Crytek goes multi-platform

Blames “rampant piracy”

This doesn’t apply to Crysis, however. Just moving forward.

Here are the links to the actual interviews:

PC Play interview with Cevat Yerli (Crytek president)

We are suffering currently from the huge piracy that is encompassing Crysis. We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin, a chart leading that is not desirable. I believe that’s the core problem of PC Gaming, piracy. To the degree PC Gamers that pirate games inherently destroy the platform. Similar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more. It was a big lesson for us and I believe we wont have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive anymore.

Next Generation interview with Harald Seeley (Crytek engine business manager)

I can say the level of piracy [for Crysis] was the highest of any I’ve experienced on a project.

But I’m sure they’re all just idiots, PC gaming is totally healthy (as proven by Dwarf Fortress), and piracy is irrelevant. Right?

Beyond just the basic PC gaming = d0med stuff, a big part of their problem is that there is a much bigger overlap between the set of PC gamers who pirate games and PC gamers who have very high spec hardware than there is with other groups of PC gamers. This seems somewhat odd when you think about it, since you’d expect people who can afford very high end computers can easily afford games and software, but all of my real world experience dealing with gamers (some of who pirate, some of who don’t) says that this holds true anyway.

If you laser-target your release so that it is only playable by a group of people that are the most likely to pirate games, well, you’re going to have a game that is widely pirated. Were they actually surprised by this?

Once again a developer considers every pirated download a sale lost. Also sales no doubt were hurt by the piracy, I don’t think it is why the game failed to sell. Instead of blaming piracy why don’t they blame the massive cockblock that is their system reqs. I think most of those downloads were more of a “Hey I wonder if my computer can even run the game” type thing. Whenever someone mentions how shitty making a game for the PC is because of piracy I bring up Gal Civ, which pretty much flies in the face of all those theories. You can’t make a game that can only play the highest settings on less than 1% of all the systems out there, and you can’t expect people to drop down 50 bucks on a game that will run like shit on their run of the mill computer.

I agree with this in part, but GalCiv targets a very different audience regardless of system specs. Coca Cola Zero makes a good observation as well.

I used to be someone who disregarded piracy on the PC. More and more, I’m finding I’m not seeing the games I want to play, in the environment I want to play them. The one thing that’s keeping me from going back to consoles is you just have to buy so many of them to get the range of games I would want.

I look forward to an open architecture one console future, but I’m dreaming.

Which in the case of Crysis is probably closer to the truth than elsewhere. Anyone who can afford a PC that’s capable of running a modern shooter can also afford the game. This is not a Photoshop situation.

I think most of those downloads were more of a “Hey I wonder if my computer can even run the game” type thing.

Yeah, because the first thing any PC gamer thinks of when trying out a game is to pirate it! Not, you know, download the official demo or anything.

The GalCiv example does not apply here because the target audience is totally different, i.e. people who are willing to pay for games. Brad Wardell himself has said that he wouldn’t get away with such a weak copy protection if he were making shooters.

While the “maybe it’s not really a good game” argument can be valid, I find it harder and harder to accept as more and more companies move away from PC exclusivity. Valve presumably faces less of a piracy issue because of Steam, for example, and yet it has gone multi platform as well.

Whether it’s piracy or simple economics, who’s to say.

I play nearly exclusively on the PC, but I can’t see a big deal here. If you’re in the shooter market especially, these days, it’s kinda dumb to leave money on the table and not release multi-platform. As long as devs make the extra effort to optimize the control scheme, and UI for the respective platforms, what’s the downside?

Piracy isn’t irrelevant because it does have an effect on morale. I don’t think it effects sales in any way shape or form.

While I don’t think every pirated copy is a lot sale, I don’t think you can discount it either.

  • Game is hyped and is somewhat hotly anticipated
  • game is well-reviewed
  • game allegedly tops the list of torrents
  • game sells poorly

Now, it’s possible that Crysis is the shooter version of Psyconauts. Or a lot of people downloaded the crack to see how it ran on their systems. But how many “just to try it” people would actually pay for the game.

Now, what’s also likely is while the press went “yay!” over the game, the gamer community went “meh” and that word of mouth killed sales.

However, I do not fault them from getting away from the high-end, piracy prone PC Market to the lucrative console market. I’m just surprised it took this long.

The high piracy rate opposed to sales might be an indication of people wanting to see how the game ran on their computers - and possibly finding out that it didn’t do that very well.

It’s interesting to see the Crysis case running the piracy issue theme as - almost sole - explanation, being a game that has such insanely high system requirements. Not that I’m discounting piracy’s influence; I just don’t think of it to have any influence different from what has been seen with other games in the case of Crysis.

We probably need more numbers to crunch, if we’re to get anything else than circumstantial speculation.

I think this move to multiple platforms has less to do with piracy, and more to do with the fact that only a fraction of the enthusiast pc gaming market has an interest in a game (crysis) that is half game and half tech demo that will run well on only the most expensive, up to date gaming rigs. They set themselves up to sell relatively few games with targeting such a small market. Piracy is bad and is a problem, but I’m tired of it as an excuse.

As an anti-console pro-PC I say:
“Exclusivity” of any form, unless you’re paid in kind very large sums, is a stupid business decision.
Well, okay, if you can’t afford the resources to port it then that’s another thing.
But to say I focus on Market X and ignore completely Market Y is downright stupid.

Some people try to make a huge buzz out of something that is very marginal on the history of the PC.
Maybe they’ve been burned by piracy, maybe their ego got struck down by their game not delivering the way anonymous does, who’s to say?
But going multiplatform? Well, good morning america Crytek, has your CEO finally caught some financial wind in his dull brain?

No new/real news here.
IF they were to say “we’re dropping the PC Market due to excessive piracy” then that’s one thing of an alert beacon, perhaps.
But their blaming of piracy as an execuse to not be PC exclusive?
Transparent lies to cover bruised egos 101.
Nimrods, you shouldn’t have been exclusive in the first place, D’uh!

Hello, is anyone home there? Crysis had a demo! That’s what you use to evaluate how the game might run on your system. Unless of course you never intended to pay anyway.

Then why was the game pirated? Why would people pirate a game that they can’t run? That’s bullshit. Obviously they did want to play, they just didn’t want to pay.

Thats the thing. Crysis was not pirated more than any other major pc release. It wasn’t about piracy. Its a market decision. But piracy is a lot easier to blame than poor business practices.

Well, tell them, not me - I’m not the one who downloaded it. No one’s saying that their grounds for downloading are logical.

The question that still remains unanswered is how Crysis could be so popular on trackers and so unpopular in retail. There should be some proportionality, no?

That is a good question. Maybe its because gamers don’t want to spend $50+ on a game that most likely won’t run well on their pc. And the number of gamers that have a pc that will run it well is pretty small. But I’m sure there are other reasons as well.

Does anyone else think that this piracy excuse is a scapegoat? There are ways to get around piracy, look at games like WoW, or other games. Rather than spending money to go multiplatform, why don’t they spend money on creating new ways to copy-protect.

Heck, bioshock’s copy protection worked really well for the first couple of weeks. That was the first game I remember not having a cracked copy pre-release. Pirates actually had to wait a couple of weeks after the release to get the game.

Programs like steam could really combat piracy as well… Why pirate a game when you can buy it off steam and get achievements, manage community events, create servers, etc…

What about battlenet? I remember that doing a good job of combatting piracy. I remember with Warcraft 3 not being able to play with a friend over the internet because he had a cracked copy of the game. Blizzard games have always done a good job stopping pirates with blocks on multiplayer play.

There was a really good point brought up on the GFW podcast a couple of months ago, it is that publishers are expecting numbers not capable of the PC platform. Games sell millions of copies all of the time… on consoles, but games on PC have historically never sold as well as that. I think that developers and publishers are expecting sales numbers far too high for the PC market anyway.

Crysis is a special case though. I would love to play crysis, I really would, but my PC (god love it) is 4 years old, and I cannot play the game. I don’t have any money to upgrade right now, and I can still play most games that come out Orange box, Company of Heroes, Civ4 BTS, etc… Seriously, they should have expected slow sales.

All of this piracy talk seems like just an excuse to me. It is fine that they are going multiplatform, but I think blaming piracy isn’t right at all. They should blame themselves for making a game that 60% of the PCs on the market can’t play, having ludicrous sales expectations, and not combatting piracy well enough.

Well said, Jon

It’s funny, because you cite all these ideas which are either a) totally inapplicable to Crysis (MAKE IT LIEK WOW), or b) things that people constantly bitch about being anti-consumer (Steam, product activation, etc.).

Everybody bitches about anti-piracy measures, and then bitches when companies decide to abandon the PC for greener pastures. It’s a no-win solution. And if somebody brings up fucking Stardock again…