PDA

View Full Version : To UBISOFT and their horrible PC Sales.....



SDF.
05-07-2010, 02:04 PM
Another View Of Video Game Piracy
Maybe we're thinking about video game piracy wrong? David Rosen, whose Wolfire Games is presenting a copy-protection-free/you-name-the-price Humble Indie Bundle of stellar computer games this week, makes his case. The problem, he argues, is wildly misunderstood.

We've been hearing a lot about game piracy recently, with big developers inflicting draconian online-only DRM systems on their users, and blaming their declining PC game sales entirely on piracy. I'm not questioning that piracy is common, since even honest, DRM-free, indie developers like 2DBoy[1] report a 90% piracy rate. I am, however, questioning what this means. How much revenue are developers actually losing to piracy?

The common industry assumption is that developers are losing 90% of their revenue. That is, pirates would have bought every single game that they downloaded. From personal experience, I know this is not possible most pirates that I've met have downloaded enough software to exceed their entire lifetime income, were they to have paid for it all. A more plausible (but still overly optimistic) guess is that if piracy was stopped the average pirate would behave like an average consumer.

This means that to calculate the worst-case scenario of how much money is lost to piracy, we just need to figure out what percentage of the target market consists of pirates. For example, if 50% of the market is pirates, that means that it's possible that you've lost 50% of your revenue to piracy. So how do we calculate what percentage of the market consists of pirates? Do we just go with 90%?

iPhone piracy
iPhone game developers have also found that around 80% of their users are running pirated copies of their game (using jailbroken phones) [2] This immediately struck me as odd I suspected that most iPhone users had never even heard of 'jailbreaking'. I did a bit more research and found that my intuition was correct only 5% of iPhones in the US are jailbroken. [3] World-wide, the jailbreak statistics are highest in poor countries but, unsurprisingly, iPhones are also much less common there. The highest estimate I've seen is that 10% of worldwide iPhones are jailbroken. Given that there are so few jailbroken phones, how can we explain that 80% of game copies are pirated?



The answer is simple the average pirate downloads a lot more games than the average customer buys. This means that even though games see that 80% of their copies are pirated, only 10% of their potential customers are pirates, which means they are losing at most 10% of their sales. If you'd like to see an example with math, read the following paragraph. If word problems make your eyes glaze over, then I advise you to skip it.

Let's consider the following scenario. Because game pirates can get apps for free, they download a couple new games every day or about 500 games in a year. On the other hand, normal gamers tend to play the same game for a longer time buying an average of 5 games per year. If this seems low to you, then consider that you are also reading a post on an indie game developer blog. You are probably more hardcore than the average gamer. Anyway, given these statistics, if the market consists of 10 million gamers, then there are 500 million pirated game copies, and 90 million purchased game copies, From the perspective of every individual game, 80% of its users are using pirated copies. However, only 10% of the market consists of pirates.

PC game piracy
Does this also apply to PC (Windows/Mac/Linux) gamers? Many PC game developers find that about 90% of their users are running pirated copies does this mean that piracy is killing PC games? Let's try our alternative explanation, and see if these statistics are possible even if only 20% of worldwide PC gamers are pirates. The average PC gamer worldwide only buys about three games a year, and plays them for a long time [4]. I buy many more than that, and you probably do too, but again, we are not average gamers! On the other hand, game pirates might download a new game every few days, for a total of about 125 games a year. Given these numbers, games would see 90% piracy rates even though only 20% of gamers are pirates.

Are these numbers accurate? The NPD recently conducted an anonymous survey showing that only 4% of PC gamers in the US admit to pirating games [5], a number that is comparable to XBox 360 piracy statistics [6] . However, since piracy is inversely proportionate to per-capita GDP, we can expect piracy rates to increase dramatically in places like Russia, China and India, driving up the world-wide average. Let's say to 20%.

This means that if all pirates would otherwise buy as many games as the average consumer, then game developers would be losing 20% of their revenue to piracy.

But would pirates really buy games?
Anecdotally and from studies by companies like the BSA, it's clear that pirates for the most part have very little income. They are unemployed students, or live in countries with very low per-capita GDP, where the price of a $60 game is more like $1000 (in terms of purchasing power parity and income percentage). When Reflexive games performed a series of experiments with anti-piracy measures, they found that they only made one extra sale for every 1000 pirated copies they blocked [7]. This implies that their 90% piracy statistic caused them to lose less than 1% of their sales.

Why are PC games really losing sales?
While many game developers blame piracy for their decreasing PC game sales, it is clear that this is not the problem relatively few gamers are pirates, and those that are would mostly not be able to afford games anyway.

However, it's easier for these developers to point their fingers at pirates than to face the real problem: that their games are not fun on PC. The games in question are usually designed for consoles, with the desktop port as an afterthought. This means they are not fun to play with a mouse and keyboard, and don't work well on PC hardware. Their field of view is designed to be viewed from a distant couch instead of a nearby monitor, and their gameplay is simplified to compensate for this tunnel vision.

Blizzard is one of the most successful game developers in the world, and it develops exclusively for desktop computers. Why do they succeed where everyone else fails? They create games that are designed from the beginning to work well with the mouse and keyboard, and with all kinds of desktop hardware. If developers spent more time improving their PC gaming experience, and less time complaining about piracy, we might see more successful PC games.

With the Humble Indie Bundle promotion we've seen that when we treat gamers as real people instead of criminals, they seem to respond in kind. Anyone can get all five DRM-free games for a single penny, and pirate them as much as they want we have no way to find out or stop it. However, in just the first two days, we have over 40,000 contributions with an average of $8 each! Would we have seen this much support if the games were console ports that only worked when connected to a secure online DRM server? We'll never know for sure, but somehow I doubt it.

David Rosen is the founder and lead programmer of Wolfire Games.

PIC:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13698839@N00/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

SDF.
05-07-2010, 02:04 PM
Another View Of Video Game Piracy
Maybe we're thinking about video game piracy wrong? David Rosen, whose Wolfire Games is presenting a copy-protection-free/you-name-the-price Humble Indie Bundle of stellar computer games this week, makes his case. The problem, he argues, is wildly misunderstood.

We've been hearing a lot about game piracy recently, with big developers inflicting draconian online-only DRM systems on their users, and blaming their declining PC game sales entirely on piracy. I'm not questioning that piracy is common, since even honest, DRM-free, indie developers like 2DBoy[1] report a 90% piracy rate. I am, however, questioning what this means. How much revenue are developers actually losing to piracy?

The common industry assumption is that developers are losing 90% of their revenue. That is, pirates would have bought every single game that they downloaded. From personal experience, I know this is not possible most pirates that I've met have downloaded enough software to exceed their entire lifetime income, were they to have paid for it all. A more plausible (but still overly optimistic) guess is that if piracy was stopped the average pirate would behave like an average consumer.

This means that to calculate the worst-case scenario of how much money is lost to piracy, we just need to figure out what percentage of the target market consists of pirates. For example, if 50% of the market is pirates, that means that it's possible that you've lost 50% of your revenue to piracy. So how do we calculate what percentage of the market consists of pirates? Do we just go with 90%?

iPhone piracy
iPhone game developers have also found that around 80% of their users are running pirated copies of their game (using jailbroken phones) [2] This immediately struck me as odd I suspected that most iPhone users had never even heard of 'jailbreaking'. I did a bit more research and found that my intuition was correct only 5% of iPhones in the US are jailbroken. [3] World-wide, the jailbreak statistics are highest in poor countries but, unsurprisingly, iPhones are also much less common there. The highest estimate I've seen is that 10% of worldwide iPhones are jailbroken. Given that there are so few jailbroken phones, how can we explain that 80% of game copies are pirated?



The answer is simple the average pirate downloads a lot more games than the average customer buys. This means that even though games see that 80% of their copies are pirated, only 10% of their potential customers are pirates, which means they are losing at most 10% of their sales. If you'd like to see an example with math, read the following paragraph. If word problems make your eyes glaze over, then I advise you to skip it.

Let's consider the following scenario. Because game pirates can get apps for free, they download a couple new games every day or about 500 games in a year. On the other hand, normal gamers tend to play the same game for a longer time buying an average of 5 games per year. If this seems low to you, then consider that you are also reading a post on an indie game developer blog. You are probably more hardcore than the average gamer. Anyway, given these statistics, if the market consists of 10 million gamers, then there are 500 million pirated game copies, and 90 million purchased game copies, From the perspective of every individual game, 80% of its users are using pirated copies. However, only 10% of the market consists of pirates.

PC game piracy
Does this also apply to PC (Windows/Mac/Linux) gamers? Many PC game developers find that about 90% of their users are running pirated copies does this mean that piracy is killing PC games? Let's try our alternative explanation, and see if these statistics are possible even if only 20% of worldwide PC gamers are pirates. The average PC gamer worldwide only buys about three games a year, and plays them for a long time [4]. I buy many more than that, and you probably do too, but again, we are not average gamers! On the other hand, game pirates might download a new game every few days, for a total of about 125 games a year. Given these numbers, games would see 90% piracy rates even though only 20% of gamers are pirates.

Are these numbers accurate? The NPD recently conducted an anonymous survey showing that only 4% of PC gamers in the US admit to pirating games [5], a number that is comparable to XBox 360 piracy statistics [6] . However, since piracy is inversely proportionate to per-capita GDP, we can expect piracy rates to increase dramatically in places like Russia, China and India, driving up the world-wide average. Let's say to 20%.

This means that if all pirates would otherwise buy as many games as the average consumer, then game developers would be losing 20% of their revenue to piracy.

But would pirates really buy games?
Anecdotally and from studies by companies like the BSA, it's clear that pirates for the most part have very little income. They are unemployed students, or live in countries with very low per-capita GDP, where the price of a $60 game is more like $1000 (in terms of purchasing power parity and income percentage). When Reflexive games performed a series of experiments with anti-piracy measures, they found that they only made one extra sale for every 1000 pirated copies they blocked [7]. This implies that their 90% piracy statistic caused them to lose less than 1% of their sales.

Why are PC games really losing sales?
While many game developers blame piracy for their decreasing PC game sales, it is clear that this is not the problem relatively few gamers are pirates, and those that are would mostly not be able to afford games anyway.

However, it's easier for these developers to point their fingers at pirates than to face the real problem: that their games are not fun on PC. The games in question are usually designed for consoles, with the desktop port as an afterthought. This means they are not fun to play with a mouse and keyboard, and don't work well on PC hardware. Their field of view is designed to be viewed from a distant couch instead of a nearby monitor, and their gameplay is simplified to compensate for this tunnel vision.

Blizzard is one of the most successful game developers in the world, and it develops exclusively for desktop computers. Why do they succeed where everyone else fails? They create games that are designed from the beginning to work well with the mouse and keyboard, and with all kinds of desktop hardware. If developers spent more time improving their PC gaming experience, and less time complaining about piracy, we might see more successful PC games.

With the Humble Indie Bundle promotion we've seen that when we treat gamers as real people instead of criminals, they seem to respond in kind. Anyone can get all five DRM-free games for a single penny, and pirate them as much as they want we have no way to find out or stop it. However, in just the first two days, we have over 40,000 contributions with an average of $8 each! Would we have seen this much support if the games were console ports that only worked when connected to a secure online DRM server? We'll never know for sure, but somehow I doubt it.

David Rosen is the founder and lead programmer of Wolfire Games.

PIC:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/13698839@N00/ / CC BY-ND 2.0

chicken32
05-07-2010, 02:32 PM
Good post, I agree with the Blizzard thing although they leaning towards bad guy label, because of Activision: splitting SC2 into 3 games. If devs actually cared about the PC platform then people would be less worried about the product, for me. I pirated RE5, Batman AA, Borderlands, SF4, MW2. And I bought them all, although i regret buying MW2 DAMN LAG!! But the point is, I now have to pirate a game to make sure it runs well, controls well. THEN I buy it, this is also because there's never any PC Demos being released.

I like what CAPCOM is doing with their soon to be released games, they release a benchmark. Showing the gamers, how it will run on your machine.

I bought Conviction, because Im a big SC fan. But I feel I regret i did, because the DRM kept pausing my game even though I was connected to the internet, the framerate is unacceptable. My trust has lowered with Ubisoft. I trusted this new DRM to do its job and still mantain my level of enjoyment and it hasn't. I trusted Ubisoft to use an outdated PC derived engine, Unreal Engine 2, efficiently, they have not.

TheStranger.
05-07-2010, 03:11 PM
What ever happened to the Games for Windows thing? I thought for sure that would help bring the gaming developers back to the PC platform to some extent but now you never see anything of them.

EliteForceGames
05-07-2010, 03:28 PM
console-porting is another reason PC sales go down... alot of ppl say kb+mouse=win but hey if its easier to maintain a console than a PC, then there you have it.

chicken32
05-07-2010, 05:33 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by TheStranger.:
What ever happened to the Games for Windows thing? I thought for sure that would help bring the gaming developers back to the PC platform to some extent but now you never see anything of them. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Iduno some editors say that it failed. But MS is still improving it, recently adding Games for demand and demo downloads like XboxLive. But its just that they need more games, bigger games coming out under that label. Uhm like the recently PC canceled Alan Wake and should release Gears2, Halo 3.

RMJ1984
05-07-2010, 06:51 PM
Yeah youre right, it gets really tiresome Ubisoft and the other companies crying wolf.

I hate to say it, but you they are the problem, not the PC platform, because Blizzard shows it can be done.

More companies should try and strive and learn what Blizzard does right. As soon as a Blizzard game is out for preorder i have it on order. I believe ive had Starcraft 2 on preorder for almost a yeah now, Diablo 3 will be to the moments i can.

Its all about how you treat your customers, with drm, bugs, bad support, slow patches and so forth.

I miss more companies with the Balls to go ahead and help define and expand on the PC, and say you know what, we are gonna show how its done.

Lets take Valve's approach, pirates are unserved customers, and you know what they are right.

After this whole stunt with not only a bad Conviction port, but drm, and on top of that you dont even bother to release a PC demo for the pc users. Then its your own fault, if sales are bad.

I mean the nerve seriously to not release a pc demo ? that is stupid beyond all types of measurement.

if you spit your customers in the face, dont expect them to stand there with there hands out and be happy. Its sad how far Ubisoft have fallen, even EA is above you know, for me i gotta say Ubisoft is one of the companies i have the least respect for or wanna support after the treatment we have gotten.

Im not sure if its because its old people that run the company, but then fire them. Adapt and learn instead of making the same mistakes, i really thought Ubisoft learned its lesson from Starforce, but some people or companies just dont learn.

If i had a company that made games, seriously i couldn care less about piracy, what would matter to me would be to say, hmm what can i do to improve the experience and get those people to like this company and feel that they are part of a whole and wanna support it. That in return requires the company to actully communicate with said customers.

Atlantis843
05-08-2010, 05:40 AM
I know one thing and that I will not buy from Ubisoft again. I bought Conviction 2 weeks ago and still can't play it and all my other games work!

droezelke
05-08-2010, 07:22 AM
With statistics you can prove anything if you spin it right.
One thing that is missing from the original post is a possible explanation why Xbox360 and PS3 sales are much higher than PC sales, although the PC-platform is the biggest platform world-wide (consoles don't even come close to the install base of the pc). Also the price for a console game is higher than the price of the same game on PC. So if we are argumenting that the income of the gamer is the deciding factor in how many games are sold and how many are pirated, that would not make sense to me. Unless you bring up the argument that a true game-pc costs a lot more than a console. But if the price of a game-pc was a valid argument, then how do you explain the amount of pirated games. Simple example: for every copy of Crysis (for which you need a true game-pc) that was sold, there were 7 copies pirated. This does indicate that much more people pirate a game than there are people buying a game. If this example is indicative for other game sales (and I'm sure it is), then the argument that only 10% of the gamers are responsible for 90% of the piracy, doesn't make any sense.
I am a member of the biggest game-site in Belgium, and I know that more than 80% of the gamers that visit the site, pirate games (they don't even hide it).

So, then remains the question why sales on consoles are higher than on pc: because it is much less convenient (and in the case of the PS3 still impossible) to pirate a console game because you have to alter the console, making it impossible to play online.

DRM-policies like the one from Ubisoft don't hold me back to buy a game, nor does it make me want to download an illegal copy. BUT in the case of SC:C, it's the bad support for PC that has made me decide not to buy a Ubisoft game ever again. IMO Ubisoft has stolen money from me and there is nothing I can do about it. I won't let them do that again.

If you think that everything I wrote is BS, that's ok with me. But there is one thing that I have learned as a customer: treat your customers in the best way possible, and they will keep coming back to you.

RMJ1984
05-08-2010, 08:01 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by chicken32:
Good post, I agree with the Blizzard thing although they leaning towards bad guy label, because of Activision: splitting SC2 into 3 games. If devs actually cared about the PC platform then people would be less worried about the product, for me. I pirated RE5, Batman AA, Borderlands, SF4, MW2. And I bought them all, although i regret buying MW2 DAMN LAG!! But the point is, I now have to pirate a game to make sure it runs well, controls well. THEN I buy it, this is also because there's never any PC Demos being released.

I like what CAPCOM is doing with their soon to be released games, they release a benchmark. Showing the gamers, how it will run on your machine.

I bought Conviction, because Im a big SC fan. But I feel I regret i did, because the DRM kept pausing my game even though I was connected to the internet, the framerate is unacceptable. My trust has lowered with Ubisoft. I trusted this new DRM to do its job and still mantain my level of enjoyment and it hasn't. I trusted Ubisoft to use an outdated PC derived engine, Unreal Engine 2, efficiently, they have not. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

About Starcraft 2, Blizzard isnt milking, they are splitting the game up, so we can get Starcraft 2 earlier and 2 to get more story. Starcraft 2 with the Terran campaign will be as long as Starcraft 1 with all 3 campaigns, then we will get 2 more protoss and zerg that will be equally as long. If they were to make it all now, we wouldn see the game before 2012.

It was another thing, if it was just a 5 hour SP game like Conviction, which again is horrible, yes yes you can do coop, i dont wanna do coop i want 10-15hour Sam Fisher adventure xD