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When Hate Gets In The Way

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I Am Alive is a game that many thought had been canned until just recently, when a flood of information about the game surfaced, including the fact that it is a downloadable game coming to Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Not PC, you ask? According to a Eurogamer interview with creative director Stanislas Mettra, a PC version would be a silly idea since pirating is such a big deal on that system.

Oh, Ubisoft. When are you going to learn?

Well, to be fair, it isn't exactly Ubisoft's fault this time. Sure, Ubisoft is putting out the game but this is from a person on the development staff, not someone working for the publisher. Unfortunately, this doesn't help matters much, as he almost does a worse job of announcing this news than Ubisoft would, which is kind of sad.

He offers two main reasons why a PC version is out of the question. The first? No one would buy it. I couldn't help but laugh at this point in the interview. Way to sell your game to me, random developer. I can't wait to buy it if you have little to no faith that a PC version would even appeal to anyone in the world.

The second reason is the usual Ubisoft reason and the one that I stated above – pirating. Sure, pirating is a major deal when it comes to PC games. Many developers lose a TON of business to people who can't be bothered to play the game. In fact, most developers are avoiding PC versions at all for this reason. It is unavoidable at this point, with games being so easy to crack and pirated games being so easy to find and set up – nearly anyone can do it.

Is this really a good enough reason to avoid a PC version entirely? Of course, Ubisoft has had some troubles with this in the past. I can remember the time that the newest Ubisoft game (I think it was for Assassin's Creed II) had a DRM that required being online and connecting to a server. Not much of a problem, at least until the server crashed and no one who bought the game legally could play it. The funny thing? Since the pirated versions didn't need to connect to the server, they could play while the legal copies couldn't. Score one for DRM.

Ubisoft's history with DRM aside, Mettra's comments again don't show much faith in his game. He argues that a PC port wouldn't be worth it since it probably wouldn't sell more than 50,000 copies, costing a few months and a dedicated team. What about those Xbox Live Arcade games like Super Meat Boy and Cthulu Saves the World that move to Steam and sell many times more copies there?  I'm not saying that it would happen but it could happen.  That is hundreds of thousands of potential dollars that the developer is willing to overlook just because of his hate for PC pirates.

I can understand hating piracy as a developer. The thought of working on something for a year or two, putting it out on the market, and then having most of the copies that are played be stolen sounds like a huge bummer. It's only when blind hate towards those pirates gets in the way of potential profits and new fans that it seems completely crazy.


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