Crytek and Epic use Piracy Scapegoat.

Logan King
May 7, 2008

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In what is surely to be one of the most hilarious interviews made this year, Crytek and Epic Games explain why their games have fallen to low sales.


Said Yerli, “We are suffering currently from the huge piracy that is encompassing Crysis. We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin, a chart leading that is not desirable. I believe that’s the core problem of PC Gaming, piracy, to the degree [that PC gamers who] pirate games inherently destroy the platform. Similar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more. It was a big lesson for us and I believe we won't have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive anymore."

This statement confirms the attitude a lot of game developers discussed earlier this year at the 2008 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA. We spoke with Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games, and learned that the Unreal Tournament 3 servers received over 40 million attempts at illegitimate access using pirate keys. That number is huge, and the real magnitude comes when you calculate the retail price of $49.99 (59.99 for Collector's Edition).

If those 40 million players actually paid the full price, it would have been nearly $2 billion more in Epic’s pocket book. That is more than the quarterly sales results from Nvidia or AMD. To add another perspective, the government lost out as well, because no sales tax is earned on pirated copies.

When you take into account that Crytek saw similar levels of pirated copies, it is easy to see how big of a deal gaming piracy is. Between two games there were billions of dollars of lost sales. The natural instinct is of course to hit the platform(s) where they can actually earn money, which is looking less and less favorable for PC gaming.

Crytek's problem is that they have built a game that has so much hype surrounding the amazing graphics struggling to pull 60 FPS on top of the line graphics cards that it has lead 90% of the PC gaming public to essentially say "why bother when I can't play it?" Whether that is Crytek's fault or not is up in the air, but they certainly took no measures to prevent such thoughts.

Epic, on the other hand, simply needs to STFU. They have made the exact same game for the past 4 years now, with each one being more reliant on graphics than gameplay as the years past, that people aren't bothering with UT anymore. You wanna know why Epic is facing financial problems with each passing game? Because their entire company is run by complete d-bags. They make Gears of War, it goes on to sell millions until people begin to realize how little it achieved, so Epic somehow think that they are able to be able to make relevant comments about the industry; completely ignoring the fact that most everything they have made in the past 5 years was shallow crap in a really nice wrapper and that they represent everything that is wrong with the industry all by themselves. Furthermore, there is no way to even prove anything related to such a number in sales revenue lost, because it implies that that many illegitimate server connection attempts are all separate people; which is nowhere near the truth.

PC gaming is dead (and console gaming is beginning to be), but it isn't because of piracy. Its because of crappy, unfinished releases; companies like Epic; and strong arm bull like this.
Besides, here is the alternative.

The entire industry is in dire need of a major, 1983-like crash simply because thoughts of companies like Epic that are so widespread and narrow-minded. The domination of the "Graphics first" mantra has made the whole industry a rotting corpse of itself, a blame which I place squarely on the heads of Sony. Sooner or later, PC gamers are going to realize that most of the next big amazing graphical showcases are just 10 year old gameplay with really pretty paint (Doom 3, for example), and they will stop bothering. PC games won't take that much of a hit as graphics card producers will. However, it will then destroy the console market.


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