May 1, 2008

Making Assumptions Makes You an Ass

TG Daily has an article up detailing billions of dollars in lost revenue for Epic and Crytek due to the pirating of their games.
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.
This is almost as fun as saying World of Warcraft has 10 million subscribers, so 10 million x $15 a month = $150,000,000 a month in revenue! It is just simply wrong, just like saying that 40 million attempts to join an Unreal Tournament III server with a pirated key is equal to $2 billion dollars in lost revenue. Yippee for broad assumptions!

The fact of the matter is, that it has NEVER and WILL NEVER be shown that people who steal a copy of a game (referred to as pirating in the article) are willing to pay for it in the first place.

Unfortunately, the truth for both Epic and Crytek, is that they built games far above the power curve. The paying consumer base voted with their wallets and told Epic and Crytek that no, we don't like paying $1,000 for PC upgrades just to play your games. Sadly, they then assumed everyone that stole a copy (not pirated) would of been glad to pony up $60 and now we're here.

What's truly sad is that both games, Crysis and UT3, actually did end up selling above average for each company after slow starts, but since they jumped on the OMGZ pirateZ train early, they can't simply jump off now without looking the part of an ass.

I can't wait for Epic and Crytek to become console exclusive and suddenly realize that when they make a shitty game, no one buys it and no one steals it, which means no one plays it, no one talks about it, and it becomes another $10 wonder in the bargain bin of GameStop.