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Leaks could force console-only Crysis 3

Industry hits out at Crysis 2, Killzone 3 piracy.

The game industry has reacted angrily to the leaks of two of 2011's most anticipated shooters: Crysis 2 and Killzone 3.

Over the weekend a near complete build of the PC version of Crysis 2, complete with multiplayer, hit Torrent sites. Reports then came in that the final version of Killzone 3 was online.

German developer Crytek this morning moved to reassure gamers of its commitment to the PC despite the Crysis 2 leak, but Gamers' Voice, the UK gamer pressure group, said it would not be surprised to see a third game in the science fiction shooter series launch as a console exclusive.

"It's hard to understand the reasoning behind video game piracy or the justification by those that do so," chairman Paul Gibson told Eurogamer.

"They might get a game for free, or early, but ultimately they are damaging the industry and hurting all the legitimate gamers who purchase copies.

"Consumers don't like DRM as it seems to only cause problems but publishers will continue to include it if pirates continue to steal their games. By doing this piracy hurts the gamer as much as any developer or publisher.

"The industry only makes money from game sales; losing these sales to piracy ultimately means no more games for us. We can already see this in the PC market and it would not be surprising to see Crysis 3 released for consoles only after this latest leak.

"We condemn all forms of video games piracy; there is no excuse for it. But we hope that publishers look for ways to fight piracy without harming those who legitimately purchase a game."

The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) added its voice to the universal condemnation of the leaks, saying piracy "poses a very real threat to the UK's games industry".

"The differences between a successful game and an unsuccessful game can be small and interactive entertainment businesses can go out of business off the back of poor sales of just one product," director general Michael Rawlinson told Eurogamer. "If these sales are affected by piracy it could mean job losses and fewer new games for consumers to enjoy."

UKIE recently claimed that for every one game sold at retail four are pirated - an estimate based on information received from "a number of publishers".

UKIE failed, however, to reveal which console formats were included in its estimates, or whether PC games were included.

In truth, the true impact of piracy on game sales is unknown. But publishers and developers are united in their belief that it is harmful.

Crytek and EA issued a joint statement condemning Crysis 2's availability to download online, although Guerrilla and Sony are yet to comment on the Killzone 3 leak.

"Piracy continues to damage the PC packaged goods market and the PC development community," the duo said.

Nicholas Lovell, author of How to Publish a Game, said the leaks force publishers to consider alternative ways to sell their games.

"In an online, connected world, making one more copy of a game is trivially easy," he told Eurogamer.

"Building games that rely on a combination of DRM and copyright law will get ever tougher as broadband gets faster, competitive pressures drive down prices towards zero and, yes, many consumers conclude that when it costs nothing to make one more copy, it's hard to justify spending money on that copy.

"There are many successful, alternative business models to charging $50 for a game. These leaks only hasten the day when all publishers have to adopt them."