CD Projekt: “DRM does not work,” offering “high value product” is the better alternative; reveals piracy numbers
Valve and CD Projekt are two of the best PC developers, and it’s not surprising that they say the most sensible things. Gabe Newell mentioned earlier that piracy was a “non-issue” to them, and the only way to be successful is by offering better services than the pirates.
This time we have an entirely different topic at hand. CD Projekt are well known for creating the Witcher franchise and of course, GOG.
They said that they’ve exhausted all metahods of DRM and it frankly does not work. Any game will be cracked within a few days so it’s a futile effort, which will only end up hurting their legitimate customers.
“We of course experimented with all available DRM/copy protection, but frankly nothing worked. Whatever we used was cracked within a day or two, massively copied and immediately available on the streets for a fraction of our price,” said Martin Iwinski, CEO of CD Projekt in an interview with PC Gamer.
But he said that they found a way around that. They devised a new strategy to counter this which was to offer high quality product, by beefing it up with collectibles like walkthroughs, soundtracks and making-of-DVDs.
This strategy worked for them, as they made quite a profit for selling Witcher 2 on GOG without any sort of DRM.
But it isn’t that rosy, of course. Piracy still exists and is very hard to get rid off. He revealed that The Witcher 2 was indeed pirated by “tens of thousands of people” after release. But they didn’t feel the need to use any sort of DRM, because it’s quite logical, isn’t it? you can’t prevent the inevitable. It will be cracked.
“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?” Iwinski added.
But the thing that strikes me as odd was his estimated piracy numbers for Witcher 2. Iwinski revealed that he estimated 4.5 million people pirated the game, and 1 million legitimately bought the game. He doesn’t regret it though, and says that he will take that “ratio”.
Since it’s an estimated figure, I personally believe that his numbers are way off, but hey, as you know people can come up with ridiculous numbers.