Monday, 30 June 2008

Second PC game developer hit with Cluebat.

I was reading on Eurogamer about how Valve's Gabe Newell was talking about the PC is the future gaming platform and started to read how Newell believed that piracy is not a problem. Now this is strikingly reminiscent of the stance Stardock CEO Brad Wardell whom beleives that

"Pirates dont count"

With of course one critical difference, Valve's Jason Holtman was quoted as saying,

"Rampant piracy is just unserved customers"

There seems to be a spate of dev's being hit with cluebats lately as they seem to realise that placing extreme DRM restrictions such as needing to download the games executable before installation finishes and limiting the number of installs is a great way to drive customers away.

However such a cluebat is yet to fall upon the head of Cevat Yerli, the head of German games developer Crytek, whom produced Crysis which sold well over a million units in the US and Europe alone and was in the top 10 best selling games for three consecutive months. Some people call this a success but it's still not enough for Mr Yerli who in a recent interveiw on IGN said:

"It's crazy how the ratio between sales to piracy is probably 1 to 15 to 1 to 20 right now."

Hmm, so Mr Yerli is trying to tell me that Crysis is being played by over 20 million people world wide, that it took only 9 months to achieve the kind of sales that it took WOW 5 years to achieve half of? That more people are playing Crysis than are playing Half Life, Everquest, Age of Conan and Supreme Commander put together. What exactly is this guy smoking? Perhaps "crazy" is the right word to describe his theory.

Perhaps that we need to look towards the games themselves to answer the questions of why games dont succeed, not that Crysis didnt succeed, they are releasing another standalone game, Crysis Warhead (Perhaps I'll see the other half of Crysis that was cut out of the original) so me thinks that he protesth too much. Perhaps it is the fact that Crysis required an A$1500 gaming rig just to play may have limited his audience as compared to Half Life which could easily run on a A$600 PC. It could also be the fact that the DRM in Crysis caused the disk to thrash about like a shark with a fresh baby seal which is somewhat alarming as I paid A$90 for this game.

With any luck the arsehattish opinions of this rather clueless individual will be drowend out in a sudden break of common sense as successful developers like Stardock and Valve continue to prove that a high quality game will sell and the best way to get more sales is to not annoy the customer with intrusive DRM and rediculous hoops like activation, to jump through before play.