Dear Capcom, pull your head out of your ass
It’s beginning to look like the PC version of Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition is going to be a worse investment than setting your wallet on fire.
The original SFIV was cancelled on PC due to piracy concerns. I don’t even understand that – isn’t the draw for this game fighting other people? Developers have come up with reliable ways to prevent pirated versions of games from going multiplayer for decades now. But Capcom, determined to apply a solution in face of a problem they don’t even really have, has basically guaranteed that pirating SFIV:AE will get you a better game than buying it.
First, make the assumption that if you’re pirating SFIV, you don’t care much about getting online, this being a fairly common restriction on pirated games. So if you pirate SFIV and you have an internet problem or Capcom’s servers go down, you get the following features that paying customers don’t:
- You can continue your game! Paying customers get kicked out without saving.
- Your challenge mode works like always! Paying customers lose the ability to save progress in challenge mode.
- You can change your settings! Paying customers can’t save their settings changes.
- You can play dress-up! Paying customers lose access to cosmetic DLC while offline.
- You can play with all 39 characters. Paying customers? Only fifteen.
That’s an impressively broken game. But here’s a good question. Why bother at all?
Recently, Lionhead has come out and said that second-hand game sales cost them more than piracy. I’ve long suspected this to be the case for a while, but it’s interesting to see a publisher come out and say it. Given this, wouldn’t it make more sense for Capcom to try to make money from second-hand sales instead of battling uphill against pirates? And come on, Street Fighter is the perfect game for this. Check it:
You buy SFIV:AE for $10. That’s right. Ten dollars. Cheap, simple, easy. (Knock on: So cheap that it may tempt some pirates to buy it.) However, this is only the single-player version of the game. Most people are buying this game for the multiplayer anyway, which you sell a key for direct from your website for $30. The benefits are enormous:
- From customers who would have paid you anyway, you make the same $40 you would have charged at retail.
- From pirates who only want to play single player, you make the same $0. But you can’t stop that anyway.
- From pirates who want to play multiplayer, you make $30 instead of $0!
- From second-hand buyers who want to play multiplayer, you make another $30 instead of $0!
You’ve now converted some pirates to paying customers, and recovered most of the money you lose on second-hand sales. What do you think Capcom?
Wait, what are you doing? Why are you selling the retail version for less than the digital version?
Didn’t you listen to a thing I just said?