Ubisoft Says It's Delaying A PC Game Due To Piracy; But That Makes No Sense

from the a-little-logic,-please dept

Ubisoft, the video game company that has a history of doing exactly the wrong things in response to unauthorized sharing of its video games, is at it again. A bunch of readers have sent in some odd quotes from Ubisoft exec, Michael de Plater, who blames PC game file sharing for a delayed release of the new game EndWar on the PC platform:

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. 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.”

Now, Plater may believe that, but it’s hard to square up with reality. The video gaming experience on a console is quite different than on a PC. And you’d be hard pressed to find a serious console owner who would focus on playing a good game on their PC rather than on the console. You could potentially make the argument that if the game really sucked some might test it out on the PC and decide it’s not worth paying for — but unless he’s saying the game sucks, it’s hard to take the claim seriously.

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Comments on “Ubisoft Says It's Delaying A PC Game Due To Piracy; But That Makes No Sense”

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Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Hardcore Gamer

I consider myself a hardcore gamer.
I have several consoles and a PC.
I prefer my first person shooters on a PC because of the granularity I get with a mouse to aim over that with a controller.
However, I tend to prefer my RPGs or games such as Assassin’s creed (an ubisoft game if I am not mistaken) on consoles because it is simple, and gets me away from the close proximity of the computer screen. (TV screen 10ft away compared to Monitor’s 2 – 3.5)
Real time strategy by far preferred on a PC, way more so than a first person shooter.

That being said, this guy obviously has no clue how the market or people work. Greed seems to have corrupted those who end up in power with places like this. Have a taste and want more. All logic is checked at the door when they take the position. Its sad really.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Hardcore Gamer

All I can say is I totally agree. I have a $6k PC for gaming and three consoles and I spend over $600 a year buying games but I am very tired with game companies screwing me with DRM and such when I try to buy a PC game. I upgrade my PC and consoles with in the first month of new ones but if all they have is crap for offer than why buy it.

some old guy (user link) says:

Re: Wait a Tick....

The difference is the number of people willing to hack their consoles in order to run “compromised media” copies of the game. You don’t need to “risk destroying your computer” to download warez games, so more people are willing to do it. For consoles, otoh, you sometimes have to install new hardware in it (solder and wires and LEDs, OH MY!) .

Oh, but when you dont! oh my. Take the R4 for the Nintendo DS. It lets you use a 2gb SD card to store any number of games (alot) at once on a single cartridge, and has a nice menu to choose what game you want to boot when you start it up. With non-scary mode of console hacking, we see that piracy on that platform (a console) is actually far far higher than on the others.

Another reason the R4 is so effective (in producing high piray numbers) is that when users go to find their game iso to load onto the R4, what they often find is the game they want is buried in a torrent wiht 100 other DS games. Since their torrent clients suck, they don’t know how to tell it to just get the one game. They instead get all 100. And then theres just no turning back. Once you get 100 games available at your fingertips, with nothing else to carry around, you just can’t go back to imagining the burden of actually trying to deal with a bunch of little cartridges again.

Trevlac says:

Re: Wait a Tick....

Yes they are. It’s just as easy to pirate console games although for the PS3 it’s a bit expensive since you have to invest in a blu-ray burner ($150+) and blue-ray discs ($20 each). The Wii is pirated like you would not even believe what with the Homebrew Channel you can get. The x360 is immensely pirated and with ease because all you need is to take it to a shop and get it modded.

To blame piracy for what is “killing the PC market” is to lie with all three current gen consoles being heavily pirated.

And if you look at the numbers, sales haven’t decreased at all. Execs just know piracy exists so they falsely accuse it and lie to make it hard for customers despite the fact that it does almost nothing compared with the masses who buy games. Or those who both pirate and buy the games.

JB says:

Re: Re:

Prove it!

They can’t; simply because there is no way to tell how many people would have purchased the game if piracy didn’t exist. Also, there is no way to tell how many people purchased the game simply because they were able to play it before purchasing. Piracy is only a problem to those companies who over-value their product and put out lame demos.

Do you consider it piracy if I borrow a friend’s game, try it out and decide not to buy?
I consider it piracy if I purchase a game based on the demo and discover it to be crap.

Who are the real software pirates? The game companies that line their pockets in greed and refuse to produce decent content, that’s who!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“by Crimson – Oct 10th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

Actually Mike, I find Ubisoft’s comments far more sensical than your own here.”

Actually, Crimson, I find your just a troll and Mike’s comments are his opinion, which he is allowed to express just as you are. The difference is he gives reasons and substance to his views, you’re just plain trolling.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Actually Mike, I find Ubisoft’s comments far more sensical than your own here.

You are of course free to disagree with me. But, I would like to make a suggestion. Simply saying you disagree, without giving a single reason doesn’t make your comment very credible.

You see, in my post, I explain the reasons why I believe his comment doesn’t make sense. If you did the same, we could have a discussion, and maybe convince one another of why the other is wrong.

But to just say that I’m wrong makes me think that you don’t actually have any reasons behind it.

Tim says:

Re: Here's an idea

“Maybe if they made something WORTH buying people would pay for it. If you make a mediocre game, chances are people won’t pay for it because it isn’t worth the $65 to them.
Make a game worth it and people will buy it.
Games such as the Orange Box and Sims 2 are great examples of this.”

I completely disagree with this. If you have the choice of getting a free game or purchasing a game, you will go for the free game regardless of how awesome it is. Good games are most likely pirated much more often for several reasons.
I will say it. You are lieing if you say you will buy a game if it is good instead of pirating it. Straight out lie.

Ragaboo says:

A potential pirate

I am a technically savvy PC/console gamer who could very easily pirate computer games if I wanted to. Despite that, I don’t. That’s actually a bad thing for PC gaming companies; it means that I will only get a game if I am 90% sure that I will love it and if it got really good reviews. I could end up loving a game that got mediocre reviews that I didn’t think I would like, but I’ll never plunk down the money to give it a shot. If I pirated it, tried it out, and liked it, I’d go buy it. I have done that in the past, but I got tired of all of the cracks and viruses. So, now I don’t pirate, and I don’t buy as many games, anymore. See if you can figure out your bottom line in that, industry idiots.

P.S. I was going to buy Spore the day it came out. The DRM made me think twice, and now I’ve actually spent some time reading reviews (legitimate ones, not the one-star ones on Amazon), and I’ve fallen below my 90$-chance-I’ll-like-it threshold. Un-score another point for the PC game industry.

P.P.S. I also think fewer people would pirate if you idiots would simply put out a good demo of your games like you used to. No, not the stupid demos nowadays that aren’t even the final build of the game and don’t reflect the actual play, but a good demo with a decent chunk of the game in it to whet our appetites.

Mischief says:

Re: Re:

EndWar is a Tom Clancy novel.

The easiest way to prevent piracy is to sell a game that offers good multiplayer features and require a key when logging into the play servers. Or better yet, just wave the $60 disk cost and charge $10 a month to play online and allow a community-based single player version for free.

You would make your users very happy and would end up making 5x more money per user with almost zero piracy.

Just look at a games like WOW and Eve-Online.

triggs1957 says:


I will say i have tested some games ive gotten off line and glad i did.It seemed six months after buying a new computer it would not be able to play the newer games out. At 45.00 a pop and stores not takeing them back ,bet your ass ill try it first.But i never liked a game i tried i dident buy.So Mr Plater yes i tried a tigerwoods once and loved it so much allong with madden i have the last 5 or six years of them at 40.00 apeace i paid for.(If your hurting for money ill give you a few of them,mabe you will learn somthing from EA Games on making games

Joe (profile) says:


Given how this game is to be played (voice commands) it should be a comparable experience on all platforms. Of course it will probalby get much worse reviews given how well the PC platform lends itself to RTS games vs consoles.

Overall this game is made for a console and not a PC. I think he is just making an excuse on why the PC game hasnt’ been readied. Fake reason being piracy which is bogus crap.

ScaryFast says:

This is a battle that will never end.

Back in the Commodore 64 days they fought piracy by showing a picture of something on screen and you had to look it up in the manual to find the name. Kids like me who had no job or very little money because we were 10 years old couldn’t afford those games, or our parents wouldn’t buy them for us, and piracy happened.

Now they’re using all sorts of crazy DRM and delaying games so they can implement security and not only does it never ever work but it actually does HARM to the game and company because of the DRM they use. Look at Spore. People who paid for spore are so pissed at the DRM, while those who pirated it are happy as a pig in mud. Sure, they don’t have access to the online stuff, but everything else works fine.

Most people who pirate games do so because they can’t really afford the game, or they just don’t think it’s worth the money being asked for. If games were less expensive I would be down at EB Games or some other store buying new releases each Tuesday but instead I go many months between purchases. The last game I bought for PC was Crysis and the next one will be Fallout 3. Nothing else out there is worth the money they’re asking. Before Crysis I bought Gears of War, and Oblivion before that. Oh yeah, Orange Box too, obviously.

In the past I have been known to pirate a game to try it out (because of a lack of a demo, or lack of trust for what other idiots out there say) and most of the time I play it for an hour or two and never again because it sucks, or I love it, finish it, and then buy it later when it’s cheaper. I played Halflife 2 from start to finish but didn’t buy it until it came out in The Orange Box. Because even when a game is awesome like that I don’t usually think it’s worth what they’re asking.

I think Fallout 3 for PC is going to be cheaper on PC and that’s FANTASTIC! I can’t imagine being a kid these days. There are so many more games on so many more platforms, and they’re all so goddamn expensive! PC gaming is the obvious platform of choice for some poor kid with cheap parents these days, to at least hold them over until they’re older, have a job, etc.

Software Geezer says:


Look, I’m not in the gaming end of the software industry, but I do make a living running a company that develops software and sells it. That’s how we pay people’s salaries, and the health benefits for their families, and get money for the company to invest in developing new software. I object to the notion that some people express that there is a ‘right to piracy’ and everyone in the software industry is some kind of fat cat living off the well deserved salaries of others.

That said, everyone deserves to get their money’s worth. If a game is no good, don’t buy it. If it’s good, pay for it. Read the reviews, try it in the store, try other people’s. Don’t steal it, it’s a sure way of making sure there’s not enough money to invest in the people and resources that the manufacturer needs to build the next ‘great game’. Natural selection dude, not a right to stealing someone elses bread and butter.

Just my 2 cents

Blatant Coward says:

DRM in Spore is why I did not buy the game although I was set to. I pay a monthly subscription fee to NC Soft for their “City of..” game.

Be honest about what you are putting in my PC and I will buy from you, even a ‘rental’ like CoX. Lie to me and never see a nickel.

BTW Geezer, “try other people’s.” unlike back in the nagware/tryware days, that’s piracy now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Need for Speed: Pro Street was my last "blind purchase"

I’d always been a proponent of buying games rather than piracy, until one fateful day.

I decided to go out and blow $60 on NFS: Pro Street. Now, I can understand if a game ends up sucking. There are bad movies, bad albums, and it’s no surprise there are bad games. But this one didn’t work. At all. I didn’t get it day of release, I got it about two weeks after. Did EA have a patch? No. I searched for a solid 8 hours over two days trying to find a solution online that would allow this game to run. There were tons of other people experiencing the same issue. I ended up having to shelve the game. I had just spent $60 to put a box on my shelf. I didn’t actually play it until a month later when I realised it was still on my shelf and gave it another go. I will never, ever again buy a game without pirating it first.

Anonymous Coward says:

If developers didn’t release so many incomplete games for PC (i.e. having to wait for patches to make them playable) people would not be so quick to download them. There are not many other industries that can sell you an incomplete product. If the companiess were not so greedy they would work out the bugs before trying to get people to pay $60 for a game. People can pirate console games almost just as easy as PC games, but it’s not worth it since you know when you buy a console game it is going to work.

Brutis says:

UBI Is Stupid

Look at Novalogic they figured out how to keep their latest games from Piracy (to bad it wasnt that great a game)
You have to login into Novalogics website and Register your CD Key you dont register a CD Key on the site you cant play
yea you could use a KeyGen to install but you still need a Legit Key to play
Even to play on a LAN you must login into the Site
So its only a problem for people who dont have a Internet Connection.

Kyros (profile) says:

I love steam. I download a game, and it just works. It’s portable, no hassles, and just works.

Before Crysis was on steam, I bought it on DVD. I hated it. I still have no freaking clue where the DVD is, and it’s a pain to install or play.

In the case of spore and bioshock – I refuse to buy either of them because of the activation limit. I buy games to own them, not to rent them.

Steam makes it easier for me to get to my games. Since it’s stable and has an offline mode, even without Internet I’m fine.

I refuse totally to buy most games nowadays on anything besides steam because it’s too much of a pain, the only exception being Indie games. I refuse to deal with broken, buggered DRM.

I also won’t buy a game if it doesn’t have a demo unless my friends rave about it. No try, no buy.

I don’t consider myself odd or abnormal for anything I’ve said above, in fact, it’s what most of my gamer buddies say. Make it easier for us to buy the game and play it then steal it.

For most games, It’s both more convenient and safer for me to illegally steal it. No DRM, no buggy drm management software, no limited activations, no cd and no worries about the game doing unscrupulous things to my system like registry keys with illegal characters (bioshock). Why would I buy a game when I am harmed by it?

If you can’t do a decent, easy to access release for your game, don’t publish it. If you can’t live without crappy DRM, don’t publish it. Otherwise, people will pirate it, because you gain more from pirating it then legally buying it.

Bigdogpete (profile) says:

Hey guess what I just won't buy the game.

I refuse to buy games that only come out for console and not PC when they are made by a third party. I didn’t buy Force Unleased and I won’t buy Endwar. All my games are %100 percent legal so basically what Ubisoft and others are saying is screw the PC gamer. I also own consoles (Xbox 360 and WII) and I do buy some games that are console specifc because they are made by Microsoft or Nintendo and I understand they trying to make money for their product. I also understand if hey we are working on a PC version but it isn’t done yet because there are some glitches we are working on. Fine I would much rather the PC version be delayed due to bugs than me get a shoddy product. But do not tell me it is because well we are not going to release it for pc just because or well we are worried about pirates. Umm Console games get pirated too.

Anonymous Coward says:

All I hear Ubisoft doing is going Wheeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! people aren’t paying for the turds errr I mean games we’re releasing! Wheeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Personally, I usually try a game first, whether that’s demos or downloading a cracked version depends on the game. If a game is actually good I find myself playing it a lot I WILL go out and buy a real version. All companies that release good games deserve my hard earned money. All companies that release crap and complain about piracy deserve to go away and die. Period

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“If a game is actually good I find myself playing it a lot I WILL go out and buy a real version.”

How nice it would be if others did the same. It is not that this company is against people trying out the game. It is about others trying out the game, and if they like it sticking with the bogus copy. After all, the company wants to sell copies, and not a copy that then finds its way onto the internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hey, if games on consoles gave me the kinds of control options (natively) I can get on the PC, I’d just get a console and be done with it. On top of that, if consoles had the kind of mod community that the PC has, then I would also rather have just a console. And if the console had the ability to browse the web, send email, type documents, and do other normal day-to-day tasks, then I’d be all for it. Hell, for $400-$500, that’d be a steal!

Or I could just save a bit of money on hardware and get a nice video card and some extra memory.

Really, though, it’s not hard to get console games. In fact, I would say it’s easier just because the only thing you really have to do is mod your console once to allow copied games, and every thing after that is just save-n-burn. No cd keys, no silly copy protection, no patches that possibly break all the work arounds.

Crimson says:

You are of course free to disagree with me. But, I would like to make a suggestion. Simply saying you disagree, without giving a single reason doesn’t make your comment very credible.

You see, in my post, I explain the reasons why I believe his comment doesn’t make sense. If you did the same, we could have a discussion, and maybe convince one another of why the other is wrong.”

I didn’t explain myself because I thought Ubisoft said it all. PC games *are* pirated to hell and back. Pirated games DO soften demand and thus reduce profitability. So it behooves you to release on a platform that is less pirated (read: consoles).

Also, as others have mentioned, there are *many* types of games that are much better suited for PC than console and even “serious” console players recognize this. Thus altogether, I didn’t find Ubisoft’s statements all that insane.

John (profile) says:

I'm a little confused

So, it’s “piracy’s” fault that a game is being delayed? If the company is so afraid of piracy, then don’t release the PC version of the game at all.
But, wait, that means no income from the PC gamers? Then guess what, software company, deal with piracy in better ways than blaming it as the reason a game is delayed.

Lonnie E. Holder says:

Re: I'm a little confused


I suspect that there is more to the story than the comments in the article. I wonder whether Ubisoft is either going to try to improve security for the game or whether they are going to change the game to make it more different than the pirated version?

Regardless of what Ubisoft does, many of the comments here are silly in light of the opinions expressed elsewhere on this website. Ubisoft and the executives of Ubisoft have the right to their opinions (and perhaps they have statistical data or site hit monitoring that supports their statement – pure speculation on my part). They also have a right to their business model, as has been pointed out on this website many, many times, regardless of whether it makes Ubisoft money or not, though Ubisoft does not seem to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Measured response.....

I used to buy all my software and games legitimately. Then came a rash of disastrously poor games that were so bad that I actually felt like someone had ripped me off (Brian Lara 07, Oil Tycoon, Settlers 5, Rugby Pro Manager, etc, etc).

Games with graphics a decade out of date. Games with simply awful game play and shockingly bad AI. Games with a rabid version of SecurRom installed which makes my combi drive spin incessantly. Games with so many bugs that the developers give up on making a patch and go on to the next iteration of the game instead. Games which only work after 6 months of patching because the developers couldn’t be bothered to make sure that it worked upon shipping. I could go on……

So, I started downloading pirated games for free. Now i can try the full game for as long as I want to with no restrictive DRM, no feeling of ‘OMG I’ve just wasted £30 on THAT piece of shit’ (Genesis Rising, Republic the Revolution, ANY JoWood game released half finished – i.e. most of them)

And if I like and enjoy the game I then buy it.

So I am a pirate but not to defraud. I am a pirate because I am fed up with buying over-hyped, shoddy workmanship from developers and publishers who seem to think that quality control is a four letter word. Those that prove the value of their creations I will support by buying their products but I have been ripped off so many times now that I will rarely buy a game until I have downloaded a pirated version first. If studios and publishers didn’t put out so much inferior and over-priced rubbish then I would have the confidence to buy their products based on the reviews.

So….make sure your software works before selling it. Don’t charge too much for it. Don’t bribe journalists to give you rave reviews (I mean come on….Republic The Revolution got glowing write-ups and it was such a piss-poor piece of unmitigated dog faeces that it took me more time to install it than it took me to realise just what a crock of shit I’d been fed by the reviewers). And don’t make me hate the crappy DRM that comes with it. Then and only then will I stop downloading pirated software.

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