View From The Road: Ubisoft Needs To Use a Carrot

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
Crops said:
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.
-

Well, for starters $20 was just a figure I threw out at random. The point being that the current prices are extremely high. I am well aware of the development costs involved in games, plenty of them have been thrown around. However keep in mind that even among games there can be massive differances. For example "Modern Warfare 2" set unprecedented records by costing half a billion dollars to develop and market, however it sold for the same price as games that were developed on far less money. Development budget has absolutly no effect on the pricing of games, since the industry engages in price fixing (which I comment about frequently) and has coordinated to set the price of a new video game at $60 ($50 for the PC).

Generally speaking the way things are supposed to work, at least in the US, is that companies are supposed to compete with each other. They are supposed to try and gain market support by releasing the best quality product they can, for the lowest price possible, while their competition does the same. It breeds innovation, and protects the consumers. However you don't see that in the gaming industry which is why so many companies are able to succeed while "playing it safe". Coordination also means that they can try things like intrusive DRM, because pretty much everyone is trying some variation on it, and you don't see major titles trying to undercut each other by being more conveinent. Heck, for that matter you don't see them trying to undercut each other at all, when "Modern Warfare 2" came out all the competition changed release dates, nobody decided to say "Hey, I'll sell my game for $10 less than Modern Warfare 2, and toss you extra content", followed by MW2's producers saying "hey, I'll lower my price $5 under that other guy, and give you this map pack we're working on for free!"... until both sides basically settle on the best possible deal they can offer while making a profit.

My arguement with them lowering their prices to $20 or whatever is simply that development budgets are so far irrelevent. How much a game costs to make has nothing to do with how much it sells for. However most of the people who are buying used games, or pirating, are doing so because games are expensive and $60 is a lot of money to risk. If they lower the price then those guys waiting to buy a game used for $20 a year later, might very well just buy it new because it's less of a risk. What's more it's easier than pirating a torrent and trying to get it to run properly, so a lot of pirates are going to buy the games as well for conveinence. While the industry would make less money per unit they could make it up in volume sales.

See, one arguement in defense of piracy is that all those pirated games would not be sales. Simply put nobody could afford that. However if you want some of those people to put money in your pocket, you charge what the desired market will bear.

What's more right here on The Escapist you periodically see people complaining about the price of games in various third world countries. Right now we have a guy from Romania writing about how Romanians can't afford to buy video games. We've had official articles run here on The Escapist about the economic realities of games and the third world, where a lot of the big piracy is happening, and there are few legitimate sales. Lower the prices to one third (or whatever) and you'll probably see markets appearing in these places where there were none before.

Do not misunderstand the fundemental nature of this arguement however. The above is not guaranteed to work, however it represents something the industry has not tried. Something I carefully consider when I have game companies telling me they have no choice but to load my games with DRM, mandatory online connections, and other assorted crud, and/or take games "totally digital" because they have "tried everything else".

Whining about a moral high ground doesn't work, because the industry doesn't act morally to begin with. Saying that they need to charge $60 because of development costs is BS, when it's a standard price that exists independant of development costs.

Obviously I pay $60, but I don't want to hear a song and a dance trying to justify something that can't be justified. At the same time I don't want to hear hemming and hawing about how the poor, innocent, gaming industry is being victimized by the big bad pirates, and has no choice but to inconveinence me. Neither side has a moral high ground, so I want to be left out of it. By all means, go chase the pirates, but don't harass me, the guy who is paying your $60 to begin with.

As I've said in other threads. Pirates Vs. The Game Industry, is like gang bangers fighting the mob. Differant styles of crime/immorality, but in the end their both crooks in their own way. The only real victim of the piece is me, the gamer, I just want to play my games without jumping through hoops, and otherwise be left alone. DRM, digital downloads, online connections for single player games, are *NOT* leaving me alone.. and it's especially annoying when I'm paying the guys who are basically taking a giant fish taco-stand dump on
me for doing it.
 

L-J-F

New member
Jun 22, 2008
302
0
0
Exactly, though I think refering to people who would play offline as pirates is a bit wrong ...

But I absolutely agree, provide benifits to the paying customers, don't hurt everyone in an attempt to stop pirates.

Perfect example: Men of War: no copy protection at all unless you want to play online, then you need it. Simple and damned effective. Online play is much better than you could get from anywhere else so it provides the incentive to buy it.
 

aaron552

New member
Jun 11, 2008
193
0
0
Therumancer said:
the industry engages in price fixing (which I comment about frequently) and has coordinated to set the price of a new video game at $60 ($50 for the PC).
It's worse in Australia. PC games are usually $90-100 (~80-90 USD) and console games are $100-110 (~90-100 USD), so it's not surprising in the slightest that I hardly ever buy new games or on release day...
 

WhiteTigerShiro

New member
Sep 26, 2008
2,366
0
0
John Funk said:
John Funk thinks Assassin's Creed II was better on the consoles anyway.
Given that I have a 360 controller for my PC, the difference would be negligible to me. In fact, if anything the PC version would probably be better since PCs can run better graphics than the 360.
 

Twilight_guy

Sight, Sound, and Mind
Nov 24, 2008
7,131
0
0
Well, I have one problem with your argument. You're assuming that if I'm offered an official copy that has bonuses it will entice me enough to ignore a free copy. I would venture that people are more motivated by their wallet and cost then by bonuses. Free is a very steep bonus to overcome and I'm not sure any extra content or advantages can overcome its massive blackhole of attractiveness. Using positive and negative reinforcement (bonuses and restrictions) is of course a better idea then just negative reinforcement. You hit your dog to tell him not to piddle on the floor inside and you move to outside to show him what he should do. With gamers, something similar must be done. There should be a bonus, but there should also be a swift kick to the face. I'm biased for a harder kick to the face though since I don't think positive reinforcement will work because, as I've stated in previous posts, all gamers are assholes.
 

Arcanist

New member
Feb 24, 2010
606
0
0
John Funk said:
edthehyena said:
If piracy really had anything to do with stealing from "bad guys" or "large corporations", then we wouldn't see it on things like the Humble Indie Bundle. There is no way to justify that one, except that you don't have a credit card. I think these types of claims tend to people trying to justify doing something they know is wrong. Also, especially when it comes to larger companies, for each guy with a name and face we know there's a handful of smaller employees who aren't getting rich off every game.

I'm a big fan of anti-piracy schemes like project $10 (when they don't add that extra crap), and make a point of supporting developers who use it. On the other hand, I'm not buying anything from Ubisoft for a while.
I think people who pirate are almost always just being entitled, selfish pricks (there are some exceptions, of course - chiefly referring to people in poorer parts of the world where buying games legit is literally not an option). I will never be pro-piracy. But draconian DRM is not the solution.
Well, I use a bit of a compromise. When bullshit DRM intrudes on gameplay, I pirate games- but I still pay the developers. Sometimes on Steam, other times by buying a hard copy, but I pay them. Then gift/discard my legitimate copy, and pirate the game.

I also use piracy as a way to try games out before I buy them. If they're crap, I delete the game from my HD and refuse to reward mediocrity. If, however, the game is worth the money, I will but it.
 

WhiteTigerShiro

New member
Sep 26, 2008
2,366
0
0
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 used to think that sounded good too, but then I thought about it. Say a game sells 1-million copies (not unrealistic with today's figures). For every $1 reduced from the price of said game, the publishers would need to see enough extra sales to make-up that $1,000,000 loss. Let's say we're talking console games, so $60 per game.

$60 x 1,000,000 units sold = $60 Mill

To get that same $60m sales figure from even a one dollar price reduction, they would need to see about 17,000 more units sold. So let's take the analogy you posted about being able to buy the latest hot title for only $20. In said case, the price reduction would need to triple their sales to 3,000,000. In other words, there would have to be at least 2 million extra people out there who will only buy the game if it's $20. And that's just to break even.

Now, and extra 2 million might not sound like a lot, so lets talk about some big-name titles that sell 20 million and more units. At your proposed $20 rate, if they sold any fewer than 40 million extra copies, they would be looking at a loss over-all compared to if they had just stuck with the $60 price that was flying off the shelves as-is.

So I suppose the point would be more that developers need to stray from set prices and price the game according to what they feel the demand will be. Obviously it'd be stupid to sell a Modern Warfare game at a budget price, but sometimes I'll see some no-name game on the shelf for the full $60. It's like... who are you people, and why do you think this game is worth the same money as Gears of War or Street Fighter?

Edit: And now that I notice your other post, I see your main point kinda agrees with my last paragraph. :x
 

unFunkiest

New member
Mar 24, 2010
12
0
0
Regarding extra goodies and free DLC being used as an incentive to buy a copy of a game... Recently Ubisoft released the first official patch for SC:Conviction which included some extra goodies for legitmate users such as new weapons and a new map. Not long after this, a well known group of crackers released an update for their crack which not only allowed illegitimate users to access these new goodies but gave them access to the online multiplayer part of the game aswell! I honestly believe that the way to go is to reward legitimate users but it seems that these kind of icentives are doomed to failure.
 

squid5580

New member
Feb 20, 2008
5,106
0
0
Susan Arendt said:
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.
Susan I am gonna correct you here. There should be a way to play any game before you buy it (provided it has a place to put the demo). 60 to 70 bucks (being Canadian the average price is 64-69) is quite a bit to put down on a product you may not like. Gamestop in my area offers a 7 day money back guarantee now. Don't like it take it back and get a full refund in store credit. It benefits the consumer, it benefits Gamestop but does it benefit the developers? Afterall you know that returned copy is going back on the shelves for 5 bucks less.

And Mr. Funk as much as it pains me to say. We don't all agree. I agree yes. Take a wander through the forums and check out any of the many piracy threads. People seem to think that since you aren't taking the physical copy you aren't hurting anyone. And few take into consideration that it may not be a lost sale if there was no other means to get the game other than pay for it.
 

likalaruku

New member
Nov 29, 2008
4,291
0
0
Use honey, not vinegar. That's what a lot of parents say. I find that children & employees alike respond better to the promise of bribery than to the threat of punishment.
 

rsvp42

New member
Jan 15, 2010
897
0
0
Game and music companies should partner with storage media producers like Western Digital. All that pirated content has to be stored SOMEWHERE, the companies being pirated might as well get something back.
 

Spinozaad

New member
Jun 16, 2008
1,107
0
0
I wonder why DVD's of big and costly Hollywood movies can be sold for anywhere between 5 to 25 euros, and games must be sold for anywhere between 40 and 80 euros.

I can pirate both, but I buy legitimate DVD's far more often.

I wonder if there's a causal connection...
 

Aurgelmir

WAAAAGH!
Nov 11, 2009
1,566
0
0
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.
My thought exactly.
I mean its probably one of the better games last year, together with Batman. And douches still download it.
Why?
Because its free. I mean a quality game for free? How much better can it get?

And I am fairly certain that the DRM developers and the game developers are not the same guys. So the argument about "make better games, not better DRM" is very mute.
(Except I stopped playing Batman because I thought it was good, and wanted to buy it when I got the money to do so)

But I agree with Mr. Funk, DRM should be a carrot not a stick. The better I feel the product is, the more likely I am to buy it.

When that is said, I hardly ever pirate games anymore, I either buy or don't buy.
 

ENKC

New member
May 3, 2010
620
0
0
They would get the option of saving their game in a cloud, and the option to download and install the game on whatever computer they wanted (just need to log in!). They would get their game automatically updated with the latest DLC, and some extra cosmetic goodies as a way to reward them for buying the game legitimately.

That sounds pretty good, right?
It sounds very good, which is why I use Steam. You've just described that service, and it doesn't need DRM at such a crippling level.
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

New member
Oct 1, 2009
2,552
0
0
Something that really annoyed me with DRM was that I bought Call of Pripyat the other week. It is a good game, by far the best in the series. But I am having this problem where things in the world occasionally takes forever to spawn, so I can be running back to the safe zone to sell some loot or collect on a mission... And it is empty. Then, anywhere between 10 seconds and 3 minutes later, the game freezes up for a moment and everything plops into place at once.

I was trying to figure out what this was all about and after going through all my game options, I still hadn't solved it. So I check the forums and it turns out that it is a problem with SecuROM causing that annoying bug. Solution? Download a No-CD crack. I hate to be ungrateful, but I paid for that game and I am getting a problem that someone who hasn't paid for it won't get? It makes me feel as if DRM-solutions has gone wrong somewhere.
 

Doug

New member
Apr 23, 2008
5,205
0
0
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.
Agreed about AC2 - I love the game, and its one of my most played console games; hell, I even managed to get nearly every achievement, a feat I don't normally get close to achieving (no pun intended). But I'm infinitely glad I didn't hold out for the PC version as I would frankly not buy it.
 

EvilDemon

New member
Apr 2, 2010
5
0
0
John Funk said:
I think people who pirate are almost always just being entitled, selfish pricks (there are some exceptions, of course - chiefly referring to people in poorer parts of the world where buying games legit is literally not an option). I will never be pro-piracy. But draconian DRM is not the solution.
Why do you and Shamus always do this? Write an brilliant article and then make judgement calls and hurl insults, it really ruins what you write. I agree with you yes and in no way condone piracy but honestly it doesnt make you seem anyway better than pirates by name-calling.