Banhammered: Twitch Crack Down On Witcher 3 Leaks

The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt [official site] isn’t meant to see an official release until May 19 but a couple of stores started selling the game a week early and already there have been a few streams broadcasting over Twitch.

Naturally, Twitch is cracking down on it. Just think of what might happen if someone set their poor goggle eyes on ol’ Geralt in action before launch! Oh mercy, the anarchy.

Twitch Support has already called out anyone streaming the game, saying in an official tweet: “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is not allowed for broadcasting until May 19, 2015. Broadcasting before this date is subject to DMCA guidelines.”

Kotaku is also reporting these accounts are being banned, but still managed to maintain a couple thousand views over a few hours.

Unsurprisingly, there are now a bunch of screenshots and videos now scuttling the web; A real shame considering the headache CD Projekt Red experienced last year when the developers had their files hacked and plot points of the game leaked. We’ve reached out to the company to see how they’re dealing with it.

64 Comments

  1. Emeraude says:

    So, they put that needless, “Not-a-DRM-solution-we-swear” on the first batch of PC games, and in the end it was all for nothing because of the existence of the console version.

    Color me unsurprised and meanly grinning.

    • CallMeIshmael says:

      Excuse me, but what? What the hell are you talking about? DRM has absolutely no place in this discussion, and the console version has had absolutely no impact on the PC version’s DRM-free existence. I’m not sure what precisely you’re unsurprised about.
      If you’re talking about the DMCA takedowns before the 19th, is that so unreasonable, to block streams of a game before release that weren’t sanctioned by the developers? I’m pretty certain the existence of these early copies is in violation of a license agreement, and it would be understandable for the devs to not want a story-focused game like the Witcher to leak a full week before release.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        Don’t you just love how some people are so deluded so they can add 2+2 and get W?

      • Dread Quixadhal says:

        If it were *REALLY* to prevent spoilers of plot points, why does the studio sanction various internet personalities to show early access content on their youtube channels?

        Let’s face it. This is not an MMO, it’s a single player game. There are two kinds of people who will be watching gameplay videos a week before launch. One kind (myself included) are the ones who have been burned on pre-orders before and want to have a pretty reasonable idea of what they’re going to be getting BEFORE handing over $60. The other, is the basement dweller who wants to impress his “friends” by “finishing” the game before anyone else he knows does.

        I don’t think it’s at all unreasonable for people to want to watch an hour or so of gameplay that was NOT cherry-picked by the developers to show off the best parts of the game.

        Put another way, if you have so little faith in your game that you’re afraid to let people see it early, maybe you shouldn’t be releasing it yet?

        • llubtoille says:

          Part of their agreement with the internet personalities to show content pre-release was to not include any story content. They appear more than happy to show off their game and so must be quite confident in its quality, but likely being proud of their work they may wish to prevent the spread of story spoilers that might negatively impact their fans experience of the game.

    • Sian says:

      What solution are you talking about? I totally missed whatever news that was whenever it came up.

      • LTK says:

        Just like The Witcher 2, The Witcher 3 has DRM in place to prevent the game from being leaked while it’s in production. And just as with TW2, this will be patched out on release. Some might consider this hypocritical with CDP’s anti-DRM stance but considering there are zero legitimate customers before the game is launched, only crackers or pirates are hindered by it. The DRM might have been ineffective but that’s no reason to expect CDP to not take steps to protect their game before it is launched.

        • Sian says:

          Ah, okay. Thanks for explaining. :)

        • Bull0 says:

          Seems stupid to even consider that DRM. If they set passwords on their source control, is that DRM?

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            basilisk says:

            The initial wave of pressed PC discs are all missing a key file. Without an internet connection, it’s just dead, useless data on an ornamental piece of plastic. This may not technically be DRM (depending on which of the very many definitions you choose to follow), but to quote one of the key tenets, it’s Defective By Design all the same.

            Also, you apparently need to link the game to a GOG account using a supplied code to be eligible for patches. How is this different from Steamworks games sold in a box? Not much.

            For a publisher that’s playing the “we’re the good guys, honest” card at every possible opportunity, this is pretty scummy behaviour, wouldn’t you say?

          • FriendlyFire says:

            What’s scummy about requiring an account to download patches with? The patches themselves have no DRM. The login is free. There is no requirement to bind a credit card or any other form of payment to get an account.

            They’re literally just asking you to confirm you bought the game so the legitimate consumer gets service while the pirate (and since Witcher 3 has no DRM, there are many of them) doesn’t and needs to go look elsewhere.

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            basilisk says:

            It’s dependence on an external service. The anti-DRM crowd used to feel very strongly about that when it wasn’t their darling company doing it.

            Look, I absolutely understand why they are doing this; there’s a lot of money on the line. And I don’t particularly care either way. But CD Projekt’s PR strategy has been a hypocritical and deeply cynical game for a long time, and I like watching people slowly come to realise that.

          • Emeraude says:

            @basilisk

            Thanks for doing my job for me.

            It’s interesting – and probably not fully innocent – how some people have come to define DRM by the modern technological tools we use to achieve the purpose and not by the end purpose itself.

            And color me mad, but yes, the no activation and/or dependence on a service is where I draw the line, and it’s been crossed.

            And it *is* funny how some so-called anti-DRM/anti-Steam people are defending this. Seems like tribe beats truth.

  2. melnificent says:

    Legally acquired copies? the DMCA takedowns would be false then.
    Illegitimate copies? DMCA is probably the easiest correct way to deal with it.

    But as RPS has stated that they are legally acquired (bought from store), then it’s a stretch to take them down under such circumstances.

    • LurkerLito says:

      That is where you are wrong. Software is bound by a license agreement, since the release date is the 19th, by playing early you are essentially playing without a license as the publisher/developer determines when you are allowed to use their software. Using the software you bought without a license is still technically piracy even if you bought it.

      • RobF says:

        Yeah. Good luck holding that one up in a court.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          The DMCA takedown is for streaming (not owning the game) so…yeah, good luck making “but I bought it legally!” hold up in a court of law.

          • RobF says:

            You don’t pass a DMCA request through the courts, man.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Streaming is something the industry is sort of “allowing”, and laws about it are still not specific enough, let alone the fact that nobody cares and that devs learned that it can be a good thing for them.

            The point is another though, CDPR doesn’t really NEED to blame the streamers or whoever bought the game before they could, they simply have to ask for this stuff to be removed on the simple basis that those copies were not supposed to be sold. It’s as easy as that.

          • RobF says:

            Right, sure. I’m more interested in whether these things -should- be done than whether someone technically can but I guess that’s a big ask for videogames at the best of times. Rules is rules and businesses are businesses and we do as they say, right?

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            “You don’t pass a DMCA request through the courts, man.”

            Not sure how you took my post to mean that you did, uh, brah.

            The point is, CD Projekt doesn’t have to rely on their license agreement to stop people from streaming. They already control the copyrights and can do so at will. Make sense this time?

          • RobF says:

            Yeah, I’m aware of that. I was responding to this rather than making some sort of statement in isolation about whether it was legal to stream:

            “Software is bound by a license agreement, since the release date is the 19th, by playing early you are essentially playing without a license as the publisher/developer determines when you are allowed to use their software. ”

            The implication of my statement, which I thought was pretty obvious but I guess not, was that this is little more than pro corporate apologia which would struggle were it to ever get to a court of law. The idea that you just stick a license in a box that you read -after you’ve bought the game- and it may say “cannot play until the 19th guv” and this is binding would be considered pretty ridiculous in all but the most extreme of corporate cases.

            In other words, it’s a completely ridiculous thing to throw into the conversation given it does nothing but suggest that corporations can stick a note in a box and that’s it, we have to abide by it and the world, thankfully and admittedly only just, doesn’t work that way.

            Rather than looking at whether this is the right thing for CDPR to be doing or a good thing it’s just “well, they can do whatever because they’re CDPR” and no, sorry. I tire of how quickly we resort to this in games, y’know?

            I’m befuddled as to how we ended up at cross purposes on this though and I apologise if I’ve managed to confuse it further with my response.

          • RobF says:

            That was a shit apology. Let me try that again. I apologise for getting that all arse about tit when I was responding to someone else and misread your post.

        • Bull0 says:

          The courts struggle to keep up with technology generally. You’d struggle to get the vast majority of tech-related things to hold up in court. Not really relevant.

    • NotToBeLiked says:

      It’s not really something that the DMCA should be used for. It’s just Twitch deciding what games people can stream on their site. Just like they decided to stop people streaming the PS4 Playroom (because people tended to do quite a lot of adult stuff on there) and like they probably block people from streaming hentai or other pornographic games.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      I don’t know if those are legally acquired, not because the end user is necessarily doing anything malicious, but because they couldn’t be legally sold before their intended date.

      This kind of stuff often tends to slip past, and stores can most of the time get away with it, but what really matters here is that they did something that they couldn’t do, and CDPR can absolutely ask what they asked.

      • Caiman says:

        Although it’s not the purchaser’s fault, it’s the same as buying stolen goods: the purchaser is not the legal owner, and because the shop in question broke street date and sold the goods illegally, the purchaser gets shafted… at least until the game is officially released according to its license. Twitch is simply protecting its interests by not allowing its service to be used for goods acquired illegally.

  3. jack4cc says:

    I don’t understand what all the fuzz is about – every cries piracy as soon as a PC is involved, but the fact that almost all console games leak in advance is almost always ignored, why wouldn’t this happen to Witcher, too?

  4. aepervius says:

    out of curiosity what’s the first feedback ? Good ? Average ? Bad ? Mixed ?

    • Unclepauly says:

      a little bit of each.

      :D

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      It seems that you already decided, as you listed a lot of mediocre ratings and “good” as the only positive one.

      • aepervius says:

        Assumption much ? I just cited a few at random. Geez if all you could do is trolling or poisonning the well, you could simply have skipped the answer.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          I apologize if i sounded that way, and perhaps i actually meant it in a way. You have to understand that i’m quite used around these parts to a 10/10 scale in which 6 is used as the highest, and it’s far easier to be “terrible”, “mediocre”, “average” and, wait for it… “generic”.

  5. int says:

    Twitch twitches the twitchy twitchers twitching T’Witcher.

  6. triggercut says:

    There’s some almost sweet naivete going on in the comments here–and in the article itself. Here are the factors at work here:

    1. Namco Bandai and Warner are the publishing partners for all physical media for Witcher 3. That stores are breaking street date is not something Namco is happy about (it’s their PAL area). NB is a big publisher. Namco is likely unhappy that stores they shipped to have broken street date.

    2. Twitch is owned by Amazon. Do you think perhaps Amazon has reasons to want to play nice with publishers and that PR departments from Amazon and a big publisher might get along quite smartly? Yes. All of those things. When Namco’s PR flack calls to say “Can you take care of this for us?”, surprisingly Twitch (Amazon) and Youtube (Google) are going to play ball. That’s how things in digital marketing work a lot of the time.

    3. Amazon and Twitch, in fact, are doing their own promo event on Tuesday or Wednesday, streaming “exclusive” live footage and gameplay. They’re going to protect that turf.

    4. Giggling at the “hold up in a court” stuff. Twitch isn’t a public commodity. If they want to ban all Twitch streamers named Geoff tomorrow, that’s something they can do if they like. Their stream, their network, their house, their rules.

    • c-Row says:

      *applauds*

    • FrumiousBandersnatch says:

      Naivity? When people mock something or think it’s ridiculous, they are not necessarily ignorant about why things are as they are.

    • RobF says:

      When I argue “good luck holding that up in court”, I’m not talking about taking Twitch to court or CDPR/Namco or anyone else. I’m referring to someone strolling up with the “but games have a license so you’re legally not allowed to play them before the street date” stuff. As in that would be pretty much not pass any sort of scrutiny. Not owt else.

      And yeah, I’m fully aware of all the dynamics at play in these things (natch) but that doesn’t mean they’re not ridiculous, big business being big business or not.

      • ButteringSundays says:

        I’m not sure why you don’t think a product license would hold up in court, piracy *itself* is just a breach of a license.

        • RobF says:

          Not “a product license” but “a product license for a thing you bought from a shop telling you you’re not allowed to play it until we say so on a certain date despite it all being there and intact available for you to play if you just put it in that expensive box you bought to play it on”.

          Jeepers, Scoob.

          • latedave says:

            But having a software licence that expires stopping you using a thing is perfectly legitimate and understood, I don’t see how this is much different

        • Sirius1 says:

          Given that “licensed or owned?” is still a question which hasn’t been completely resolved in court (just because the EULA says something doesn’t make it legal) there’s plenty of room for doubt about a licensing type restriction holding up in court.

        • aepervius says:

          All you assumption are NIL in other juridiction than the USA. Just a passing back remark. At least here, if you bought it, and the company activated it or it is directly playable, you are not pirating or whatnot and you are entitled to play even if the company screwed up by doing the activation too early. And it is not completely considered a licence in some juridiction, if it is a “perpetual licence” then trend in some juridiction is that you may pretty much you own it.

          So not 100% as clear cut as you push it.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      If Twitch was mine, i too would ban those called Geoff, quite frankly.

  7. noizy says:

    I’m not interested in anyone else’s gameplay until I am done playing it myself.

  8. Mr Coot says:

    “Just think of what might happen if someone set their poor goggle eyes on ol’ Geralt in action before launch! Oh mercy, the anarchy.” Imo, this sentence is really unnecessary and gives the piece a flippant, edgy, faux-cynical tone. And doesn’t work with “We’ve reached out to the company to see how they’re dealing with it.” If I were the company person, after reading that, I’d tell you to get knotted.

    This is something interesting and newsworthy (to me), it’s ok to tell me it relatively dispassionately. I’m already interested and engaged with what you’re telling me! Don’t need enhancements to make it upbeat and entertaining.

    • FrumiousBandersnatch says:

      Just that other people aren’t as boring as you doesn’t mean they are desparately trying to be “upbeat and entertaining“.

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      Dukey says:

      That’s how RPS approaches most of their short, “serious” news stories: some sort of joke paragraph, then “no, but seriously…”

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Still, it really sounded like the author found CDPR’s desire to protect their heavily story driven game ( and their huge financial bet ) to be finished and watched before the actual release quite silly and childish.

  9. ukpanik says:

    Some who have the game early are saying there are a lot of invisible walls. I hated that in Witcher 2.

    • neofit says:

      And you are expecting something different in TW3 why? I have little doubt that those who did TW1 and 2 will give us more of the same in TW3. They may not be willing to piss off their established fan base like Egosoft did with X:Rebirth. Maybe larger but prettier, but essentially the same. For those who liked that, and the incessant cutscenes and other crap they put in to tell their asinine stories, good for you. I’ll be interested in a year after the obligatory, finally playable Director’s Cut, in a Steam sale.

      • ukpanik says:

        “And you are expecting something different in TW3 why?”

        “you can go everywhere within our huge game-world without invisible walls.”
        Konrad Tomaszkiewicz

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Ahhh, so people DO actually read this kind of statements. Fascinating.

          • McPartyson says:

            I don’t get why that’s fascinating.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Because when devs end up wich such obvious PR statements, they’re not talking to us but they are talking to random people who don’t read much gaming news and don’t know any better.

            While it’s true that lying is still the devs fault, and it’s also true that they absolutely should be accountable for that, we should be playing it way safer with expectations by now.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        I’ll take a Witcher 2.2 instead of an X: Rebirth, thanks. Egosoft didn’t piss off their fanbase, they made a turd of a game. Witcher 3’s scope is enough to satiate me.

      • GallonOfAlan says:

        Why? Because they’ve spent 3 years pimping it as being open-world?

  10. zat0ichi says:

    LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA

  11. Jamesworkshop says:

    Naturally, Twitch is cracking down on it. Just think of what might happen if someone set their poor goggle eyes on ol’ Geralt in action before launch! Oh mercy, the anarchy.

    Hey, even Geralt deserves his informed consent respected.

  12. Frankenchokey says:

    Doesn’t seem to controversial to me. The rules say don’t stream before 5/19, so streams released before then are removed. Hardly seems an unreasonable guideline to follow.

    Perhaps it is questionable whether those guidelines are legally enforceable, but it hardly seems sinister for Twitch to err on the side of caution, and courtesy, by taking such an action.

    • Nixitur says:

      What rules say that? If somebody bought the game in a store and started streaming, they would get banned for that. Unless the EULA specifically says “Do not play before May 19th.”, then I don’t think there are any rules being broken here.
      I’m not a lawyer, but I’m not sure that any laws are broken here, either. If the EULA truly states a specific date, then maybe that’s legitimate. But if it doesn’t, I don’t think a DMCA takedown notice or something like that is at all justified.

  13. racccoon says:

    Its a great job working for the gaming industry,
    you get to do things unheard of in a job environment, That i may say have pittered into some other careers jobs, Special relax rooms etc. etc. you know privileges beyond privileges, but the crunch is coming!
    As more inside people leak and more media given people leak what they are told not to leak!
    The game industry will shut its doors to lock down all those nice working places will be restricted by security maxed! and have no phones no freedom, a blocked net access and empty your pockets scanning & spying, the gaming industry of the future will be just as bad as going to locked down school in America check after checks after checks.
    Our life has been violated by freaks we no longer have a freedom.
    It all these peoples that we put our trust in that are cause of our today restricted rights.
    A big “IF” If they didn’t do such stupid things these uncomfortable practices of scanning and spying upon our lives would not be in place.
    So the conscience is on the leaker as he/she is person who made all our working and living daily life’s a misery now & into the future. .