Ubisoft: No End War for filthy PC pirates

Ha, ha, another piracy thread! Oh, I’m all giddy with anticipation…

Ubisoft Shanghai creative director Michael de Plater on Videogaming247.com about delaying the PC release of Tom Clancy’s End War:

“To be honest, if PC wasn’t pirated to hell and back, there’d probably be a PC version coming out the same day as the other two,” he said, talking of the voice-controlled RTS.

“But at the moment, if you release the PC version, essentially what you’re doing is letting people have a free version that they rip off instead of a purchased version. Piracy’s basically killing PC.”

We asked if piracy was the main reason to keep EndWar off PC.

“Yeah, at the time of release,” he said. “You know, the level of piracy that you get with the PC just cannibalizes the others, because people just steal that version.”

John Walker at RPS doesn’t believe him, though.

I couldn’t get through it all, but just read the comment section at RPS. I think they’ve covered the ground we would have already. Around and around and around…

Damn. That sucks. Even if that perception is wrong (and I’m not saying it is), the fact that we’ve read this over and over and over again from developers/publishers really speaks to what a huge problem it is.

PC gaming . . . d0med?

I just want to add that 360 games can be pirated as well.

I just want to add that 360 games can be pirated as well.

Not nearly as easily as PC games. And you can’t play online, can you?

The game seems to suck anyways with only 7 different unit types.
Maybe good enough for consoles but certainly not for the RTS scene on the PC. Only modestly interesting thing seems the voice control though a lot of people already claimed to never want to use it since their partners would think they lost it totally now if they see them yelling at the tv “Unit 1 to Tango”…

Maybe another 25 EUR max purchase for me sometimes in 2009 if the voice control works at all.

Not all shit should come to the PC (see Fracture).
Besides why do they want to release it on the PC at all if we are all stinky non-paying pirates.

Ubi Shanghai: Failed again (after the dismayal Splinter Cell - Double Agent).

In 95% of the cases you can’t play pirated PC games online as well so your point is moot and if you are too thick to avoid getting caught pants down with your modded Xbox 360 and therefore lose your Xbox online permission thing you asked for it anyways.


I’m sure those of us who don’t pirate the game are going to run right out and buy it, especially after Ubisoft gives us a huge middle finger and makes us wait.

I’m actually a little surprised. Ubisoft is usually more interested in shoveling half finished games out the door and patching them later, as opposed to sitting on them and waiting. Shocking.

In 95% of the cases you can’t play pirated PC games online as well so your point is moot and if you are too thick to avoid getting caught pants down with your modded Xbox 360 and therefore lose your Xbox online permission thing you asked for it anyways.

I guess it’s more of a problem on the 360 since most games there are more fun online. Yet another reason why pirating on the 360 is not as easy as PC (meaning, it’s less worth it).

No no, of course not, I believe it’s much harder to even prepare the 360 for pirated stuff. Not sure about the online play - I think there’s a banning risk but I’m sure I’ve heard pirates say they could play these games online.

Anyway, the people that go to the lengths of modding their Xboxes are mostly folks that would never buy these games in the first place; they’re hardcore pirates. Some might argue that the same goes for PC pirates…

Depends on the game’s authentication, too. I recall the COD4 devs despairing over all of the pirated copies being played online, so I guess it was possible to generate fake keys good enough to satisfy the server-side checks (truly unique keys would need forced central authentication every time).

Why is this shocking? I figured companies would naturally gravitate toward releasing PC games later after the initial purchases are made. I won’t really mind until it affects a PC franchise that I adore.

It definitely shouldn’t be shocking to people at this point. Whether or not PC gamers care for it, this is the line of reasoning a lot of PC game makers have already admitted to using.

Maybe John Walker could do some investigating on his own instead of relying on publishers to hand him data they may already have and don’t feel like sharing. I’m pretty sure it’s a journalist’s responsibility to fact check.

I’m not totally sure why people think the publishers need to “prove” anything, though I suppose it’s part of the message board “publishers are always out to screw us” mindset. In this case, they’re in a no-win situation. No matter what quantity of data they put out, the same people clamoring for data will will accuse them of inflating the numbers.

I mean, I could announce a PC game going console only, and say it’s because we see something like a 4:1 ratio of bogus to legit codes on our validation servers—overall numbers that far exceed the game’s overall sales, and don’t take into account single-player at all—but people would just accuse me of inflating the numbers, right? Or they’d whip out the “most people wouldn’t have purchased it,” or “people are trying it because there was no demo/the demo wasn’t good enough,” and all of the other typical arguments that people use to rationalize (and indirectly, legitimize) torrenting games.

I’m not entirely sure why the publishers would lie. Do you think they’re sitting in a room saying, “Hmm, how can we make less money? I know, let’s create a piracy scare so we can dump PC development!”

And using the DS as an example of a pirate system doing well ignores the difficulty of DS development: If you’re not Nintendo, or if you’re not making a game based on a major license that’s targeted at kids, it’s an extremely difficult platform to sell games on. The PSP is even worse.

It’s not unlike PC game sales. The games that sell best are “sure things” from a few publishers, MMOs, or games targeted at the non-pirate demographic, like kids games or the occasional Civ IV or Sins of a Solar Empire.

Keygens can generate enough random codes that you will eventually hit on a legit one that validates properly. Of course some poor dude could, in theory, have that same code in his legitimately purchased copy and end up being blocked from online play. That may have happened to me with a copy of Windows; I cracked it open, installed it, and Windows forced me to activate over the phone. (It was an OEM one from Newegg, so it’s possible it does this by default.)

As for the specific game mentioned here, if it was my decision I’d do exactly what Ubisoft is doing with a new franchise, particularly one in a genre that’s primarily a PC one. I’d also do it if it was a new FPS franchise. Console first, then PC.

That’s fine from a publisher’s perspective, I suppose, but from a consumer viewpoint, the more that publishers treat their customers like criminals, the less likely said customers are likely to be their customers.

The more I read about companies like Ubisoft, the more I itch to send cheques to Stardock and devs like Vic Davis.

Why should the publishers or developers have to do some sort of formal research or justify their decision in this area? Clearly they have really good reasons to believe a PC version wouldn’t be profitable enough to bother with or they’d, you know, release a PC version… since they likey the profits. Does John Walker think they are making these decisions just to piss off PC gamers or what?

If there were really money just sitting there on the table, they’d take it, but there isn’t. Too bad, so sad, AAA/non-MMO PC gaming is d0med.

That’s a great point, honestly. Companies like money. If they felt that there was a chance of hitting a gold vein on the PC rather than consoles, they’d be releasing there first and making consoles wait. Whatever pays the most would win.

The thing is:
Gamers can live without publishers but publishers can’t live without gamers.

They should stop trying to force their idea of “you only buy a (temporary) licence to play a game that can be revoked anyday we want” on us.
I buy a goddamn box + manual + cd and that is MINE and I’m free to do with it whatever I want including re-selling it if I feel so.
In no other industry do suppliers act like they are gods or something and only due to their everlasting grace are people able to enjoy their products!
Why do they think this will fly in the game industry?

Let’s assume PC gaming would “die” aka only old nutters would stay with it and everyone that wants to play some decent FPS would have to use a Xbox 360 or PS3.
Do they really think all the former PC pirates wouldn’t get a modded Xbox 360 and just download a Xbox 360 image instead of a PC image?
Now let’s say their casual friends who buy Xbox 360 games see them enjoying all the new shit for free. Don’t they think that these friends will want to have the shit for free, too and will ask them how to do it?

Personally I was asked by real wealthy people how they could get pirated copies of DS games for their 2 daughters when I visited them in the US.
Those people could buy them 10 cartridges daily easily but yet even they were interested in saving and saw no moral troubles buying a R4 and downloading shit for free from now on.

What Ubisoft games are you think of, exactly? The big Ubisoft franchises that I always think of are Prince of Persia, Splinter Cell, Assassin’s Creed, Rainbow Six Vegas, Ghost Recon, Far Cry, and maybe a bunch of kid’s games franchises like Petz, Dogz, etc. Which of those is half-finished and pushed out the door and then patched later?

The only example I can think of is Splinter Cell 2 on the Xbox had to be patched when you logged onto Xbox Live on day 1 if you wanted to play multiplayer, but since you had to log on to play multiplayer anyway, I didn’t see that as a big deal. I guess I always associated Ubisoft with being one of the developers whose internal teams always put out finished games that didn’t need to be patched.

I was unaware that PC gamers were entitled to simultaneous releases.

I do like how every single thing publishers do can be made to sound bad nowadays. Give them a free consumable in the box? It’s not “hey look, free stuff!”; it’s “they’re declaring war on reselling!” And now, staggered release dates “treat customers like criminals.”

The more I read about companies like Ubisoft, the more I itch to send cheques to Stardock and devs like Vic Davis.

If a company chooses not to make console versions of their games, are they treating console gamers like criminals or do they need to make a statement about platform piracy first?