by Timothy Geigner

Filed Under:
crysis 2, leaks, piracy, response


Crytek Manages Not To Lose Their Minds Despite Crysis 2 Leak

from the baby-steps,-baby-steps,-baby-steps dept

Leaks happen. They just do. They're unfortunate, they're rarely complete products, and it's understandable that a content producer would be less than thrilled about it. But they happen. Time and time again, we witness examples of content companies losing their minds over these leaks, whether it's Ubisoft murdering their reputation by reacting to leaks with ineffective DRM, or Fox taking a long hard look at how the leaked version of Wolverine did nothing to stymie huge box office returns and therefore decided to get the FBI involved to arrest the leaker. It seems that when these leaks happen, the reaction is emotional rather than cognitive.

Enter Crytek, developer of the immensely anticipated Crysis 2 game. As was seemingly inevitable, Edge was among others that reported the game was leaked. And not just some early build of the game either, but rather both versions (the 3D version and the non-3D version) were made available via torrent sites. The download included the full games (requiring nearly a full blu-ray disk's worth of storage for the 3D version), online capability, and even the DRM signing keys.

So, we all know what the reaction was coming from Crytek execs, right? Piracy killed them, left them bleeding in a gutter, the victim of a violent crime. The sky is falling. The action allowed a wormhole to open up and demons are now killing our women and children. Puppies everywhere keeled over dead. America has fallen to the terrorists/communists/atheists/robots/Satan/etc. Corn farmers everywhere are committing mass ritual suicide, knowing that they'll never earn a livable wage. Right?

Turns out, not so much. Harken back to what Mike suggested about how Fox should have responded to the Wolverine leak:

"Hey Wolverine fans! We know that you're all looking forward to the release of the movie next month. We're excited too! By now you may have heard that an early totally unfinished version has been leaked online. It's missing a whole bunch of stuff -- including some amazing special effects -- and honestly, this version isn't a finished product at all. We think you'll get a much better overall experience by waiting for the full finished product, but we certainly understand that some of you just can't wait (trust us, we feel the same way!). If that's the case, please, feel free to check it out, but please remember that this isn't even close to the final version. If anything, think of this as a "behind-the-scenes" peek of just what a movie looks like before all the real "movie magic" gets put in there. If you do check it out, we hope you'll join us May 1st to check out the finalized version as well on the big screen the way we intended for you to see this awesome movie. It's just a month away!"

In this case, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli actually did make a similarly reasonable address to the company's fans on the Crysis 2 forums:

"Despite this unfortunate incident, we can assure you that PC gaming is very important to us and will always be important to Crytek in the future. We are all still focused on delivering a great gaming experience to our true and honest fans. I hope you will enjoy Crysis 2 on PC, as we think it is our best PC game yet!"

Huh. You know what, that actually sounds eerily similar to Mike's suggestion. Maybe not quite so optimistic and glowing, but pretty damn close. And I think this message is perfect. Tell the fans that, while you don't approve of what happened, they're still important to you, you're going to create for their PC gaming needs, and even throw in a comment about rewarding their dedication as real, paying fans. Perfect. And judging by the response from the company's fans in the comments section of the forum, his notes are ringing true with them.

So cheers to you, Cevat. You could have gone crazy and reacted emotionally, but you didn't. You made a reasoned statement. While it's sad that such level-headedness is rare enough to deserve note, I salute you nonetheless.

Reader Comments

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  1. icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), 22 Feb 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I think you need to look at the reports Mike posts. Recorded music sales are through the floor. It doesn't take much though to see the impacts of piracy on the music industry. The usual answer is "but look at live music sales", but that usually falls down when people point out that concert ticket prices have skyrockets, and are now dropping due to lack of buyers."

    I can't speak for others on this site, but I've seen some of those same reports. And? Recorded music as a viable medium of sale is becoming obsolete. Further, I certainly won't point solely to concert ticket sales, although are a good metric for money still being spent on concerts (prices going up and people are still going? Sweet!). Rather, I'd more point to a combination of the downturn of the global ecnomoy coupled with competing interests for people's time as the likely culprit for your record sales losses....

    "The "app developer" story is good, but proves only that he didn't have enough publicity going on about his product. Any publicity is better than no publicity, he had little to lose. It would be interesting though to follow up 90 days later to see the true overall effects."

    That's a fair point and I'd be interested in seeing a follow up sales report as well. I'll see if I can dig anything up. By the way, your conclusion isn't the ONLY thing it proves. It also proves that in at least some scenarios over some periods of time, "piracy" can likely have a net benefit. That's important, since it keeps us from falling into false dichotomy arguments.

    "There are no cookie cutter answers, but there is plenty of indications of what piracy has done to recorded music. It is hard to ignore (unless you swallow the alternate theories)."

    No, I swallow nothing, not the alternate theories, nor yours, nor the industries, nor the so called piracy supporters. I weigh evidence as it comes in. Everything I've seen, in my estimation at least, indicates that globally piracy is probably closer to a net wash than anything else. In which case, in general, chances are you're better off not even worrying about it....

    "As for the "whet the appetite" idea, the same could be accomplished by the company deciding to release a single level demo."

    Sure, but that has costs. Perhaps this was unintentionally better?

    "It's something that should be in the hands of the people who are writing and selling the game, not some dufus with a torrent site."

    Ha! I happen to agree with you! In a perfect world, people should respect the creator's wishes. It's an area where me and some others in the Techdirt community are probably at odds. However, since we already agreed that wishing in one hand doesn't produce anything....

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