Ubisoft has become somewhat infamous for obnoxious DRM. An increasing number of its games require an Internet connection for even their single-player campaigns. When Ubisoft moved some of its DRM servers earlier this year, a handful of games were rendered unplayable during the transition. Then, last month, a backdoor was discovered in a browser plug-in associated with Ubisoft’s Uplay client software.
There are other examples, but it seems pointless to bring them up, because Ubisoft’s DRM has apparently been an epic failure. According to CEO Yves Guillemot, 93-95% of its PC games are pirated. That figure, which Guillemot appears to have pulled out of thin air, was uttered to GamesIndustry International at the Camescom convention. The claim was made in a discussion of free-to-play titles, which Guillemot said generate revenue from about 5-7% of players. Here’s the full quotation:
It’s a way to get closer to your customers, to make sure you have a revenue. On PC it’s only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it’s only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated. It’s around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content.
Guillemot thinks the free-to-play model is the best way to develop the PC gaming market. There’s an arguement to be made for the freemium approach, but justifying it by making outlandish claims about PC piracy rates with zero supporting data is more than a little suspect. Thanks to Rock, Paper, Shotgun for the heads up.