CD Projekt RED co-founder talks fighting videogame piracy with kindness | PCGamesN

CD Projekt RED co-founder talks fighting videogame piracy with kindness

The Witcher 3

CD Projekt RED have long been known as the 'good guys' of game development, giving out generous helpings of free DLC and making their expansions almost worthy of a game of their own. Even CD Projekt's digital distribution platform, GOG, does things a little differently, offering DRM-free games that you can install on whatever computer you wish. In a recent interview, the company explain the thought processes behind this approach. 

Related: The Witcher 3 has a lot of sex in it, but not as much as our list of the best sex games

Marcin Iwiński, co-founder of GOG and development studio CD Projekt RED,spoke late last month at infoShare 2016 about the issue of piracy and how the company tackles the problem. 

"We released [The Witcher 3] without any copy protection," Iwiński says, via Kotaku. "So, on day one, you could download the game from GOG, and give it to a friend (enemy as well)... and still we sold near to ten-million units across all three platforms. But the piracy factor was irrelevant, because we cannot force people to buy things. We can only convince them to do it.

"We totally believe in the carrot, not in the stick... I’ve seen many times, comments [that say] ‘Hey, I couldn’t afford the game when it was full price, but these guys are so fair, and they were never against us. They were always trying to do good, add a lot of value, give free DLC, give free content, that I bought the game from them when it was mid-price.’

"[In] lower income countries, people just cannot afford a $50 game. So maybe our price-point offering in a certain country wasn’t right. For example, we have lower prices in Russia. And there is many cases like that."

Iwiński says they'd rather convince people to buy the game if they can afford it. Obviously CD Projekt RED don't like it when someone steals their game, but they would rather get people on their side than put them in jail. They've found that this approach has led to people on forums chastising anyone who's looking for a torrent of the game.

"Funnily enough, the more we proceed this way, the more we see them again on forums and Reddit and whatnot, we see that there is a guy saying ‘hey where can I download Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from?’ And then there is 10 people bashing them, ‘Oh you fucko, do not download the game. These guys are fair, they’re the only fair guys in the industry. You should go and buy it’," Iwiński continues.

"And so, I’m not sure if this guy will buy it or find this link, but still, it’s a very positive attitude and it’s excellent word of mouth."

Listen to the full interview in the following video from the 14:30 mark:

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Aever avatarAnAuldWolf avatarJMiles2 avatar
Aever Avatar
1 Year ago

Honestly, every big company should pay attention to this guy, because what he's saying make a lot of sense. And the success of the Witcher games makes him right.

AnAuldWolf Avatar
1 Year ago

There's only two groups of people who pirate. Those who have such low income they couldn't afford games even in Steam sales, and those who're so well off that pirating is a thrill. Why do I say this? Pirating carries too much risk. Let's say you're not well off, a bit of malware could help trash your shiny, new computer. It's not a risk you want to take, because it means you're gambling a LOT of money away.

But if you're on an old computer and you can't afford new games either which way, and you're bored out of our mind, or if you're rich enough to replace wrecked computers, then piracy becomes an option.

That's why piracy can't necessarily be fought. Rich scumbags (who're the real pirates) will just wait for cracks and follow along after them. They won't buy games much unless they have to because pirating gives them such a thrill, but they account for less than 1 per cent of lost sales (few are that well off).

The rest of the 'lost sales' aren't lost sales because, as I said, those who aren't well off won't be able to buy anyway, not even in Steam sales. And those who can just about afford Steam sales will have the pride of the poor and will wait (hello, that's me).

I'd honestly like to see what the actual success rate is of Denuvo on a game that supposedly would have been hit hard. Did the latest Tomb Raider, for example, sell as well as Deus Ex: Human Revolution thanks to Denuvo?

This is why I view Denuvo as fraudsters who're selling a lie. All that does is make games even more expensive which pushes them further out of the reach of the poor. Which means less people will buy them, and less will buy them in Steam sales.

It's an idiot's quest. It's tilting at windmills.

All CD Projekt RED are doing even is ensuring that people who can afford their game (who never pirated it in the first place) will pick it up in a Steam sale due to the ongoing support. Same for Paradox. They too their horn, but I think they know as well as I do that sustained sales have nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with intelligent support.

Look at Battleborn, down to 500 players concurrently. Why? They wouldn't listen to their community regarding the PvE issues that needed to be fixed and how bad PvP balancing was wrecking PvE. So they lost the people playing their game, apparently thousands of thousands of people who were playing PvE up until they left after being made to feel worse than second class citizens. That's what causes lost sales, because they'll then go on to warn others that the experience is bad, and they'll have very real reasons to share.

JMiles2 Avatar
1 Year ago

You sound like a pirate who tries to justify his own actions with all that bitching about Denuvo. Is Denuvo giving you a hard time to get all the latest and greatest for free....