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Ubisoft blames Armenia for Piracy

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Armenia is a small former Soviet Union republic, with a population less than Connecticut, and yet, if some sources are to be believed, it is to blame for Ubisoft's PC piracy figures.

So what are we talking about here? We are talking about Ubisoft's CEO at Gamescon this week claiming a 93-95% piracy rate on Ubisoft PC products.

That's a hard figure to take for the paying 7% who have suffered horrendiously invasive DRM anti-piracy meaures, which are now revealed by Ubisoft to be wholly ineffective. Perhaps if Ubisoft's always on anti piracy measures were shown to be effective, increase sales, and increase Ubisofts turnover thus allowing them to develop bigger and better games, then we wouldn't might quite as much the inconvience of DRM. But to hear after all the well documented hastle that Ubisoft's DRM causes legitimate customers, that's a very difficult statistic to reconcile.

That's where Armeia comes in.


According to Bit Shift, the only way to actually make sense of a 93% Piracy rate is to look further a field than the USA (where piracy figures are actually only 20%). And that means looking at Armeia, where the Piracy percentage is .... you guessed it, 93%. The wieghted average for software piracy across all countries is just under 60%, a massive departure from Ubisofts headline 93-95% figure.

Ubisoft's CEO goes on to explain that this is one reason they are now turning their focus on free to play titles (such as Ghost Recon Online), where micro payments rather than purchase price is the way ahead.

Some people see Ubisoft's piracy issue as a side issue that is over shadowed by their consumer relations that takes a nose dive everytime Ubisoft speak out at conferences such as Gamescom. How great would it be, just for once, to have Ubisoft stand up and say something that endeared its userbase instead of alienating them.

And using clearly skewed statsitics is not the way ahead....

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The nerve of that Ubisoft CEO is just earthshakingly astonishing.

First they publish a completely broken PC title months after the (exact same) console version, then take their sweet time to fix even the most basics of functionality, while at the same time already starting to sell overpriced DLC for that broken POS, with their game servers apparently still running on Sinclair ZX Spectrums with 1200 Baud modems, and then - with Ubisoft already treating their PC customers like garbage in any way they can - the CEO still feels the need to top it all off by falling back into his "PC gamers are pirates" routine of blatant lying in a feeble attempt to justify his cash-grabbing move to "free-to-p(l)ay".

I don't know how much lower a human being can sink on the scale of morality, but I'd guess Monsieur Guillemot can clearly see the bottom from where he's sitting.

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This is deflection of blame for the shareholders; at every level Ubisoft gives the impression of a company that's disorganized, poorly managed and poorly run -- and it hasn't missed the notice of game and financial press. Nathan Grayson sums up the disturbing direction Ubisoft has taken with the PC platform succinctly in his review of Uplay for RPS Et Tu, Uplay? – Ubisoft Relaunches Its PC Store when he says:

And honestly – given Ubisoft’s spat of recent gaffes, arbitrary delays, amazing inability to communicate frankly and directly with its consumers even in times of potential hacking, and dogged love of closed, obnoxious proprietary systems – I’d probably be hesitant to commit to this service even if it had a bit more going for it. There is, however, plenty of room to grow, and who really knows what the future holds? If nothing else, Ubisoft’s paying attention to PC gamers. Maybe in time, it’ll learn what actually makes us tick.

But the same level of obtuse mismanagement can be seen at every level of the company including: finance, acquisitions, brand management, marketing and a ongoing shuffle of development and production personal that give the appearance of being as connected to their work and ideas as the Stepford Wives to their Husbands.

While Ubisoft may be currently reporting 'a revenue positive outlook' it's a safe bet that's more a function of cheap labor outsourcing practices, wishful thinking, and creative reporting then brilliant game design execution and record breaking sales; and that the bottom line here is not trending in a positive direction at all -- Monsieur Guillemot has found a new strategy of distraction and blame, that isn't new in business at all...


Edited by 101459
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