Crytek, Epic lost billions of dollars because of piracy

Posted by Theo Valich

Zagreb (Croatia) - My former colleague Igor “Iggy” Gajic got the chance to interview Cevat Yerly, co-founder and CEO of Crytek. During the interview, Yerly was keen on keeping the lid of future projects, but he did not refrain himself from stating his views about the current state of PC gaming industry.

Said Yerli, “We are suffering currently from the huge piracy that is encompassing Crysis. We seem to lead the charts in piracy by a large margin, a chart leading that is not desirable. I believe that’s the core problem of PC Gaming, piracy, to the degree [that PC gamers who] pirate games inherently destroy the platform. Similar games on consoles sell factors of 4-5 more. It was a big lesson for us and I believe we won't have PC exclusives as we did with Crysis in future. We are going to support PC, but not exclusive anymore."

This statement confirms the attitude a lot of game developers discussed earlier this year at the 2008 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, CA. We spoke with Mark Rein, VP of Epic Games, and learned that the Unreal Tournament 3 servers received over 40 million attempts at illegitimate access using pirate keys. That number is huge, and the real magnitude comes when you calculate the retail price of $49.99 (59.99 for Collector's Edition).

If those 40 million players actually paid the full price, it would have been nearly $2 billion more in Epic’s pocket book. That is more than the quarterly sales results from Nvidia or AMD. To add another perspective, the government lost out as well, because no sales tax is earned on pirated copies.

When you take into account that Crytek saw similar levels of pirated copies, it is easy to see how big of a deal gaming piracy is. Between two games there were billions of dollars of lost sales. The natural instinct is of course to hit the platform(s) where they can actually earn money, which is looking less and less favorable for PC gaming.

You can read the whole interview here.