View From The Road: Ubisoft Needs To Use a Carrot

VanBasten

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John Funk said:
I think people who pirate are almost always just being entitled, selfish pricks. [cut] But draconian DRM is not the solution.
But those, in your words, entitled selfish pricks would almost never buy the games if they actually had to pay for them, so isn't any DRM(not just the draconian ones) kinda pointless?
 

Luke Cartner

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Susan Arendt said:
Loonerinoes said:
You know what's funny? Hearing the pirate crackers saying the exact same thing ages ago over and over and over.

Isn't this exactly what they said when they cracked AC2? "Focus on making a better game next time rather than a DRM that hurts your customers?" Ring any bells yet?!
"Better" in what way? Because Assassin's Creed 2 ain't exactly a shitty game.
Speaking as someone who neither pirated or brought the game isn't it? From what People tell me its a repeat of the first game only a few hundred years latter (the first game which I got bored of 3rd the way through) and in addition you have to be online at all times to play it.
I'm sorry the DRM was enough to put me off a risky buy (because of EB games silly no online games return policy).
See what the make better games argument is, is basically if if the game publishes put the energy they put into DRM they would probably be better off..
Personally I miss shareware and try before you buy games. At least they acknowledged the situation.
 

ReverseEngineered

Raving Lunatic
Apr 30, 2008
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Great article John, I agree with every part of it, and I'm entirely on the side of the anti-DRM movement.

The most important thing to remember is that people will always cheat. It doesn't matter if they could get caught, it doesn't matter if it won't work, it doesn't matter if they might be stealing food from starving children: people will always cheat. (See Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational".)

Right now, it's entirely worth it for people (even honest, paying customers) to pirate. All the incentives go that way: no CD-checks, no install limits, no always-on connection requirements, and plenty of others. And, if you don't care whether your favorite publisher gets a dime: pirated copies are free.

So really, a pirate gets to save $60 and get away without any DRM crap, at the cost of his conscience (assuming he has one). You'd have to have one helluva conscience not to take this offer.

But if the legitimate games were actually better than what the pirates can get, there might be a good case for buying it. One example that comes to mind is Modern Warfare 2: online multiplayer is almost impossible to get with a pirated copy, and even if you can get it working for a couple of weeks, 3/4 of the people you are playing against are using aimbots. With that in mind, the pirated copy is completely broken and the legit copy is suddenly worth the $60.

The only part I don't agree with is the Ten-Dollar initiative. It does little to deter pirates (who cares about a few mostly-useless items?), but it does everything to hamper used sales. That's hampering us, the customers, who bought a $60 game and expect to be able to get our money back (one way or another) if we decide we don't like it. The only reason used sales "hurt" developers is that they make less money off of the people who got stuck with a $60 game that doesn't work or that they don't like. With a used market, highly-hyped but poorly-produced games lose out, because people resell them. Without a used market, the customers have to stuck up that cost when they buy it and find out it sucks.

By implementing DRM and anti-used market strategies, publishers are tipping the scales against customers. When that happens, customers are going to learn to distrust publishers. That means more piracy, fewer opening-day sales, fewer pre-orders, and less tolerance for price hikes.
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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Luke Cartner said:
Susan Arendt said:
Loonerinoes said:
You know what's funny? Hearing the pirate crackers saying the exact same thing ages ago over and over and over.

Isn't this exactly what they said when they cracked AC2? "Focus on making a better game next time rather than a DRM that hurts your customers?" Ring any bells yet?!
"Better" in what way? Because Assassin's Creed 2 ain't exactly a shitty game.
Speaking as someone who neither pirated or brought the game isn't it? From what People tell me its a repeat of the first game only a few hundred years latter (the first game which I got bored of 3rd the way through) and in addition you have to be online at all times to play it.
I'm sorry the DRM was enough to put me off a risky buy (because of EB games silly no online games return policy).
See what the make better games argument is, is basically if if the game publishes put the energy they put into DRM they would probably be better off..
Personally I miss shareware and try before you buy games. At least they acknowledged the situation.
Oh, HEAVENS no. AC2 is phenomenal. Better than the first in every possible way. Play it on consoles.

VanBasten said:
John Funk said:
I think people who pirate are almost always just being entitled, selfish pricks. [cut] But draconian DRM is not the solution.
But those, in your words, entitled selfish pricks would almost never buy the games if they actually had to pay for them, so isn't any DRM(not just the draconian ones) kinda pointless?
...yes, that would have been my point...?
 

VanBasten

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ReverseEngineered said:
The only part I don't agree with is the Ten-Dollar initiative. It does little to deter pirates (who cares about a few mostly-useless items?), but it does everything to hamper used sales.
Uhm... think that's kinda the point of it.
Not a week goes by without a news item about some publisher complaining about used sales.
However that's majorly a console issue, and has little to do with PC DRM issues as there are almost no used sales on the PC.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Luke Cartner said:
Susan Arendt said:
Loonerinoes said:
You know what's funny? Hearing the pirate crackers saying the exact same thing ages ago over and over and over.

Isn't this exactly what they said when they cracked AC2? "Focus on making a better game next time rather than a DRM that hurts your customers?" Ring any bells yet?!
"Better" in what way? Because Assassin's Creed 2 ain't exactly a shitty game.
Speaking as someone who neither pirated or brought the game isn't it? From what People tell me its a repeat of the first game only a few hundred years latter (the first game which I got bored of 3rd the way through) and in addition you have to be online at all times to play it.
I'm sorry the DRM was enough to put me off a risky buy (because of EB games silly no online games return policy).
See what the make better games argument is, is basically if if the game publishes put the energy they put into DRM they would probably be better off..
Personally I miss shareware and try before you buy games. At least they acknowledged the situation.
Well, while I can certainly see how someone could say it's a repeat of the first game - there are clearly deep similarities - it's such a vast improvement that it's a bit of an unfair comparison.

I do, however, certainly agree that there should be a way to play a PC game - any PC game - before you buy it.
 

VanBasten

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John Funk said:
VanBasten said:
But those, in your words, entitled selfish pricks would almost never buy the games if they actually had to pay for them, so isn't any DRM(not just the draconian ones) kinda pointless?
...yes, that would have been my point...?
And that point has continually been made for as long as I remember(all the way back to the "brilliant" DRM idea of typing words on page xy, row z of the game manual to start the game), yet somehow publishers keep on insisting on even more and more complicated and pointless methods of DRM.
So even pointing it out is getting pointless ;)
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Sigh.

How dare skilled workers with college degrees in an obscenely competitive industry make ~80k? Face it, dude - that's really not an unreasonable salary at all, and a disproportionate share of the profits going to management is by no means limited to the games industry - you'll find it in pretty much every corporation here in the West.

Every single developer I have ever met lives a pretty damn modest life. You have no evidence to support your claims other than "this is how I think it is," when all the evidence I have ever seen supports the latter - there is not nearly as much profit in games development as you think there is. I'm sorry, Chicken Little, but I have seen nothing ever to suggest that the sky is falling. Yes, executives like West and Zampella make millions. Executives at ANY company with that sort of revenue make millions.

Games used to be much more expensive, especially considering inflation. We get it. We get it. You don't think they're worth it, fine. Then stop buying them already. Meanwhile, the rest of us who find satisfactory value in them will continue to support the developers we like.
Well to be fair, you did say that you thought people in the industry made a lot less than that before The Escapist ran the Maxim article if I remember.

What's more I still maintain that when you look at the budgets being given to developers to make these games, there is a lot of money not being accounted for, even if you consider a big cut being taken by management.

The thing is, when you have someone claiming "we need to charge this much for games because of the amount of money they take to develop" by way of justification, it invites people to look at that development budget and say "okay, so where is all this money going?". Even with Maxim's claims the numbers don't even out.

-

As far as your comment trying to turn this on me personally, I will say that at the moment I can afford to pay $60.00 for games, whether that will remain true or not is still to be determined. However the issue isn't something I bring up for my own direct benefit.

In general I bring up these issues when we have the gaming industry crying about piracy and how much money they are losing, justifying DRM, and otherwise pretty much crying poverty. The point being that they are acting like "OMG, pirates are going to put is into the poorhouse" in defense of inconveinencing people like me who buy their products legitimatly in the name of protection.

A big part of my point here is that the gaming industry isn't exactly a group that can play the pity card. The pirates might not be right, but the gaming industry is still a multi-billion dollar corperate industry. Even if the little guys "only" make 80k a year we're not at the "your stealing food from the mouthes of my family" level.

My actual message here is that the extent that the industry takes things like it's anti-piracy crusade to is ridiculous, especially when they are trying to justify inconveincing users.

When it comes to the whining over the legitimate trade of used games it's even worse, because in that case nobody is stealing from them. It's just "OMG, we might not be getting every possible dime out of this that we could be".

Simply put the industry wants to have an attitude, I think us consumers should be giving them one right back since we're the ones getting nailed by this.

Also, looking at articles here, including comments from companies like 1C (on Digital Distribution), articles about the amount of money made by piracy crime syndicates in Brazil, and other things, it's pretty obvious that the game industry COULD be selling their games for a lot less. In doing so they would probably greatly reduce a lot of what they are complaining about... and I suspect *might* even wind up with more money due to increased sales volune, which is my point. The point is that the industry has not even tried to do this, because in the end it wants to have it's cake and eat it to. The "we have tried everything short of draconian DRM, and on-release DLC" simply put is not true, the industry as far as I can see has never tried to adapt it's business model as far as lowering prices.

Maybe I don't articulate well, my big point is that I want the industry to stop whining and acting like it's being horribly abused and oppressed. I care because things like digital distribution, DRM, and similar things are coming into MY home when I pay what they're asking for these games, and when I look at the reasons they're giving, I see no real actual *need* since the industry is hardly a starving institution. This DRM and such is not being done for purposes of survival, but for greed, and it's inflicting collateral damage on letigimate users who are actually giving them money.

Want me to be less critical of the industry? Then me, and the other consumers, out of it. Under the circumstances the more attempts to justify what's going on, the more I'm going to jump on those justifications. The industry backs off and leaves me alone, I'm not likely to keep running around writing messages criticizing it this way for yucks.


Edited In: Oh and just to explain my motivation behind other comments. I frequently talk about the corruption of the gaming industry, price fixing, cartel behavior, and other things. I do this because when it comes to the things that the gaming industry does to it's legitimate users it tries to claim a moral high ground on. The overall point I'm making is that while the pirates might do some immoral things, the industry can hardly claim to be without "sin" itself, although admittedly what it seems to do is a differant kind of wrong. I admit to not understanding all of the laws in question perfectly, but I do understand the spirit of the laws in question, and know a bit from looking at things like the "price at the pump" gasoline "wars" over the last few years... which i draw an analogy to.

Honestly I could care less under most circumstances, I mean angles like this are part of business in general and I'm fairly jaded to it. I don't actually expect anything to happen over it, but the point is that big businesses (and the games industry is one now) can't exactly sit there and claim righteousness by way of explanation for their actions.

Again, stop bringing this junk into my game purchuses, and then I'm going to be less critical. They stop whining about piracy and used games and with all these "protection gimmicks" that inconveincene me, and then I don't have much reason to hammer back.
 

dududf

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They key for SC2 is to buy it for the online, and to pirate it for the LAN.

Only problem with that may be some funny reg entries, and the crazy file size.
________________________________________________________________________________

Any who, my sentiments match yours Funk, and I've been laughing about it for a little while as if you pirate you're rewarded, where as if you buy then you are punished.
_______________________________________________________________________________
Susan Arendt said:
*points to the incredibly awesome Just Cause 2 Demo, and nods.*
 

Crops

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Aug 16, 2009
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Therumancer said:
Hey, I'll say what I've said before:

If they want to seriously reduce piracy AND used game sales, all they need to do is lower the game prices. Make it so it's not worth the effort.
I never quite understood the point of "Games are too expensive"

I paid fl.110,- for a new copy of Final Fantasy IX when it was released.
I paid eu.50,- for a new copy of Final Fantasy XIII when it was released.

fl.110,- = eu.49,91

So in roughly 10 years, I paid 9 cents more for the latest release.
Now, considering a yearly inflation of 1.5% to 3% is quite common and acceptable, that's a pretty good deal.

Not even taking into consideration technological advancement and increased numbers of people working on games. Or the fact that FFIX was released after the launch of the PS2, for an inferior console.

Statements like "just make games $20 and people won't pirate them" are quite disproved by things like this and don't really take the costs of making a game into consideration. People would end up pirating "because I ain't paying 20 bucks for a game that's not even HD" or whatever.

There are always excuses for piracy, there just aren't many good ones.

EDIT;
I want the industry to stop whining and acting like it's being horribly abused and oppressed. I care because things like digital distribution, DRM, and similar things are coming into MY home when I pay what they're asking for these games
This, I completely agree to.
 

Jared

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Jul 14, 2009
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What scares ne most this might become an industry standard...

Although the EA system in battlefield 2142 us similar, and sometimes as annoying I do see it as s viable way of doing it. With some major tweaks of course
 

Xocrates

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sosolidshoe said:
When you have to choose between food for a week and a few blissful hours of fantasy escapism to take you away from your shitty life, you can throw around phrases like "entitled, selfish pricks" and not look like a tosser.
Except, of course, that those same folk apparently have a PC and the broadband to play and download the latest releases. While ignoring that there are plenty of quality games available for cheap, or even free.

I don't see why is it that when making a choice, people will choose to do the illegal one.
 

sosolidshoe

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Xocrates said:
sosolidshoe said:
When you have to choose between food for a week and a few blissful hours of fantasy escapism to take you away from your shitty life, you can throw around phrases like "entitled, selfish pricks" and not look like a tosser.
Except, of course, that those same folk apparently have a PC and the broadband to play and download the latest releases. While ignoring that there are plenty of quality games available for cheap, or even free.

I don't see why is it that when making a choice, people will choose to do the illegal one.
Yes, I do have a PC, I built it myself from old secondhand parts, it runs some new releases on minimum settings.

Yes, I have broadband, it's the absolute cheapest available service in my area, it costs a quarter of what I would fork out for a single game retail.

When there's a sale on Steam, I spend money on games. When I'm not stuck working in a horrifying job for peanuts, I spend money on games. When 93% of what is laughably called a salary by my employer is taken up with living expenses, I do not, I download them.

And pulling the old "but there's free stuffs!!1" card is a little disingenuous; only a tiny fraction of free games are actually worth playing, most of them are a joke.
 

Xocrates

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sosolidshoe said:
And pulling the old "but there's free stuffs!!1" card is a little disingenuous; only a tiny fraction of free games are actually worth playing, most of them are a joke.
A tiny fraction of probably millions are still a lot. Hell, some of my most played games are free (specifically League of Legends and Trackmania Nations Forever)

Also, what are you complaining about? I spent most of my life with worse.
 

ReverseEngineered

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Apr 30, 2008
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VanBasten said:
ReverseEngineered said:
The only part I don't agree with is the Ten-Dollar initiative. It does little to deter pirates (who cares about a few mostly-useless items?), but it does everything to hamper used sales.
Uhm... think that's kinda the point of it.
Not a week goes by without a news item about some publisher complaining about used sales.
However that's majorly a console issue, and has little to do with PC DRM issues as there are almost no used sales on the PC.
You're right; we hear a lot from the industry about used sales hampering their business, but they are making a lot of fuss over something that is their own failing. My point is that it's our right as customers to resell our games. In the US, it's called the Doctorine of First Sale and other countries have similar laws.

My original argument said that the only reason publishers are complaining about this is because people are selling used things early in the cycle where they are displacing expensive, new sales. And this only happens if people decide within the first couple of months to sell the game they just bought, which is a clear indication that they didn't get what they wanted.

Why are these early used sales occurring? For me, I (have tried to) sell games because I found out they suck. The reviews were good, the trailers were good, and people hyped it to hell, and then I bought a copy and found out it's terrible. I couldn't take it back (because of piracy, even though pirates don't buy games and copy them) and now I couldn't resell it (because that's not fair to the publishers).

Other people want to sell their games because they have grown tired of them. Or because they don't work. Or because there's a different, better game that they want.

They can ***** all they want about used sales hurting profit margins, but it is our right as customers to resell our stuff, no matter the reason, and we have plenty of legitimate reasons. By intentionally harming the value of used games, they are undermining our rights as customers.

Which is why I don't buy new games on opening day anymore, and I pirate them so I can try them out before I buy them. Is that really what publishers want?
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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sosolidshoe said:
Out of interest, what's your salary like? Do you spend 10 hours a day in a mundane office job, being shat on by those above you, mindlessly entering numbers into a database? All so you can watch your paltry wage vanish into the pockets of your landlord, your government and your local supermarket? Do you struggle to find a fiver so you can go out for a single pint with your mates once a month? No? then you can sod off with your generlisations, because frankly you don't understand how vast swathes of the population in first world countries live day to day.

When you have to choose between food for a week and a few blissful hours of fantasy escapism to take you away from your shitty life, you can throw around phrases like "entitled, selfish pricks" and not look like a tosser.
Uh, frankly, my salary is pretty damn modest. I ain't doing what I do to make big bucks, buddy. None of us are. We do it because we're passionate about this and because we love what we do - which is certainly a job benefit in itself, but it doesn't pay bills.

What, do you think I don't have bills to pay? Do you think I don't have rent every month? That I don't have to buy groceries?

I understand not being able to buy everything you want to buy - or even SOME of the stuff you want to buy - because of budgetary constraints. Allow me to offer some alternatives:

1.) Saving up for that thing you really want, like people have done for the rest of human existence?

2.) Find something cheaper? There are plenty of old games for cheap. Games like PopCap games for cheap. Hell, get a library card and read.

There are plenty of alternatives to being a pirate and getting something that you haven't paid for. I can't afford a new TV but I'm not about to go out and just steal one because "OH I WANT IT NOW." You are not alone in having bills to pay and having to pinch pennies. That doesn't give you the right to be a thief. That reeks of entitlement, especially since you're clearly well-off enough to afford a computer and broadband to download it all in the first place (which makes you better off than a lot of people, too).

But that's irrelevant. Your tone is absolutely unacceptable for discussing on these forums - let alone flaming staff - so you'll be taking a bit of a break now :) Hope you learn your lesson and be more polite for next time!

Edit: And in case it wasn't obvious, "You" is being used in the general.
 

Seanchaidh

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While it is perhaps true that pirates are 'self-entitled assholes', all producers of content that demand rents from their copyrights are equally self-entitled, though perhaps not assholes. What is often lost in these discussions is that content creators who depend on enforcing their copyrights are legal monopolies in control of a resource that is not scarce. That is to say, they enjoy an enormous government-granted advantage that makes competition with regard to content delivery essentially illegal, and so price naturally conforms to what one would expect from any kind of horizontally integrated trust, with the service being artificially scarce in order to maximize profit (whereas for commodities goods are naturally scarce and, when there is competition, tend to fall to a price that is merely profitable, not maximally profitable.)

If we're being honest we should readily admit that pirates tend to do content delivery better. The fact that the (albeit illegal) competition can afford not to charge a single cent for what they do is illustrative of the ridiculous legal advantage that an honest content creator would really need quite a bit of chutzpah to say is 'justified' in any sort of moral sense. No, copyrights are an incentive-based government policy, not some moral right as they are usually treated. They are a very, very imperfect solution to a severe market failure; they should not be treated like anything but that.

It's certainly a good idea to give content producers some incentive to do what they do. But the incentive they would get in a world in which no one pirated or sold their used games would approach the ridiculous: why produce a commodity like wheat or rice when you can be 'creative' and have a license to sell a monopolized and non-scarce good? Essentially we have to ask ourselves why writers, designers, programmers, etc. deserve to have rights that we rightly deny to the Carnegies, Rockefellers, and Morgans of our world. The answer is that they don't deserve it so much as the policy is simply preferable to that of complete non-intervention. Content creators get more than they deserve, and that's fine. But their contribution to the world economy is, in fact, magnified by piracy: more units of satisfaction are produced by any given product because of piracy-- unless the product is so bad that it is a negative influence on any who consume it. Of course, in a world where access to a product was impossible without paying, such bad products would be even more prevalent than they are.

I don't personally believe that content creators deserve a world without piracy. Such a world would be stupidly unfair to those who get their money through, for example, agriculture, hair styling, fishing, cooking, etc. There is no moral justification for copyright monopolies. There is, however, pragmatic justification. So it is a bit less clear than we should be comfortable with saying that pirates are self-entitled assholes, at least to any greater degree than the average person.
 

whaleswiththumbs

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CoverYourHead said:
I got Assassin's Creed II on a console, and I love the game, but seriously, if I didn't have a console there would be no way in hell I'd buy it for the PC. I moved in fall last year and I had to go without internet for three months, it was painful by itself. I hate how DRM these days seems to be edging me closer to making my games unplayable without internet. Until we have internet for free everywhere in the world (which I'm guessing will be never) I don't want to be forced to be connected to the internet for my games.

And what the heck happened to Ubisoft? They used to be cool. Now they're the next evil company on the block.
Yes. I bought it on console. And then they released for PC, I was gonna double-buy it, but the DRM system turned me off.

OT:
I hate to stick my neck out, for fear it will be out of the guillotine head-hole, but i, and coincidently, my best friend pirate SOME games, and with all honesty and self-defense i can muster, we only do it when we don't have the actual money for the game, because the last time we did pirate, we were(okay she isn't) jobless-bastards, and/or when the game has already pushed sales up a notch or so. I think my last pirate was for Fallout3, because of the previously mentioned lack-of-job, i dont have money for a current-generation computer.

With all honesty i do now own double copies of the game, 360 and PC. and have plans to give her the PC because i dont play it(even though by the time i do New Vegas will be out) And i think the last one she told me about was some game with a title starting with B- I don't remember really.

But my point is, we only do it when completely necessary for our game crave to be filled, and, in my case, i buy the game later, i guess for Karma(hahaha, fallout-karma..)
 

ANeM

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Susan Arendt said:
Loonerinoes said:
You know what's funny? Hearing the pirate crackers saying the exact same thing ages ago over and over and over.

Isn't this exactly what they said when they cracked AC2? "Focus on making a better game next time rather than a DRM that hurts your customers?" Ring any bells yet?!
"Better" in what way? Because Assassin's Creed 2 ain't exactly a shitty game.
The PC version has a fairly poor control scheme, with no effort to 'localize' the UI or tutorial from the console versions. Instead of the tutorials and popups actually showing the button they want you to press, they show an action button, essentially an xbox button with a foot instead of an A. Don't know what button Foot is? Guess you're going to have to check the settings for that.
I can't think of many things worse than a game that forces a tutorial on players with the sole intent of teaching them the function of various buttons without actually telling the players what buttons the game requires them to press to continue.

To make things worse, with all their sloppy porting of controls and UI elements they didn't add native support for 360 controllers, the automatic mapping ends up with the triggers being used to turn the camera, the second stick unused, and all the coloured buttons not matching their proper colours. To make things worse, the triggers are recognized as a single joystick, rather than buttons, so you can't really map them to anything at all.

This is pretty unacceptable for a game thats PC release was delayed months on claims that they needed more time to "improve the pc experience". Sure, the game runs fine, but the PC experience is non-existent, without even allowing for the players to opt into the Console experience. Furthermore, lets not forget the delay was suspiciously timed prior to the announcement of the DRM, which the game would now feature, and that the second big name title to use this DRM featured a similar delay.