Recently TorrentFreak released some info that showed Crysis 2 was the most pirated game of 2011. First, I’m glad that EA or Crytek hasn’t jumped out of the rafters stating this as proof of piracy hurting the industry; that’s probably because Crysis 2 sold more than 2 million units before May 4th, 2011. But even with sales success of Crysis 2, do you wonder why it was pirated so much? Of course you have people who weren’t going to buy it anyway, but what about those who aren’t opposed to buying games? I have a theory.
The first Crysis was pretty popular. By May 2010 it had sold over 3 million units, making it one of the best-selling PC games of all time. But just because it sold well doesn’t mean it was one of the best PC games of all time. The biggest draw for Crysis was the outstanding visuals; probably its top reason for selling so well. Besides that though, I would give it a C+ at best.
Once you got past the pretty graphics the gameplay was pretty “meh.” The novelty of the Nanosuit wore off pretty quickly. After that you are left with mediocre AI that led to boring gunplay, repeat combat scenarios, less than average voice acting, and an “alright” story. On top of those things you had a multitude of game breaking bugs and performance issues even on top hardware. At the end of the day it wasn’t the best game.
My theory is that Crysis 2 was pirated so much because a lot of people felt scorned by the original Crysis. I know personally I waited to get Crysis 2 because, based on my experience with the first Crysis, I didn’t think Crysis 2 would be worth the full retail price. To my surprise, however, I absolutely loved Crysis 2. It definitely exceeded my expectations and is one of my favorite games from 2011. But how was I supposed to know that? A lot of gamers ignore marketing propaganda and even reviews, especially if we have past experiences with a series.
I hope the takeaway from these statistics isn’t that pirates are all cheap SOBs that don’t want to pay for anything, but instead that releasing a mediocre, bug-filled game can erode consumer confidence. Instead of pushing a broken game out, it may be better if they took the extra time to shake those bugs and work out kinks in gameplay dynamics. Devs and publishers need to think about how their current game will affect future sales of that series as well as the possible effect on the developer’s reputation. Could my theory be wrong? Of course, it’s a theory. But from the perspective of someone who was once a pirate turned legitimate consumer, I can definitely see the correlation between series reputation and piracy.
What do you think? Is Crytek partially responsible for Crysis 2’s piracy numbers? Or is the PC gaming community just cheap evil trolls?