View From The Road: Ubisoft Needs To Use a Carrot

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There is no legitimate excuse for piracy. If a game costs too much, rent. GameFly (I haven't used it, but I've heard decent things, and I love my Netflix, which is the same idea) is like $10/mo. As long as you beat the game in under 6 months, you save money.

If you can't afford a game, that doesn't give you the right to pirate it. Ever.

In America, if you put just $1/day into a gaming fund, that will get you a game every two months. That's 6/year. Will you get every game you want? No. But we all have to make choices as to how our money is spent. You could always get a second job (10 hours a week will get you a new game every week. Plenty of places offer very part-time schedules.)

Insane DRMs are not a good thing. But we need to stop putting all the blame for them on the developers and recognize that the gaming community as a whole created this monster. We are to blame. Too many support piracy because of a misplaced sense of self-entitlement.


So if a Hollywood movie can cost in the region of $300million to make, yet turn over a huge profit in no time at all, by charging people no more than £10 to see it... why exactly can't publishers lower the prices of games?

Watching a movie at cinemas is the equivalent of a two-ish hour rental in a public space. And you usually still have to endure some 10+ minutes of commercials. Not to mention that movies are both more accepted and (crucially) accessible than videogames.

It's disingenuous to state that by decreasing game price the increase in sales would compensate for it. And while it's true that there are people who would buy more games if the price were to decrease, I've personally failed repeatedly to GIVE GAMES AWAY (heck, no-one I mentioned the ongoing Portal for free promotion went and got it).

Videogame and Movies sales don't compare well because they operate under completely parameters. If there weren't any cinemas or TV, I doubt the movie industry would be selling DVDs at around 20€.

Unless someone created a viable way to provide games on demand for cheap (for both user and provider), I would say comparing games and movies to be an extremely flawed approach.

Further to this, people don't re-buy a game to play it again, yet there are people who went many times to see Avatar, paying each time.

I think the prevailing attitude to piracy on here is quite smug and self-righteous. I don't mean to flame anyone personally just in the same way as insults directed at pirates by staff and posters don't fall foul of the rules. There needs to be a much bigger discussion about content delivery in today's environment. Or, how do artists best extract value from a market that is able to get their content for free?

Some thoughts:

1. This article is bang on. I know that Ubisoft lost at least one sale from someone who was going to buy AC2 but pirated it in protest at this DRM. I wonder how low the piracy rate of Valve's games is these days?

2. If developers self-published, a lot of pirates would pay them for games. They should also have accounts to which pirates can send money if they felt the developer deserved something. Publishers are parasites that inflate prices (damaging the consumer) and take money out of the industry (damaging developers) without adding much good to the experience. If developers self-published and didn't spend so much on advertising and all the other by-products of the publishers, games wouldn't need to cost so much, and pirates would feel more guilty because there is less abstraction between pirate and artist.

3. Self-publishing is clearly much easier for PC games (put it on Steam, have a website), but I don't see why it should be impossible for the consoles. Probably the best way to do it would be to set up a portal website, that lets any company sell games there for a small fee, possibly it could be set up as a charitable trust run by the industry meaning that it costs developers only as much as it has to pay to keep running.

The vast majority of the money goes to people who do not damn well deserve it. As a game developer myself, I wish we made more money and management less.

To put it in perspective for all you people who have obviously not worked in the industry:

You are so right.
I have always got pirate copies (they are sold in almost every store, here in argentina, except for the huge companies, which are the only ones that have the actual original games...), until I wanted to play online. I can of course crack TF2, but i am no computer fan or geek, and it is quite compplicated (for me) to do that, so I downloaded Steam and paid my 30 bucks for the Orange pack. Since then, I have gotten some single player games (Asassins Creed, Dirt, jade Empire, KOTOR) which otherwise i would have bought pirated versions of...

So, it's about giving the actual customer more simplicity, comfort, extras, etc.

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