Ubisoft CEO claims 93% piracy rate on PC, refocuses on free-to-play

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot says that only 5-7% of users pay for boxed retail PC games, the same percentage of people who pay into free-to-play titles.

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Why are game publishers becoming increasingly gung-ho about free-to-play? According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, piracy is definitely a factor at play.

In spite of its name, free-to-play is one way "to make sure you have revenue," Guillemot explained. "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."

Speaking to GI.biz, Guillemot added that "the revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content."

Guillemot says the key to the F2P model is its adaptability. A game could cannibalize existing content to make the game production cheaper initially, and then iterate on it. "What's very important is that we change the content and make it a better fit to the customer as time goes on."

Another factor playing into the company's free-to-play strategy is the slow console transition. "People are saying that the traditional market is declining and that F2P is everything--I'm not saying that. We're waiting for the new consoles--I think that the new consoles will give a huge boost to the industry, just like they do every time that they come. This time, they took too long so the market is waiting."

In spite of Guillemot's bold claims, the publisher recently launched Uplay PC, it's own branded digital storefront for PC games.

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  • reply
    August 22, 2012 12:30 PM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Ubisoft CEO claims 93% piracy rate on PC, refocuses on free-to-play.

    Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot says that only 5-7% of users pay for boxed retail PC games, the same percentage of people who pay into free-to-play titles.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 12:44 PM

      I wish we could see data regarding how much people pirate Ubisoft games because they have their crazy DRM.

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 1:08 PM

        I kinda think they are pulling that number out of their ass. And 90% of what was "pirated" was probably cracks so people didn't have to be online 24/7.

        • reply
          August 22, 2012 1:10 PM

          They don't detect a "pirating", they detect how many people are playing their game. It isn't hard to do.

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 1:34 PM

            They don't "detect" anything, they make up figures and spout them as fact. Otherwise they go on some torrent site, look at the amount of completed downloads and call those lost sales.

            Meanwhile, as was stated before a fair number of those downloads are probably legitimate customers who didn't want to be treated like criminals.

            • reply
              August 22, 2012 1:36 PM

              so those legitimate customers bought the game and downloaded a cracked copy, right?

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 1:50 PM

                i dont wat to argue what other people do but i can tell you for sure that me personally, i test most of the game from piratbay first before i buy it, since many time games have no demo at launch...

                many times what happens is that when i try their game and i just dont feel like i want to pay 60$ for it, so i wait till it is 15~25 and buy it on that sale.

                Sadly, thy compare numbers from torrent to numbers of boxes sold in stores... lets be honest, most of the people that used pirate bay had to reinstall that game 2-3 times depending on what computer they used and if thye had to rebuild it, but ubisoft still counts it as a sale... Also, i dont buy games from stores anymore, it is all digital downloads now...

                So yea... i think their numbers are a bit off, i still think it is around 60%, but there is nothing you can you but do better at your service and game quality so people would feel like they WANT to give you money~!

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 1:59 PM

                  so all of the media still isn't enough? previews/reviews? you demand demos when the company has decided not to make any? it leads me back to crysis, where there was a full demo and people pirated the full game ANYWAY. so the whole "but I want a demo" excuse doesn't pan out very well, since the pirates have the full product in their hands and get to consume it as they see fit. that's a lost sale.

                  and yes, broadband is enabling the huge surge of piracy. this is all about digital downloads. retail is barely relevant if at all.

                  why aren't consumers using the information age to be better consumers? why do they have to download EVERYTHING to "test it" and then ultimately just wait to buy it. just....... WAIT TO BUY IT. people that must download everything are contributing to the inflated piracy numbers, and are leading us down a path of "this is why we can't have nice things"... you know, like PC games.

                  • reply
                    August 24, 2012 9:55 AM

                    In regard to Crysis: many people pirated that to test if they could even run it. The specs devs give out (minimum/recommended) only "help" but obviously don't cover the full spectrum of hardware there is.
                    I upgraded my PC in 2007, in advance to the release of Crysis, Bioshock, CoD 4 and future releases after that though, because I knew my PC definitely did not meet the requirements for those titles, so yeah, pirating wasn't neccessary for me.

                    The whole lost sale thing is bullshit. Of course you would sell more, if there was 0 possibilty to pirate, but the argument definitely isn't completely valid at all. Many people simply wouldn't play the fucking game, if they couldn't pirate it for any of the following reasons: they can't afford it, they hate the company and don't want to throw money at them, they just flat out don't want to spend money on video games, they are generally stingy, etc. etc.

                    Yes, there are many, many, many people like that. I'm guessing for most it's the case that they can't afford all the games they would like to play.

                    By the way: I'm pro-piracy when it comes to showing companies the finger, similar to boycotting the game for reasons like draconian DRM and the like. The statement is: I like your games, but you apparently don't want my money, because you treat all your customers like potential criminals.

                    However: I haven't pirated a single game myself in roughly a decade. I know what I like and if I am unsure about a game I inform myself about it more, before making the decision to buy. I do indeed buy every game I like. If I can't afford a certain game at some point, I wait for discounts. Hell, on Steam I almost ONLY buy when the games are heavily reduced.

                    I understand the trouble the video game industry is in, but I also understand people, for whom gaming is the best thing in the world, yet they simply don't have enough money at their disposal for their hobby or people who want to demos, because they just can't make their mind up enough without experiencing the game for a bit etc.

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 3:42 PM

                I can't speak for everyone (obviously) but I have bought several games (Ubisoft or otherwise) and on occasion have had to DL an entire warez release to get a working cracked exe, either to get rid of annoying and intrusive DRM (be it activation limits, "always on" internet requirements, or rootkit copy protection schemes (star-force protection, for example)

                I'm not foolish enough to suggest legitimate customers are any sort of significant percentage of pirate downloaders, but they do exist.

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 8:15 PM

                  youre not alone. i dont pirate, i own all the game i play... however, i have more than once had problems running the retail version of a game (yes, even steamworks, nothing from THQ worked on my old pc) and downloaded the cracked version instead to play.

                  i have a license to play the game. so i play it. i dont care if it comes off a disc, or a download, or pirate bay. i paid for it, im going to play it.

                  however, ill agree with the guy above that said not having a demo isnt reason enough to pirate. i dont pirate games to serve as demos. if im unsure whether i want a game, i just DONT BUY IT. problem solved.

              • reply
                August 23, 2012 9:37 AM

                Yep I've been doing it for like a decade, not as much recently since most games don't do this anymore but during the days where every game required a disk to be inside your computer to play, I would pirate and crack all of the games I owned.

                • reply
                  August 23, 2012 9:42 AM

                  Forgot to add, with ubisoft's shitty drm many people couldn't even play their newer asscreed games at launch, not sure if the problem was ever fixed but for a good month after launch there were tons of people not be able to connect or stay connected to their always connected to ubisoft servers drm. And this did cause many people who bought the game to pirate since that version actually worked.

            • reply
              August 22, 2012 1:52 PM

              Nice conclusion. "It is all made up. I base this on absolutely nothing."

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 3:43 PM

                As opposed to your statements, which are also conjecture and assumption. Seriously dude, troll somewhere else.

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 3:59 PM

                  Not conjecture and assumption. I use these tools to make games. It is how I know only 16% of players made it to the last level of the last game I made.

                  • reply
                    August 22, 2012 4:22 PM

                    What would these tools be called? Seriously, I'd like to read about them.

                  • reply
                    August 22, 2012 5:42 PM

                    What game, precious? I mean, I know these metrics exist - it's how Diablo and all them know "hey, 1% of players made it to Inferno" and whatnot.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 12:45 PM

      If that data were actually true (which it isn't), then you're doing something wrong, not just the pirates.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 12:51 PM

      Still wondering where these companies come up with data so compelling they can post figures like 93% piracy.

      What are they basing these numbers on? Torrents and patch downloads vs units sold? Players in MP vs units sold? None of these are valid ways to determine lost sales.

      There is absolutely no way to quantify percentage numbers like they are doing here.

      Reducing the price of games, using services like steam, and having compelling DLC is how you make that money. Oh, and not pissing on PC gamers interviews like that.



      • reply
        August 22, 2012 1:03 PM

        Just so you know, virtually all games track data from the user and send it back to the developer/publisher. You agree to it in the EULA. Welcome to 2003. That is how they track it. They assign unique user ids and send data back to themselves. Then they compare versus sales. This isn't the only thing they track, btw. They also look at how users play the game, in efforts to see what they like / don't like and what they have trouble with completing.

        It isn't rocket science.

        • reply
          August 22, 2012 1:09 PM

          Flawed...

          No amount of data you collect will ever give you hard numbers on piracy because the data is one sided.

          To get real numbers you'd have to compare that data by canvasing all the players that pirated and ask them if piracy wasn't possible (ie you HAD to buy the game to play) if they actually would. The yes answers are your lost sales. The no answers are those that just pirated because they could or because they wanted to try the game and never had any plans to buy it.

          There is no defending this. This is nothing more than someone asking someone internally for "some numbers on piracy" and whatever team came up with this data. That's fine for internal use...but when you give it to your CEO and let him use it during interviews...wtf. His handlers should be shitcanned.

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 1:15 PM

            First off, note that no article or interview or anything proclaims a number of lost sales. They report how often it has been pirated. Certainly a good portion would have bought the game if they had to.

            Second, it is easy to get the numbers of how many pirated. Same way you get unique page views on the web or sessions on youtube. Then you compare how many unique ids versus game sales. It is retardedly easy.

            And lastly, he's right. The PC market all but disappeared. Even Blizzard has always-online. This wasn't because of DRM. It is business.

            • reply
              August 22, 2012 1:23 PM

              You're fooling yourself if you think a "good portion" of pirated copies were potential sales. I'd say 5% would be extreemely generous.

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 1:24 PM

                5% is a great portion. 5% of a 95% piracy rate is double sales, genius. That's MASSIVE.

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 1:36 PM

                  That wasn't my point. Significant is not the same as a good portion. I'd define a good portion as > 50%. While significant, 1% to 5%, is not a good portion.

                  • reply
                    August 22, 2012 1:42 PM

                    I define double sales as a good portion. You apparently are an idiot.

                    • reply
                      August 22, 2012 1:50 PM

                      Since 5 is not 7*2, then back at you.

                      • reply
                        August 22, 2012 1:54 PM

                        You reduced your debate to what the meaning of "a good portion" was. Which is idiotic.

                        • reply
                          August 22, 2012 1:58 PM

                          Get back with me when you learn to communicate.

                          • reply
                            August 22, 2012 2:01 PM

                            He's doing just fine. You're going off on needless tangents which he explained weren't even part of the real discussion or original article at all with his first reply to sithspawn.

                  • reply
                    August 22, 2012 2:07 PM

                    You're arguing a 100% increase in sales is insignificant because it's only converting 5% of the pirates.

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 1:37 PM

                I think you're also fooling yourself by focusing on a single game. If ALL games were impossible to pirate, most people who pirate now would still want to play games even though many also wouldn't/couldn't.

            • reply
              August 22, 2012 1:30 PM

              What? How are you defining piracy, if you think tracking it is as easy as getting web traffic data (if that can even be considered easy in this age of noscript and such)?

              Are you just saying anyone who downloads a torrent of it is pirating it? Or is it specific to people who run cracked exes? Does a pirate who later buys the game stop being a pirate? What about someone who already owns the game but runs a cracked exe for whatever reason?

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 1:38 PM

                Oh come on. Some people who buy games also download the cracked exes. Some pirates also later buy the game. To say that these people are a significant amount of the pirating population is just stupid. It is the type of thing people say to justify stealing games.

                You know damn well that most people pirate games so they dont have to pay. Maybe they wouldn't buy if the game couldn't be pirated, but that doesn't change that they still stole it.

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 1:41 PM

                  This has almost nothing to do with what I'm saying. I'm wondering how piracy is defined if it is supposedly so easy to track. It's not like those cracked exes are "reporting back" to the publisher in most cases. It just seems like hand-waving to say that getting accurate numbers is not an issue.

                  • reply
                    August 22, 2012 1:44 PM

                    Yes, even cracked games report back. They don't report back they are cracked, they report back they they exist. Then the publisher compares how many people play their game versus how many bought it. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

                    • reply
                      August 22, 2012 1:47 PM

                      How do they report back if they are firewalled or played offline? I am not being facetious, I'm not a game developer (or even a supporter of piracy or DRM-bashing causes), I'm just curious how these exes can hook into any kind of metrics from their mothership when they're cracked specifically to avoid that.

                      • reply
                        August 22, 2012 1:51 PM

                        They don't. They will report the next time the player goes online. Sometimes that doesn't happen, sometimes the machine changes hardware and the unique id isn't good anymore. Which only means the numbers they have are on the low side of what is really happening (but probably not by that much).

                        A cracked exe only gets past the DRM, which protect exes.

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 2:01 PM

                  That small number of people could still significantly impact sales.

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 1:42 PM

                They don't track pirates. They track how many people play their game. It isn't hard. It is very easy. Then they compare how many people played their game versus how many copies they sold.

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 1:42 PM

                  How do they track how many people play their game?

                  • reply
                    August 22, 2012 1:48 PM

                    Telemetry. Data mining. Look it up. It has been around for awhile. I have used it to see how far people get in my games, what type of content they like, etc. For more than five years.

            • reply
              August 22, 2012 2:12 PM

              --"First off, note that no article or interview or anything proclaims a number of lost sales."--

              Yeah but in the end that's why they are putting those numbers out there. They want to show what they are losing and then use that data to help support some change in direction or some other goal.

              --"Second, it is easy to get the numbers of how many pirated. Same way you get unique page views on the web or sessions on youtube. Then you compare how many unique ids versus game sales. It is retardedly easy"--

              Again, this is a giant who gives a shit. It only means that x amount of people are playing the game without paying for it (assuming your reporting is working correctly). That number doesn't matter because what matters is the lost money and you have no possible way to obtain this info without talking to the pirates directly. These numbers of players vs. sales are interesting but you just can't use them like this CEO is using them. The CEO is using the numbers to detail lost sales to support the move to f2p - when in fact the numbers don't show what money is actually being lost. Again - handlers should be shitcanned.

              You sound like you are a developer or work for one. I totally feel you that piracy sucks...but you can't sit there and defend some sloppy corporate use of numbers that essentially mean nothing when it comes to the bottom line.

              I'd recommend steam or some other easy to use online system so you guys can get paid.



              • reply
                August 22, 2012 2:36 PM

                Look buddy, I deal in facts. You said there was no way to know much much was pirated. Yes, there are. You say they claim lost sales- they know they have no numbers on this how how to get hard numbers...but when 20 people play your game for every 1 that pays for it, it certainly has some fucking appeal, doesn't it? 20x more people aren't pirating the game because they think it sucks. Certainly some of them would purchase it if they weren't able to pirate it (the old argument) or if the business model made it so they could play for free and they make up the money on the people who do play (the F2P model now).

                You changed your argument from "they don't know how much it is pirated", which is what I disputed. They do know. And that is why they are looking at different business models now.

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 3:08 PM

                  But this is assuming two things - that they can successfully and accurately mine the data, and whether or not they've twisted the data to make it appear in their favour.

                  I don't claim to understand how cracks work as it's never been something I've wanted to spend time learning how to do - but I can make some educated guesses. I imagine many games need to access a server to validate a license - the crack will probably have to prevent that in some way. Which leads me to believe it is possible to block data mining as well, whether it was done intentionally by the cracking group or just happens to be a side effect of blocking validation.

                  There's also the possibility that their unique identifiers for users isn't unique - an example for a case that actually happened to me, a new installation of Windows or a significant upgrade in hardware (a videocard or CPU, etc) can cause the software to believe that the system is unique from the system before it had the upgrade or new OS installed. Which ended up locking me out of my legitimate purchase because each change I had made to my system caused the authenticator to believe I was on a new system. It may have even included when I overclocked the CPU significantly.

                  My other point comes as no surprise, it's not like stretching facts is anything new for any industry.

                  • reply
                    August 22, 2012 3:57 PM

                    That is an asinine argument. You know DRM and shifting business models costs money, right? Why would they forge data to justify spending money on stuff they don't need?

                    Data mining is not verfication, either. Cracks are just that- they crack DRM. They don't crack data reporting.

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 2:55 PM

                Also, again- he didn't say anything about lost sales. He said even in retail (just like F2P), only 5-7% purchase. So making F2P (which is cheaper than a full box game) is a smart business move.

                If you can point me to an article where any publisher or developer pinpoints their lost sales, I'd like to see that. Thanks.

                • reply
                  August 22, 2012 8:47 PM

                  -"Look buddy, I deal in facts. You said there was no way to know much much was pirated. Yes, there are. You say they claim lost sales- they know they have no numbers on this how how to get hard numbers...but when 20 people play your game for every 1 that pays for it, it certainly has some fucking appeal, doesn't it? 20x more people aren't pirating the game because they think it sucks. Certainly some of them would purchase it if they weren't able to pirate it (the old argument) or if the business model made it so they could play for free and they make up the money on the people who do play (the F2P model now). "-

                  ...but you are even wrong there as well. I think you're leaning too hard on an assumption that whatever reporting mechanisms that are in place are a source of truth. There are people who bought the game, that as a matter of fact, crack it because they don't want to deal with discs or fucked up DRM (which as I'm sure you know Ubi is fond of using). Even if that is a small percentage is still undermines the numbers. This doesn't even address the reason FOR the numbers which I already spoke about.

                  So - in the end I don't have a problem with Ubi trying f2p even if I don't think it will work that well. They are a business and as a gamer I really want the devs to get paid. What I have a problem with is bullshit interviews like what was done. It's sloppy and cheap to trot out some "shocking" percentages like that and then lean on that to promote your business plan. Also, it's just bad press. Even in this forum you can see the reaction is mainly negative because interviews like that tend to sound like they are pissing on the gamer. Point - a quote from bluesnews.com "Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot gives GamesIndustry International his outlook on free-to-play games as a way of combating PC piracy, explaining the difficulties presented by serving an audience they perceive to be 93-95% thieves:"

                  Shit is construed as negative all because he trotted out some percentage that, in the end, its not a factual number - its a guess, and EVEN IF IT WAS, and 100% of the 93% were actually pirating - it still doesn't result in 100% of the 93% being lost sales... and trust me, even if they didn't mention it, its all about the sales.

                  Now just my personal opinion - PC gamers tend to have a higher bar for what they will pay for. If you want that $50 bucks it better be awesome, if you want that $60, it better be fucking amazing and walk my dog. Problem is, for the last console cycle we've been shoveled that off-brand bullshit that passes for many console game ports. I don't think f2p is the way to fix that. F2p is for cell phone and causal games man. I'd prefer to still pay a not insulting retail price (from someplace like steam) and not have to worry about micro-transactions - that in my opinion - cheapen the game overall. Take care of that and I'm happy, they're happy, and you're getting paid.

                  Just my opinion though...

                  • reply
                    August 22, 2012 9:24 PM

                    There are people who bought the game, that as a matter of fact, crack it because they don't want to deal with discs or fucked up DRM (which as I'm sure you know Ubi is fond of using). Even if that is a small percentage is still undermines the numbers.

                    Just, no.

                    For the sake of argument, let's assume 93% is correct, but they didn't account for 100% of their legitimate customers downloading cracked copies and were not accounted for in the statistics. This means their actual piracy rate is 86%, which is still an extremely high number. Again, that's 100% of legitimate customers engaging in the activity. Only a "small percentage" doing it in no way undermines those numbers.

                    Shit is construed as negative all because he trotted out some percentage that, in the end, its not a factual number - its a guess, and EVEN IF IT WAS, and 100% of the 93% were actually pirating - it still doesn't result in 100% of the 93% being lost sales... and trust me, even if they didn't mention it, its all about the sales.

                    No one is claiming the number has a 1:1 translation to lost sales. The fact is it doesn't even need to be what's commonly considered to be "statistically significant" conversion rate to have a ridiculously huge impact on sales.

                    Take the 86% from above that was assuming every legitimate customer also downloaded the crack. If you're able to convert 5% (the most common "significance" threshold used in statistics) of those 86%, then you've increased sales by over 30%. That's huge. If the 93% is accurate and you convert 5%, you've increased sales by over 66%. Also really huge.

                    I'm sorry, but there's absolutely no way you can make your post and have even a basic understanding of mathematics or statistics.

                    The other thing is, the 85-95% numbers have been reported, repeatedly, by multiple companies, publishers, and independent entities, large and small (indies included) for at least the past five years now. This isn't just Ubisoft saying these things.

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 1:41 PM

            Your definition of what it means to pirate a game is strange. When you're talking about number of pirated copies or percentage of copies that aren't legit, it's pretty straightforward and still relevant. Trying to come up with a true number of "lost sales" is what's impossibly complex. However if they have telemetry data to show what proportion of piraters actually played through a game, that would go a long way.

        • reply
          August 22, 2012 4:10 PM

          Because pirated games are totally going to be completely untouched by the crackers and leave in phone-home functionality.

          That is if the person using it doesn't block the game at the firewall too.

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 4:23 PM

            Firewalls don't block outgoing connections by default.

            Also, the cracking community is so ridiculously competitive that the first few releases (which are the most disseminated) likely won't disable any functionality that doesn't block the game from launching. If the call home functionality doesn't block the game from loading, then it won't get disabled for a while.

            So... yeah, what you said was actually true.

        • reply
          August 22, 2012 7:33 PM

          Do you represent the gaming industry? If so I might take up pirating.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 12:55 PM

      I just love when they make an outrageous claim like 93% piracy but give no concrete source and stats to back that up. With DRM, always online, and digital d/l games, had no idea piracy was still that bad... or is it really.

      Let's see Ubisofts excuse for a push into F2P is piracy. EA's is thats where all games industry will be in 10yrs.

      They must see a resurgence in PC gaming back to its heights that I don't see because console makers going to allow 3rd parties to give away games on their systems because they don't make the royalty up front on the game and because retailers can't sell a free game. With no games at retailers, the retailers won't sell the consoles.

      So now they aren't interested in the typical gamer anymore. Just the addict gamer who is OCD about buying all the digital trinkets for his game character or all the available animals for his farm as a way for them, the publisher to make money instead of making a great game people will shell out money up front to buy.

      Its sad that reputable publishers are going to turn into a virtual/digital version of a cigarette makers.

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 2:05 PM

        Newsflash: traditional publishers have long been peddling addictive games. The entire MMORPG genre has existed for well over a decade and literally is predicated on extending people's subscription fees with grinding.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 12:56 PM

      "I completely lack any data or comprehensive argument or any way to dispute the claims of a multitude of sources who have no advantage in releasing their claims of piracy, but still I will complain because I don't understand how a business works and I'd like all PC games to be released without any sort of protection, and because clearly they are all lying even tho I have no proof and it doesn't make sense why. But none of this will stop me from posting bullshit angrily."

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 7:34 PM

        +1 to this. Tired of seeing the sheer stupidity and immaturity of gamers who make excuses for pirating software.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 12:56 PM

      Steam

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 12:59 PM

      So your REALLY STRICT DRM is doing exactly jack & shit.

      THis guy pulled this RIGHT out of his ass. F Ubisoft.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:06 PM

      93% !!! Thats a great Piracritic score !!!

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:11 PM

      That's a fascinating claim, given that they claim their DRM has never been cracked.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:16 PM

      That's some serious bullshit slinging right there. 93% piracy rate my ass.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:18 PM

      People who don't pay for games are a terrible problem killing the industry.

      People in F2P games who don't spend money in the cash shop are just the cost of doing business. Even if it is the exact same proportion of the playerbase.

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 1:52 PM

        The theory behind that is the people who play F2P games and PAY for stuff pay WAY more for the game than they would have if it were a regular retail release. So instead of paying $60 those suckers shell out $250 for hats or whatever over time.

        • reply
          August 22, 2012 2:01 PM

          This type of revenue stream isn't even the worst. One reason for Zynga's fall has been Wall Street's lack of confidence in the F2P model of only a few % paying for premium content as a viable revenue stream. Thus the big drop in stock price for Zynga.

          I've read instead that pubs are starting to look at a F2P model where game consumption is monetized. Meaning you pay per minute or hour or whatever time-unit of game time.

          That may be way EA and Ubisoft want to jump on the bandwagon even as Zynga starts to crash and burn. Because they want to turn the gaming industry into the new 1-900 pay per minute game industry.

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 2:11 PM

            I'm pretty sure Wall Street's lack of confidence in Zynga was them losing money for at least 3 straight quarters.

            And that wouldn't be called F2P, it's P2P. If the subscription model is dated and being replaced by F2P, how the hell are they going to get people to pay per hour or minute?

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 2:18 PM

            If Bethesda were to do this...

        • reply
          August 22, 2012 3:54 PM

          That's what frustrates me about the F2P trend. Either I pay nothing and enjoy much less content, or I pay out the ass to get everything I want. I can't spend $30-60 and receive something reasonable.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:31 PM

      High prices + frequency of releases + lack of updates + difficult to use for legit customers = one hell of a way to claim piracy is so bad that you can't make money at all.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:39 PM

      actually if this guy actually had balls, he would post his numbers as such

      - units sold on steam
      - units sold retail/other
      - pirated units

      I'm pretty certain he doesn't legitimately have the last one, but consider this:

      if his numbers were right, and let's say there were 10000 steam installs, 40000 box installs, and 950000 copies were pirate installs, presuming 1m installs

      950k pirated copies seems extremely unlikely

      100k seems unusually optimistic.

      These are just example numbers, but shows how ridiculous his 'guess' is

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:45 PM

      Then fuck your bullshit DRM off and maybe I'll stop boycotting your games.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 1:47 PM

      I wouldn't be surprised if soon we see Guillemot resign......this is just completely outrageous. I was actually going to buy ACIII on release for pc because I felt maybe UBI was starting to get back a PC vibe like other companies, but now I think Ill just wait till a major sale, just like the other 4.

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 1:54 PM

        why would he?

        Do you even know about the Guillemont family?

        • reply
          August 22, 2012 2:47 PM

          No, but I can't say I really care to, I just simply said that because its those type of statements that cause a company to make it's heads step down.

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 2:56 PM

            this family is the reason all this shit goes down. theyre all about the bottom line

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 3:40 PM

            It's his family's companies. The 5 brothers own GameLoft, Ubisoft, Longtail and some other companies.

            He's not going to be stepping down unless he wants to

            • reply
              August 28, 2012 7:55 PM

              That makes sense, I have had nothing good to say about Gameloft.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 2:05 PM

      I don't know where they keep getting these stats. I've never pirated a game in my life, and I have a LOT of games.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 2:34 PM

      Is it just me or is it always Ubisoft that complains about the piracy rate (also increases it) every year? Ridiculous.

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 3:07 PM

        Seems like it. Every few months their CEO crawls out and cries about piracy.

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 3:23 PM

        Not only that, they use it as an excuse for more advanced and restrictive forms of DRM. Yet the piracy rate is getting worse according to Ubisoft.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 2:37 PM

      So in effect hasn't their CEO just called out their DRM as being useless?

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 2:58 PM

      Let's say he didn't just make up that number. I am dubious of it but let's take it at face value for a second.

      So what happens to that number if you eliminate all users from some of the most sketchy and populous countries, notorious for pirating all manner of things (not just PC games but console games, jeans, sneakers, watches, etc).

      What's left now? Probably a paltry number.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 3:03 PM

      If it wasn't for the DRM the piracy would probably hit 110%!!!! Oh, Yves math is so hard.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 3:29 PM

      Wow, watching him pull those numbers out of his ass must have been some sight.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 3:29 PM

      I think in any cases, you shouldn't count people who play a game for a matter of minutes, then turn it off for good. You're going to have "samplers", especially in free-to-play.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 4:34 PM

      They can do whatever they want. Their giant marketing-laden game budgets can fuck right off, as far as I'm concerned. I got more out of Minecraft than most $60 games. There's a huge number of people that pay for games and plenty of developers are ready to fill gaps left by the exit of these customer-hating shitlords.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 4:55 PM

      Part of the context for his statement on piracy rates was addressing emerging markets like China. The PC piracy rate in China nears 100% and has made it extremely hard for traditional publishers to make traction there. Free to play games are one solution for this as most games that adopt that model are service based, always connected experiences. Moreover, they allow for people to buy into the experience at a near continuum of prices, addressing people who would not or could not make the investment for a $20-$60 product up front.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 4:59 PM

      Remember, if you don't like the statistics you see, attack the sources. Works every time!

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 5:28 PM

        Considering that these statistics are coming from a company who continually pushes for more invasive and restrictive DRM solutions in order to deal with piracy, yeah, it sounds dodgy. In spite of all their work with always-on DRM, they're still complaining of high piracy rates. Either their DRM has been cracked or bypassed, their numbers are wrong or their DRM systems aren't actually doing anything to stop piracy.

        To be fair, there is no indication that these statistics come from Ubisoft or a third-party but that just makes it feel like these numbers have just come out of thin air.

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          August 22, 2012 6:41 PM

          Those statistics were used to justify their decision to start moving away from draconian drm to f2p.

          They said they see a 93% piracy rate, and 5-7% of people who play f2p games put money into it. Since the percentages are the same, might as well try f2p instead of pissing off our customers with drm.

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 6:58 PM

            Seriously! You seem to be the only one who gets it. They're not saying "wah wah you guys need to stop pirating our games." They're showing some of the statistics they're using to make business decision, and that decision is that since it's easier to make money with F2P games than with big budget titles on PC, they are moving in that direction.

            It's weird how a lot of people take piracy statistics personally though.

            • reply
              August 22, 2012 7:51 PM

              Statistics they pull out of their ass

              • reply
                August 22, 2012 11:42 PM

                Why would they do that? Who do they need to lie to? Seriously it's like 9/11 truthers in here or something.

                • reply
                  August 23, 2012 3:28 AM

                  "re PC game piracy rates really that high? There's evidence that they are, in some cases. Developers including Machinarium maker Amanita Design, World of Goo developer 2D Boy, and Demigod maker Stardock have been reporting piracy rates of 90 percent or more for their games. The situation tends to look better for big AAA titles, though. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty racked up over 4.5 million legitimate sales alongside an estimated 3.1 million illegal torrent downloads, making for a more reasonable-sounding 40 percent piracy rate.

                  Of course, for those rates to be meaningful, you have to assume that every pirated copy is in fact a "lost sale," and that a game like World of Goo would actually have made ten times as many sales if piracy were somehow eradicated. That's a highly unrealistic assumption. For one thing, many pirates don't even have the money to pay for nearly all the games they download, so some of those pirated games would by necessity go unpurchased in a piracy-free world. For another, pirates usually make up a smaller portion of the potential audience than the usage statistics suggest. Consider that iPhone game developers sometimes saw 80 percent of their users were pirates when only 10 percent of users had jailbroken phones.

                  For these reasons and others, the real economic effects of piracy are much more difficult to quantify than Guillemot's glib piracy figures would suggest."
                  http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2012/08/ubisoft-boss-free-to-play-a-natural-reaction-to-high-piracy-rates/

                  • reply
                    August 23, 2012 10:33 AM

                    "Of course, for those rates to be meaningful, you have to assume that every pirated copy is in fact a "lost sale,"

                    Uh, no. A small part of that type of piracy rate being a paying customer would make a massive difference. 50% more sales (which is converting just 5% of a 90% piracy rate) would make nearly every PC game project profitable.

                    • reply
                      August 23, 2012 1:30 PM

                      This is a really good post. Can you imagine every PC game selling at 2x what it does now?

          • reply
            August 22, 2012 7:50 PM

            I realise that. What I'm saying is that I think the statistics they're using are ridiculous. Ubisoft justified their draconian DRM by saying that they were losing too many sales to piracy. Now they're saying that they have to move to f2p because of piracy. It does make good business sense to move to f2p and I believe that it will earn them more money in the long run. The idea that piracy rates just happen to match the amount of people who don't pay in f2p games doesn't ring true, especially when you consider that Ubisoft regards their always-on DRM as a success.

            • reply
              August 22, 2012 8:00 PM

              Those numbers are consistent with what's been reported elsewhere in the industry for the past half decade or so.

              I posted my take here : http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=28762345#item_28762345

              The short version is, it seems like they've been struggling to find a business model that works since development costs have started to skyrocket. They started with drm to try to convert some of the pirates to legitimate customers, but that didn't work out tremendously well and had the cost of inconveniencing their customers. Now they're going to try f2p.

              As far as the business speak around drm, it sounds like they were able to remove/eliminate day-0 piracy and saw an increase in sales as a result. Long term piracy was still an option, and those statistics remained high. This is all coated in talking about how successful everything was because they've got investors who would freak out if they said otherwise. Instead of continuing down the drm route, they're going to try f2p -- this is justified (again, to investors) by saying people who pay are about the same, and they'll be able to save money on development to boot.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 5:30 PM

      So even if you believe this bullshit number one of their CEO's pulled out of an arse, that also means that they just wasted a lot of money on DRM that doesn't work.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 5:58 PM

      people still buy boxes retail pc games?

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 6:37 PM

      They are so full of shit.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 7:36 PM

      If that's the case Ubi, then ditch the DRM altogether if it's so ineffective.

      But we know they won't do that. Just keep making BS excuses to either: (a) shove more intrusive DRM down users' throats, or (b) GTFO out PC gaming.

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 8:24 PM

      "same percentage of people who pay into free-to-play titles." do those people end up paying anything close to the price of a retail box though?

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 9:20 PM

      Obvious bullshit stats are obvious.

      If the people on steam only constitute 5-7% of the pc gamers, that'd mean PC gaming is GIGANORMOUS and ubi is stupid for not going after this market better.

      • reply
        August 22, 2012 9:27 PM

        China.

        • reply
          August 23, 2012 12:04 AM

          ... and Russia.

        • reply
          August 23, 2012 4:19 PM

          Who da fuk are you?

          • reply
            August 23, 2012 5:14 PM

            Someone who actually works in the industry!

            • reply
              August 23, 2012 5:46 PM

              What do you want, a cookie for having a job?

              I worked in "gaming journalism," in addition to tens of other things. Hey look at me look at me.

              And I still don't know what China is suppose to add to what I said about PC gaming.

              • reply
                August 23, 2012 6:30 PM

                The stats aren't bullshit. You are failing to understand markets like China and Russia

                • reply
                  August 23, 2012 8:15 PM

                  And how is F2P going to suddenly make money from those regions?

                  • reply
                    August 23, 2012 10:24 PM

                    It's already proven that F2P games can work in those regions.

                    • reply
                      August 24, 2012 10:13 AM

                      China and Russia aren't the reason for such high stats, of course many, many people there pirate, but to actually believe 93% of gamers are pirates is utterly ignorant and goes to show just how small Ubisofts grasp on the industry is.

                      Also, just to pick up the discussions about lost sales: a pirated game DOES NOT equal a lost sale. Especially if the people are poor, because they couldn't afford the game anyways. No piracy would simply mean less people playing the product.

                      • reply
                        August 24, 2012 10:51 AM

                        Nobody is talking about lost sales here

                        • reply
                          August 24, 2012 11:10 AM

                          Ubisoft is. All the time. But yeah, I actually just mentioned, because it is part of the whole piracy discussion in general.

                          Also I would appreciate your opinion on my arguments. Especially if it's true, that you are an insider, so to speak.

                          • reply
                            August 24, 2012 11:12 AM

                            mentioned *it

                          • reply
                            August 24, 2012 2:46 PM

                            he doesn't know anything

                            being in the industry just means he's more prone to having this kind of protectionist view cus low-tier jobs get "redundanted" all the time and justified with these "reasons," and totally not cus of lack of vision and fear of anything remotely new

    • reply
      August 22, 2012 11:32 PM

      Yeah, I wait for a game to come out for at least a month on pc before I buy because they never run right out of the box and if it has some kind of draconic DRM I'll just pass and spend my money elsewhere. No reason to screw up my pc or buy a game that requires me to be online to play single player. I'm tired of being treated like a criminal just because I own a pc instead of an Xbox.
      I've had bad experiance after bad experience with Ubisoft and EA as far as games running stable or fully functional on my pc, waiting for patches that never came, so I just don't buy anything from them anymore.
      I'm pretty much down to Popcap, Bethesda and Blizzard, and the Diablo 3 always online bit just screwed that one up.
      Hey, instead of bitching how many people are pirating your shitty games, maybe you should make something worth buying that isn't going to frak up my pc. I'm willing to buy but too many companies are making it too damn hard.

    • reply
      August 23, 2012 1:06 AM

      Maybe UBISOFT have a 93-95% piracy rate...why? Because your DRM fucking sucks and you bundle some useless UPlay platofrm shit with every game you sell.

      I don't want or need any more backround bullshit or draconian DRM. Ubi, get with the fucking times you clowns.

    • reply
      August 23, 2012 3:06 AM

      [deleted]

    • reply
      August 23, 2012 3:33 AM

      I thought Ubisoft's DRM had never been cracked?

      • reply
        August 24, 2012 9:56 AM

        It has. Quite fast, too.

    • reply
      August 23, 2012 10:21 AM

      So apparently there are a whole lot of dumbasses who know enough to argue that the stats are all BS, but not smart enough to do a simple google search for "video game telemetry". Here is just one public presentation from DICE from that search:

      http://www.slideshare.net/DICEStudio/how-data-rules-the-world-telemetry-in-battlefield-heroes

      See how much they track and send back to themselves? That has nothing to do with DRM. It doesn't stop anyone from pirating. It just gives them data. If they can track down network usage locations with google maps- you don't think they can track how many people are playing their game?

      • reply
        August 23, 2012 11:47 AM

        its refreshing to see someone on here cutting through the bullshit piracy excuses

        • reply
          August 24, 2012 10:02 AM

          Search for my reply to Downforce and see if you can understand the points I made there. It's a long post, so I don't want to repeat it here.

          I don't pirate myself at all anymore, but I do (to some extent) defend people who do it, because there are indeed many reasons why people pirate and some of them are VERY understandable in my opinion.
          Especially looking at how video gaming has become an "industry" that is almost exclusively about making more and more profits nowadays.

          • reply
            August 24, 2012 11:41 AM

            Getting games for free is about more saving money for the gamer- translated profits- but they never seem to care about their own greed now do they?

            • reply
              August 24, 2012 2:59 PM

              True.

            • reply
              August 28, 2012 4:20 AM

              What? you aren't making a product. they are. If you want to save money, don't buy the game AND don't pirate. Revolutionary concept I know.

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