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Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Plans

Kotaku has an article analyzing comments from Ubisoft boss Yves Guillemot on addressing piracy. These mostly focus on piracy of DS games, but they also point out one comment that indicates they may be working on some new internal DRM for PC games: "Altogether on console, the piracy is low," says Guillemot. "On the PC the piracy is quite a lot. We are working on a tool that would allow us to decrease that on the PC starting next year and probably one game this year."

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129. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 4, 2009, 13:09 Verno
 
Sales are used for exactly that purpose in all markets though. It doesn't mean the price will sustain those sales figures for any appreciable amount of time. Google some info on Wal-Mart suppliers for some examples of companies that dropped prices by large amounts to satisfy Wal-Mart and see what happened to their profits afterwards. Short spikes are fine and expected, it's a great way to boost an under performing product but it does not mean your product should permanently stay at that price.

The gaming industry as it stands right now could not accommodate $20 games, period. It would take literally years of work and layoffs for it to ever reach that point. The vast majority of the industry is built for the $59.99 MSRP which includes budgeting for marketing, supply, development and so on.
 
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128. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 4, 2009, 12:34 Frode
 
Dropping the prices on all games to $20 solves nothing.
Maybe, maybe not. There have been documented cases recently where dropping the price by _a lot_ has increased sales by ridiculous amounts. Enough to compensate for the lower price many times over.

These were limited time sales, but still, it's food for thought. I can only speak for myself, but I know for certain that if all games were $20, I'd be spending a lot more on games than I am now. It's just extremely rare I see a game I feel is worth $50. But I see _tons_ I feel is worth $20.
 
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127. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 4, 2009, 09:07 Verno
 
You've offered shit all for most of the topic Endo, you don't get to say exactly as if you ever had a point when all you've accomplished is talking about contributing but never actually doing it. I'm a consumer and a pirate so you're wrong there PCW but I do agree that it's counter productive to market games to that segment of the gaming industry. I think that price plays an important part in the consumer mind but when I pirate things it's usually because I wanted to play it and there was no demo. If the game is average and I had fun I still usually won't buy it, the game has to be "good" or better. Is that wrong? Yeah for sure. Are there other people like me? For certain. I think the number of honest pirates is probably pretty small whereas the number of regular consumers is pretty large. So why would you make a game for the former? It's not fiscally responsible nor an intelligent way to do business.

As someone who has pirated games in the past, I can't really get mad at Ubisoft for trying to stop people from doing so either. As long as it doesn't interfere with the normal consumer then I don't see a big deal here. If it's some DRM type thing that screws with people who plopped down cash for the box then we've got a problem. Remains to be seen!

Dropping the prices on all games to $20 solves nothing. A better way to do it is how companies like Relic handle sales. They will let Steam do a sale when they feel player interest in the product is waning, this usually generates a small run of popularity and helps keep the product "fresh" without spending money on advertising. It also helps keep the multiplayer populated with both veterans and newer players.
 
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126. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 2, 2009, 02:41 Endo
 
I'd just like to mention that I both pirate and buy games so yes, pirates can be customers. I'm much more likely to buy a game if it meets any of the following conditions:

1) I know it exists.
2) Is good.
3) Has no DRM.
4) Costs $30 or less.

All of these things are determined by developers and publishers.
Exactly.
 
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125. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 1, 2009, 19:39 Jerykk
 
I'd just like to mention that I both pirate and buy games so yes, pirates can be customers. I'm much more likely to buy a game if it meets any of the following conditions:

1) I know it exists.
2) Is good.
3) Has no DRM.
4) Costs $30 or less.

All of these things are determined by developers and publishers.
 
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124. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 1, 2009, 16:23 The PC Warrior
 
I did figure out your formula. Criticize other posters while never providing content relevant to the topic. Seriously, all you've done is personally attack me and offer nothing of value. How can you sit there calling me a troll when all you've done is insult my intelligence, claim to have superior knowledge of the topic but refuse to share it and resort to pointless personal attacks? You are the troll in this topic, I don't know how you can claim otherwise. How many more times are you going to post "UR SO BAD I DONT NEED TO RESPOND!" before you realize what an idiot you look like?  
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123. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 1, 2009, 10:01 Endo
 
In other words, all you're actually good at is trolling, so that's all you do.

I did figure out your troll formula though.

1. Take a small bit of what someone posted, rip it out of context, and ignore the rest.

2. Take said selection and twist the words around, then claim the person said something he never said. (Possibly the exact opposite of what he actually said.)

3. Post "points" that "refute" what you claim the other person "said".

4. Insult them for not giving a "valid answer" to your "points".


So yes, nice job. You had me going there for a while. Congratulations, your troll was successful. Now I know what to watch for though, so it won't happen again. Live it up while you can.
 
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122. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 1, 2009, 09:30 The PC Warrior
 
You're like a french general who spends most of his time explaining how he will defeat his enemies then runs away before the battle. Did you ever have ANYTHING to say? Around here you participate in debates by you know...DEBATING instead of saying "I won because I said so!".  
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121. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 1, 2009, 01:58 Endo
 
In other words, you don't even care enough about what anyone else has to say to bother spending any time at all understanding them. You don't actually want to debate, you just want to say everyone else is wrong without bothering even reading what they actually wrote. I'm sorry, I had thought you actually wanted to create an interesting discussion. I won't make that same mistake again.  
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120. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 1, 2009, 00:38 The PC Warrior
 
I'm sorry, but you don't even understand the words being used in the discussion. There's no "valid answer" to give your points, because you have no valid points.

In other words, you have nothing to offer but insults and slights. Alright then. Post anything at all of substance before criticizing about their failings at the same.

It's not a matter of being smarter at all. It's simply a matter of taking a little time to educate yourself and make sure you understand what's being debated before you throw in your two bits. It's not that you don't have the capability to understand, it's that you don't want to.

You have yet again posted some vague hint at some broader mystery that is somehow beyond my perception yet you have failed to mention it at all in this topic. If you cannot be specific then please stop posting. Saying "I know more than you but I will not say it because I am superior in my knowledge" not only teaches nothing but hints that you have little to offer in the first place.

Sorry, but when the points you're trying to make don't apply to the debate, you're not really a part of that debate. There's no debate with you to win. There can only be a debate when both sides at least understand the concepts of what is being debated.

It is a debate about Ubisoft's anti-piracy plans for future products and what the possible impact might be on the market. I fail to see how this is hard for anyone to understand.

Unleash your supposed knowledge or put plainly, shut up.

 
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119. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Aug 1, 2009, 00:18 Endo
 
Sorry, that's not a valid answer to any of my or anyone else points.
I'm sorry, but you don't even understand the words being used in the discussion. There's no "valid answer" to give your points, because you have no valid points.
We'll just take your word that you're so much smarter than the rest of us and that we lowly Blues users could never comprehend your unique insight into the consumer gaming market.
It's not a matter of being smarter at all. It's simply a matter of taking a little time to educate yourself and make sure you understand what's being debated before you throw in your two bits. It's not that you don't have the capability to understand, it's that you don't want to.
Vague hints at some underlying fundamental no one else understands do not win debates.
Sorry, but when the points you're trying to make don't apply to the debate, you're not really a part of that debate. There's no debate with you to win. There can only be a debate when both sides at least understand the concepts of what is being debated.
 
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118. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 22:45 The PC Warrior
 
Sorry, that's not a valid answer to any of my or anyone else points. You talk about advanced concepts of economics that I don't grasp but have applied none to this thread. We'll just take your word that you're so much smarter than the rest of us and that we lowly Blues users could never comprehend your unique insight into the consumer gaming market. Vague hints at some underlying fundamental no one else understands do not win debates.
 
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117. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 19:28 Endo
 
In other words you have no real response to refute my points? Alright, fair enough.
Your "points" were refuted and irrelevant before you ever made them, but you didn't realize that as don't understand the first thing about the debate. It's like you're trying to argue about algebra when you don't understand something as simple as 2+2.

Again, once you have at least a basic understanding of how economics works, come back and maybe we can actually have an intelligent discussion. Until then, it's a waste of my time as you will understand none of the points I'm making.

I suggest you start by looking up a definition of "consumers", and then reading up on supply and demand.

This comment was edited on Jul 31, 2009, 19:31.
 
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116. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 19:07 The PC Warrior
 
Wow. Just wow. You're trying to argue in a debate about economics when you don't know the first thing about it.

In other words you have no real response to refute my points? Alright, fair enough.
 
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115. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 17:30 Endo
 
Since when are pirates consumers?
Wow. Just wow. You're trying to argue in a debate about economics when you don't know the first thing about it.

I was going to type up responses to the rest of your post, but then I got to that part and realized it was pointless. Come back when you know something about the topic of debate.
 
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114. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 15:15 The PC Warrior
 
Nope. Nothing about piracy there. Translated, I think the gist of what they're saying is that it failed due to poor marketing. No surprise there; lots of good products fail commercially for that reason.

Oh so now piracy has to be the sole reason a game failed? Which is it? You just said that all developers need to do is make good games and sell them cheap. Can you make up your mind? Are you saying Beyond Good and Evil wasn't pirated? So in your mind piracy didn't have an effect on BG&E so what exactly would be the point of marketing towards pirates in that case? You're contradicting yourself.

So it was a niche game that still managed to sell over a million copies. Yep, sure sounds like it's a horrible failure that barely sold due to piracy.

Yeah a million copies over ten years, did you really not bother to fully read your own sources? That's not exactly success. Again, what does piracy have to do with it? How would marketing to pirates have helped Deus Ex?

Apparently many current game publishers do. Did you miss the title of this story?

Did you miss how your argument and the title have nothing to do with eachother? Protecting your IP from casual piracy is not the same thing as marketing your games specifically towards pirates.

Do you have a link to a study showing that they don't? There's plenty of evidence demonstrating that all the DRM in the world doesn't get any significant number of pirates to purchase the software they would otherwise pirate. (Indeed, there's more evidence showing that DRM instead influences people who would otherwise purchase the software to pirate instead so they don't have to deal with the DRM.) There's also plenty of evidence to demonstrate that as the price of a product drops, more people buy it.

You made the claim, why should he have to prove your claim incorrect? Back it up or give it up.

Pirates are already consumers. They're just not buying what some of the software publishers want them to. And the next time you want to quote someone, I suggest you actually do so.

Since when are pirates consumers? Downloading a game for free is not a transaction between two business parties. You assume every pirate is a well minded person with an income to spare for gaming and is just misunderstood by the publishers. Your argument falls apart right there as that's simply not true.

No one is defending DRM. DRM sucks for customers and sometimes for pirates as well. However your solution seeks to serve the pirates instead of the customers and that's no solution at all. At least not a realistic one. You serve your customers first and foremost, as in the market of people you made the game for. Some of them may very well be pirates but you do not go out and tailor your games/prices around a volatile market of people already predisposed to not purchase your titles.

One of the best value propositions of all time - The Orange Box by Valve software. It sold wonderfully. Rarely will you ever encounter so much game for so little price. People still pirated it and it remains very popular on torrent trackers.
 
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113. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 14:52 Endo
 
No citation needed for his argument: Beyond Good & Evil and Deus Ex just to name a few.
Really? Let's take a look at those games. Let's see... here's something from Wikipedia...
Beyond Good & Evil, initially designed by Michel Ancel, the creator of the Rayman series, as the first of a trilogy, was a commercial failure due to its ill-timed release and lack of popularity.
Nope. Nothing about piracy there. Translated, I think the gist of what they're saying is that it failed due to poor marketing. No surprise there; lots of good products fail commercially for that reason.

Now, how about Deus Ex...
[Deus Ex] received almost worldwide critical and industry acclaim, including being named "Best PC Game of All Time" in a 2007 poll carried out by UK gaming magazine PC Zone. It was a frequent candidate for and winner of Game of the Year awards, drawing praise for its pioneering designs in player choice and multiple narrative paths. It has sold more than 1 million copies, as of April 23, 2009.
So it was a niche game that still managed to sell over a million copies. Yep, sure sounds like it's a horrible failure that barely sold due to piracy.
One thing is for certain though, you do not develop and publish a title with the intent of accessing the piracy side of the market.
Apparently many current game publishers do. Did you miss the title of this story?
People pirating your game does not mean those people would magically be consumers if it was $20 cheaper.
Of course not. It's entirely possible that the game is more overpriced than $20. I've seen plenty of games on the shelf that I wouldn't have purchased at any price, let alone $50. But then, I also wouldn't waste my bandwidth pirating them either. The same is true of most people who pirate. I'd guess a good 90%+. The key point here is that (for most who pirate) if someone considers a game worth pirating, there's also some price point above manufacturing & distribution cost that they'd be willing to pay to get the game legally.
Do you have a link to a study showing that cheaper games entice pirates to purchase them?
Do you have a link to a study showing that they don't? There's plenty of evidence demonstrating that all the DRM in the world doesn't get any significant number of pirates to purchase the software they would otherwise pirate. (Indeed, there's more evidence showing that DRM instead influences people who would otherwise purchase the software to pirate instead so they don't have to deal with the DRM.) There's also plenty of evidence to demonstrate that as the price of a product drops, more people buy it.

Do you have any form of empirical data to suggest that game quality and piracy are linked?
None of this is based on empirical data on either side of the discussion, because it can't be.
Endo claims pirates can be made into consumers by simply "making great games with cheap prices" to quote him. That's what people are disputing here.
Pirates are already consumers. They're just not buying what some of the software publishers want them to. And the next time you want to quote someone, I suggest you actually do so.

Now, as to what I'm actually claiming...

Reducing prices can produce a significant net gain in influencing people to purchase instead of pirate, while DRM cannot.
 
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112. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 13:25 Verno
 
I don't see how Piracy is a reason for a game to fail. It's simply an issue that hits everyone/all games. And I imagine it does so equally. Why would a thief be more inclined to steal game a, but not game b? Why wouldn't he just download both of them?

Do you like all genres of games and all types of games? No. What makes you think pirates are any different in that regard? Having access to free racing games doesn't mean I will play them if I don't like racing games.

Big budget games like Assassin's Creed (which I recall being a BIG piracy title) get pirated a lot and still succeed, then other games that get advertised a lot like Devil May Cry 4 get pirated a lot and don't sell.

There are many reasons why, it's too complicated to sum up in a single forum post to be honest. You can take a piece of what everyone here has said and it still wouldn't fully cover it. You're trying to reach for a reason in a broad manner and I get why but it's nothing something easily understood as it's going to differ from title to title. Everything from the time you release your game, it's competition, your marketing, state of copy protection and so on will determine whether a title is successful or not. More importantly that's not what this debate is about, you're sidetracking us.

Endo claims pirates can be made into consumers by simply "making great games with cheap prices" to quote him. That's what people are disputing here.
 
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111. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 12:57 Tumbler
 
There are a lot of reasons a game will fail. Piracy is simply one of them, not the only reason for sure but also not an insignificant one.

I don't see how Piracy is a reason for a game to fail. It's simply an issue that hits everyone/all games. And I imagine it does so equally. Why would a thief be more inclined to steal game a, but not game b? Why wouldn't he just download both of them?

Big budget games like Assassin's Creed (which I recall being a BIG piracy title) get pirated a lot and still succeed, then other games that get advertised a lot like Devil May Cry 4 get pirated a lot and don't sell.

Why? If the group of people who pirate your software are the same ones who buy it (which seems to be the assumption) then why does a game like assassins creed still sell when devil may cry 4 does not?
I'm assuming that Assassin's Creed was a financial success on the PC while Devil May cry 4 was a disappointment but I cannot find hard figures to put that into perspective.

Customers cannot equal pirates in this situation. Both games were available to pirate easily. One sold well, the other didn't. Both Pirated...I don't understand why companies want to push these 2 groups together, consumers and pirates, like they are one in the same. Your consumers aren't becoming pirates. They are just not buying your games due to increased competition. I still spend lots of money on video games, but not on PC stuff anymore. Especially now with all the DRM crap being thrown on top of an already expensive hobby.

This comment was edited on Jul 31, 2009, 13:07.
 
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110. Re: Ubisoft's Anti-Piracy Jul 31, 2009, 12:28 Verno
 
That's what your whole argument is based on. Let's see some solid examples we can all agree on then, ok?

No citation needed for his argument: Beyond Good & Evil and Deus Ex just to name a few. PC gaming and gaming in general is filled with examples of great quality titles that didn't sell very well vs mediocre ones. Your argument seems to consist of "make great games and price them cheaper" which is a fairly vague statement and shows you have a limited understanding of both the development and marketing processes. There are a lot of reasons a game will fail. Piracy is simply one of them, not the only reason for sure but also not an insignificant one.

One thing is for certain though, you do not develop and publish a title with the intent of accessing the piracy side of the market. You make a title for your customer base and go from there. Saying otherwise is just plain silly. People pirating your game does not mean those people would magically be consumers if it was $20 cheaper. Since we have not invented mind reading technology yet, I'd challenge you to prove otherwise. Do you have a link to a study showing that cheaper games entice pirates to purchase them? Do you have any form of empirical data to suggest that game quality and piracy are linked?
 
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