Piracy making it's mark on the PC industry

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CrytekPiracy.jpg

In an interview with Next-Gen Crytek Engine Business Manager Harald Seeley has confirmed that Crytek will be keeping the new Crysis content, “Warhead” a PC exclusive but will no longer be creating PC exclusive games thereafter.

Piracy became a major concern for Crytek when sales of their triple-A title Crysis suffered severely, with torrent downloads of the game going through the roof.

I don’t blame Crytek one bit for this move as it is a huge knock on their company to have so much time and effort go to waste when their big release title for the year suffers from low sales even though reviews were high and the game was incredibly popular. There have been many debates on the internet about how PC gaming is dying and with problems like this affecting companies like Crytek, it’s no wonder that the PC gaming industry might find itself in a bit of a pickle.

[Thanks UnsafestCorpse for the tip]

Games like World of Warcraft, that require a signed in account with monthly charges seem to be the only secure format for PC game developers to ensure that they aren’t hurt by piracy. For developers of other games however, no full-proof security system has been completely successful in protecting the software from cracks or key generators.

The other issue that PC gamers are experiencing, which is one that I have had problems with myself in the past, is the issue that copy protection causes a serious inconvenience to those who have spent money on the game and now have to deal with online activations, serial key checks and disc validation before every game session. I will never forget how let down I was when I finally got my hands on Half Life 2 the day it was released and then had to sit and wait for hours so that the game could download various information and do an online registration with Steam.

Seeley has thankfully commented on the inconveniences caused by this sort of thing and led us to believe that they are thinking of better ways to approach it, saying “While we are certainly very concerned about piracy and copy protection, we are also concerned about the potential opposite problem, that of inconveniencing legitimate buyers with newer measures that interfere too greatly with their enjoyment of the product. So we are carefully considering all possible options here, however we are not yet at a stage where we have made a final decision.“

Seeley has also gone on to say that their current plan will be to offer something unique to each platform, making each one special in it’s own right.

While piracy also affects console gaming, the console pirate is usually required to fork out money to have their hardware altered or modified, whereas with PC’s, it usually requires nothing more than access to the internet. With game prices soaring, it’s no wonder so many people have turned to piracy, but high prices shouldn’t be an excuse for it either. It would, on the other hand, be great if the gaming industry in its totality realised that more affordable games will lead to better sales and an improvement in the industry overall. Would you rather sell 30% of your stock at 100% mark-up, or 80% at 70% mark-up?

I personally feel that the PC gaming industry is still going to enjoy a very long and prosperous future, however, until something is done about piracy and all of the copy protection hassles that come along with it, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Crytek Exclusivity Article: Destructoid

Last Updated: June 9, 2008

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since ’08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

  • Lupus

    I’m not entirely sure blaming the pirate for the decline in pc gaming is valid. Crysis was nothing more then a tech demo, a really pretty one but after playing it a little bit I went back to the Xbox.

  • I remember that … that thing they call … ST … STEAM!! ARG it drove me F’ing mad! I waited 2 weeks for my Half Life 2 to activate 2 F’ing WEEKS!!! then once all the activiation had been done I finally got to play an hour of it went back out and tried to play the game … “steam is updating your game…” 😯 … “uninstalling game”

  • kay

    Like it or not, Steam is the future of PC gaming. It is also a lot better these days than it was back in the day of the HL2 launch.

    kay’s last blog post..Photographers = terrorists. Not!

  • Thomeval

    I also do not totally agree that piracy is totally to blame for the relatively poor sales of Crysis. Its system requirements are ridiculously high (not quite as ridiculous as the requirements of PC Guitar Hero III, but still out of reach for most PC owners).

  • Piracy is not the sole reason why the PC gaming industry is experiencing a decline. In my opinion, PC gaming has slowly been on the decline for years, especially with the advent of the Playstation 2/3 and the Xbox/Xbox360. Of course, the online multiplayer capabilities of next gen consoles only compounds the growth of console gaming vs. PC gaming. What the consoles do really well (and why they are so popular) is that they make gaming accessible and appealing to a much wider audience. If anything, with their robust hardward platforms, they are basically standardizing the gaming industry. Much to Thomeval’s point, games like Crysis require you to have a monster PC that many can’t afford.

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