Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ubisofts Yves Guillemot makes an utter prat of himself

Here's a little story about my brother and his PC woes more than a decade ago now.  Back then he had two HDD's in his system, one for windows and other programs and the other for his games.  Sadly his second HDD died and he lost every game he had on there.  It sucked big time.  Now my brother had a friend who would get games illegally off the internet and bring copies over to his house to see if he wanted any of them.  My brother would usually accept them just to change the conversation or get him to leave and this particular time he had left some fantasy game at the house.

Now my brother is bored out of his mind.  No games to play and very little drive to install all of them to his C drive.  Even more depressing is the loss of all those savegames and the such.  He wasn't getting a replacement drive for another fortnight so his gaming world seemed to be on hold until then, but thats when he looked at the copied game his friend had brought round.  It was some title he had never heard of and the name didn't seem to evoke any sense of what the game would be about, but what the hell he had nothing else to play and this was something different.

He installs the game around 2:00 pm that afternoon and doesn't come off the game until 4:00 am the following morning.  He nearly missed dinner for this game.  He loved playing it that much he even gave the disc to his other friends to get them to play it.  He was so confident in its quality that they would also love it as much as he did.  Sure enough they did and for a long time after, this game was all that was played even after my brother got his replacement drive.  Now this was a copied game and they had full access to it, but my brother and his friends all liked it that much they went out and bought new copies at the same time from a GAME shop in Liverpool.  And that game was....

Morrowind.  Yes Bethesda's sweeping open world epic of fantasy gameplay was the game that made five people go out and buy new copies at full retail price even though they could have kept playing for free with this cracked copy and that was because they liked the game enough to want to give the developer the money they deserved.  If it wasn't for that illegal download then there is a pretty good chance neither my brother or his friends would have bought a copy ever.

I myself back in 2006 before the launch of company of heroes feverishly downloaded a cracked copy of the WW2 RTS game to see it for myself.  After playing the first couple of levels I immediately made a preorder for a copy from GAME and deleted the cracked version from my system.

The problem is that years ago you could get a pretty decent length demo or shareware version of a game and really get a sense of what was on offer.  You could make an informed decision on whether of not you wanted to buy a game based on these versions.  Now I am not saying that every PC game should be illegally downloaded and played before going to the shops and buying it, but developers need to realise that only offering a few gameplay videos and scripted demo's aren't enough.  They need to release playable demo's so people can try before they buy so to speak.

Yesterday Ubisofts top man Yves Guillemot stupidly said that they endure a 93-95% piracy rate on all of their PC games.  He never once provides any statistical data to back this up, we are simply meant to feel sorry for Ubisoft and believe everything he says on face value.  This is much like Crytek and its famous statement that every illegal download is a sale lost, completely ignoring the fact that not everyone who pirates your game is going to buy it in the first place.

Ubisoft has had a spotty track record when it comes to its PC fanbase, and calling it a fanbase is being generous.  Ubisofts answer to piracy is a rather draconian method of DRM that forces players to always be online, logged into there servers to play a SINGLEPLAYER game.  Assassin's creed, the settlers, from dust all of these titles are hampered by the system of always online DRM.  It probably wouldn't have been so bad if Ubisoft had not have say let there servers crash preventing all legitimate customers from playing games they have paid for.

Its actions like this that force consumers to flip Ubisoft the bird and download the games instead.  Ubisoft have now decided that PC gamers are all apparently criminals and pretty much abandoned the PC market now, choosing to focus on free to play titles instead such as Ghost recon online.  They claim that microtransactions are the only thing PC gamers are willing to pay for in a PC game so they are only focusing on this now.  So basically Mr.Guillemot is saying that every single PC gamer on the planet is a pirate and he doesn't see the point in bringing top titles like Assassin's creed, Ghost recon, Splinter Cell and more to the PC.

What makes this worse is the lack of stats to backup the claims made here.  93-95% piracy rate is horrendously large and really only seems to reflect on them and not the rest of the PC development industry.  For example CDProject red's the witcher series has been up till now PC exclusive and has enjoyed massive financial success.  They have very lenient DRM and have only been positive about its community of players.  This kind of interaction is far more healthy than branding 95% of ALL PC gamers out there as pirates.  Creative assembly are exclusively PC based and have only gone from strength to strength with the total war series selling millions of copies of their games without being under threat of piracy.  Valve, Relic, Bioware, Firaxis and many more all produce quality PC entertainment and have never once complained about the so called rampant piracy.

Ubisoft like Crytek are only looking at the numbers and seeing sales for each one, but really they are ignoring the fact that alot of these downloads are coming from countries where their games are not released such as China and large parts of the middle east.  Both of these areas of the world are very strict on the kinds of titles released in their territory and so many players out there illegally download games.  Its this kind of willingness to ignore facts that piss off legitimate customers more.  Branding 95% of all PC gamers as pirates is a joke and does nothing for Ubisofts future as a company to be trusted to care for its community.  I think many would choose EA over Ubisoft now when it comes to customer care.

Will I continueto buy Ubisoft games?  Only on consoles really.  I really like Assassin's creed and don't want to miss out on one of the top games of the year, but I will never buy a PC ubisoft title ever again after this ridiculous claim by Yves Guillemot.  Hell he has already branded me a pirate of practically every ubisoft game on PC so why should I bother to give them any money.  Please do the same if you are a PC gamer because this kind of attitude in the developerment of PC games is what will ruin PC gaming, not the piracy.

Thanks for reading and comment if you have anything extra to add or counter with. 


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