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Ubisoft: EndWar PC Impacted by Piracy

Videogaming247 quotes Ubisoft Shanghai creative director Michael de Plater on how piracy is a reason Tom Clancy's EndWar is appearing on consoles first, with plans for a PC edition remaining vague (story). He says this of a PC version of the voice-controlled RTS game: "To be honest, if PC wasn’t pirated to hell and back, there’d probably be a PC version coming out the same day as the other two," also saying: "You know, the level of piracy that you get with the PC just cannibalizes the others, because people just steal that version." He goes on to agree with dire predictions about the impact of piracy on PC gaming: "But at the moment, if you release the PC version, essentially what you’re doing is letting people have a free version that they rip off instead of a purchased version. Piracy’s basically killing PC."

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116. No subject Oct 15, 2008, 10:16 dryden555
 
its easier than you might think. College students have both the skills and curiosity to mod. Word spreads fast at colleges how to do it. So 360 hacks are commonplace in some gamer communities.
 
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115. No subject Oct 14, 2008, 19:52 Verno
 
The barrier of entry for console piracy prevents it from being widespread. The exceptions are pretty much the handhelds. It might seem "easy" for you or I to go grab a modchip and crack open an Xbox360 but to the average person it's unthinkable. Plus, you can get your online account banned in their periodic sweeps, sometimes even if you play pirated games without being connected to Live thanks to their little monitoring crap that reports when you connect on the last games played.

PS3 piracy is practically non-existent and putting a WiiKey or equivalent into a Wii requires something ridiculous like a 9 point soldering job.

Sure it's growing but that's really just exaggeration with percentages. Console piracy will never be as widespread as the PC just due to the inherent differences between a closed platform vs an open one.

This comment was edited on Oct 14, 2008, 19:52.
 
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114. No subject Oct 14, 2008, 19:41 dryden555
 
meanwhile, console piracy is growing and growing ....

 
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113. No subject Oct 12, 2008, 14:03 Verno
 
You don't get a loan from a bank to fund a game, the publisher does that. Banks won't give your small company a loan for 20mil to fund your game when you have no assets other than the IP of the game that isn't even complete yet. That's a big part of why publishers are so important to the gaming industry. In most cases a developer will have an operating line of credit to help fund development and it is paid off/replenished with advanced royalties or milestone payments. If you're a smalltime developer just starting out, you can surely make a business plan and get a loan but you won't be making any AAA titles with it.

Digital distribution doesn't change production expenses at all, just distribution expenses. In case you haven't noticed, most digital distro services are still just as expensive as purchasing a game at retail. Developers never paid distribution expenses anyways, the publisher did. Services like Steam have high royalty rates because while you don't have to ship a box, you do have to pay for bandwidth for the entire lifetime of the service along with support and all that.

Finally advertising on services like GameTrailers is fine and all but most successful advertising campaigns for large titles will have a TV component as well which is very very expensive.

What you're describing is fine for stuff like Bionic Commando Rearmed or Mount & Blade but not really applicable to larger titles.

However, we need to see companies like Ubisoft to stop seeing PCs as an afterthought and delaying releases because the game doesn't stand up as well on PCs.

The PC is an afterthought for a reason. We just don't have the customer base we used to. Consoles have really eaten into it over the past 10 years as they have gained more and more PC functionality like patching, internet connectivity, video/game delivery services, high definition capabilities and so on. PC gaming may not be dead but it's changing to be far from what most of us remember.

I'm totally fine with only having a few big titles a year on the PC as long as they have a ton of replay value. But I own consoles too so for me it just means I split my time up more. For someone who just owns a PC and doesn't want to play Blizzard games all year, it's a more shitty situation.


This comment was edited on Oct 12, 2008, 14:08.
 
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112. ... Oct 12, 2008, 13:29 theyarecomingforyou
 
Digital distribution means that developers don't have to worry about manufacturing costs and upfront fees. Loans can be obtained from banks where a suitable business plan has been put forward, paying for salaries / development costs / licensing of engines (though perhaps not your UE3s). Promotion can be handled through sites like GameTrailers and through viral marketing, as well as through digital distribution promotions like Steam Update news. The PC is still a perfectly viable platform going into the future, without even considering the continued growth in multi-platform games (the PC is seeing more previously console exclusive games than ever before, plenty of which have been excellent).

Also, consoles are continuing to evolve. They are handling much more complex games than the previous generation and I'm sure that will continue into the next generation. There still needs to be improvements to the input devices but the PS3 already supports keyboards and with the success of the Wii we may very well see improvements made in that department, both in hardware and software. Developers also seem to appreciate more that the PC needs to be handled differently to consoles and are making the necessary changes - this will likely continue. So I believe multi-platform games will get better going into the future.

However, we need to see companies like Ubisoft to stop seeing PCs as an afterthought and delaying releases because the game doesn't stand up as well on PCs. We also need to wait for Vista / Windows 7 to increase penetration for DX10, as that has split the PC userbase. We still have a way to go but there really is no need for this perpetual gloom about the future of PC gaming - I'm having a great time with games this year and there are plenty more to look forward to.
 
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111. No subject Oct 12, 2008, 12:17 Verno
 
Production costs of only 500k are what's more amusing there. Maybe Stardock can get away with that but the rest of the world can't if you guys want your shiny, complex games with ongoing content for 20 years after the product is done with and 300 patches.

 
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110. Re: ... Oct 12, 2008, 09:24 wallace321
 
If you consider $4.5 million in profit "breaking even", you're even stupider than I thought. So that leaves the following options: Either, you meant $2.2/unit profit, 22.8K units, or you're a complete and total idiot.

Just don't accuse him of pulling numbers out of his ass. He would NEVER do that : )

 
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109. Re: ... Oct 12, 2008, 01:33 Bhruic
 
So in retrospect, if you spend $500K on a $40 game, as a publisher, you're looking at around $25 per unit from retail. After marketing, production, DRM fees (which can be as high as .50c per unit in some cases) etc, you end up with about $22 per unit. Well, you'd need to sell about 228K units in order to just break even.

Hmm, let's try some basic math here...

228K = 228,000 units
$22/unit
228,000 x $22 = $5,016,000
production cost = $500K = $500,000
$5,016,000 - $500,000 = $4,516,000

If you consider $4.5 million in profit "breaking even", you're even stupider than I thought. So that leaves the following options: Either, you meant $2.2/unit profit, 22.8K units, or you're a complete and total idiot.

Well, $2.2/unit is right out, since you mentioned $25/unit as the starting point, and you wouldn't screw up the decimal place twice. 22.8K unit sales is so bloody low that even Hellgate surpassed that. So I guess that leaves us with option C.

 
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108. Re: No subject Oct 10, 2008, 22:43 Tumbler
 
could you ever really acknowledge that Far Cry 2 was a great game if it turns out to be an excellent PC shooter?

I don't see why not...? If it's a good game it's a good game, I'm not against FarCry 2. I want good games, but if it is a good game why hide it. Why not drop some gameplay footage and take us on a 10 min tour of the game or something. the stuff they've put out is not actual gameplay...so I'm naturally suspicious.

 
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107. Re: No subject Oct 10, 2008, 16:42 Prez
 
Coming From Ubisoft and being launched on the 360 and PS3 at the same time, I highly doubt this is anything other than a console port.

It is entirely possible Far Cry 2 will end being a dumbed-down disposable console-riffc waste. But the game was conceived as a PC game, and developed mainly for PC for a long time before the console versions were announced. (Of course you could argue it was all part of the sinister plan to dupe PC gamers into thinking it was an honest-to-goodness PC game).

But my main point, a question really, is this: With you being so obviously jaded about it, could you ever really acknowledge that Far Cry 2 was a great game if it turns out to be an excellent PC shooter? Or are you destined to pick it apart and analyze every tiny detail, documenting all the places where it looks like a console development mindset rather than a PC development mindset was utilized? Is this gamed doomed to failure in your mind?


This comment was edited on Oct 10, 2008, 16:44.
 
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106. Re: No subject Oct 10, 2008, 14:31 Tumbler
 
I'm starting to hate the PC gaming industry.

It might help to know that neither Ubisoft or EA is making PC games these days...so you might want to stop buying console games for your PC...

All those games you mentioned, while some may have roots on the PC, are 100% console games. It's a different experience and the company's are not interested in making PC games. They want to sell their games on the PC, but they don't make PC games.

So just point your anger at the console gaming industry. Companies like Valve and Relic are still making PC games, and blizzard, and those companies are coming out with some pretty amazing stuff.

It's just takes a long time. I think console gaming has gotten us used to having something new every week or 2 and it doesn't matter if it's good or not because we're on to the next new $60 game next week.

And just like a drug dealer the companies keep cutting their quality and content so that we get less and less of our fix but we keep paying the same price. And we keep rushing out to buy the newest POS they throw at us hoping it will be like it has been in the past.

Eventually you'll hit bottom and see the console industry for what it is, an empty wasteland without a soul, motivated only by profit. And maybe then your dollars will start going to companies that make the games you want.

 
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105. No subject Oct 10, 2008, 13:33 Verno
 
I dislike Ubisoft for raping my favorite franchises, not being happy with that result they decide to rape them yearly now. Vegas 2 was a huge letdown and still no SDK for Vegas 1, 2 or Assassin's Creed. They are literally the new EA. Not really sure why EA gets so much shit, they are actually launching new and original IP's while Ubisoft has turned to EA's old methods. I'm starting to hate the PC gaming industry.

 
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104. Re: ... Oct 10, 2008, 13:15 Prez
 
You know Ubisoft gets a lot of grief, and while some of it is of their own making, I think people forget that Ubisoft actually dropped Starforce from its games because of customer feedback. Their DRM still sucks, but hey, if they were willing to do it once...


This comment was edited on Oct 10, 2008, 16:36.
 
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103. Re: ... Oct 10, 2008, 09:44 Tumbler
 
I actually consider Far Cry 2 as being ported to consoles from PC, not vice versa. And C&C always has been a PC series.

Coming From Ubisoft and being launched on the 360 and PS3 at the same time, I highly doubt this is anything other than a console port.

I've been in the RA3 beta for a while now and I rarely play it. It's free to play the online portion for me, which is all I'm interested in playing anyway, but that game isn't fun for me, so to me that looks like another PC game not worth the asking price. But last I heard the series in general still sells well so I guess I'm just not their target customer.

 
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102. Re: ... Oct 10, 2008, 03:30 Jerykk
 
I actually consider Far Cry 2 as being ported to consoles from PC, not vice versa.

That may have been true early on, but I'm pretty sure consoles became the lead SKUs after they announced the game was going to be multiplatform. Firstly, ever since the announcement, all footage, previews, demonstrations, etc, have been of the console versions. Secondly, the console versions have to be submitted for certification at least a month before the desired release date. This means they inevitably receive the most attention.

As for C&C, yeah, it is a PC series so I'd have no issue with paying full price. That is, if it's good and if it doesn't come with retarded DRM.

 
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101. Re: ... Oct 10, 2008, 01:01 Prez
 
I actually consider Far Cry 2 as being ported to consoles from PC, not vice versa. And C&C always has been a PC series.  
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100. Re: ... Oct 10, 2008, 00:52 Jerykk
 
Really? I see the potential for great games in Far Cry 2, C&C RA3 and Tomb Raider. I expect GTA4 to be damn good as well. CoD and Splinter can surprise and be brilliant.

I think the issue is that PC versions are almost always an afterthought, slapped together in a month by a single programmer. If so little time and resources are put into a port, why should we pay so much for them? Right now, PC games are about $10-20 cheaper than the console versions but that's only because the Big Three take at least a $10 royalty on every console disc printed.

That's not to say I'm not looking forward to any of those games. However, I'd feel much better paying full price for them if they were designed as PC games, not afterthoughts.

 
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99. Re: ... Oct 9, 2008, 23:34 Tumbler
 
Left 4 Dead, Red Alert 3, Far Cry 2, GTA4 and the new COD looks decent from the videos.

It's hard to value new games but with GTA4 I think that is a perfect example of an overpriced product.

Dell is currently selling GTA4 for $40 new shipped for the PS3. I'm pretty sure you can get a used copy for less than that off ebay or craigslist... or from Gamestop?!

And the PC version is worth $50....why?

The games you mentioned are good enough to sell a some price, but the $50 price point they put on everything including console games that work on a PC are overpriced.

 
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98. ... Oct 9, 2008, 22:33 theyarecomingforyou
 
Yeah, there are plenty of great PC games coming up. Left 4 Dead, Red Alert 3, Far Cry 2, GTA4 and the new COD looks decent from the videos. PC gaming is alive and well, though there's always room for improvement. Honestly, I've spent plenty on games this past year and have been very happy with them. We've only got to look a bit further and we get Dawn Of War II, Starcraft II, Diablo III, HL2:Ep3 and I'm sure plenty of other dynamite games. I still see the better gaming experience being on PC and not console.  
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97. Re: ... Oct 9, 2008, 22:25 wallace321
 
Did anybody else notice that quote from the article that Dsmart posted was actually by someone from Ubisoft? Ubisoft, the biggest offender in causing PC gaming to become the "shove it out the door and patch it later" wreck that it became JUST BEFORE it was "pirated to hell and back". Between that, their crappy ports, and Starforce, Ubisoft has no room to talk about what's killing PC Gaming.

Before piracy almost killed PC Gaming, Ubisoft almost did. I really mean that.

This comment was edited on Oct 9, 2008, 22:25.
 
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