Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Ubisoft CEO: "It's around a 93 to 95 per cent piracy rate"

Hahaa, that's a good one ... oh wait, you're serious.

I've heard a lot of dubious things from the gaming industry, like the fact that the Power Glove was a good accessory (fuck I'm old), but one of the latest ones really does have to take the cake. Last week in an interview with GamesIndustry International Ubisoft CEO and Chairman Yves Guillemont said, and I quote:

"[Free to play is] 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." 

Emphasis mine, oh you better fucking believe emphasis mine.

This would be the head of one of the larger gaming publishers and developers in the world saying that the games his company releases on PC have a piracy that approaches 100% saturation. If Guillemont's words are to be taken at face value then literally nine out of ten copies of a game that Ubisoft releases for PC are pirated versions of the game gotten through illegal channels.

If you haven't already, let that sink in for a moment. Let the utter ludicrousness of that statement course through your brain. I'll assume that you've been lucky enough not to suffer a seizure, so allow me to echo the statement that you yourself have probably just made:

That number cannot be real.

I cannot believe that anyone, much less the head of a company as large as Ubisoft, can make those statements in an interview and expect no one to challenge them. The reactions have ranged from mockery, to rage, to demands to provide the data behind such an insane statement to the public or at the very least an unbiased third party for review.

In the interview Guillemont cites that piracy rate as a reason why Ubisoft is getting behind free-to-play with buyable perks, to help generate more revenue. But I ask this: if the PC market is suffering as heavy a loss as you claim, then why bother in the first place? In light of anything sort of a drastic restructuring I cannot believe that if these numbers are true that you'd be able to salvage anything just by turning to the free-to-play model.

I would be a helpful reminder to point out that one of the massive reasons for the backlash of the PC community against Ubisoft has been the always on DRM that they've included in many PC games, this DRM requires constant access to the Internet and as I've mentioned in a previous article actually rendered games that people bought temporarily unplayable when Ubisoft went about updating some of its servers. Yet despite that 95% piracy rate, as little as four months ago Ubisoft was claiming that this DRM was rock solid.

Here's a thought, Ubisoft. Maybe if you stop treating players like shit, stopped forcing DRM down their throats on titles that see release on the PC later than the consoles anyway, maybe if you stopped doing all that and actually gave people some incentive to pick up your games for their magic compuboxes, maybe, just maybe, they actually would.

Heh, who am I kidding? Like they'd ever listen to something that reasonable. Later folks.

1 comment:

  1. Still totally clueless as to why he said though.

    The best part is if you take that number serious and apply it to Assassin's Creed: Revelation's numbers in November 2011. It crushes everything that came out that month. Makes Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim and Battlefield 3 look like nich titles.

    So if these numbers were true. I could totally understand why Ubisoft is so upset about it. Too bad there is no way those numbers are true.

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