By John Walker on November 23rd, 2011 at 4:18 pm.
Gosh, we’re seldom angered by a developer’s words, but I Am Alive‘s creative director Stanislas Mettra is going some to tempt it out of us. With frankly astonishing arrogance, he declared that his team is not bothering to create a port of the game for PC because “no one will buy it”, even though people are demanding a version. Of course he aimlessly blames piracy, even though being with Ubisoft he has the option to stick so much DRM up its arse no one will be able to play it without his personally coming around their house to type in his password. But then, in a moment of just remarkable hubris, Mettra declares that the “no one” means fewer than 50,000.
That’s his concern. If fewer than 50,000 buy it, then it’s not worthwhile. Let me just do some maths here.
Digital only distribution…
No retail costs…
30% share to online retailers…
Likely to cost around £15…
Oh, well, I see his point. That’s only £525,000. I mean, what use is over half a million pounds to anyone? Cuh.
These troubling musings come from an interview with Inc Gamers, via Eurogamer, in which Mettra so delightfully describes the PC gamers who want to play his game as “bitching”, before dismissing the potential cash.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that PC gamers are bitching about there being no version for them,” said Mettra. “But are these people just making noise just because there’s no version or because it’s a game they actually want to play? Would they buy it if we made it?”
Well, I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t fill me with confidence about the game. Huh? And Mr Mettra, there’s a smidgen more chance that we’ll buy it if you do make it, than if you don’t. You know, a game that’s clearly at home on PC and all.
Then piracy comes out, and, well, the hubris.
“It’s hard because there’s so much piracy and so few people are paying for PC games that we have to precisely weigh it up against the cost of making it. Perhaps it will only take 12 guys three months to port the game to PC, it’s not a massive cost but it’s still a cost. If only 50,000 people buy the game then it’s not worth it.”
He might want to take a look at the ever-increasing PC sales figures, and the massive success of digital distribution, and then, I don’t know, sit down and think for a while. By my estimation, paying twelve decent salaries for three months will take barely a fifth of those profits. Let alone that porting a 360 game to PC is pretty damned simple. We have no idea what issues there might be involved in making the port – we’ve never ported a game. But we feel reasonably confident it’s not going to cost half a million to do. And hey, what if the game sold 70,000? 100,000? 500,000? Exactly how much money is he willing to give up, because of some nebulous belief in the piracy monster?
So, there you go. Mettra doesn’t want your money, thinks you’re bitching when you want to play his game, and that at least over half a million quid is of no use to him. We have, as you might imagine, contacted Ubisoft to see how they feel about 50,000 sales.