I Am Alive Dev Dismisses ‘Bitching’ PC Users

By John Walker on November 23rd, 2011 at 4:18 pm.

No... don't do it...

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.

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293 Comments »

  1. jellydonut says:

    One thing is guaranteed: they’ll change their minds later on, and release a (probably half-assed) PC port.

    One other thing is guaranteed: I will never in my life buy or play this game or any subsequent release from these assholes until this guy is fired.

    • The_B says:

      The really stupid thing is, they’ll do exactly this and hardly any PC gamers will buy it because he insulted us like this AND THEN think they’ve justified this statement because no PC gamers bought the thing.

    • Torgen says:

      Frankly, I couldn’t care less how they justify it to themselves, as I doubt they’ll be around long regardless.

      This guy must be a WONDERFUL person to work for, with such an attitude.

    • gwathdring says:

      Fine with me. There are plenty of great games to play. This just means fewer decisions I have to make when it comes to game-related financial dilemmas–assuming I would have been interested in the game to begin with. It’s their game, their distribution, and their profit margin. I couldn’t care less on that count.

      Unless those remarks were very much out-of-character for the man, I can’t see him getting along especially well with either employees or management though, attitude towards PC games aside.

    • EhsanKia says:

      That’s the funny thing too. It’s not so much that they are assholes because their games get pirated, but more like their games get pirated because they are assholes. How come Valve and the other respectful developers are doing so damn well on the PC, but when it comes to them, they’re always complaining about their games being pirated? Well maybe if you respected your customers and didn’t feed them your crappy DRM everyday, then you’d actually HAVE some customers left to buy your games.

    • Megatr0n says:

      Exactly. I find it a lot easier to buy from people that value their customers than others that disregard, and offensively label a potential market base.

      But in reality, if they did a good port, took away the disgusting DRM, and put it on Steam they’d probably sell.

    • supernorn says:

      Personally I’m devastated that another game set in a post apocalyptic universe with a colour palette to rival Quake’s brown-ness is not coming to this platform. As if being associated with Ubisoft and this ‘creative’ director chap was not enough.

    • mouton says:

      Well, if the game proves brilliant, beautiful and is not totally murdered by DRM, I just might be interested in it. In the end, the attitude of the people who make it is secondary – many musicians or painters where/are quite horrible people.

      Very unlikely, though.

    • Lifebleeder says:

      I’m with Jelly Donut on this, I was actually interested in this game. I thought the premise looked like something a bit fresh, something I might be able to enjoy. After reading this guys drek, it could be the only game released next year, for every system, and I still won’t buy it.

      This guy needs to realize that a lot of PC Gamers, aren’t solely just PC Gamers. If they didn’t release a PC Port, I would’ve bought it for the PS3 or Xbox. Than this guy had to go and be a dick about it, and lost the sale, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way.

    • amorpheous says:

      #OccupyUbisoft!

    • Ruffian says:

      Ubisoft can suck my dong. With people like that at the helm I hope they go under. I just don’t understand how all these assholes can talk so much shit about pcs and pc gamers when they build all these damn games on pcs and probably started out as pc gamers. So what? We know what we want and don’t want. it’s like they hate on us for being generally more informed than consolers or something.

      Also I just wanted to say that if piracy wasn’t nigh impossible for console users I think that these people’s attitudes would be much different.

    • G_Man_007 says:

      HO! Stavros! Over here! Yeah, guess where you can shove your game.

      Ye- that’s right… Now piss off back to your consoles and do one. (Bearing in mind what I say below, the last sentence is said with regard to how I perceive the guys attitude – he wants to stay with console development, fine, stay there if that’s how you want it.)

      I love many games, PC and console, and this game looks like an interesting premise, but I ain’t countenancing the old console V PC arguement. If he’d said it in a nice way, then ok, but being dismissive, belittling those who game on PCs? I understand the slight misconception of piracy, and the incentive to do it console only, but keep an open mind FFS. I might even have entertained his game on console, but not now, unless I see it for mega-cheaps. Now he can whistle for the cash and lose a sale. We’re all gamers after all, why the willywaving over the medium? Just causes unnecessary hate. Last thing a developer should be doing is fueling it.

    • pacificator says:

      LOL look who;s talking. The kings of bitching about piracy…

      Nobody buys your game because it’s crap probably. Ass Creed with all it’s flaws has sold a LOT of copies on PC. This game will NOT sell because it’s CRAP, so thanks for the warning i’ll make sure not to check it out.

  2. konrad_ha says:

    Clearly a man who understands business as well as PR. Best of luck to him and his company.

    • Magga says:

      He’s a creative director. He will create good sales for his game after it’s released.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      He’s a creative director. He will create good sales for his game even after being admitted to an asylum.

    • strikerRD says:

      I pirate video games. I also buy them. I’d say that the ratio is about 50/50. I have a few personal rules on how I do things, I thought i’d share to counterpoint what some other people have said.

      1. If I like a game, or I finish it, I purchase it.
      usually I pirate things to act as a demo, since often there’s no PC demo to speak of, or no demo to speak of at all. I’m not really okay with that as a business practice, so I make my own demo. The pirated version. Many PC games are released broken, they are bad ports, or they are incompatible with my hardware setup ( like the whole RAGE ATI thing). I think it’s a little too much for them to ask me to pay 60 dollars just to see if something will run on my machine or not. There’s no refund to speak of; I can’t make a return. I bought Battlefield Bad Company 2 only to find out that because of the FOV combo of my widescreen monitor and the FOV, I would get painful motion sickness playing the game. Never happened before also I received little to no sympathy from steam or anyone, just an automated “shitsux” message.

      2. If finances allow it, I’ll always buy the game rather than pirate.
      I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not wealthy. Actually, i’m quite poor. My house doesn’t have enough chairs. My girlfriend and I don’t have a proper bed. My PC sits on a coffee table on the floor. These things cost hundreds of dollars that I simply don’t have. Quite honestly, most of the time my budget doesn’t allow for even one single dollar outside of my bills and food. I also believe that just because I don’t have enough money to enjoy a medium of art (games, movies, etc) does not mean that I will simply have to go without them. Sorry, this isn’t Medieval England, the lords in my ‘fief’ shouldn’t be the only ones allowed to enjoy things just because they are blessed enough to be born into a better situation than me. Let me clarify that I don’t feel that I have the right to these things, rather I feel that other people don’t have a right to them just because they have more money.

      3. Sometimes I download a game I don’t even like, or would never play, let it sit on my hard drive, then delete it after a while.
      Why? Usually because someone who worked on the game made some insane statement about PC gamers or about PC piracy.
      Or the game always comes out at release buggy and unplayable. I think that alot of the crap PC gamers have to put up with from “professional” game development countries is outright insane. Also Draconian DRM schemes like Starforce and the like. So, yes, there is a political aspect. But more often then not i’m not even playing it. It’s just my way of making the statement.

      Also, I know a lot of you are going to read this and have a lot of negative things to say. Trust me, i’ve had a lot of flak from other American people for my non-capitalist mindset on things. I’d like to mention something else, as well, because other times i’ve tried to share my personal feelings on this subject and been met with extreme hostility. I’m the child of a semi-famous musician that will go unnamed. If I really wanted to, I could run to mommy and daddy and take their money, using it to buy all of the things I want/need.

      I don’t do that. I work for my own things, I left home and literally started with nothing. I did this because I’d rather have nothing than spend any more of anyone else’s money on myself. Six months before now I was living in a shitty car in my town, homeless. I got a job managing 30+ apartments (i’m twenty two years old) and I just put my girlfriend through college, working for both of us. So next time, please, before you make a comment about how PC pirates are snotty little shits, maybe you should realize that all around the world, there are people who have many varying situations and beliefs that are not the same as your own.

      On a side note: alot of the information I’ve seen recently points to console piracy being on a massive upturn while digital distrobution is growing the PC market greatly, If i’m not mistaken I read an article on RPS like 6 months ago and it said that the PC market will grow to be larger than the console market by 2012/1013? If this is true and i’m not mistaken, I think a good eye-roll is in order for ‘creative directors’ that make comments like this.

    • strikerRD says:

      oh darn, I posted it in the wrong comment thread :(

      Sorry!

    • roryok says:

      @strikerRD

      I was in a similar situation to you a few years ago, and I used to pirate games. I’m not proud of it, but I stuck to much the same moral code as you do. I downloaded games I couldn’t afford to buy, and when I scraped together some money, I bought the ones I had played through. Luckily for me, I’m in a better place financially at the moment (and it makes me feel guilty at times, given the current recession we’re all in). I completely agree with you on point 1 & 2, but not point 3.

      My point: Pirating out of poverty, out of a lack of demos, out of unwillingness to buy something broken is something I can understand and sympathise with. Pirating for political reasons doesn’t help anyone.

    • Hypernetic says:

      @Striker: Being poor isn’t an excuse to steal. You would get sympathy from me if you were stealing food because you were hungry and couldn’t afford food. Stealing video games? No sympathy there.

    • Necroscope says:

      Games on steams sales and other digital distribution platforms can be so cheap why bother pirating? All of the options F2P gives why bother cheating, stealing, pirating and being a leech? Enterprises like Humble Indie Bundle and the like are soo good for gamers why be a scum bag thief ? I buy certain special games [ special in my mind ] full price like The Witcher 2 and Skyrim or the Stalker series because I want to play them up front others I just wait for the inevitable 50 60 75% off sales and gorge my way to gaming ecstasy or perhaps try my luck on some games I wouldn’t normally buy unless marked down or perhaps have put off for too long like portal 2 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    • strikerRD says:

      roryok:
      I think it says alot to a developer that basically doesn’t want to serve paying customers. Writing an email to customer service isn’t going to do anything. I honestly wish we lived in a world where we as consumers could write emails expressing our concerns and be listened to, but in reality an email like that would get binned in the trash. Unless you could get it to the right people, i’m not sure how I can do that though.

      Hypernetic:
      What you fail to realize is that I never wanted or asked for sympathy. I pretty much explained in the first few sentences that i’d like to provide an alternative point of view to what you’d normally find here. Save your sympathy for somebody else, I never asked for it and I most definitely don’t need it.

      Necroscope:
      I agree with everything they do at Steam. It’s a fair way to have DRM. Wasn’t there an article here a few weeks ago about the insane profits they get from the steam sales? Newell himself believes that if you make a product worth buying, people will buy it. I agree with that mindset. Steam is living proof that fair prices and reliable products prints money for you. Also that’s probably why my steam library is stocked with games.

      If ubisoft took a page out of Newell’s business strategy instead of forcing draconian always-online DRM onto it’s paying consumers and still had problems with piracy, i’d sympathize with them. As it stands they are just acting like every PC gamer is stealing from them wether they are a paying consumer or not. I can’t imagine why you would want to just suck it up and buy a game with UbiDRM. I feel like it’s the Skynet of gaming.

      Also on the political side of things. Most consider Piracy to be stealing.
      My question is, if i’m downloading a cracked game not to use the content or enjoy the creator’s work, but only to prove a point: Is that really stealing to you?

    • aerozol says:

      @ Hypernetic, “being poor isn’t an excuse to steal”, then you give an example where it is?
      I know the world’s fucked up, but just because I was born into a well-off family doesn’t lead me to believe that I have more right to enjoyment than other people. If someones only two options are to either ‘not play the game’, or ‘pirate the game’ (eg the option ‘buy the game’ isn’t there), taking the second route isn’t hurting anyone. Maybe some peoples very sensitive morals, and it presents a danger ot the money driven status-quo, but let’s be honest, not really.
      I’m aware there’s the responses of ‘if they have a computer to run it, they have enough money to buy the game’, or ‘if they have time to play, they have time to work’, but that doesn’t blanket cover every individuals case. And I also don’t want to encourage piracy. It’s a tightrope (;

    • elnalter says:

      I don’t want to seem judgmental but you should’ve really bought a decent bed for your girls sake. That’s kinda messed up.

    • wazups2x says:

      @strikerRD

      Stealing is stealing. Stop trying to justify it.

    • Ovno says:

      “but just because I was born into a well-off family doesn’t lead me to believe that I have more right to enjoyment than other people. ”

      FFS its not the family you were born into, it’s how much effort you’ve put into earning yourself some fun tokens, I’m getting bloody tired of all this rich family shit, your families got nothing to do with it, get a job, buy the game, easy…

      That said if you really are that poor, wait for the sales and get them when there cheap…

      Or you know pirate them anyway, but stop going on about your/others families…

    • Joshua says:

      @StrikerRD

      You can just edit the BC2 FOV by going into the BFBC2.ini file in your my documents folder.

      As BC2 uses vertical FOV, instead of horizontal FOV, the 55 number might seem a little low. But a VFOV of 60 gives a HFOV of 75 on a 4:3 screen, which is HL2 default. On widescreen you automatically get better HFOV.

      Try it. Enjoy.

    • Hirmetrium says:

      @strikerRD:

      While I appreciate your situation, there’s something you need to understand. I will not sugar coat this because of my own feelings on the matter.

      People like you ARE the reason we had riots in London and Manchester. People who feel that while they have no money, they are still entitled to nice things. You are not. Stealing is against the law. Even if you feel you are “sticking it to the man!” you are, in fact, no better than that man you are sticking it to.

      Pretending to have the moral high-ground makes your argument even worse.

      You are the cancer that, for one week, make everyone fear the generation we had become.

      I’m not saying you would of gone out and rioted – just that your justification is the one that hundreds of thousands of people tried to use as an excuse for beating down windows and destroying peoples livelihoods.

      I want you to just think and consider that the next time you put an arguement like this forward.

      And don’t call me out. I know its an apples and oranges comparison – after all, the UK is the only place where the poor can have iPhones and wear designer trainers, and I’m sure the economic situation is different in the US.

      I’d like to see RPS do a series of articles on piracy studying why its so bad, and maybe have an anonymous survey to find out the reasons people pirate (god knows how many people on this site do).

    • theleif says:

      I’m curious. Have any of you guys that thinks piracy is stealing ever burned a music CD, copied a VHS, burned a DVD, got a mixed tape from a friend, downloaded pirated film or song. I’m not saying piracy is right, but do you get this upset when you look at the mp3 collection of a friend of yours? And if not, why not?

      Furthermore, I think the guy inventing the car analogy must be TP’d.

    • Milky1985 says:

      @wazups2x

      “Stealing is stealing. Stop trying to justify it.”

      Your right stealing is stealing, however this is a talk about piracy which is copyright infringement which is not stealing

      Just a bit of factual information, i know that offends some people.

    • thegrieve says:

      @strikerRD

      I agree with your sentiments largely (not the politically natured one tho). I’m probably considered a reformed pirate. I have small amounts of disposable income now and I often spend it on games.

      However, I will make no pretence at moral, ethical or political motivations. If I want something – and it has been seemingly made difficult for me to get – I will find other ways. This is a truth for a lot of “pirates”, I’m sure. The path of least resistance.

      Also, I have purchased games that I have previously pirated, but again, not through some self-delusional claim to morality, just sheerly because after playing I felt it was worth the value.

      @Hirmetrium

      Meh, meh and meh again. Your argument is extreme and absurd. Though I did enjoy both the rage and you politely countering yourself with the apples and oranges line. A+++, would buy again.

    • aerozol says:

      @ Ovno “FFS its not the family you were born into”
      HAHAHA, are you serious? If you’re trying to put forward the argument that everyone is put into the world on an equal footing, I’m waiting for your outrageously ground breaking argument on that angle.

    • Zamn10210 says:

      “Stealing is stealing”

      Ok, this is really starting to get on my tits. Piracy patently is not stealing, nothing is removed from the possession of another person. That doesn’t make it right, but it Is. Not. Fucking. Stealing.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I took a book I did not pay for from a friend, read it, and gave it back. Was sort of meh. Did not buy it myself.

      Clearly stealing.

    • strikerRD says:

      It’s interesting to see that almost every single person who replied to my comment didn’t at all read what I had to say.

      I’m not justifying anything. I never said I was right. I never said other people need to think like me. I never said what I was doing isn’t copyright infringement. I don’t believe copyright infringement is stealing at all.

      “I don’t want to seem judgmental but you should’ve really bought a decent bed for your girls sake. That’s kinda messed up.”

      Great, thanks. I’m not already paying for her food, medicine, tuition, living space, gas, letting her drive my car and basically anything else she needs by working. I’ll just run right out and buy one and then we’ll just not eat for the next two months. Great. BTW, the little mat that we DO have, she sleeps on.

      “People like you are why we had the London Riots”
      You need to get in touch with reality. I’m sure you think “entitled brats” like me are the reason the police are beating people and pepper spraying them for peaceful protest while out news helicopters are instructed by radio to fly away so no one else in the country witnesses the horror. Believe whatever you want. Maybe the young people in YOUR country destroyed shit over their feelings, but I didn’t. I’m an American. If you dig deep enough you’ll also realize that here in the states, our youth aren’t rioting in the streets. They’re gathering peaceably which is our right in the US. Yet our government/police; those who are supposed to be protecting us are hurting people with no good reason. PLEASE get real and stop comparing me to people you’ve seen in your country.

      Joshua:
      Thanks for the BFBC2 advice, I did try that FOV trick but unfortunately it doesn’t adjust the settings enough for me to play without motion sickness. I think it’s the monitor, honestly.

      “Also, I have purchased games that I have previously pirated, but again, not through some self-delusional claim to morality, just sheerly because after playing I felt it was worth the value.”
      That’s what you do. I do things differently. Is it really necessary for you to claim i’m “delusional”. I’m sure if you laid your own thoughts and feelings out on the table there’s plenty of things in your own life the rest of us could poke fun at and call delusional.

      All things considered, even though i’ve received some of the absolute worst replies in this comment thread, it’s nice to see that however small of a population of people; somebody out there does understand that copywrite infringement is not stealing. Like I said in the first post, which nobody seems to have read in it’s entirity: My family works in the music business. Don’t you think people pirate their music? All the time. For us, life goes on when. Like I said, I want to provide an alternative viewpoint for people to consider. It’s hard to do that when nobody is actually reading your viewpoint. Most people just thought I was griping about my economic situation… which I wasn’t.

      I’d like to see the HD of these people who have such hateful things to say. If there’s a single “pirated” mp3 or movie, or if you even have a physical bootleg in your possession; You’re lying to yourself and being a hypocrite.

      I think it’s sad that these people went to public school and still are suffering from such bad reading comprehension. I don’t know who to blame, the schools? the teachers? the student for being lazy? Maybe we should initiate tax reform where if you are caught on the internet exercising such abysmal reading comprehension you’d be forced to pay the government back for your schooling. Haha

      also ““Stealing is stealing. Stop trying to justify it.” never fails to amuse. Enjoy your capitalist mentality everyone!

  3. cliffski says:

    Althought I agree with you, I suspect their argument is that if the game will shift 400,000 (for example) on console, but where a PC port exists, 50,000 of them will pirate it on PC and not get it for console, they are down the sale of 50,000 console (high price) copies, PLUS the porting costs of the PC version.
    Not saying I agree, but I know that people in the industry do that kind of math and come to that conclusion.

    They may very well be flat-out-wrong about the data and their assumptions, but they aren’t stupid. they think they are making the right move, business wise.

    • qrter says:

      Basing your business strategy on false data and kneejerk assumptions isn’t stupid?

    • StingingVelvet says:

      And there is logic there, for sure. Maybe wrong, maybe not, but logic is involved.

      It’s a shame none of this can truly be tested and researched. It’s all just a guessing game. Personally I find it hard to believe a person used to getting their games free on a torrent site would go pay $20 or whatever for a digital download on the Xbox, but I could be wrong.

      It really is a shame piracy is so bad on the PC though, and that the typical PC gamer response is “go cry more who cares.” We should all be ostracizing pirates and helping to fight against them, but instead we seem to be full of ambivalence. That said, I think most of that attitude comes from publishers choosing to screw is over and inconvenience us with methods to “fight” piracy that actually do nothing. Most companies have earned themselves a TON of ill-will, which then reflects in forums and news post where people dismiss their concerns about piracy.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Many PC gamers are also console gamers, and they don’t feel any less insulted when they’re playing on their consoles.

      PC gamers also have console gamer friends.

      Friends like mine know that THEY SHOULD NEVER BUY FROM UBI.

      So it’s not only PC sales they’re losing here. And piracy has nothing to do with it.

      Also, whoever wants to pirate console games, does. It’s almost as easy as pirating for PC. It’s up to everyone’s morals to do it or not.

    • Kdansky says:

      They could delay the PC port by 6 months. By that point, everyone who wanted it for the console has already bought it. There are still people like me who don’t own a PS3 / Xbox360, but easily spend over a 1000$ on games every year (that is just two games a month, for the mathematically challenged).

      And it’s not like there is no possibility of pirating the Xbox version either…

    • qrter says:

      We should all be ostracizing pirates and helping to fight against them, but instead we seem to be full of ambivalence.

      That sounds very noble, but how do you propose we’d actually do that?

    • Milky1985 says:

      “They could delay the PC port by 6 months. By that point, everyone who wanted it for the console has already bought it.”

      Issue with that is that while yes everyone who wanted it for the console has alrady bought it, they have also completed it, picked it to pieces and if its crap told everyone.

      This is why for me the 6 month delay doesn’t make sense (or the 1 month delay to be honest, cause of the same issue)

      As said before anyway, its only the pc that suffers from piracy, there is no pre release 360 piracy at all that let people finish the games beforehands, no piracy on the ps3 using dev kits and special USB keys and definatly no priacy on the playstation portable, its only the pc that suffer from dirty yeaaaarrrrrrrgghhhhers

    • dysphemism says:

      I have to agree with StingingVelvet — the claim that a games-pirate (who owns both a console and a PC) would be willing to pay for this title if it was available on consoles only, but would pirate it if available on PC — is pretty dubious, especially given the relatively low price point. I wonder though, piracy aside, how much multi-platform releases suffer from cannibalized sales? Presumably the industry does have reliable figures for that? (e.g. if I release a game on PC and Xbox, how many users that buy it on PC would have bought it on Xbox anyways, had it been an Xbox exclusive?)

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ qrter

      Shunning them would be a start. Most forums I go to seem to grudgingly accept pirates, or not say anything at all. “Well I don’t agree with piracy Jimmy, but hey, we’re all friends here.” That kind of thing should stop, I would love to see the PC gamer community basically treat them as lepers.

      Second to that, maybe less of the “hey make a good game and it will sell” stuff? I mean that is indeed true, I even said something to that exact effect below in the comments, but we shouldn’t dismiss the concerns so easily. If Skyrim had 300,000 people playing at once last weekend imagine what the numbers would actually be if piracy did not exist. That’s a thought publishers can’t help but have and we can’t really blame them. If I made a creative work and half my audience took it for nothing I would be pretty peeved.

      There’s no real answers of course, but it just seems like we kind of shrug our shoulders when we should be making it clear: “NO. This is wrong. Do not do this.”

    • Nalano says:

      Shun them? Why?

      A lot of gamers are former pirates. A lot of gamers pirate for political reasons. You can’t separate the gaming community into two camps, “I pay for all my games” and “I pay for none of my games.”

      What gets me is the silly notion that a lot of supposedly responsible businessmen have that each pirated copy is a lost sale, and that they can simply do the math of how much money they “should” have made. That their primary problem in development and distribution is how to punish these transgressors, rather than make better games or introduce better distribution models.

      If I had to pick sides between corporate marketers and pirates, I’ll pick pirates ten times outta ten. At least they give me something worth having.

    • gwathdring says:

      I don’t think arguing that companies think they’re right about piracy makes these sorts of attitudes look less foolish. It makes them look worse. Rather than looking at imaginary loses due to piracy, the industry should simply be concerned with profits, sales, and long-term consumer retention. PC gaming is not, as far as I’m aware, insignificant in any of these regards–less so than the console market to be sure, but by no means worth neglecting. Doing so on due to the calculus of utter guesswork available regarding piracy is not sound business-wise. It is a stupid decision.

      On the matter of community attitudes towards piracy, I do believe we are a little too accepting of piracy. I disagree that this makes any sort of practical difference. We tend to be accepting because we have friends who pirate games without being “bad” people or performing any other criminal activities. We have friends who pirate games because they can’t find a demo or becasue they live in parts of the world where particular games are obscenely over-priced or otherwise more difficult to access and play. We have friends who pirate games for reasons legitimate and otherwise, and often pirate games ourselves. Maybe it was just for this one LAN party we held because only two members of our gaming group owned the game and it’s several years old and hard to find. Maybe we bought the game after we enjoyed it. Maybe we just wanted to play it and couldn’t be bothered to wait until we could afford it. Maybe we just couldn’t be bothered to pay, means or no means. We and our friends pirate games for many reasons … and it is a common enough phenomenon that we have become accustomed to it.

      I think we could stand to be less forgiving and sympathetic towards piracy, as a community. Personally, I don’t think it makes much sense to justify piracy. I may well have taken part in illegal downloads of one sort or another, or played games I knew to be pirated on other people’s computers–but I would not delude myself in such cases that I had any intrinsic right to do so. We posses no right to play a particular game. We possess no right to purchase a particular game at a particular price. We possess no inherent right to circumvent clearly advertised and well understood limitations on the use of products we purchase. When you take these rights, I believe, you do a disservice to yourself and the community to claim it is anything other than you taking asserting your sense of entitlement over the industry and, in many cases, the law.

      I understand that our hobby (and board gaming for that matter) is an expensive one–but that expense comes from both sides. Publishers often conveniently forget this fact every bit as often as consumers do. It takes a lot of investment to produce a game, and a lot of investment to play current-generation games on current-generation systems. As such, we should push for demo opportunities, trial periods, and more honest communication about a game’s features and limitations. We should push to be treated well as consumers. We should push to be respected as customers and members of a community-oriented industry.

      I also understand that many DRM mechanisms are dishonestly advertised and unclear on purchase. We should pursue publishers that follow dishonest practices relentlessly, boycott their products, and where possible collect legal and financial resources to pursue our rights as customers to receive an honest assessment of what we are purchasing in court. If games companies are going to sell nothing more than access to their games, to be arbitrarily restricted at the whim of a forum moderator, we have the right as customers to know the full details of our contracts with these companies before any money is exchanged without any extra effort beyond readership on our parts. Post-Consumer contracts are an egregious violation of the rights of customers and of common decency in salesmanship. We should demand and pursue an end to post-consumer EULAs–or at the absolute minimum, clear legal distinctions as to their validity and enforceable scope.

      I understand there are many who pirate games due to sheer love of games combined with inaccessibility or unfair treatment. But again, we have no intrinsic right to play these games. I also doubt that piracy would be substantially reduced if we ignored all gamers who pirate as the only way to obtain games not available to them be legitimate means (due to geography or such). It is not that we should be entirely unsympathetic. We are simply too kind to pirates, be they ourselves or our friends, and I think we as a community need to start using hasher words. I agree that we need to be straight and say that we aren’t ok with piracy and the troubles it has caused our medium.

      And for that matter, start putting our money where our mouth is and stop buying games from companies that offend us.

      P.S. I do realize many gamers, on RPS and elsewhere, do follow these suggestions. I certainly know many people here boycott Steam and Origin as draconian DRM systems.

    • gwathdring says:

      @ Nalano

      I am not at all comfortable with “political piracy.”

      Think for a moment, what it says about us when we profess to care strongly enough about customer treatment to boycott games we’re excited about … only to turn around and pirate them. Think what it says about us when we offer to boycott a game only to play that same game at no cost. The message it sends to publishers is that we are entitled and that we are excusing our crimes with needless complaints. This is not true, either of the community as a whole or even of all pirates. But this is the message we send when we complain and continue to play–either by pirating or purchasing the offending games. There are enough games that we should, at least, band together to shun the most egregious offenders. And if we do not think always-on-DRM, for example, is worth given up the game … than we should certainly stop short of “boycott” piracy.

      As far as I’m concerned, piracy as a means of protest contains such an enormous conflict of interest (namely free games) as to be wholly invalidated as an act of restraint or commitment. As a statement of disdain, however, it is perhaps quite effective–though I’d wager more broad-spectrum than intended by many practitioners.

    • Nalano says:

      Because boycotts don’t work.

      Because clearly companies HATE piracy – considering how much their representatives rail on about it.

      Clearly one of those two sends the stronger message.

      Since there is no consumer rights agency for PC gamers, and the internet is a wild and wooly place where pretty much anything goes – from “official spyware” to mass account bans to draconian DRM to Zynga to micro-transaction DLC to frivolous lawsuits to wanton piracy – and the law is still a decade behind reality, it is of no big surprise that this wild west mentality exists.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Mine comes through a lack of caring. I’ve been living without a proper job for years now. Part time work mostly. Not through a lack of trying.

      I either play 1 or 2 games a year or pirate them. Nit quite sure why its meant to bother me. While people work for those companies earning millions a year they cannot blame piracy. Blame their obscene wages.

    • Harkkum says:

      @Nalano

      If you do think that piracy is a functional way to show the game companies something, then, according to this “political” ideology you are purporting you ought to just send an e-mail to the company informing them that you have pirated their game with no intention to play it. Together with the e-mail you would attach your contact information. This would classify your act as one of civil disobedience against something you find worth fighting for.

      Only then would your piracy have some sort of a face and it could be classified as anything but a petty crime. You may glorify your crimes with most silly arguments but it won’t change the bottom line: there is under no circumstances a justification for piracy. If you find a part of the game, be it DRM or whatever, unsatisfactory you dismiss the product. You don’t take the product without paying from it.

      According to your faulty logic it would be all nice and dandy for me to go to a local car dealership and complain from the colour of the seats. I could just drive the car from the dealership without paying from it and change the fabric/leather of the seats at home. I take that the more every-day situation would however be to just walk away from the dealership and not buy the product that didn’t please you.

      EDIT: @DrGonzo

      This is even more silly. If you cannot afford to play, you don’t play or you buy the products from sales (like the one soon-to-start on Steam or Humble Indie Bundle). The fact that someone has a colossal salary does not in any shape or form justify your acts. Sillyness.

    • DK says:

      Sorry Cliffsky, but “thinking they’re right” doesn’t make them not stupid. They’re morons who think they’re right – that means they’re still morons. Clueless morons.

    • Kaira- says:

      Apparently comment system ate my comment, so I’ll try here again:

      I’m just going to throw some numbers here (with assistance from my good friend Stetson-Harrison). So, in 2011, average game developer salary is around 80,000$ a year. Let’s assume that for porting they use 10 people for half a year process, this would come to… 400,000$. Now, with thelp of this article, let’s assume that the real costs of an employee to an employer is 1.4 times the base salary, this would come up to… 560,000$. If we assume that the cost of an employee is 2 times the base salary, that would be 800,000$. If we take the final number of the article, it would mean that an employee would cost about 2,7 times the base salary, making the costs of porting to whopping…. 1,080,000$. To cover those costs from PC sales with, let’s say, 20$ price, would mean selling respectively either 20,000 copies (for just the base salary), 28,000 copies (1.4 times the base salary), 40,000 copies (2 times the base salary), or 54,000 copies (2.7 times the base salary). And this is just to get back what you invested. Seeing how Amnesia sold 200,000 copies (with price of 20$ that would come to… 4,000,000$) one might think that not porting might be stupid. But then again, this game has pretty much flown under the radar, and who knows, it just might bomb. Now, we’ll never know.

    • Jenks says:

      @StingingVelvet

      “It really is a shame piracy is so bad on the PC though, and that the typical PC gamer response is “go cry more who cares.” ”

      I can’t believe there are people here arguing you on this point.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ Nalano

      As someone else said, pirating tells them nothing. It tells them someone wants to pay the game and didn’t pay for it, actually, which is worse than nothing. If you have an issue with a company then say so, tell them, and advocate the issue on whatever public stage you can reach. Playing the games without paying for them though? That accomplishes nothing but suiting your spoiled needs.

      And this is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Piracy isn’t something we can all get behind as wrong, it’s something we are sitting here having a debate about the merits of. And that is what I think is a shame. I wish that when people come together to fund and create something that the completely 100% obvious result is that to use it you should pay them for it.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I’m just so freaking sick about developers whining about pirates. I buy my games. I can’t control the actions of others. I’m tired of hearing people badmouth pc gamers. They can shut up and make their shitty port or get out of the market. Someone else will come along and make the money they could have made instead. So yeah, stop badmouthing me and mine when I pay for your crap.

      And I have yet to hear one of these developers concerned with piracy and used games complain about the very large royalties that console manufacturers take out of their profits. That is more blatant and concrete theft than piracy (10%ish of every copy sold), but they don’t complain because they’re cowards.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “I’m just so freaking sick about developers whining about pirates. I buy my games. I can’t control the actions of others.”

      I like this.

    • qrter says:

      @StingingVelvet

      So here we all are, commenters at RPS – how do we shun people here? I have no idea what you actually want people to do or not do, let alone do anything that would have any effect whatsoever.

      (That said, I don’t agree with the idea of shunning in general – always keep the channels of communication open.)

    • Enso says:

      @gwathdring – Disagree with your ideas about how we should approach pirates and piracy. Punishment is a terrible form of correction and while you may find that slightly harsher words seem reasonable they have a tendancy to escalate into treating people with utter distain, to witch hunting. Making people feel like outsiders doesn’t work. It breeds more hatred. Look at London just months ago.

    • Kadayi says:

      @DrGonzo

      “While people work for those companies earning millions a year they cannot blame piracy. Blame their obscene wages.”

      I think you need to do the math a bit on how much game developers actually make. Sure in the early days when teams were half a dozen people it was possible to literally become overnight millionaires, but not so much for most AAA titles given team size & dev cycles. Sure the Gabe Newells, Pete Molyneuxs and CliffyBs of the gaming industry are likely all comfortable, but these people have been in the industry for a while and are at the top of the pecking order. This notion that all big game developers are somehow rolling in cash is outdated (The John Romero effect). Ironically it’s indie developers like Notch & John Blow who’ve become overnight millionaires through the success of smaller projects.

    • Nalano says:

      @ Harkkum

      According to your faulty logic it would be all nice and dandy for me to go to a local car dealership and complain from the colour of the seats. I could just drive the car from the dealership without paying from it and change the fabric/leather of the seats at home.

      A pirated copy is not necessarily a lost sale. A stolen car, however, is. Counting chickens before they’re hatched is an unfortunate habit of corporate marketers.

      @ StingingVelvet

      As someone else said, pirating tells them nothing.

      Do you honestly believe that these developers and publishers have never heard the arguments and backlash against draconian DRM, crappy ports and anti-PC tirades? That they’re living in innocent ignorance because nobody sent them a letter?

      No. They have the message already. And they’re perfectly willing to ignore it. However, they refuse to ignore piracy, so hell. Poke poke poke poke poke.

    • alinos says:

      @cliffski

      If they are that stingy that if there is a PC version they would pirate it on that.

      Odd’s are they are already pirating on consoles. People need to stop acting like console piracy doesn’t exist. The difference is that console’s generally have enough “lite” users who offset the one’s who actually know how to pirate stuff for the console. They used to exist on PC too, but now they have moved to consoles

      @StingingVelvet

      The reason that their is no point fighting against piracy is because a large percentage of them are never ever going to pay for anything. They are too far gone and they aren’t coming back. What you need to be concerned about are the portion that are still willing to pay money to companies who give them a fair go. The problem is that anyone in that section is not gonna take stuff like this well even if they do in part contribute to the problem, same as DRM will generally turn them to piracy.

      It’s not the million hardcore pirates that pirate all thing’s that you want to worry about. It’s the 500,000 that at any point in time can become pirate’s or sales.(note number’s here are made up)

      @
      “As said before anyway, its only the pc that suffers from piracy, there is no pre release 360 piracy at all that let people finish the games beforehands,”

      there are heaps of pre-release 360 piracy these day’s generally most PC games don’t get cracked until after release

      i know for a fact that Halo,Saint’s row 3, AC:Revelations, Skyrim, MW3 all released day’s before the official release date’s. Hell don’t believe me go to a torrent site and look for the one for skyrim(360) say’s it was up there on the 01/Nov/11
      \\

    • gwathdring says:

      @ Enso

      Then let’s not “punish” or let it escalate out of hand. Someone asked what non-pirating gamers can do about piracy. My answer is simply this: say to ourselves and to others that piracy isn’t ok. Whether or not we pirate games, we need to be clear that, as a community, we support buying or abstaining from commercial games–not piracy. And looking around the community I feel like there are too many people excusing piracy by saying that it’s ok if the pirates are standing (otherwise silently) for a political viewpoint, or unable to afford games. Or, far worse, that it’s ok if the pirate would not have otherwise purchased the game. When I say “harsher words” I don’t mean calling people names or anything that literal. I mean calling out the notion that anyone has an intrinsic right to some company’s commercial product. If we wish to debate the unfairness inherent in our financial system, that is an entirely different discussion I would love to have. I’m suggesting harsher treatment of piracy, not hostile relations towards individuals who preform piracy.

      Hmm. That brings me to another thing. I don’t understand why this part of the issue seems grey to so many people, so I would very much appreciate a more in depth take from someone who feels more ambivalent or less upset towards piracy.

      I know I wanted to rationalize some of the things I did with music and classic-console emulation years back, but ultimately I came to the conclusion that I made a mistake. I broke the rules, and I had no excuse except self-entitlement. It depressed me, how slowly that realization was to stop me … but the realization itself was easy to come by even while I continued to act. How we stop it from happening becomes complicated quickly. But can’t we at least stop pretending that piracy is something other than this: feeling entitled to something that isn’t yours, and taking it?

      On a completely different note:

      I agree that publishers should go out of their way to avoid punishing paying customers for the actions of pirates. When I can’t afford a computer game, or don’t want to pay for it, I wait until it goes on sale or go without. My gaming experience should not be harmed due to the choices of others.

      That said, I have made mistakes with my music collection in the past as well as pushing emulation beyond pure back-up of owned games. The owners of legitimately classic console systems and music collections should not have to suffer inconvenient protection mechanisms and software as a result of my poor choices in high school (not that the former group is in any danger).

      And it wouldn’t be that simple … if there was any evidence that the steps these companies take prevent new piracy. As that evidence is sorely lacking, it really is as simple as punishing paying customers for the actions of others. And that is’nt helping anyone.

    • gwathdring says:

      @ alinos

      I agree. Publishers need to wake up about that. The trouble is, they can’t prevent console piracy any better than they can prevent PC piracy. But they can find precedent for preventing PC piracy in part because the PC platform as a longer and more intimate relationship with Internet based accounts and authentication procedures. Even with the increasing connectivity of console games, publishers and developers have less room to modify the way their games talk with consoles than they do on PC. As such, they can customize and perfect their DRM solution on the PC in ways they won’t or can’t on the console. Add to that the higher sales figures on consoles and it’s easy for companies to believe or pretend to believe that piracy is easier and more necessary to prevent on PC than on the console–where they have larger fish to fry with the entrenched re-sale market. All of this helps create a narrative in which PC piracy is *worse,* and then we get this self-perpetuating stream of rubbish about piracy making sales impossible on the PC.

    • Kaira- says:

      Comment system apparently really, really hates me, so I’ll try to post this a third time, this time without links.

      I’m just going to throw some numbers here (with assistance from my good friend Stetson-Harrison). So, in 2011, average game developer salary is around 80,000$ a year. Let’s assume that for porting they use 10 people for half a year process, this would come to… 400,000$. Now, with thelp of this article, let’s assume that the real costs of an employee to an employer is 1.4 times the base salary, this would come up to… 560,000$. If we assume that the cost of an employee is 2 times the base salary, that would be 800,000$. If we take the final number of the article, it would mean that an employee would cost about 2,7 times the base salary, making the costs of porting to whopping…. 1,080,000$. To cover those costs from PC sales with, let’s say, 20$ price, would mean selling respectively either 20,000 copies (for just the base salary), 28,000 copies (1.4 times the base salary), 40,000 copies (2 times the base salary), or 54,000 copies (2.7 times the base salary). And this is just to get back what you invested. Seeing how Amnesia sold 200,000 copies (with price of 20$ that would come to… 4,000,000$) one might think that not porting might be stupid. But then again, this game has pretty much flown under the radar, and who knows, it just might bomb. Now, we’ll never know.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Game piracy isn’t good, but I can’t imagine it’s first on anyone’s list of sins. Should we shun people for their carbon footprint? For being stingy with their charitable donations? For eating animals that can feel pain? Most people engage in some behavior that makes the world worse, or (equivalently) fail to engage in some behavior that makes the world better. The truth is that we should be more ashamed of ourselves for wasting hundreds of hours in video games than pirates should be for failing to pay the thirty bucks or whatever for the privilege of wasting said hours.

      Maybe instead of trying to shame pirates, which won’t work because people are too good at rationalizing much larger shameful acts than software piracy, you should be trying to praise loyal customers. Talk about them the same way listener-supported public radio talks about people making pledges–they’re giving contributions to support the existence of what they find worthwhile in this world. Work harder to make the experience of gaming convenient for purchasers rather than inconvenient for pirates–the art of writing software being as imperfect as it is, that inconvenience inevitable spills over to affect paying customers. Don’t ask why people pirate–taking a product without paying is, of course, going to be the default behavior wherever possible. Start asking why the people paying for the product are willing to pay.

    • Nalano says:

      I am loyal to companies that are loyal to me. Ubisoft is not one of them.

    • alinos says:

      @Kaira

      Problem is according to frictional games. A year after release they had sold just shy of 400k copies but they said that of those 400k. 75%(300k) were sold on discount.

      “In the end this amounts to around 50% of all our earnings coming purely from discounted sales (most at a 66% or higher discount).”

      It’s all from the blog post they put up here

      http://frictionalgames.blogspot.com/2011/09/amnesia-one-year-later.html

      So even if your number’s are right. Sure amnesia sold alot, but that was mostly because it was an awesome game and got heaps of free publicity from people shitting their pants.

      My guess is that I Am Alive is looking nothing like it originally planned to as a full fledged release and that they are not confident they could even attempt to get a return on investment.(hell until this morning i thought it had become vaporware :D)

    • gwathdring says:

      @ Consumatopia

      Well put. However I prefer the middle ground. I think that by encouraging customer good will and making the buying of games as pleasant and rewarding an experience as possible while simultaneously taking a firm stand against the act of piracy, we as a community/industry are going to find the best results. I don’t think we should shun people who pirate games, but we should certainly censure their piracy-related *actions.* Similarly, I don’t think DRM is helping as it is hurting the buying experience and taking a stand against a straw-man version of piracy rather than piracy as it actually occurs–which in addition to all the social issues and conflict it causes simply fails to protect games from piracy.

      I agree that the easiest way to prevent piracy is to find a way to maintain profits while improving the buying experience rather than by pinching pennies from consumers and stacking on inconveniences in the name of copy protection.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      @ Kaira – I don’t know any code monkey that earns 80k a year. More like 25-30. That alone cuts the projected costs by more than half.

    • Kaira- says:

      @HisMastersVoice

      I used this article as reference to salaries. If it is to be trusted, programmers earn around 87,000$ a year.

      @alinos

      Ah true, I didn’t take sales into account. That’ll definetly rise the cap to get back what you invested.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      Considering what people I know tell me, I don’t trust the article, or at least it’s averages (which always obfuscate data). Then again, maybe those people just work for cheap employers and there really are line coders that earn 80k a year.

  4. Ashpolt says:

    As someone who owns all the console boxes, and was previously interested in buying this game regardless of platform, I can honestly say that this attitude has lost them at least one sale.

    Of course, if they don’t care about 50,000 sales, they won’t care about one.

    • Tatourmi says:

      About two methinks. And probably more. Goodwill can do a lot for a game that doesn’t have a supermassive marketing campain.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      I was thinking the same as well. I have both consoles and could definitely opt for buying the game on any one of the three. But with his piss-poor attitude regarding one of the three platforms and perpetuating such an ignorant and irrationally hate-filled tirade I’m not going to buy it for ANY platform now.

      Either way, it’s Ubisoft we’re talking about. As if they ever had a clue how to properly run their business on the PC platform in the first place.

    • JohnH says:

      I agree. Completely lost any interest in buying this game for any gaming system I got, which is all the current gen consoles and my pc (which I prefer for most games).

  5. danly says:

    That’s fine. We’ve got plenty of awesome titles to choose from here in PC-land; one more shoddy console port probably wouldn’t have made the selection any richer.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yep, it’s one of the best years for PC gaming, we actually miss time, not games.

    • Magnetude says:

      I might actually have time to play Arkham City sometime in 2012 if a few more developers decide they don’t like the taste of money!

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely. Developers need to see that now both money and time are limited resources and indies can offer serious competition for both. We don’t need expensive mediocre games any more. We can’t even keep track of everything that is coming out.

  6. DrWatson says:

    What an unsavoury chap.

  7. Zoomon says:

    Not exactly diplomatic. I can see why developers like to develop exclusively for consoless. They are easier to develop for, as there are no variations in hardware or operating systems or driver versions, and the console owners have lower expectations and less variety to choose from. The market is easier to crack and make a dime on, like iOS.

    The piracy argument is just a lazy excuse. As lazy as developing just for console.

  8. Drayk says:

    I guess his game is rubbish and he doesn’t want pc gamers to find out…

    I am sick of devs blaming piracy when steam and other digital distributors are selling tons of games.

    I still think that if a game is good, it will sell.

    • Wulf says:

      “I am sick of devs blaming piracy when steam and other digital distributors are selling tons of games.”

      Yep.

      I think it’s just that some are weak-willed, though. They have agreements with either shareholders or licenses with console-makers and they won’t admit that that’s the reason (which I could respect). They just don’t have the nads to come out and say it.

      “Well, we were bought out by Microsoft, and they don’t want us doing a PC port. So it won’t happen, sorry.”

      But no, instead we get endless excuses. There have been one or two who’ve actually come out and admitted it, but in general it’s just all so very… silly. Like a very childish form of cloak & dagger shenanigans. And that’s not going to sell games. People aren’t stupid.

      Tell us your real reasons and we might actually learn to respect you. Because this definitely isn’t one of them. It’s only one if you live in cloud-cuckoo land and refuse to admit the existence and ease of console-based piracy.

    • Nalano says:

      If they have those sorts of deals, Wulf, I’m sure a silence clause is written into them.

  9. bleeters says:

    Well, if you don’t want my money™

  10. StingingVelvet says:

    Good games sell well on the PC. Not as well as the Xbox of course, but plenty well enough to justify porting costs. The simple fact is that Ubisoft rarely make good games, and PC gamers know that, so their sales are lower than most others. They try to say this is piracy when really it’s just a quality issue.

    • Stevostin says:

      Not especially an Ubi fan, but a lot of their game are pretty good. AC is the big franchise and I heard the multi is really cool. I quite digged Far Cry 2 (with all its failures). There are clearly hugely talented people working there. It’s rather that they don’t build any community and it ends up reflecting on game design IMO.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      I could disagree with a lot of that. Really though the end point is other publishers are finding great success on the PC. If Ubisoft are not, they need to examine why that is. It isn’t piracy that keeps them from have the sort of success EA and Bethesda are having, as those publishers suffer the same problem. Ubisoft is quite simply not making adequate PC versions, not marketing and presenting them properly on PC, and is suffering a dearth of quality in a lot of their franchises.

    • Kdansky says:

      I would say this is a quality issue:

      http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=14253

      And this is their biggest flagship title right now, AssCreed. When the protagonist with the most flamboyant costume of video game history can wear some shades (under his hood!!) and go incognito, and has to win four carnival contests to get a “numbered, golden mask” (the main prize which is won by the guy who wins 4/4 contests, already ridiculous) which doubles as a ticket to the ball of the guy he wants to murder, then you do have quality issues.

  11. Branthog says:

    Every time I say that PC gaming is dying because developers secretly (or not so secretly) want it to die and their half-assed treatment of ports (or “we decided not to make PC our primary platform despite it being a PC franchise” attitudes) are all just attempts to cut the platform’s throat so they can focus on consoles, I get shouted down.

    And then they come right out and say it.

    Anyway, I have every platform and I would probably have bought I Am Alive on the 360 (because I primarily play RTS/Strategy/MMO and a few select shooters on the PC, but other games on more relaxing platforms). However, now, I just won’t buy it at all.

    • John Walker says:

      No, the reason you get shouted down is because PC gaming is thriving.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      I do think there was a time, roughly 5 years ago or so, when publishers seemed to actively want PC gaming to die to try and boost console interest and revenue. I think that time has passed though, with digital distribution and microtransactions showing publishers that the PC can still be a massive revenue stream and that it can innovate in the ways you make money from making games.

      That said, I agree that Ubisoft seems to be stuck in the old model and hasn’t really caught up. I would love it if their dismissal of the PC based on 2005 statistics ended up hurting them a lot in the long run. Hell, maybe it already has.

    • Archonsod says:

      Hardly. Ubisoft tend to be one of the few publishers who still put out PC exclusive titles – Settlers, Silent Hunter, Magic of Might of Heroes or whatever the hell it’s calling itself now.

    • alinos says:

      Except your talking about a title here that was originally meant to be a fully fledged triple A release.

      And now is a download title. Obviously somewhere along the line the purse string’s were cut and the cash flow stopped. I’m guessing if this were 5 years ago the game would have been cancelled because Digital distribution wouldn’t have yielded the potential to just recover the losses put into development

  12. bit_crusherrr says:

    I was going to get this on my PS3 but he can go fuck himself.

  13. Schelome says:

    I thought this decision was bullshit when I first saw it, I think it is even more bullshit after the good old RPS once-over.

  14. rocketman71 says:

    Yeah, SO FEW people are paying for PC games.

    Just ask the Indie Royale guys.

    The Humble Bundle guys.

    The CD Projekt guys.

    The Cthulhu game guys.

    What do you say?. That those are GOOD games, at a FAIR price and with absolutely NO DRM?.

    Shocking!!!.

    PS.- Yeah, he’s right. I don’t buy Ubi games anymore. As long as they keep their idiotic DRM, and they have this bunch of suits that open their mouths and only stupid things get out (like this guy), I’m certainly not giving them an euro to pay those salaries. Their loss.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Wouldn’t thebest peopel to ask be team meat of super meat boy fame, didn’t i remember reading that the pc version was very very successful, even maybe being better than the 360 version was for them?

      And as you said the cthulu guys, who made 10 times or something stupid the ammount on the pc that they made on the 360

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Or even more recently, how Introversion made more from the HIB in 41 minutes than it ever did through Darwinia+ on XBLA.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Now come on… you know you’re waiting for the “Arrogant AAA DRM Bundle: Pay what we say” pack

      Yea, there’s at least a couple of stories of devs on XBLA basically scoring a relatively huge amount of sales when they release the same game on PC later.

  15. n0s says:

    Oh my hell-spanking god…

    Well, now I’m gonna pirate it on consoles, JUST because of this dimwit.

  16. The Sombrero Kid says:

    It’s actually a good thing cause now we can delete it from our consciousness and focus on interesting games to get excited about.

  17. Steven Hutton says:

    What he’s saying is perfectly correct. Well, not about piracy. But about the relative cost of porting the game.

    Not that half a million pounds wouldn’t be useful to them. But it’s entirely possible that if they took the same team of twelve guys (and girls) and had them spend three months working on something else they could produce much more value for the company than they could by working on a PC port.

    Maybe they feel that they could get alot more profit by having that team work on a set of DLC for three months instead. If that’s the case then they’re not only correct to ignore the pc but they’d be negligent if they didn’t.

    There’s no need to use bitching though. If you replace the word “bitching” with the word “complaining” then the meaning of the sentence is completely the same and there’s a much reduced risk of offending potential customers.

    No doubt there’ll be a forth-coming apology after Ubisoft P.R. lean a little bit.

    • qrter says:

      I don’t think it’s complaining when people show interest in your game and make clear they’d like to purchase it.

      I’m sure not everyone will have been.. polite in their request, but that’s a different matter – that’s just the effect the internet has on some people, sadly.

    • Shuck says:

      Also, RPS has underestimated the per-employee cost of developing the PC version. It isn’t the salary – it’s generally double the salary to account for benefits, cost of office space, etc. So based on the number of sales they expect to make for the PC (which may be erroneous, but it’s their base assumption), the cost/benefit analysis looks not-so-good. Given how many studios overestimate future sales and collapse when they fail to reach them, I can’t really fault someone for being too cautious.

    • ancienttoaster says:

      Thanks for the eminently sensible reply. I love PC gaming, but I am wearied by the number of commenters and pundits who don’t account for opportunity costs when issuing their bright-line condemnations.

      I am also, I should mention, wearied by idiotic DRM and condescending asshole developers.

    • Milky1985 says:

      “it’s generally double the salary to account for benefits, cost of office space, etc.”

      Oddly i was taught in most business classes that the main cost of running a business tends ot be the human cost ie saleries.

      Also wth kind of benefits are you getting to need (to have half of ) the doubled salery? I want to work at your place!

      Also are the PC guys getting there own place in the middle of canary wharf or something, it seriously cannot be a slaery again per person for the office, unless they are sitting on thrones of decapitated unicorns that need refreshing ever day.

      [EDIT] I also think considering the way he worded his reasons for not doing the pc version we can not bother to argue the business of it, he seems to be the type of boss that has made his decision and everyone has to follow.

    • Shuck says:

      @ Milky1985: You misunderstand: the rule of thumb for per-employee cost of development is salary times two; that number includes the salary, plus all benefits, taxes, office space and all other incidental costs. (So yes, the salary is the most significant cost by far.)
      “he seems to be the type of boss that has made his decision and everyone has to follow.”
      Sadly, sounds just like most bosses I know. Of course, if he’s doing his job, he made that decision based on economic reasons, even if he was wrong about the numbers.

    • apa says:

      Here’s how you calculate this:

      3 months is roughly 60 working days. 12 devs * 60 days * 8h/day = 5760 man-hours. Let’s say that they do a lot of stuff in-house and can buy cheap AND GOOD offshore, the cost should be still at least 60€/h average which makes this at least a 350k€ project. If the cost/h is higher, say 90€/h, it’s over half a million euros for three months.

      The sales are just predictions and the minimum profit margin is something that is set by the owners. Business is harsh.

      Finishing a 12-guy project in three months, in time, with adequate quality, without outrageous overtime sounds like a fantasy. Mythical man-month and all that.

  18. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    It’s a transcription error, what he actually said was: “PC gamers are bitchin’, yo”

  19. Stevostin says:

    This kind of wrong quote isn’t new ; what is thus is why it’s wrong now. The figures, stupid. If you’re aiming at an AAA game that is half decent you’re aiming at way more than 50 000 sales on PC. Big sales on PC / Steam are way over the million at launch. It simply doesn’t make sense at all not to sale it on PC… unless, of course, the real reason is that you’re making crap and don’t think you’ll be able to sell it in a shop that displays a metacritic value below the 60.

    • Nalano says:

      Seriously. Every time I hear this “nobody gets to see my masterpiece,” I can’t help but think it’s probably a piece of crap – and not in the Chris Ofili sense, either.

    • Shuck says:

      To be fair, a developer who assumes “big sales” is a developer who likely isn’t going to stay in business for very long, regardless of the quality of their games. It may be true that a good game is likely to get those sorts of sales, but there are plenty of good games that didn’t (and terrible games that did). It’s nothing a prudent developer would count on.

    • Nalano says:

      The flip side to that argument is, if you don’t freakin’ release the game, you get no freakin’ sales at all.

    • Shuck says:

      That’s only the flip side if you’ve already spent the development money for that platform, which is exactly what he’s arguing against. Only a hobbyist developer will start a project without doing the basic arithmetic of comparing expected dev costs with a conservative estimate of likely sales. His numbers may be cautious, but they aren’t unreasonable – PC sales numbers of one-seventh the Xbox numbers, and 350-400k Xbox sales is probably all one can count on. (The game industry is not made up of “best selling” games.)

    • Nalano says:

      Being that this used to be a AAA title and is now DL-only on consoles, one would imagine the issue is not that they hate the PC or that they’re afraid of pirates, but that they’re flat broke and their game is coming out in a less-than-ideal fashion.

    • Shuck says:

      Supposedly, the “download only” announcement was a “joke.” However, the fact that development was moved to (the much cheaper) Shanghai studio indicates that Ubisoft didn’t want to spend much money on it (which means they don’t really believe in it, either). So I suspect everything about it is being done under less-than-ideal circumstances.

  20. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I’m sorry, I can’t hear his whining over the sound of Steam accepting more of my money.

  21. diamondmx says:

    Looks vaguely interesting, but I haven’t even considered buying an Ubi product since From Dust came out – and I’m not likely to change my mind. It’s definitely cost them an AssCre:BH sale. And will cost them a sale on the Rainbow 6 game that looks very interesting.
    It’s certainly become a trend to suspect that many gamers promise not to buy something, and wail ‘boycott’, followed by caving on launch day – but not every upset gamer has such little self-control. And Ubisoft seems to revel in creating upset gamers.

  22. TorpedoBeetle says:

    I Am Not Buying This Game

  23. Sothis says:

    It’s guys like this that make me want to pirate the console version of this game and hand it out for free outside major shopping centres for all those who might possibly have bought a console version.

    • Dozer says:

      Haha, that’s an awesome idea. Go for it! I’ll come visit you in prison.

    • Magnetude says:

      It’s a download-only, so good luck with that…

      It’s interesting that they’ve decided to sell it through the two channels (PSN and Xbox Marketplace) that are the least open to piracy. Is this Ubi’s new strategy?

  24. Gnoupi says:

    Regardless of the actual cost vs profit, or even piracy argument, the thing which is the most shocking for me is the “bitching”.

    Like the tweet from CliffiB: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/01/17/no-pc-bulletstorm-demo-cliffyb-indifferent/

    I mean, you have people who want your product so much they beg you to bring it to them. Beg.
    To be able to pay you money, for your product. Without you shoving advertisements down their throat.

    And you call that “bitching”? You call that “grumpy”?
    That kind of behaviour is beyond me. What kind of ego do these people have?

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      Indeed. If this bloke considers people outright expressing their intent of buying a game as “bitching”, he has absolutely no idea how to run a business. Demand, apparently to this idiot, is “bitching”.

      “EW!!! Why are you giving me money you filthy swine! It’s old, dirty, and completely filled with germs! You take this back, you piece of shit! How DARE you give me dirty paper in exchange for my masterpiece! Get out and don’t ever come back!”

  25. Freud says:

    Developers and publishers are free to decide who they want to sell their games to. If the PC market is profitable one those that sell their games there will have a competitive advantage in the long run, since they make more money.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the piracy on the PC and the glee pirates get from the fact that they don’t pay for their games rubs the game industry the wrong way and is hurting PC gamers who are prepared to pay for their games. Sucks.

    • qrter says:

      Sure, developers and publishers are free to produce games for any console they want – no need to be a dick about it, though.

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      And consumers are also free to decide that refusing to release a PC game despite PC gamers “bitching” (read: expressing intent to buy) that they want it is completely fucking stupid and that the man should be out of a job as he has absolutely no clue what he is doing.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Yeah, there’s no need to be a dick about it though, or be confrontational from the start, like many developers are. I don’t get mad about Nintendo games or Angry Birds not coming to PC, they work well for their perspective platforms and they don’t set out to piss people off. This guy is just being an ass to create cheap publicity.

  26. clockler says:

    If it were released on Steam for less than 50 AUD I’d buy it just to prove him wrong. It’s like punching him right in his fat dumb smug face with money. Prick. See how you like that.

  27. Mark says:

    It would not surprise me at all if Mettra’s attitude is shared around Ubisoft. Their past actions certainly indicate it. He’s just been caught out for saying it, is all.

    If you look past his attitude problem, there is some sense in what he’s saying. If he doesn’t believe I Am Alive will sell on PC (which, also, is suggestive of Ubisoft’s sales for their other titles), then why put the man hours in for marginal profit when that time could better be spent on DLC for the console versions.

    Anyway, expect Ubisoft PR to come back with how they support the PC platform, blah-de-blah-de-blah.

  28. Hoaxfish says:

    “I Am Alive”… sounds like some sort of survival genre? Thank god, we don’t have Minecraft…. Oh wait.

    Now, if it was called “PC gaming is Alive” I might buy it

    • Archonsod says:

      Hilariously it’s actually yet another 3rd person action game. Except this is set in a post-apocalyptic (earthquake) Chicago.

      So I suppose the real answer is “it’s not like we don’t have Tomb Raider”. In fact maybe that’s actually his argument – generic genre games tend to sell less well on the PC because there’s less reason for players to buy them?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      post-apolypse Chicago?

      think of all those chest-high walls just scattered everywhere!

  29. Dakia says:

    ” Would they buy it if we made it?”

    It looked interesting enough to pick up on Steam for $15 or so, but definitely not now. I don’t deal with disrespecting little turds.

    Though, the simple fact that it was an Ubi game was most likely enough to deter me from even caring.

  30. Rii says:

    RPS is still writing about Ubisoft games? I is disappoint.

  31. vecordae says:

    What an unpleasant chap. I don’t blame him, mind. Reading through various internet forums, it is easy for someone to come to the conclusion that PC gamers will complain vocally about every single thing in a game while simultaneously seeming to steal nine copies for every one you sell.

    It’s not a perception based on cold, dispassionate maths, but if you’ve already decided these things are so it’s not hard to find plenty of things to justify that perception.

    Still, rather a tit thing to say all the same.

  32. Subv3rse says:

    Perhaps I’m being a bit naive here, but, as stated in the main article “porting to PC from 360 is pretty damned simple” – they share the same infrastructure, they both work off directX and there are common assemblies between both platforms.

    No, I’m not a programmer, so if I’ve just insulted anyone then I sincerely apologise, but I can’t figure out for the life of me why, apart from the obviously expanded hardware support list that would be required (as opposed to coding to specific hardware), that porting to PC FROM 360 would be much more than simply changing the compiler switches and recompiling?

    Obviously I’m not considering optimising it anything beyond “a console port” here, but isn’t it just basically that?

    Which also makes me wonder, since they’re developed on the PC in the first place using an emulator / environment of a fashion, with high resolution assets, why aren’t PC releases given the option to bundle the high resolution assets that are usually built first then optimised later for consoles, then ported BACK to the platform they originally came from?

    • johnpeat says:

      It’s VASSSTLY more complex than you imagine – for a number of reasons…

      1 – Microsoft’s own toolsets for XBOX do not play well with PC (see any XNA game for an example of this)
      2 – third-party toolsets aren’t often much better!

      Even if you’re using a toolset which supports the PC property, there are a lot of things to consider.

      The main one is obviously controls – not only do you have to make a game work with keyboard/mouse but you have to consider different configurations for that – and support the vast range of things people use (from £2 mice to high-dpi gaming ones and so on)

      Then there’s the range of hardware – the big deal tends to be GPUs and soundcards but there are other areas you need to consider and (and this can be expensive in itself) test against.

      Then there’s the expectations – PC games expect super-high-resolutions, super-high framerates etc. and they will whinge if they don’t get them.

      None of this has anything to do with someone so stupid as to ‘not know if PC gamers would buy their game or not’ tho – if you don’t know that, you’re not fit to do your job – simple as.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      It’s still rather complex, especially since the Xbox is actually running on a PowerPC architecture and not the traditional PC x86 architecture. While much of it is hidden by the compiler, it’s still transferring from one architecture to the other. Then there’s all the differences between an Xbox and a PC, different configurations, driver support, etc.

      However, it’s much, much easier to port between an Xbox copy and a PC copy than it ever was between any other console. Going PC PS3 is much more complex for instance.

    • Milky1985 says:

      He didn’t say “its so simple that your mother could do it”

      He said, “its relativily simple”.

      This is something that ACTUAL PROPER DEVELOPERS have been quoted as saying, because they share the way they do certain important things, and with a smallish team (not a whole 60-80 like before but a small 10-12 ) you can port everythign over quite nicely.

      Also “Microsoft’s own toolsets for XBOX do not play well with PC (see any XNA game for an example of this)”

      Erm i think you might need to look up XNA here, its DESIGNED to be able to play on both, I myself can buy a licence and deploy to my 360 code that requires not much of a change other than a couple fo config changes, ones that the compiler deals with when you say “i want to compile for 360″.

      If your talking XBLA then yes you would be correct, but XNA stuff runs on both with minor changes (unless your using some third party thign that only runs on one or the other)

  33. terry says:

    I’m somewhat dubious of the claim that it would take a team of 12 people 3 months to put in keyboard and mouse controls and some graphics sliders, but that’s really the least of the horseshit this guy is spouting.

    • johnpeat says:

      Testing – is what you’re missing – you either need a tonne of hardware in-house or you have to pay a company to do it for you – takes time, costs money.

  34. Soon says:

    I kind of like him now.

  35. Ultra-Humanite says:

    Well true, 500 grand is nothing to sneeze at, but there ARE costs associated with creating a PC port that have zero to do with retail costs. You don’t just sprinkle magic fairy dust on the Xbox 360 or PS3 version to turn it into a PC-ready title. He’s definitely being a prick and is a total asshole, but I’m guessing he has a much better idea of what their profit margin is than you do.

  36. 2late2die says:

    Being a Ubisoft game I wasn’t going to buy it anyway, but now I won’t feel bad about it, even if it gets 100% in all reviews. I also get the feeling it’s going to be one of those games that has a great idea but poor implementation, I’m calling it now – 74% on Metacritic.

  37. ehukai says:

    Every PC game I ever played was pirated until digital distribution became available. Now I’m broke but I don’t feel as bad for ripping devs off, even if they are massive studios with more money than god.

  38. BakaNoodle says:

    Well I’m a PC gamer but I’ve a console of my own, that being said I enjoy playing in both platforms. But after reading something like this, one thing is certain, I’ll not buy a game when this is the kind of “mentality” I must expect from the producer. I would not have a problem if the reason was in the least logical, but this is just plain stupid, hell he could say he didn’t want to make the game for pc for any other reason but instead he choose the most “insulting” and to me it only shows a person that cares only for money and not the game and gamers that would gladly buy it.

  39. Magnetude says:

    So, the history of this game is as follows:

    - Announced mid 2008, Jade Raymond is attached to it (at a time when the internet was in love with her, so it gets loads of press)
    - Strong trailer hinting at an interesting concept follows
    - No-one hears anything for ages
    - Changes studios to Ubisoft Shanghai
    - Silently drifts past an early 2010 release date
    - Ubisoft CEO announces they’re “totally re-engineering” it
    - Slips from a AAA title to a digital-only, console-only release
    - Underwhelming video footage leaked
    - Arrogant creative director makes himself look like a dick in public

    Looking forward to it.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Ubisoft Shanghai

      Is that the one that knocks you over the head, and when you wake up, you’re one of their developers?

  40. Makariel says:

    What I don’t get… doesn’t he understand that pc gamers still might have a console-thing lying around? And that they might still give it a spin if there is at least some interest in the game? And that acting arrogant and rude while not understanding economics (or at least math) might cost them some precious sales on consoles as well?

  41. Teddy Leach says:

    We bitch because of companies like this.

  42. Llewyn says:

    I can’t help thinking that a fair proportion of RPS commenters seem to want to have some sort of competition with this guy to see who can say the most stupid things.

  43. Drake Sigar says:

    “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?”

    He seems to be painting us as nutty hardcore equality activists. I have never met a PC gamer who demanded a game they didn’t want, nor care about. He’s acting like that paranoid guy at the auction house, refusing to bid because he’s pretty sure everybody else is in on some elaborate conspiracy to drive up the price and laugh at his misfortune.

  44. Chizu says:

    It’s a good job Piracy doesn’t exist on consoles.

    …Oh

    • Iain_1986 says:

      This is always such a bad retort.

      Yes console gaming has piracy, every entertainment industry does. But lets be reasonable here, the piracy levels on consoles, both as a total and as a percentage, are no where near the levels on the PC.

      I’m sure they would be if you could easily torrent straight to your console, but you can’t, and thats why its lower…convenience.

      I can honestly say out of everyone I know I don’t know of a single person who pirates console games…but loads of people who have pirated a PC game at some point or another.

    • Chizu says:

      And I can honestly say out of everybody I know, almost all of them have at somepoint or other pirated on consoles.
      Modded Xbox’s are everywhere.
      And the Wii is ridiculously easy to softmod.

      There are massive amounts of piracy going on with the consoles.
      It may not be as big as PC piracy, but its not insignificant, and yet its never addressed when the piracy excuse is made.

      “I’m sure they would be if you could easily torrent straight to your console”
      But you basically can if you are running the games from an external harddrive.

    • Dana says:

      Well apparently new Xbox will be using Windows operating system. Doh.

  45. shoptroll says:

    Someone clearly doesn’t have confidence in their own product. That’s fine, it doesn’t seem that interesting to me either.

  46. mmalove says:

    That’s the wonder of capitalism, you know? He has a right to decide it’s not worth his time, an indie dev can work for years dreaming for half that many sales/much publicity, and I’ve got the right to automatically veto the game because it’s coming from ubisoft (meaning he’s absolutely right, it could be Diablo + DwarfFortress + Minecraft + League of Legends while convincing millions of sexy women I’m attractive, and I still wouldn’t pay ubisoft for it).

  47. Poppis says:

    Don’t want my money? Ok, that’s a deal.

  48. SurprisedMan says:

    I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he used ‘bitching’ in the 1980s sense of ‘totally rad’

  49. noclip says:

    Someone doesn’t understand digital distribution. Even if 7,000,000,000 people pirate it, you’ve still made $2 million off the 50,000 who didn’t.

    • vecordae says:

      Yeah, but if your investors expect you to sell 100,000 copies instead of 50,000 and they shut down funding to your studio as a result, it would be hard not to feel a bit angry about the 7,000,000,000 people who played the game, but didn’t bother to pay for it.

  50. Squire says:

    Let’s hear what the man has to say in response to the RPS members outcry on this subject:

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/408/0023ae7c63b50c3cd3100a.jpg/

    Thanks Stanislas Mettra. Thanislasettra.

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