Uh-Oh It’s The P Word

By Alec Meer on August 1st, 2008 at 5:04 pm.

Possibly a bittorrent metaphor

Right: I’m going to mention piracy. That isn’t an open invitation to go absolutely barking, spitting crazy, okay?

So, lately it’s looked as though Capcom – traditionally very much a console publisher – have really been cosying up to the PC. The Devil May Cry 4 port was pretty slick as these things go, and soon we’re getting Street Fighter IV. The dark times are over!

But there’s a problem.

Talking to GI.biz, Capcom’s vice president of strategic planning Christian Svensson lamented DMC4′s piratical uptake: “It’s such a good version and it really deserves better sales. I know it’s getting pirated to hell and back (it was up on torrents literally the day it shipped).”

While the link isn’t made explicit, he mentions this in context to Capcom Japan’s refusal to allow a digital distribution version of the game, against his own better wishes. Plans are afoot to ensure future Capcom PC titles don’t suffer the same DVD-bound fate, by the sound of it. No word on the extent of the piracy, but hopefully it won’t convince Capcom to abandon their recent PC-snuggling.

More here.

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116 Comments »

  1. Larington says:

    My prediction, one of the RPS journos will be forced to leave a comment in this thread either telling people to calm down or stop throwing insults around.

    I hereby challenge you, the Internet, to prove me wrong.

  2. Adam Hepton says:

    Stick ‘em on Steam. You knows it makes sense.

  3. Crispy says:

    That’s stupid, if you ignore the effort of getting out your CC and putting in the numbers, surely digital downloads are just as easy for the average consumer as downloading a pirated version, apart from you can probably get it quicker via legitimate digital download than on most P2P sites.

    So aren’t they kinda shooting themselves in the foot here?

  4. The Poisoned Sponge says:

    @Crispy

    I’m not at all versed in the process… but I think it’s easier to turn a DD into a pirated copy than it is to do the same with a dvd… so if they don’t do the DD then they avoid piracy for a few more days… but again, that’s just an informed guess.

  5. Commando says:

    Capcom make terrible PC ports so I wouldn’t be suprised if people were further inclined to pirate them. I don’t know how DMC4 is but Lost Planet is atrocious with a terrible launcher, main menu, controls that expect a 360 pad and sloppy networking.

  6. RichPowers says:

    @Commando: Indeed, that’s why I’ve had zero interest in this game from the get-go. I imagine that most DMC fans opted for the console version.

    Anyway, in the interview he says that future Capcom PC games will be released over Steam, Direct2Drive, and many other digital distribution channels.

  7. Bas says:

    Guys, remember Resident Evil 4 for the PC? Yeah, I wouldn’t give Capcom any money for their PC games after that either.

  8. Ian says:

    @Commando: I’ve heard that, whisper it, some genuinely believe the PC version to be the best.

  9. Fazer says:

    Aren’t console games pirated as well?

  10. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    To be honest, i havent even seen DMC4 for sale in stores. Though i never had any particular interest anyway.

    Still, as a related anecdote, someone asked me earlier tonight: “Wait, you mean you actually buy games?”

  11. Taxman says:

    @Fazer not really to the extent of PC games as there is no risk attached on the PC so the hardcore pirates do it along with all the sideliners. On console side only the hardcore do it because of the risk to modding the hardware so those sitting on the sidelines are for the most part kept honest.

    I don’t buy the RE4 excuse some are saying either (the port wasn’t done by Capcom), there were plenty of reviews of Lost Planet (which was there first proper PC effort) and DMC4 some even touting how well the games were converted to the PC.

    What hurt it most was the delayed release after the consoles versions if they had released it at the same time it would have benefited from the marketing as the PC release saw little fan fair.

    Capcom are putting effort into supporting the PC but if they don’t see any decent returns to justify it then they will turn there back on the PC, hopefully sales will fare better with digital distribution.

  12. Roosterfeet says:

    Hmm… 3rd sequel to a console only title that most PC gamers have never heard of and the PC version doesn’t sell very well…

  13. Rob Zacny says:

    Is DMC a game that can really be expected to do well on PC? If you’re exclusively a PC gamer, that probably means that games like DMC4 aren’t your cup of tea. Otherwise you’d own a console. I mean, it’s nice of Capcom to take the time to do a quality port, but it isn’t the kind of title that PC gamers traditionally play. On the other hand, maybe I’m drawing too much from my experience and the PC gamers that I know.

  14. Alex says:

    It would be nice to hear from someone who has actually played the game, instead of endless testimonies of people just off stage..

  15. Theory says:

    Digital distribution means that the game remains encrypted until it launches. Other than that the only advantage it has over retail when it comes to piracy is immediate worldwide availability.

  16. SonicTempest says:

    I own and have put extensive time into the PC version of Devil May Cry 4, and I can say that it is by far the best PC game Capcom has ever done. It more than makes up for the shoddy ports of DMC3 and RE4 (which were done by another company anyway). It plays exactly like the console versions, and it looks even better.

    It makes sense when you consider their development process for the game – develop the title on a PC, then port it to consoles.

  17. Xyzzy says:

    They complain about DMC4 put up on torrents the day of or after, when the Xbox360 version of GTA4 was up on torrents days before the game even hit the shelves?

  18. danarchist says:

    I have a buddy that thinks im insane to actually buy boxed versions of games. He has only paid for one game in the last 6 years and that was because it was a mmo. Myself, I prefer to pay the measly 50 or so bucks to get the instructions etc. That being said one of the first things I do with every new game I buy is load a no-cd exe file so I don’t have to cover my desktop in random disks or wait for my dvdrom to spin up every time a game wants to load something.

  19. Alex says:

    It makes sense when you consider their development process for the game – develop the title on a PC, then port it to consoles.

    Isn’t that, in a very basic way, how all videogames are made? (I fear I will now be burned alive..!)

  20. SonicTempest says:

    @Alex: The way I understand it most console games are developed against specific development kits that mirror the console hardware. For DMC4 Capcom actually developed their own internal cross-platform engine on a PC and ported it to 360 and PS3 before doing any significant work on development.

    Or at least, that’s how I understand it.

  21. Robin says:

    @Commando: Play DMC4 before commenting. Runs better and has more features than the console versions. I expect future Capcom games using the same engine (i.e. RE5) will get similarly good ports.

    Oh, and RE4 PC was not a terrible port (once the patch was applied) although obviously the Wii version renders all three joypad-based versions obsolete.

  22. rocketman71 says:

    I’m not the least bit interested in DMC4. Capcom’s ports are usually bad, and until they show otherwise, the only PC port I’m willing to suffer through is Dead Rising (what happened to it?).

    Besides, reviews have been less than glowing. To me, this is a case of CevatYerlitis, i.e., developer that sells less than expected and immediately blames piracy, with the only difference being that Crysis was apparently better (not much, though).

    I’m soooooo tired of listening to these developers crying about this. I haven’t yet heard the developer of a GOOD game blame piracy for anything, either those that sold well (Blizzard, Valve) or those that tanked (BG&E anyone?).

    The only thing Svensson just did is reinforce my desire to not buy anything Capcom.

  23. SonicTempest says:

    @rocketman71: Please play the port before commenting on the game’s quality. There’s a demo out there which you can try.

  24. cliffski says:

    “He has only paid for one game in the last 6 years”

    Congratulate your buddy. He is doing his utmost to completely trash PC gaming. Games cost money to make, so if people aren’t parting with money to play them, then the people making them will do something else instead.
    I’m glad Valve and blizzard are doing well. One does the worlds biggest online game, the other owns a digital distribution platform. Ditto Stardock. Things aren’t quite as rosy for PC-centric devs that make single-player games. There aren’t many of them left at all (and I don’t expect there to be any in a few years, except hobbyists).

  25. gulag says:

    I think there are a couple of things the publishers remain willfully ignorant of when they search for reasons people pirate games.

    One is lack of availablity. What’s new on the shelves this week? Whatever it is, I bet there is a metric ton of it sitting out there waiting to be bought, it is after all the new hotness. But what about a ‘classic’, the ones everybody on here bangs on about? Find me a copy of The Longest Journey, or Sacrifice, or Citizen Kabuto. No luck? I’m not suprised.

    Publishers are astoundingly bad at exploiting the long tail of their catalogues. Therefore if I want to play something from about 5 years ago which has since been recognised as a must-have, I have to hit the torrents to find it.

    So the old stuff is pirated, sales they could easily pick up with a DD service. What about the new stuff? It’s 90% rubbish, just like everything else that is shoveled onto the shelves of HMV, Waterstones and GAME week in week out. Publishers take note: people don’t want to pay you for derivative tripe laden with restrictive customer-alienating controls. What possible incentive is there to buy it if it’s crap AND hard to use?

    Publishers/developers deserve to get paid for their work. I believe that with my whole heart. I’m itching to spend my money on the next thing out of studios like Introversion, Valve, and CD Projekt. I also believe that publishers and developers should be paid what their games are *worth*.

    There’s an awful lot of titles out there every year that aren’t worth stealing, let alone forking over inflated highstreet prices for. If your company is squeezing out those games, and watching your sales drop off after day one and the reviews are in, ask yourself if the pirates might not be the only reason you’re profits are sinking?

  26. cliffski says:

    Giants: citizen kabuto:
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sold-Out-Software-Giants-Citizen/dp/B00006M3WC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=videogames&qid=1217611854&sr=1-1

    took about 5 seconds to find. you could order it for a bargain price with 2 mouse clicks.
    Some stuff *is* unavailable, but too many people will search a torrent site before they search amazon or its ilk.
    Hell, even with online sites, some of them can be scams, I’ve found pirate sites selling my stuff as though they are legit publishers before.
    The answer is, if you like a game, and want to see more like it, always buy direct from the developer if its an option.

  27. Matthew Gallant says:

    I wonder if he’s trying to be witty by making a “hell and back” joke about Devil May Cry. It’s an odd choice of words to describe piracy.

  28. Paul Moloney says:

    Yes, there is console piracy too, but I imagine that the following stats show its far more widespread on PC:

    http://img360.imageshack.us/my.php?image=mwsnap004br3.jpg

    P.

  29. Citizen Parker says:

    if(article.Text.Contains(“piracy”))
       comments.Disabled = true;

  30. Paul Moloney says:

    “Find me a copy of The Longest Journey, or Sacrifice, or Citizen Kabuto. No luck? I’m not suprised. ”

    Um, found The Longest Journey on eBay easily enough – there’s loads of new copies for around a Queen’s fiver including P&P.

    Froogling it produces loads of hits:

    http://www.google.co.uk/products?q=longest+journey+pc&hl=en&show=dd

    P.

  31. born2expire says:

    i love the fact that Capcom belive’s everyone should love this game, when in all honesty button mashers don’t appeal to “PC gamers”.

    hurry up and release SF4 and stop whining.

  32. Incognito says:

    For those who wonder: The port of DMC4 to PC is is much better than previous efforts from Capcom. In many ways, the PC version is better than the console versions.

  33. gulag says:

    I should have been clearer. I’d be interested if the people linking Ebay/Amazon could find those older games in a bricks and mortar games store? Not likely.

    That supply of ‘classics’ floating around in the secondary market is very finite. Publishers are not doing anything to make sure their marketable assets are within easy reach of customers, either online or on the highstreet.

  34. Alex says:

    The Longest Journey is available through Steam, too.

    And I think Sacrifice will be available as a download soon too, wasn’t it mentioned in a recent RPS post concerning a load of games going for the download?

  35. subedii says:

    Bought it on release and played the tar out of it, it really is a very well done port.

    The reviews on the other hand, have largely been stupid. For some reason the reviewers have this hang up about the game. First they tend to say that it has no new distinguishing features, THEN they say that new modes like LDK and Turbo aren’t suited to the PC version. There seems to be this belief that a game like this is either too arcadey or too “hardcore” for the PC market (especially with the added difficulty modifiers) and have docked it accordingly. Granted I’m generalising, but those two points always seem to come up. As if a perfect port with updated features just isn’t good enough.

    I even saw one review that complained about lack of mouse support. Mouse support. If anyone here can describe to me a good mouse based system of controlling Dante and Nero that won’t turn the game into a Diablo clone, I’m all ears. To me, it’s amazing that the keyboard only controls are actually passable (I know, I tried them). You can navigate the menu’s with a mouse, and that’s enough.

    Barring that, I really wish they had put this on Steam. I honestly believe that would have helped it shift a fair few more copies. I don’t understand why this didn’t happen when Capcom have already stated in press releases that they’re big on using Steam and have put a lot of games on there already, it would have given the game a significant boost. If nothing else, people would at least have seen it on the front page and known about it. As it is, very few people even knew there was a PC release coming out, at least on the gaming forums that I’d been to. Very little coverage anywhere.

    Beyond that, yeah, it’s very sad to see it get pirated. It’s a genuinely good port. Personally I’m working my way through LDK mode now, those reviewers who said it didn’t make sense on the PC can just jump in the lake. It was only possible as a mode on the PC, and I’m glad they included it. For a mode that’s too “hardcore” for PC users, I certainly managed it with literally no experience of the series to date, and little to no experience of games of this type in general.

    It just gets on my nerves to see a good port like this get rubbished like that.

  36. Riotpoll says:

    @Gulag, you can pick a lot of the older games up even in a GAME store as they usually have loads of the Sold-Out and Explosive stuff; 3 for a tenner! Or you can be even lazier and order it off of the internet: http://www.play.com/Games/PC/4-/108952/The-Longest-Journey/Product.html

  37. cliffski says:

    why is it ok to pirate a game because you can’t get it in a physical store? The link posted get you a physical copy delivered to your door.
    Whats the difference?
    Feel free to walk in a store, experience the atmosphere, then order it from amazon. Any way you cut it, this is no explanation for, or justification of piracy.

  38. kadayi says:

    talk of Piracy is like the war on terror. Guess what it’s always been there and it always will be. There are a lot of people out there like danarchists buddy whom will never ever pay for a game simply because a hacked version is going to turn up on the internets at some point, and they see the internet as little more than a free content delivery mechanism. These people have always existed and always will be there. However there are a lot more people who are more opportunistic pirates than dedicated ones, who if the piracy route doesn’t deliver will go and buy a game either retail or through legal DD means. combating 0 day piracy (where the full game is leaked between hardware distribution and official launch day) is the biggest issue, because it is when the hype is hardest that people tend to give into the demons. Valve Steamworks seems to be the best solution (so far) towards tackling this, by only releasing a games key exe files at launch day.

  39. RichPowers says:

    Is buying used PC games also a sin, Cliff? No money goes to the publisher or studio, but I do it quite frequently, usually though eBay or Amazon Marketplace.

  40. Pavel says:

    I just wanted to say, that DMC4 on PC is awesome, its easily one of the best console2pc ports ever made.Controls is good (though its more playable on my logitech dual action, true), graphics is beautiful, the game runs in 80fps on my two years old PC, and generaly it just plays well.No crashes, no bugs, no problems.It is a complete opposite of RE4 port (which was utter crap, though the patch rectified it a bit).

    I hope they will announce RE5 PC, and it will get similarly great treatment (and sells well, too).

  41. Pidesco says:

    DMC4 for PC is an awesome game, and deserves all the money PC gamers can throw at it. It’s like a declaration of PC gaming love from Capcom.

  42. faelnor says:

    There are far too many factors to take into account to pin down one cause for the poor sales of DMC4 : lack of visibility in stores, lack of a proper marketing campaign, lack of an electronic distribution system, relative coldness of the game press towards a great PC game AND towards a great move from Capcom, lack of interest of PC gamers in renowned console franchises, tendancy to pirate everything instead of trying a demo and taking a risk with buying the full game – yes I said it and it’s TRUE -, lack of support from the community for the same great move I was talking about – yeah, I believe more people could and should buy a potentially interesting game based on the sole premise that this was made as a move towards PC gamers.

    But in the end, the responsibility to buy the game or not and support either its contents or its message in terms of PC gaming image is ours.

    If you have a PC to run it, get the demo. If you like it, buy it. Damn it.

  43. caesarbear says:

    I’d be interested if the people linking Ebay/Amazon could find those older games in a bricks and mortar games store? Not likely.

    I can’t even find last years PC games in brick and mortar stores. I agree that PC publishers aren’t interested in pushing anything but the latest product and that’s a shame, but that’s a nonsense way to endorse piracy.

    Take it from someone who makes a habit of hunting down old PC games. Generally you’ll be able to buy it, and not through some insanely overpriced ebay auction. The times that you can’t buy it online, you can’t get a pirated copy either.

  44. Pidesco says:

    Incidentally, 1up put up a fairly retarded review of DMC4 for PC on their site, and it was the first online review too. That might not have helped DMC4′s sales.

  45. jackflash says:

    These publishers crack me up. They make console-centric games, with console gameplay, the ports don’t sell well on the PC, and they use this to further rationalize focusing on consoles. Maybe we don’t want to play fucking console games on our PCs. Get it?

  46. Pidesco says:

    @jackflash: Seeing as PCs can have the exact same kind of control systems as consoles I fail to see what you mean by “console gameplay”. Also, there are plenty of fucking console games I’d like to play on my PC and I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

    Finally, DMC4 is not a port of a fucking console game, it is a fucking PC game.

  47. Cedge says:

    Incognito:
    Well, the only recent PC port Capcom has done in-house recently was Lost Planet, which was also an excellent port. RE4, Onimusha 3, all that crap were ported by the hacks at SourceNext.

    Anyways, I am impressed with Capcom’s recent PC efforts, but I do wish they’d release all of their downloadable titles on PC. I know that Age of Booty, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Flock, and eventually Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix are coming (all of which I plan to pick up on Steam), but I’d really love to see 1942: Joint Strike, Commando 3, and especially Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix on my Steam games list someday. Oh well. They’re still doing a pretty bang-up job as of late.

  48. sinister agent says:

    I agree with Gulag. Whether or not it’s a major factor in piracy or not, it certainly wouldn’t hurt for publishers to push their older games and make them easier to buy, nor for the industry at large to grow up and stop acting like anything that’s not immeidately new is irrelevant and a bit embarassing.

    Deliberately refusing to provide a DD service is certainly rather counter-productive in that sense.

  49. cliffski says:

    Agreed that any developer or publisher that doesn’t sell direct online needs a punch in the face. Fuck it, I can do it, and I work from a spare bedroom.
    I remember asking my old employer why they weren’t developing something like steam (when steam was talked about) and the head of business development said “we don’t see there being much future in that idea”.

    That twat probably still works there, and probably still earns 10 times what they used to pay me…

  50. Nate says:

    When digital distribution is outlawed, only outlaws will distribute digitally! :)