Ubisoft: PC piracy rate around 95%, F2P is the way forward

Wednesday, 22nd August 2012 09:54 GMT By Dave Cook

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has stated that the amount of players paying for F2P microstransaction content is the same as those paying for full PC titles. Guillemot also stresses that free-to-play titles are an ideal anti-piracy solution for the publisher, stating that 95% of people playing its titles aren’t playing them legally.

In an interview with, Guillemot explained, “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,” Guillemot continued, “but normally on PC it’s only about five to seven per cent who pay anyway, the rest is pirated”

“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.”

Although Guillemot was quick to sing the praises of F2P, he warned that it is not precisely the future, not with new consoles on the horizon. He stressed that Ubisoft and others need to remain cautious with this ever-evolving market.

You can read the full interview here.



  1. GrimRita

    WOW! I have never read such bollocks in my life. Give it up Ubi. Just admit you are too stupid to develop a decent PC game without making a shoddy port. Give it up, you wont be missed on the format.

    If you claim piracy is 95%, check out Steam as those stats will claim otherwise.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Gurdil

    Where do those numbers come from?!? Does anybody actually believe this stupid statement? There are lots of reasons that can validate a F2P model. Hell, even piracy could be one of them (a stupid one, but still). But 95% piracy? There’s just no way, cut the BS Guillemot!

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Kalain

    If it was 95% piracy rate, then most of the worlds developers would be out of business along with most of the publishers as well. What a load of utter bullshit he’s spouting. But, then again, we all should be use to the Piracy whine from publishers/developers when a game they’ve baldy ported a game to the pc and it doesn’t sell well…

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Fin

    Fucking hell you people are cynics.

    Not matter what certain people say (EA, Bioware, Activision, Blizzard, Ubisoft, Codemasters recently), you’ll turn right around and call them liars, despite you not having a fucking clue where they get their information. How the fuck is anyone meant to actually run a business with people like you as consumers.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. roadkill

    Ubisoft! Each day more clueless than the one before..

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Strawb

    Regardless of where the information comes from, 95% is just a stupidly high number. The number of people who play Ubisoft titles through Steam alone would account for much more than 5-7%.

    Maybe they have some kind of information that tells them that for 1 or two games, the majority of people play it illegally. But that doesn’t give him the freedom to say that that’s the case for all their titles.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. GrimRita

    @4 I dont think they know where their ‘information’ comes from. Until they have hard facts, its just more pointless hot air.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Kalain


    Where do these numbers come from? I can guarantee that they looked at one small corner of the world and decided to tar everyone with the same brush.

    Also, it has been proved that Piracy really isn’t hurting the PC games market that much. If it was, then why are we seeing a Year on Year increase in revenues for PC gaming? Why is PC gaming worth more than ALL the console put together?

    Companies will make more money if they stop spouting rubbish like this and tar’ing everyone as a pirate.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Yoshi

    Funny thing is you’re saying we don’t know where they got their info from well I don’t think Ubi did either with them spouting that utter rubbish XD

    #9 2 years ago
  10. NeoSquall

    Meanwhile in southern Italy, one of the most infamous western piracy hubs, a man stares at his little stack of recently purchased PC games (SW KotOR 2, unbelievably found in a GameStop out of the blue, GW: Eye of the North and Sleeping Dogs, both from Amazon UK) and then looks up at the shelf where his Master Assassin Ezio from AC2 and the Assassins Chest from AC: Brotherhood sit among other limited editions’ “swag” and thinks to himself “What a huge load of bulls-”

    #10 2 years ago
  11. smoke.tetsu

    Right, 95% piracy on the PC. That’s why more and more studios are bringing their games to the PC all the time. Maybe everyone is just becoming philanthropists donating their games to the PC charity crowd. Excuse me while I go laugh.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. KrazyKraut

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Wertisdk

    That’s an insult to all of us who are spending a small fortune on PC games. Actually it’s an insult to everyone who are playing games or are in the games industry.
    I wonder if they actually believe all the stuff they are saying about piracy?

    Go die somewhere in silence Ubisoft :(

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Sadismek

    I know that in my country the piracy rate is about that level. I think I can count on my fingers my friends who’ve probably bought a game in their life.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. silkvg247

    I wouldn’t be surprised if 95% people did pirate Ubisoft games given their shit DRM.

    Other games though they’d be happy to buy, e.g. majority of steam stuff.

    I own two recent (legit) ubi titles, and the DRM is just ridiculous. It logs me out of settlers if I lose conn? WTF. Also their download speeds for patches are terrible.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Sadismek

    @silk I can’t actually say if they’ve implemented this for every other game in their catalogue, but once you register Assassin’s Creed: Revelation in uPlay or what the hell it’s called, you can play it afterwards even without an internet connection. I think they call it “one-time registration”? It’s pretty ok.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. viralshag

    I can’t say I’ve ever had a problem with Ubisoft games on the PC. Certainly not with the DRM anyway and no more than other PC games in general.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Christopher Jack

    I know people who wouldn’t even still a piece of candy from a grocery store but have no issues pirating movies, music & video games. I don’t think fighting piracy is going help much either. Some brick headed people see it as a war or challenge & are all too eager to counter them.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. mad1723

    The problem with Guillemot’s logic is that he is assuming that 95% piracy is 95% of lost sales, which it isn’t. Most of these players wouldn’t have bought it in the first place. And he’s also assuming that of the, let’s say 50M PC gamers, all of them will technically buy the game. And most PC gamers don’t like Ubisoft and their way of treating PC, hence the piracy for most of their titles using their aggressive DRM.

    So, yes, piracy is a problem and is something that should stop, but for it to stop, they should take Steam’s approach instead of limiting legitimate players’ access to their games if they have a hiccup in their connection and instead use SteamWorks for example, which gives you a lot of value for your money. That way, I don’t mind Steam is a big DRM, because at least it gives me a lot of advantages!

    #19 2 years ago
  20. voxelman

    So are they admitting their always on DRM did nothing to prevent piracy now? What happened to it working great Ubisoft?

    It’s clear he pulled the number out of his arse. If we use Crysis for example which sold 3.5m on PC according to Crytek, with 95% piracy that would mean that 70+ million people pirated the game… That is just crazy talk. Or to use a Ubisoft example the Anno series has sold well over 5 million copies (that number is 4 years old and there have been 2 games since) that would mean that over 95 million people have pirated an Anno game… Think about that for a second, the Wii for context has sold ~95 million units.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. DrDamn

    If you have an average piracy rate then you can’t then apply that to individual titles and draw conclusions like that. That’s not how it works.

    General point. I don’t think a lot of you really grasp the global nature of this either. See @14 for example.

    I agree with @19 that a 95% piracy is not 95% lost sales – I’m not sure where Guillemot making this jump in the article though. The stat is interesting when linked in to the F2P model.

    The stat he is using is obviously going to be one calculated using the most beneficial one to support his position, but no one is actually coming back here with any other statistics are they? Anyone actually have access to real cold hard data and not anecdotal, I reckon-like stats here?

    #21 2 years ago
  22. mad1723

    @21 He’s not making the statement that these are lost sales, but if we treat ourselves a bit to the way this guy thinks by reading previous statements (which I unfortunately don’t have handy), it’s most probably the way he sees things.

    The problem you are creating here is that you say we have to agree with data that seems most likely made up or greatly exaggerated because we don’t have data on our end to counter him. The thing is, pure logic tells us 95% is most likely a made-up number or an edge case in a specific region where the games are not available or too expensive for people who play the game to afford.

    People tend to be allergic to bullshit and this news has created an enormous allergic reaction across the internet.

    Oh, and I don’t claim that piracy is not a problem, but I’m not part of the problem. All my games in the last 6 years have been legitimately bought, ever since I got Steam… Because Steam gives me a DRM that is disguised in a beautiful babydoll and syrup and wants to treat me well… Meanwhile Ubisoft has a ball-gag and spikey bats and I don’t want that in any way, shape or form.

    That’s the problem I have with Ubisoft and the way they are treating PC customers, by having bad ports (Ghost Recon Future Soldier), bad DRM (Anno, Driver, Heroes, HAWX all were unaccesible during the server switch) and just stupid business decisions (AC3 once again is delayed to another 2 weeks after consoles because reasons). That is why I hate Ubisoft, but I still buy certain of their games, when they go on sale… ON STEAM!

    #22 2 years ago
  23. freedoms_stain

    If this number is true I’ll eat a pie made from my own public hairs and nuggets of dog poop.

    If that figure is anything like true then it’s a fluff figure that includes piracy from countries where the games are not actually released and markets who don’t see localised releases for months/years after Western and Japanese releases.

    On top of that I’ve never seen piracy estimate figures from anti-piracy lobbyists that didn’t rely on incredibly flawed data gathering techniques or fanciful maths to ridiculously over-inflate the problem.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Christopher Jack

    @23, Where did you obtain these ‘public’ hairs? :P

    #24 2 years ago
  25. jacobvandy

    Well then, perhaps they should have more $1 sales. Because that’s about as much as their PC games are worth to a lot of people.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. crossmr

    You know VG247 at some point you become responsible for the crap you print. If you’re going to let these individuals spout off at the mouth and obviously lie to you with no accountability to your readers it will make you just as culpable as them.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. DrDamn

    “The thing is, pure logic tells us 95% is most likely a made-up number”

    Yet no one has actually said what this logic is. Obviously a bit more detail on how the figure is calculated would be helpful, but there are ways to look at it which might make the number valid in some contexts. E.g. China must be a huge market, 20% of the world’s population live there. It only needs the piracy rate there to be exceptionally high for the overall numbers to be skewed.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. DrDamn

    You actually have difficulty distinguishing reporting of news and the views of the site itself?

    #28 2 years ago
  29. traumafox

    This is what French people actually believe.

    It sounds like he initially made up that number for how many people pay for content in F2P games, then realized how abysmal it sounded and quickly tried to justify it by saying piracy made up the rest of the percentage.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. DrDamn

    Errr, if y’all are pirating f2p games then there really is no hope. The point was that he claims percentages paying for games are similar to percentages paying for content in f2p. Hence a shift to f2p – and away from DRM. Which you’d think most of you would welcome regardless of the way he’s defining his numbers.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. absolutezero

    I would welcome a move from DRM to F2P if I actually thought they would drop the DRM aswell. Sadly I think UPlay is going to be hanging around for awhile and all the Ubi F2P games will require it. So yeah pirating F2P games then.

    Is there actually a F2P single player title?

    #31 2 years ago
  32. DSB


    Man, Ubisoft must be having a hard time explaining to investors how they’ve lost half their business on the PC, while everybody else has doubled theirs.

    Cause and effect, Ubisoft. If it were actually true that 95% of people were playing your games illegally (which it isn’t) you’ve earned every single one of them.

    Judging from other publishers, the PC has now become the most profitable platform in the business. The fact that Ubisoft have lost more than 60% of their business on the PC makes them look like amateurs, who don’t know what they’re doing.

    And that’s kinda hard to find an excuse for, since they quite obviously are amateurs, who don’t know what they’re doing.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. RyuRanX

    1. PC version delays
    2. Effortless ports
    3. Streamlined titles (latest Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell)
    4. Intrusive DRM

    And it’s PC gamers’ fault…

    Why doesn’t Ubisoft realize it’s their fault their games are not selling on the platform? It’s wrong saying PC gamers are thieves while they are willing to donate/help a lot of independent developers through crowd-sourced projects.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Toopsie

    I have never ONCE seen Ubisoft explain how they get these retarded piracy statistics besides “oh we have special software that tracks how many times all the torrents etc. on the Internet are downloaded” No, get lost. Anybody with even a moderate understanding of computers knows that is complete rubbish and not possible.

    I’m sure the FBI would also be knocking on your door asking for that kind of software as well since it would really help them fight piracy. But of course we all know that kind of software doesn’t exist.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. OlderGamer

    On PC you have piracy. On consoles you have second hand sales.

    Both are symptons of the same problem: High prices for new games.

    And, I think in both cases pubs want to retain control over their ips(including pricing). And in both cases that control is threatened. I think second hand sales are an actual threat. because they are tangible, can be measured, and are purchased inplace of a new copy. I don’t believe that Piracy is the problem that pubs make it out to be. They over exagerate its impact in order to funnel players into store fronts(see DiabloIII) with DRM.

    Also when you look at piracy, you have to wonder if the player pirating would have bought the game to begin with or were they just grabing a copy because it was “free”?

    In the end I think it 100% has to do with control and the threat of lost sales.

    But 95%? I really doubt it. Really really really doubt it. Steam wouldn’t be in bizz if it was that high. Hell no one would be. And PC gaming is one of the only game markets that have been experiencing steady growth.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. Cobra951

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if 95% people did pirate Ubisoft games given their shit DRM.”

    This. The only way I would ever play games with that scheme is piracy, and I don’t pirate. Hence, I don’t play their PC games, period.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. DSB

    The thing is, piracy data is often circumstancial and incomplete. Publisher earnings aren’t.

    Ubisoft is the only publisher on the market who has managed to lose money on the PC, and the major drop coincided precisely with the launch of Ubisoft Online Services Platform (now uPlay).

    So given that the market is obviously hugely profitable, and certainly a succes for every other publisher, it begs the question why pirates apparently only pirate 95% of Ubisofts games (if we play along with that fairytale) and why it would even matter, when the market is not only healthy in spite of that, but actually thriving, and earning huge profits for everyone else.

    Even Ubisofts own actions serve to undermine their fable. Why spend money on a client? None of those stop pirates, all uPlay did was scare the customers away. The purpose of a proprietary client for a publisher is the 100% margin.

    So obviously Ubisoft wants that money, but they’re too arrogant to admit when they’re wrong, and they’re apparently hellbent on supporting a bad strategy, so this is the kind of misdirect they throw out.

    Instead of aknowledging their own incompetence, they start telling fairytales. Why anyone would invest in a company like that is beyond me.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. DuckOfDestiny


    There must be a lot of fucking PC gamers then.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. FrankieDF

    This is not indicative of the pc game market as a whole.

    Ubisoft is a special case because their DRM is EXTREME. When they started using their extreme drm they instantly saw the piracy for their games spike and NEVER made the connection.

    Hell, the only ubisoft game I bought recently repeatedly disabled itself as part of its drm so the only way I could play it was constant reinstallation or to download a crack.

    #39 2 years ago

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