Ubisoft CEO Changing Focus to Consoles Due to PC Piracy

The PC games space is one that’s ever changing. CPU and GPU technology constantly push the boundaries beyond any other platform, but sadly, the PC also suffers the most from piracy.

Tom’s Games spoke to Yves Guillemot, Guillemot starts off with something almost all PC gamers can agree with: “The consoles at certain periods are more powerful than the PC, but the PC can improve its capacity and ability every year so the cycle changes. Generally, the PC gaming business gets better over time in these console cycles. So as we continue this cycle, graphically the PCs will continue to get better and the features will become more interesting.”

That’s where the good news ends, however, as Guillemot confirms that PC piracy is influencing the company’s developers to focus on consoles. “Piracy is enormously damaging to the market,” he said, adding that the Internet has made piracy easy to do. “So what do we do? Well, it’s better not to invest a lot of money on that particular platform.”

“We know that the developers that are creating the PC game are not going to get paid for the work they do and the games won’t break even. So we prefer to focus on platforms that maybe have less piracy and where more customers are actually paying for the content they consume,” said Guillemot. “We greatly reduced the number of people working on PC games because of that.”Ubisoft isn’t ditching PC publishing altogether, but it certainly isn’t as focused as it used to be. The company now hopes to keep PC in the running with better copy protection measures. The problem now is coming up with a system that PC gamers will accept.

“The PC gaming community is very often against any kind of system that prohibits piracy, which I have difficulty understanding. They need to help us to make sure we can invest on the PC, because if we can’t get a return on investment with PC games then we will not invest,” he explains.

One problem is with invasive copy protections that do more to hassle the legit gamer than anything else. Guillemot said that the company is now looking for “a system that will make sure you have a better experience when you buy than game rather than when you don’t buy it.”

Until the PC market changes, there could be fewer and fewer games for platform. Guillemot calls the PC-centric Far Cry 2 game, which will also be released on Xbox 360 and PS3, an “exception.”

Read the full interview with Yves Guillemot of Ubisoft over at Tom’s Games.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • wormsthehermit
    Ubisoft has no reason to talk about piracy. I'm not really one to promote piracy, but with Ubisoft you pretty much have to try before you buy. Take Rainbow Six Vegas 2 for example. I can only get sound to work on half the game. I throw a grenade, nothing. I get shot at, can't hear the shots. I try to talk to an NPC to get mission info, oh hey I have no clue wtf I'm supposed to do! Just update the games and people might just buy them.
  • Slobogob
    Ubisoft are known for bad support, lacking patches and incomplete games. Them leaving the PC market is a good thing since it raises the quality standard quite a bit. In addition that means more money for corporations that actually know how to treat their customers - like Paradox or Stardock.
  • techguy911
    Piracy ROFL so you can't pirates console games eh, hmmm that's news to me.
    Well i guess there is no such thing as mod chips either, or soft mods, or exploit loaders.

    LoL i clean computers for a living virus/spyware i have been cleaning machines for 20 years out of that time 1 person in 300 customers might have a pirated game, that's just a cop out.

    Look at the state they release pc games half finished you think people are going to go out and buy a half finished game?? now even the mmo's are doing it look at age of conan.

    They don't release half finished console games and ubisoft is one producer that sometimes ships pc games half done.

    The quality of pc games have gone down hill ever since the console hit the scene because now software houses are spend most of there resources there.
  • ?The PC gaming community is very often against any kind of system that prohibits piracy, which I have difficulty understanding. They need to help us to make sure we can invest on the PC, because if we can?t get a return on investment with PC games then we will not invest,? he explains.

    Why didn't you explain to him what were the effects of starforce of some computers? Why didn't you explain to him what was exactly one of the recently removed patches to rainbow 6 vegas 2? Why didn't you ask him how much money they invest on their ports to PC when the two first screens in almost any ubisoft game contains "press any key to continue" and "select profile"? If I remember correctly, the P in PC stands for personal and since windows 98 different logins work fine. Did you ask if he checked how long does it take to exit from a ubisoft port game when compared to games developed directly to PC? Do they even take the time to customize the controls to the PC version to the makoraty of players that do not have a gamepad?
  • "Ubisoft isn?t ditching PC publishing altogether, but it certainly isn?t as FOCUSED as it used to be."
    Doesn't this guy have more important things to do then whining about piracy?
  • mforce2
    Heh , as if consoles don't have piracy , my guess is that the "pirates" will still be there and if they won't be able to pirate the games on the PC they'll just pirate the console versions.
    It's not like consoles are that expensive anyway. You can get/will be able to get them as low as 200 $ and then some modchip or something for another like 50 $ and that's that. Then you can just go ahead an pirate all you want.
    Maybe it's just that games are a little bit on the expensive side , did anyone ever think about that ? As is music .... But maybe people that prefer to get this stuff for free will do it anyway , no matter how low the price , who knows
  • DM0407
    I have no issues what so ever downloading a game from Steam and I am more then happy to pay for it. If all these developers would just give in and give Valve thier due, the PC industry would be much better off.

    But when i have to go to the store and buy a half done game with 5 cds that take an hours to install and then I HAVE to have the CD in the drive, I would rather have a pirated version.

    In fact, I own games that i then download so when i format i can easily reinstall the game and use me legit cd key.

    PS. If steam ever released their sales numbers I think everyone would be shocked how healthy the PC market is.
  • ram1009
    OK, all of you business MBAs out there. If piracy isn't the reason virtually ALL game developers are migrating away from the PC then what is the reason? Before you answer, remember this is a business and your answers must make business sense.
  • turbolover22
    "They need to help us to make sure we can invest on the PC, ...."

    Last time I checked I'm not on your payroll... I don't 'need' to do anything for your company. If you can't produce games that will convince people to pay for them, then maybe you 'need' to do something else.

    Would you like some cheese with that wine?
  • hoofhearted
    If Microsoft were as smart as they used to be.

    They have the ability to do what they did back when they first stole DOS and then Windows.

    Basically control their directx api, but don't force "Windows" on publishers and gamers. Xbox does this, but controls too much of the hardware.

    Come out with a directx os (similar to what xbox is), but let users decide what GPU, CPU and maybe even motherboard go in.

    The directx os would be a hardware component (the dvdrom-drive). The OS would be internal to it.

    You would simply buy this xbox dvdrom drive, put it in your pc, it could probably have a cable that would connect to a pci slot, then all you would do is buy the games, put them in and turn on your pc. Your pc would become an xbox. You decide how much you want to spend on GPU, CPU, etc and the games would just specify min specs.

    This could effectively also "reduce" the piracy factor.