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 »

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  1. subedii says:

    Not that you’re bitter or anything right Cliffksi? :mrgreen:

    But I agree, the move to not put this up on Steam when Capcom has put their other products up on Steam already is pretty mind boggling. The article mentions something about resistance to the idea from the HQ in Japan, but I can’t imagine why they’d be so averse to it.

  2. Charlie says:

    Devil May Cry 4 really surprised me. Yes you have to use a gamepad but that is what it is suited to. But it runs extremely smoothly on my gf’s fairly low spec computer with lovely graphics!

  3. Kalain says:

    Well, just looked at Play.com and DMC4 is out of stock… Looks like it is selling well..

  4. propanol says:

    From reading his posts, it seems they will be implementing SecuROM with network authentication in style of BioShock and Mass Effect. Bleh.

  5. Sahagin says:

    Why don’t developers just release dummy torrents that will flag the people who downloaded, or just blow up their computers?

  6. Scandalon says:

    Jumping on the DMC/capcom bandwagon (and ignoring the piracy issue), yes, it might have been nice to actually have someone go “Look! There’s a demo! Try it!” (Where were you RPS, did you failed me?!?)

    Having a link to the demo off the games’s page on the capcom’s website might have helped (instead of having to got track it down on the game’s site proper) and giving me more that 120k/s from gamespot’s mirror would be nice, too. Checked filefront, sure enough, they’ve got one (though it’s about 400 megs smaller?!?) and getting a much more reasonable 900k/s…

  7. Matt says:

    Sahagin, I believe that would be an invasion of privacy (or piracy, if you will).

  8. Nero says:

    I’ve only played the demo and it runs very well on my not so new computer. Best port yet for sure and I will eventually pick up the full game. I could see it do very well if it would have put up digitally on Steam or such.

  9. subedii says:

    Scandalon, you uh, might want to look here:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/06/06/devil-may-cry-pc-gamers-may-download-demo/

    Personally I downloaded the game straight from their main page, and it was plenty fast.

  10. cliffski says:

    Demos should be trivial to locate, direct from the developer or publisher, on a fast, no-bullshit connection without queues, signups, or other crap.
    Ideally a simple html link to an exe for an installer.
    It’s amazing how few of the big sites do this.

    They also need to be automatically updated so the demo code is as current as the main game, and be released at the latest on the day the full game is on sale.

  11. Po0py says:

    A lot of people who pirated DMC4 would have probably never even considered buying it in the first place. You have to take that into consideration. Also the fact that DMC4 was released several months later than the console versions had to have played a part in it’s low sales. There is just no publicity for the pc version; all the hype is gone. People simply don’t know its out there. And, as a previous poster noted, I haven’t seen this game in the store’s either. It is just nowhere to be found. You can’t blame the low sales on piracy alone; its fucking retarded.

  12. subedii says:

    Personally when I picked it up, they told me I had gotten the last copy. I think this was on launch day, but judging by the size of the gap, it looked like they had stocked all of 3 copies at the HMV I went to (unless they were bringing them in from the storeroom, which I suppose is a possibilit). Zavvi and Game didn’t even appear to have it in stock as far as I saw.

  13. Kanakotka says:

    Yet another game i pirated first and ended up buying after, just because it’s good. ;) Piracy doesn’t necessarily mean loss of sales, in this case, for instance, it meant the increase.

  14. Ed says:

    The only games I buy I buy on Steam. If it’s on Steam, and reasonably priced (generally under 20 pounds) I’ll get it. Otherwise, I might be tempted to download it illegally. That’s not to say I won’t buy it later, but I love the convenience of Steam and being able to redownload games if I get a new computer or borrow someone elses.

    There’s very few games I’d consider paying more than 30 pounds for – GTA and Valve games are the only two I can think of off the top of my head.

  15. Punning Pundit says:

    I am a pretty hardcore PC gamer. This is the first I’ve heard that there is a new Devil May Cry. Do I understand that it requires a gamepad?! Marketing, not security, is to be blamed for poor sales…

  16. MetalCircus says:

    Would putting games up on digital download sites really help? There will always be ways around this. There’s at least one way of getting around Steam that I know of.

  17. subedii says:

    The issue with putting it on Steam isn’t so much preventing Piracy directly as increasing availability and ease of procurement, both of which Steam achieves. There’s also the increased visibility from it being on Steam’s front page and having a notification pop up to declare to all Steam users that “Hey guess what! DMC4 is now on Steam!”. Which would have been a big help in itself given that

    a) Steam has around 14 million subscribers and

    b) Few people even knew that DMC4 had come out on PC.

    If only 1/100th of Steam users were even merely interested in DMC4, that’s 140,000 more people than would have been the case originally. And personally, I’d guess at a lot more than that.

  18. Pwnzerfaust says:

    @Kanakotka: Piracy might encourage a few people pick up the game, but you can’t honestly think that sales on the whole increase due to piracy?
    There are a lot more people in this world who would rather own something for free with no consequences than pay for it.

  19. Muzman says:

    slight sidebar: A lot of people still don’t like ordering stuff over the internet, giving out credit card details and then sacrificing their item to the whims of international post, customs, whathaveyou. It’s not that bad these days, but I think aversion to it is still present. If something isn’t in a shop I tend to declare it unavailabler rather than sift through a million warehouse vendors of unverifiable quality from all over the place. Or wander around download sites and reviews of same trying to divine what flavour of strange DRM it has and how many ways it can go wrong so I end up wasting bandwidth quota and money and hard disk space all at the same time.
    Some of these things are more peculiarly Australian problems (or magnified by that), sure. But the netted up saying ” you haven’t exhausted all possibilities for paying for the game yet!” and flinging out half a dozen inks to online retailers large and small shouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t stick with the average person.
    Pass judgement how you like; everyone’s lazy, amoral scum or just stupid. I don’t think online shopping has reached universal acceptance yet is all, and it’s a problem for games when retail ensures there’s no shelf life beyond a month for your title.
    (cruel as it might sound, I’m all for online stuff absolutely wrecking retail. Whenever you hear about stupid release dates, development cut short, cost overruns in certain areas, marketing descisions, pressure for gimmicry in games development half the time is boils down to dealing with the retail shelf rent, copies in stock and things of that sort. Tear it all down, I say.)

  20. malkav11 says:

    There are all kinds of games that are available for easy piracy but aren’t available in actual legal physical copies except in a few insanely inflated eBay auctions or Amazon Marketplace sales. Home of the Underdogs alone has hundreds. Yes, abandonware is still piracy. But I’m sure not going to worry about it if the people who made the game can’t be bothered to accept my money.

    This is one reason Good Old Games is such a terrific idea, and why every owner of game IP needs to sign up with them.

  21. Dot says:

    Well, at least this time they’ve admitted to being a part of the problem here. If it was on Steam, I’d snap it up the very first day of release, but since it’s not-I’m going to keep waiting until it’s there or even on Impulse.
    Though yes, piracy is still a huge problem and this is in no way apology for the people who DID pirate the game.

  22. Saflo says:

    MetalCircus says:

    Would putting games up on digital download sites really help? There will always be ways around this. There’s at least one way of getting around Steam that I know of.

    The line of reasoning goes something like this: if a fellow’s options are a) drive to the store and pay $50 for a game and b) download a torrent for free, he is going to choose option b. However, if given the option to pay for a legal, quickly downloadable copy of a game from the comfort of his computer chair, he might have a change of heart, or at least decide it would be nice to have a copy available to him for the rest of his (or Steam’s) life.

  23. Jonathan says:

    Steamworks, all I’m saying.

    Hmmm, dudes already said it. Nice one dudes.

  24. Po0py says:

    Punning Pundit: Do I understand that it requires a gamepad?

    Yes. I recommend the 360 gamepad with the wireless adapter thingy. Gamepad is the only way to play a game like this.

  25. Ross B says:

    Mouse Support, Put it on Steam, then i’ll buy it. The demo ran well but the two keyboard format was awkward and the load times (which seemed to only happen once at the begining) were horrendous. Capcom aren’t there yet.

  26. Jetsetlemming says:

    I would pin the poor sales of DMC4 on two things, neither of them piracy:
    1. Capcom has negative amounts of customer trust in PC Gamers right now after Resident Evil 4, Devil May Cry 3, and Lost Planet. NEGATIVE. I played RE4 on PC. I played it patched, and I tried it both keyboard and with two separate USB controllers. It was horrid on all three. The analog movement of the joysticks was translated to digital on/off movement of my aim as if it was just interpreting a joystick movement as a button press. I made it to the Castle, then just gave up to go play something better.
    2? I can’t find a copy of DMC4 for the life of me. My local Wal-mart doesn’t have it, Steam doesn’t have it… and well, those are exclusively my two PC game sources. Sorry, but I’m not going on a roadtrip to the EB two cities away on the off chance they have a copy tucked away in their half-hidden PC section.

    I’m excited about Bionic Command: Rearmed being on steam, and I’m SO picking that up first day. Woo! It looks ridiculously awesome from the trailers.

    Sidenote: CAPCOM BRING DEAD RISING AND PHOENIX WRIGHT TO PC! THERE’S ALREADY PW PC PORTS IN JAPAN TRANSLATE THOSE FUCKERS TO ENGLISH I DON’T HAVE A DS GODDAMNIT

  27. fearian says:

    I just wanna say, I Have DMC for the PC and it is kickass and supirior than the console version. It has more content, better graphics, runs silky smoothly even when recording full resolution fraps footage. I’m really enjoying it.

    now,

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

    Steam isn’t the super secure option alot of people think – in fact the pirating systems for steam games are very easy for the end user to use, but they just havn’t been made ‘popular’ in the same way most crack releases are by torrent networks, IRC and usenet.

  28. Jewce says:

    So many comments here, but almost all are from people who havn’t played DMC4 and believe Capcom did the port of Resident Evil 4 (which they didnt, Ubisoft did. Capcom released the patch to fix the damn thing). I love the Pc version of Devil may Cry 4 – Its an intense, Visceral experience and I believe anyone who enjoys action titles purchase it. I really really really love Capcom, and really don’t want to see them turn their backs on the PC platform, And to those who believe steam is the answer – No. If you bother to look on any major torrent site there are rips/full releases of every steam title released.

  29. mister slim says:

    MetalCircus says:

    Would putting games up on digital download sites really help? There will always be ways around this. There’s at least one way of getting around Steam that I know of.

    The benefit of digital download sites along the line of Steam is that no one outside the developer/publisher has access to the .exe until launch day, so there won’t be cracks available before release and most likely they will be later than that.

  30. Turkish Superman says:

    “which they didnt, Ubisoft did.”

    Ubisoft just published them; the port jobs were actually done by a company that designs office applications and had no experience with games at all.

  31. Frosty840 says:

    Here’s a thing…
    I’m something of a stereotypical nerdy, RTS/Neverwinter-playing PC gamer.
    In the name of cross-platform diversity, peace, love and happiness, I *bought* a copy of DMC4.
    I just can’t be arsed to even play it.

  32. Frosty840 says:

    Well, out of boredom and too-early-in-the-morning-ness, I got around to installing the game.

    First impressions were bad, because the thing featured that now-traditional out-of-game config menu so favoured by the world of badly-ported japanese console insults, and a completely incomprehensible configuration dialog for the controls.
    Luckily, the thing came pre-configured for the XBox360 pad I was using, but your mileage may vary.

    Then I fired the game up, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed by the game’s performance. It literally looks and performs better than any other game I’ve seen running on this graphics card. So, well done on that side of the coding.

    Was a bit miffed that the voices and actions in the part of the intro with the woman singing were perfectly synched up to a japanese-language track that wasn’t actually playing. They managed to sync the words up to the animations in the next part of the intro, though which, if anything, made the original problem worse, and more obvious.

    Then there was some ridiculous fighting, the likes of which you can’t pull off in-game. Naughty, naughty devs. The action was all very anime-styled, which made me nauseous (I’m largely allergic to anime violence) and some… words. Can’t really call it dialogue.

    And then the thing got stuck in a loading loop and I quit rather than listen to any more verbal cheese.

    So, yeah, I completely appreciate the skill and effort that have gone into this, but the game itself just isn’t for… anyone with a shred of self-respect or taste, I guess is how I’d put it.

    I met someone a while ago who took the position that games are not for dialogue or talking, and that anything the game did that wasn’t either him pressing a button to make some poor NPC explode in a shower of blood and gore, or at least in some way directly involved in him getting close enough to an enemy to press said button, was not only a waste of his time, but an offense against his game-playing person. I once saw him get pissed off at Soldier of Fortune because it had too much plot.
    This is the sort of game he would play.

    Me, I like words and thinking, and this game’s focus on shiny things and frantic button-jabbery rather than anything I actually wanted to do or see rather worked against it.

  33. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    OKAY.

    I know Capcom is known for their, well, underwhelming PC ports, but the news that piracy is giving them trouble for DMC4 is worth worrying about for a very good reason.

    The DMC4 PC port is actually good. Great, even. They rebuilt it from the ground up to work on PC, and if you have a gamepad and a good machine, it plays better than on console.

    Capcom is giving the PC some love for a change, and then getting bit in the hand for it. Lookin’ at you, Commando. All the way up there, smug in your “near the top of the thread-ness.”

    But I agree with the Steamfolk here. Putting a game on Steam gives it a lot more exposure than putting it on a retail shelf. Even if the game still eventually gets pirated, it’ll sell a lot more copies if it’s on a popular digital publishing platform than if it’s left to languish, unadvertised, on a shelf. *Shh! Don’t let the retailers hear you. They’re in the bushes.*

    @Frosty840: Any DMC fan could’ve told you that. This is very much a “Shut brain down, engage Guilty Pleasure circuits” sort of game.

    Doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just not to your taste. It is to the Japanese what Gears of War is to the West. (Which is an analogy I first saw bandied about ’round RPS, come to think of it.)

    But if you ask me, no other RTS I’ve thus far played has stood up to the Total War series in terms of both fun and thinky-ness. And I long for a return to Baldur’s Gate/Fallout form for the CRPG (read: Real RPG) genre. I still enjoy a bit of mindless stylized action now and then, though.

  34. cliffski says:

    “Steamworks, all I’m saying.”

    It seems everyone thinks that

    1) Anyone can use steamworks and
    2) Anyone can put their games on steam.

    THIS IS NOT TRUE.
    Contrary to popular belief, steam is not an open website. Steam sells games that valve decide they want to sell. if valve don’t like your game, you are fucked. Steam is no different to Stardocks Impulse, the GamersGate site, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, or any other company.

    When people say “I’ll pirate a game unless its on steam” you are effectively saying that the only games that should be commercially viable are ones that gabe newell likes.

    There are plenty of other no-hassle digital distribution sites, like the ones I mentioned (or even little old me!).
    Please don’t assume that the reason a game isn’t on steam is because the developer/publisher does not want it on there. And do not assume steamworks is freely available either. The same applies, despite the hype.

  35. thesombrerokid says:

    @Dorian Cornelius Jasper
    actually on capcoms latest tech the games are developed on pc it’s a cross platform simultaneous development process, they built the versions at the same time, which begs the question why wasn’t the pc versoin out first?

    More importantly why release this on pc, why buy it on pc, i pirated it, i had no intentoin of buying it ever, it was as bad as i expected and i got little more than a demos worth of play out of it and i didn’t dl the demo because i could dl the whole game.

    Generally speaking i dl most games when they come out and then buy the good ones when my pay check comes in like i done for bioshock, mass effect and crysis and delete the crap ones and i don’t see any reason why someone wouldn’t do it that way, unless they can afford them right there and then obviously, but that skews piracy figures a as does dling games that are not your thing like DMC.

    Most All of the people stealing it were never going to buy it, but that wont stop capcom pretending they’re in the same leauge as crysis.

  36. BonSequitur says:

    Now, what the hell is Devil May Cry, anyway? Seriously. Until reading these comments, because I could never be bothered to look it up, I was in doubt about whether it was an action game, a shooter, or an RPG.

    Because I’ve been gaming on the PC for two generations of consoles. I completely ignored entire console franchises. Capcom can’t expect everyone in the universe to know about their games; it doesn’t matter that console gamers have, apparently, been drooling all over DMC for years now; if they want to sell it on the PC, they have to market it on the PC, and they did a miserable job of it. No wonder the game sold poorly.

    Of course, even if they’ve had difficulty learning marketing, technology or game design for the PC, they’ve assimilated the ages-old technique of spreading piracy FUD very quickly.

    Regarding the Steam comments… it seems fairly silly to assert Capcom couldn’t have gotten DMC on Steam. Yes, it’s hard on little indie developers getting Valve’s approval, but Capcom is not a little indie dev, they’re a great big publisher.

  37. Greve says:

    Yes, DMC4 was such a slick port the controls even mention shoulder buttons. I’ve taped my keyboard to my back and tried to reach back to touch the keys, but that didn’t work. Obviously, a lot of attention has gone to the port.

  38. subedii says:

    Cliffski, in this case the reason DMC4 wasn’t on there really was because Capcom didn’t want it on there. Capcom already have a deal with Valve to put their games on there and have already put several of their games on there already. Capcom Japan however, for some strange reason said “not this time” and refused to allow it. Which I can only view as a stupid move on their part. They didn’t even try for any other DD systems either. It’s not as if they’re short of what cash they might need to put it up there, and they make a better profit per unit by going DD than by the store bought copies.

    You’re right, there are plenty of other no hassle DD sites available. Capcom refused all of them. This isn’t an attempt at justifying piracy. I’m saying Capcom did something really stupid there when they could have gained a lot more money.

  39. DSX says:

    I have to agree with the theme “quality sells” when it comes to PC. Consoles games strike me as flavor of the week, for short attention span theater. Even many 3A PC games are notoriously dumbed down for their ability to be ported to console. The PC giant sellers though are all really quality games. They sell because of such, and only a few are ported to consoles.

  40. cliffski says:

    “All of the people stealing it were never going to buy it,”

    Says who? Them?
    People are rarely honest, even with themselves, when it comes to justifying why they go straight to a torrent site, rather than download a demo.

    People often say all the games they pirate are crap anyway. that’s just basic human nature. when something costs you nothing, you subconsciously see it as worthless.
    The people who moan about games the most are the ones who torrent everything and buy nothing :(

  41. kadayi says:

    “It seems everyone thinks that

    1) Anyone can use steamworks and
    2) Anyone can put their games on steam.”

    (2) might not be the case, but (1) is entirely possible. They’ve said the tool are free repeatedly. I’m sure if that wasn’t the case they’d have been hauled up by now:-

    http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/

    “With no licensing fees and no charge for bandwidth, keep your customers up-to-date and together with a unified system.”

  42. Dominic White says:

    To hell with the piracy issue – DMC4 was a very good game when it first came out on the 360. The PC port is one of the best console-to-PC ports ever, providing new gameplay modes (including an almost Serious Sam-esque monster army mode), better graphics, higher framerates and a bunch of other perks.

    But you just can’t win, can you? 1up gave it a C+ score, and the review was little more than a rant about how you can’t play it with the mouse.. The MOUSE!? How in the name of fuck itself would you even play this with a mouse? That’s like marking down an RTS because you can’t play it with a steering wheel!

    PC Gamer UK gave it a 68% – similar complaints. It has gotten torn to shreds by PC gaming sites/mags, and why? Because it seems that they wouldn’t know a good action game (that isn’t first-person and played with the 100% standardized mouse-keyboard-WSAD layout) if it dropkicked them in the face.

    Why does this happen? Why is gaming journalism in such an utterly shitty state?

  43. SwiftRanger says:

    “That’s like marking down an RTS because you can’t play it with a steering wheel!”

    Say what? Why would it be so odd to expect mouse+keyboard controls for an action game that isn’t first person? The PCG UK review mentions more problems than that as well, and they’re definitely not all about the actual controls.

  44. Cooper says:

    I have to agree with the theme “quality sells” when it comes to PC. Consoles games strike me as flavor of the week, for short attention span theater. Even many 3A PC games are notoriously dumbed down for their ability to be ported to console. The PC giant sellers though are all really quality games. They sell because of such, and only a few are ported to consoles.

    Apart from whichever couple of Sims Exansion packs are in the Top10 this week and every over week since relaise, until now and to eternity?

  45. Mo says:

    Also: there was that year where “Who wants to be a millionaire” was the #1 selling PC game for the holiday season. Quality indeed. :)

  46. UncleLou says:

    “All of the people stealing it were never going to buy it,”

    1. You don’t know that. Frankly, saying none of the pirates would have bought it almost more ridiculous than claiming they all would have bought it.

    2. Even if they all hadn’t bought it, I’d understand devs not wanting their game to be played for free by thousand sof people, whether they would have bought it or not.

    3. It doesn’t matter one bit if they would have bought it or not, as long as the publishers believe they might have bought it.

    One thing though, as good as the port is, you can’t make atrocious PC games for 15 years and gain the reputation of doing the worst console -> PC ports in the world of gaming, and then expect good sales the first time you put some effort in.

  47. Dominic White says:

    “Say what? Why would it be so odd to expect mouse+keyboard controls for an action game that isn’t first person?”

    Yes. Have you ever played a fighting game before? You don’t play Street Fighter with a mouse, do you? DMC is an arcade-style fighting game based around analogue movement and lots of buttons.

    If you can come up with an even halfway workable control system for DMC4 that wouldn’t involve reworking the entire gameplay framework, I’d be very impressed.

  48. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    @DominicWhite:

    Ah. Beat me to it.

    Just as some games were meant to be played with keyboard-mouse, some were designed with other control schemes in mind. After all, console gamers have to live with the gamepad being the lesser input device for FPSes. And there’s quite a lot of Japanese-made arcade-style PC games designed to be played with a gamepad–some of which were never meant to be on console.

  49. kadayi says:

    If your reviewing something, your reviewing it for your target audience, and the input system they are most likely to use. Now regardless of whether DMC4 plays brilliantly on the PC using a controller, the plain truth of the matter is, most PC gamers don’t have one, and the developers clearly failed to do a good job at translating the game input to the keyboard & mouse, and testing it for ease of use.

  50. Subject 706 says:

    Gotta agree with several earlier posts here. If capcom had the brains of a snail, they’d put DMC4 up on every major Digital Download site; D2D, Steam, Gamersgate and Impulse. These have got to have tens of millions of potential customers between them. In fact, NOT doing so is so completely, massively DUMB, that I wonder in which reality the responible execs live in.