Posted by: adrianwerner | October 9, 2008

doom and gloom

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.

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Responses

  1. What I find funny is the fact they bite their own arses. Firstly they say that piracy is ruining everything (of course, only console sellouts state that, proper PC devs are quite satisfied with sale numbers) and bringing gaming to it’s end, but then they still publish games for this platform, being the PC, infected with piracy. So, they still can make a profit from it. Even with a non-marketed late release.

    Piracy is bad of course, but there is piracy on x360 also. Miraculously, nobody is mentioning that. And a lot of “pirates” out there just download disregarding quality, a lot of people out there want the whole world wide web stored locally on their hard drives. Just checkout the torrent sites, there are thousand of people downloading any game available. Those people wouldn’t buy games anyway.

    Anyway, I don’t care about Ubisoft, so their hypocrisy doesn’t touch me.

  2. What a noob. People would rather pirate a subpar game that actually waste 50 US dollars or more on it.

  3. Actually the latest games (farcry 2, fallout 3, fable 2) are already available for download in X360, but not in PC. So… the piracy is killing the PC, yeah, sure.

  4. The reason that their pc sales have tanked is because of games like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy. I just got into online gaming. Keep in mind that I have been a gamer since the atari days. My first console was an atari 7800. The problem with the console games these days is that alot of them are very short. Not to mention the fact that the console wars have made a mess of things. Ultimately the consoles (Playstation) in particular are cutting their own throats by charging like 500 dollars for a console when the old one was just fine. So, why would I pay anywhere form $300 to $600 for a new freakin console when I already have a computer. So I used my computer to start playing WOW with some friends that had been trying to get me to switch to online pc gaming. As a result, I now play a game that is fully interactive and never ends. I only pay a small monthly fee and that is it. Bottom line is that if the console companies want to get back into the game, then they will have to stop all of the fighting amongst themselves and start being competitive with games like WOW. If you find the game that you love and it dosen’t end, why would you buy something else?

  5. Rockstar does this with Gta, by next year we should see gta 4 finaly on the pc. I spent over $100 on gta san ann for the pc when it came out. I will not be making that mistake again. If a company is not going to support us pc gamers then why should we buy there old ported crap, when its console days are over. I agree there is the same if not more console piracy, you can find it anywere if you look. I was really hopeing not to talk about WOW but Slaytek started it….
    Wow is the perfect example of money for nothing.
    Me and the wife played wow for over 2 and a half years, we quit playing about 5 months ago. There is a shit load of couples that play the game side by side, blizzard knowing this don`t give no discounts on fees or expantions, hell they can`t even give you a free month when you by the expantion. You are right the game don`t end, well kinda… If you like pvping or spending months raiding in hopes of geting the 1 drop you need, just to drop it for junk as you level with the new exp then wow is for you. BTW even mmo`s have to worry about a form of piracy, accent and mangos for wow. Bottom line no matter what they do as long as the internet is around there will be people sharing any thing and everything. Thats right metallica your music to, live with it.


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