On Iron Lore and PC Gaming

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Angelspit
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On Iron Lore and PC Gaming

Postby Angelspit » Feb 29 2008, 1:41

The developer of Titan Quest, Iron Lore Entertainment, closed its doors last week because of a lack of funding, just as the viability of the PC as a gaming platform is a hot topic on the Net. Developer Michael Fitch posted a heart-breaking <a href="http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk/showthread.php?t=42663">message on the Quarter to Three forums</a> about how harder it is to develop for the PC because of hardware and piracy:

<i>"(...) the numbers on piracy are really astonishing. The research I've seen pegs the piracy rate at between 70-85% on PC in the US, 90%+ in Europe, off the charts in Asia. I didn't believe it at first. It seemed way too high. Then I saw that Bioshock was selling 5 to 1 on console vs. PC. And Call of Duty 4 was selling 10 to 1. These are hardcore games, shooters, classic PC audience stuff. Given the difference in install base, I can't believe that there's that big of a difference in who played these games, but I guess there can be in who actually payed for them.

Let's dig a little deeper there. So, if 90% of your audience is stealing your game, even if you got a little bit more, say 10% of that audience to change their ways and pony up, what's the difference in income? Just about double. That's right, double. That's easily the difference between commercial failure and success. That's definitely the difference between doing okay and founding a lasting franchise. Even if you cut that down to 1% - 1 out of every hundred people who are pirating the game - who would actually buy the game, that's still a 10% increase in revenue. Again, that's big enough to make the difference between breaking even and making a profit."</i>

Whenever a game company dies, I can't help but think of the demise of New World Computing a few years ago (it seems like yesterday). We'll tolerate posts about piracy in this thread as long as nobody links to a warez site.

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Postby Corribus » Feb 29 2008, 2:56

Piracy rate 90%? Wow!

Actually, I'm on a chemistry list-serve through YahooGroups and not too long ago, some guy started posting links to websites where you could download Origin (a pricey commercial data analysis program) without paying. I called him out and politely reminded him that downloading the program in that way was illegal and to be discouraged, and he actually blew up at me, telling me to get the silver spoon out of my mouth and that he deserved to get it free because he couldn't get the program any other way. And to my horror, most of the other people on the list-serve defended him and accused me of spoiling the fun!

That kind of stuff really pisses me off. I almost feel like alerting Yahoo to the fact that illegal software piracy is going on on their servers. I wonder how long it would take them to close it down.
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Postby PhoenixReborn » Feb 29 2008, 3:01

I guess I'm in the minority but it always seemed to me that if I want more games of the type that I like it makes sense to pay for them with money to support the company.

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Postby socketboy » Feb 29 2008, 4:00

It is sad really - everything should just be on steam I say

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Postby pigsticker » Feb 29 2008, 4:04

I bought both the titan quest and immortal throne.
And I'm still playing it now.
Guess there wouldn't be more stuff from them in future. That's sad.

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Postby Lord_Haart » Feb 29 2008, 4:31

Can't say I'm surprised, sadly enough.

Though steam is a decent solution for 2 reasons - it's more secure, and cheaper (well, ignoring recent scandals in Oz about CoD4 recieving a $100 price over steam for no other reason than because that's the retail price here). I know that I am far happier to pay $50Au for a decent game, such as Sins of a Solar Empire (which, by the way, has no copy protection, and was the top selling game in the USA of late), or the Orange Box, than I am to go to a store and buy it for literally _double_ that price.

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Postby archcorenth » Feb 29 2008, 6:26

You don't mean to imply that pirating had anything to do with New World Computing going belly up, do you? I'd have to say that was all Heroes IV.

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Postby MistWeaver » Feb 29 2008, 8:23

>I'd have to say that was all Heroes IV.
Go and learn some facts.

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Postby Meandor » Feb 29 2008, 9:05

Corribus wrote:Piracy rate 90%? Wow!


I can somewhat confirm that. I know many gamers in my country and majority of them(not 9 of 10, more like 99 of 100) have never bought a game and if they bought some- they were pirated. Sad part is that that they like good games, they aren`t happy when good developers close their doors, yet they don`t do anything to save those good developers.
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Postby Tress » Feb 29 2008, 9:12

For some reason i think 85-90% is number sucked out of finger. Second most who pirate download huge amount of games to get to see them and maybe buy them afterwards. Third most likely if there wont be piratnig way same ppl would posibly buy no more than 5% of games they actually play. Also article is about Iron lore entertaiment. If we check what sort of games they make. Titan q(diablo clone- 70% usless with pirating since no mplayer) and w40k warcraft style strategy(90%usless without mplayer). Also pirating is posible on next gen consoles altough on smaler scale so imo it seems they are just seeking excuse why they arnt funding pc market.
Salry in my country ranges from 150 euro till 700...
Of course there are russin publishers who release more cheap version but still. Myself i have bought homm 5 and if it come to think of it most nival games altough i have been frustrated by some of them altough they would be very good if some slight moments would be tweaked.
Edited on Fri, Feb 29 2008, 05:37 by tress

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Postby ThunderTitan » Feb 29 2008, 10:24

Actually the 90% in Europe probably includes countries where 50$ is half of the average income... how many people you know that would spend half their salary on a video-game?

As for why console sales on certain games are higher then on PC's... well i'm gonna assume that the guarantee of the game working on max details no matter what has something to do with that (Bioshock anyone?). Also, one of the most successful FPS ever happens to be called Halo... so saying that shooters are "classic PC audience stuff" seems a bit of a lie.
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Postby arturchix » Feb 29 2008, 12:41

The overall game install number may be 10 times higher than sold copies but IMO that doesn’t mean the companies have lost 90% of potential income. I think most of the pirates wouldn’t buy 90% of the illegaly downloaded products anyway – try the game for a few days and then uninstall it.

Companies should consider for the reģions with the highest piracy stats offer their products for a significantly lower price, offering to download them, Steam might be good example.

BTW, has anyone made an unbiased study what kind of impact piracy has on the gaming/film industry? Would be interesting to read it.

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Postby Infiltrator » Feb 29 2008, 13:19

I can tell you that people here pirate a lot because nobody will spend a fifth (or even more) of their monthly pay on a video game. It's really that simple.
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Postby Angelspit » Feb 29 2008, 13:46

What I don't understand is how the people who would have to pay half their salary for a game can afford a decent gaming computer (Titant Quest for instance won't run on an old Pentium III after all).

I'm really surprised (and a bit disgusted) by the numbers provided by Fitch.
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Postby rdeford » Feb 29 2008, 13:47

@ Corribus -- Agreed, in total.

@ PhoenixReborn -- Agreed, me too.

@ arturchix -- True, 90% piracy does not mean 90% loss of revenue. But, based on my own empirical observations, pirates do not buy the games they like; they just keep playing the pirated good games and discard the bad ones. Sad, but true. So, how about we agree, piracy is bad? If you don't agree on the immorality of it, consider the stance taken by PhonixReborn, which is my stance as well.

On soap box:

If people do not support the developers by buying their games, the developers will cease to exist. On the one hand, this is good, as companies that make bad games will go away. But, on the other hand, if piracy does take away ANY revenue it could mean the death of a good developer because the profit margins are very slim.

As for the concept that piracy is good because of the need to try-before-buy, well, that's what demo versions are for. For example, I played the Bioshock demo for several hours. Exiting, yes, intriguing, yes, but the FPS taint was too much for me. No sale.

As for the death of PC gaming, well its just too expensive to keep upgrading your PC to play the latest games, so more and more people are dropping out of the race. The darn X-Box 360 costs less than the new MB and CPU I'm saving my allowance for. Plus, I still have to get a new video card when I do the upgrade so I can run DirectX 10. You know what? It's decision time for me. Should I buy the X-Box and a new bicycle, or upgrade a computer that is much better than I need for everything but games?
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Postby infael » Feb 29 2008, 13:56

90% piracy seems unusually high. That number correct?

I do miss NWC and Origin still I think Sirtech is still around. M&M, Ultima, and Wizardry will always be the top 3 games, for me.

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Re: On Iron Lore and PC Gaming

Postby PhoenixReborn » Feb 29 2008, 14:10

infael wrote:Sirtech is still around.


Nope.

Also, can anyone point me to some numbers on piracy? For example the games mentioned are fps' would the same hold true for H5 or W3, a 90% pirate rate?

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Postby Corribus » Feb 29 2008, 14:27

tinyT wrote:Actually the 90% in Europe probably includes countries where 50$ is half of the average income... how many people you know that would spend half their salary on a video-game?


Infiltrator wrote:I can tell you that people here pirate a lot because nobody will spend a fifth (or even more) of their monthly pay on a video game. It's really that simple.

Yes, I just love the, "Well, I couldn't afford it, so it was ok for me to steal it" excuse... :disagree:
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Postby Humakt » Feb 29 2008, 14:44

These (estimated) figures does not surprise me at all, but I do wonder what amount of piracy is done by children actually.

Corribus wrote:Yes, I just love the, "Well, I couldn't afford it, so it was ok for me to steal it" excuse... :disagree:


Yeah, pathetic indeed. I think thievery is now, due to piracy, more common on worldwide basis than ever before.
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Re: On Iron Lore and PC Gaming

Postby Infiltrator » Feb 29 2008, 15:08

What I don't understand is how the people who would have to pay half their salary for a game can afford a decent gaming computer (Titant Quest for instance won't run on an old Pentium III after all).


They usually buy the computers by paying +/-50 euros per month (dont know how you call it in english) for a year or so.

It's not thievery in the practical sense. And I buy many games that I buy a pirated version of first. Pirating is quite pointless for online games and for me multiplayer is the most important factor.

I know friends in the US who buy games then play them for a few days and basically put them on the shelf and from that point on they just collect dust.
I have to make a consideration before cashing out 50 euros for a game (yes they are 50 euros here as opposed to 45ish $ in the US).

Yeah, pathetic indeed. I think thievery is now, due to piracy, more common on worldwide basis than ever before.


I like how you call it pathetic. Sounds like an invitation to flaming, maybe I should start insulting too, your elephantine ignorance makes you easy targets.

At any rate I buy games from good companies, like blizzard, infinity ward etc. Games that deliver. I didn't even waste 2 euros on a pirate of Crysis. Not even trying out an EA game let alone buying it.

The last game I bought was CoD4 and frankly I haven't bought anything else since then (pirated or not). In fact I was so sure of CoD4's deliverance that I bought the original right off without trying the pirate first (as i do with blizzard games). I still play WC3.

In closure I'd like to say that people should get some more perspective before throwing around insults, and pirating is useless unless you want to play singleplayer which nowadays lasts 10 hours max. Not to mention the majority of people that buy pirates wouldn't buy the original if that was their only choice.


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