CD Projekt RED: Game Industry Should Use "Carrot Not the Stick" With Piracy

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CD Projekt RED: Game Industry Should Use "Carrot Not the Stick" With Piracy

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt screenshot

According to Marcin Inwinski, co-founder of CD Projekt RED, game companies "know DRM doesn't work."

CD Projekt RED doesn't believe in DRM and, while this stance is one that the company itself admits to have been a gradual development, it nonetheless often takes center stage whenever the Polish game developer is discussed. Recently taking the reins in a bit of that conversation, studio co-founder Marcin Iwinski talked about DRM, the company's take on it, and why so many entities in the game industry seem to insist on its continued existence when all signs point to it not working.

"The industry as a whole knows DRM doesn't work, but corporations still use it as a smokescreen," he said. "[They're] effectively covering their asses, pretending to protect their intellectual property in front of bosses, investors, and shareholders." According to Iwinski, he has had "quite a few discussions with high level executives who admit they know DRM doesn't work." That said, these individuals are often under intense pressure from outside forces to keep their property safe and, while DRM may not be effective against software pirates, it apparently works well against stockholders. According to Iwinski, the persistence of this fašade is damaging to consumers. "Whenever policy trumps common sense, the best interest of gamers is lost in the process."

According to Iwinski, the best way to combat piracy is to make the legal method of buying games more convenient. "People will continue to choose the easier way as long as obstacles such as time-consuming registration and invasive authentication measures remain in place," he said. Practicing what he preaches, Iwinski affirmed that The Witcher 3, the studio's next entry in its popular RPG series, will be DRM-free. "While we can't stop piracy, we can work on offering premium deals to those who buy our game and that's what we plan to do with [The Witcher 3]. He then added, "I strongly believe in using the carrot not the stick." CD Projekt RED, in turn, is "working to create some impressive carrots."

Source: GiantBomb

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Go CDPR. But I would like a little further details. I am fully aware that share holders are the ones most pushing for DRM but my question is why. Why do people who are obviously out of touch and have little if any involvement with development of a game having such a huge say in how it's distributed?

endtherapture:

You will, and so you will for posting 3 times in a row without editing your post.
Interesting image though.

Double damn it, I used to the automatic system of GOG forums, call me lazy but I wish the escapist used it too I'll try and trim down those other posts.

Magmarock:
Go CDPR. But I would like a little further details. I am fully aware that share holders are the ones most pushing for DRM but my question is why. Why do people who are obviously out of touch and have little if any involvement with development of a game having such a huge say in how it's distributed?

its simple really the people who are investing money in company X expect to have a say in what makes the company profitable and it makes sense to someone unfamiliar with the industry that DRM would protect against individuals stealing the companies product.

as a side note.. wheres my cyberpunk 2077 news ????

Offering the Carrot doesn't do much good when the other guy can offer as many Carrots as you want for free

I always knew actual developers never made drm a thing. It's just so incredibly stupid and pointless only idiots with financial investments who stubbornly believe drm works would bother insisting on its continued use.

wombat_of_war:

Magmarock:
Go CDPR. But I would like a little further details. I am fully aware that share holders are the ones most pushing for DRM but my question is why. Why do people who are obviously out of touch and have little if any involvement with development of a game having such a huge say in how it's distributed?

its simple really the people who are investing money in company X expect to have a say in what makes the company profitable and it makes sense to someone unfamiliar with the industry that DRM would protect against individuals stealing the companies product.

as a side note.. wheres my cyberpunk 2077 news ????

But why use DRM if it's so broken, that's what I'd like to know.

LazyAza:
I always knew actual developers never made drm a thing. It's just so incredibly stupid and pointless only idiots with financial investments who stubbornly believe drm works would bother insisting on its continued use.

I wish I could say that I agree and while it's true for the most part there are a few that want DRM.

Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

http://www.complex.com/video-games/2012/01/the-witcher-2-devs-are-no-longer-pursuing-damaging-anti-piracy-lawsuits

Yea. They are. They condemn DRM, but then tried to sue people. Granted that is entirely within their rights, and pirates are doing something illegal, and yes CDPR stopped doing it, but really.I am not going to really listen to CDPR when it comes to how to "entice" people to pay for a game rather than pirate it, especially when their previous method was to ruin someone's life over a 50-60 dollar game.

Cecilo:
Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

http://www.complex.com/video-games/2012/01/the-witcher-2-devs-are-no-longer-pursuing-damaging-anti-piracy-lawsuits

Yea. They are. They condemn DRM, but then tried to sue people. Granted that is entirely within their rights, and pirates are doing something illegal, and yes CDPR stopped doing it, but really.I am not going to really listen to CDPR when it comes to how to "entice" people to pay for a game rather than pirate it, especially when their previous method was to ruin someone's life over a 50-60 dollar game.

I'd recommend you forget the past and remember actions speak louder than words.

endtherapture:

Cecilo:
Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

http://www.complex.com/video-games/2012/01/the-witcher-2-devs-are-no-longer-pursuing-damaging-anti-piracy-lawsuits

Yea. They are. They condemn DRM, but then tried to sue people. Granted that is entirely within their rights, and pirates are doing something illegal, and yes CDPR stopped doing it, but really.I am not going to really listen to CDPR when it comes to how to "entice" people to pay for a game rather than pirate it, especially when their previous method was to ruin someone's life over a 50-60 dollar game.

I'd recommend you forget the past and remember actions speak louder than words.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", it is always important to remember the past, and not to just let the companies forget that they have done things that would harm our trust. Especially with a something rather than a someone.

Cecilo:
Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

http://www.complex.com/video-games/2012/01/the-witcher-2-devs-are-no-longer-pursuing-damaging-anti-piracy-lawsuits

Yea. They are. They condemn DRM, but then tried to sue people. Granted that is entirely within their rights, and pirates are doing something illegal, and yes CDPR stopped doing it, but really.I am not going to really listen to CDPR when it comes to how to "entice" people to pay for a game rather than pirate it, especially when their previous method was to ruin someone's life over a 50-60 dollar game.

You mean they're trying to punish the people who broke the rules instead of punishing EVERYONE ELSE who didn't break the rules? What madness is this where we punish the guilty and let the innocent get away with it!? Those innocents MIGHT break the rules, that's what DRM is for!

/sarcasm

LazyAza:
I always knew actual developers never made drm a thing. It's just so incredibly stupid and pointless only idiots with financial investments who stubbornly believe drm works would bother insisting on its continued use.

Actually, devs have been behin DRM as well. For good reason, you make something you kinda don't want people stealing it. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free? So you can add stakeholders into that mix along with shareholders. Heck devs have made a point of finding ways to screw over pirates for a while, I recall the first Arkham game pirating netted you a broken grappling hook which pretty much broke the game. So lets stop think DRM is the bane of the industry, it's a requirement, just like passwords on your email account, locks on your door and GPS tracking on your car.

Now that said, the OP has a good idea and has actually hit the nail on the head. Steam and GoG have probably done more to prevent piracy than most other methods. While steam is itself DRM it's the best kind. It's quiet, unobtrusive and it actually serves as a portal to getting other games at low low prices (Yup we've all had our finances torpedoe'd by steam sales) . Not to mention its very convenient in just downloading and installing. No more Disc hunting. Gog too is better with minimal DRM (though considering most of GoG's games are oldies that the owners probably figure is pointless to bother with after all..the games are past their product life cycle.

The reason both work is because the ease of getting the game and the price mesh quite well. Sure they could hunt and find a good non trojan pirate version... but the time it would take and the hassle of going through convoluted install, well lets put it this way...it's not worth saving a $10 for some , let alone $5.

Cecilo:
Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

http://www.complex.com/video-games/2012/01/the-witcher-2-devs-are-no-longer-pursuing-damaging-anti-piracy-lawsuits

Yea. They are. They condemn DRM, but then tried to sue people. Granted that is entirely within their rights, and pirates are doing something illegal, and yes CDPR stopped doing it, but really.I am not going to really listen to CDPR when it comes to how to "entice" people to pay for a game rather than pirate it, especially when their previous method was to ruin someone's life over a 50-60 dollar game.

But... they stopped doing that. What more is there do you want?

I disagree with what they did, wholeheartedly, and found it reprehensible, but they listened to customer feedback and don't do it anymore. Their behaviour since then has been pretty exemplary and I think that's worth of applauding. We should celebrate companies that actually abandon their bad business practices. The most you usually get from them is a false promise for some PR damage-control.

And this is why GoG is in my bookmarks.

Aeshi:
Offering the Carrot doesn't do much good when the other guy can offer as many Carrots as you want for free

offering a stick wont do no better in this situation.

Magmarock:
But why use DRM if it's so broken, that's what I'd like to know.

Because the shareholders are not smart enough to know its broken. they think they have a right to monopolistic right management and everyone is going to choke it in. they are out of touch with reality, used to the fact that everything goes their way as long as they drop money this way.

Magmarock:
I hope I don't get in trouble for admitting that I torrent games.

You will, and so you will for posting 3 times in a row without editing your post.
Interesting image though.

Cecilo:
Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

Yes, and they have openly admitted they were wrong and that they learnt their lesson.

BigTuk:

Actually, devs have been behin DRM as well. For good reason, you make something you kinda don't want people stealing it. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free? So you can add stakeholders into that mix along with shareholders. Heck devs have made a point of finding ways to screw over pirates for a while, I recall the first Arkham game pirating netted you a broken grappling hook which pretty much broke the game. So lets stop think DRM is the bane of the industry, it's a requirement, just like passwords on your email account, locks on your door and GPS tracking on your car.

There is no good reason for DRM. Pirates have always cracked DRM. there isnt a single game where DRM was not cracked. In fact, multiple cases shown that pirates were playing the game fine while legal costumers were dealing with DRM issues.
ALso the system that allows monopolistic rights of hoarding is a problem with the legal system to begin with. the way copyright works now is broken, so the whole milk example is wrong to begin with.
The messing up with pirates thing is old. very old. its been around in 90s too. but it usually got around to being more funny than broken. pirates fix that fast. as in, matter of hours.
No, DRM is not a requirement nor necessity, it is a burden on legal consumers.

BigTuk:
(Yup we've all had our finances torpedoe'd by steam sales)

image
You know, there are people who dont buy stuff they dont need, sale or no sale.

BigTuk:
The reason both work is because the ease of getting the game and the price mesh quite well. Sure they could hunt and find a good non trojan pirate version... but the time it would take and the hassle of going through convoluted install, well lets put it this way...it's not worth saving a $10 for some , let alone $5.

Not advocating piracy or anything but lets just not flat out lie.
Trojan versions of pirate game hasnt been around for ages, unless you suck at basic common sense and downlaod a 1 mb sized "COD.exe". besides, there are ton of sites where you have more guarantee of it being not infected than from original developer (beucase its not liek that never happened).
the instalation proceiss is simple: donwload. install. continue pressing next, it even types in CD-key for you. Copy exe file from downlaoded files to installation location. launch said file - congratulations, you are playing pirated game. im sure if 8 year olds figure it out you can, if not, there is always instructions attached.
People never bought games because its a hassle to pirate, it isnt. they bought it because they dont wnat to do soemthing illegal, they dont think its morally right to pirate or want to support developers/publishers.

Cecilo:
I am not going to really listen to CDPR when it comes to how to "entice" people to pay for a game rather than pirate it, especially when their previous method was to ruin someone's life over a 50-60 dollar game.

Umm... you're wrong. The person who pirated the game ruined their own life over a 60 dollar game.

Aeshi:
Offering the Carrot doesn't do much good when the other guy can offer as many Carrots as you want for free

It does when there's less work in getting to it. Which is pretty much their point.

Aeshi:
Offering the Carrot doesn't do much good when the other guy can offer as many Carrots as you want for free

In theory, that makes the most sense.
In practice, it means that CD Projekt should have went bankrupt after their first game, which obviously didn't happen.

Pirates eventually crack most DRM, this is true. But the "eventually" is a critical point when you're attempting to sell your game in physical stores. Stores will eventually decide it's no longer worth it to give prominent shelf space to your product. If the eventually it takes for pirates to crack it is longer than the eventually it takes for store to move your item off of the "hot new product" area, the DRM did it's job.

Atmos Duality:

Aeshi:
Offering the Carrot doesn't do much good when the other guy can offer as many Carrots as you want for free

In theory, that makes the most sense.
In practice, it means that CD Projekt should have went bankrupt after their first game, which obviously didn't happen.

Really? That's what you're going with? Saying something that never happened is how things are 'in practice'?

In theory, it makes perfect sense. In practice, it's been *shown* to make sense, depending on how much is meant with "much good". Quite simply, if the bonus you offer is digital, it too will eventually be cracked and made available for free.

The only "carrot" you can offer that won't eventually become part of the cracked package is either non-digital materials, or online services that would simply be too time-consuming for pirates to provide.

Well at least one person in the gaming industry actually has some level of understanding. Now if only there were some way to make common sense contagious, maybe we could trick other big names into using logic rather than greed to make important decisions on their game policies.

Kwil:

Really? That's what you're going with?

Yes, I see my poor phrasing now (was responding right before class began) so I'll amend my phrasing here.

The industry asserts that unopposed (no DRM) piracy kills business as pirates can always undercut the real deal.
CD Projekt takes pride in selling games with no DRM.
If conventional wisdom were true, CD Projekt shouldn't be in business. (theory)

Yet, in reality, (practice), CD Projekt is somehow still in business.

DRM is awful and does absolutely no good at all. The only thing it will ever do is hurt sales and nothing more. Pirates crack everything in a couple of hours and the only ones affected are the legal customers.

DRM is crap and unnecessary. This is a simple fact. It will not help game sales at all.

Hell, I legally own some games and I pirate/crack them because the stupid idiotic drm is too much draconian. Batman Arkham City with its 5-installs maximum(and if you changed some part of your hardware it would use up another activation). Fortunately they finally changed it when the game became Steamworks recently. But I pirated it when the activation limit was in place, because thats some f***ing bullcrap. Same for Chronicles of Riddick and their stupid TAGES system that barely works and in some cases even doesnt let legal customers play AT ALL.

Cecilo:
Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

http://www.complex.com/video-games/2012/01/the-witcher-2-devs-are-no-longer-pursuing-damaging-anti-piracy-lawsuits

Yea. They are. They condemn DRM, but then tried to sue people. Granted that is entirely within their rights, and pirates are doing something illegal, and yes CDPR stopped doing it, but really.I am not going to really listen to CDPR when it comes to how to "entice" people to pay for a game rather than pirate it, especially when their previous method was to ruin someone's life over a 50-60 dollar game.

Just because they don't like DRM doesn't mean they must like pirates. They would still like to make money off of their work, you know. Probably like you. Their point is that DRM is too intrusive for the legitimate users, and doesn't prevent pirates to play. But they can still try to prevent the pirates to play, as is their right.

Strazdas:

Aeshi:
Offering the Carrot doesn't do much good when the other guy can offer as many Carrots as you want for free

offering a stick wont do no better in this situation.

Magmarock:
But why use DRM if it's so broken, that's what I'd like to know.

Because the shareholders are not smart enough to know its broken. they think they have a right to monopolistic right management and everyone is going to choke it in. they are out of touch with reality, used to the fact that everything goes their way as long as they drop money this way.

Magmarock:
I hope I don't get in trouble for admitting that I torrent games.

You will, and so you will for posting 3 times in a row without editing your post.
Interesting image though.

Cecilo:
Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

Yes, and they have openly admitted they were wrong and that they learnt their lesson.

BigTuk:

Actually, devs have been behin DRM as well. For good reason, you make something you kinda don't want people stealing it. Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free? So you can add stakeholders into that mix along with shareholders. Heck devs have made a point of finding ways to screw over pirates for a while, I recall the first Arkham game pirating netted you a broken grappling hook which pretty much broke the game. So lets stop think DRM is the bane of the industry, it's a requirement, just like passwords on your email account, locks on your door and GPS tracking on your car.

There is no good reason for DRM. Pirates have always cracked DRM. there isnt a single game where DRM was not cracked. In fact, multiple cases shown that pirates were playing the game fine while legal costumers were dealing with DRM issues.
ALso the system that allows monopolistic rights of hoarding is a problem with the legal system to begin with. the way copyright works now is broken, so the whole milk example is wrong to begin with.
The messing up with pirates thing is old. very old. its been around in 90s too. but it usually got around to being more funny than broken. pirates fix that fast. as in, matter of hours.
No, DRM is not a requirement nor necessity, it is a burden on legal consumers.

Spoken as anyone who has only consumed the intellectual property of others as opposed to creating intellectual property . DRM has been around for ever. Originally it was the medium itself. See you probably don't remember when computers actually didn't have HD's heck when computers were considered a luxury item. My earliest machine had a 66 meg hd...and that was actually considered to be decent at the time. Which meant you ran games off the disks more often than not.

In the early games it was also built in by the devs; the key phrases you had to hunt in the manual for or games that had to run from the disks that used some quirky proprietary format trickery. Then when games went to CD's the medium itself was a form of DRM since it was not practical in those days to copy 600 megs to your hd (heck becak then a 2 gig hard drive was considered massive) and the burners hadn't hit the market yet. Once burners became standard issue then you had things like securom and etc. So you see DRM isn't some 'new thing' it's been there for as long as the industry. Like cars and tires. Point is there has always been DRM in games and there has always been piracy and the piracy has always hurt the devs more than the publishers.

And you also assume everyone that pirates has common sense... news flash... they don't.

Also sure... no one buys stuff they don't want but... dammit steam always sells stuff i want!

SHareholders know the DRM thing is broken but it's an issue of legal accountability. In short the publishers must take reasonable steps to deter piracy protect the shareholder's investment and that's DRM. I mean everyone knows a locked door never kept anyone out of a house but you still lock your door at night or when you leave.

As said, your opinion of drm changes after youv'e sunk upwards of 500 hours into coding, bug testing, recoding, optimizing, designing, tweaking, recoding, debugging. Your opinion of DRM changes when you're not counting of the proceeds of those 500 hours to upgrade you living quarters to something that doesn't have you technically paying the roaches and rats tribute to not crawl over you while you sleep.

DRM is a good thing for the industry... if done properly. Id doesn't stop piracy no...you can never stop a truly determined thief. You can only test their determination. If the DRM is unobtrusive and provides some benefit to the consumer ...ala steam, and the cost is deemed reasonable (seriously who pays 60 for a game?) then piracy is reduced simply because the hassle isn't worth the savings.

Aeshi:
Offering the Carrot doesn't do much good when the other guy can offer as many Carrots as you want for free

Because they can't. If you torrent Witcher 2 or whatever, you did absolutely nothing to assure there is a witcher 3 or Cyberpunk 2077 and you helped legitimize EA and Ubisofts goon tactics, great work stupid.

I generally applaud CDProjekt's stance on these things.

I also recently purchased a digital copy of a game that was widely available for the price of a web search for $25. It took the legal distributor three days to send me a freaking download code.

...

We've still got a ways to go before "as easy as piracy" is a widespread reality. GOG is great, but its standard of customer service is far from universal.

Aeshi:
Offering the Carrot doesn't do much good when the other guy can offer as many Carrots as you want for free

But in order to get those carrots you have to do a funny dance naked during the full moon and there is a chance that the carrots are either rotten or possessed, suddenly the single nice carrot with the promise of more to come seems a much better option.

And this is why I love them, agree with them ideologically and financially support them. They (and their associated GOG) need to grow and outgrow the others, so that change can spread. Only when these pathetically scared little bitches see people like CD Projekt succeed with their customer-friendlier business model will they eventually see sense. Also, just bought Sang-Froid, DRM-/Steam-free.

I own both Witcher titles and will undoubtedly be buying Cyberpunk 2077 and Witcher 3. These guys make great games, they then improve them and do not charge for these "Enhanced" versions. They care about their games, to make them as good as they can be, and they care about their gamers.

And the truth is he's right. "According to Iwinski, the best way to combat piracy is to make the legal method of buying games more convenient." Steam was pretty much the decider for me. The fact is, piracy is easier than buying from EA, Gamestop or uPlay. Steam however, I can buy, install and play a game legally in mere mouse clicks. DRM is entirely transparent and I can install what I went, when I want 24/7. That is convenient and the reason I am legal.

Some of the Paradox Interactive developers said something similar. The basic statement being that the best way to combat piracy is to actually make a game worth buying, then continually improve it with a combination of free and paid for content that people actually want, as opposed to whatever the developers couldn't force in to the initial release/deliberately excluded.

Cecilo:
Isn't CDPR the company that tried to sue a couple million people for illegally downloading the Witcher 2?

http://www.complex.com/video-games/2012/01/the-witcher-2-devs-are-no-longer-pursuing-damaging-anti-piracy-lawsuits

Yea. They are. They condemn DRM, but then tried to sue people. Granted that is entirely within their rights, and pirates are doing something illegal, and yes CDPR stopped doing it, but really.I am not going to really listen to CDPR when it comes to how to "entice" people to pay for a game rather than pirate it, especially when their previous method was to ruin someone's life over a 50-60 dollar game.

At least then they're punishing those that deserve it. It's better than lumping honest customers with pirates in a DRM system at least. I don't really give a fuck if a bunch of pirates get punished for stealing something they shouldn't be.

Is there any such thing as a "stick" where hackers are concerned? It seems to me that the only people the stick comes down on are the consumers. So the premise that they can use a stick at all is silly. But I guess that's their point.

He is still kinda wrong in the sense of thinking about it in terms of pracy bein a thing that you can "combat".

You can make buying as convenient as you want, and there will always be a number of people who will still pirate.

Some of them wouldn't have the money for it.
Others grew up pirating, and find it more comfortable and natural than starting to bother with ANY online store.
Some others are practically non-audiences, who feel a mild urge to try out the game, that othwerwise comes nowhere close to wanting to own it.
Others are actual customers, who already did buy another copy and then lost it, or whose preorder was delayed so until then they helped themselves to a copy, or who want to make sure whether it runs on their machine.

Live with it, and focus on selling the game to potential customers, instead of stopping others from also playing it. The illusion that you can just defeat all piracy with convenience, is almost as delusional as wanting to defeat it with DRM.

You shouldn't add DRM to a game, but that's because DRM is moronic, not because if you remove it then you magically gain control over all piracy just as you wished anyways.

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