The Witcher 2 Pirated "Roughly 4.5 Million" Times, Says Dev

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poiumty:

Kopikatsu:

Anyway, why is it a large assumption? By taking the time and space on their harddrive to pirate the game, they've obviously shown an interest in the game. Most people could find more than a penny's worth of money after searching for 30 seconds. (Hint: Check the couch)

But downloading the game from their servers would cost CD Projekt more than a penny, so it would still be a net loss for them. It's the Humble Indie Bundle situation all over again.

That's why you can't think in those terms. Most people pirate because it's fast, it's easy, it's accessible and they don't have to go through any sort of channels to give money out of their own wallet. If there was this magical way to subtract a penny (transaction cost-free) from everyone who pirated the game and put it in the developers' pocket, then maybe you'd have a point.

I didn't mean they should charge a penny. I was just putting the sheer volume of it into perspective.

Kopikatsu:

To be fair, it's not like they can ask the internet 'If you've pirated our game, and be honest now, please fill out this survey.'

Still doesn't validate the numbers at all. It just makes it dumber to make the estimate.

Anyway, why is it a large assumption? By taking the time and space on their harddrive to pirate the game, they've obviously shown an interest in the game. Most people could find more than a penny's worth of money after searching for 30 seconds. (Hint: Check the couch)

Look at the number of torrents for the Humble Indie Bundle games, were you COULD pay a penny.

Oh, darn. There goes that argument.

Besides, even if you want to play the 'Most pirates wouldn't pay for it anyway' card, only 750 of those hypothetical 4,500,000 people would have had to buy the game at full price in order to make the same amount of money as everyone paying a penny.

And it's still a pretty strong assumption to affirmatively say that they would. For someone who was just arguing we don't have a time machine and can't prove the harm DRM might have done, you're pretty much doing the opposite.

I would buy Witcher a thousand times over if it was a game I had the slightest interest in. I don't have the slightest interest in it.

Enkidu88:

Kopikatsu:

LiquidGrape:
They have good policies regarding DRM. That's as far as my praise of CDP will stretch.
But yes, excellent attitude regarding value of product.

They have bad business sense is what they have. 4,500,000+ copies pirated is kind of a large number. A really large number.

Sure is a large number, but spending money on putting in a DRM system wouldn't have shrunk the number by an significant margin. Most DRM programs are cracked within a day of release, and sometimes it's cracked before release. The most successful DRM I've heard of was Ubisoft's always on DRM which took a few weeks to crack. Even Steamworks games aren't immune. Basically what they've done is take the money they would have wasted on a worthless DRM program and put it to some better purpose. Not to mention the sales generated by goodwill alone for not inflicting a DRM program on their customers. Seems like quite good business sense to me.

OK...OK...so here's what we'll do. I'll do nothing, and you quote me now. And then you quote him too. And then he'll come around and think like us, and the world will be a better place and we can all grab some ice cream and pizza, or Ice cream-pizza even. Sounds good right? :D

I haven't had the chance to try Witcher 2 and can't play my copy of the first game (not a good computer for that one, unfortunately), but I can definitely see myself dropping money more for these fantasy RPGs then a "Dragon Age" copy going for any price.

Steam was having a sale earlier this summer and I got the entire "Dragon Age" game for a little over 10 bucks. It was fun, but the DLC wouldn't activate until I made a Bioware account, EA account, and then tell the developers I legally purchased all of that extra content. The main game I tried was okay, but I felt like I was a criminal due to EA's way of confirming I bought all the DLC from Steam. Kind of reminds me of how Jim Sterling said that a game fails any time it discriminates against legally paying customers.

Enkidu88:

Kopikatsu:

LiquidGrape:
They have good policies regarding DRM. That's as far as my praise of CDP will stretch.
But yes, excellent attitude regarding value of product.

They have bad business sense is what they have. 4,500,000+ copies pirated is kind of a large number. A really large number.

Sure is a large number, but spending money on putting in a DRM system wouldn't have shrunk the number by an significant margin. Most DRM programs are cracked within a day of release, and sometimes it's cracked before release. The most successful DRM I've heard of was Ubisoft's always on DRM which took a few weeks to crack. Even Steamworks games aren't immune. Basically what they've done is take the money they would have wasted on a worthless DRM program and put it to some better purpose. Not to mention the sales generated by goodwill alone for not inflicting a DRM program on their customers. Seems like quite good business sense to me.

The Witcher 2 cost 102 million zlotys to produce. That's not counting marketing or anything, that's strictly production costs. According to GOG's sales data, they sold 250,000~ units from when Witcher 2 was released up until 2 weeks ago. (200,000 from Steam, 40,000 from GOG, and 10,000 from Direct2Drive/Impulse/Gamersgate). Each copy of The Witcher 2 cost about 170 zlotys. 250,000 x 170 = 42,500,000 zlotys. Not counting Steam's fee, or marketing costs, or any of that other fun stuff.

Actually...I feel like my math is off somewhere. Based on those numbers...CDP should probably have shut down. On the other hand, the first Witcher had a profit line somewhere around 3,500 USD.

Kopikatsu:
They have bad business sense is what they have.

Someone I know via steam said that he was engaging in a competition where they would try to crack Assassins Creed Brotherhood so a constant connection will be required.

He lost by 7 days. However the first working... according to him (as I bought my copy on the day of release on Steam) was uploaded to pirate bay a month after release.

Having something that is DRM ridden is merely:
1) An encouragement to get a DRM free version and not buy a legitimate version.
2) A Challenge to people... to break it...

Kopikatsu:
Actually...I feel like my math is off somewhere. Based on those numbers...CDP should probably have shut down.

He does say that as of that day they've sold a million, which should, by your figures, put them comfortably into profit.

A million seems like pretty good numbers for a pc-only RPG from an indie studio.* I definitely think these guys have worked out how to make gamer goodwill work for them, and it's great to see.

*after all, consider Ubisoft complaining about how a pc port of I Am Alive might only sell 50K

Well that's what you get for making games for those soulless thieves PC gamers...

Seriously though, I'm taken aback by their attitude towards DRM. That's some of the most progressive thinking I've seen coming from the industry.

When I get a decent computer, I'm definitely buying both Witchers. This kind of talk cannot go unrewarded.

You know what CD Projekt? For being such a good sport about this, I'll purchase your game. Even though I have absolutely no desire to play it.

Maybe. If Steam has another sale or something.

The Random One:
I would buy Witcher a thousand times over if it was a game I had the slightest interest in. I don't have the slightest interest in it.

Likewise, I'd rather not buy something I have no interest in, but I'd love to throw my money at companies who are not being dicks to their paying customers.

Great game. Difficult game, but still a great game. Good attitude to have towards DRM.

Skyrim proved that piracy does not, in fact, hinder profit gain for companies developing big titles for PC. Stupid Ubisoft.

Of course, this does drive home the point that pirates are still morally devoid douchebags that will steal a game, even from a good developer that is doing their best to get you a great product and DRM free.
I am glad they are sticking by their guns though. Even if they had sizable DRM in the game, I don't think it'd lower those numbers.

Satisfied owner of the Witcher 1 and 2 here. These guys are probably the only gaming company that doesn't hate the consumer. So I tip my hat to them and look forward to whatever they make next.

Are you listening, UbiSoft?

I've never had any interest in the Witcher before, or the sequel for that matter, but part of me wants to buy the game just to support them. Hell, I just might when I can spare the cash. That interview read like they've taken every idea I ever had about why DRM is a failure and better ways to elicit sales and ran with them. I have much respect for a company that recognizes DRM for what it is and decides treating their customers with respect is a better bargain for everyone.

Faladorian:
Are you listening, UbiSoft?

Quoted for emphasis. Ubisoft thinks that alienating its PC customers won't hurt it. We'll see about that.

While I like that they do not force DRMI do not like their undertone. I am happy they see that drm only pisses off the paying customer and many people don't buy games based on DRM.

On a side note everytime I hear of DRM I think of Hadrian's Wall:

I really hope a good chunk of those pirates ended up enjoying the game enough to buy it, simply because these dudes are being pretty damn cool about the DRM thing. I just might have to go buy this game now.

Sixcess:

Kopikatsu:
Actually...I feel like my math is off somewhere. Based on those numbers...CDP should probably have shut down.

He does say that as of that day they've sold a million, which should, by your figures, put them comfortably into profit.

A million seems like pretty good numbers for a pc-only RPG from an indie studio.* I definitely think these guys have worked out how to make gamer goodwill work for them, and it's great to see.

*after all, consider Ubisoft complaining about how a pc port of I Am Alive might only sell 50K

Alright.

1,000,000 x 170 = 170,000,000 zlotys.

Now my math is going to get super shakey because I'm going to be basing it all off assumptions from this point forward. Microsoft takes 30% off each sale made on Xbox Live, and I've heard that VALVe is better about that. Rumors put it at around 20%. However, since those are rumors and Tripwire only said 'It's in line with what other digital distributors charge', I'm going to use 25% as a placeholder. Since the comment was 'It's in line with what other digital distributors charge', I'm going to assume Gamersgate/Direct2whatever whatever whatever all do 25% as well.

250,000 x 170 / 4 = 10,625,000

170,000,000 - 112,625,000 = 57,375,000

Now we go into 'OhmygodIhavenoideawhatImsaying' territory. From what Google has revealed to me, non-AAA games advertisement costs range from 5000 to 500,000 USD. 170,165 zlotys it is!

57,204,835 zlotys of profit, provided that I haven't forgotten any costs. Approximately. And that's...16,808,600 USD and 10,771,287 GBP.

Hm...that number seems too high for some reason. Probably forgot some kind of costs somewhere. Well...meh. I can't be assed to do all that math again. I hate math.

So with this, Team Rocket is blasting off again. Or something.

Edit: I forgot to take off Microsoft's share from the 750,000 sales on the X360. But...I'm too lazy to do more math.

I wish to be a total jerk in this post and ask those who defend piracy to explain what they did wrong with The Witcher 2?

As I understand it was a AAA title with non-intrusive DRM at a reasonable $50 price tag (recently half that price on steam) and was given fantastic reviews. It's also not a copy of every other game out there making it unique and tailored to the hardcore crowd. These reasons seem to cover most of the common reasons why people claim to pirate a game.

I still firmly believe that with very few exceptions, piracy comes entirely down to price. The game could probably have sold for $10 new on day one and would likely have close to $4 million illegal downloads just the same.

I conclude my jerk post by saying that it's sad to see this non-major developer lose so much revenue that would have otherwise gone to making their already great games even better.

Stormz:
Satisfied owner of the Witcher 1 and 2 here. These guys are probably the only gaming company that doesn't hate the consumer. So I tip my hat to them and look forward to whatever they make next.

*points at the recent Gabe Newell interview* *points to Bethesda and the creation kit they release for free* ...No, there are others. Gems among the crowd, but definitely there.

viranimus:

Yeah, the numbers seem a more than a little bit over exaggerated to the point of out and out lies.

Its probably not all that far off. I just did a quick check on a private torrent site and the witcher 2 has been downloaded around 50,000 times. That is only from a small and not very well known private site. Hell there is over 500 people downloading the game right now as we speak on that site.

i refuse to pirate this game under any reason. Just cause if i wanna play it i will buy it or play it at a friends.

What this does, more than anything, is separate the wheat from the chaff.
The Witcher 2 is one of the most well-known, and well-liked among fans of its genre, games in recent memory. Probably the entire potential audience knew about the game, and probably a good portion of them acquired it.
Now, I do think that the pirating numbers are grossly inflated. For one thing, chances are a large number of the pirates are in different countries (EG Russia), where not only is piracy the norm (thus inflating the overall buyers-versus-takers ratio) but also very few people have a net connection fast enough to download a 13-gb game in six hours. One day or more would be a significantly more accurate estimate - a change which in and of itself quarters the original estimate.

So we've already cut the number of pirates to a quarter of the original figure. This puts pirates and buyers at somewhere between equal numbers and 2-to-1 in favor of pirates, of which one has to assume at least half are foreign downloaders (and thereby discounted from consideration due to cultural norms). Let's say, therefore, that slightly more Western-civilization users pirated than bought it.

Of those, how many would possibly have been sales? Well, The Witcher 2 was somewhat of a touchstone both for fans of RPGs and for fans of fair business practices. Anyone with an interest in the game would have had good reason to support both it and its developer. Therefore, I think that probably upwards of 75% of those who would have bought the game for any price, bought it.

This evaluation could, of course, be completely invalidated if I learned that, say, all (or even most) of those downloaders were from Western societies. I simply doubt that this is the case.

How is it pirating if it's legally offered for free? How many of those people that downloaded it for free would have pirated it if it weren't the legal route? You really skew the numbers when you say, "You can have it for free (legally)...we'd like to get paid, but whatevs."

Micalas:
How is it pirating if it's legally offered for free? How many of those people that downloaded it for free would have pirated it if it weren't the legal route? You really skew the numbers when you say, "You can have it for free (legally)...we'd like to get paid, but whatevs."

When was it offered for free?

Not having DRM doesn't mean it was offered for free.

Clive Howlitzer:
Of course, this does drive home the point that pirates are still morally devoid douchebags that will steal a game, even from a good developer that is doing their best to get you a great product and DRM free.

Exactly.

Pirates aren't doing the world any favors. Why did DRM come about in the first place? Pirates. So because of these douchebags, normal paying customers have to put up with annoying DRM measures.

I love you, CD Projekt. Will you marry me?

And The Witcher 2 was the greatest collector's edition I have ever bought. These guys are awesome and anypony who does pirate their games should be utterly ashamed of themselves.

pffff HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Oh, I'm sorry, you were serious.

Really dude? 4.5 to 1??? I think you may be overestimating how many people wanted The Witcher 2.

Though I do agree with what he says about DRM. No matter what you do, people will pirate, so there is no reason to make life harder for the people who don't.

Kopikatsu:

Micalas:
How is it pirating if it's legally offered for free? How many of those people that downloaded it for free would have pirated it if it weren't the legal route? You really skew the numbers when you say, "You can have it for free (legally)...we'd like to get paid, but whatevs."

When was it offered for free?

Not having DRM doesn't mean it was offered for free.

Excuse me. I had a retard moment. When I clicked on the link to GOG in the article I went to the Witcher 2 and saw this: http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/the_witcher_2

See where it says "buy for $39.99?" My mind put the word "or", which is below, between the price and the download now button. What I saw was "Buy for $39.99" OR Download Now." I know that DRM Free doesn't mean free. I just being derp-lexic.

Unlike most other times, I actually believe these numbers and am greatly saddened by them. I'm a PC gamer at heart, but really, the vast majority of PC gamers are asking for all the things it is getting, like console ports and DRM. Sadly, it's the legal people who have to pay the price. I can't really blame them for doing whatever they can to stop piracy, honestly.

Oh my god, a developer who is...sensible? :o :o :o

Despite me never getting interested in the Witcher, I do enjoy the developers that don't try to insult their market.

Dear CD Projekt,

I like you guys. So stop making dumb "estimations" on how much you think the game was pirated. Torrent downloads do not equate to a lost sale. Especially when the game has no demo, and didn't have a global release initially. I'm glad you're staying off the DRM, just don't foster ill will with comments like these.

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