Final Crysis

By Alec Meer on April 29th, 2008 at 8:20 pm.

Sulk.

Epic do it. id do it. Even educated fleas do it. And now Crytek have announced they too are dumping PC exclusives. VG247 spots Crytek’s Cevat Yerli telling PC Play about the aftershocks of Crysis:

“We are suffering currently from the huge piracy that is encompassing Crysis. We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin. I believe that’s the core problem of PC gaming: 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 won’t have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive any more.”

Whether or not his mooted reason for it rings true, it’s sad news, and leaves me wondering who’ll next pick up the baton of bleeding-edge graphics. Crytek collected it from Epic, who’d collected it from id, but there’s no obvious successor – with the possible exception of Valve, who lately (and happily) have been concentrating more on eyecandy-via-art, not tech. That said, in these splendidly idea-rich times for PC, do we even still need someone pushing quite so hard against the graphical ceiling?

, , .

341 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. RichPowers says:

    Chemix: That may be true of PC users as a whole, but the people who are most likely to be PC gamers — computer literate users with broadband — would have no problem finding them. (PC gamer in this sense meaning those who play Battlefield, Crysis, etc.)

  2. fluffy bunny says:

    “STOP MAKING GAMES FOR A DEMOGRAPHIC OF PEOPLE WHO PIRATE!!!”

    Good point, but you realize what you’re effectively saying? You’re saying that PC-devs should only make games for girls and niche-based titles like hardcore strategy games.

    And, well, that seems to be exactly the direction the PC games market is going in right now, if you exclude the multi-platform titles. And I think it’s sad, because… I happen to like first-person shooters.

    :-/

  3. Larington says:

    In the case of Steam games being cracked? – well, I’ve noticed that quite a few publishing types like to talk about ‘Day one sales’, its the big bug bear and the thing they love to brag about – My game sold x million *on the day of release!*… The Steam online auth system allows you to prevent the day one piracy because any disc copy of the game doesn’t include the base exe which is downloaded when you’ve passed auth and the magic release game button has been pressed.

    Thats mostly why Steam is mentioned as a good solution to the whole piracy issue, it encourages people to actually fork money out for the game in order to play it straight away.

    Its also why I hate consoles, where PC gets a game release weeks, months or even a year after the console version(s) were released so a lot of the ‘must have now’ types have already bought or pirated the game (For a modded console), so the battle is already won by the consoles.

  4. po says:

    With console piracy, once you’ve got that mod chip you download a lot (more than you will ever play), borrow a few, and maybe event rent some, but you don’t buy any games, because you spent money not to. Most chipped Xboxes got 250-300GB HDDs fitted (going by what I saw on XboxScene). That’s 50-60 games, assuming they’re a full DVD of data (most aren’t so it’s more like 100).

    …..Why is it that while consoles are harder to pirate on, and easier to develop for, the games cost more?…..

    I used to pirate a lot while I was going to LAN parties regularly (because everyone had different games, and we couldn’t play together otherwise). Everyone bought CoD/UO/2 though because we all thought it was really good. Nowadays I respect the developers a lot more, and spend far too much on games (about £200 last year), considering I don’t play most of them all the way through. I even have 2 copies of BF2 in case someone else wants to join in online on my other PC. I still play it so much the money I spent on CoD4, Crysis, TF2 and BF2142 was wasted, as I’ve hardly played any of them.

    Maybe Blizzard have got the right idea after all, as playing one game endlessly like I’ve done with BF2, but only getting the sale cost isn’t good for the developer, and buying a bunch of unplayed games just annoys the player. I won’t go near WoW at £9/month. £5 maybe, £3 definately.

    Hell, I even donated £50 to my regular BF2 server, so I’d be happy paying £5/month to play that.

  5. UncleLou says:

    and STOP MAKING GAMES FOR A DEMOGRAPHIC OF PEOPLE WHO PIRATE!!!

    I for one happen to like (and buy) many games others obviously pirate. What the SoaSE dev said (and I thought it was mostly a lot of smug nonsense, btw.) is a suggestion to narrow the scope of gaming, effectively.

    Read what cliffski wrote – many causal games already target 30 women because they don’t download games. Now I have nothing at all against 30 women, but I don’t necessarily share my girl-friend’s taste in games.

    edit:

    too slow for fluffy bunny :)

  6. Rook says:

    Except the most graphically intensive parts of the game aren’t in the demo, the demo doesn’t get as much optimising/patches as the game, and is released before any drivers have been updated to cope with the game. [can we get a quote button?]

    Are you trying to argue the demo will run slower, or faster than the rest of the game? You seem to be doing both at once. And the demo shipped on the same day as updated drivers, the patches have done little for performance and the rest of game doesn’t really look any better or any worse than the opening level.

    Either way, people pirating the game, are not trying to see if it’ll work on their system, they’re trying to play the game for free.

  7. CrashT says:

    If I wanted a pirated copy of Crysis (Or any other PC title) I could go to a particular website and start downloading it in the space of thrity seconds.

    If I wanted to pirate a copy of GTA IV (Or any other console title), I could again begin downloading it within thirty seconds but after that I’d have to find somebody to chip my console, then have to worry about going online with it, or what affect updates would have, and several other issues like what I’ll have to do if my 360 ever RRODs on me again.

    The idea that people who pirate wouldn’t buy the game anyway is utter nonsense. If I have a choice between paying £50 for a game I really want, or pirating it, considering the ease of piracy and the nonexistent likelihood of ever getting caught I’d be dumb not to pirate the game thus taking £50 I would otherwise spend on that game away from the industry. If I wasn’t able to pirate it but I still wanted it I’d buy it.

    It’s not just poor people who pirate games.

    It’s precisely because I understand how easy it is to pirate games, that I don’t do it. If somebody seriously thinks it’s not having an adverse affect on the industry then they are lying to themselves. The PC as a platform won’t die, but it will slowly lose all but MMOs, Casual games, and Indie games. I wouldn’t loathe that future but I wouldn’t particularly welcome it with open arms either, I like Triple A PC titles.

  8. Mario Granger says:

    For the person that commented that Steam only stops pre-release piracy: Thats the most damaging form of piracy. The most sales are lost in the copies made available BEFORE release of a game than after.

    I won’t argue that piracy isn’t a problem, but the argument would gain alot more weight if it were coming from development houses that are known more for their cutting-edge tech paired with mediocre-at-best gameplay.

    id? Epic? Crytek? When is the last time those companies have been known for breakthrough, must-experience gameplay? They simply don’t produce compelling software.

    EDIT: I will give Epic a bit of a pass, as their engine tech has been behind some extremely compelling games over the last few years.

  9. Larington says:

    I wonder how many of the people who use cost of games as the excuse for their piracy honestly can’t afford many games, and as such, how many sales or rental revenues wouldn’t have been gained anyway. Thing is, this gets tied into the whole “if it turns out to be a good game then I’ll buy it” rubbish – Afterall theres no shortage of reviews, metacritic scores and demos for many games (PC ones especially) that are great for telling you which games are worth forking out money for.

    Its actually comical that the 360 version of GTAIV suffered from day one piracy by about 10 days prior to the games release, but a Steam held exe unavailable until release wouldn’t have suffered from that problem.

  10. UncleLou says:

    @Mario Granger
    You’ll be hardpressed to find many major developers or publishers who haven’t commented on the problem in the recent past, except maybe Valve. Of course you could then argue that Infinity Ward, Relic, Iron Lore and a dozen more also don’t make compelling software, but I don’t think this argument leads anywhere.

  11. born2expire says:

    Mario Granger says:
    “For the person that commented that Steam only stops pre-release piracy: Thats the most damaging form of piracy. The most sales are lost in the copies made available BEFORE release of a game than after.”

    again, Bioshock had the online activation which completely stopped zero day warez, hell, it took a good 10-14 days for it to be cracked. Fine people whined and bitched about it, but you know what, I bought the game and haven’t had any trouble with it the 3 times I’ve installed it.
    Perhaps that is the answer, also online FPS are hardly pirated due to the fact that you need a unique key to play, or your stuck on cracked servers that are full of cheaters.

  12. Albides says:

    “We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin.”

    There are piracy charts? Are we sure that they’re not just looking at poor sales and assuming piracy, although it might be more due to the fact you need a computer that hasn’t been invented yet in order to play it?

    Assuming those people who have the computing power to play Crysis aren’t short of a quid, I can’t decide whether this means they’d be less likely to pirate the game than most, or more likely to pirate the game, considering they might be able to afford a better internet connection than most.

  13. UncleLou says:

    “There are piracy charts? Are we sure that they’re not just looking at poor sales and assuming piracy,”

    Yes, you can be pretty damn sure that they don’t just look at poor sales. Very, very sure.

  14. po says:

    @Rook
    I’m saying that demos aren’t a very good example of performance either way, and with some developers you may find the rest of the game isn’t up to the standard of the demo in other areas.

    The little cliff hanger at the end of the demo was OK because you could get the game to find out what happens next. The cliff hanger at the end of the game is thoroughly annoying. I don’t know many other games that end on a cliff hanger, except for HL2:E2, which has the next episode already in production, and is practically guaranteed to be an excellent game.

    @CrashT
    There are console chips that can be disabled so the console can be used online, and even versions that can be removed (no-solder) in case you have to send your box in for servicing.

    Console piracy is actually a lot easier for the end user once chipped, as once you’ve done it you can just download games, or rent and copy and play away. With a PC you have to worry about cracks/keygens that have viruses in them, which is off putting to a lot of less knowledgeable potential pirates.

  15. Mooey Poo says:

    I’m literally in tears. Well, not literally, metaphorically maybe. Well, not even metaphorically. Ok, I’m a bit upset.

    In light of this, we’re never likely to see another Deus Ex, or another Thief. I know consoles are more powerful, but devs are still facing an uphill battle against memory constraints. Look at Thief 3 and Deus Ex 2, and how simultaneous Xbox development hampered them. They weren’t necessarily bad games, it’s just that you knew they could have been a shedload better had they been developed purely for the PC.

    Bioshock’s the same. Yes, it looks impressive, but the levels are so enclosed and claustrophobic and linear you can just tell it was developed for the 360 first and the PC second. Console owners seem to love nice shiny levels, but love loading screens even more.

    Of course the exception to the rule is GTA, which allows huge levels. But given the amount of money Rockstar put into its engine, and the way they won’t license it to anyone else means that it’s their tight-fisted money-spinning exclusive. Which sucks really.

    And Crysis – yes it wasn’t quite as good as it should have been, but at least it showed people that the PC is still a valid platform for gaming, and Crytek deserve more recognition for that. I started playing it, and feeling like something was missing. Then I realised what it was when I saw the first load point after about three or four hours of solid gaming. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. And the game itself isn’t that bad if you just go with it, the magic ride that is Crysis.

  16. Larington says:

    Also, I feel its important to add that Day One Piracy as the term goes, doesn’t just count people who walk in and buy the game on day of release. It is potentially very damaging to pre orders, either cancelled as soon as news of the cracked console game comes to light, or pre-orders that simply aren’t made for exactly the same reason.

    I think the real problem with this issue, is lack of sufficiently unquestionable evidence to genuinely support either theory. For instance, we can see the number of torrent downloads for console & PC releases, but we can’t tell with any certainty what is done with those downloads afterwards, nor the motivations behind each download. To fix the problem, we need to understand it, and frankly, despite the commentary and posturing from certain developers, I don’t honestly think we quite understand it yet certainly not properly enough to make a good attempt at solving it.

  17. cHeal says:

    ““STOP MAKING GAMES FOR A DEMOGRAPHIC OF PEOPLE WHO PIRATE!!!”

    Good point, but you realize what you’re effectively saying? You’re saying that PC-devs should only make games for girls and niche-based titles like hardcore strategy games.

    And, well, that seems to be exactly the direction the PC games market is going in right now, if you exclude the multi-platform titles. And I think it’s sad, because… I happen to like first-person shooters.

    :-/”

    Yeah, an unfortunate result of an irresponsible group of people, though I don’t think it would mean the end of FPS’s completely, just smaller, more cheaply developed game. And like I said PC’s will still have a collosal user based well into the future and there will be plenty of money to be made. Developers just need to be a bit more sensible with costs and also marketing, and It’d probably serve Publishers well to support the education of parents on what their children do on the internet.

  18. Rook says:

    There’s plenty of open world’s in console games, Oblivion, Assassin’s Creed, Crackdown, Saint’s Row, Test Drive Unlimited etc and with Far Cry 2, Mercenaries 2, White Gold coming along there will be more to come, streaming isn’t somehow exclusive to PCs.

  19. po says:

    Personally I’m hopeful for the future of PC gaming, considering the competition that is being stirred up in the integrated graphics arena, with Nvidia, and to a lesser extent (considering their current financial problems) AMD joining Intel in the ring.

    Vista may have been universally panned, but one thing’s for sure, Aero is ensuring that PCs will have better graphics cards.

    PCs still have a lot of graphics horsepower, and the console generation is only getting older. It may look pretty poor, but I can run Crysis on a £20 graphics card. It still may not look amazing on an 8600GT, but that’s what’s likely to be in a lot of vanilla PCs with gaming as an afterthought, and it’s better than console graphics when the code is done well.

  20. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    I don’t agree with this notion that the PC-lead-platform games are dying out, or that it’s all casual games these days:

    Age of Conan / Dead Island / Demigod / Dragon Age / Far Cry 2 / Left 4 Dead / Dawn of War 2 / Cryostasis / Clear Sky etc etc – i’m pretty sure they are all PC leads (and exclusives in a few cases)

    And anyway, not ALL multiplatform games are “dumbed down console lolol2113″. Call of Duty 4, for instance – i don’t think I would have known that was a console lead if I hadn’t read it – it’s just a logical evolution from the original PC game back in 2003.

  21. po says:

    “STOP MAKING GAMES FOR A DEMOGRAPHIC OF PEOPLE WHO PIRATE!!!”

    Good point, but you realize what you’re effectively saying? You’re saying that PC-devs should only make games for girls and niche-based titles like hardcore strategy games.

    Personally I prefer strategy, even in my FPS games. If it wasn’t for the other serious players on my regular BF2 server, I wouldn’t have played the game at all online. I think pirates are likely to be the same people who cheat, hack and grief their way through games. Strategy puts them off playing so the serious grown up players can have a good game without having to spend time as admin on the server.

    In it’s last days that BF2 server ended up being locked to keep out tards, and now almost everyone has moved onto ArmA.

    Consoles are toys for children, and they should stick to playing on them, as anyone who has had to put up with their crap in FPSs would tell you.

  22. Alec Meer says:

    If anything, console co-development has meant stuff like COD4 and Bioshock (which, folks’ minor griping about vita chambers etc aside, both feel entirely at home on PC) benefit from far, far higher production values and quality control than if they’d been PC-only. I can even imagine Crysis’ final act possibly wouldn’t have been quite such a nosedive if it was due for an initial release on 360 as well as PC.

  23. Monkfish says:

    I was thinking the same thing, Alec. Also, it may mean their next game will have slightly more modest system requirements, thanks to cross-platform development. That, alone, will generate more sales.

  24. rabbitsoup says:

    remember the demo, I do, i also rember the sandbox editor that let me see everything, and the levels people released for it. thats not piracy, its stupid. honestly though second hand games are worse than piracy, least there sales

  25. Rook says:

    I’m saying that demos aren’t a very good example of performance either way, and with some developers you may find the rest of the game isn’t up to the standard of the demo in other areas.

    That arguement is basically saying the only way to tell how a game runs is to play the entire game (after all, level 6 might be a buggy mess). And I think anyone using that line to justify their piracy should just learn to be a little more honest and say they didn’t want to pay for it.

  26. Riotpoll says:

    Given the choice between the Orange Box and Crysis, which would you buy?
    One that’s almost guaranteed to run perfectly on your system and has better gameplay or one that you have to run at 800*600 to get a decent frame rate (or pay the same price as a ps3 to get OK framerates at higher res)?
    That is the reason Crytek didn’t get any of my money and why I didn’t use any bandwidth either!

  27. Rob says:

    Interesting comment made in a recent Eurogamer article but it bears repeating with regard to all this pre-release piracy talk: “There will always be a core of people who can’t or won’t pay for things, and who will go to incredible lengths and inconvenience themselves awfully just in order to get stuff for free.” To this core it doesn’t matter if the game comes out 10 days before or 10 days after the street date, I guess the discussion then just deteriorates into different assumptions on the size of said ‘core’.

  28. Dangerdad says:

    Crysis simply isn’t very good. People want to play the game to see the candy, but really aren’t interested in gameplay. *That’s* why it’s being pirated. It’s just a tech demo.

  29. restricted3 says:

    And here come again the crybabies.

    Didn’t they sell 1 million copies of a game few computers can move?. Then shut up and be thankful, man.

    It’s a pity, but the truth is that you can put a turd in a box, put a xbox or ps3 label on the front, and it will sell 5 million copies. It’s hard to fight with that.

  30. Radiant says:

    Ok without getting into the “PC users are either women or thieves” debate.

    What would be Crysis’s selling point on consoles?

    Without it’s PC breaking credentials the game itself, thrown in amongst the zillions of other console shooters, would probably reach the dizzying heights of Blacksite’s sales figures.

    Because lets be real here.
    Everyone looks at COD4 and Halo sales as the norm for consoles but they’re not they’re freaks.

    Halo 3 sold because of the name.
    If Halo 3 wasn’t called Halo it too would sell like whatever the opposite of hot cakes is.
    And COD4 is baddassery in a box; the best FPS made in the last 5-6 years.

    Crysis never sold because:
    A) It’s shit; ok it’s not as shit as Doom 3 but it is Timeshift shit.
    B) Anyone who read anything about it was immediately under the impression that it wont play on their machine.

    1.6 million units shifted if you think about it, for what Crysis is, is absolutely amazing sales.

    Because if Crytek released Crysis on a console it’d have the same sales as the PS3 version of Unreal Tournament 3.

  31. Monkfish says:

    Crysis simply isn’t very good. People want to play the game to see the candy, but really aren’t interested in gameplay. *That’s* why it’s being pirated. It’s just a tech demo.

    Nonsense. I bought it on day of release and enjoyed it thoroughly, as did plenty of other people. There was more to the game than just the graphics. The only part of the gameplay I’d criticise is the way it suddenly changed pace (floaty bit, shooting aliens bit, and the silly VTOC piloting bit). I still replay all the fun, stealthy combat bits on a regular basis.

  32. Radiant says:

    Somewhere out there Brad Wardell is cackling maniacally as he buys himself another diamond studded thong.

    @monkfish I have a few questions:
    why did you buy it, what game is Crysis as good as [comparatively]? is it as good as COD4 or Portal? and what are your pc specs?

  33. Cargo Cult says:

    “There will always be a core of people who can’t or won’t pay for things, and who will go to incredible lengths and inconvenience themselves awfully just in order to get stuff for free.”

    I’ve seen people jumping through far too many hoops in an attempt to get my own MINERVA to work on what can only be pirated copies of Valve’s games (they’ve extracted everything from GCFs why, exactly) – and being utterly vague about the reasons for their peculiar setups. Made trying to do technical support a bit difficult, until I saw a den of pirates discussing the issues in the open on a site I found during a more generic MINERVA-flavoured, ego-stroking Google-trip.

    They’ve wasted many hours in trying to get a free mod to work on a ten quid game. And maybe even did get it to work, albeit missing vital content. BUT THEY SAVED TEN QUID! HAH! THEY’RE THE WINNERS! … Or not.

    The excuses and cognitive dissonance around piracy are great too. Demos aren’t representative of the games, reviews (all of them) aren’t to be trusted, even basic copy-protection is, like, sooo unfair, it’s not theft, it’s copyright infringement, the games companies are stuck in the past, blah blah blah.

    Some people really will pirate anything, simply on principle. Sadly, their distribution networks are being adopted by people who probably would pay for games…

    I didn’t pay for Crysis. I didn’t pirate it either – or even download the demo – ’cause I read reviews, which made it sound like a new Far Cry with overly spangly graphics. I might get round to buying a budget copy in a year or so when I have a computer that can really do it justice – and when I can actually treat it as a game, rather than as a GPU-humping graphics benchmark. By which time all the piratical torrents will be long dead anyway – hooray for the long tail!

  34. Leelad says:

    WTB Digital Distrubution.

    I might have to start putting my caps lock on soon.

    DEN DEY WIL LISSUN!!

  35. Robin says:

    Epic, Id and Valve push the technical envelope in ways that are relevant (and widely adopted, and scalable). Crytek do not, and their games rapidly end up being bundled with graphics cards.

    Console games have always sold an order of magnitude more than their PC equivalents, it’s odd that this is dawning on them now. Not that I’m denying that boxed PC games are in crisis. They’ve been completely nuked by the ease of piracy afforded by BitTorrent.

    Guess it sucks for Crytek that EA games aren’t on Steam.

    Of course the World of Stuart brigade have already been along to stick their fingers in their ears and shout that everything is rosy and piracy is a cure for cancer. Try getting a PC-native high-profile game financed then, geniuses.

  36. Mman says:

    I think the main promotion issue with Crysis is that they focused on showing off and marketing the game for the next (next?)-gen of graphics that the game was never intended to be played on at this time.

    Considering there’s STILL a ton of misinformation on what systems can handle the game fine (I’ve heard of relatively low-spec systems running the game well with the settings turned down), I think it would have done much better if they had added much more reassurance that the game could still be perfectly playable visually and performance-wise on settings less than “OMG max settings DX10 with 8x AF and AA!” and fully reinforced that the higher settings were never intended for the computers of today in the first place.

  37. Rook says:

    I dunno why people are so down on Crysis. It’s very good until the aliens turn up.

    Also, Minerva was the best single player mod ever. You should sell a remixed version with Ellen McLain doing the voiceover, it’d be brilliant.

  38. mandaya says:

    would an end of high-gloss PC games (as unlikely as I think that is) necessarily mean an end of core PC-game genres as FPS and RTS? maybe if consoles just dumped that stupid gamepad-paradigm (you’re excused, wii) and allowed decent mouse/keyboard control (which was actually supported by the games) I’d gladly skip upgrading my PC every two years for 800€ and would stick to a single console for 500€, with linux strapped to it for email and word processing.
    but an FPS with a gamepad? you’ve got to be kidding.
    civ V on a console? good luck without a mouse.
    creative sandboxing a la Dwarf Fortress on a console? won’t ever happen.
    crytek bailing out of PC exclusives just frees the spot for the next big company programming games as tech engines – for the next next gen of consoles. ad infinitum.

  39. Monkfish says:

    why did you buy it, what game is Crysis as good as [comparatively]? is it as good as COD4 or Portal? and what are your pc specs?

    While I freely admit that I did, indeed, want to see the eye candy, I was also interested in it based on the strength of the gun-play in Far Cry, which I really enjoyed.

    My PC is a modestly capable set-up, bought around Christmas 2006:
    Nvidia 8800 GTS (the older, 640MB one)
    E6600 Core 2 Duo (it was best price/perf at the time)
    2 GB cheap RAM

    I was happy to sacrifice some of the eye candy in favour of performance (tweaked the configs to get a decent balance of looks versus performance).

    With regard to which games it’s as good as, that’s a difficult one to answer without copping out. I tend take each game at face value, so don’t really see much merit in comparisons of that nature. I can say that I absolutely loved both Portal and COD4, and would say that overall they were “tighter” experiences than Crysis. They are also very different games to Crysis; Crysis placed emphasis on the sandbox nature of it’s gameplay (well, at least the first two thirds did). Portal and COD are masterpieces of linearity.

    A little rambly, but hope it answers your questions… :D

  40. Dean says:

    It’s all this talk of day-one sales and the effect piracy has that shows just how broke this industry is. Crysis came out in what, November? So 5 months on sale and it’s declared a failure. For a game that most gamers will only get PCs capable of playing it properly over the next few years.

    Something like Crysis should continue to sell (assuming there’s more too it than just pretty pictures) but if it’s not in the first 3 months of release no-one cares. Good luck on finding somewhere to buy it. Modern games generally take at least 10 hours to get through. Often 30+. They’re more akin to books in length than DVDs and movies. I certainly always have a massive backlog of games to play, so a lot of games I might not pick up until they’ve been out a year or so. Most books sell the same way. But the industry wants to adapt the film/CD model of week one sales being the most important thing. But that’s a fundamentally flawed approach when the average person can’t play through your product in a single week.

    It’s interesting that Steam avoids this somewhat by keeping titles available indefinatly, and even having special offers on specific titles on occasion. Likewise Indie games have always relied on selling copies slowly over a long time.

    If I really want your game, I’ll buy it (assuming you release it in the UK). But I almost definately won’t buy it in the first week. I probably won’t buy it in the first month. It’s 50-50 if I get it in the first year. But if by that time you’re declaring it a failure then what’s the point?

  41. A-scale says:

    I’m stunned at the repugnant ignorance of game developers. The “piracy ruins everyone’s fun” attitude is simply a misreading of the issue. People buy games that they really enjoy, that are made by companies they know, love and trust. If you want to cut down on piracy, try being a more humble company that reaches out to its customers and always gives the customer an ear to speak to. If your company is faceless, untouchable, deaf organ that is just part of an even larger, yet more out of touch monolith of a company, don’t expect people to feel bad when they pirate your games. I love supporting Telltale games. Do you know why? It’s not just because they make funny games that are in a league all their own, but because their employees frequent their message boards, and listen and respond to consumers. I also enjoy supporting Valve, not just because they make some of the best and most innovative games around, but because I almost always get a response when I send them an email, becuase they regularly patch, update and otherwise fix their games, and do nice things for their consumers. Crysis is, lets admit it, a technical marvel wrapped around a mediocre title. The story, and basic gameplay mechanics have nothing new to offer. Would Crysis have gotten a tenth the hype it did if I had graphics equal to Half Life 2? I sincerely doubt it. Thus, Crysis is a game to show off what a computer is capable of and nothing more.

    If you can’t get that down, take the innovative aggressive approach and make your game run on a proprietary validation system like Steam. Leaving PC to avoid pirates is just evidence of laziness and lack of innovation.

  42. po says:

    A lot of FPS games could go a step further, and take their single player campaign onto the coop level. It’d give them the pirate proofing of individual serial numbers, and they could push it over single player by making the difficulty too high to play easily alone.

    FFS, Crysis starts you off in a squad, then makes you play almost the entire game alone. Squad tactics with those abilities would really have been something new, and so would a big name game with a good coop campaign (since when have we ever had one of those).

  43. Albides says:

    “There are piracy charts? Are we sure that they’re not just looking at poor sales and assuming piracy,”

    Yes, you can be pretty damn sure that they don’t just look at poor sales. Very, very sure.

    I can’t tell if that’s sarcasm. From where I’m sitting, it looks they just thought since “[s]imilar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more”, then the PC’s rampant piracy is obviously the result of poor sales. I’d really like to know how they came to that conclusion.

    And you know, I really can’t help but equate this to Sins of a Solar Empire’s success, and these near prophetic words written in a developer blog

    The dirty secret of the PC game industry is that games with high hardware requirements don’t sell nearly as well as games with more modest requirements. And as an indie, we need every gamer we can get. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that there’s necessarily some correlation between what gets covered in game magazines and how well that game actually has sold. Some of the biggest name PC games have with high hardware requirements have sold very low quantities on the PC. You just don’t hear about it. And for us, our goal isn’t to be the coolest developer. We want as many people as possible to buy our game.

  44. The Pope says:

    Wait, they expected people to buy boxed copies?

    The million sales should have been an unexpected bonus to making a graphics card advertisement. When you take into account that most copies of crysis (including the pirated ones) sold a $400 graphics card, I’d say the game had to be one of the biggest cash cows of 2007. Next time, crytek should ask for a commission on every geforce 10,000 they sell.

  45. RichPowers says:

    A-scale: Piracy is definitely an issue, but I feel that many devs/publishers use it as a smoke screen. “What, our game didn’t sell!? It can only be because of those damn pirates!”

    In other words, solely blaming piracy obfuscates other, arguably more important issues facing PC gaming. It’s just that these issues (Intel’s pitiful on-board graphics chips, for example) are complex and less well-defined.

    Dean: Agreed, but look at how corporations obsessively focuses on short-term quarterly results. If you’re making a game for EA, especially one that’s not part of a long-established franchise, shareholders and suits want to see instant results.

  46. Ed says:

    I doubt anyone will read this far down an already too long comments thread, but I thought I’d say a couple of things:

    1: Crysis was not a Bad Game. I enjoyed the first half, but yet again the sci-fi change in the second half seemed to somewhat ruin it (and made the engine really suffer in my experience, down to about 5fps on the boat where I gave up)

    2: Piracy is an issue. If the games were cheaper (say £25 for a game) I’d buy it straight away. Equally, if I could get it on Steam I’d be much more likely to buy it. I’m too lazy to go outside to get my games.

    3: Dubious quality is an issue – I can trust some developers (Rockstar & Valve namely) to produce good games every time. I can’t say the same for any other developer I enough experience with. Sure, reviews help, but you can still never be sure it’s your cup of tea.

    4: Kind of off-topic, but Valve’s special offers on Steam work well – I’ve bought a number of games (Prey for example) pretty cheaply that way, which must benefit the publisher (I’d never have bought it otherwise) which I’ve enjoyed enough to justify the cost of them – but not much more…

    Overall: Cheaper games = higher volume of sales. Selling on steam = higher volume of sales. QAing your game and making it run on normal hardware = higher volume of sales.

  47. Alex says:

    Well, this is just hilarious.

  48. much2much says:

    The piracy discussion bores me. I’m more interested in the development issue here. Or to put it another game CAN I PLEASE GET GAMES ON PC STILL.

    The problem here is NOT WHETHER THE GAME IS PROFITABLE but that it COULD BE MORE PROFITABLE ON THE CONSOLE.

    Here we have the problem of the developers being either bitches or mercenaries. The bitches are doing so at the order of their corporate overlords who are looking to maximise revenue to income (this is only seen because smaller projects are simpler to understand) instead of TOTAL PROFIT.

    The mercenaries do it because its more money more simply. Only the single platform development team to worry about. You can just have the core who have the skills and input back into the game and can be feeding each other grapes etc. Valve style.

    The win win situation is to have good enough management to do great co-development. If I made a game I would not want to go through coding gripes on multiple platforms myself. I think the future holds companies who exclusively port games. Bioshock did this in officially the same company (2K Games Australia is pretty much just a name afaik) but come on separate sides of the world ANY kind of corporate loyalty ain’t laying the foundation of a better port.

    We need companies who just specialise in the porting and I think it will work out best for a flat fee for the job at hand as opposed to royalty.

  49. James T says:

    I wonder how many of the people who use cost of games as the excuse for their piracy honestly can’t afford many games, and as such, how many sales or rental revenues wouldn’t have been gained anyway. Thing is, this gets tied into the whole “if it turns out to be a good game then I’ll buy it” rubbish – Afterall theres no shortage of reviews, metacritic scores and demos for many games (PC ones especially) that are great for telling you which games are worth forking out money for.

    Oh yeah, that good ole critical reception barometer…. Real reliable for, say, Bioshock. The game’s essentially Doom 3 with a better art department — a pretty noble failure, but still a failure as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t know about you, but I’m the final authority on what comes in and out of my wallet — and it still has a metacritic score of 96.
    “Ah, but there was a demo, James!” Yes, which I think illustrates the unfortunate inadequacy of demos — Bioshock could have developed any which way from where the demo stops, but… it doesn’t. I don’t want to go offtrack with the BS stuff (teehee), but the point is that I regret paying full price for it, and absolutely should have examined it with the aid of piracy (since I didn’t know anyone else who had it, or even has it now (it is not my duty as a gamer to have gamer friends)) before shelling out.
    I’m not even criticising 2kB for ‘making an inadequate demo'; that just happens to be the nature of the beast with some games. ‘Death to Spies’ had a nice representative demo — an easy enough task for them, ‘cos the way the game is structured is conducive to that. I played it, enjoyed it, extrapolated from that, bought the game and was not unpleasantly surprised. It’s just not that easy sometimes, sadly.

    I don’t know how local currency maps to the pound (although I know it’s very close to the US dollar), but I do know that anyone putting down $80-100AU for an entertainment product of which they have no credible experience is a sap. 7-10 bucks on a movie ticket/multi-DVD rental (16 for the ticket if you’re a real sucker)? That’s a fair gamble. 30-40 for a book? Well, that’s a bit of a fuck-you, but at least there are libraries. 25-30 for a new album? That’s not so bad, you can get a credible preview of such a body of work by perfectly legitimate means these days. The only common entertainment product I can think that matches games for price are TV-season/film-series box-sets, and anyone dropping the cash for one of those while knowing nothing about its contents is displaying far more money than sense — a common ailment in our currently-credit-happy society, but not something that anyone should have to embody.

    There needs to be an aggressively-pursued study into the whys and wherefores (tsk, redundancy) of PC game piracy — for what purposes, and in what numbers, are gamers indulging in piracy? How many are noxious little crooks pirating games to avoid laying down cash that the studios and creators deserve for their hard work? And crucially, how many of them pirate a game as a means of heeding that most cherishable warning, CAVEAT EMPTOR? Any creator who’d rail against that is essentially complaining that they’re not able to swindle a customer — I don’t think that’s anyone’s actual sentiment, it just illustrates how important the distinction is. When — indeed, if — the numbers of thieves-vs-torrent-employing-customers can even be stabbed at, then creators and gamers and bloggers can speak with a little more authority on how much money is being lost. Maybe there has been decent inquiry done, but I haven’t seen anyone cite it here.

    I sure as hell can’t think of a solution to this problem — unlike console games, PC games can’t realistically be rented, and the ease of piracy comes with the platform — but without the numbers, everyone’s talking out their arses. And then the lost-sales figures get exaggerated, artificially pushing developers away from the PC — and what a waste it is for game producers to move away from the best gaming medium (why do you think Rockstar haven’t announced GTA4 PC? Because dual PC-console owners know the PC version will be better!. Rockstar want the ‘thief element’ of their PC base to be so twitchy about the viability of biding their time that they snap and buy the 360/PS3 version to add to initial sales figures! I ain’t fooled, and I’m certainly not convinced that Hot Coffee is a reason for them not to touch the PC again — if they want an HC-free PC experience, they can have a little double-check of their assets before they release the damn game, can’t they!)

  50. Nimic says:

    I don’t really have much to add to the discussion, but I can add the perspective of a Norwegian student with not a lot of money. I used to download a lot of games, and I still download some games, but more and more I find that I buy them afterwards. I downloaded Crysis, played it through once, then bought it from Digital Download. I only buy games that I can get Digitally, except the obvious ones like Age of Conan (where I pre-ordered the CE).