In an interview with PC Gamer, Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Online producer Sébastien Arnoult stated that Ghost Recon Future Soldier won’t be appearing on PC for the same reason I Am Alive won’t be appearing on PC: piracy.
Apparently piracy is so bad, so vicious, so company hurting that companies like Valve, CD Projekt, MineCraft's creator, Bethesda, Curve Studios and Team Meat and PlayDead are all lying through their teeth when they report financial success from PC ports. Apparently all those billions of dollars from PC digital distribution is actually just a fraud and Ubisoft is actually in the right: 90% of PC gamers are just pirates and there’s no money to be made from the platform…all those stats, numbers and billions of dollars are actually just part of a conspiracy to make people believe that there are honest PC consumers out there when in reality they're all just pirates. That's according to Ubisoft.
Arnoult, with comments hinging on vehemence, stated that…
“We are giving away most of the content for free because there’s no barrier to entry. To the users that are traditionally playing the game by getting it through Pirate Bay, we said, ‘Okay, go ahead guys. This is what you’re asking for. We’ve listened to you – we’re giving you this experience. It’s easy to download, there’s no DRM that will pollute your experience.’”
Wow. Just wow. So he’s bringing Pirate Bay into this then, eh? Well, his indignant attitude doesn’t end there. He goes on to say that…
“When we started Ghost Recon Online we were thinking about Ghost Recon: Future Solider; having something ported in the classical way without any deep development, because we know that 95% of our consumers will pirate the game. So we said okay, we have to change our mind.
Yeah, well that was a douche bag thing to say. I don’t think I even have the stomach to say anything nice about Ghost Recon Online with that sort of attitude. More than that, his tone inflects that GRO will only be a shell of what GR: Future Soldier is going to be, given that it’s free but without the same kind of quality content. I mean he literally says porting over the game without any “deep development”. WTF Ubisoft? Way to spit on your consumers. You really think pirates are the ones who make F2P MMO publishers post profits every quarter?
Seriously, the guys at Ubisoft are delusional.
Let’s also talk about a point they seem to be forgetting with their impetuous stance on piracy. When GOG talked about combating piracy by competing with it they didn’t mean run the consumers under the bus, they meant coming up with viable alternatives to gain consumer trust and give them a reason to buy the game. If PC gamers are paying $59.99 for a digital copy of a game and console gamers pay the same price but get manuals, the box and an actual hard copy of the game, it makes you wonder what the heck did PC gamers just pay for? Bandwidth?
That brings me to the next point: WTF is Ubisoft talking about losing profits of PC ports to piracy? HOW?! Think about it: A digital copy of Ubisoft’s game on PC has no shipping and manufacturing costs. There is no stocking or restocking fee. There’s no cover artists involved and no one required to put together a booklet. All of that is axed out of the digital PC version of games (and I Am Alive was supposed to be a digital port anyway). Basically, there’s just development and portal distribution costs (i.e., Impulse, GamersGate, Steam, Direct2Drive, etc.)
If 100,000 people pirate a digital copy of a Ubisoft game, what exactly has the company lost? Consumers? No. You can only lose consumers if you know they had intentions of buying the game in the first place. So what has Ubisoft lost exactly in digital piracy? Bandwidth? Well pirates aren’t getting the game off their servers, they’re file-sharing. Manufacturing costs? We’ve already established that there’s nothing lost if it’s digital; no stocking or restocking or shipping SKUs back if they fail to sell. So what then, Ubisoft? What are you losing when pirates digitally steal your game? I’ll tell you what…NOTHING!
Realistically, digital releases on PC only have the opportunity to gain. There’s nothing lost given that on Steam, Origin, Direct2Drive, etc., people will still buy the game if it’s good and even if people pirate it there’s no operating cost lost in that venture. So why all the hate for PC gamers, Ubisoft? Hm?
The conspiracy that “piracy is killing PC gaming” died amongst PC gamers who have a head on their shoulders. Every quarter-on-end MMO publishers are posting profits, or why GSC Game World, a relatively small indie company has managed success with their PC exclusive S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Realistically, I could run Ubisoft’s argument into the ground constantly posting one link after another just like the opening paragraph, showing how PC titles sell enough to thwart the claims of piracy killing the platform, however it’s pointless. Ubisoft will always treat PC gamers like red-headed step kids and that probably won’t change at all.
You can check out the full interview over at PC Gamer. After reading it, though, it kind of makes you think twice about whether you even want to support a free-to-play game like Ghost Recon Online.