Pirate Kingdom


“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 [that PC gamers who] 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 won't have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive anymore."

- Cevat Yerly, co-founder and CEO of Crytek

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Unreal Tournament 3 servers received over 40 million attempts at illegitimate access using pirate keys. That number is huge, and the real magnitude comes when you calculate the retail price of $49.99 (59.99 for Collector's Edition).

If those 40 million players actually paid the full price, it would have been nearly $2 billion more in Epic’s pocket book. That is more than the quarterly sales results from Nvidia or AMD.


Piracy, the bane of multiple entertainment industries, be it music, movie or videogames. Face it, it’s here to stay and can never be alleviated, it can only be minimized and reduced.

Although, the chances of curtailing piracy, bleak as it may seem, have improved slightly on the software front for videogame consoles especially for the PS3. However, eventually the system’s firmware would be successfully hacked as more and more consumers own the platform -- translating to a bigger market for copied games but as the videogames industry has proven through the years, its consumers are incredibly loyal and gratuitous with their disposable incomes.

On Crytek’s issue, for some reason, they saw no business in developing for the console platforms. These platforms have established markets and have proven to be good business for publishers. The FPS genre nowadays rarely make a splash with PC gamers, and if they do, they are relentlessly copied and shared through P2P networks. Why bother on exerting all your development effort for a platform that assures a higher possibility of piracy? Console piracy exists, yes, nonetheless developers significantly have better chances on realizing sales from a market which has proven to be generous with their gaming purchases.

It only makes business sense that Crytek chose to release console versions of the game this packed holiday season. And it doesn't hurt going for a multiplatform approach.

As for Epic’s Unreal Tournament 3, as to prove my notion, they gained more sales from the PS3 version than the PC.

Although I disagree regarding the figure of lost revenue, in this case, about 2 billion dollars - the 40 million attempts are mainly consumers who are leaning on purchasing copied/illegally downloaded games - the desire and behavior of these consumers ultimately imply that they have no plans on purchasing an original copy of the title. And even if a selective few did have concrete plans on grabbing one, only a minor fraction of the actual figure would have gotten a copy worth 50 dollars.

Crytek, learn from Epic. They saw opportunities and the oh-so apparent risks of the PC and console markets, perhaps invest more on your market research efforts. And next time you wouldn’t have to issue press statements publicizing your dismay of consumers who couldn’t care less.