After five months on the market, the picture of Crysis’ retail performance looks clear as artfully normal-mapped mud. In December last year, the NPD group issued a report saying the game was selling poorly. Then, in February, Electronic Arts triumphantly announced that Crysis had “exceeded expectations” and sold one million copies in less than three months.
Now, Shacknews reports that the game’s developer has decided to abandon PC exclusivity because of disappointing sales. In an interview with PC Play Magazine, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli stated, “Similar games [to Crysis] 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.” Yerli laid the blame for the sales gap entirely on piracy. “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,” he told PC Play.
Interestingly, Yerli didn’t mention the possibility that Crysis‘ hefty system requirements might have been a factor. His interview reminds us of a blog post by indie game publishing house CEO Brad Wardell, who said developing titles for the “hardcore gamer” market is a poor business decision because that market is too small and swarming with pirates. Wardell explained, “Anyone who keeps track of how many PCs the ‘Gamer PC’ vendors sell each year could tell you that it’s insane to develop a game explicitly for hard core gamers. . . . I think people would be shocked to find out how few hard core gamers there really are out there. . . . The number of high end graphics cards sold each year isn’t a trade secret.”