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Ubisoft: I Am Alive unlikely to hit PC, sales “not worth it”

Wednesday, 23rd November 2011 15:37 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Ubisoft has seemingly killed off hope that I Am Alive will come to PC.

Stanislas Mettra, creative director at Ubisoft, said he’s heard “loud and clear that PC gamers are bitching” over the fact the game hasn’t had a formal announce for the platform in an interview with IncGamers.

He said: “Are these people just making noise just because there’s no version or because it’s a game they actually want to play? Would they buy it if we made it?”

Even if the demand’s there, there’s still one thing holding back any PC release: the threat of piracy.

“It’s hard because there’s so much piracy and so few people are paying for PC games that we have to precisely weigh it up against the cost of making it,” said Mettra.

“Perhaps it will only take 12 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.”

I Am Alive launches this winter for PSN and Xbox Live Arcade. New shots are here.

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52 Comments

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  1. The Evil Pope

    It’s hard because there’s so much piracy and so few people are paying for PC games that we have to precisely weigh it up against the cost of making it,” said Mettra

    Like piracy doesn’t happen on consoles…

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Optimaximal

    It’s amazing that they peddle that same line constantly. It’s as if some Ubisoft indoctrination process makes them believe it above all other reasons for a games failure on a platform it’s either hastily ported to or heavily compromised on by some awful consumer-unfriendly and broken anti-piracy process.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Gurdil

    He’s not a DA at Ubisoft Shanghai anymore if my information is correct. He’s now full-time lead animator on “I Am Alive”. I can’t stand this guy, he’s so full of it, always trying to act cool while he’s just being a dick really…

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Maximum Payne

    Funny thing ”cost of making it” its like they are going to add DX11,3D,high res textures they would just port from xbox ….yea to much EFFORT!

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Stardog

    Yeah, £500,000-1,000,000 pure profit just isn’t worth it.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. silkvg247

    lol cost of making it indeed, if it’s out on xbox, presumably coded through XNA or similar, they could port it to windows with a few manhours on putting in key configs etc.

    The only reason the PC market is becoming undesirable is because of dicks like this killing it off in the first place.

    If no-name indie games can rake it in on steam, I would imagine a large title from a reputable games company can do it too. Try not putting shit DRM in or making half assed ports.

    WAH WAH piracy, what a load of shit. I’m pretty sure blizzard and EA must piss themselves laughing at such absurd comments, whilst raking in the £££’s from the PC market.

    And yes I am in a bad mood today.. back from the i44 and back at work. BAH.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. GrimRita

    Yet another excuse from a lazy developer. Steam has over 4 million active daily users (not counting those registered and not playing) so this guy is talking out of his arse.

    But importantly, does anyone care about a shoddy port?

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Gurdil

    @silkvg247 Well you might be in a bad mood but your comment is not less valid. That guy IS a dick and his lame-ass reasons for not porting “I Am Alive” to PC don’t make any sense!

    #8 3 years ago
  9. YoungZer0

    I’m a console and PC Gamer, but when the developer has such a disgusting attitude, i’ll probably have to think twice before i support someone like this.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. unacomn

    /looks at Paradox, looks at Minecraft, looks at CD Project, looks at Stardock, looks at Blizzard.

    Totally dude, it’s like mental to release a game on the PC, it’s got these like big things called with buttons and numbers on it, it’s like whooo. They all must be pirates, gnarly dude.

    Point is, if you intend to make a PC game, do it. If not say you won’t, and just specify that you have no clue how the market works and are afraid to try anything different.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Patrick Garratt

    I get a feeling this isn’t going to end well.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. TheBlackHole

    As much as I hate to say it, he’s right.

    Whether you like it or not, PC sales (digital or otherwise) are only really strong on good/indie hit/heavily marketed PC games.

    This game is obviously shit, ergo, he knows it won’t sell well, ergo, it’s not worth the effort.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. DuckOfDestiny

    Guess what shit-face, treat us well and we’ll actually buy your piece of shit. I know right, who’d of thunk it? But if you’re going to give us a shoddy port, with poor optimization and intrusive DRM, we’ll just fucking ignore it.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Gheritt White

    Apart from #11 & #12, literally NONE OF YOU have a fucking clue what you’re talking about.

    Also, #6: You *seriously* think that major third-party full-blown AAA games are made using XNA, i.e. written in C#? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND???

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Gurdil

    @14 Well enlighten us then… How is it that lots of companies make profit on PC Games but Ubisoft couldn’t ever? Is there some kind of curse on them?

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Erthazus

    “Also, #6: You *seriously* think that major third-party full-blown AAA games are made using XNA, i.e. written in C#? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND???”

    Yes. Because there is nothing better than C/C++ for the games for this generation. All games in 95% are made in C+

    Why i say this? Before you will start saying stupid things like “shut up” or “no one likes U” and etc. i learn programming at university and i know console programming in theory at least.

    C/C++ gives developers on old consoles over threading, memory management/access and optimization. Lastly, 5fps on a 30/60 fps game is a lot, not to mention 50 m on a 256/512 mb machines is the best thing there is.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Gurdil

    @Erth actually you’re making his case. C and C++ are used a lot in video games, you’re right about that. But he’s saying C# (which is VERY different from C++) isn’t used for AAA titles and while I don’t have stats to support it, I think he’s actually right on this one…

    #17 3 years ago
  18. blackdreamhunk

    reasons why
    i buy less games these the gaming industry is garbage. After mass effect 3 and guild wars I am done with gaming or be playing a lot less.Oh and ubisoft is a garbage publisher.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Erthazus

    @Gurdil
    Hmm, if thats the case. Than ok i guess.

    but our industry is very slow moving from C+/C++ anyway. It is the best way to do it right now in my opinion.

    also, Ubisoft are assholes.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Gheritt White

    They’re not saying they *couldn’t* – they’re saying they *probably wouldn’t*. If they only sell 50,000 units, they wouldn’t recoup the costs on the development man-hours, nor all the publishing bits (marketing, packaging, supply chain, blah blah blah).

    At I guess, I imagine they’d need to shift *at least* 250,000 units on PC to make it worth their while and given that they’d probably be shipping a month or so after the console launch (realistically), I doubt the market is there for them in the USA, Western Europe and Asia-Pacific. In markets like Eastern Europe and the Near East, piracy makes it a valueless proposition.

    Also, bear in mind this a brand new IP – this isn’t a Batman or even a Half-Life where name recognition would earn it additional sales. We, the “community”, account for fuck-all % of final game sales, so saying “me and all my website-reading friends would buy it!” doesn’t count for shee-yit.

    Even if they released this as a Steam exclusive I doubt it’d be worth their while as then you’re locking out all the people who aren’t on/don’t know about Steam.

    Basically, if Ubisoft thought for an instant they could make their money back then they’d probably do it just for the positive PR hit – lord knows they need to improve their reputation with PC gamers. But they simply can’t afford to make a loss – have you seen how their shares have been performing? Trust me, it’s not been great – not a great investment. This is why they’ve been cranking out AC every year. So, the fact that they’re publicly saying that they don’t think they could make a profit should speak volumes.

    Now, I hope that they change their mind as it looks like a great game and I’m a big platform agnosticist, but I seriously doubt it.

    Make sense?

    #20 3 years ago
  21. xtyler_crx

    How can you be a Creative Director of a company like Ubisoft and denigrate all the pc gamers like these? He’s just throwing torches to it’s own castle… +1 at #1

    He talks like those guys in the music industry complaining about pirace instead of trying to move into a new bussiness model, this kind of people like you guys have no future in our ever-changing technologic world.

    It’s to evolve or to die out there, get over it.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. AHA-Lambda

    if you can’t sell 50,000 units on pc I think it says more about your game than anything else ubi -_-

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Gurdil

    @Erth You’re right, it is. And it’s slow to move away from that because the alternatives are not good enough especially in terms of memory management.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Gheritt White

    @ Erthazus: Firstly, shut up – no-one likes you :)

    Secondly yes, I meant C Sharp, i.e. the foundation of XNA. No game outside of the XBLA indie channel is made in C#, to the best of my knowledge. Things might change in the next gen depending on how managed code frameworks are implemented, but I don’t see that happening.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. DSB

    What he is conveniently failing to mention is the fact that Ubisoft have thrown away more than half of their business by betting on Online Services Platform.

    If they were to somehow admit that those 60% were lost due to their own incompetence, they’d get spanked for wasting investors money on malware that has only served to lose them business.

    It’s much more convenient to blame pirates, as it always has, or apparently the paying PC public as now seems to be the case.

    Granted, with all they’ve done to completely alienate themselves from that audience, I can see why they might be worried.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. Gurdil

    @Gheritt your logic makes sense of course but I don’t think anybody here is extrapolating from “I’d buy it” to “every gamer would buy it”. And I don’t know for sure that their decision to not port it to PC is wrong. What’s shocking is that he blames piracy as if every PC gamer was a pirate. I, for one, know more people who pirate console games than PC games. Of course I can’t say this means PC piracy is nothing but it sure as hell means it’s not the only platform with this problem.
    So, I guess it’s logical they don’t want to risk it with a new IP, but blaming piracy is utter bullshit.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Gheritt White

    @ 22: I’d be very interested to hear your estimates of how much a AAA game sells on PC in comparison to its console counterparts.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. blackdreamhunk

    First gaming Industry is going down hill. Second I blame Microsoft and Sony for pc gaming problems. I don’t buy Sony products no more. I see Sony on it I don’t buy it. The only Microsoft product I buy is windows if there was better operating systems out there I would drop any windows products like I drop Sony products.

    I don’t need to spend any money on the gaming Industry too, it does not hurt me not to buy any any ID software,epic games,crytec games no more.

    After Mass effect 3 I will not be supporting the gaming Industry like I use to. It’s not worth support money hungry jerks. I says let the Industry take a noise dive a few more bankuprt game devs and publishers is a good thing.

    #28 3 years ago
  29. TheBlackHole

    #28

    If you’re not going to invest in the games industry, for the love of god invest in an English lesson.

    …or at the very least use the fabulous spell-check option in that lovely Windows OS you still use.

    #29 3 years ago
  30. AHA-Lambda

    @27 – sorry is I am alive considered AAA? =/

    if it is then sure 50000 is TERRIBLE but I assumed it was a $15 download and had a budget to match. I that realm of game development 50,000 isn’t exactly too taxing is your game is good enough and gets the word of mouth that say a super meat boy, torchlight, trine, limbo or even mincraft.

    I was always under the impression that AAA titles on average did roughly 10% of their LTD on pc compared to consoles (only exception i can think of is battlefield at 30ish%).

    #30 3 years ago
  31. Gheritt White

    @ 30: OMG, I’m so sorry – you’re 100% right. This is a DDL game now, isn’t it? Hmmm… okay, that invalidates quite a lot of what I said in this topic.

    Yes, 10% of LTD sales on PC in comparison to consoles is the rule of thumb by which I was going.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some humble pie to munch…

    #31 3 years ago
  32. mehdidante

    please don’t port this game to pc , we’re not going to buy it cause u know what , this game “not worth it” .

    #32 3 years ago
  33. Yoshi

    @6 Whoopwhoop i44 :P I was there too :D

    Maybe if they actually made this game worth it the PC community would respond in kind. That’s what is so special about the PC users, if they do pirate a game it’s normally just to test it and see how it is then if they did like it they’d buy it.

    #33 3 years ago
  34. Gheritt White

    @ 33: It’s that degree of entitlement that really fucks me off about pirates. I’m sure that saying “I might buy it” is cold comfort to the devs who actually make the game. After all, that’s what demos and trailers are for.

    #34 3 years ago
  35. Yoshi

    @34 Well if PC users were able to rent or have a demo then I’m sure it would be different but the lack of demos and no chance of rentals on PC results in pirating being the way to demo.

    #35 3 years ago
  36. Old MacDonald

    Guys, guys. He’s right, it won’t get many sales on the PC. In fact, I’m sure that if they hadn’t invested tons of money in it already, they’d cancel the console versions too, because frankly: It looks like crap and it won’t sell on ANY platform.

    #36 3 years ago
  37. loki

    Ubisoft, respect
    You finaly start use brains

    #37 3 years ago
  38. Gheritt White

    @35: How about trailers and reviews?

    #38 3 years ago
  39. Yoshi

    @38 In this day and age trailers can be full of false shit and reviews… well have you read any recent reviews? So many fanboys and idiots are doing reviews these days *cough* IGN, Gametrailers, etc *cough*

    #39 3 years ago
  40. Gheritt White

    I think GameTrailers’ reviews are pretty much spot on, actually. That said, I do think it behoves PC game developers to produce a demo.

    #40 3 years ago
  41. LOLshock94

    pc gamers bitching like bitches, the guys got a point even if they did port it yous will still complain about the drm thing (whatever its called)

    #41 3 years ago
  42. silkvg247

    @Gheritt/Erthazus – Calm down boys. Firstly you’re assuming this is a triple A title. Is it? Secondly, I’ve been programming for a good 17 years albeit not in gaming. As it happens I have recently started to write a game, and I’ve opted for XNA 4 seen as it’s fairly simple to write a cross platform Xbox/Windows/Widows phone title and C# is a nice language. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if some games have been written using this at least in part, As for AAA titles I’m not sure and neither are you, so pointless argument.

    As far as I’m aware and from initial research, a game is usually split into a game engine (such as Unity) and you can basically plug in your own code in whatever language you like. Unity and dotnet is entirely possible. I don’t see why XNA wouldn’t be used on top of an engine either, given it’s rather elegant way of joining together three platforms without needing to rewrite code.

    My game is a simple top down 2D RPG, and doesn’t really need a powerful engine. I just use the XNA framework to handle camera, scrolling, sprites etc. Seems just perfect for what I want to do tbh. I’ve read up a bit and it’s also fine to use for 3D games, so not sure what your little tantrum is about.

    I’d like to point out that it’s what you do with the tool rather than the tool itself, and optimisation comes down to quality of coding just as much if not moreso than the actual language. Did you need to define two variables when you could have used one? Shouldn’t that be passed byref to save memory? Why are you looping twice there when you needen’t loop at all? Why aren’t you cleaning up that memory (e.g. a large array) sooner? And so on. An infinite loop is an infinite loop in any language i.e. crap code. ;)

    I’lll level with you – I know and I agree that most games were/are written in C++, and if not, they usually have an underlying engine written in C++. Doesn’t mean things won’t change. Before that they were written in assembler afterall. Frankly you’re living in the past if you think things have to be written in a certain way or using a certain language and I honestly woudln’t be surprised if today’s games are written using a combination of some C++ engine and XNA or similar. It’d be cool if any actual game devs out there could comment on it. :)

    Hell, whilst not the best design choice nor one I agree with, the binding of isaac is uber fun, sold loads.. and was written in flash! You also seem to be forgetting about java; most android games and of course minecraft spring to mind.

    As for most people not knowing what they are talking about. Yes, we’re all deluded, obviously the PC as a gaming platform is a waste of money and/or too risky. It’s not like the companies that actually invest in the platform properly (rather than an afterthought) profit massivley from it, oh no. It’s not like the biggest selling, most profitable, most popular game in history is a PC exclusive either.

    That paragraph was laced with dripping sarcasm in case you missed it! :)

    Ubisoft are giving up on the PC and whilst I don’t blame them given their financial situation, I think they are sorely mistaken if they think piracy is to blame for their failings. One finger pointing forwards, three pointing back, definitely springs to mind here. You need look no further than their ridiculous mistakes with “always online” DRM and more recently, the rather horrendously buggy Settlers 7 (good game potentially, but even on a rock solid system gives graphical glitches).

    Also, their marketting on the PC side of things for games like Assassin’s Creed was virtually non existent. All I ever saw was bad press about DRM, no shiney positive reviews from a port well done.

    #42 3 years ago
  43. DestrucSean

    It seems as if the problem sits right in the middle of this debate. Gheritt White makes an obvious stance on the anti-piracy end of things. This is the mature and correct stance on the matter (not to mention legal.) However, it definitely seems as if Gheritt is blind to some aspects of Ubisoft and piracy. Ubisoft has notoriously brought out highly rated titles that have been dismal on the PC platform. Let’s recap a few key points here.

    1) Ubisoft does a bare minimum port to every single title they bring to the PC.

    2) Ubisoft rarely (if ever?) offers a demo to the PC market (consoles I believe this to be different).

    3) Ubisoft can stop piracy if they took the initiative to create a proper anti piracy system. (Kudos Blizzard)

    4) They reference a 12 man team with 3 months of developer time to port a PC game which sells 50,000 copies. This is a generous number of developers allocated with an equally generous development timeframe just to sell 50,000 copies? Last I checked, blockbuster releases were doing well over 500,000 to 1 million copies (and yes, these games were victim to piracy too). Not worth it? Really?…

    A nearly perfect series called Rainbow Six seems to come to mind here. This series was the pinnacle of tactical shooters with the sales and rewards to prove it. Redstorm Entertainment pioneered this series and kept it going strong, until of course, Ubisoft bought them out. Now the series is completely butchered. Ubisoft’s Montreal team completely ruined the experience. We went from a tactical, mission planning, injury susceptible, 1 shot death, intense video game to a health regeneration, 3rd person camera cover system, 2 player co-op pile of nonsense. Not to mention they didn’t even give us PC gamers a demo. I actually bought this piece of garbage to only find 14 players online the day after release. They butchered that series and others before piracy was an issue (most people didn’t even have broadband yet then).

    Bottom line is that Ubisoft has an on-going reputation of disrespecting the PC market. This is due to the PC users having a high expectation on their experience. Ubisoft lacks the development of a proper anti piracy system and releases sub-par ports from the console titles. They give the user no trial of their existing games either. They have nobody to blame for this issue but themselves

    This is coming from someone who has owned all latest generation consoles and a gaming PC.

    EASTER EGG! If you want to see Ubisoft’s company morals then take a look at this site: http://torrentfreak.com/ubisofts-no-cd-answer-to-drm-080718/ . Here we see Ubisoft taking a cracked EXE file from a game and sending it to the popular download site (DIRECT2DRIVE) for mass production of their downloadable game. Yep, they’re so anti-piracy that they steal the pirated work of the hacker for a downloadable copy!

    #43 3 years ago
  44. Daodan

    Wow. His primary argument for not making the game is because PC gamers are bitching over lack of a release announcement? What the fúck is that?
    Oh, and as an added argument piracy kinda sucks too.
    That’s how he brings it. Jesus what a douche.

    #44 3 years ago
  45. albo88

    i a PC gamer and i don’t really got offended cos this game dint come on PC rofl look at it looks like the very first tech of unreal 3 fucking blurry and shit graphic who need it plus dev have bben switched and now to don’t let the title go cos they have spend money on it they will release on xbl and psn not even in disk so at last they could get what they have invested in it at last seems logic

    #45 3 years ago
  46. DarkElfa

    I’ve never heard of this game and I don’t want to play one of Ubisoft’s shitty, DRM plagued games anyways.

    #46 3 years ago
  47. Gurdil

    @silkvg247 Of course crap code is crap code and a shitty developer will be shitty whatever language he uses. But the choice of the programming language DOES matter. The example that comes to mind is Dofus. Don’t know if you’ve heard of it but it’s a quite popular MMORPG in France. I happen to know its creators and I asked one of them how they got the idea of a turn-based MMO. He confessed that it wasn’t their first choice but seeing as it’s impossible to do real-time with Flex/Flash and it’s the technology they knew the best, they decided to go for it. My point is the choice of a programming language can have tremendous consequences on a game. The problem is the same with AAA SP games. As I said, C# (and Java for that matter) are really not great with memory management. Therefore, if you use it on a AAA game, it can generate lots of problems and will require better hardware to work properly. I hope a new language will emerge and replace C++ in game development but if it’s still so largely used nowadays, it’s cause there’s no better language yet for this exact purpose.

    #47 3 years ago
  48. Gheritt White

    @ Gurdil & silkvg247: It looks like we all agree on the three main points:

    1. Currently, AAA console releases tend to be written in C/C++.

    2. Programming languages of choice have changed over the last 35 years and are likely to do so again in the future.

    3. If high-level programming languages like C# or even Python are to become the new industry standard in videogames programming, then the next generation of consoles will need to be developed taking this into account from the ground up.

    So, we’re cool… right?

    #48 3 years ago
  49. Gurdil

    @Gheritt Yep, seems like we agree :-)

    #49 3 years ago
  50. IL DUCE

    Piracy is far more rampant on PC…PC gamers feel entitled for some reason as the cream of the crop of gamers, at least the console themselves actually attempt to prevent piracy…maybe if the majority of PC gamers stopped biting the hand that fed them every game would come to PC

    Not saying every PC gamer is like this, but its the general consensus that is felt when the majorty of PC players fuck the industry, which hurts the smaller games…the big games have big enough budgets to try to balance those negative effects of making a PC game

    #50 3 years ago
  51. GrimRita

    @50 what a load of bull.

    The reason why pirating isnt so wide spread on the console is because you need a PC to download and burn the game to disc – not every console owner has a PC to do this.

    If they did, I think the outcome would be alot different.

    #51 3 years ago
  52. DSB

    The PC isn’t a DRM platform like the consoles are. I think one thing that people appreciate about PC gaming is the diversity it allows. Obviously “piracy is far more rampant”, because it isn’t a DRM box, and people can do whatever they like on it, but it obviously hasn’t made the games market smaller for anyone.

    The fact is that publishers have and continue to make good business on the PC, but it is an extra expense if you want to use it to it’s full extent. Consoles are far less demanding, and it’s easier to blame piracy for simply wanting to save a buck on everything that’s involved with a PC release, than simply admitting that you’re cheap.

    Even if IL DUCE wants to believe their unfounded accusations, their own earnings reports will easily dismiss any notion of the PC as somehow being less viable than either console from a business perspective. Ubisoft are the only ones that are failing to make money. For obvious reasons to any PC gamer.

    #52 3 years ago