this port on ice, sowwy :(" and doing an Epic and throw a public tantrum blaming imaginary enemies (I say imaginary because yes piracy is a problem, but no, all those downloads do not translate into sales - likewise second hand sales of console games does not translate into sales either).

I for one think people/gamers would react better to the former than the taunting nature of the latter behaviour (then again, if they are trolling for media attention perhaps they should hire someone from the piratebay to do their PR, they did wonderfull things with letters from lawyers).

Re:What do you expect? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165332)

I don't think you can blame them for not throwing money at a risky move right away

No, but you can blame them for throwing a temper tantrum about piracy when their games have the most obnoxious user experience ever.

Ubisoft, you stopped making PC games almost a decade ago. The only releases I've seen from you were either half-hearted console ports or poorly implemented sequels to great games because you bought the original studio thinking their quality would rub off on you. I'm glad that you finally realize that you have no reason to be in this business.

Good riddance.

Re:What do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165356)

I don't think anybody would blame them for doing that, but be honest about it, don't tell lies about piracy being the reason for not releasing, be honest and say the business case simply isn't there. There's no shame in that, and it would lose you anywhere near as many customers as spouting lies.

Re:What do you expect? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165488)

There's no shame in that, and it would lose you anywhere near as many customers as spouting lies.

They have thinking customers left to lose?

Re:What do you expect? (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165630)

Maybe I was the last one. I cancelled my AC:R CE preorder yesterday. Tired of these guys spitting in my face while accepting my premium day-0 dollars. No more.

Re:What do you expect? (2)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165450)

Except this is a systemic, spiteful response that has been growing for quite some time.
Ubisoft has been hurting their PC consumers' experience in the name of "stopping piracy" for a while now.

Which is a horrible way to do business. It's like a grocery store frisking every single person that comes in because somebody once stole something off of their external delivery trucks.

Re:What do you expect? (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165460)

Also, their statements are based entirely off of B&M sales, and not digital sales.
So if they want to say "the market isn't there", they should say "the walmart and gamestop market isn't there" and stop being disingenuous.

Newest DRM scheme! (2)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165254)

"They've broken everything else, so we've moved to the scorched earth policy. Let's see them pirate a game that doesn't exist!"

Re:Newest DRM scheme! (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165338)

"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play."

"How about a nice game of chess?"

Re:Newest DRM scheme! (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165498)

Next they shut down. That will stop those damn pirates!

Different audience (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165256)

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

Re:Different audience (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165472)

Or laden with such DRM, that if you want to enjoy the game in your remote lodge you are screwed...

Is there any data to back up whining about piracy? (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165262)

I mean, does anyone ever gain increased profit from the complaining? Then why do it? It just encourages me to never even try any of their games.

Valve Software (4, Informative)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165272)

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

http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/10/25/gabe-newell-on-piracy-and-steams-success-in-russia/ [pcgamer.com]

Re:Valve Software (2)

cheesewire (876598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165514)

Yup, it's only yesterday I was reading this piece about an interview with Gabe Newell [gamingbolt.com] ..."Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company"...

Not a big deal. (1)

Surjikal (1985524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165286)

Less competition on the PC means more PC games by other publishers and indie game developers.

Re:Not a big deal. (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165510)

Yep. If the Humble Indie Bundle can make a million and Ubisoft can not, that says something about them!

quite a paradoxical approach. (5, Insightful)

g00mbasv (2424710) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:quite a paradoxical approach. (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165424)

It is cool Epic games tried the same thing when their golden boy gears of war failed horribly on the PC.

Re:quite a paradoxical approach. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165466)

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?

Pirates are in this year!

Re:quite a paradoxical approach. (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165640)

Who said Ubisoft expects you to support them?

Good job Ubisoft.. (1)

smnanthny (2468828) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165296)

Wow Ubisoft have had a brilliant idea... Seeing as they've lost a small part of their audience to game piracy, lets just remove it from that platform completely and punish the people who actually pay for their games. I guess they could have just designed a system to try and stop people for pirating their game but that makes wayyy too much sense and would actually involve some thinking. Good job alienating the PC market!

Needs a comparison (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165314)

What I'd like to see, and something that games companies never seem to provide, is how the sales on each platform stack up against one another.

People say that PC games sell well on Steam (such as Skyrim), but I'd love to see the total sales to date, and how those sales stack up on the PC, the Xbox and the PS3.

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

Note - I used to game on PC about 10 years ago, but bought into a PS1 to play FF7. I now game exclusively on consoles, since... well, I just find the breadth of games on offer is higher (I imagine that comment will get some people's hackles up, but you simply don't get games like God of War 3, Uncharted, Vanquish or Dark Souls on Windows...)

Re:Needs a comparison (3, Informative)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#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. [cracked.com]

Re:Needs a comparison (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165520)

"How it stacks up" doesn't matter.
If a game makes $10 million on its first initial PC release, then the sequel makes $50 million on consoles and $10 million on PC with a similar budget, then they have no excuse to bog down/abandon Sequel 2. Yes, it's not *as* profitable as the console games, but it's still as profitable as it was in the first place, if not more.

Instead, they cut off a foot to spite their backpack. It's just nonsensical.

So, nothing to do with activation woes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165318)

So, nothing to do with activation woes. Or the dropping of titles to push only a few high-profit retreads (cf "CoD MW3").

Gotta be pirates.

Really.

I thought DRM solved piracy? Isn't that what they say when users, stymied in their attempts to play the game they bought, complain about the DRM?

Is that so? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165326)

I guess BF3 should have sold 100 million copies and MW should have sold 200 million copies? Oh, those are multiplayer games you say? Skyrim should have sold 68 million copies then?
( Note: these are launch day sales )

How about you make a great game, price is appropriately and it will sell itself.

Besides, looking at myself, I've stopped pirating when I grew older and started earning some real money. I still won't buy Skyrim for €50, but I've grown so old I don't care anymore that I don't get to play the latest and greatest. I'll buy it once it reaches the price I want to pay for it. You are complaining that your cash strapped audience isn't spending it's money on you, fine, having them spend it in smaller amounts might work it might not. It still doesn't disqualify the old (and my preferred) way of selling a game.

Oh your poor little thing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165334)

Ubisoft just LOVES making these remarks about how piracy is destroying the gaming market. And the billion that CoD has made in ONE week? They are disgusting pigs who love money above everything.

(B)ubisoft (5, Insightful)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Blame it on the players... (3, Insightful)

dskzero (960168) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165350)

... 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.

Expert Excrement Expeditors (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165368)

Yes, yes, Its the piracy. Its got nothing at all to do with you pumping out more shovelware than Ames used to way back when...

Console Piracy (1)

zandeez (1917156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165370)

They do know it's easier to pirate console games than it is PC games? All current-gen consoles now have some form of custom firmware that allows you to run pirated games. And its easier to do than pirating PC games.

Consoles can be hacked as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165386)

Funny because you can easily download games for the Wii, Playstation and Xbox. Its just as easy if not easier on the consoles! Its probably easier to make the games for the consoles and is why they are doing it.

I guess that means their DRM failed (3, Insightful)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165390)

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.

Game piracy software is not a issue (3, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165422)

http://gamingbolt.com/gabe-newell-piracy-is-a-non-issue-to-valve-providing-better-services-will-result-in-more-sales [gamingbolt.com]

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.

Yes, I will "bitch" about it, a little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165452)

"PC gamers shouldn’t “bitch” about it, ‘I Am Alive’ creative director Stanislas Mettra said in a recent interview. In his commentary Mettra insinuates that many of the people who are asking for a PC release are in fact going to end up pirating the game."

That's fine. The only games I have on my PC are either freely-released ones or ones that I have legitimately purchased, and I don't own a console. A couple of the games I've purchased are Ubisoft titles. I guess they don't want my business anymore. A shame, really, but I guess I'm a market that isn't worth their trouble anymore.

Incidentally, I regularly buy a game and then download a cracked version so that I don't have to deal with DRM nonsense, so I hope they aren't taking the 'piracy' stats at face value. I have learned to tolerate Steam's DRM, but A) I don't like it, B) it isn't draconian (it doesn't cut off play if you're already validated once or playing off-line), and C) it does offer some benefits (e.g., keeping track of friends playing the same game, and making it more difficult for people to use hacks to get an advantage in the game). Ubisoft's DRM systems are ridiculous *and* ineffective. It makes me wonder why they are wasting money on the DRM instead of figuring out other ways to encourage people to do the right thing and pay for the game.

Ubisoft, ubisoft (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165454)

They're like, to borrow a similie, the suicide jumper standing at the top of a tall building, threatening to jump while shouting incoherently. Except they never fucking jump! They just hang around the edge, trying to get attention from passers by. By lamely taunting them. "You sir, you're a THIEF and I'm going to JUMP! That's right.. walk away.. theif! I'm JUMPING?! YOU HEAR ME?"

Look, if you don't want to develop actual PC games that PC gamers like, then we're all OK with you bowing out. One day your "innovative" DRM has cured the piracy problem and you're very happy, the next day 95% of your customers are thieves and to blame for games not being released. Okay... but either way, if you don't like it WHY DON'T YOU FUCKING STOP? Just fucking leap already you schizophrenic pieces of shit! That way you don't have to complain about piracy any more, in your non-piracy console nirvana where all the money is.

I'm sure if it's like you say, that there are no money in the PC market, then your stock should rise once you declare your intention to stop developing PC titles. Right? SO WHY DON'T YOU?

You've taken your dump. Now take your spades and pot and get out of the fucking sandbox.

Next time someone bring up "the self-entitled whiny PC-gamers", think about these guys. Right, us players are the whiners?

95% seems high... (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165456)

If 95% of their customers are pirating the game, something is very, very wrong with their marketing. Pirating games isn't as easy as that for a regular user. The question I have then is: is there anyone playing games on PC that isn't an advanced user? It's true that most PCs come with Intel Graphics, which won't play these games. Someone that can install a graphics card can probably pirate a game. But that said there are plenty of gaming rigs for under $400 (which isn't much more than a game console these days). Plus there's tonnes of WOW players that paid for graphics upgrades, and have dropped the WOW habit. These guys aren't going to be pirating anything. I guess you could say it's a tough market because they don't want to play games right now, but really it's the job of sales and marketing to make them want to :).

Re:95% seems high... (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165494)

Piracy is actually easier than normally playing most Ubisoft games.

I'm not even kidding. Their installers are buggy, their ports are quite shoddy and their DRM implementations are outright broken and subject to frequent failure. On top of that, their support and their forums are counter-productive and often silence large swaths of consumers that complain when NewGameX isn't working at all. It's easier to torrent a game, install it with 2 clicks, then just *play*.

Ubisoft is one of the few companies that you can safely say that there are a large amount of pirates specifically because they spite PC gamers.

Dont care - cry me a river (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165464)

The very fact it is a ubisoft game means it's going to be geared towards a console and hence unplayable and shit on a pc. I dont even bother wasting the time using my band width downloading it.

of OUR customers? (1)

kennethmci (1472923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165476)

i dont understand the quote "95% of OUR customers"? are these people who have previously purchased their games and are now downloading them? I think its safe to say that not everyone who illegally downloads a game would have actually went out and purchased it. the fact that someone is getting it easily and for free can be reason enough for them to download it. so if they're saying that the number of people downloading illegally makes up 95% of their active installs of a game, this doesn't necessarily make all these installs lost customers to piracy...

High expections meet reality (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165478)

I bet if someone could go buy the game for $5 it wouldn't be worth the trouble to wait for a big ass download. They would just go buy it. Making millions of dollars on top of millions of dollars on top of millions of dollars on every game isn't possible. Buying a game for $60+, jumping through DRM hoops to get it installed, having to drag out DVD's to play it, and the game turning out to suck isn't sufficient incentive to buy games. Even if the game was the be all to end all it isn't worth it to kids who have less money than parents who are damn near broke these days too. Rumor has it cheap phone games are selling hot and heavy. Get a clue. People buy pirated goods because the originals are too expensive. Nobody is going to pirate something if they loose money. Nobody is going to by a knockoff if the original is affordable. Quit trying to be a billionaire off the backs of people with $2 in the bank.

Now get off my lawn you DRM loving MAFIAA cock suckers!

DRM (1)

piripiri (1476949) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165480)

DRM that will pollute your experience

At least they admit DRM is shitty.

I'd just like to say this (1)

Runefox (905204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165504)

I am the 5%.

Not to Ubisoft, though. I don't know the last time I bought an Ubisoft title. Quite frankly, none of their games are all that interesting, and I'm not taking my chances with their DRM, either. I've got all of this generation's consoles, but really, if you're going to fuck with one platform, you kind of fucked with me regardless. Real smooth, Ubisoft.

Anyway, I kind of knew that Ubisoft's DRM scheme was all for the purpose of pushing to console-only development. I guess they'll save money by removing a platform from their development cycles (the way consoles are now, optimizing for them to get what we have now graphically isn't an easy task) and they won't have to worry about piracy anymore - Except they probably aren't actually losing an appreciable number of sales to piracy to begin with anyway.

Re:I'd just like to say this (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165580)

It's a strategy that's caught on with a few developers. Management wants to stick to console games and abandon PC altogether, but they need to justify it to management. So they release a shitty version or shitty ports or bog it down with shitty DRM and then do some pompous release-study that they can use to say "See? PC is a dying and unprofitable platform!"

Re:I'd just like to say this (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165722)

*Justify it to the Publishers' management and executives.
Argh.

To many bad console games ported to PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165518)

There's just too many sub-par games selling at $50+ on the PC-platform and too many console ports as well. I own MW1 (good game, the SP portion) and MW2 (sub-par game) for the PC and while I feel MW1 was worth the money, MW2 was absolutely not. For $50 I expect to get a polished game under development for years (examples would be HL2 and SC2). Not some quick hack with console UI remnants.

I already know which games I will purchase in 2012: CS:GO, Dota2, Diablo 3, SC2:HotS and Mass Effect 3 (despite the console UI, I'll make an exception here).

But basically; any developer that doesn't bother with removing "press any key to continue" in the PC version intro screen will NOT be getting my money. And unless it's a Valve or Blizzard game I will not spend money on anything if there isn't a demo for me to try first. Let me try before I buy and i _MIGHT_ buy the game.

I might pick up Skyrim once it drops to $10. By then there ought to be a few patches and mods to remove the console UI. Same with Rage. BF3 beta was crap, just more CoD style game play with perks and levels (which does not belong in an FPS at all!) so I'll never pick up that either.

Surrender Profits To Spite Pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165592)

In the article, the creative director blaming the lack of a PC release on piracy estimates they might need twelve guys working three months to create a PC port, but that this wouldn't be worth it if they only sold, e.g., 50,000 PC copies due to piracy. Twelve guys working 3 months costs the same as 3 years of the average salary of those 12 guys. Let's say the average salary is $100,000 (I assume this is generous, since most of the work will be developers / QA types, which I've heard tend to get paid less in the game industry, on average, than other industries). That means by his own estimate, making a port would cost $300,000. If they sell 50,000 copies, piracy or no, then they only need to take in $6 per copy to recover this cost.

I don't know what their pricing would be - I assume it's not the usual $60 per game, since it's being sold on Xbox / PS3 - and I don't know if there are any other significant costs aside from the porting cost, but it seems to me that going forward with the PC port looks like a reasonable proposition. They seem to be indicating that selling 50,000 copies isn't too difficult to do, even in the face of piracy. If they make a PC port and end up with 1 billion people pirating, but generate 50,000 sales, that's about a 99.995% piracy rate, but if the prices make up for the costs, that's also additional profit they would not otherwise make.

So while I'll admit, I'm just guessing here, as I don't know if I'm overlooking any costs, it looks to me like the piracy excuse is flimsy. If that's their real reason for not pirating, and the numbers above play out (and those are based partially on the statements of their own employee), then they're turning down potential profit just to spite the pirates. Doesn't seem like a great decision, business-wise, to me. The only way piracy hurts them is if some non-negligible fraction of the pirates would have purchased the console version if the PC version wasn't available to pirate. That just doesn't seem to realistic to me.

Re:Surrender Profits To Spite Pirates (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165604)

While it may not be specified, a large part of their conclusions should (but probably aren't; they're lairs, after all) be based off of the asset worth of programmers/developers, who are worth more working on "new" projects.

That is to say, a shelf in a grocery store holding items with a $1 profit IS profitable, but it's "unprofitable" compared to if it was holding items with a $2 profit.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38165602)

...is the only reason why I'm not just hoping Ubisoft disappears off the face of the earth :(

Other reasons (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165624)

How about:
- stop doing remakes of Doom/Quake/Unreal. A first-person shooter is a first-person shooter. Yes you can change the maps, the guns, the enemies and the plot all you want but at the end of the day it's all the same game.
- stop adding too much complexity and stop porting games from consoles without thinking about the controls. Don't tell me to press "Yellow button X" or "Triangle" when I'm on a computer. I'm using a keyboard and a mouse here, not a damn Xbox gamepad. Also, no option to invert the Y axis is a deal killer. I've been using inverted Y axis for over 20 years now, asking me to use regular Y axis is like asking me to drive a car and turn left to go right.
- about 10% of the market is now using Macs. But those stupid numbers are from sales and people with a Mac don't upgrade as often, so the actual installed base is probably a lot higher. Game not available on Mac OS X = no sale.
- a lot of your past customers are now older, have a family, maybe kids. Less time to play games.
- Given the choice, people who play games such as WoW probably wouldn't play your games even if they were free because the time they have for gaming will all get used by WoW/etc.

Inverted Y Axis (1)

AdamJS (2466928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38165682)

Tell me, does this stem from you have played a lot of space sims/Joystick games?
Just curious.

Yeah right... (3, Insightful)

ilsaloving (1534307) | more than 2 years ago | (#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?

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