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Piracy Rules Out PC Version Of  Super Street Fighter IV
Piracy Rules Out PC Version Of Super Street Fighter IV
September 22, 2010 | By Simon Parkin

September 22, 2010 | By Simon Parkin
More: Console/PC

As the December release of Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition approaches, producer Yoshinori Ono has confirmed that Capcom has no plans to bring the game to PC, citing piracy as the sole reason for the decision.

While sales of the PC version of the first game, Street Fighter IV, had been strong worldwide, the platform was also "number one in piracy," said Ono in an interview with the Japanese site

Ono was quick to point out the benefits of a high rate of piracy, saying that the game enjoyed a high profile amongst PC gamers because of it. But he argued that in order to protect the Street Fighter IV IP, the company cannot allow a situation where the game is considered "free" on certain platforms.

However, Ono didn't rule out the possibility of a PC release completely, saying that if Capcom is able to find a powerful copy protection solution, a PC release could still be a possibility.

A port of the game to PC would be extremely straightforward, he claimed, as the arcade version already runs on Taito's DirectX-based Type X2 board. There is no chance of a Steam-only release, Ono added, since that this would be unfair to PC players who are unable to buy games via the digital distribution platform.

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Joseph Cook
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This is the exact ass-backwards logic that Valve and Stardock have been fighting against for years. I can't believe Capcom has the gall to be so blatantly, apologetically illogical here.

He says right there. Sales have been strong worldwide. A port would be easy. Free money for Capcom when it's obvious they need it. But because people will *also* pirate, they won't port it?

Sounds like the mindset of a petulant child.

I personally don't care about the game itself - I have no interest in buying (or pirating) a fighting game on PC, and can't believe the original actually sold well on PC, but hey, it did! What I have a problem with is extremely stupid decisions that show companies care more about sacrificing profits to attack pirates than they do simply giving legitimate customers a way to give them money, ignoring the pirates.

When will they learn that copy protection only hurts legitimate customers? Ubisoft took the most drastic action that it's possible to take, and even that was cracked in a month.

Alvin Chan
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Agree why sacrifice profits for virtual loss. Which might also support the popularity of the brand (through word of mouth and forum discussions) and result to demand for merchandise and other brand related deals.

Merc Hoffner
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Capcom's been sacrificing a lot of profits illogically recently. This move is merely consistent with their MO, and fully explains why their profits have been so lame even while they wield world class development capability and franchises.

Meanwhile I wonder if anyone could possibly obtain piracy figures for their iphone SFIV port.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Chris Melby
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I completely agree!

david vink
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Yeah I understand the piracy issue but then why not release the game via Steam? It seems idiotic to say that that would be unfair to a group of PC players when in fact the alternative (not releasing on PC at all) is unfair to ALL PC players.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Nick Kinsman
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That's not what they're talking about, which is the NEXT iteration of SF4. They cite the original in the article, stating that it sold well on a world-wide scale, much to the surprise of ... most of us, really ...

Jamie Mann
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I guess the question is: did the piracy on the PC platform affect the sales on other platforms? Unfortunately, it'll probably be hard to measure any change in sales patterns: the hardcore SF fans will pick up the game regardless, but will anyone else pick up something which (at first glance) just appears to add a bunch of new characters?

OTOH, I wouldn't be surprised to find that this is a marketing ploy by Capcom, to try and drive up "first-week" sales on the console platforms. Give it a month or two and there may well be an announcement of a port over to Steam...

Mark Harris
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Stop thinking rationally and trying to put yourself in the mind of people running a business for profit. There are very few places where you'll feel welcome.

Tom Dazed
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Arrogance of a bad informed, most probably overpaid executive.

David Turner
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Is not mentioned that implementing Steamworks DRM could solve their problems. That way they could support a retail release while ensuring that all copies are up-to-date while mitigating the piracy problem. Steam is by no means a perfect solution, Gabe Newell admitted there is piracy, but it's at such low rates that Valve as a company does not care (

Dawn of War 2 showed success by implementing Steamworks, why can't Capcom bank on that with Super Street Fighter 4?

Benjamin Marchand
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There's nothing ambiguous here, it's simple :

For Ono, the message against pirates is more important than the benefits. Case closed.

Massive angry SF4 fans will rage at pirates (and Capcom), which will be far more effective than just Capcom saying "please don't steal our game".

If I was a giant producer and had the money to let myself do this kind of response to piracy, I would do it without any hesitation.

During the last years, the insane amounts of piracy is totally disheartening for devs, and that exact kind of reaction is really understandable.

Even if it's not the most clever solution I admit, they have the money not to care about it. Kind of a shortcut action.

And not citing anyone in particular, but f*ck off piracy apologists. May they go build a game with their own sweat and tears, and then talk back later.

p.s : never was mentionned any official sales number, so let's prevent any asumption about that "strong sales worldwide". Nothing tells us that piracy wasn't higher rates.

Mark Raymond
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Assuming that sales were actually strong, it doesn't make financial sense to refuse to make a game which is likely going to generate profit. Irrespective of the piracy rate, mo' money beats no money – that is, unless they feel that PC piracy is a risk to their sales on consoles, which is a sensible stance to take.

Also, if pirates obviously don't give two shits about the dev, publisher and industry in general, what makes you think they'll care about the fans who are raging? They're not listening; they'll just go download something else. It's the fans who really do care, and they're the ones who suffer the most out of all this.

Benjamin Marchand
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(Double post)

Benjamin Marchand
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Because fans, whether they are pirates or not (especially in fighting games), are a tightened & close community :)

I can already expect several accusations from fans to fans on popular sites ( for example).

As I admitted this is not the wisest way to make people react, but you know when you work very hard on something and a lot of people treat you like sh*t, you often end at taking some extreme decisions. Multiply it by 10 with piracy as nothing seems to beat it.

Chris OKeefe
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If I had the money, I'd build a game that only I was allowed to play. That would learn all those people who don't want to pay for my game.

What you are saying doesn't make any sense. Grocery stores lose a crap ton of money in stolen merchandise every month. They have their security measures: cameras, paying people to watch said cameras, vigilant(haha) workers. But merchandise is still stolen.

So by your logic, the solution is to not build a grocery store?

You call people who disagree with your logic 'piracy apologists' when really who you are talking about is PC gamers. People without consoles who are screwed by developers who don't want to develop on their (very expensive) hardware because god forbid some people might play it without buying it. There are plenty of PC gamers with money who buy games. If it wasn't such a security risk I'd happily show you my steam games list. Or that of my friends. We are not piracy apologists, we are a section of the market suffering because of irrational responses to pirates.

What should PC gamers say? Yeah! Good message guys! I won't play games FOR THE GREATER GOOD.

Is that what it takes to not be a piracy apologist these days? Or do you just have to not play games on the PC? Would that work?

I'm sorry, but get over yourself.

A lot of developers already delay their PC releases to maximize console sales, which is sad enough as a state of affairs. That's Rockstar's policy, for example. Ubisoft is going down that road too. It's an understandable response to piracy, even if it drives me nuts when it's a game I particularly want to play. But simply avoiding a market altogether is cutting off your nose to spite your face. Capcom will lose money because they are ignoring a market they view as being too scary to develop for. And ultimately the message will fall on deaf ears. People will continue to pirate, forever, until someone develops uncrackable software(never).

And fyi, the moment developers stop developing on PC, the piracy rates on consoles will just go through the roof. Not that they don't exist already.

Mark Harris
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It's probably just posturing. Like the other pubs they'll probably release a PC version down the road after they feel like they've maximized their console sales.

Benjamin Marchand
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"You call people who disagree with your logic 'piracy apologists'"

Wait, What ? oO

Never meant that .. I didn't even see a real piracy apologist in these comments. ..

It's just that there are so many people over the net who compulsively defend piracy against all the possible arguments in the world that I voiced a reject.

Anyway, please don't derail : I never talked about not releasing a game AT ALL (which some highly pirated devs ends to do, nevertheless), but that if on a certain platform I found my game to be more pirated than bought, to take the decision of not releasing a sequel on this platform.

Huge difference.

(which is exactly what Ono did, minus the assumption of piracy rates)

And what I did not explain too (because honestly I wasn't expecting such reactions), is that the most clever move would be to finally release it on PC. So that the message would have delivered, but the honest players wouldn't have been penalized.

P.S : keep cool, it's just opinions oO

Chris OKeefe
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Don't get so defensive, it's just opinions. =P

"if on a certain platform I found my game to be more pirated than bought, to take the decision of not releasing a sequel on this platform."

Why? It's totally irrational to do that. It's an emotional response that does you more harm than good. There are zero benefits to not releasing on the PC in a delayed multi-platform release. Zero. Zip. It costs you nothing to have someone pirate your game, so there is zero loss except in potential sales. But you know what else limits potential sales? Not releasing on the platform.

A game that doesn't exist is the ultimate potential sale limiter.

It accomplishes nothing except to alienate PC fans. Pirates who desperately want to play your game will pirate it on consoles if they can't pirate it on the PC. It just might take longer. But they will still get to play your game for free.

There is definitely an argument for delayed PC releases to encourage console sales. But I would consider it a pretty safe bet to say that console games with delayed PC ports have a more and faster pirated console versions floating around, than if there was no PC release delay. Presuming that is common sense, that means that piracy follows the same suppy/demand rules as any other resource.

PCs make piracy two steps easier, which is why that market contains the bulk of pirated games. It is a matter of convenience. But remove the PC port and you're just going to not give pirates an option but to pirate it on the console. Because refusing to develop in the PC market isn't going to make anyone honest. As long as a free option is available, the habitual pirater will take it, whether it's on PC or console.

So what does refusing to develop on the PC accomplish? For sure you're going to lose all PC sales, but at least nobody on the PC gets to play for free. Console sales would probably go up a bit, from people who have both platforms and are forced to buy on the console, but those sales would be a fraction of the lost PC sales.

The speculation side of things: You risk generating a fast circulation of pirated console versions, and creating new console pirates capable of more easily pirating console games in the future. Thus cutting into console sales - already probably your biggest market slice, so any percentage lost in console sales will be more pronounced.

Break it down to numbers: if porting to the PC is profitable, it makes good business sense to do so, regardless of pirates. Just like building a grocery store in a city with a high crime rate. You'll probably lose more merchandise to thieves, but as long as you're still making a profit, it's a net gain for the company.

And again, if (IF) the PC as a game platform declines, I guarantee that console piracy will increase. Supply and demand. People will demand more pirated console versions, and the pirate culture will respond to that in an absence of PC games.

Benjamin Marchand
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Of course it's a totally emotional reaction :)

Because the hurting factor is emotion, precisely. Good game studios are good thanks to their passion for video games. Passion is pure emotion, so when you rip this "passion fruit" apart, you can't expect a robotic reaction :/

Chris OKeefe
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Personally I'd be more hurt by my work being ripped apart by a bad review than millions of people playing my game for free. At least if they're playing it they must enjoy it, which is sort of the purpose of games. Obviously it sucks when the developers don't get their due, but irrationally stigmatizing the PC market isn't helping the problem. If anything it just creates new ones. For everyone. So I fundamentally disagree with Ono, and your response. Emptional responses are not always the best ones.

Benjamin Marchand
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Sorry, I have to disagree : a bad review (supposing it's made by a professional) is a fair review. It means your game REALLY sucks.

Pirates rip your game because it doesn't suck, for sure it could be rewarding in a way (if they at least made actions to make you feel rewarded). But if your game doesn't suck, it means you put a lot of effort into it.

So basically the more you put sweat and dedication into your work, the more it will be ripped off. Kind of an inverse reward :/

julien colomb
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Could it be that there was tons of free costume on the PC version and so capcom lost profit from the console costumes DLC ?

Joseph Amper
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I think so. All the news posts about costume DLC are useless with regard to the PC version.

Dustin Mellen
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Piracy is the weakest reason to move to consoles. You're cutting out a whole segment of your fan base. If you go to the pirate bay, there are multitudes of console games available to download. You don't even need a Wii for the Wii games, there's a capable emulator. Piracy (I don't really agree with that term infringement is actually the correct term.) is not the problem, but the symptom of a problem. Information has a natural tendency to be shared. Information that isn't shared is worthless. It needs to be shared to be useful. The current business model of the entertainment industries is to treat their creations like it's a product. It's not a product. Their entire business model is backwards and that's why (they think) infringement threatens their profits.

If they bothered to think about what their selling, they'd realize that they aren't selling plastic discs, but selling their skills to create (at least the studio guys are, the publishers are just leeching middlemen). If they followed the model of a contractor. That is, get hired for a job, do the job, and then get paid for the job. Everyone could have and share games without any threat to the revenue of the creator(s). The game can be given out for free, without restrictions and people would be encouraged to share it to promote the creators. That would drive more fans to the creators and more fans would be able to fund games. By shifting the paradigm from selling "units" to selling "projects" the creators can't loose money unless the fans aren't willing to support it. "Piracy", as they call it, would be turned from an enemy to be squashed, to a source of free advertising and distribution. Did I just say "free distribution"? Yes I did.

Mark Harris
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Until you can get a seriously sophisticated system in place for viral marketing and ensure a stable flow of capital from the "fans" then this won't work very well. First, people like stability, and working on a game that is distributed for free and the only compensation is dependent on the "kindness of strangers" is inherently unstable. Look at the various name-your-price sales to see how that normally works out. Well over 90% of purchases end up in the $1 range. Again, the model can work for smaller indie projects, but funding something like Red Dead and making any kind of profit is pretty unlikely in a free-distribution model at this time.

There are a few projects out there that are "fan funded", IE people pre-order the game for a less-than-retail price while the game is still in development. The idea is working, it seems, for these small projects, but we have yet to see it adopted for anything major.

Tim Carter is the resident evangelist for the contract model, and one recently-started company ( there's a news piece on gama about it ) has specifically stated they are going to use this model for their development. You may want to keep track of their success/failure if you're really interested in how the model will work.

Dustin Mellen
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This isn't simply a "kindness of strangers" model. You don't just hold out your hands and ask for money, that wouldn't be effective. What you do is give incentives to encourage contribution. Offer those to that give more than the minimum access to alpha/beta builds or pre-release copies. Those that give even more will get concept art books or signed copies (a strict limited quantity of course). For the high end of contribution, put their name in the credits of the game as a "producer", in the game itself, or invite them to visit the studio to meet the developers. If they give a huge contribution you could have a "host a release party" level. If they contribute a large amount of funds, you can throw a release party for a certain number of their friends. This would encourage fans to get together with their friends to put together large lump sums of funding to "buy" a release party for the game.

The mistake you're making is that you assume the goal of the project is to profit. Whereas the actual goal is to ensure that everyone's salaries and studio costs are paid for. This model is actually more stable than the current model. If nobody pays, the game doesn't get made. If the game doesn't get made, nobody pays. It's the opposite for the current model. The game gets made, but if next to no one buys it, the game is a loss. It's only assumed to be stable because it's the way we've done it for so very long.

Name your own price models are not the same as a fund and release model. Name your own price implies that the art is created and you can pay what you think it's worth. The fund and release model implies that when enough people contribute an amount of money that meets or exceeds the amount required to create the game, the studio makes it.

If your project requires $1,000,000 to produce, then you would continue the fund raising phase until it either meets the threshold or exceeds the deadline. You could also have a running fund model that funds milestones and contributors get access to episodic content that keeps the project fresh in their minds. Zeropoint Software is using a model like this with their game Interstellar Marines. You can buy "support" badges to upgrade your account status.

There are currently three levels for contributors: supporters (they get an upgradable "support" badge to their account, Frontliners (they get the a full copy of the first episode and a frontliner badge), and Spearheads (they get all three episodes and a spearhead badge). All of the badges are upgradable at $5 each up to a 20X badge ($100). When the game is released, it will be free (minus the multiplayer to those that didn't buy frontliner or spearhead access) to download.

Mark Harris
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I think you are oversimplifying what it would take to get this model working for large, complex games. GTA IV cost what, $50 million dollars to make? How long would it take for them to raise that kind of money with your system? What happens to contributions if the game doesn't get enough funding to finish? What do developers do in the mean time? If you need $1 million to start your game but you've only collected $300,000 how do you live? What do you make? Do you make a smaller $300,000 game or do you work a 9 to 5 while you wait for funding? Do you have an entire department of your company working on getting contributions for future projects while you work on a project you did get enough funding for? What happens when you finish the funded project but the next project or two isn't funded yet?

As I initially mentioned, this system may work for small or episodic games, but right now it doesn't seem feasible for larger projects.

I'm fine with someone creating a working, efficient non-profit organization that makes and sells games. However, I won't hold my breath waiting for it to materialize.

There is a very good reason why the entire world isn't made up of giant non-profit organizations. It's just really hard to get a large amount of people to buy something that may not ever see the light of day.

Dustin Mellen
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I disagree. It's not harder to make larger projects under this model. High quality titles don't need to cost $50 million to make. Some of them do, but high production costs don't necessarily equate to quality. The games those studios produce tend to go for $40 to $60 a copy and they tend to sell in the millions if they are truly good games. If the majority of gamers are willing to pay that much for a game, why would they not pay for related goods/services for those same prices if they consider them comparable to the games they buy? On top of that, you have people that would never have paid the $60 for that game (they probably shop in the used bin), but they chip in $10-$20 where before that money would have gone to GameStop instead of the creators.

If you're concerned about waiting to get enough funding to start a project, why not do the running fund-raiser? Sell perks on a continual basis and do the project milestone by milestone as the money comes in. It would certainly serve to help the team be aware of things they are doing that are costing money and not improving productivity.

Why can't you start off like any other business? Contractors don't have money just sitting around when they start a business, they get a loan or at least some investors. Then they charge for their services what it costs to get the materials, pay their employees/subcontractors, and pay their debts. In the case of the AAA studios, they have enough reputation and clout that they could easily get initial funding to start a "fund and release" model.

The real problem with changing to such a business model isn't that it won't work for large scale projects, it's that the big guys are beholden to the shareholders and that makes them afraid to take risks. Nobody wants to take a risk and that's what holds back innovation such as this. So everybody waits for the first guy to take the risk and prove the model before they take any risk.

"If you need $1 million to start your game but you've only collected $300,000 how do you live?"

That, I think, is an unfair question. If you need one million to make a whole game that will take three years to finish, then you need to focus on funding for that fiscal year so that everyone gets paid. At $300,000 you're nearly covered for the first year of production. Waiting for the entire sum of money to come in before starting the project wouldn't be sensible, but using a constant stream of funding could get the project moving and the progress you make will provide you more marketing material to people on the project.

Also, why is it mandatory to have such huge projects in the first place? They're typically modeled to have the broadest appeal and shelf presence. In the design of these blockbuster titles, specific demographics get ignored for the sake of selling to as many people as possible. If they did it the other way, they can cater to a niche group and still make good revenue. They can experiment with different concepts that wouldn't even make it past the planning stage because it lacks broad market appeal. We'd see more original games and fewer franchises that are just derivative of the last iteration of that game. Madden 2010 anyone? GTA IV? FFXIII? CoD MW2?

Mark Harris
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*double post*

Mark Harris
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Dustin, I'm not trying to disprove this model, or tell you it won't work. In fact I gave the model the benefit of the doubt in my very first reply. You're specifically ignoring the fact, especially in your last paragraph, that I've acknowledged that the model can work for small, indie, and/or episodic projects. Even AAA quality episodic content can possibly be "community funded". I've never said it was mandatory to make huge projects, I'm just asking how this model will work for those kinds of projects. A large amount of industry revenue comes from the big hits, so we need to account for those, do we not?

You have not, however, answered the most critical point. What happens when many people have contributed to a game, but not enough for the game to finish? Do you get a refund? Are you stuck with two levels and a few multiplayer maps? What am I actually getting for the $10 or $100 I've put into development? At least with the traditional model a consumer knows (relatively) what he/she is getting. This is an important distinction. How often can a consumer get burned in this model before they stop pre-funding?

That's where the model can easily break down. Most consumers are rather guarded with their money, and to make large projects costing millions of dollars you will need to find a large sum of people who are willing to pay for a game that may not ever be finished. Even the most famous developers in the world are not all that well known by the general public. Do you think the people buying Madden or MW have heard of EA Tiburon or Infinity Ward? Most of them have not. Even if they know of EA, do you think they're willing to pre-buy or even pre-fund a game with no locked feature set, no known release date, etc? You're giving consumers too much credit.

As for the "collecting only $300,000" comment I made: it was in direct response to what you said originally, and I quote, "if the game doesn't get made no one pays, and if no one pays the game doesn't get made", also "If your project requires $1,000,000 to produce, then you would continue the fund raising phase until it either meets the threshold or exceeds the deadline". I'm not trying to be disingenuous or make up problems, I'm responding to what you're saying.

You seem to be ignoring most of what I've posted. You keep reiterating that this model can work, and that you don't necessarily need to be making AAA games, points I've already acknowledged and brought up myself. You are not answering the questions about how you motivate possibly millions of people to pay for something they may never get? How do you convince enough people to pre-fund games outside of normal economic structures (i.e. buying stock in EA or ATVI)? For that matter, once you do get a huge amount of consumers pre-funding projects how do you continue to develop without being beholden to them? How are they going to be less vocal than shareholders? What if a good number of them don't like the next round of development, can they get their money back? Do you change the development to suit the ever-changing moods of your fund base? You think it's bad when you have to answer to a publisher? Try answering to ten thousand people who already have a stake in the game.

Right now I think it is a hard sell for large AAA projects. That may change with time, especially as gaming becomes more mainstream and the major players in the industry become household names. I'm not convinced that this is a panacea for the industry that will solve all of our production woes. It is a valuable model that deserves a chance, but don't expect a huge shift in the industry any time soon.

Dustin Mellen
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"how you motivate possibly millions of people to pay for something they may never get?"

That is a tricky issue. I don't know how to answer that with anything but to giving them a refund.

"For that matter, once you do get a huge amount of consumers pre-funding projects how do you continue to develop without being beholden to them?"

Why would you want to avoid that? They're paying to have a game made, it should be made the way they want it. That's the point of a community funded game: to make games the community wants. If they don't like the game, they don't fund it.

"You're specifically ignoring the fact, especially in your last paragraph, that I've acknowledged that the model can work for small, indie, and/or episodic projects."

You're right, I have. I've been overzealous and I missed that point.

I admit, I don't have all of the answers. I do think that the benefits of this model outweigh the flaws compared to the traditional model, especially considering the issue of copying and infringement. Perhaps people more creative and experienced than I can come up with a workable solution to the pitfalls of funding game development?

Todd Boyd
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They want strong DRM, but are purposefully avoiding a Steam release since that doesn't act as a blanket distribution platform for every PC gamer ever? What the frak?

Jakub Janovsky
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Yeah, I wonder what the hell is he smoking - it must be really powerfull stuff.

Aaron Truehitt
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"There is no chance of a Steam-only release, Ono added, since that this would be unfair to PC players who are unable to buy games via the digital distribution platform."

But...the consumer base for it is still there and can make quite a sum of money. ...It was unfair the original SFIV came out for PC a long time after the console versions came out, so why didn't you hold the console versions back if it was unfair?

Bruce Szego
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This makes absolutely no sense from a business standpoint and goes back on what Capcom reps have been saying over the past year in regards to a PC release. What happened to the "PC Gaming Alliance" or "Piracy isn't a factor for a PC release of SSFIV".

First of all, the piracy of the original SFIV could be chocked up to the painfully broken GFWL DRM, which had so many security holes that it didn't even serve as a rudimentary deterrent. Not only through cracking, but through means as embarrassingly simple, like inputting serials from other games.

Despite tanking at retail (thanks to no marketing on Capcom's part, coupled with the fact that it was a delayed release...), SFIV cleaned up over Steam and other DD services. Coupled again with online fire sales, the digital market is primed for another, fresher installment. The new DLC is rumoured to add 6 more characters if it comes to consoles. That's 41 characters over the original 25 the PC crowd's had access to.

Secondly. People who are siding with Capcom here have to realize that this game is already finished. It's done. The port is done. The game runs on a computer. They have to compile some assets, delegate some QA to a bunch of peons, build a master disc and ship it out. No investment required outside of distribution.

If they stuck to digital distribution only, they could easily bypass ALL that. A retail release could be a box with a Steam voucher, like so many other titles are doing these days. This takes care of all Day One piracy outside of a leak from inside the company.

Another reason. The Arcade Edition is coming out soon. While it's lacking a few features that the console version had, the Taito board has already been split wide open and was a piece of cake to emulate on most Windows PCs. This means as soon as an arcade dump pops up on the internet, everyone pirate will have access to a fully functional version of Super, regardless of whether or not a PC release happens.

Super is getting what is likely a pay-for update soon over XBL and PSN. With this new update, they could set the launch for the PC version in tandem with the DLC, bundle it together, and easily charge the same price that the original had at launch.

Even if it's pirated, I'm assuming that the sales of the console version have more-or-less petered off by now. A release on or just after the next round of DLC would likely stop most of the sales cannibalization that has them so terrified.

There's a market for PC fighting game titles. It's niche, but they literally have a total monopoly in North America. BlazBlue released over in Europe, but for some reason it was a retail-only release. They'd be silly not to capitalize on this. When you look at it rationally, and how long Super's been on the market, it's not high-risk. It's not even remotely a bad idea.

Marcio Zimerman
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Wow, we're being deprived of SSFIV! i couldn't care less about this game.

the original SFIV wasn't special, and in my opinion, wasn't really good anyway.

But well, Capcom are digging their own graves with dumb decisions. first keiji inafune with his: "Let's go western!" philosophy, and then this... expect to see a bankrupt Capcom within a year.

Merc Hoffner
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Too bad Beat-em-ups are probably one of the few genres that really suffer too heavily from lag to work on Onlive. Perhaps this will turn around in the future.

Maurício Gomes
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Capcom is hilarious.

I remember when they said that DMC4 for PC did not sold well because of piracy, I went to a piracy dealer I know, and asked about DMC4.

He said: "What? This game exists for PC? Cool! I was selling only XBOX 360 copies..."

Or as someone mentioned, the same happened with SF4 in retail, noone knew that it exist.

Capcom need to stop being stupid, make better games (Lost Planet 2 I am looking to you), fix their marketing (that never announce PC versions, and then complain they don't sell), and...

stop with that "we wanna be western" thing, Nintendo act as japanese company proudly, and their products are well loved. You know, the mod-chips (that allow piracy) were invented originally to play japanese games on US consoles...

Jose Resines
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There is piracy in the 360. Since people can get it for free for the 360, I guess they're not going to release a 360 version, right?.

People like Yoshinori Ono are the cancer of this industry.

Benjamin Marchand
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Another uneducated rushed hate comment ...

Yeah I'm active on this news, because I heart Capcom since 20 years ago.

And seeing so much abrasive comments without searching anywhere further than our own nose is destroying my calm.

Hint : 360 is far, far less piratable than PC, just because Microsoft disables Live accounts of pirates. And what do you do with Street Fighter without onlin play ... ?

Also, if you don't believe me because I'm not CEO of anything, maybe Crytek's one will convince you better :


PC Play: How do you estimate the current state of the PC gaming industry? Some say that it's only a matter of time when it's going to finally die-off, the others say that "the big one" is only getting its comeback pace.

Considering Crysis is a PC-exclusive title, what do you think of its market reception and its future? Skeptics would say that it's pretty risky going PC-exclusive with such a high-profile title.

Cevat Yerli: It is certainly. 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 wont have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive anymore.


Nathan Bundy
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You're quoting a Crysis developer. I'm not apologizing for the people who pirated the game, but most of their problems had to do with the fact that everyone thought you needed a machine from the year 3000 to run it and most people were scared to even try. (Also, you still did need a pretty beefy machine to run it on medium and above at the time.) There are still people joking on gaming sites everywhere that their machines can't run Crysis, but the problem is a lot of uninformed people still believe that.

The problem is that some developers blame EVERYTHING on piracy when some of the lack of sales could also be due to poor marketing, poor porting from the console, etc.

Why does Valve not have the same problems to the degree that Crysis did? There are other external factors. Saying it was all due to piracy is very short-sighted and misses the many areas they could have improved. The PC market is already smaller. Don't market your game as requiring extremely advanced hardware to run if you want sales. Don't require GFWL. Don't require an always-on internet connection. Do sell it over digital distribution. We're getting into a situation where some of these companies know less about how to sell their games on PC than the players do. Companies that listen and realize what the real problems are on PC are still doing very, very well for themselves.

Of course console games sell more. Consoles are easier to use and the majority of hardcore gamers own at least one. That's not necessarily due to piracy. If consoles didn't exist at all, PC game sales would be much higher even with piracy. Consoles provide a much better overall experience for many people, so of course games sell 4-5x more there.

Are there people who would buy the game if they couldn't pirate it? Yes. But there are also people that wouldn't, those that don't have the money, whatever. It's an impossible percentage to know. Focus on the sales you do get and how to increase your sales. If you're making a big title, you'll probably want to go multi-platform. I agree that a PC-only release probably doesn't make sense at this point unless your game only works well on PC (e.g. fast-paced RTS) or your game has a small budget. It still makes no sense whatsoever to not release it on PC at all. I possibly would have bought the game on both PS3 and PC (and I already own SFIV on PC) but since Capcom's taking this stance, I won't buy it on PS3. Yeah, it's just a drop in the bucket and they probably won't feel it, but PC is my preferred platform and I can't stand it getting treated like such a second-class citizen. How's that for sticking to your principles?

Benjamin Marchand
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HL2 was the first game to require an internet connection to install it :)

To me it's worse than "Yes but can it run Crysis ?" (on Ultra, which we should mention).

Anyway, I'm sorry but there is a limit to contestation : It's like I could bring out any possible argument, article, CEO quote, mathematical scheme or magical trick to prove that piracy is hurting more than the devs purse, it will SYSTEMATICALLY be contested to oblivion. With your respect, it's a hopeless discussion.

I mean come on ... Crytek CEO ...

Crytek might be the most generous, honorable, dedicated PC developer in the world (Cry editor, breaking edge work on their technology for as much game price than your average Doom clone, very good support, always searching to break their own limit ...). There the CEO is humbly stating something wrong with the platform to the point of announcing a progressive departure from PC, that very platform he and his studio dedicated their soul for YEARS ... And people still find a way to contest him ..

Seriously, how many gaming icons departure from PC would people want to witness before stopping to argue every little bit of fact on piracy corrosivity ?

Once upon a time I thought that people who were contesting Indies crying at their top piracy rate were doing it because of indies poor popularity, but now even giant studios CEOs don't have any weight ...

It's alarming to see that on every article/thread about piracy there might be less than 5-10% of people who actually do not argue against piracy's damaging consequences, and even less % of people who actually try to understand why such news as this one can happen.

Nathan Bundy
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I'm not arguing that piracy doesn't have damaging consequences, I'm saying it's being used as a scapegoat in other cases where it's not the major factor.

Crytek is a great developer. I own Crysis and the expansion (even though I haven't played through either game yet).

What I'm saying is that in situations like Crysis, piracy was not the main reason the game didn't sell well. Crysis required better hardware than comparable PC games, the marketing amplified that to the point where people who could have run it thought they couldn't, and the PC market is simply smaller than it was when, say, Far Cry was released.

Games like World of Goo, VVVVVV, and Darwinia are still pirated, but they also do well enough for their developers to make a living. How much more would they sell if piracy was impossible? It's impossible to know. Piracy does damage sales but we can't know exactly how much.

Crytek probably should have gone multi-platform with the first Crysis and done a better job with PR to let people know they could still play the game on lower settings. It was also released around the same time as some other highly hyped titles. Games like SC2, BFBC2, TF2, etc. are still selling well even with piracy.

I'm not arguing that piracy doesn't have damaging consequences, it most certainly does. However, when it's used as an excuse to cover up other legitimate reasons that games didn't meet sales expectations, it then becomes a problem because those other real problems will never be fixed, and if they were fixed that alone would raise sales.

The latest PC Gamer interview with Valve talks about this. Russia was a major piracy point for them, but when they started putting out Russian localization for their games day one, sales soared and Russia became one of their largest European markets. The real problem was localization, not piracy. Trying to solve the problem by heaping on more DRM that would have gotten cracked anyway or by not selling their product at all would have both been the wrong solutions. Serving their customers by meeting the need that wasn't being met was the right one.

That's the danger of putting so much importance on piracy figures without attempting to understand the "why"s. Piracy is a fact with digital media. It will always exist. Any time you want people to be able to use your content, there will be a hole somewhere in the chain. All you can do is make it more inconvenient to pirate than to legitimately buy your product and make sure you're serving your customers well.

Benjamin Marchand
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I understand your point.

yes, using piracy as a made-up argument against every other failure is bad, I fully agree indeed. And I don't think any serious developer nowadays argue against the existence of "whys" in piracy.

But in Ono's case, it's not a profit reason at all ("strong sales"), and still people around the net (here,, etc) find a way to agressively point him out on how wrong he is. Without trying to understand why (it's easy to see 90% of the reactions over Kotaku are talking about money motivations and nothing else).

In Crytek's case, if it was only for benefit reasons, he would have done the same as Ono (even if it's not the same state of mind). But they are still delivering PC games.

Ono's just gone emo a bit, not a big deal atm.

What I mean is that people should really need to read between the lines of these CEOs quotes, PC declining game industry, absurd DRMs and stuff like that. But no, all the effort they want to spend energy on is to yell at devs.

Jose Resines
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@Benjamin Marchand: Sorry, Benjamin, I stopped reading when I reached you citing Crytek and Cevat Yerli. His ridiculous comments saying that Crysis, a dull game that 95% of computers couldn't move at release time, would have sold 20 million [*] if not for piracy were so utterly ridiculous that I stopped reading any interviews from him altogether, and try to forget that he's behind Crytek.

As for the fact that the 360 is far less piratable: sorry, here in Spain, and in many stores in the UK, many stores will sell you an already chipped console. Many people have 2: one for online play, and one for pirated games.

In any case, Yoshinori Ono said they were not releasing the game for the PC because they "cannot allow a situation where the game is available for free on any platform", not because there was more piracy on PC than on 360 (which, BTW, nobody has proved). Well, you have a situation where the game is available for free on the 360, so they should not be selling it, right?.

Yoshinori Ono is either an hypocrite or is just badmouthing the PC with the first excuse he thought. And if they really have completed 99% of the PC version and they refuse to sell it, they are also very bad businessmen and deserve to close.

* Crysis had sold 1 million at the time, which is way more than anyone would have expected, he said the piracy ratio was 20 to 1, and of course he counted every pirated copy as a lost copy

Benjamin Marchand
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Jose, if you read only what you want to read, you're not going to understand anyone correctly ;)

Here is an example :

Jose : "As for the fact that the 360 is far less piratable: sorry, here in Spain, and in many stores in the UK, many stores will sell you an already chipped console. Many people have 2: one for online play, and one for pirated games."

You missed the part when I wrote :

"just because Microsoft disables Live accounts of pirates. And what do you do with Street Fighter without online play ... ?"

Anyway, have a good day.

Chris OKeefe
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@ Nathan

Yes, thank you.

So many people treat piracy as this constant. As though X percent of games will be pirated irrespective of all other conditional factors, and that just isn't the case.

People pirate for a lot of reasons, but absolutely the biggest factors are related to accessibility. Valve pretty much proved that piracy is a variable that can be influenced and mitigated by changing their business models and policies. Supporting Russian localization should be a no-brainer, but since a huge portion of the game industry says 'oh god Russia is a pirate haven, we're not going to put any money into supporting that economy' they generate their own piracy problem.

Valve is aware of the fact that piracy is a variable. Gabe has talked at length about his views on piracy being something developers and publishers can counter with customer service(a lost concept in business in modern America), and everything they have tried to prove that concept has been met with success.

There will always be a piracy factor, but as a developer or a publisher, if you are going to talk about piracy, you have to also talk about why people are pirating your game. Piracy isn't some ethereal concept that exists despite what we do. Crysis was pirated a lot not because people are evil, but because people didn't have confidence in the game. The sales system we have on the PC means that if you buy a game and it doesn't run, you're shit out of luck. Crytek marketed Crysis as a tech demo; fair enough, they were proud of their technology. But the message to consumers was 'this is a high end product and it's amazing but you probably can't run it.'


So instead of taking a sixty dollar risk and buying a game they doubted they could run, piracy rates skyrocketed. They wanted to try the game, they wanted to see if it would run, but not on a sixty dollar gamble.

These kinds of factors influence piracy and unfortunately developers and publishers put on the blinders.

There are two irrefutable facts in an economy:

1) There will always be a parallel market available for those who don't want to pay full price for your product, and

2) Despite this, people will always pay full price for your product if you make it worthwhile.

Digital media makes the parallel economy(black market) easier and cheaper, but it's not unique. Businesses have been fighting parallel economies since the invention of the coin. And to use a simple analogy, people still usually buy good beer from good breweries rather than cheap swill from bootleggers, because the good brewers provide things that the bootlegger can't. Consistent quality, security, and availability.

The game industry has failed in all three of these simple concepts, and continues to undermine them in some cases with draconian DRM like Ubisoft's horrid system that requires a constant connection to play.

We really need to take a look at how we are fighting piracy, because I think we honestly are having trouble seeing the forest for all the trees. Simple, honest business practices that treat the customer like a valued contributor, do more to fight piracy than any DRM. I think a lot of publishers are shooting themselves in the feet by contributing to the overall desire for piracy, either directly(as in draconian DRM) or indirectly (by failing to be consistent).

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