CD Projekt Will Never Use DRM, Says CEO

By John Walker on March 8th, 2012 at 7:44 pm.

CD Projekt will never use DRM again, said joint CEO Marcin Iwinski at a talk at GDC. Speaking to a rather thinned crowd, presumably dented by the post awards celebrations of the night before, Iwinski was explaining CDP’s philosophy for success with a PC exclusive game. And one element of that was to completely abandon DRM, since “It doesn’t work at all.” The talk also revealed how The Witcher 2 had sold over a million units, mostly in retail, but only 75,000 of them in the UK.

Beginning with quite the bias, Iwinkski explains that he doesn’t know how to help sell a shitty game. The Witcher 2′s impressive sales suggest he’s in the right place. It’s interesting to see the spread of the game’s sales. The biggest market was the US, where it shifted 269,700 units, followed by Russia at 234,215, Poland with 185,123 and Germany, Switzerland and Austria picking up 130,053. In the UK it only sold 74,225. But why did a hardcore RPG from a small developer pick up such big numbers?

The mistakes so many developers make, he argues, is that they fail to say who their game is for. And a big part of that is making sure gamers find out it exists in the first place. To do this, Iwinski strongly argues that developers need to be actively communicating with gamers, appointing one person on your team to be responsible for PR and marketing. Even if it’s just Twitter and Facebook, someone needs to be focused on it,

Another important thing to do is developer diaries. For the hits these get, it’s incredibly good value for money. Then of course there’s screenshots – something we can attest developers and publishers get wrong all the time. CDP took half a day to generate ten of them, slowing the game down, meticulously ensuring it’s well balanced, features crucial game content, and is eye-catching. Good grief, we wish more people followed those rules. Then there’s cover art, doing interviews, attending trade shows (by guerilla tactics if necessary, he explained, pointing out you don’t need an expensive booth to meet with press).

Also revealed were the nature of how the game sold. Remarkably, only 24% of copies of The Witcher 2 were digitally distributed. Retails was still a huge factor, but possibly because of the game’s huge success in Eastern Europe and Germany, where retail remains a dominant force. Because in North America things were quite different, where 70% of those 270,000 sales were digital.

DRM he explained at the end, just does not work. Iwinski explained it makes no difference to piracy, is instantly cracked no matter what, and only hinders people’s enjoyment of the game. And he pledged that the company will never use it again. Another error acknowleged was retailer-specific DLC, which the CEO strongly argued others should stop doing as well, because as much as it pleases retailers, it upsets the players – a problem they eventually dealt with by giving away all the different DLC two weeks after release, for free. Which of course wasn’t entirely popular with the retailers.

There was no word on a Witcher 3, with the company currently focusing their efforts on the 360 release next month. Maybe after that they’ll stick to their own advice and start making people aware as early as possible

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139 Comments »

  1. goatmonkey says:

    This kind of attitude makes me want to buy their games regardless of quality, I really am very silly.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Did they swear to never use German lawyers again though?

      • alundra says:

        @Bonedwarf

        My first thought, this is just PR damage control. Then again, I like it when an individual, be that a person or company, acknowledges it’s mistakes and is committed to not repeat them again.

        This is classier than anything I’ve seen from UBI, EA or Acti/Blizz and that on itself is enough for me to give another round of support to CDP .

        PS
        props to RPS for the new reply system!

        • speedwaystar says:

          whether or not it’s PR damage control, it’s true, it’s a devastating rabbit punch to the DRM industry, it’s coming from someone whose opinion the people who make the call on installing expensive and useless DRM in the first place possibly respect, and it is a great quote to pull out of a bag when the next round of retarded DRM shenanigans raise their head.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            Why would Sony, Microsoft, EA, or Activision’s CEO give a shit about what a tiny company from Germany says? Because they’re the ones that make the decisions regarding DRM.

          • Ebon Hawk says:

            Please do some basic research before posting…
            CDPR is from Poland not Germany…

    • Metonymy says:

      It’s a little reckless to say that DRM doesn’t work at all. In reality, it’s a spectrum. “Using someone else’s crack” against average-strength DRM requires a baseline competence with an operating system that many people just don’t possess or have the patience for.

      And idea DRM discourages casual copying and distributing, without reducing the quality of the retail product.

      • malkav11 says:

        While it’s true that requiring the use of a crack might defeat someone of essentially no computer skill whatsoever (it’s generally no more complicated than copy-paste), I would gently suggest that a) someone of that sort is extremely unlikely to be venturing into the world of videogames-that-don’t-come-with-the-operating-system in the first place, and even more unlikely to be aware of pirate channels to begin with. Heck, I can assure you that my parents and grandparents, who have moderate day to day competence, would not have the first idea how to pirate anything, much less software, without assistance.

        So. Does DRM work against a small and relatively nonessential category of people? Possibly. Is there any evidence that it doing so is worth the cost of implementation and the cost in goodwill among more savvy folk? Not that I’ve ever seen. And it certainly doesn’t justify going to the lengths that, say, Ubisoft has.

    • Stromko says:

      The proportion of people who know how to torrent, but don’t know how to apply the cracks that are included in those torrents, would have to be rather low. It would take a very specific kind of computer illiteracy, one that is easily cured by a readme.txt.

      • Space_Masters says:

        There’s almost always a comment on a popular torrent from someone asking, “How do I get this to work?” when it’s usually as simple as copying whatever is in the crack folder to the install folder. These people are probably first timers and someone usually tells them how to do it. Not that I visit such places… I know all this from friends, acquaintances, really.

    • Geen says:

      I’ll buy the game of any half-decent non-greedy company.

  2. DaftPunk says:

    Is 75.000 really that small number for sales ?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s fairly small for the UK, I think.

    • Tim James says:

      Everyone in the UK should be ashamed of themselves. If you people would stop punning so often, you’d have enough time to play one of the best RPGs in years.

    • Rich says:

      This potential UK customer would like to know if The Witcher 2 has a demo.
      I’m worried about the system requirements me.

    • NthRincewind says:

      UK population is roughly 20% of the US population so we might expect 5 times less sales than US.
      75000 * 5 would be 375000 so per head of population Witcher 2 sold better in UK than US.

    • Tim James says:

      Everyone in the US should be ashamed of themselves. If you people would stop playing Call of Duty so often, you’d have enough time to play one of the best RPGs in years.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Yeah, and everyone in Russia should be ashamed of themselves. If your games weren’t so busy playing you, you might have time to actually play them for a change.

    • deke913 says:

      Mostly to Rich. I am running this with all max except ubersampling on a windows 7 32bit with 4g ram and a single gtx 460 at 16×9.

      One of the most immersive games I have ever played. Do yourself a favor you guys who haven’t played it and give it a shot.

      oh yeah and “plough em all ..plough em all!”

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      That’s a very small, yet very precise, number of sales for the UK.

      • sinister agent says:

        Now I have an image of him giving a talk and taking seven minutes to get past “in the UK, the Witcher 2 sold seventy four thousand, two hundred and twenty five c… no wait, seventy four thousand, two hundred and twenty six copie… ah, that’s now seventy four thousand…”.

    • D3xter says:

      That UK number probably includes me and another large number of people bailing you out by getting their games from Amazon.co.uk or similar because it’s both cheaper and we didn’t want the shitty localised versions.

  3. Blackcompany says:

    Now if only they would adopt the same policy about scripted, god-of-war style Boss Fights. I still can’t get through chapter 1 because of this issue. I literally had to stop playing the game – which is a shame, because I quite like it.
    .
    But not being a hardcore gamer, I am not afraid to admit that the chapter 1 boss fights are simply too difficult for me to bother with any longer.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Erghh… Really? Boss battles are a deal breaker for me with many games. It’s the reason I’ve never bought the new Deus Ex. Heard so many bad things about them.

      It’s a tired overused mechanic IMO. “Let’s take this character, give him 10x the hit points, and have him kill the player in two hits.”

      It was an understandable mechanic 20 years ago but now it’s a relic akin to silent film. Cute in small doses (like The Artist) but of no real relevance anymore.

      Only game that nailed it in the last ten or so years for me was Shadow of the Colossus. I game I should have hated due to my hatred of boss battles as it was ONLY boss battles, but it was brilliant.

    • Roxton says:

      @Bonedwarf:

      Slight OT I know, but I really would recommend buying DX:HR in spite of the boss fights. They’re pretty atrocious, but there are something like three of them, each lasting five minutes or so, in a long, complex and excellent game. The reason they got so much attention wasn’t because the game was terrible because of them, but because the contrast between the quality of the boss fights and the rest of the game was so high. Sorry if that sounds interfering.

      • Zern says:

        I’m actually looking forward to the next boss in DX:HR. That’s because I’m bringing along:
        -a revolver with the explosive ammunition mod
        -an ungodly amount of stun gun darts
        -enough spare praxis points to buy the typhoon.
        I want to find out in how many ways the boss fights can be broken.

    • Premium User Badge Andy_Panthro says:

      Get DX:HR, make sure you get the Typhoon augment.

      That way, the boss fights will last mere seconds. The Typhoon should have been renamed the “boss skipper”.

      • Premium User Badge Malcolm says:

        Thanks for that tip – I almost picked up DX:HR in a recent Steam sale but was put off for the same reason.

    • Xocrates says:

      @Bonedwarf: to add to what Roxton said DX:HR boss fights aren’t too bad IF you know they’re coming, which people getting the game at launch didn’t. If you spend a couple points on Typhoon early you can beat all bosses except the last in two-three hits, making them more of an out of place speed bump than an actual threat.
      (I would also like to point out that DX:HR is a having a convenient 75% discount at gamersgate)

      A bit more on topic, I don’t think the problem is that games keep having boss fights, so much as more often than not they’re terrible. There are plenty of games where boss fights make sense, but there are extremely few that make them either fun or meaningful.

    • Casimir Effect says:

      The boss fights were just an experiment to make things more dramatic, and I’d say the Kayran one is pretty unique in that any other fight that could be considered a boss fight revolves more around the normal combat.
      I assume you’ve tried dropping the difficulty down to easy, or looked at a few of the YouTube videos which show exactly the best way to bring it down? I ask not to antagonise or anything, just that the game is truly excellent and the content after the Kayran fight is well worth getting to.

    • Blackcompany says:

      The ridiculousness of the Kayran I did manage to beat. Looked it up on Youtube, with the tentacles. It was dumb, but very beatable.
      .
      The other one…the one on one battle with the Sword-wielding-Damage-Sponge, is the one I struggle with. He has horrendous AI, a health bar like an interstate highway and some sort of astounding damage resistance.
      .
      Oh, and he kills the player in about two hits.
      .
      Not a fun fight at all. I so badly want to keep playing this game…but I have thus far failed to finish this fight.

    • Askeladd says:

      I actually had fun with him. I played on the harder modes right from the first playtrought.
      The trick to beat that big muscle baby is to know when to attack and when not to attack. Try first to take down his shield. Then evade and maybe cast some abilities. Then attack before he rebuffs the shield again.
      I really liked it because I needed to adopt a different playstyle to win.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I agree that the Letho fight is terrible. He has most of Geralt’s moves but just seems better than the player. My advice: drop the game to Easy, use every blade oil you have (plus a whetstone) and play defensively. Use bombs and knives if you got ‘em. Also: Yrden is your friend.

    • Kaira- says:

      In theory Letho-fight is just fine, it tests your skills. In practice, it drags on fucking forever and ends in most disappointing way possible, in which case I was left asking myself “what was the point of fighting?”

      The Kayran fight was fairly simple… except for the part where you’re supposed to
      SPOILERS HERE YOU MIGHT WANT TO WATCH OUT
      SPOILERS HERE YOU MIGHT WANT TO WATCH OUT
      !!!!!!!!
      run up the ruined bridge-piece and perform a QTE-kill. It wasn’t signalled in any way. Moronic if you ask me.

    • goatfeet says:

      Actually, on Easy you can beat Letho by just spamming the strong attack button. It seems that nobody ever parries or counters on easy mode, so I just backed him up into a corner, held down the button, and it was all over in about thirty seconds. HOORAY

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Thanks for the advice. That’s good to know. Budgetary constraints mean I must wait for a sale. (Will check Gamersgate, see if it falls into my credit window). Is the DLC stuff worth getting? I’ve seen differing opinions.

    • man-eater chimp says:

      Zelda usually nails bosses, but that makes you play in a completely different style as well as being on one of those strange console boxes.

    • deke913 says:

      had a hard time with the kayran myself ..which only made it more epic when I finally figured out you have to run up his back after he is down.

    • Lone Gunman says:

      I like Zelda style boss fights where it isn’t just hack away at /shoot strafe a monster with a tone of health. T they require some thinking and our genuinely fun.

    • Xocrates says:

      @Bonedwarf: I wasn’t too fond of the Missing Link (I haven’t touched any of the pre-order DLC’s), it does have some good moments, but it’s generally just a fairly long mission that really doesn’t add much to the core game or plot, and lacks the greatness of the hubs in the core game. Maybe worth considering after playing the main game if you still want more, but otherwise skip it, especially if budget is an issue.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Thanks for the advice. Boss battles are such a tired thing in games. I applaud the Witcher 2 and its attempt to make them more story-based/narrative-oriented, but they’re still horrible.
      .
      Hopefully, we can move beyond the concept of damage-sponge bosses soon and get to things like named enemies with better AI, smarter responses and better adaptation in combat.
      .
      Thanks again. Will try this over the weekend, if not tonight.

      • tormeh says:

        Take a stranglehold on your pride, lock it in inside the basement and then turn the difficulty down. Beat the boss fight, up the difficulty again and then set your pride free again. Say sorry while you’re at it.
        Worked for me.

  4. LionsPhil says:

    The DRM middleware business one must be quite an interesting one, selling companies a product that is broken the moment it is used.

    • HothMonster says:

      “Well sir, for 5 million dollars we can add a layer of frustration to your game that will really piss off a lot of paying customers.”
      “Will it stop piracy?”
      “Yes, for about 20 minutes”
      “SOLD!”

    • Kaira- says:

      “20 minutes? That’s more than what it takes for me to get a cup from Starbucks. With the kids and their ADD these days… sold!”

    • Contrafibularity says:

      What RPS didn’t mention is that according to CDProjekt, removing the SecuROM from the game increased performance by 5-30% so yeah, DRM isn’t just broken it’s actually breaking the game. I applaud CDProjekt for this move, although I’m not a fantasy-RPG-dicerolling person I might try The Witcher at some point.

  5. caddyB says:

    I bet having Triss on a porn mag also helped.

    • Lukasz says:

      was she in a porno mag? i do remember a playboy edition with her but not porn. would like to know more tough.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      I realize that, compared to the depraved corridors of the Internet, Playboy is kind of old-fashioned and tame, but when did it stop being porn?

    • Paul says:

      It never started being one. Maybe you are confusing it with Hustler.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Clearly I am deeply confused about the content of Playboy. Being a gay man, it never held much interest for me, but I always operated under the impression that it included pictures of nude women. Isn’t that porn? Very softcore porn?

    • caddyB says:

      I believed any kind of nude pix of women is porn unless it’s art? Well it’s still porn then but it’s low-class to get aroused by it then.

    • Lukasz says:

      Like it was said already: playboy was never porn. nudity =/= porn. it was always erotic magazine. huge difference

    • mondomau says:

      There really isn’t.

    • Lukasz says:

      Yes there is. Not only legal but common sense.
      one features explicit sex
      another features nudity. nude =/= porn.
      Otherwise do you consider cards from TW1 being the same as a girl being skewered by four guys?

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        I’ve always thought of it as a matter of degrees as well as intent. I would qualify “eroticism” as being very mild pornography. Playboy is pornography because, basically by definition, it is intended to provide images that a heterosexual man would find arousing. Michaelangelo’s David is not pornography because it isn’t erotic in any way. I mean sure, he’s got a friggin’ hot body, but the piece is clearly not trying to arouse the viewer.

        Well, unless Michaelangelo thought that seeing a man’s dick shrivel in terror at the sight of a giant would make for a great erotic moment. Kind of an interesting idea thoOH MY GOD I’VE BECOME AN ART CRITIC WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Kids these days…

      There used to be this thing called soft porn. It involved lots of vasoline… on lenses. And sometimes a pretense of artisticity as well.

      …uphill in the snow both ways.

  6. MythArcana says:

    Didn’t these guys just send out court summons en masse last year for torrent usage? Now they are changing their tune then after that flop. Sorry, blacklisted company.

    • Bats says:

      No, they didn’t send it out enmasse, or change their stance on DRM after the fact. They said they’d release Witcher 2 w/o drm and go after pirates. They went after a select few people they thought they identified, customers weren’t happy, they stopped doing that specifically. They’ve been DRM free before Witcher 2 and they’ve had fantastic customer service *period* throughout their years so, yeah go ahead and blacklist a good company out of ignorance, it’s your loss.

    • Premium User Badge Durkonkell says:

      Nowhere does it say that they don’t think piracy is damaging – only that they don’t think DRM is effective and they won’t be using it. They’re not “changing their tune” at all.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      To echo the above comments, they didn’t use DRM, and the tactics they used were not hypocritical. However, those tactics were somewhat unseemly, and if you disagree with them there, I don’t blame you for choosing not to support them.

    • jack says:

      They *did* reverse their position, and proved that they listened to customers. Doesn’t that show a whole lot more good will than a company like EA?

  7. engion3 says:

    I really disliked the combat in this game and the witcher character is the lamest looking/sounding/acting character in the world, but there was plenty of boobies and the game looked gorgeous and had a good UI because it was designed for PC.I will always buy a game that is designed PC only or PC first.

    • PostieDoc says:

      You don’t like the game but you bought it for the boobies?

      • caddyB says:

        If it works when choosing girlfriends it works when choosing games.

        • engion3 says:

          Wow. I was with a girl for that very reason for FOUR YEARS and then she was like are we getting married and i was like no lols. I hope the witcher doesn’t ask me to marry it.

  8. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    I believe there’s a certain cartoon pigeon living in the Statue of Liberty who would take issue with this statement.

    • TheBuff1 says:

      Ha i so love that film! Where is Don Bluth now??

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Pretty sure he hanged himself with film reels from the endless Land Before Time Sequels.

    • Acorino says:

      Ah, An American Tail, a movie both wonderful and terrible in equal measure. I think the ending touched me like barely any other movie managed to.
      I don’t want to randomly start bitching about some movie now. But I always wish it weren’t so deeply flawed.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        As a child I always found it too grim to really like. I loved the sequel though, and the Land Before Time was always a favorite (I always cried when Little Foot’s mom died). Rockadoodle was garbage.

        Did he work on All Dogs Go to Heaven? Damn, you want to talk about a wildly inappropriate film for children: gambling, the exploitation of a minor, grifting, not to mention that terrifying (but brief) scene with the Devil (the dog-Devil?) looming over the city to drag Charlie into Hell.

        Thinking about my childhood viewing habits, I’m beginning to wonder about the origin of some of my personality traits.

      • Dreforian says:

        Secret of Nimh!

  9. Premium User Badge Anthile says:

    One really has to wonder why [i]any[/i] company bothers with DRM. I suppose putting that stuff into your games is not cheap and yet it has never stopped anyone, ever. These people must base this decision on something and I’d really like to see the numbers there.

    • Brun says:

      I doubt they have any real concrete numbers to go on – it’s probably a peace-of-mind thing. Some publishers/CEOs/shareholders just can’t stand that their game is getting pirated by filthy criminals. They can’t (or won’t) understand that it’s something they can’t control, so they try to control it anyway, because the thought of their game being pirated is like nails on a chalkboard to them.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Because shareholders are non-techy idiots for the most part, and when John Fuckwank of North Dakota goes “And what are you doing to protect yourself from piracy?” the publisher goes “We’re using a product from Sony called Securom” or similar, John Fuckwank is appeased as he doesn’t know that Securom is to software security what leaving your front door closed and unlocked is to home security.

    • Consumatopia says:

      To be fair, it probably is useful in stopping people from giving copies of programs to their friends. Not everyone is willing to run the risks of online piracy (e.g. lawsuits, trojans)

      And putting games online works. You can’t pirate OnLive. Pirating an MMO is difficult enough to be pointless.

      • Bonedwarf says:

        It stops casual copying, but I don’t know ANYONE who has done that since the last century. Anyone I know who pirates they ALL just download it.

        So they’re killing probably 1% of copying, and the fact is most PC gamers are savvy enough to know where to go.

        As for pirating MMO’s, I run my own WOW server… Though of course I’ve paid for all the expansions.

  10. Moraven says:

    To the big publishers who are the ones pushing DRM on their games, 1 million is not a big number. But makes you wonder how many Settlers and Anno Ubisoft sells, since they are not your typical multi-million seller like Assassin’s Creed. I assume they are making enough profit since sequels are made.

    He accepts the fact the game will be pirately, that is out of his hands. So he works on what he can control by promoting, communicating with the community and other aspects. I like this guy. To bad he was not presenting earlier in the conference and had more to hear him out.

  11. PodX140 says:

    I still find the fact that they won’t put DRM in their games but WILL blackmail and legally strongarm people into paying them hilarious.

    “It’s ok, we won’t use DRM! But we will hunt you down and force you to pay, even if we aren’t sure that you actually pirated… But there’s no DRM, so joy!”

    And now we have to take their word that they wont employ the same tactics again? I’m not so willing.

    • Paul says:

      Are you really such an idiot or is this some kind of metahumour?

    • MasterDex says:

      I highly advise looking up the definition of blackmail and strong-arm. Seriously.

    • Khemm says:

      Yes, what they should do is implement permanent DRM for everyone, then you’ll be happy.

      What did you expect them to do? Visit thieves and pat them on their back or send them letters congratulating on successful downloads from rapidshare or torrents?

      There’s a bunch of people among PC gamers who think that not only should devs release games in a DRM free from, but also STFU and leave pirates alone so they can steal in peace and further damage the PC market. That’s nonsensical.

    • PodX140 says:

      For the record, I am being serious. I do wish more companies adopted the no DRM stance, I really do. I just found it amusing that the same company doing so has a bad history with actions much worse than DRM IMO.

      I’m not going to turn this into a debate on semantics and whatnot, I’m simply stating that I believe their stance doesn’t quite make up for previous actions.

      Edit: Khemm, why aren’t you staying blocked? Odd. Anyway, I have no stance on prosecuting pirates, but what I do have a stance on is prosecuting people without substantial evidence. That’s the real issue I have with them.

      • boskee says:

        I have an issue with you accusing someone of “prosecuting people without any substantial evidence” without any substantial evidence.

    • Khemm says:

      I don’t know, but I’ve just blocked you, too. Enjoy if you’re still reading this.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        That’s mighty petty of you.

      • El_Emmental says:

        well, to be honest, even though I couldn’t read much of the comments recently, I didn’t noticed Khemm doing his usual crusade against Steam everytime there’s a news about “game”, “DRM” or “online”, correct me if I’m wrong but it seems Khemm listened and is now a little bit more careful before launching yet-another volley of Katyusha’s rockets on Steam and its userbase

        ps: the new reply system is delicious :D

  12. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    Whilst I have a distaste for intrusive DRM, I almost always feel that art should never be not consumed because of some meta-issue bullshit not related to the content of the work in question. I feel it’s particularly diminishing to the people who’ve devoted intelligence, creativity and dedication to then counter with ‘Well, sure you’ve worked exceptionally hard but your publisher decided to, at least, delay and at most, limit my enjoyment of your work so… thanks anyway.”

    I’m not defending DRM but rather than penalising developers who labour under often grossly unfair publisher contracts, with future creative freedoms and resources contingent upon sales, surely an incomparably superior effort would be direct-action devoted to changing legislation on copyright and enshrining certain consumer rights as a fundamental norm for commercial media (unlimited installations, offline-operational executables, etc.).

    • Fumarole says:

      Nice triple negative there. My head a’splode.

    • Premium User Badge Aninhumer says:

      But by buying the games despite the publisher’s actions, you support the publisher as well, which just supports the unfortunate situation those developers are in. It’s kind of like saying even though sweatshops are horrible, we should buy the products to support the workers. Sure, the way to fix the problem entirely is legislation, but that doesn’t mean we can’t highlight the issue with boycotts until then.

    • Consumatopia says:

      I’m not really sure it’s more respectful to change the law to force companies to give you what you want than it is to use the marketplace to encourage them consensually.

      Then again, by your logic, the creators shouldn’t prevent me from consuming the art simply because I haven’t paid for it.

      I wouldn’t agree with either side of this position. It’s not worth sacrificing your rights to see someone else’s art, or to get someone else to see your art.

      Truth before beauty.

    • vagabond says:

      Really?
      Last time I went to an art gallery I had to go through a metal detector (they said something about stopping people with knives from defacing paintings or something, but since they also wouldn’t let me take a camera in I’m dubious). If they up that to xray scanners and strip searches, then I’m no longer going.
      You might be there; smiling your way through a full cavity search because, well, “ART!” but everyone has got to draw a line at how much bullshit they’ll put up with to participate in the transcendental experience that is art.
      And when that art is Duke Nukem Forever, the answer is probably not very much.

      Also, do not forget that publishers are currently trying to figure out exactly how little ownership and control of the product that they are selling their consumers will put up with (or even notice). This is only going to get worse unless people kick up a fuss.

  13. Kefren says:

    CDP impress me again. I’ll keep adding their games to my backlog! (I bought Witcher twice, and Witcher 2 once, haven’t played the latter yet).

    • Askeladd says:

      Buy it again and gift it to somebody. Tell the world of the witcher!
      Well, I plan to do something like that from this day on! I swear.

  14. Fumarole says:

    Would that this attitude were more common among publishers.

  15. Beelzebud says:

    They talk a good game when it comes to DRM. However, I bought Witcher 2 retail, and it has DRM with activation limits.

    How exactly do these guys have any credibility in this area?

    • Kaira- says:

      The activation DRM was imposed by publisher. It was removed in a patch, for which CD Projekt is now going to court for breach of contract.

    • Beelzebud says:

      I did not know that, and now I do. Thanks, Kaira. I guess my ire was misplaced.

    • UnravThreads says:

      Now? They went. Namco Bandai, the distributor (CDProjekt retained – I believe – all publishing rights), basically lost.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Unrav

      I’m not sure whether Namco was a publisher or just a distributer, as the game according to Wikipedia had fairly many publishers around the world (CD Projekt being the publisher in Poland), but yeah, you are correct.

    • Lukasz says:

      CDPR lost against namco
      and namco is distributor in Pal region for the game with poland and eastern eruope excluded (CDP is publisher there and 1C is distributor)

      Namco doesn’t have any rights to TW. it does have exclusive rights to distribute the game in certain regions (and now. after the court battle… it has rights to distribute XBOX360 version too) only

      • boskee says:

        There were 3 issues covered by Namco’s lawsuit:
        A) No Geolocation on GOG.com – Namco won
        B) Distribution rights – Namco won
        C) DRM removed from the retail copy – Namco lost

  16. ffs_jay says:

    Not much to add here, just wanted to say I definitely approve of this kind of thing. It might even get me buying mainstream pc games again (I just buy indie direct from the devs these days, as I really cannot be arsed fiddling with DRM systems. There’s other reasons, but removing DRM is a definite positive step). More of this please.

  17. UnravThreads says:

    R.E. the retail thing – Don’t forget that TW2 sells a base game which comes with more crap than most collector’s editions.

    It could be that people opted for retail as it came with a good number of physical things rather than just a disc and a crappy manual.

    • Maldomel says:

      That’s the comment I was looking for! Their “basic” edition has more stuff in it than the enhanced edition from the first witcher game. Also, it really puts to shame some of those 70+ $ collector editions other games can get.
      Which to me explains perferctly why they sold more retail copies than digital ones.

      I wish more devs would do this sort of thing…

  18. JonathanStrange says:

    I dislike the gaming community sometimes. Witcher 2 is a fantastic rpg, one of my favourites in quite some time and one that the developers clearly have a fair bit of passion for as they continue to fix, tweak, and even add new content to the game long after its release and entirely for free. If nothing else even if you’re not a fan of the games themselves this developer should be praised for their dedication and ability to listen and respond to their fans. What they’re doing is fantastic. Yet despite that I guarantee a good number of these reply are going to be snarky backhanded comments and snide remarks towards the CD Projekt either because of the legal ordeal awhile back or something else.

    Yes what they did was a bit of a dick move, but at the same time they stopped. They listened to the legitimate complaints and ended the practice. Compare that to Ubisoft or Activision or Bioware and EA who honestly don’t seem to give a damn. These company do the same anti-consumer tactics with nearly every game they release and although people protest each time, they don’t care. They don’t care because they know people will buy their product anyway.

    And that’s the sad part because they’re right. People flock to comments sections like this to lambast CD Projekt one minute and the next they’re off to buy Mass Effect 3 along with its expensive DLC and iPhone apps before signing up for Origin. It’s no wonder so few company bother to take the gaming community seriously. I sometimes wonder why CD Projekt even bother.

  19. buzzmong says:

    I really enjoyed the original Witcher, never finished it as the PC I was using at the time barely met the minimum requirements, and while that just sufficied for most of the game, the final chapter was too much and made it grind to a snails pace.

    I should really get around to installing it’s sequel, it’s sitting in my Steam list afterall.

    CDP have always been sort of anti-drm, glad to know they’re prepared to stand up at a place like GDC and say so.

  20. Eclipse says:

    The Witcher 2 is one of the best RPG ever made, story and “mood” wise I like it a lot more than Skyrim. Go play it.

  21. DClark says:

    I’m surprised this article didn’t note Iwinski’s comments about which version of The Witcher 2 first found its way to torrent sites. As noted in Joystiq’s article on the same subject:

    “We release the game. It’s cracked in two hours, it was no time for Witcher 2. What really surprised me is that the pirates didn’t use the GOG version, which was not protected. They took the SecuROM retail version, cracked it and said ‘we cracked it’ — meanwhile there’s a non-secure version with a simultaneous release. You’d think the GOG version would be the one floating around.”

    Since the DRMed version was pirated before the non-DRMed version, I guess it could be said that not using DRM in the future is CD Projekt’s piracy prevention method (not to mention a good ‘customer retention’ method as well).

    As a final note, I appreciate the mention of the dislike of retailer specific DLC. A really easy way to get me to wait for a price drop is to offer retailer specific DLC, because it makes me feel like they want me to pay full price for a not quite full game.

    • Outsider says:

      Since the DRMed version was pirated before the non-DRMed version, I guess it could be said that not using DRM in the future is CD Projekt’s piracy prevention method

      Well no, not really. If there isn’t a non-DRM version, they’ll just post the regular version for everyone to steal in the same amount of time. It won’t prevent piracy, but it will positively affect sales by customer satisfaction, and that’s they key.

  22. SquareWheel says:

    I’m really glad I bought The Witcher 2, even though I’ll never have time to play it.

  23. Oof says:

    Sigh. Does this mean Steam? I don’t want Steam.

    • Khemm says:

      Why would they want to use Steam DRM? It gets cracked even faster than, say, Securom or Tages. The latter tends to last two weeks sometimes, and that’s quite an accomplishment. Cracking Steam takes minutes, one hour at most.

      • Oof says:

        Why do game developers/publishers do anything they do? Since Steam isn’t considered DRM, they could still use a Steam-lock and require updates/DLC/whatever to happen through it. Obviously, it’s easier to pirate; but Steam is generally viewed more positively, so they could get some good will and more sales if they go that route.

        Frankly, I’d rather deal with Ubisoft’s DRM than Steam.

        • Khemm says:

          It’s really amazing that a very restrictive DRM like Steam isn’t considered one only because Valve applied some “features” to it which some people like.

          • El_Emmental says:

            that’s the whole point of a good DRM : people don’t notice it.

            the fact that leaving Steam on, or activating the Offline Mode once, also provides features/services (like sending and receiving messages with friends, browsing server list for many games, updating games, installing/uninstalling games from the same menu, etc) balance the fact you have to deal with Steamworks (the package for publishers, containing the Steam DRM), so as long as you use these features the DRM is really a minor consequences.

            If SecuRom was doing the same (= providing additional services, allowing offline mode, not relying on DVD drive compatibility), it wouldn’t be called a “DRM” (as in “bad DRM”), it would be called “oh, just a copy protection”. Slippery meaning sure, but you can’t ask someone to be accurate on everything all the time.

        • Kaira- says:

          “Since Steam isn’t considered DRM”

          What the big F am I reading right here?

        • MellowKrogoth says:

          The good thing about Steam is that the source that guarantees your downloads of the game for the future is the same that controls your access to the game. If you’re like me, you’re a bit overwhelmed with all the data floating around on your HD, external HD, DVDs and so on, so managing that yourself with the risk of losing them physically or through hardware failure is a burden, compared to knowing Steam keeps your games safe and available at a moment’s notice.

          Steam’s still DRM though, there’s no question about that. No-DRM means that you can install your game offline 10 years from now without asking anybody’s permission, and without the game being crippled in some way.

  24. exenter says:

    I don’t trust them anymore.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Yet I bet you keep buying games with DRM slapped on them by big companies who don’t give a shit about you. Keep fighting the good fight.

  25. HeavyStorm says:

    Bold claim. However, I don’t think it’s entirely true: DRM can come in many forms, and in the future it might actually work. But I get that he’s saying “We won’t use this kind of stupid DRM that damages paying customers and do nothing against pirates”.

    Also, only 75k? Shame on you UK.

    I myself already bought 3 copies (2 gifts, of course). I expect to buy two more in the future.

  26. Vadrigar says:

    Thanks to the Witcher games I got introduced to the Witcher books, which are excellent! Too bad only 1-2 are translated in English so you can’t enjoy them. Well they’ll probably go unnoticed anyway in the flood of crap fantasy…

    I feel that the games have captured the spirit of the books quite well. Can’t wait to play the Witcher 2 again and hopefully CDP is working hard on the Witcher 3! :)

    • UnravThreads says:

      One novel, one short-story collection. There were legal issues which prevented the release of further translations. However, there is a third Witcher book (second novel; sequel to Blood of Elves called Time(s) of Contempt) out this year as the legal wrangling has been solved.

      And Gollancz have redone the covers for the UK releases, although for some bizarre reason they called The Last Wish a novel.

  27. sinister agent says:

    I enjoy the interpretation I have made of noises that this man made using his face. I would further enjoy hearing similar noises emanating from the faces of others in comparable positions.

  28. Sweetz says:

    In all DRM discussions, one thing I wish would come up is how much DRM costs to implement.

    It’s always been my theory that 3rd part DRM peddlers (SecuRom, TAGES, etc) are the best snake oil salesmen in the world. I mean how long have they gotten away with selling a product that doesn’t work? Yet, companies keep buying their product. Seriously, even the world’s most successful shaddy used car salesman most envy the track record of DRM companies.

    I wonder exactly how much publishers spend on implementing these DRM solutions and whether they ever recoup *any* of that investment in terms of whatever few sales they might get during the short period before the DRM is cracked (assuming it’s not cracked immediately) from people who would have otherwise pirated.

    • sinister agent says:

      The first company that thinks of “homeopathic DRM” could essentially buy Asia outright.

    • El_Emmental says:

      well, if you look at Securom/Starforce past record, they’re indeed pretty good at it.

      you’ll often see them milking a publisher until it realizes it’s buying a shoddy service, then a few years later the CEO/executives turnover magic happens : the new guys get spammed of alarming “studies” and “records” about piracy by these DRM companies, and since the new guys are afraid of screwing everything up, they pay the bill and add these DRMs, until they realize they’re being manipulated. Rinse and repeat.

  29. MellowKrogoth says:

    Yup, this is a company worth supporting.

    BTW regarding DRM, I wouldn’t blame them if they used some sort of encryption for the disks they ship out to retailers, and then when the game officially comes out, release a password that you can either enter manually offline or that auto-applies if you’re online. It would prevent leaks of the game before release day and wouldn’t affect anybody beyond that.

  30. alms says:

    This sounds just so unimaginatively fake to me, next thing they’ll do is send up a big guy with a beard, wearing a hat and announce a voxel-based java construction game set in the Witcher world?

  31. Kleppy says:

    Of course DRM works. Some work better than others, but unobtrusive yet powerful DRM can make the difference. The trick is to balance the protection so that it doesn’t hurt legit customers, and to make sure it’s invisible to the user (aside from say a first time activation, which can also be done automatically.) Also, it only needs to be uncrackable for a short time, even a couple weeks are going to get the developers more sales from people who were frustrated with waiting for a crack for a game their were looking forward to.

  32. Matt says:

    I’m frankly not paying that much attention to DRM-issues and forced registration and all that, but I think there’s no need for them either, so the comlete absence should provide the best “not-paying-attention” solution for everyone.

  33. Fadobo says:

    If you ever walked into a game store to buy a PC game, you’ll know why most of the sales are digital. Being from Germany (where PC Games get more space then say Xbox 360 or PS3 Games, sometimes even those two combined) that felt really weird to me. You just cannot buy them there. Saw only a small bargain-bin with some super-old titles in a Gamestop in SF.

  34. Melf_Himself says:

    Your lack of punctuation disturbs me.

  35. Ebon Hawk says:

    Amazing how it seems people here can’t stop themselves from making pointless comments and baseless accusations…

    CDPR have not failed the community and its players as of yet (two products and counting) so, might I suggest you go and vent your pubescent anger at a more deserving (or in this case lesser) developer like the one who just released another Mass Defect…

    That being said answer me this, would it hurt your pride or whatever it is that you are afraid of hurting if once in a while you supported a worthy developer and a worthy goal?