Saturday, November 26th 2011

Ubisoft Developing PC Free-To-Play Ghost Recon Game, Claims Is 'embracing pirates'

Ubisoft, pioneer of the much-hated always-on DRM, is currently developing Ghost Recon: Future Soldier – but only for the console platforms. The PC will instead get the free-to-play ("F2P" in common parlance) Ghost Recon Online, which conversely will not be available for consoles. Ubisoft claims that this is because "95% of our consumers will pirate the game", so they are addressing the needs of this market. Sebastien Arnoult, Ghost Recon Online producer said:
We are giving away most of the content for free because there’s no barrier to entry. To the users that are traditionally playing the game by getting it through Pirate Bay, we said, 'Okay, go ahead guys. This is what you're asking for. We’ve listened to you – we're giving you this experience. It's easy to download, there's no DRM that will pollute your experience.'
Note how Ubisoft are finally admitting that DRM 'pollutes' the experience? No kidding. Arnoult then elaborated on the differences between the business models of the PC and console platforms:
We’re adapting the offer to the PC market. I don't like to compare PC and Xbox boxed products because they have a model on that platform that is clearly meant to be €60's worth of super-Hollywood content. On PC, we’re adapting our model to the demand.
He then explained how they are embracing "piracy":
When we started Ghost Recon Online we were thinking about Ghost Recon: Future Solider; having something ported in the classical way without any deep development, because we know that 95% of our consumers will pirate the game. So we said okay, we have to change our mind.

"We have to adapt, we have to embrace this instead of pushing it away. That's the main reflection behind Ghost Recon Online and the choice we've made to go in this direction.
In other words, they won't bother developing the main single player game for the PC and just give gamers some maps to play online with each other instead, with some added "premium" content that requires payment to access. Not good news for single player gamers, leaving them feeling like second class citizens.

However, not everyone at Ubisoft sees it this way, as Stanislas Mettra, Creative Director of console-exclusive Ubisoft title I Am Alive, believes that the sales numbers on PC simply don't stack up to make a full port from console worthwhile:
Perhaps it will only take twelve guys three months to port the game to PC, it's not a massive cost but it's still a cost. If only 50,000 people buy the game then it's not worth it.
This appears to be the view of the old guard however and it will be interesting to see which view, Arnoult's or Mettra's or yet something else, will prevail in the long run.

One thing is clear however: the DRM-free model of premium product does work, whether it be games, songs or movies, as reported here and here. So, perhaps Ubisoft should concentrate less on worrying about "pirates" and instead give people a reason to buy their products – it's very easy to use "piracy" as a scapegoat for the poor sales of a poor product. Treating their customers like criminals by infesting games with unreasonable, draconian DRM is not the way to give people a reason to buy and many potential customers simply boycott those products due to this DRM.

The official website for Ghost Recon Online is at ghostrecononline.ubi.com and an established Ghost Recon fan site with lots of info on the entire Ghost Recon series is at ghostrecon.netSource: PC Gamer
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93 Comments on Ubisoft Developing PC Free-To-Play Ghost Recon Game, Claims Is 'embracing pirates'

#1
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
W1zzard said:
I doubt DRM has any significant effect on piracy, cracked versions are usually released days within the game's release. and everybody can find them easily nowadays via Google.
Shhhhhh!!!! Don't give them reason to launch a censorship attack at Google. :shadedshu


Kreij said:
This is the first time our fearless leader, and one of the most elite programming gurus I know, has posted something that cause me to actually facepalm.
I'll elaborate. PlayStation and Xbox use PowerPC-based CPUs while Windows uses x86(-64). All instructions given to the CPU have to be looked at in order to make a successful port and that is very time consuming. Add to it the fact that a lot of desktop computers have fewer cores than consoles so code intended to run on 3-10 cores falls flat when trying to run on two cores (albeit more powerful--only one core has to be overburdened for the game to crawl). Then you have to look at all the flexibility in computer hardware with different GPU vendors as well as amount of RAM and VRAM. It is a lot of work to port from console to Windows and also a lot of work to port from Windows to console. Yes, DirectX helps but the problems arise from the very different hardware each platform has.

Edit: Oh, can't forget the limitations of DVD disks on the Xbox so textures have to shrunk down for Xbox and kept relatively large for PC. If not for the disk capacity (like the PS3), for the lack of VRAM.
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#2
Mussels
Moderprator
DaJMasta said:
95% pirated? That doesn't sound accurate at all.
agreed, they made up a number out of their asses to back up their strange decision.
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#3
DannibusX
Does this surprise me? No, not at all. It doesn't look like I'll be spending money on any Ubisoft product after all.
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#4
chinmi
i just regret ever buying ac1, ac2, ac2:b, and also regret to pre-order their latest ac2:r on steam... :mad:
and stupidly, i also have farcry, farcry2, and all prince of persia and all splinter cell and all brother in arms series on steam... :rockout:

damn u ubisoft, you're a stupid stupid game developer, even more stupid then acshitvision... :shadedshu

i'll never buy ubisoft original game again... ever !!! i'll rather join the ridiculous 95% on your stupid researched number.... :banghead:
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#5
Over_Lord
News Editor
and 95% of you guys won't be playing this game for more than a week.
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#6
INSTG8R
Well...I guess it's a fitting nail in the coffin for the Tom Clancy series that it has been reduced to F2P...They have been butchering the legacy of R6 and GR for years now. Might as well end here.

Edit: Ubi your not losing sales to piracy your losing to your poor choices in DRM, your lackluster/poor titles.(the TC series as I mentioned) VERY poor support/patches(MIGHT get lucky and get 1 patch) Your fortunes were made on PC gamers and your obvious failure is to come off with that attitude towards them...
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#7
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
newtekie1 said:
Yes, he is saying there's no DRM to pollute your downloading experience. That is why he uses a comma an not a period. When a comma is used, the second half of the sentence is in relation to the first half. So the experience he is talking about is the downloading he is talking about at the beginning of the sentence.
No he isn't.
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#8
unsmart
I read this as "95% of PC gamers would say are port looks and plays like crap because it was made for a gamepad and a system that has the power of an atom netbook". So they put out a free to play game they don't have to support in any real way, except with adds plastered everywhere.
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#9
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
DrPepper said:
No he isn't.
I have to agree with DP. What is quoted is a run-on sentence (two separate thoughts improperly separated) and there is no way to twist "there's no DRM that will pollute your experience" into anything other than what it says at face value. The subject is "DRM" (noun) and the predicate is "pollute" (verb). Either it was a slip of his tongue (agrees with Ubisoft but something got lost in translation) or his personal feelings leaked out (disagrees with Ubisoft). On the record (as in spinning) there's no way he'd disagree with Ubisoft or he'd be out of a job. As such, he would probably perfer if those words were never spoken.
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#10
Mr McC
qubit said:
So, perhaps Ubisoft should concentrate less on worrying about "pirates" and instead give people a reason to buy their products – it's very easy to use "piracy" as a scapegoat for the poor sales of a poor product. Treating their customers like criminals by infesting games with unreasonable, draconian DRM is not the way to give people a reason to buy and many potential customers simply boycott those products due to this DRM.
Very well put.
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#11
keling
Another of my old time favourite is the MechWarrior series. Extremely happy when they showed the promo video of a mech encountering an Atlas several years back. Even happier they are committed to bring back the old PC classic to its rightful place after the X-Box excursions. I've been waiting for MechWarrior 5 ever since.

Then, several weeks they announced it will be called MechWarrior Online and it will be Free 2 Play.

I was not happy. Now I hear Ghost Recon Online. Even less happier than before.

What's next? "All PC Games Online"?

Unfortunately with Microsoft merging the LIVE service (XBox+Windows) and emphasis on apps for Windows 8, I don't think that's far fetched. The only games that Microsoft had produced specifically for the PC since X Box 360 are Solitaire, Age of Empire Online and Fable 3. There is the planned reboot of Microsoft Flight Simulator but it's also an online game.

Blizzard had gone online with Diablo 3 and and maybe for the rest of Starcraft 2's campaigns. Steam has been toying around with F2P a lot in the past several months. Some shooters have made dedicated clients for their main games like MW3's Elite and BF3's Battlelog. Now, Ubisoft.

Good God....
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#12
digibucc
online is not a problem. internet connection is pretty ubiquitous for gamers, though not entirely. the argument imo is in the required online connection, which for single player games makes no sense - both bf3 and mw3, as well as diablo are largely mp, and so it does make sense for them imo. also, they add value to the experience rather than detract from it, as ubi's software does.

also, it is simply the mentality expressed - pc gamers are pirating bitches, and we don't care to program for them anymore.

... well ok, you're welcome to your opinion. mine is that you make crap games that don't sell, and then blame it on your customers to keep stockholders secure in feeling someone is at fault, other than yourselves. go blow a pole.
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#13
AsRock
TPU addict
When i think about it it's all their own fault their games suck. Going back to GR1 days and UBI promising GR2 which would be called GRAW. And they amped up the people of sites like Ghostrecon.net and tacticalgamer.com. As back in the day Ghostrecon.net was the place to go for information on the new coming title.

And after promise and talks to UBI over and over and UBI saying they will listen to the people they obviously didn't and pissed so many people off.

Now they blame and accuse 95% of possible buyers for their games thief's.

If they did not lie so much though their asses on what they are selling i am sure their profits would be better but i guess they would have to get the buyers trust again too..

I liked the last TC game but waited till it was $5 due to the fact to a lack of trust on what their games are like and the same with Farcry 2 as well.. Sure they were not perfect but both of them could of been much better games if they did not restrict their content and multiplayer.

One thing that's worse than a thief is a lair.

Sorry for rant, pisses me off when they put this BS on the buyer when most of it's their fault.

Things that made GR and Raven so good was the ability to mod and play PvP and COOP and allowing you to make maps and missions for them. But they don't want that they want you to buy a new version of the game yearly.

They should take notice how Bohemia Interactive Studio do it with the modified VB1 engine and release a new version every few years for a x pack partly done with mods made by the community..
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#14
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
AsRock said:
When i think about it it's all their own fault their games suck.
Rubbish man! Remember how this works:

- If the game tanks, it's because it was pirated to hell and back. The game was actually awesome. Didn't you know that?

- If it's a blockbuster, like MW3, then it would have been a way bigger blockbuster had it not been for those horrible, nasty thieving pirates!

- Every download is a lost sale - obviously.

So, it doesn't matter what happens, the games are all awesome and it's always the pirate's fault!!!!

Yeah, this BS royally pisses me off too and it's what we hear all the time from these companies.

/rant
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#15
keling
@[USER=71006]digibucc[/USER]
Thanks for the opinion.

Granted that BF3 and MW3 are inherently mp games but the introduction of Battlelog and Elite do have the potential of evolving into something similar to F2P in the future. I don't mind F2P at times. In fact that I've tried World of Tanks and enjoyed for a while, although I'm a bad tanker. The problem is my fear of seeing PC games in the future all becoming F2P.

Look at the World of Tanks I've mentioned. I enjoyed it for a while but then I felt empty. Surely there's got to be more other than loading a map, shoot tanks/get shot at and wait till the others had their fun, return to the hangar, upgrade and load another map. I would like play some sort of singleplayer campaign, a story perhaps. I know that BF3's campaign was not much to ponder about sometimes there are interesting stories to be had in games.

With GRO they stripped the SP and gave only the MP for the PC for free while the console will get both. It's...weird, especially for a franchise that has SP from the start. I don't want PC gamers to be stereotyped as mp crazed gamers who don't care about a good story (it's bad enough we're called Snobbish Elitists, Bitching Pirates-a good name for a Kung Fu movie though ).

I was playing Batman Arkham City several hours ago and suddenly a Windows LIVE notification appeared on the right top corner telling me that the connection had been lost. No biggie. I was still able to continue playing apart from the brief distraction. I don't think a similar thing can happen to Diablo 3 when it is launched.

Anyway, I'm just not used to the idea of F2P in games that used to have SP in them. It's not fair that one party will received the complete package while the other is given only half (which is not actually half since you will still need to buy some stuff -the other side of F2P-to make it a complete half).

I agree that Ubisoft have been in denial about their games' quality. I've seen the videos for AC2 and first thing in my mind is why are so many buttons to hold and press at the same time just to do the simplest tasks? Arma 2 is buggy and has a steep learning curve but I enjoyed it nonetheless. CD Project went a little further than that. They made Enhanced Editions (merely patches/cumulative service pack but it's the thought that counts) for both Witcher 1 and 2. They treated their customers well and the customers returned the favor.

That's my opinion anyway. Sorry if it jumbled up but I have a problem whenever trying to express myself. Too many ideas, too little creativity for expression.
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#16
OneMoar
There is Always Moar
lol ubisoft whyusosilly
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#17
carloz
uhmmm, UBI Soft.... I almost forgot that this exists.
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#18
kid41212003
I think from the business stand point, it's understandable...

http://www.vgchartz.com/weekly.php?date=40853®=World&date=40860

I was expecting the PC version of BF3 would outsold all other versions, but i'm dead wrong.

PC: ~700k copies

PS3+Xbox360: ~6M

I think most of us know that it's a must to play Skyrim on a PC for mods, but look at this:

http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com/sales-data/49111/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim/

PC: ~555k
Xbox360: ~2M
PS3: 900k
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#19
Mussels
Moderprator
those sales figures likely only count retail copies, online/digital sales wont be included
Posted on Reply
#20
AsRock
TPU addict
qubit said:
Rubbish man! Remember how this works:

- If the game tanks, it's because it was pirated to hell and back. The game was actually awesome. Didn't you know that?

- If it's a blockbuster, like MW3, then it would have been a way bigger blockbuster had it not been for those horrible, nasty thieving pirates!

- Every download is a lost sale - obviously.

So, it doesn't matter what happens, the games are all awesome and it's always the pirate's fault!!!!

Yeah, this BS royally pisses me off too and it's what hear all the time from these companies.

/rant
I should of said all their new games suck.. And their loss of profit partly goes to steam sales and people not trusting them with good hardcore quality games.

But we hear shit about that part huh.

But yes of course it could be any reason but a pirates fault lol
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#21
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
keling said:
What's next? "All PC Games Online"?
That's what Ubisoft tried with Assassin's Creed II and other games that use their always-online DRM (single player games that are forced to require an internet connection just to phone home frequently and attempt to prove you're not a priate)...

This sounds like spin to me. They're insisting they're removing the "DRM" but they are not--they're continuing to use the same model they have deployed previously. What might have changed (to be seen) is that these games no longer have a single player component, only multiplayer. In their sick, twisted minds, they think that makes a difference in what is and isn't DRM. They are wrong. We already see this model in Darkspore.

If this "free online game" requires a user account (which it no doubt will), this is DRM with a tutu. FFS, Ubisoft, call it what it is.


Mussels said:
those sales figures likely only count retail copies, online/digital sales wont be included
And only PC has major downloadable distribution chains (Amazon, Origin, Gamers Gate, Impulse, and Steam to name a few). Most likely a lot of BF3 sales went through Origin because it was the cheapest and the game requires it anyway.

I don't know if we've ever seen the hard facts from the major publishers on combined PC sales. It really can't be as bad as they claim because they still bother to develop for PCs. I'm inclined to believe they have so much invested in DRM that they feel they must keep the lies going in order to justify the past actions.
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#22
keling
@FordGT90Concept

That's what I suspected when Ubisoft first introduced the DRM. It was used around the time Starcraft 2 relying heavily on online servers for most of its components, e.g. ditching LAN. Blizzard has total control of their product and they can evolve it into a F2P powerhouse in the next chapters of Starcraft with Diablo 3 paving away for an inhouse auction/transaction house. Ubisoft wants this kind of control but they released it as DRM first, service later. It was ill-advised move since everyone hates DRM and it'll tarnish any efforts that comes afterward.

What other developers and publishers did is quite the opposite to what Ubisoft had done. They introduced a system (Battlelog, Steam, Elite, Battlenet, etc) and offer the benefits while maintaining a full package in their games and avoid mentioning DRM. Ubisoft gave us a horrendous DRM first, then attempted something like a Ubi passport or something and now gave half a game while being malice when offering the service (the "bitching" comment while offering a "fun" experience) . Their progression of service is wrong and they are being contradictory/dishonest in their offer.

You'd think why PC gamers bitch a lot.
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#23
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
It's uPlay and last time I checked on Settlers 7, there is still parts of it "under construction." Battlelog, Steam, and Battlenet doesn't fool anyone--they're still DRM in sheep clothing.

Most see Battlelog and Battlenet as a necessary evils though in order to keep the online experience cheat/hack free. Online gaming falls apart fast if there is nothing to curb abusive play.

At the same time, Battlelog and Battlenet are used for games that are principally online games (StarCraft II and Battlefied 3). Games like Assassin's Creed II have no multiplayer. Multiplayer-like security on single-player games is what fueled the hatred towards Ubisoft. They're making people do something for the sake of DRM and it offers little in the way of anything good for the player.
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#24
Mussels
Moderprator
FordGT90Concept said:
It's uPlay and last time I checked on Settlers 7, there is still parts of it "under construction." Battlelog, Steam, and Battlenet doesn't fool anyone--they're still DRM in sheep clothing.

Most see Battlelog and Battlenet as a necessary evils though in order to keep the online experience cheat/hack free. Online gaming falls apart fast if there is nothing to curb abusive play.

At the same time, Battlelog and Battlenet are used for games that are principally online games (StarCraft II and Battlefied 3). Games like Assassin's Creed II have no multiplayer. Multiplayer-like security on single-player games is what fueled the hatred towards Ubisoft. They're making people do something for the sake of DRM and it offers little in the way of anything good for the player.
all of those you listed except for ubisoft, actually have DRM with benefits - cheaper prices, friends lists, voice chat, etc.


ubi just has horrible DRM with no upside to it.
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#25
MatTheCat
newtekie1 said:
I hardly think that is what they were saying there. I think they were saying it pollutes the experience of getting it by pirating it. I know I've run into plenty of games that released an update that broke the crack, that pollutes the experience for pirates. No DRM removes that pollution.

However, I think they should still sell it and charge for it. Just to prove that sales will be in the absolute tank if a AAA title is released without DRM.
Well....

.....i saw Anno 2070 on sale for 20 quid just the other day. I was just about to buy it (for my gf who loves all that shit) when I spotted the Ubisoft logo and remembered about there always on internet DRM and thought to myself, "naw f**k that, this sounds like a job for nzbsrus".

So there is a tale of at least one pirate who would have bought if not for the DRM.
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