Piracy has taken a hefty toll on Ubisoft, according to company head Yves Guillemot, but the developer and publisher say they are hard at work on a tool that should help reduce the negative impact.
"Altogether on console, the piracy is low," Guillemot said. "On the PC the piracy is quite a lot. We are working on a tool that would allow us to decrease that on the PC starting next year and probably one game this year."
Guillemot didn't say what that solution would be, but it since he talked about it as if it were a new tool and not an existing form of digital rights management, like SecuRom, it stands to reason that it may be an internal solution.
The topic of piracy came up during Ubisoft's quarterly earnings call after Guillemot pointed to it as part of the reason that their DS games haven't been selling well.
He said that piracy on Nintendo's DS is strong, though oddly not as bad on the DSi, and that the company has learned that they can reduce the impact of illegal copies of the game by including physical extras like figurines, with their titles.
The increase in piracy on the DS started in Spain, Guillemot said, where they say "sales going down at a very strong level" last year. That then seemed to move to other countries this year, increasing the most after the month of March with continued impact this summer.
"We see it coming country by country." he said. "We see when we put other things with the product (people) go and buy the game. We need to make sure that the value is better when they buy the box then when they download (the game) from the Internet."
Guillemot said that Ubisoft is working on the problem both internally and with Nintendo's help.
"Nintendo has been able to slow down piracy a lot in Japan," he said. "They are now putting pressure to make sure it decreases in many other countries. We think we will be able to solve this matter."
Ubiosoft was so concerned with piracy on the Playstation Portable they started to retreat from that platform, Guillemot said. But there are now "new ways to control piracy" on the PSP, he said, and the company is reinvesting in the platform.