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

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Hevva:
"...the DRM itself is a pain for your legal gamers - this group of honest people, who decided that your game was worth the 50 USD or Euro and went and bought it. Why would you want to make their lives more difficult?"

...this is what the whole games industry should be thinking. The worst part of DRM has always been the way it treats paying customers - those who should be esteemed by the publisher - as pirates. Treat the pirates as pirates, and the customers as customers. That's marketing 101.

Andy of Comix Inc:

Hevva:
"...the DRM itself is a pain for your legal gamers - this group of honest people, who decided that your game was worth the 50 USD or Euro and went and bought it. Why would you want to make their lives more difficult?"

...this is what the whole games industry should be thinking. The worst part of DRM has always been the way it treats paying customers - those who should be esteemed by the publisher - as pirates. Treat the pirates as pirates, and the customers as customers. That's marketing 101.

The big problem is a lot of companies don't choose to put DRM on their games, they see it as a last resort. They are also corporations and have things like stockholders that want to be reassured they are going to see a return on their investment. It isn't just as black and white as "all corporations are greedy and want to maximize as much profit as possible by treating the customer like shit"

I think the biggest problem with the whole Witcher 2 debacle is no matter how well the Witcher 2 sold there were still a lot more people that pirated it instead of buying. That's the saddest part with CD Projekt is they tried so hard to be a good sport about it and this is how they were repayed.

One thing I've always wondered about DRM, is how much does it cost to actually implement it? All that money, with a real number on it's expense, and than if it ends up getting cracked anyway? All that money down the toilet.

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

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Despite an estimated 4.5 million illegal downloads, the studio behind The Witcher 2 says DRM still isn't worthwhile.

CD Projekt, the studio behind The Witcher 2, has always been clear about its belief that the games industry would be a better place were it DRM-free. To that end the studio released The Witcher 2 on its site in May this year without any DRM, leaving the game to accrue what CEO Marcin Iwinski estimates to be 4.5 million illegal downloads. Despite this apparently huge number, however, Iwinski says that his studio remains firmly no-DRM (and anti-pirate).

In an interview with PCGamer, Iwinski described the tradeoff between real legal sales figures and guessed illegal download figures. "As of today we have sold over 1 million legal copies, so having only 4.5-5 illegal copies for each legal one would be not a bad ratio," he said, before reiterating that his number is only an estimate. "The reality is probably way worse," he added.

Iwinski also talked about his studio's (failed) experiments with DRM, and the solution he and his workmates arrived at to tackle the piracy problem - namely, proper pricing. "[We] came up with new strategy: we started offering high value with the product - like enhancing the game with additional collectors' items like soundtracks, making-of DVDs, books, walkthroughs, etc.," he said. "This, together with a long process of educating local gamers about why it makes sense to actually buy games legally, worked. And today, we have a reasonably healthy games market."

"DRM does not work and however you would protect it, it will be cracked in no time," he continued. "Plus, the DRM itself is a pain for your legal gamers - this group of honest people, who decided that your game was worth the 50 USD or Euro and went and bought it. Why would you want to make their lives more difficult?"

He also added that, as far as he sees it, gamers should "vote with their wallets" and use social media to get big publishers and studios to stop involving themselves with DRM. "If they hear that they have a couple hundred or thousand negative comments on Amazon, Metacritic, Twitter, etc, they will most probably do something about it. Some of them already did," he said.

While Iwinski might be onto something with the value-added approach to games, estimating up to 4.5 million illegal downloads with the addendum "and it's probably way worse than that" doesn't seem like the best way to assuage community worries about a DRM-free industry. Still, Iwinski does offer up good advice for change; vote with your money and make your opinions known, and change should follow. German gamers who were angered by Battlefield 3's mandatory PC Origin access made some progress towards change, after all.

Source: PCGamer

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Fucking love these guys so much. They will save this industry. PLEASE save this industry!

This is why I support them and bought their games and didn't buy anything Ubisoft has released recently.

-Comment withdrawn because of ignorance on my side. ^^-

Wow, one million to more than four million is a gigantic amount of money lost.

Way to go guys, developer gives up DRM, pirate the shit out of their games... This sure gives of the right message to other developers.

hmmmm, not sure why anyone would want to download that boring game -.-

/prepares flameshield
image

I just really found it so boring when I tried the copy my brother bought (Aswell as the first witcher game)

EDIT: despite this I do love what these guys are doing, please could other devs follow suit (Fuck you EA -.-)

I hope more people in the industry see the problem of piracy in a similar light...With always on DRM now, it really cannot get any more constrictive, and hopefully they realize that they probably lose more money with DRM than it creates in sales (if it even creates any).

Haven't pirated but can't afford the game right now *shrug* whut are you gonna do... Most of my games are either legitly bought or if I DO have an emulator, it's a game I've already purchased in the distant past and cannot acquire again.

I feel like a sucker most days but I stick with it.

NightmareLuna:
Oh they are such great guys because they do not believe in DRM! oooooh!

Give me a break... They are lying to people saying that their game is copied nearly 5 million times. THEY ARE LYING! That is worse than pirating.

I like the game, I do not like that man though... I will buy it once it is out for consoles because even if it was made for a PC, it is clearly better suited for a console.

Did you even read the article? It's a number the Marcin Iwinski made up on the spot to try one of the interviewers questions, a rough estimate for which his reasoning is sound, still he even says so himself that it's a guess at best. He's not lying, it isn't a grand conspiracy or nefarious plotting, it's a guy throwing a ballpark guess as part of an interview...

This is why I'm annoyed the Escaping are reporting on it like this. Of all the interesting things talked about in the interview he casually mentions a number and now suddenly that's the focus of attention everyone's talking about.

*grumble grumble*

The Madman:

NightmareLuna:
-snip-

-snip-

*grumble grumble*

Of course not, I do not care to read interviews since they are basicly nothing good in them. But if that is the case I will withdraw my comment and say that I am ignorant. :P

j0frenzy:
You think that is bad? How about the menu screen saying "You can't connect to our servers so you can't play our game," on a 360 where piracy is less of a problem. Better yet, the problem has been well documented for over a year and no one has done anything about fixing the server issue.

From what I heard "Battlefield 3" does something like that even for the Xbox 360 version. Some people mentioned you literally have to play it through a browser to play that game--and there is the whole Origin drama associated with it.

I grew to like "Dragon Age" here and completed it with my elf-mage, but I really can't appreciate the game when it feels like an extension from EA to treat me like a criminal. That is where I draw the comparison toward the "Witcher" developers who at least give you a great deal of content in their game without tearing your wallet apart for "money-meat."

Thanks alot CD Projekt. I love you guys! *European bro-fist*

rolfwesselius:
This is just abominable im sorry but this is why i believe the pc gaming market should just die quickly and painlessly.

Console gamers pirate too you windbag.

OT: Good statement there. I did pirate it, I will not deny that. However after I had played it for some hours I bought it because I couldn't let such marvel of a game go unrewarded.

Sounds like they watched the Extra Credits episode on Piracy about tackling it by offering a higher value product than what you can get on the pirated version.

It's all well and good to see some devs express such a viewpoint, but it's really repressing to see the ratio. It's probably more convincing evidence FOR DRM if anything.

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.

If those people paid even a single penny for the game, that's still $45,000+ lost. More than what most people make in a year.

laryri:

But adding loads of DRM wouldn't make that number go down. They probably gained loads of sales by not adding tons of DRM because of all the good press it got them.

Unless someone builds a time machine, we'll never know how it would have turned out differently if they'd used DRM.

I wouldn't have bought it if it did.
I went out of my way to purchase it because it was DRM free.

I pirated this while I was waiting for my order to come through simply because I didn't want to wait. The thoughts of including items with the packaging which users would otherwise not get at all is definitely much better than adding some stupid restrictions such as having to stay connected to the internet at all times or anything else to be honest. As said, DRM gets cracked regardless. So might as well work on showing that the game is just great, instead of messing around with it.

The financial loss is definitely large, but I don't imagine it's any different on other single player PC games.

I guess it shows you can still be successful without DRM but I still feel bad for them losing so much business. It's good that they don't resort to such draconian and unnecessary measures to try and combat piracy but with losses like that I would at least try to find some other way to stop piracy to some extent if I was them. When someone makes a genuinely great game which can gain success by simply being a great game they deserve to make as much as they can from their efforts. Especially with a small studio like this.

how the hell is THAT a good ratio? only 1 in 5 of their games make them any profit.

Honestly, if that is considered a normal proportion of pirated copies : actual sales then if I were a game developer I would DEFINITELY be erring on the Ubisoft side of things: There's barely any point in developing for PC.

where do they get the number from? Isn't one of the negatives about pirating that you don't know how much sales you lost?

Other then that, good show from the poles.

so how did they come up with that 4,5 million? pulling numbers out of their arses much?

i once read that companies would count every connection in torrent networks as a download. even though there are many many more connections than actual downloads, due to the working nature of the torrent p2p system.

Omnific One:
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.

Pirates have been here from the start and they'll never go away. And if I can believe the statistics, PC sales are actually going up, despite the piracy. So no, PC gamers don't "deserve" DRM and other crap. If anything, PC gamers should get better treatment, and the sales would be even better.

CD Projekt (and a few other companies) understands this and I'm glad they do because the first Witcher is one of the best RPGs I've ever played. Sadly my PC wasn't good enough back then either so I couldn't finish the game, but when (if...) I'll have the money to upgrade, it will be one of the first games on my list. Then I can only hope they'll have some of the fancy copies of The Witcher 2 with the extra stuff still available for me...

Will this mean we will get a console version of the Witcher 2 now? XD

Posting this on page 4, I might as well not post but here goes.

Not going to defend piracy as a general act, but the bottom line is that there are many people out there that can't afford computer games, the jobless student lot for example. Now, not saying piracy is the answer.

Here's my point.
Lets say 5M copies of W2 were downloaded to 1M sold. It is 100% false to say they lost 5M sales. Of all the people I know, some pirate some don't. Here are reasons people I know pirate.

1) The collector - I know a guy who has every game ever. EVER. He doesn't buy them, he doesn't play them he just gets some satisfaction having the file.

2) Can't afford games - I know a few students with no money, they either pirate or they don't play. Again, not saying its right but I refuse to accept that it is harmful to the dev's bottom line.

3) Can afford some games but not all. See above.

4) Test runs. These people then generally do go and buy. I've done it occasionally, pirated a game when I wanted it and had no money, bought later after payday.

5) Scumbags who refuse to pay for something they want.

To my mind, only category 5 people actually are a lost sale. Take the jobless student lot - if we waved a magic wand and stopped anyone from playing a game they hadn't bought, they wouldn't run out and buy it. They can't. There is no sale to be made.

Then on the other side of that there is the evidence that piracy can serve as free advertising and word of mouth that actually increases sales.

The bottom line is that
1) DRM doesn't work
and
2) Even if it did, stopping people playing for free does not mean they will pay.

i really don't understand people who pirate games, they work so hard on them (developers) they give you hours of enjoyment and people just rip them off.

why dont more companies do stuff like batman arkham asylum did, where pirated copies have game breaking flaws in them, that way the pirates have to buy it?

95% of the guys who pirate games, especially ones like this which could be loved or hated, probably pirated it as there is yet again no demo. When will devs learn that PC gamers NEED demos.

Necros_21:

Omnific One:
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.

Pirates have been here from the start and they'll never go away. And if I can believe the statistics, PC sales are actually going up, despite the piracy. So no, PC gamers don't "deserve" DRM and other crap. If anything, PC gamers should get better treatment, and the sales would be even better.

CD Projekt (and a few other companies) understands this and I'm glad they do because the first Witcher is one of the best RPGs I've ever played. Sadly my PC wasn't good enough back then either so I couldn't finish the game, but when (if...) I'll have the money to upgrade, it will be one of the first games on my list. Then I can only hope they'll have some of the fancy copies of The Witcher 2 with the extra stuff still available for me...

Read a little closer. I was saying the PC gaming population as a whole (which is about 75-80%+ pirates by these numbers, which is still surprising) "deserves" companies trying every measure possible to stop piracy. Also note that I said it is the legal gamers who have to pay the price. Honestly, this case just proves that most people still want to steal, even if everything is bent in their favor. They can't just say, "Oh, I pirated it because they used DRM or day one paid DLC." They got treated incredibly well by CDProjekt and still the sales/pirated copies ratio didn't improve at all.

Edit: Also, everyone needs to stop with the "demo" excuse. That is the biggest excuse of pirates and it is certain that the turnover rate to actual sales is probably around 5%, not higher like so many guilty consciousnesses claim.

Wow. Seriously? 4.5 million pirated copies. I hope some of those @$%#ers decided to man up and buy a copy when they had a chance. This company is doing great things for gamers and for them to project such a high number and (comparatively) such a low sales number is really sad.

If you pirated it. Go out and buy the !@#$ing thing...douchebags.

babinro:
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.

I downloaded the Witcher 2. Just because it was faster to arrive than my already paid-for copy that was being shipped from Amazon. So my download is lumped there somewhere, but it represents a purchase-at-launch, not a loss for them.

CD Project has the right mind here, IMHO. The pirate versions are a product that's damn hard to compete with. They work well, they cost nothing, they are fast and easy to acquire and require you to jump no hoops. CDP counters this by adding value to their free updates. Other Devs/Publishers? Try any game that requires GFWL...

Don't forget DRM is a product. People make anti-piracy measures and sell them. So they have an incentive to make you, the developer, fear piracy, so that you'll want to use their DRM or use them as a publisher (and they'll provide the DRM). And of course, in return, they take a cut. They don't make games, they get involved in the process of selling your game and in return you let them get some of the profits. They have to convince you the developer that this is a good idea, or you might just sell to teh customer directly, god forbid, and then they get nothing.

This was an easy argument to make to developers when publishers and such also provided so many other things - the printing of physical media, paper manual, case, cd, artwork, extra goodies, shelf space, distribution, shipping, returns, customer service.

But now, w/digital distribution, DRM is often one of the *only* things they have to offer to a developer anymore. So they better get you scared so that you *want* their DRM. Otherwise you the developer might realize you can just deal w/the customer directly w/out need for physical media or its distribution and that you don't need them anymore, and you especially don't need them taking a cut of your profits for doing so little. You might get uppity and try to give them a smaller and smaller piece of the pie.

What they should be offering is exposure. I've some times heard of games for the first time through steam. That's a valuable thing to offer developers. I bet many of these indy games now being sold on steam are being bought by people who never would have heard of said games if not for steam. DRM might be a stupid reason to use steam, as a developer, but exposure is valuable and a great reason to pick a publisher. Its not worth giving a cut of your profits for the DRM, but it might be for the exposure, if they can truly offer it.

fear can sell though. A false dichotomy is implied - trying to make you believe that you either will self publish and lose everything to pirates, or that your only alternative is to use the publisher and their DRM (for a price) and make oodles of money all thanks to them.

Heck, if I sold DRM, i'd secretly encourage piracy as much as i could so that people felt teh need to buy my product all the more. I'd certainly skew statistics to make piracy look as bad as possible, and jump to illogical unfounded conclusions whenever they favored me and fostered fear, though i'd try not to be too obvious about it. I might even start up seemingly independent organizations/websites and have them support my outrageous claims, lending them credibility. I'd assuredly encourage others to adopt false cause & effect ideas in my favor - such as the notion that 1 million download connections of an illegal copy of your game represents 1 million different people (not say 500 thousand who downloaded part then reconnected later to download the rest, or downloads from china from people who could buy an illegal copy of your game on a street corner anyways w/government sanction, or the bots i made as a drm seller to repeatedly download the game inflate the #'s, or little kids whose parents wouldn't have bought the game for them anyways). All to help create the climate of fear i need so everyone will buy my snake oil. Snake oil salesmen are as old as money. DRM is just one of the modern day snake oils.

Not to say there isn't real piracy. But the fact there is real piracy, creates the kernal of truth from which a climate of fear can be created making everyone feel as if they need the DRM (for a cost of course).

So says Smeg

Wow such good sports; I need to get round to buying The Witcher 2 at some point. This show that regardless of DRM or no DRM a hardened pirate will pirate a game regardless of DRM/price/etc. So it is better not to screw over legit customers because doing that will have a more tangible affect on the sales of your product.

Ok, 2 things:

1: Piracy exists on consoles as well. Maybe even in the same numbers (looks at the NDS, Xbox etc). But getting any figures there is harder because a) most people get their pirated games from the same guys who mod the consoles, so one pirate on consoles equals god knows how many people and b) it is freakin easy to be undetected as a console pirate.

2: Piracy can't be stopped, it was always there and right now sales are getting stronger on the PC (where they weren't weak to begin with).

What does DRM? It punishes the legal customer. Ubisoft-like DRM gives me, as a customer, the inferior product. When I see how people can play their AC all the time, without internet or the need to hope that Ubisofts servers are stable all the tape, I am left as the one with less fun. So I go out and get myself a pirated copy (just hypothetical, I don't even own any Ubisoft games and pirating is too much of a hassle for me).

Some people have realised that the only way to combat piracy is to give the people who are willing to pay the better expirience. Valve and Steam (as DRM a joke, as a service an enchancment for my gaming expirience), CD Project (even though I didn't enjoy The Witcher 2, I own the collectors edition), Terraria (constant patching and content without extra pricing, it sold over 1mill copies) and many, many more.

And I find it funny that people really believe that piracy is a PC exclusive problem. It is just easier to track on the PC. If somehow the actual figures of console piracy were known so fuckin many people would shut their cakle about how piracy is mainly a PC problem.

I'd like to know where they got those figures from.

Also as "bad" as 4-4.5 million pirated copies goes, you also have to ask how many of those people would have paid for the game at full price if they didn't have the option. Not many I'd imagine. The industry has to stop equating piracy with a lost sale, because it's not. It might be stealing, but at the same time it's a kind of theft where there is no definate loss to the person owning the IP and that needs to be understood when it comes to things like this.

Truthfully I am not a big fan of piracy despite how it might sound at times. Honestly I think the first thing that needs to happen towards solving the problem is for liscence reform. Right now the whole attitude that games are not owned by the people buying them but are granted as a liscence that the game publisher can revoked at any time is part of the problem.

Basically a legal game sale is more or less "give me money, and I may or may not give you something in return, as suits my whim". What's more with thigns going increasingly digital there is little guarantee that the consumer actually controls anything as any one of those platforms could go offline at any given time. For example tomorrow STEAM could close and take all of your games with it, while Gabe promised to modify the games to run without it if such a thing ever happened he's not under any legal obligation to do so, and even so where you could download them from if you don't have an extra-jumbo hard drive for everything you own (if you have a lot of stuff) you'd still be in trouble.... hence why I am a big believer of the "disc in hand"... which is becoming increasingly uncommon with the PC at least.

The point is that I see where CD Projeckt is coming from, but really they, and the industry in large, needs to look entirely at sales and how much they are making, not at piracy and thinking about how much they could have made if all of those copies were sold because there is no guarantee they would be.

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