Is Ubisoft inherently anti-PC gaming? A response to the Stanislas Mettra interview

Mariel Hurd to Ubisoft: 'Piracy is a problem, yes, but it’s not the all-powerful killer you make it out to be'

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As every gamer and his or her budgie knows by now, Stanislas Mettra said something a little ill-considered1 in an interview with incgamers. He was quoted as saying:

We’ve heard loud and clear that PC gamers are bitching about there being no version for them.

But are these people just making noise just because there’s no version or because it’s a game they actually want to play? Would they buy it if we made it?

It’s hard because there’s so much piracy and so few people are paying for PC games that we have to precisely weigh it up against the cost of making it. Perhaps it will only take 12 guys three months to port the game to PC, it’s not a massive cost but it’s still a cost. If only 50,000 people buy the game then it’s not worth it.

His follow-up email can be read here, where he claims ‘I dont think I meant to saythe game won’t happen on pc’’. There’s more, but I won’t spoil all the punchlines for you here.

Assassin's Creed Screencap

A knife in the back? How appropriate.

He’s not the first Ubisoft employee to whine about PC gamers – back in September  Martin Edmonson defended Ubisoft’s god-awful DRM with ‘and it has to be, quite rightly – quite morally correctly – protected’   – but he is the first to try and swallow his words. If he’d only followed it up with a hearty portion of Humble Pie then…well, he’d still be a laughing stock, but it is the only thing that could make his weak excuses even funnier. Tragic thing is, they’re still stronger than his justification for screwing over PC gamers.

Yes, Stanislas Mettra, a scarcity of paying PC gamers is the reason Ubisoft isn’t bothering to release titles for us anymore. Cripplingly intrusive DRM and visible disdain for your customers has no influence on sales figures, as any poor sales can be traced to the lack of an honest market to tap. It’s an unavoidable, inarguable matter of numbers.

Minecraft has over four million players. Do you really want to stand up and say, before god and the internet, that you can’t manage to tempt 2%2 of them? I don’t think piracy or player numbers are your problem here, guys.

Piracy is a problem, yes, but it’s not the all-powerful killer you make it out to be. GOG are trucking along nicely with their free ‘n easy, ‘download it three times or three hundred’ policy, and The Witcher 2 isn’t hurting from being sold there. Valve are open about thinking that the big problem isn’t theft; it’s bad service, and when it comes to treating PC customers like dirt Ubisoft sticks head and shaft before the rest.

You pre-emptively tar us as thieves, render the singleplayer games we’ve paid for inaccessible every time your servers glitch, and make promises you don’t keep. Pirate your games? You’d have pay me to waste the hard-drive space.

PC Gamers are not goldfish. The little plastic castle ceased being a shock after the second go around, and no-one’s forgotten the cute little trick you tried to play with From Dust. The one that resulted in Valve offering a refund to anyone who’d bought the game. The one where you claimed singleplayer wouldn’t require a constant internet connection, then tried to sneak it past Valve and hoped they wouldn’t notice.

This is why nobody believes your protestations of innocence. After repeated bad behaviour, lying and general dickery, ‘I would really love to see a pc build of the gameand ‘an English language miscommunicationisn’t strumming anyone’s heartstrings.

TL;DR: Backpedal faster, Stanislas Mettra. Lois Lane is still dead.

Superman: The Movie

 

1 Thick.

2 Somewhat under 2%, actually, but in the spirit of kindness…