There has been a lot of talk in the last several days about Ubisoft’s controversial decision to not release a version of the new Ghost Recon game on the PC. Their reason; piracy.

Ubisoft more than any other publisher in recent memory has tried to blame their poor sales of their PC games on piracy instead of the truth. They have released cruddy ports of lackluster games with draconian DRM. People aren’t buying your games because “they are just pirating them from the Pirate Bay”. People aren’t buying them because they are rubbish. When is the last time you have read anything about a Ubisoft title other than the silly DRM included? That’s right you haven’t.

Gabe Newell of Valve Software has basically said it best that if you make a quality product, give it a fair price and make it easily and simply available you don’t have a piracy problem nor a sales one. I don’t hear Bethesda, Activision or EA complaining about PC piracy effecting the sales of their latest games and all of their latest big titles have been available pirated either before or right at release.

Piracy is the boogyman excuse in the PC gaming world for the last several years, as if publishers just discovered the practice and that it hasn’t been going on since the beginning of computers. The real facts for it becoming such a hot topic now is that the large public companies whom publish terrible games need excuses for the shareholders why their awful games aren’t selling. The world of video games is still basing itself on the Hollywood movie model of production which in the modern game development world is quickly starting to run to the end of it’s course.

Where with Hollywood you can release a couple of bombs but a cheap movie that becomes a hit subsidizes the losses of the failures. With the ever rising costs of creating video games even a crappy shovelware title costs a great deal of money and manpower to create. It is not like the 8-bit days where a publisher like LJN could get a license, put 3 guys to make a game regardless of quality and shove it out the door in a couple of months and recoup the costs and then some. Even a terrible game, and this is according to Ubisoft themselves, $18.8m-$28.2m to create. This is not counting the marketing that is put behind it as well.

I think the best solution is this, publishers need to stop trying to over saturate the market with software. We all need to take a page from the book of developers like Blizzard, Valve, Nintendo and iD. Make a quality product, release it when it is done and support it post release without nickel and diming you without crazy DRM. Sure you might not have a new version of Call of the Battlefield Hero Creed every year. But, you will have a fanbase whom will be glad and eager to put down the cash for your title.

Gamers are pretty smart, crafty folk. We can smell a lemon.

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Posted by Djarum, filed under Video Games. Date: November 26, 2011, 12:38 am | No Comments »

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