Eight news stories 1.5


  • Massive egg on face time at Microsoft and Yahoo. Before they made Steam, Valve approached both of these companies and were rejected. And now Steam has 14 million members. This doesn’t look good for the judgement of the people involved.
  • The Guardian get it right again with yet another excellent article about gaming. They are leaving the rest of the British press well behind on the subject. It starts “I’m talking to you, you self-righteous politicians and newspaper columnists, you relics who beat on computer games: you’ve already lost. Enjoy your carping while you can, because tomorrow you’re gone.” And continues in a similar, excellent vein.
  • Wii fit breaks sales records everywhere it is launched. It would be very interesting to compare GTA IV sales and sales revenue with Wii Fit over a 90 day period starting yesterday. Certainly over the year I expect Wii Fit to beat GTA IV for revenue. 
  • Infogrames made an offer for Sci/Eidos. This makes incredible good sense. It is a pity it didn’t happen. The combined company would have good, proven industry management, would probably be based in London and would be just about big enough to be viable as a global games publisher.
  • Analysts, don’t you just love them? IDG research says the industry is doomed. Whilst Michael Pachter thinks Nintendo is going to have a better than expected 2009. They can’t both be right. And probably they are both wrong.
  • Crytec to abandon PC exclusive titles. According to company president Cevat Yerli: “We are suffering currently from the huge piracy that is encompassing Crysis. We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin, a chart leading that is not desirable. I believe that’s the core problem of PC gaming, piracy. To the degree PC gamers that pirate games inherently destroy the platform. Similar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more. It was a big lesson for us and I believe we won’t have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive anymore.” The pirate won’t believe this of course. They think that their stealing is victimless.
  • Warner Brothers hire industry heavyweight to lead their move into becoming a gaming giant. This is very serious stuff and shows that the moves to industry consolidation and big media companies moving in are far from over. Expect lots more moves from Warners over the coming months.
  • Ubisoft open Ukraine studio. Excellent news, Ubisoft have consistently been leaders at putting their development where the talent is and where the costs are low. Combine this with unique IP, excellent management and high production standards and you have the Ubisoft success story.


  1. “Although many have voiced concerns over the level of piracy in the PC games market, analysts – including Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter – have suggested that the sales of Crysis were also impacted by the high system requirements needed to run the game with graphical settings set to a high level.”

    Piracy is bad. No argument.

    However, Crysis was marketed at a tiny fraction of the PC gaming market by having it only work on a handful of newest systems. Even if you had top-of-the-range at the time, you still couldn’t get max graphical settings working.

    Also, they went with the standard box distribution model narrowing their market again. I’d presume that a lot of people interested in playing a game like Crysis on the PC will have something like Steam. Using this would allow them to cut down on piracy, while also making impulse buys more likely (although, this is probably more to do with the publisher who will never use Steam and would make their own version first).

    It should also be pointed out that a lot of the copies they shifted came free with the graphics card that the public needed to buy just to get the game to work decently.

    Again, Piracy is bad. No argument.

    I like this blog because it’s full of common sense and interesting news. Especially how games are portrayed in the media. Then I catch something as ironic as how you attack piracy in such an unbalanced way only posting or pointing out the parts that prove your point. It stands out against the rest of the blog that is usually pretty well balanced. A balanced post would probably help get your point across to us better than keep hitting this point as a tabloid would.

    Piracy is killing the industry. But spending a fortune on a game for a handful of people and limiting its distribution doesn’t help either.

  2. I’m pretty certain the fact that Crysis runs properly on virtually nothing, rather than say 20 million (or if by console they mean PS2, 100 million) consoles has a lot more to do with the success of that game.

  3. Piracy is bad. No argument.

    Yes, I think nearly everyone agrees with this. However, blaming poor sales on piracy isn’t fooling anyone. Good games sell, disappointing games sell disappointingly.

  4. Crysis: I don’t know about the pirates, but I certainly don’t believe it. Crysis was a bad game with really high hardware requisites, and despite that, they sold more than a million. They have no reason to complain. I call BS.

    Of course, Bruce, for you everything is piracy’s fault, so you won’t believe me either.

  5. Crysis was a nice tech demo, but there is a reason it’s not won any real “Game of the Year” awards. I tried the demo, man, I couldn’t stand playing it. So predicable, Far Cry 2.0, and got boring…urg.

    In any case, if they do make games for consoles too, at least they’ll have to bring the specs *down*. Not many people have DX10 cards, but that was the major selling point of the game – its immense, “Needs vista” graphics.

    I don’t know if their piracy situation is better/worse then any other PC developer. It’s terribly hard to tell, but I welcome cross-platformness. Valve did it really well, EA are trying too. It’s partially limiting, but can bring out some good really developments.

  6. I think the exceptionally high system requirements of Crysis were the main factor in that game being pirated more than others.

    Many pirates just wanted to see if it would run on their machine, and at what settings.

    The ratio of pirated/legal copies of Crysis was skewed by this extra curiosity factor. Not that that makes it okay, but I think the number of lost sales is even lower than usual in this case.

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