Ubisoft claims 95% PC piracy rate, F2P just as profitable
Publisher throws some huge numbers around illegal downloads
Posted by Alex 'SpectralShock' V on Aug 22, 2012 - 12:43pm EST (273 days ago)
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has told GamesIndustry International that the percentage of paying players is the same for free to play as it is for PC boxed product. That number is around five to seven per cent - which means that the piracy rate is 93-95% for Ubisoft's games.
Speaking at Gamescom, Guillemot revealed that free to play has been an effective way for Ubisoft to market product to territories in which PC gaming had been so badly affected by piracy that profit was impossible.
"We want to develop the PC market quite a lot and F2P is really the way to do it. The advantage of F2P is that we can get revenue from countries where we couldn't previously - places where our products were played but not bought. Now with F2P we gain revenue, which helps brands last longer. On PC it's only around five to seven per cent of the players who pay for F2P, but normally on PC it's only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated," said the CEO.
"It's around a 93-95 per cent piracy rate, so it ends up at about the same percentage. The revenue we get from the people who play is more long term, so we can continue to bring content."
This isn't the first time the publisher has said they are unhappy with the PC sales. Though their treatment of the platform hasn't been clean either - PC versions are usually delayed beyond console releases, and the infamous always-online DRM system hasn't exactly been popular.
There are, of course, no sources behind this huge piracy number. Nobody went out to Torrent sites to collect some download statistics or check how many bad UPlay authentication attempts have been made. But we'll let that slide.
Instead, let's do some math for a moment. Financial reports from last year have a nice breakdown by platform, putting Ubisoft's PC sales at around 10% of total. Going by their earnings so far in 2012, 10% of €131 million is about €1.3 million of PC sales. With these apparent piracy numbers, Ubisoft would have us believe their potential sales are €187 million on PC alone - that's higher than all other platforms combined.
In terms of unit sales, it seems there are approximately 32.4k PC games sold in Q1. Given the piracy rate, that would put 430k illegal copies floating around on the street.
Seems like a stretch.