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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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70. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:53 Ruffiana
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 10:46:
RailWizard wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 10:42:
Who's ass were those stats pulled out of? (edit:dammit beat me by 1 post! lol)

..and how does one pirate a F2P game?

Geez these guys are some whining babies. Blame everyone and everything but yourselves, that's right. Rolleyes

No one said anything about pirating f2p games...


I'd like to see one of these companies show how they get to these numbers. I'm guessing it's comparing trackers to sales, but even then it's probably more like 50% at the high end...

Number of copies sold / Number of copies downloaded illegally + sold. Not that difficutl to come up with the number. Keep in mind they're not saying these are 'lost sales', they're simply saying that of the people playing their game, only a small percentage has actually paid for it.

More to the point, this is the number they've determined for themselves to steer their business model. They've tried sans-DRM, they've tried draconian DRM, now they're shifting to free-to-play model because it's proven, is pretty much immune to piracy, and the percentage of people playing and paying is roughly the same as it is now...except there's more of an opportunity for a constant revenue stream.

I've been saying this for years, this is the way the entire game industry is headed. Like it or not, a real problem or not, piracy is the 300lb elephant in the room that's forced this shift. I stopped caring about piracy/used-game trade a few years back because it had become moot. Game companies had tested the waters for a free-to-play/micro-transaction model and found it to be more secure and more lucrative. They don't give two fucks that it fundamentally changes how games or made or the scope of what's put out as a "game"...it makes money, and that's the way it's going to be.

So blame whoever you want, won't change anything. The number of holdouts making traditional, AAA 'boxed' games with complete experiences for $59.99 will continue to dwindle away like the coin-op games of old.

This comment was edited on Aug 22, 2012, 12:58.
 
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69. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:51 Prez
 
Ruffiana wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:46:
necrosis wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 10:28:
Maybe people are driven to piracy to spit in your face because of draconian DRM? Not to mention PC versions of their games coming out MONTHS after consoles.

God the industry is still fucking clueless.

Because nobody pirated games before DRM.

Those of us who started paying close attention to torrent data around the time Ubisoft released its "uncrackable" DRM for Silent Hunter 5 and Assassin's Creed 2 noticed that Ubisoft's piracy numbers increased drastically following their releases as compared to games released before their always-online BS. While in and of itself it proves little because of many dissimilar variables (different games, different markets, varying quality, etc), it definitely makes the case that BS DRM actually does indeed drive people to pirate rather than prevent it.

Can't say anything about China or Russia (except that in Soviet Russia games pirates you!), but here in Brazil Steam is quite popular (thanks F2P TF2). I'd say that about 55%-60% PC gamer here has Steam installed and from these at least 50% usually buys games (mostly during Steam promotions). So this gives us a number of *at least* 25% of the PC gamers as legitimate customers. I know I am not a typical example, but I paid for all my games - most of then I bought thru Steam during several promotions, usually paying $10-$20 each.

Shut up you filthy Brazilian pirate you!!! Ubisoft wouldn't exaggerate just to hide the real reason they are a failure at being a game-making company!!!!
 
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68. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:50 frag.machine
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:02:
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.


Yeah, someone else mentioned that earlier, and you're right - as soon as you think China, Brazil and Russia it makes sense.


Can't say anything about China or Russia (except that in Soviet Russia games pirates you!), but here in Brazil Steam is quite popular (thanks F2P TF2). I'd say that about 55%-60% PC gamer here has Steam installed and from these at least 50% usually buys games (mostly during Steam promotions). So this gives us a number of *at least* 25% of the PC gamers as legitimate customers. I know I am not a typical example, but I paid for all my games - most of then I bought thru Steam during several promotions, usually paying $10-$20 each.
 
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67. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:50 Beamer
 
RailWizard wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:48:
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:38:
RailWizard wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:26:
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:23:
Verno wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:21:
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.

Western gamers are directly affected so of course we weigh in, I'm not sure why that is funny.

It's not funny that we weigh in, it's funny that we think we're the entire world.

And while I get that we're not, we've very specific in our gaming. Sony has found that out now that Microsoft is dominating the US - Western gamers like a certain type of game. Chinese gamers like a different game.
Anyone trying to cater to both will get burned very badly.

No what's funny is UBI expects the ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD to play by their rules. Gee I wonder where they got that idea from....

<cue music> http://www.youtube.com/embed/ce8CgJRkr_I (i know it's removed, it fits.)

Hey... buddy... do you think "Yves Guillemot" is an American executive?
Helpful hint: Ubisoft isn't an American company.
Other helpful hint: even in China people are expected to pay for what they use.

lol like his name has anything to do with anything. But you are right, they are Canadian, specifically, Eastern Canadian, which is basically USA Jr..

Jesus, dude, use Google if you don't know. They're French. Specifically European France, which is basically not at all the US...
 
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http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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66. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:49 Verno
 
Jerykk wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:38:
If Ubisoft wants more people to buy their PC games, they should do the following:

1) Remove Uplay.
2) Release ports at the same time as the console versions.
3) Make better ports.
4) Actually have marketing campaigns for PC exclusives.

Also, the F2P model would be appealing to publishers even if piracy was nonexistent. Lower costs, maximum profit (by cutting out retailers and other middle-men). It's not like F2P would magically disappear if piracy ceased to exist.

Yeah exactly. Other companies deal with piracy in emerging gaming markets, I'm not sure why Ubisoft thinks they are a special case. Making all of your games F2P might make your piracy stats look better in a trumped up graph but it also has the added benefit of alienating your existing customers. Adapting F2P to traditional franchises is not an easy thing and this is compounded by many existing primarily as singleplayer games. As Gabe says, I find piracy to be largely a pricing and service problem.
 
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65. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:48 RailWizard
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:38:
RailWizard wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:26:
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:23:
Verno wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:21:
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.

Western gamers are directly affected so of course we weigh in, I'm not sure why that is funny.

It's not funny that we weigh in, it's funny that we think we're the entire world.

And while I get that we're not, we've very specific in our gaming. Sony has found that out now that Microsoft is dominating the US - Western gamers like a certain type of game. Chinese gamers like a different game.
Anyone trying to cater to both will get burned very badly.

No what's funny is UBI expects the ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD to play by their rules. Gee I wonder where they got that idea from....

<cue music> http://www.youtube.com/embed/ce8CgJRkr_I (i know it's removed, it fits.)

Hey... buddy... do you think "Yves Guillemot" is an American executive?
Helpful hint: Ubisoft isn't an American company.
Other helpful hint: even in China people are expected to pay for what they use.

lol like his name has anything to do with anything. But you are right, they are Canadian, specifically, Eastern Canadian, which is basically USA Jr..
 
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64. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:46 Ruffiana
 
necrosis wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 10:28:
Maybe people are driven to piracy to spit in your face because of draconian DRM? Not to mention PC versions of their games coming out MONTHS after consoles.

God the industry is still fucking clueless.

Because nobody pirated games before DRM.
 
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63. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:43 RailWizard
 
PropheT wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:32:
The important part of all of this is that if the publishers think they're losing that amount of sales to piracy, then piracy is as big of a problem as they say it is. They're the ones sending the content out, they're the ones controlling if they even make the games to distribute on PC in the first place; if they don't feel they'll make a return on investment whether due to actual piracy or perceived piracy the end result for us is the same.

I've been working in IT for about 15 years now, and anyone who does knows that piracy is rampant among that crowd of people. 90%+ is not hard to believe, at least among IT workers (who are almost always gamers to some degree)...I'm the -only- gamer in any of the groups I've been with over the last ten years that buys all the games I play. It has always baffled me how obstinately opposed gaming forums always seem to be that piracy is a real problem for not just the guys making money off of the games but for PC gamers as a result.

It doesn't even matter if they're really losing sales for each pirated copy, as long as piracy is seen as the problem it is by the publishers we're getting the console scraps, MMO's, or free to play games because anything else is too much of a risk.

Yeah that's a nice theory, but until we see some real numbers on cost vs. profit(which we never will...), then that's all it is.
 
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62. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:43 Sleep
 
Yes, im pretty sure all western gaming makes up 5-7% of the worlds gamers. Maybe they should start selling their shitty drm loaded console ports in the eastern world to combat piracy...of course theyd have to match economies of scale and sell them 5-10 times cheaper than in the thieving western world. But then the thieving western world would get cheap games because of that dang internet thingy!! Whats a declining games company to do? Oh yes, blame the gamers for piracy.

Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:23:
Verno wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:21:
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.

Western gamers are directly affected so of course we weigh in, I'm not sure why that is funny.

It's not funny that we weigh in, it's funny that we think we're the entire world.

And while I get that we're not, we've very specific in our gaming. Sony has found that out now that Microsoft is dominating the US - Western gamers like a certain type of game. Chinese gamers like a different game.
Anyone trying to cater to both will get burned very badly.
 
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61. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:38 Beamer
 
RailWizard wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:26:
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:23:
Verno wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:21:
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.

Western gamers are directly affected so of course we weigh in, I'm not sure why that is funny.

It's not funny that we weigh in, it's funny that we think we're the entire world.

And while I get that we're not, we've very specific in our gaming. Sony has found that out now that Microsoft is dominating the US - Western gamers like a certain type of game. Chinese gamers like a different game.
Anyone trying to cater to both will get burned very badly.

No what's funny is UBI expects the ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD to play by their rules. Gee I wonder where they got that idea from....

<cue music> http://www.youtube.com/embed/ce8CgJRkr_I (i know it's removed, it fits.)

Hey... buddy... do you think "Yves Guillemot" is an American executive?
Helpful hint: Ubisoft isn't an American company.
Other helpful hint: even in China people are expected to pay for what they use.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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60. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:38 Jerykk
 
If Ubisoft wants more people to buy their PC games, they should do the following:

1) Remove Uplay.
2) Release ports at the same time as the console versions.
3) Make better ports.
4) Actually have marketing campaigns for PC exclusives.

Also, the F2P model would be appealing to publishers even if piracy was nonexistent. Lower costs, maximum profit (by cutting out retailers and other middle-men). It's not like F2P would magically disappear if piracy ceased to exist.
 
Avatar 20715
 
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59. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:32 PropheT
 
The important part of all of this is that if the publishers think they're losing that amount of sales to piracy, then piracy is as big of a problem as they say it is. They're the ones sending the content out, they're the ones controlling if they even make the games to distribute on PC in the first place; if they don't feel they'll make a return on investment whether due to actual piracy or perceived piracy the end result for us is the same.

I've been working in IT for about 15 years now, and anyone who does knows that piracy is rampant among that crowd of people. 90%+ is not hard to believe, at least among IT workers (who are almost always gamers to some degree)...I'm the -only- gamer in any of the groups I've been with over the last ten years that buys all the games I play. It has always baffled me how obstinately opposed gaming forums always seem to be that piracy is a real problem for not just the guys making money off of the games but for PC gamers as a result.

It doesn't even matter if they're really losing sales for each pirated copy, as long as piracy is seen as the problem it is by the publishers we're getting the console scraps, MMO's, or free to play games because anything else is too much of a risk.
 
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58. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:26 RailWizard
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:23:
Verno wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:21:
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.

Western gamers are directly affected so of course we weigh in, I'm not sure why that is funny.

It's not funny that we weigh in, it's funny that we think we're the entire world.

And while I get that we're not, we've very specific in our gaming. Sony has found that out now that Microsoft is dominating the US - Western gamers like a certain type of game. Chinese gamers like a different game.
Anyone trying to cater to both will get burned very badly.

No what's funny is UBI expects the ENTIRE FUCKING WORLD to play by their rules. Gee I wonder where they got that idea from....

<cue music> http://www.youtube.com/embed/ce8CgJRkr_I (i know it's removed, it fits.)
 
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57. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:26 MxxCon
 
MajorD wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:16:
Maybe it has already been asked/stated/posted (I quickly skimmed the posts - sorry), but does the 'speculated' 93 to 95% include the legit consumers that DID purchase their games, BUT disabled the POS DRM?
Obviously they consider it pirated. Do you really think it's in their interest to show accurate, real-world numbers?
 
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56. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:23 Beamer
 
Verno wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:21:
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.

Western gamers are directly affected so of course we weigh in, I'm not sure why that is funny.

It's not funny that we weigh in, it's funny that we think we're the entire world.

And while I get that we're not, we've very specific in our gaming. Sony has found that out now that Microsoft is dominating the US - Western gamers like a certain type of game. Chinese gamers like a different game.
Anyone trying to cater to both will get burned very badly.
 
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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55. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:21 HorrorScope
 
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.


Well I'm glad you found a laugh in it. But can you entertain us and list lets say just 5 ways it amuses you? Amuse us.
 
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54. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:21 RailWizard
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:18:
RailWizard wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:10:
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 10:46:

No one said anything about pirating f2p games...


Well it's kind of hard to tell...so much bullshit spewing out between every word and all...
Never, ever criticize any one else's comprehension. It's extremely clear he's saying f2p is a way to fight piracy by accepting it, not that it is piracy.

Furthermore, he mentions reaching countries where they couldn't previously get revenues, as no one purchased the products despite playing the products. Clearly not the Western world.




It's like some of you (RailWizard) just see a publisher saying something and your brains turn off. Honestly, if you take what Blue quoted, and read it, not a single bit of it fails to make sense.
1) They want to do more in the PC market
2) They feel F2P is the way to do this
3) There are many countries out there that play video games without paying for them
4) F2P will help solve this. The same amount of people will be playing for free, anyway
5) There's a longer tail on F2P, so products get supported longer and get content longer


None of this can be disputed much. What can be disputed is if this is the right plan of attack, or whether it's good for the people that do play. Honestly, my opinion is always "screw piracy," as most western pirates tend to be big buyers, anyway, and most non-western pirates can't afford to buy. Play with pricing, but going f2p means changing the entire way a game is played, which is bad.
Cater to those that buy, not those that don't.

lol....no comment.
 
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53. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:21 Verno
 
spacecadet wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:01:
As someone who works in the gaming industry I have to say his numbers look about right. Once you start considering countries like China and Brazil the piracy rates shoot through the roof. The entire comment is about those countries, but everyone here takes it as an attack on western gamers, that is funny in so many ways.

Western gamers are directly affected so of course we weigh in, I'm not sure why that is funny.
 
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: Alien Isolation, 7 Days to Die, Dragon Age Origins
Watching: The Canal, Brazil, The Town That Dreaded Sundown
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52. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:20 Cutter
 
Translation: 'When we implemented our shitty DRM sales dropped about 95% so that obviously means people were stealing it.'

No it couldn't have anything to do with the fact that you're selling console games to PC gamers and even ignoring the fucked up DRM PC gamers have to deal with shitty ports and antiquated graphics. And I love how these assholes don't call him on that and ask what actual proof he has to spout something like that off.

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.

Wow, this guy is a dinosaur, and a clueless one at that. How he ever got to be working in this industry, much less CEO of anything, is beyond me. If I were an Ubisoft stockholder I'd be dumping my shares untill this idiot is turfed.

 
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51. Re: Ubisoft: PC Piracy Rate 93-95% Aug 22, 2012, 12:18 Beamer
 
RailWizard wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 12:10:
Beamer wrote on Aug 22, 2012, 10:46:

No one said anything about pirating f2p games...


Well it's kind of hard to tell...so much bullshit spewing out between every word and all...
Never, ever criticize any one else's comprehension. It's extremely clear he's saying f2p is a way to fight piracy by accepting it, not that it is piracy.

Furthermore, he mentions reaching countries where they couldn't previously get revenues, as no one purchased the products despite playing the products. Clearly not the Western world.




It's like some of you (RailWizard) just see a publisher saying something and your brains turn off. Honestly, if you take what Blue quoted, and read it, not a single bit of it fails to make sense.
1) They want to do more in the PC market
2) They feel F2P is the way to do this
3) There are many countries out there that play video games without paying for them
4) F2P will help solve this. The same amount of people will be playing for free, anyway
5) There's a longer tail on F2P, so products get supported longer and get content longer


None of this can be disputed much. What can be disputed is if this is the right plan of attack, or whether it's good for the people that do play. Honestly, my opinion is always "screw piracy," as most western pirates tend to be big buyers, anyway, and most non-western pirates can't afford to buy. Play with pricing, but going f2p means changing the entire way a game is played, which is bad.
Cater to those that buy, not those that don't.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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