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Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95%

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot gives GamesIndustry International his outlook on free-to-play games as a way of combating PC piracy, explaining the difficulties presented by serving an audience they perceive to be 93-95% thieves:

"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's a way to get closer to your customers, to make sure you have a revenue. 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."

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141. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 23, 2012, 14:58 saluk
jdreyer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 20:19:
Alamar wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 19:33:
Overon wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 17:18:
I want to see the basis of the 93-95% piracy rate. What is his source? I want to see a robust and scientifically rigorous and methodologically sound study.

The 93-95% rate seems absurd on its face. How can a maximum of 7% pay for your stuff and you can remain in business?

I don't know if 93-95%, or even the other numbers we've heard over the years are close, but to answer your question...

Software isn't a physical thing... So stealing it doesn't affect it's sales (outside of the lesser desire to buy it at that point), as you're not taking the chance to buy it away from someone else (as opposed to the five finger discount in a store).


I don't think it's quite accurate to say that illegally copying software doesn't affect sales. Your point is that because there's no set amount of inventory, you're not reducing inventory when you pirate and taking away from sales in that way. Certainly a large number of people who pirate software would never buy in the first place. However, as Steam and Humble Indie Bundles show us, everyone has their price. If piracy was made magically impossible, certainly some people who currently pirate would pay for the software. So the sales are affected in that way.

There are people who would have bought it in magical no-piracy land, but I'd be willing to bet a very small fraction of the piracy numbers are in that category. When I had no money, yes I did pirate some games. When I had money, no I did not. When things are free, you can download many more items than you ever would be able to afford. You can even to afford to download some terrible console port someone comes out with. Forced to spend money, these people are only able to legally purchase those items they really value.

Would the sales numbers really be affected by that much? If the people who downloaded the latest Assassin's Creed knockoff actually be forced to CHOOSE whether to buy Skyrim, or Batman, or Assassin's Creed? Somebody would have made a bit more money, but it probably would have been Bethesda and not Ubisoft.

Not to mention the large portion of pirates who in magical no-piracy land would simply not be gamers, because they wouldn't be able to afford it.

Sales numbers affected? You bet. But WHOSE sales numbers and by how much? Who knows.
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