I guess Ubisoft's latest missteps in dealing with PC Gamers did manage one thing, it finally made me write a blog post.
Just to be clear on my stance here. I'm not one to dismiss the severity of piracy on the PC. I'm also not under the opinion that PC Gamers are in anyway entitled to see a given title released on the PC. If a publisher doesn't want to release a game on the PC for whatever reason, that is their choice to make. What I don't understand and what motivated me to write this: How can Ubisoft, one of the worlds larger game publishers, can be so incompetent when it comes to dealing with PC Gamers? And more importantly, how they can be so consistent in their failure to manage their brand and company on PC Games market?
One could be excused for thinking that Ubisoft is making a consistent effort to make 100% sure that no PC Gamer could ever feel happy after buying a Ubisoft game. Every time Ubisoft comes within a mile of the PC Platform they start burning bridges and salting the earth with a speed that would make Attilia the Hun impressed.
- Ubisoft will usually make sure that the game contains at least one form of aggressive DRM that will negatively impact the player experience and enjoyment. Players who pay full price for a Ubisoft game cannot expect to be able to consistently play the game they paid for.
- If Ubisoft is releasing a game on multiple platforms, odds are that the PC Will get their copy a month or so after everyone else got the game, played it, talked about it and then forgot about it again. By the time Ubisoft decides to sell their games to the PC Gamers, those titles are old news and feels more like lurkwarm leftovers rather than the latest greatest games on the market.
- The odds are good that the game will suffer from technical issues, poor compatibility or missing options that are generally considered to be standard for most PC Games. when you buy a Ubisoft game, as a PC Gamer, you cannot feel confident that you've bought a well performing product.
- Ubisoft employees and representatives makes frequent, public statements labeling PC Gamers as thieves and whiners, who are unlikely to actually buy anything. At the same time expressing frustration that their games doesn't seem to sell a lot of copies on the PC.
I'm not saying that piracy is not an issue. I'm not saying that piracy doesn't affect sales. But when it comes to Ubisoft, you cannot even begin to wonder how piracy might affect your sales before you've asked and answered how consistently insulting, mistreating and belittling your customer base might affect your sales. When it comes to selling games on the PC, piracy is the least of Ubisoft's problems at this point, the incompetence of their marketing and PR department is what's causing the real damage.