PC piracy levels are "astounding" says COD4 dev

Infinity Ward's community manager muses, "they wonder why people don't make PC games any more."

"We pulled some disturbing numbers this past week about the amount of PC players currently playing Call of Duty 4 Multiplayer (which was fantastic)," writes Robert Bowling, on the game's community blog. "What wasn't fantastic was the percentage of those numbers who were playing on stolen copies of the game."

"The amount of people who pirate PC games is astounding," he added. "It blows me away that people are willing to steal games (or anything) simply because it's not physical or it's on the safety of the internet to do."

PC games sales have decreased in recent years due to rampant piracy of software and other digital goods over internet sharing sites.

News source: GamePro

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Here's another excuse I haven't read yet, so maybe it's just me. From the days of when Napster first got in trouble, I always thought how is this different then me making tapes off the radio like I used to and giving them to my g/f or Lafawnda gave Napoleon to help Pedro win the election. I didn't pay for the music, but I gave it away. I would also borrow games from other fellow gamers for my PC or SNES or Dreamcast or PS1 or XBOX. I didn't feel the need to compensate him except for letting him borrow one of mine. Now, you can "borrow" parts of the game from a couple hundred people. Maybe only a couple actually bought it and uploaded it. So, in other words, I'm rationalizing by thinking "I can borrow a game or cd or dvd or book from a friend, but I can't borrow it from the original uploader?" The answer is "No, I can't", but...

I also agree with the other people saying most games aren't "worth" $50. I suppose that's all in how you look at it. I hear people say Alex Rodriguez is worth every penny of his $25 million/year baseball contract. I'm sorry...what? A teacher with a masters degree in her field is worth barely $50,000 after six years of work and he's worth 40 times that? Doesn't make sense. I realize that $50 has to be split up between a lot of people, but after paying hundreds for the soon to be obsolete hardware, $50 still seems way too much. Does that give anyone the right to get copies from other people? No. Will they? Yes. Do I feel sorry for the video game industry that is growing exponentially faster than the movie industry? No.

I don't understand why this surprises anyone. Every form of popular media promotes a "do whatever you can get away with" mentality and the creators of this media are then surprised when their audience does just that.

(MrTibs said @ #32)
I don't understand why this surprises anyone. Every form of popular media promotes a "do whatever you can get away with" mentality and the creators of this media are then surprised when their audience does just that.

Plus I highly doubt these developers don't pirate any games. The last game I downloaded was bioshock because of the limit of activations. Turned out I didn't even play it more then 3 hours because of motion sickness. Only game I had that problem with.

the thing is PC is king when it comes to shooters as it's MUCH easier to aim with a mouse vs a analog stick at tracking stuff on screen.

and since majority of games i play (generally shooters) require aiming of some sort i MUST play them on a PC... only reason i have a XBox360 right now is cause of 1 game and one game only, Forza Motorsport 2.

as far as single player wise... im SURE the article is generally right about the high piracy rates... although if you make a game with good multiplayer then you generally dont have to worry since for those who want to play online your generally force into buying it since cracked copys pretty much dont work online.

When presented with the choice to pay for something or not to pay for something, with no consequences guaranteed, you get to see into the true nature of people.

(Unwonted said @ #29)
When presented with the choice to pay for something or not to pay for something, with no consequences guaranteed, you get to see into the true nature of people.

Exactly.

And then people get super defensive about it because they are, at some level, ashamed of what they've done, and they can't deal with it.

The only factor in my decision to buy CoD4 was the release on Steam. I am opposed to game developers/publishers choosing to force copy protection upon legitimate consumers and tying mobile users to bulky collections of CD/DVDs to carry. Steam is a good middle-ground between DRM and non-DRM models offering license tracking in the form of connectivity and freeing the consumer from the media. It's disappointing seeing that a legitimate alternative source to purchasing a disc media package is still being highly pirated, only proving that no matter the approach, this problem will always persist. The only move the gaming industry needs to take now is to embrace the problem and relieve their legitimate consumers of the burden of the sinners, paid trust, and non-DRM mechanisms.

Just because EA can't code a copy protection scheme to save their lives doesn't mean that plenty of other PC game developers aren't rolling in money. (Blizzard, NCSoft, and Valve say "Hi")

(Aahz said @ #27)
Just because EA can't code a copy protection scheme to save their lives doesn't mean that plenty of other PC game developers aren't rolling in money. (Blizzard, NCSoft, and Valve say "Hi")

Well the majority of those people that give money to blizzard are addicts so thats how they make their money.

at this point PC gaming is pretty much just MMO, rpg's and maybe a good fps here and there. There's alot of shovelware fps but you can't really count that. I can't see how companies except to make alot of money in the gaming arena when it's really only a few viable genres of games that come out for the PC.

that said I haven't pirated a game in well over 3 years (yeah me!!! lol) and I was proud to buy COD4. I'm a firm believer that if you make the game good enough, you will make your money back in spades. on the flip side more companies might have to move to a steam type of system that verifies it online. I'm actually starting to like steam in many ways because at least I don't have to ever put the cd in again and it will auto update.

I don't agree with that, forcing people to do online activations, etc. Look at Bioshock and their problems with activation. Legit users have problems, while people with pirated copies enjoy their games. Consoles don't require that, so why should PCs. They both get pirated, only reason more PC games get pirated, is because the number of PC users.

Either way, the only way to beat pirates, is the make great games, that means don't rush them, and bloat them with ads(EA). There are many games out there that could have been great, but they got rushed.

Console games are ripped just as often....
Why won't the world understand that every piece of software can be pirated.

The games for PCs of late ... haven't been that good. I buy SC from Gas Powered games and SC:FA ..
I prefer RTS games over FPS ... Also, I've been playing a lot of GC2 from Stardock. The game is TBSG
an has no multi-player support. The game is very addictive. Right now, if I have free time I play a few
hours of Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor.

Also, if you like RTS ... like TA take the time an try out Spring ... I also, play a lot of that game if I
have some free time ...

Right now ,, I'm only waiting for to games to get release ... Starcraft 2 and Duke Nukem ForEVER ...

I am a big PC gamer but I will not buy games just for multiplayer! I bought The Witcher, Crysis & Sam and Max Season 2 because I prefer sp games! I will not pay $50 for a damn game that only has 10 or 8 hrs of sp experience! I've been burned on many console games in that regard & all I can think is that console gamers haven't learned what it means to have really good sp game but they are coming out with them with games like Mass Effect but sooner or later they will realize mp isn't going to satisfy them when there lives are busier and they have to work on other priorities.

What I would like to know is when are they going to address all the hacks that allow cheating. MP was fun when the game first came out, now I don't play at all because of all the hacking cheaters.

I think more people would buy games if they were cheaper, its much less hassle to buy a game rather than download it.

I bought COD4 the day after it came out. It was totally worth the $50. And yes theres cracked versions of servers that people with used CD keys can play on.

Over the past few years PC games have gone to crap. COD4 and maybe crysis(depending how you look at it) are the best games that have come out in awhile. Games like battlefield 2/2142 are buggy pieces of crap and they should have high piracy rates. COD4 is not exactly piracy proof. Look at all the stuff the PC version is missing, arcade mode, online server that stores stats, buddy system. Consoles get all that stuff.

PC gaming is pretty dead to me, especially after I just bought a PS3 the other day. I thought I would never get a console again, since the last one I had before this PS3 was a PS1. I finally just got fed up with all the PC game problems. I'm not saying consoles are flawless, but games are sure hell of a lot better quality.

PC piracy = virtually zero cost and effort. All that is required is a fast Internet connection, adequate HD space, a CD emulator tool, and sources for the games and no-CD cracks.

Console piracy = Internet connection, sources for disc images, HD space, physical media, burning apps, $100+ for mod chips OR modded DVD drive firmware (which may not work properly)... oh and for Xbox Live they ban the entire console instead of blacklisting you per game if you accidentally expose the mod chip to the network.

In my opinion, one model that seems to work on the PC platform is the subscriber based model, i.e. games purchased from Steam and Blizzard's WoW. At least for Steam they bring over part of the console experience onto PCs (friends list, common server browser, and just recently achievements).

(rm20010 said @ #19.1)
PC piracy = virtually zero cost and effort. All that is required is a fast Internet connection, adequate HD space, a CD emulator tool, and sources for the games and no-CD cracks.

Console piracy = Internet connection, sources for disc images, HD space, physical media, burning apps, $100+ for mod chips OR modded DVD drive firmware (which may not work properly)... oh and for Xbox Live they ban the entire console instead of blacklisting you per game if you accidentally expose the mod chip to the network.

In my opinion, one model that seems to work on the PC platform is the subscriber based model, i.e. games purchased from Steam and Blizzard's WoW. At least for Steam they bring over part of the console experience onto PCs (friends list, common server browser, and just recently achievements).

Correction: XBox 360 piracy: Some effort, but not much. Fast internet connection, lots of HDD space (compared to some of the new PC games today), sources for games (many of them stealthed to play online), and modded DVD firmware.

I don't really see much difference from your points to mine.

Well, considering most of the "good" games are aimed at the hardcore crowd with uber computers, it doesn't surprise me.

For me, I'm tired of FPS. So I do the WoW thing now. I really have no interest in 99% of the PC games anyway, and most are FPS. And I don't like consoles, unless we're talking about the SNES.

I'm surprised they aren't talking about the Console piracy, it's pretty damn rampant from what I see on the torrent sites.

if its worth it, people will show the respect by buying it. If it isnt wroth it, they will download it. Hell, usually if it isnt worth buying though, its rarely worth downloading. So only a game that is really already selling well is really going to be massively pirated. Sort of a win/lose situation no matter how you look at it. Id shut my mouth and be happy with what i was getting, cause we could all just pirate it and not spend a single dime.

Sounds like somebody is spreading FUD. You CANNOT play online with a cracked, pirated copy of the game, period. Moreover, how would they be able to tell, huh?! If you download it for free but somehow obtain a valid CD-Key, they can't tell.

You can easily play online on cracked servers. However, cracked servers honestly suck. A lot of times they are full of cheaters and stupid people, or in the case of TF2 and other games, hosted in countries like Russia where your ping is so high it makes the game play like crap.

Yeah man, PC gaming is a dead wasteland where piracy rules.

Hey wait a minute, isn't Blizzard making money?

ArenaNet too? NCsoft?

What about Valve? I swore I saw a video of Gabe jumping into a vault with a mountain of money in it and swimming around in it like Scrooge McDuck.

They make a *ton* of PC games, and they are obviously making money or they wouldn't keep making so many of them.

It doesn't matter if 1 person pirates or 100 Million people pirate. There will always be people there who gladly pay for things.

A piracy argument that may be impossible to prove otherwise: All those who pirate the game maybe would have NEVER bought the game anyway.

I always download the games and try them out, before I buy them. If i would have bought cod4 i would have been really ****ed off. Since after a week of playing and completing all the ranks the game got really boring.

I still prefer cod2.

(soldiers33 said @ #1)
Since after a week of playing and completing all the ranks the game got really boring.

A whole week's worth of gaming before it got boring isn't worth giving the developers a little compensation? <sarcasm>I totally understand your argument.</sarcasm> You do know they made a demo, don't you?

I love how everyone gets all ****y whenever a game developer comes out and says something like this. Methinks everyone is protesting too much about this.

id and Epic had similar revelations not too long ago:

"Piracy has pushed id as being multiplatform," stated Hollenshead.

Comments made by Epic's Capps carried a similar tone. "PC gaming is really falling apart," he revealed. "It killed us to make Unreal Tournament 3 cross-platform, but Epic had to do it," adding "the market that would buy a $600 video card knows how Bittorrent works."

Source: http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/46079

If the games really sucked as much as everyone say they do, then why would you want to play them?

(antareus said @ #11)
I love how everyone gets all ****y whenever a game developer comes out and says something like this. Methinks everyone is protesting too much about this.

id and Epic had similar revelations not too long ago:


Source: http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/46079

If the games really sucked as much as everyone say they do, then why would you want to play them?

I got UT3, it reeks of crappyness! It was a shabby console to pc port! And they wonder why people dont buy their crap...

(The Gunslinger said @ #11.1)
I got UT3, it reeks of crappyness! It was a shabby console to pc port! And they wonder why people dont buy their crap...

UI wise, yes. Rest of the game, no.

(The Gunslinger said @ #11.1)
I got UT3, it reeks of crappyness! It was a shabby console to pc port! And they wonder why people dont buy their crap...

Did you know that they released a demo don't you? That's why developers release demos, so people can text the games before "got X game", and for those games which don't have demos it's simple, watch game-play trailers and see if you like it, it's not the same as play but people can see how it works' specially HD trailers.

Are you sure you buy the game or you downloaded it from illegal web sites?

(EL1TE said @ #11.3)

Did you know that they released a demo don't you? That's why developers release demos, so people can text the games before "got X game", and for those games which don't have demos it's simple, watch game-play trailers and see if you like it, it's not the same as play but people can see how it works' specially HD trailers.

Are you sure you buy the game or you downloaded it from illegal web sites? :rolleyes:

Well, if the broadband in this country wasnt so damn high, I would have downloaded the demo first!

Also, seeing that an internet connection would have cost me $50 for a shaped 1 gig cap, the game would have probably cost me around $200 to download from one of your so called illegal websites!

Anyway, I am glad you are happy with the console to pc ports, because I am not! Its irritating trying to aim when there is a lag on your aiming...

(The Gunslinger said @ #11.4)
Well, if the broadband in this country wasnt so damn high, I would have downloaded the demo first!

Also, seeing that an internet connection would have cost me $50 for a shaped 1 gig cap, the game would have probably cost me around $200 to download from one of your so called illegal websites! :rolleyes:


hmm...
(The Gunslinger said @ #11.4)
Anyway, I am glad you are happy with the console to pc ports, because I am not! Its irritating trying to aim when there is a lag on your aiming...

And you can't see a video-review or buy a magazine with a review of it and the demo? Or is it expensive too? :huh:

UT3 is not a console to pc conversion' (basically it's the reverse way), in fact Unreal games have been all released to PC (except the ones of the first XBOX), that it's not an excuse to say a game is "crap", actually all you need is to try demos or view videos of the games. Period.

the numbers must be wrong. you can't play the mp without a valid cd key unless someone has also released a hacked version of the server code. Anyone who's ever played on a hacked server will know how bad an experience that can be; the people on there are generally just kids who can't adhere to the basic rules of the game.

bottom line here is that the people who pirate generally have no intention of purchasing the game anyway, so no sale is lost. If you wish to play online without problems, then you'd buy the game. Personally, i ALWAYS fully evaluate a game before I buy, but i still buy if i consider it good enough [i.e. play for more than 2hrs without getting bored] The arguments regarding music/software "lost sales" are completely unrealistic, a person using freely available "warez" does NOT translate directly into a lost sale.

It might help if game devs didn't hype up a title for 2 years before release and promise the world, only upon release you find your 15 core triple sli beast is "underpowered" [crysis, anyone?]. If the PC games industry showed some innovation instead of churning out the same old thing with better graphics, people would spend the money, instead you spend so much on hardware to play 2 games a year that are worthwhile. Maybe nobody buys the games because they've spent all their spare cash on hardware?

(ZombieFly said @ #10)
Maybe nobody buys the games because they've spent all their spare cash on hardware? :)

QFT

Someone else said that people who buy $600 video cards know how bittorrent works. Yeah, well maybe you'd better make the game functional on hardware that isn't so bleeding edge that you've cornered your market to people that spend their money (or their parent's money in many cases) on the hardware and have none left over for the games to play on the system.

This is why I stopped playing PC games. Even if/when I pirate the game I can't afford to keep up with the hardware required to play these games on the lowest quality level.

I have a Nvidia 6600 and an Athlon64 3200+ but I can't barely play Doom 3 and that game is already something like 4 years old. I have chance with Crysis or FarCry2 or Halo2 or BioShock or (insert another FPS here).

The games are so bad now that it didn't even stop me from switching over to Linux and getting rid of my XP partition.

Maybe if EA and other companies would stop releasing rehashed buggy crap before the developers are finished it would reduce the amount of people who steal. I pay for 99% of my games(People should get paid) but even I am getting ****ed off with this ****.. hellgate london C&C etc ..

If that were to happen, it would not solely be the fault of piracy.

Most piracy occurs because the public are becoming increasing frustrated with the poor quality products companies see fit to release onto the market today. Most PC games are not even finished and are full of bugs, rushed and released early simply to satisfy a financial target (like releasing before Christmas for example).

Customer support on the whole is also extremely poor.

So if the game industry does decide to pull out of PC games (it'll never happen btw), they will be equally to blame.

Greedy and Lazy software companies FTL!

I don't think so.

Unless it's FREE people will steal (pirate) it, plain and simple.

COD4 is one of the best games out there, so "quality" isn't an issue here.

People who pretend piracy isn't a problem are seriously deluding themselves.

heres an idea , make games properly and not released with shed loads of bugs , charge a fair bloody price for the things and you might see it fall , the price you pay for video games is bloody stupid no wonder people pirate the things specially when they are released half arsed and unfinished

(Miles Acton said @ #5.1)
but when companies take measures to decrease the cost to the consumer (like in-game ads), people won't stop whining

Except that the ads they put into games aren't done to reduce the shelf cost of the game to consumers, are they?
I haven't seen any price drops as a direct result of ads going into games.

No, the ads are there purely and simply to prop up the bonuses of the fat cats who run the likes of EA and Activision. It's like they are getting paid twice. Once for the payment from the store, and again for the payment from companies to plaster their products all over the game.

If they want more people to buy their games instead of pirating them, they should spend a little bit more money on QA and release quality products to the consumers, rather than unfinished buggy software that doesn't work as advertised in alot of cases. Also if they stopped using so called "Public Betas" as marketing gimmicks (ala Gamespy Founders Club members only etc) and treated them as a serious quality control exercise, the public may begin to regain faith in PC games again, may start to pay for them and this would allow them to lower prices. Thus encouraging more sales.

(Miles Acton said @ #5.1)
but when companies take measures to decrease the cost to the consumer (like in-game ads), people won't stop whining

except those games cost the same as the ones without adds???

i have to agree with the majority on here, game companies are producing the smae old crap over and over and over again, i have no problems paying for games i LIKE to play, only problem is the majority of games are crap.. hell i have bought every single GTA so far...

usually i buy games after they have been out a year or so and reduced to half the price..

(whocares78 said @ #5.3)

except those games cost the same as the ones without adds???

not true, in fact EA is going to release games for free which are simply ad-supported. it makes piracy unneccesary, as the revenue for the game isn't coming from somebody buying it.

(Miles Acton said @ #5.4)

not true, in fact EA is going to release games for free which are simply ad-supported. it makes piracy unneccesary, as the revenue for the game isn't coming from somebody buying it.

let me know when it happens and i may believe it, and i definatley wont complain...

If there was more games worth buying, i would buy them. Too bad 95% pc games are just bad console ports, crappy sequels, or games which are boring and dont bring anything new to the table. Plus, i only play single player then uninstall most of the time so i dont like paying 50-60$ for them, especially when im a student and can barely afford groceries.

Ah so you don't think the artist, programmers and team leaders and such that made those single player games deserve to get paid for their job then ?


Afterall, the games only last some 5+ times longer to play through than watching a movie, with an equal if not lower cost ratio.
if you can only afford groceries then your choices are clear either spend all yoru time studying or playing free games, or get a weeked job and pay for your games.

Afterall, once you're finished with your education, Im sure you'd want peopel to pay you for the job you do for them ?

(HawkMan said @ #4.2)
Ah so you don't think the artist, programmers and team leaders and such that made those single player games deserve to get paid for their job then ?


Afterall, the games only last some 5+ times longer to play through than watching a movie, with an equal if not lower cost ratio.
if you can only afford groceries then your choices are clear either spend all yoru time studying or playing free games, or get a weeked job and pay for your games.

Afterall, once you're finished with your education, Im sure you'd want peopel to pay you for the job you do for them ?


You sir, are an idiot.
I wouldn't pay anything for games I consider crap, and most games out are crap. I haven't played a new game in years, the newest game I have is UT and thats 9 years old ? C&C original, before EA fecked it up has to be my favourite game. You can get that free off EA now anyway, awesome game

How do they play? I can't :(

Oh well, I play on the PS3, it's the first FPS Console game I'm any good at I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!! :happy:

-Rich-