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 Crysis  Developer Puts Piracy Ratio At 1:20
Crysis Developer Puts Piracy Ratio At 1:20
June 27, 2008 | By David Jenkins

June 27, 2008 | By David Jenkins
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    25 comments
More: Console/PC



A new interview with Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli, has seen the Crysis developer suggest that the ratio of legal to illegal copies of key PC titles could be as high as 1 to 20, as he discussed the past and future of the franchise.

Talking to consumer website IGN, Yerli admitted that the release of PC exclusive title Crysis had commercial targets “that were not met”, but expressed general satisfaction with the critical response and indicated that the developer still made a profit from the game.

“The [reviews] were slightly under the critique level that we wanted to have, but that's life,” said Yerli. “We may have failed a little here and there, but overall Crysis I would say it didn't do excellent, but it did good.”

As he has done previously, Yerli expressed regret over confusion regarding the game’s minimum system requirements.

He also suggested that the game may have been previewed too far in advance of its release, with subsequent delays meaning that many journalists were overfamilar with the game’s set pieces while reviewing.

“I remember their eyes when they saw it for the first time. They were blown away by it. But by the time they saw it four or five times, they were already, let's say, used up with it. The first impact effect was missing, and hence I think a lot of reviews didn't look over that fact,” said Yerli.

“We revealed too much of the mission, we revealed almost everything of the game previous to release, and I think that was a big mistake certainly not to be repeated ever again,” he added.

Regarding the PC industry in general, Yerli speculated that the ration between sales to piracy is probably between 1 to 15 and 1 to 20. “For one sale there are 15 to 20 pirates and pirate versions, and that's a big shame for the PC industry,” he commented.

The developer announced in April that it would no longer be creating any more PC-exclusive franchises, although thus far the company has resisted developing any version of Crysis for consoles.

Instead, Yerli confirmed that the proprietary CryEngine technology was already capable of running on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but that the first game to use it was not related to Crysis.


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Comments


Anonymous
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Please, stop with the BS!



It seems that every time Cevat open his mouth lately, the word piracy comes out, followed by a sad joke of a excuse.



Does he really expect us to believe that Crysis should have sold 20-30 million units?. Much MUCH better games don't sell half that.



Crysis is certainly not a great game (it's a decent game with pretty graphics and pretty steep requirements) and they should be more than happy with what they sold (specially given that they admit they profitted from it) instead of being crybabies and talking about piracy in every single interview.



Good games sell. Bad games don't. Piracy just doesn't matter. Go learn from Stardock, Cevat.

Anonymous
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deal with it...its the world we live in.

Anonymous
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Sorry to break it to you Anon, but piracy does matter. While it's true that every pirated copy doesn't directly translate into a sale, I'm sure that some would have. After these guys spend years pouring their souls into their work there is absolutely no reason you should get to play it for free. You don't get to walk into a restaurant, grab a steak off the line, and just walk out and the same is true here. You don't pay for it, you shouldn't get to play it.



As more games move closer to digital distribution we're going to see piracy become much less of a problem, and I for one am all for it.

Anonymous
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I agree, Crysis is a perfect example of a "next-gen" title with all flash and no substance. The characters, story, and gameplay were completely hollow and uninspired. Blaming the failure of moving units on piracy is weak. "Warpath" will have the same impact when it's released. Die hards with cutting edge hardware will pirate it just to see what their machines can do while those looking to spend their money on a exceptional game play experience will look elsewhere.



I was completely underwhelmed by the quality of Crysis and will never shell out for a crytek "tech demo".

Maurício Gomes
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I do not know why this amount of anonymous posts... But...



Man, Crysis suck, no way the piracty is 1:20, specially for Crysis, I saw Crysis here on Brazil on 3 computer, all three with original copies... The catch is: Those 3 diffrent computers that belonged to diffrent persons were running Crysis only to show off their capabilities, I never saw a person that bought Crysis (even a pirated copy) because he wanted, I once even asked a person that sell pirated games if he ever sold Crysis, he said that he sold 1 copy and the person returned the copy saying that the game sucked and that the game ran poorly on his machine... Then that person got a copy of Counter-Strike: Source (that the government here banned on legal stores, so everyone buys it ilegally...)



I am sure that people do not want to pirate their games, they do because they need, usually pirated copies has bad support, low media quality and no cool things like box and manual, people LOVE to buy original games when they are able to do so...



Ex: King of Fighters for PS2 (heavily pirated here in Brazil), was released as a budget game here, all copies got sold within hours... And the majority of the buyers already had the pirated copy of the game, they bought the original because they want the original copy, but since (for PS2 games) the price is about 20 times to 30 times more than a pirated copy, noone will buy a original copy, the PC market has far less piracy than the PS2, specially because original games are a bit cheaper ("only" 10 times the price of a pirated copy), but still expensive.

Anonymous
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Anon at 8:39 said:

"As more games move closer to digital distribution we're going to see piracy become much less of a problem, and I for one am all for it."



Haha, now THATS funny! Hate to break it to you, but every single game featuring "digital distr" has been cracked, even WoW where you can login to private servers. All you need is an email account and the ability to use Google. Did Digital Distrib. work for Half-Life 2 Episodes? Bioshock? Mass Effect? No, and they won't work for anything else designed with a lock that can be picked by those with the hacking skills to do so.



Its a pity that those with all the sharpness of oranges think that that particular distribution model is in any way a threat to piracy at all.

Marcus Mattingly
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Crysis was a ho-hum game in my opinion. It just wasn't all that much fun. I tried the demo, I was not impressed, especially for the price it goes for.



My main issue with Crysis is the ridiculous requirements. I'm certainly not going to pay that much for a game and then have to turn off all the graphical extras and run it lo res? Or not be able to run it at all!



I too am pretty sick and tired of hearing the piracy excuse. I'm not gonna say the companies are not affected at all. I'm sure they are to some extent, but I don't think it makes or breaks a game.

Rodney Brett
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I can't stand game companies that release statistical figures on "piracy" that are completely speculative. 1 to 20, yeah.. that "feels" about right.



I know several people that have majored in statistics in college, and they always get a laugh out of comments like that. You can't just make up a convenient figure that supports why your game didn't sell.



There is simply NO ACCURATE way to measure how game sales "would" have been if cracked versions didn't exist.



Why not make a time machine and "ban" VCRs in the 1980s. Television "adapted" and survived. MP3 is killing radio? Radio "adapted" and survived. David Bowie released an entire album online while Metallica is still moaning over MP3.



Game companies are without a doubt affected by piracy, and I don't condone it, however, you either adapt to this generation or shut down. If you know your company's sales reputation and that you shouldn't put 30-40 million into a development of a game, then "scale" down the project. Put less money into development. Create a decent game first, pretty "tech" graphics can come later according to budget.



IP infringement has resorted to "scare" tactics, it's a sad state and I fear it will only get worse. :(

David Delanty
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A pirated copy of a game does not directly translate into a lost sale. If we're gaging the amount of money a game SHOULD have made by counting both sales and pirated copies, a gaping discrepancy appears.



Now personally, I would kill to see where this 1:20 ratio came from. That sounds like an exaggerated figure. But I'll humor it for conversation's sake. Of these 20 people, I would be willing to bet that the total number of people who would have bought the game with their hard earned money should a pirated version be unavailable would equal to...a foot. To equate to a WHOLE individual who was on the way to Best Buy to get the game, and tripped on a pirated version on the way there, we would need to increase the ratio to something like 10:200, saying that out of 200 pirated versions, only one guy was actually going to part with his currency.



Sure, that may sound like a stretch. But so is 1:20. It's all a matter of perception.



Point being, piracy is definitely one of those issues that shouldn't be taken lightly. But we as game designers, artists, programmers, and most importantly PLAYERS can't let that excuse fly in place of superficial plots, tired gameplay, and obscene system requirements. Blame some foreign kid on BitTorrent for people not being drawn to guys in high tech armor suits with overwhelming amounts of firepower over their foes? That's about as tough to sell as a 1:20 ratio, my good sir.

Rodney Brett
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One other thing, I'm getting really tired of hearing the old "It's like buying a steak and not paying" analogy... It's a weak comparison that is simply a repeating echo of an Jurassic generation's mantra. You can't compare digital IP to a piece of steak!

Mickey Mullasan
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Game developers need to develop the use of things that cannot be copied like society and time.

Anonymous
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pretty fun game until the aliens showed up. every mission after that was pure torture. It was one big motion sickness generator.

Kaye R
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Far better analogy is buying a book or magazine.

Anonymous
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Im sorry I pirated the game. It was just so easy, though, it was completely unprotected. I didnt even need a crack. Piracy is so prevalent because its just so easy. But they *are* expensive games. Crysis was good the first, even the second time. For a hardcore gamer like me, thats just not enough replayability for $60-70 dollars.



I do hope that the cryengine 2 makes more appearances in mainstream games. As more powerful technology becomes available to the masses, I think it will be a real winner. It could be compared to the Unreal Engine in the sense that Unreal Tournment itself is not the greatest game, but its engine is able to be used by developers to make great games.

Dale Russell
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There's a developer from germany europa (turkish/german friendship going on there bros), dedicated people and vision that did something groundbreaking. That's the graphics, that's unmatched, and their realistic artistic touch. I think it's justified to complain about the sales figures.

Brandon Kozlarek
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I love all the pirates coming out in force. So the 1 to 20 number is probably a lot of bs, but it doesnt mean piracy isnt killing pc gaming. Because it is. And it doesnt matter what the analogy is... It is stealing something that costs $50. Good job killing the industry

Brandon Kozlarek
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And Rodney Brett I hope calling it "IP infringement" helps you sleep better at night. This isnt stealing a song that is worth 99 cents on itunes, it is stealing a videogame that took a large team of people years to make. There is nothing scary about trying to protect that.

Anonymous
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Piracy is always just an excuse, for the record industry, the film industry, and now the PC gaming industry it would seem. I believe by and large that if people want something and feel it's priced reasonably, then they'll buy it to support the developer. If they feel they're being ripped off then I don't blame them for playing the irony game by ripping them off back and pirating the media.



Take CDs for example. It'll be an amazing day when someone can convince me that a 50 minute CD is worth $12-15, when a 20+ hour game is sold for $50-60. Does a CD cost more to produce? Well, I can make an album with a guitar and my computer pretty easily, but I can't make Grand Theft Auto with just a single programmer.



Good games sell, games that cater to people who spend $1000 a year on new hardware don't.

Rodney Brett
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Brandon, what's pissing me off about your comment is that you are probably guilty of IP infringement and don't even know it, care, or realize it yourself. Ever copy a movie for a friend? Screen a film publicly? lend a favorite game to a buddy? The "used" game market in Japan has been a hot topic for years and at one point, Japan even tried to ban the sales of them. It's affecting games sales just like bootlegging is. EB's been making a killing off of it and to blame sales solely on "piracy" is wrong.



Protecting game IP infringement is worthy, but music is not because of the "accepted" consensus that it's ok to download them now?



If you are going to be an advocate for protecting "IP", you'd better care about ALL IP, and not just the ones that affect your job and lifestyle. Films cost a hell of lot more to produce than games, and so television programs.



My "scary" comment is directly related to federal bullying tactics to try and shut down sharing digital content. Personal lawsuits filed at individuals not designed for monetary gain, but to make an "example" out of them.



Just because something took a "team" of people years to make doesn't mean it deserves to make money.



Ebert and Ropert boil months of film-making dollars and labor down to a "Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down" verdict that will affect whether or not people will go see it. When movies hit the big recession, NYC theater union-projectionist's cried foul when they had to take a cut in pay.



I spend a lot of my hard-earned dollars on games that I like. Some games I will buy, others I will rent, and others I may download, or borrow from a friend. I work in the games industry but I don't lecture about "supporting" game companies by buying a bad game, regardless of how great the graphics are. If I have to take a pay-cut one day, then so be it. Salaries change based off of the times. We've been on an "incline" for years, pay-wise. It has to taper off eventually and adapt with the times.



The recent ALONE IN THE DARK is another perfect example of a bloated-budgeted game that looks amazing but plays awful. One could easily blame poor sales on the evil pirates!

Rodney Brett
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This talk of piracy "killing" the industry is crazy. Movies survived the great depression for crying out loud. Games will be around for awhile and so will illegal downloads. Name one entertainment industry that died as a direct result of piracy.

Benjamin Quintero
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Rodney,



Piracy won't effect the industry as a whole but it WILL pick apart the little people that make it happen. Small development studios don't have a prayer of success now because of rising costs in development and the looming inevitability of their game be pirated.



Look at the stock market index; over the last 20 years it's been on a steady increase with the occasional drop (but the drop is always less than the rise). Does this mean that every company is surviving or that everyone is getting equal parts of the rising index?? no! people suffer, companies close, money is lost, despite the "big picture" looking good.



There's a reason why Microsoft products and other professional PC software like Autodesk and Adobe cost an arm and a leg. If everyone who used it would pay for it, these products would cost 1/10th of their current value.

Rodney Brett
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Yeah, but now we are debating about what came first, the chicken or the egg. Software prices didn't just go up as a direct result of piracy, a lot of software was too expensive for people to afford from the beginning. People who could afford paid, those who couldn't, pirated. The is SO much work posted from Maya users without legit copies. Hundreds of student work wouldn't look nearly as good if the software was not available to them. Autodesk knows this. It's free publicity for them. They care about studios pirating the app to make a profit, which, btw, CRYTECK IS GUILTY OF DOING!! Prices of software go up if dev costs rise and the users don't rise with it. Once source code became heavily "protected", the climate of the software market changed considerably.



I for one am a HUGE fan of small game companies. DoubleFine, SuckerPunch, etc. are probably some of my top places. Small studios will make it if the product is good and the budgets are within their capacity. There is ALWAYS risk in game development. BIOSHOCK sold millions and was a critical success, PYSCHONAUTS sold poorly but ALSO was a critical success. Was it piracy that killed the sales? I doubt it. PYSCHONAUTS suffered from a poor marketing campaign and crappy distribution from Majesco. Once the game became more widely available on XBOX live/Gametap, people bought it and it had a second life.



There are way more bootleg copies of GTA4 floating around the web then there are copies of small development team games. I DO NOT condone piracy, but I don't condemn it either. Rather than spend millions on litigation to stomp on all the tiny little things that affect profit, companies can adjust to the times. It's a losing battle to try and "enforce" digital copyright.



Nintendo spends billions on piracy combat, yet when they are guilty of copyright infringement themselves, they "appeal" court fines because they feel that a 32Million fine is too severe.. With billions in profit, it's a bit greedy.



Rapper "50 cent" pays the feds to conduct a day-long "raid" of NYC chinatown because he doesn't want even the poorest people buying his album on the blackmarket. This is so ironic to me, seeing he's made most of his money to get to where he is, off of illegal activity. Again, caring about "his" IP, but screw anyone elses.



My longtime girlfriend is an attorney and has worked for Microsoft, Sony, and soon UBISOFT and she has told me about so many silly lawsuits those guys are all involved with.



Your argument about "if every paid, it would cost a 1/10th" I do not believe. Prices don't always go down because times are good and people are buying software. My hundred dollars+ on Windows Vista is not going into improving the stability of the OS.



Cavet Yerli is not complaining that his game didn't make a profit, he's complaining that it didn't make MORE of a profit. I pre-ordered the game in anticipation and was disappointed. It is a BEAUTIFUL game. Gorgeous to look at, but the characters did not emote. I didn't feel anything for them. I was just another "meathead with a gun".



Small game studios can survive by making a great game with reasonable production costs and good marketing. Sometimes the risk yields reward, sometimes they take a hit.



Top tier game industry people are losing their jobs. The industry is adjusting to the need to slash 100K salaries in favor or 40-50K labor. Prices of games only rose $10 dollars from last gen, yet costs have skyrocketed. It's a business. No matter what game company you work for, they are NOT your family. If you cost too much for them, you'll get canned, despite your years of loyalty.



In my opinion, game visuals are going to taper off pretty soon. Unless the general public is willing to pay $100 per game, production costs need to explore alternate means of bringing in revenue. This may be through product endorsement or partnership deals, scaling the project down(which doesn't always equate to making an inferior game) or simply paying employees less.



Also, lets not forget about the great ATARI crash in the 80s which was not due to piracy, people just got bored of playing games.

Anonymous
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nah i couldnt even play this game on two different computers, one of them which I just recently purchased at best buy being the fastest computer in the shop!

Anonymous
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I only have ONE VERY SIMPLE thing to say to the developer: if you don't wanna get screwed over by piracy, don't develop PC-exclusive titles. (where piracy is just the way it has always been). That closes the debate plain and simple.

Anonymous
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IMO games development on the PC is important, mainly because of its cutting edge nature (this could be considered a pro and a con for the platform depending where you sit). It is also important because I hate using game pads ;o))



Joking aside, I think all platforms suffer from piracy to varying degrees; however, piracy may be less common among consoles as this invariably involves some sort of hardware modification and a subsequent voiding of warranty. Maybe piracy for consoles becomes a bigger issue towards the end of the warranty period of the initial hardware release?



I think we see more developers moving towards consoles as their primary platforms not just because of the lower rates of piracy, but, because of the astronomical prices they seem to be able to charge for their goods - 50 to 60 GBP for some PS3 titles in the UK! The cost for an equivalent title on the PC is more often than not half of this amount. Maybe the figures regarding piracy of PC software are a deflection, allowing developers to pay less attention to the PC and move to where the money is without actually saying “well we’re doing the consoles now not PCs because we can actually charge more cash for our game for the same or less outlay” when actually all things considered IMHO they should cost less.



The budget for developing a game, their pricing models and policies and their management of user expectation (i.e., getting a ‘marketing BS’ bypass operation on the run-up to launch) are the areas where large developers could more effectively combat piracy – oh, and a good game usually helps too.


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