Devil May Cry 4 sales cannibalised by piracy

This is what Christian Svensson, Corporate Officer/VP of Strategic Planning & Business Development has to say on the Capcom message board: “I’m not sure about how Capcom in general feels but It’s not doing as well as I would like in the US at retail. It’s such a good version and it really deserves better sales. I know it’s getting pirated to hell and back (it was up on torrents literally the day it shipped). I certainly have pushed for digital distribution on the title (globally, I’m responsible for all DD deals) but Capcom Japan so far has not allowed it. For the record ALLCEI developed titles will be distributed extremely widely via digital channels (not just Steam or Direct2Drive, but more than a dozen partners across more than 100 sites/portals for everything we do). I’ve spent the last year building up that channel and I’m continuing to add partners even in advance of Age of Booty, MotoGP, Neopets, Dark Void and Flock shipping. I have a presentation I’m making shortly that I’m hoping will make that approach something we do with all of our PC content, even those developed in Japan, but no promises. It might not happen. In the mean time, Ben Judd has completely understood CEI’s strategy and Bionic Commando Rearmed will have broad digital distribution for PC (not quite as many as CEI titles, but close).”


  • Once again the thieves are harming gaming.
  • Boxed retail PC games are facing extinction because of the thieves.
  • Digital distribution with strong DRM has become the only viable distribution method for PC games.
  • Steam will become even more central to PC gaming.


  1. It’s not the kind of game that sells on the PC. It’s not a good enough game for PC gamers to even attempted to give it a go. I’d barely even noticed the game had been released on PC. By many accounts it’s an average game at best.

    The people it sells to already bought it on a console.

    Piracy is bad. Companies selling tat badly and blaming it on something else is almost as bad.

  2. Hello Bruce

    These are my least favorite articles of yours (and no, I don’t pirate software – I even have legitimate home copies of Visual Studio Enterprise for personal use – its simply too much effort for me to download / patch / tinker with some hookey copy then just go buy a box or use Steam). But these articles always seem a bit rabid, and I hate seeing logical fallacies in them (although this one is by Svensson) – “I know it’s getting pirated to hell and back (it was up on torrents literally the day it shipped)”. Neither it being available for illegal download, nor the timing of its availability is any measure of the popularity of the illegal download.

    I’m not sure why you chose the word ‘cannibal’ either – cannibalism implies (to me) some link to harming your own kind. Police are not ‘cannibalising crime’ when they catch crooks for example. And so I’m not sure sales of DMC4 are being cannibalised at all here. Raped, harmed, hurt, hit etc, but not cannibalised.

    Lastly, the term ‘the thieves’ when used in some sweeping manner re illegal downloads and copyright violation is very Daily Mail, and no that is not a flattering comparison. It gets my back up. I’m not on the downloaders side per se, but I know a lot of them are just kids at home doing what their mates do too, they can’t afford a £50 game, and they don’t really see the harm in what they do. Calling them ‘thieves’ and using this kind of language and imagery isn’t helping matters. Certainly lying to them isn’t at all (again, F.A.C.T., tossers, with their ‘funding terrorism’ bullsh*t). Kids see right through that, and no one trusts a liar.

    Anyways, long post, I could say more, but I’ll stop. Most of these ‘thieves’ will grow up to be game buyers, I’m certain of it.

  3. I’m not sure exactly what capcom expect. They release a game on the two main consoles, and then release it on the PC 6 months later and wonder why sales aren’t great.

    I think that anyone who wanted to play this will have already played it on the PS3/360. AS BC said it’s not a game that you would normally expect to get on the PC anyway.

    On the whole Bruce I enjoy your blog but your short sightedness on piracy is baffling. As an educated person you must be able to reason that If a game is downloaded by 100,000 people. If they couldn’t download it then that would translate directly into sales.

    On the subject of piracy I call bullshit on it’s killing the Games industry. Pirates fall into three categories.

    1. The collector. This is the guy who has to have every game released for x Console. He will never even load let alone play 95% of the stuff he acquires. He is never going to have the money to buy all the games so he pirates them.

    2. The “try it out” people. These are people who download a game to see if it’s worth buying. I myself have done this on the PC when there’s not been a demo available. At least on the PS3 I’m able to rent a game to try it out first, and thanks to PSN I can download demos of most of the major games. Anyway on the PC if I have downloaded something and I enjoy it then I buy it. I don’t want the hassle of having to patch it, and re-crack it every time there’s an update. Plus I want the developer to make more of the things I like.

    3. Cant Pay – Wont Pay. These are the people who can’t afford the games or just outright refuse to pay for them. The cant pay people you could help by dropping the cost of the games. The wont pay are never going to pay no matter what you do.

    So tell me where are the revenue losses? The collectors can’t afford to buy all the games, so it’s not there. The try it people on the whole will probably buy a game if they enjoy playing it, so you are getting their money if your game is good enough. The Cant/Wont will never buy the games so you are not losing out there.

    What needs to happen with all forms of entertainment piracy is education. Not the stupid “knock off Nigel” adverts or the “If you download films you’re the equivalent of a baby killer” But proper education that shows what happens when the publishers/development studios dont get the money.

    At the end of the day though, if you have a good product then people are generally willing to pay money for it, if it’s crap they are not. Take films as a good example. People are still visiting the cinema if huge numbers, so piracy isn’t hurting them directly (obviously it’s affecting future DVD sales) People will pay money to go and see good films even when they are available to download, and I bet if you had a option to buy the film as you leave the cinema you would have massive sales right there.

  4. Yet another PC port, where lacklustre sales are blamed on piracy when there are many other, more compelling, reasons why the game won’t sell.

    Piracy is of course bad, but the assertion that pirate downloads are lost sales is tenuous at best.

  5. Bruce can you edit my previous post the would in the 3rd paragraph should have been wouldn’t… as shown below

    On the whole Bruce I enjoy your blog but your short sightedness on piracy is baffling. As an educated person you must be able to reason that If a game is downloaded by 100,000 people. If they couldn’t download it then that wouldn’t translate directly into sales.

  6. Bad game, bad port, too little, too late. THOSE are the reasons is selling badly, deservedly.

    I agree with the previous posters: your blog and your industry insight are splendid, but when the P word appears it looks like you throw everything to the wind and it seems like a totally different person is writing.

    It is a pity that you choose to always condemn the people pirating (which, I agree, are partly guilty) and then forget the biggest culprits: the developers, and above all, the publishers themselves.

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