EndWar PC delayed because piracy would canibalize console sales.
Michael de Plater; Ubisoft Shanghai’s director and End War designer was interviewed by videogaming 247 and of course they’ve asked the question about state of PC gaming (interesting to note… why do they always ask console devs this question, I rarely see anyone asking PC developers about it).
We did of course get the usual “Piracy’s basically killing PC” preaching (never mind that actual data shows growth), but also this:
““You know, the level of piracy that you get with the PC just cannibalizes the others, because people just steal that version”
Now this is something new. Piracy turned into a scape goat for every sales failure (of course it is a big problem, but it’s not the sole reason for majority of sales flop), but now it seems we PCgamers will also get blamed for weak console sales. Never mind he can’t offer any backing to his statement, piracy can be blamed for everything these days it seems and if you try to protest you will be considered pirate and thief yourself.I would like to ask: how about console versions cannibalizing PC sales? When you release PC game with high hardware requirements, unpolished and often many months after console versions, how can you expect great sales?
This is likely what will happen to PC EndWar: it will appear on PC 6-12 months after console version and the port will probably be sub-par (it’s Ubisoft after all, their PC-centric games are great, but they aren’t exactly masters of bringing console games to PC). It won’t sell well because most people interested in it will own the console version and the rest of PC gamers will just see it as yet another port from consoles, one that’s vastly inferior graphically to World in Conflict, a game that by the time EndWar PC is out will already be two years old. It might end up a great game, but people won’t even try because of reasons above, especially since I doubt Ubi’s marketing for it will extend beyond the “now on PC” trailer released few days before the game hits the streets.
So EndWar PC will likely sell bad, but will anyone at Ubi ask why? Nah… they will just blame it on piracy as always.
Of course Ubisoft Shanghai is console-centric studio, I haven’t seen anyone from Blue Byte or Related Designs (Ubi’s PC centric teams) complain that PC gaming is dying (and why would they? Latest Settlers and Anno sold great) and somehow Far Cry 2 is launching on PC the same day as console versions. Still, one has to wonder if the slight delays for PC versions compared to console ones (like Brothers in Arms: HH or Mirror’s Edge) aren’t also caused by the same logic.