Building Good Will: The Witcher 3 Team Promises Absolutely No DRM For PC Release

from the towards-all-PC-men dept

We've written about CD Projekt, the video game studio behind the Witcher series, several times in the past. The studio has a fan-friendly view on DRM, in that they have staunchly refused to include it in their games. They've stuck by this plan, even as the Witcher games are heavily pirated. Even when its lawyers got the best of it and began attempting to go after alleged pirates, CD Projekt eventually listened to its own community, fans and customers, and promptly calmed the hell down and put the lawyers back on their leashes. So, as you can imagine, the piracy continued unabated, resulting in so many lost sales and devastating the games' markets to the point that CD Projekt had no choice but to go the DRM route with the upcoming The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Nope, just kidding, the games were wildly successful despite the horrors of mega-piracy and CD Projekt is going out of its way to reaffirm its stance on DRM. In an open letter to its community, it promises no DRM on PC versions of the game, and in a way that is as endearing as it is forthright.

I’d like to say it loud and clear: The PC version of The Witcher 3 will have absolutely no DRM from day 0. Zero. Zip. Nada. It doesn’t matter if you choose to buy it on GOG.com and support us directly or buy the game in box format, you’ll still get the 100% DRM-free experience. And this goes for the whole world. We’ve fiddled with DRM in the past (Oh boy! How young and naïve we were;)) and that’s enough. Lesson learned. Having said that, I’d like to thank you for your continuous support. You’ve bought six million copies of the Witcher games so far. Whoo-hoo! Let’s celebrate. Here, have some cake!
The post goes on to note that the game will be made available on Steam, which lots of people like to blindly label DRM in the same vein as an Ubisoft platform (which is stupid), but notes that there are lots of other places to buy the game that follow CD Projekt's stance on DRM.

When it comes to engaging with your community, being awesome, and giving them a reason to love you and to buy your goods, this project is full win. Electronic Arts, you should be taking notes.



Reader Comments (rss)

 

Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

Just to show you I’m feeling jovial tonight, I’mma make this reply rhyme like Bullhorn from Black Dynamite!

HUGELY pirated

Just because a game’s shared over and over again doesn’t mean it ain’t makin’ dollars, pounds, or yen.

In fact, I think I could bet a hefty wager that piracy won’t put CD Projekt’s profits in danger.

I'm no gamer, but if Steam isn't effectively DRM, what's your label for it, O fully-sighted one?

You’ll have to forgive me for being a bit blunt, but I think you could call it a ‘digital storefront’.

Popular games are popular, and they'll be pirated more (if possible) than others. It's commendable for a company to say it's not worrying about the losses, but it's only a PR trick to put best face on the inevitable (as most here say).

If CD Projekt knows tons of people might ‘misbehave’, doesn’t publishing a DRM-less game sound kinda brave?

You talk about piracy as an imevitability, but don’t DRM-less games sound like market adaptability?

People don’t want damned DRM in their entertainment; I think CD Projekt will benefit from the no-DRM announcement.

They might make more money by listening to their fans, even if their game ends up in less scrupulous hands.

The guilt trip works because like most people, you wish to trade, NOT STEAL

Let me try this again, even though I know you’re just trollin’: piracy is copyright infringement — nothing is stolen!

BUT, what if you saw piracy as 100% acceptable?

Nobody here sees piracy as an acceptable act, but better business models negate piracy’s impact.

You fight piracy with better value and true scarcity — not by criminalizing customers and fictionalizing rarity.

I'm pretty sure that EA with its draconian DRM is selling more than this company, so that DRM intrinsically reduces profits is just another wacky Techdirt assertion.

In the gaming world, EA has much more visibility, but their larger size means they lack adaptability.

If DRM-less games become successful and commonplace, EA would still have to deal with its DRM showcase.

And while EA makes more money due to its size, amongst hardcore gamers, it has very few allies.

CD Projekt earned my respect by dropping DRM outright — and if other companies keep up with them, that’d be…

♪ dynamite — dynamite~ ♫
—S. T. Stone

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 2:55pm

    which part of the promise is actually going to be adhered to then? what 'secret interpretation' is going to be used that actually means we can put DRM in even if we say we wont?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    FM Hilton, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:03pm

    DRM

    It's nice when one company decides to stick to its' ethics, no matter what the fiscal cost.

    Too bad EA is still too paranoid and greedy not to be that company.

    CD Projekt is that company, and if I wanted to play any game, they'd be the one I'd buy it from.

    Maybe others can learn the basics of customer service, too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Wait. A game publisher decided not to treat all of its fans like criminals?

    I think the AAA major publishers just found some real witches. Gotta wonder when they’ll burn ’em at the stake…

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    T Teshima (profile), Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    Re: DRM

    But the point that CDProjekt has learned is that piracy does NOT significantly impact the bottom line, and that intrusive DRM can negatively effect sales. They are only being rational about things. A perfect case study showing the foolishness of all these intrusive DRM schemes that companies use. 6 million sales speaks to the effectiveness of CDProjekt's approach.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    Re:

    Hahhaha ohhh man, you must not know who CD Projekt is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:33pm

    Re: DRM

    Is it a fiscal cost when they sell 6 million copies though?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Eric (profile), Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:34pm

    Lost Sales?

    I guess anyone who says that not using DRM creates lost sales hasn't met me. I've bought the first two Witcher games twice (the first time after the first article on here talking about their lack of DRM). And, I might go a third time on the first to, via gog.com. Definitely getting Witcher 3 straight from them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Eric (profile), Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:40pm

    Re: Lost Sales?

    And, yes, I took the shortcut of no DRM means piracy in that first statement.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 3:57pm

    Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    http://thepiratebay.sx/torrent/7193040/The_Witcher_2_Assassins_of_Kings_Enhanced_Editon-SKIDROW

    HUGEL Y pirated: Seeders: 688 Leechers: 448 Comments 367

    "the game will be made available on Steam, which lots of people like to blindly label DRM" -- Hmm. I'm no gamer, but if Steam isn't effectively DRM, what's your label for it, O fully-sighted one? You just state that it's not rather than give reasons.

    @ Eric: "I guess anyone who says that not using DRM creates lost sales hasn't met me. I've bought the first two Witcher games twice (the first time after the first article on here" -- You pretty much miss the crux of the argument while stating it. Popular games are popular, and they'll be pirated more (if possible) than others. It's commendable for a company to say it's not worrying about the losses, but it's only a PR trick to put best face on the inevitable (as most here say). Then, people like you (after the publicity works) wish to feel virtuous and brag that they paid for the game (twice!).

    The guilt trip works because like most people, you wish to trade, NOT STEAL.

    BUT, what if you saw piracy as 100% acceptable? Once the morality of paying for games breaks down entirely, the whole industry would collapse -- unless DRM is used.

    I'm pretty sure that EA with its draconian DRM is selling more than this company, so that DRM intrinsically reduces profits is just another wacky Techdirt assertion. Fact is popular games will be bought whether have DRM or not. Besides that, EA and others sets an overall moral environment just by attempting to keep piracy from becoming fully acceptable.

    Without the moral and practical sanctions that "legacy" copyright provides, DRM sure looks necessary to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    You're missing the point that DRM unduly impairs normal users who would normally pay for the game regardless.

    And of course you're completely missing the point that they had 6 million units of sales despite the lack of DRM.

    And of course you also continually miss the point that people who download the game for free will never normally pay for software.

    There will always be someone to break the DRM and put the game up online for others. Many hackers see it as a challenge to break the DRM even if they care nothing for the game.

    Somehow you have your head in the sand when you're talking about 'the morality of paying for games'. It doesn't apply.

    People buy things they value. That value will be different for different people.

    That is why CDProjekt sold 6 million copies of their game.

    Your comment about EA shows your ignorance about the gaming industry.

    A better comparison would be Ubisoft. Take a look how Ubisoft fared with its DRM and try your argument again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Al, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 4:33pm

    I wouldn't know . ..

    I wouldn't have ever bought this game if I didn't 'pirate' the first one. When the second one came out with no drm I wanted to support such a sensible company that made such fun games. I even bought the first one from gog.com after the game of the year edition was released. I will be buying the third one too. I would like to ask the obviously moral superior pillar of society whom I picture spewing spittle as he/she mutters obscenities while writing posts above how I would be classified. Somebody who never would have spent one thin dime on any of the games has and will spend full price on all the games only because 'piracy'.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Keroberos (profile), Nov 1st, 2013 @ 4:58pm

    Re:

    A requirement to always be logged in to their servers even to play the single player portion would technically not be DRM but achieve the same purpose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 5:58pm

    Smart move!

    Everything is pirated and DRM is just a waste of resources that could go towards game improvement, company expansion, or whatever. I pirate 99% of everything before I buy it. You cannot return shitty products if they're on a disk.

    But they will swap your shitty game for the same shitty game.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 6:05pm

    Little known fact that you can release a game on Steam without Steam's DRM: http://steam.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_DRM-free_games

    Not that I'd blame CD Projekt if they didn't implement their Steam release like this...as I said, little known fact.

    Just something I felt other people would like to know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Nov 1st, 2013 @ 7:31pm

    Re: Re:

    Uh, how would something like that not be DRM?

    If the program is capable of bricking itself without an active connection to 'verify' legitimacy, that would require some part of the programming specifically put in to do so, with no other purpose but as 'anti-piracy' measures, which would seem to fit the definition of DRM quite well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    Just to show you I’m feeling jovial tonight, I’mma make this reply rhyme like Bullhorn from Black Dynamite!

    HUGELY pirated

    Just because a game’s shared over and over again doesn’t mean it ain’t makin’ dollars, pounds, or yen.

    In fact, I think I could bet a hefty wager that piracy won’t put CD Projekt’s profits in danger.

    I'm no gamer, but if Steam isn't effectively DRM, what's your label for it, O fully-sighted one?

    You’ll have to forgive me for being a bit blunt, but I think you could call it a ‘digital storefront’.

    Popular games are popular, and they'll be pirated more (if possible) than others. It's commendable for a company to say it's not worrying about the losses, but it's only a PR trick to put best face on the inevitable (as most here say).

    If CD Projekt knows tons of people might ‘misbehave’, doesn’t publishing a DRM-less game sound kinda brave?

    You talk about piracy as an imevitability, but don’t DRM-less games sound like market adaptability?

    People don’t want damned DRM in their entertainment; I think CD Projekt will benefit from the no-DRM announcement.

    They might make more money by listening to their fans, even if their game ends up in less scrupulous hands.

    The guilt trip works because like most people, you wish to trade, NOT STEAL

    Let me try this again, even though I know you’re just trollin’: piracy is copyright infringement — nothing is stolen!

    BUT, what if you saw piracy as 100% acceptable?

    Nobody here sees piracy as an acceptable act, but better business models negate piracy’s impact.

    You fight piracy with better value and true scarcity — not by criminalizing customers and fictionalizing rarity.

    I'm pretty sure that EA with its draconian DRM is selling more than this company, so that DRM intrinsically reduces profits is just another wacky Techdirt assertion.

    In the gaming world, EA has much more visibility, but their larger size means they lack adaptability.

    If DRM-less games become successful and commonplace, EA would still have to deal with its DRM showcase.

    And while EA makes more money due to its size, amongst hardcore gamers, it has very few allies.

    CD Projekt earned my respect by dropping DRM outright — and if other companies keep up with them, that’d be…

    dynamite — dynamite~

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Mark Wing, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 9:08pm

    It's definitely good news hearing about publishers who do not view their customers as thieves. A rabidly-loyal fan base happens organically when a company builds a great product and they aren't total pricks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    RD, Nov 1st, 2013 @ 10:12pm

    Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    "BUT, what if you saw piracy as 100% acceptable? Once the morality of paying for games breaks down entirely, the whole industry would collapse -- unless DRM is used."

    Thats right! It's been over 40 YEARS, with "piracy" happening from DAY ONE, and look at the devastated wasteland the industry is as a result! Why, no one even MAKES any games anymore! Ah what could have been, what could have been...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Noneone, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 12:24am

    DRM ag... Wait What The!!!

    So I can go and buy The Witcher 3 on cd or from GOG, install it and not have to worry about or deal with Steam, Origin, any third party online activation, and/or having to be connected to play. Just install and play, just like in the old days of pc gaming Wow! I might buy this one, only if they really dump DRM.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 12:53am

    Since it is Halloween time here is a free game that people can also buy, donate or get it on steam.

    Link to the old site with the free download available.
    http://haunt-slendergame.com/

    Link to the new website which points to the old in case you want it try it free first and saying you can find the new one on steam.
    http://hauntedmemories.eu/releases/

    Made by horror fans.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 4:34am

    Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    "Fact is popular games will be bought whether have DRM or not"

    Fact is popular games will be pirated whether they have DRM or not. Conclusion: DRM does not work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 6:23am

    Steam is DRM is a blind statement?

    "Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation."

    Gotcha.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re:

    That is DRM.

    Because once that company stops offering the online verification, the game goes extinct. Meaning it can never pass into the public domain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    Whoa, I got first worded for this? What an treat! But now I'll have to keep my rhymes a little more discreet…

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 8:35am

    But... TERRORISTS!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: DRM

    I only play the odd game here and there and the only reason i try them out is because i can easily download the full game for free. If the game is great on my pc i will buy the game for the kids on the xbox. If not i play it for a short while then delete it.
    Piracy does not always mean a lost sale, if the game is good enough real gamers will buy the full version to have the full experience.
    So what if a few sales are lost , if they are making tens of millions in profit they are happy and those that just dont have the money are happy and those that eventually have money will probably buy it. Hardly any sales are lost that would have happened with piracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    EA is an example of how DRM can alienate gamers and cause lost sales, probably a hell of a lot more lost sales than piracy has caused on non drm games.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    anonymouse, Nov 2nd, 2013 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    Games will be pirated more if the have DRM and thus DRM makes games creators lose sales.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Nov 3rd, 2013 @ 6:05pm

    Steam is indeed DRMed

    CD Projekt Red still don't support Linux in their games. Let's hope they'll get to it, then they'll be supporting truly DRM free gaming.

    Steam has DRM at least in a sense of not providing standalone installers. Even if some games on Steam don't require their client to run, they require the client to install the game. That's already DRM.

    Unlike Steam, GOG (which is owned by CD Projekt Red) offer game strictly DRM free, and you can get an installer which can be used at any time without relying on GOG as a service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Nov 3rd, 2013 @ 9:48pm

    Re: Steam is indeed DRMed

    Even if some games on Steam don't require their client to run, they require the client to install the game. That's already DRM.

    Do you have to have an active Steam account to install at some future date, or just have the Steam client? Because if the latter, I wouldn't call that DRM.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 1:27am

    Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    "BUT, what if you saw piracy as 100% acceptable? Once the morality of paying for games breaks down entirely, the whole industry would collapse -- unless DRM is used."

    So, a "what if" that *might* be immoral justifies restrictions that are completely immoral?

    The problem with "Digital Rights Management" is that it is only used to remove rights from users, and is most commonly used by unscrupulous companies that have no business managing *anyones* rights, digital or otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 1:43am

    Re: Oh, darn! Witcher THREE not up yet! But here's 2:

    HUGEL Y pirated: Seeders: 688 Leechers: 448 Comments 367

    Meaningless stats. How many peers did it have over the time of its existence? How many snatches? The numbers are much bigger than you think ;) It's the piratey apocalypse ootb, go to your nuclear bunker, the end is at hand!

    Popular games are popular, and they'll be pirated more (if possible) than others.

    And smaller games will get plenty of pr.

    It's commendable for a company to say it's not worrying about the losses, but it's only a PR trick to put best face on the inevitable (as most here say).

    Lost sales? There's no such thing man, I already told you, Santa Claus, green leprechauns and the likes don't exist. Stop believing in fools gold. I've pirated shitloads of games in my life and I've also bought a lot of those I pirated. If anything piracy is GAINED SALES.

    BUT, what if you saw piracy as 100% acceptable? Once the morality of paying for games breaks down entirely, the whole industry would collapse -- unless DRM is used.

    The legacy players may break yeah and they won't be missed. We are still waiting the demise of the music industry (widespread, universally accepted file sharing) and thw studios (remember how the VHS should have killed them already?). Wait, what about those machines that played the recorded songs that would decimate the jobs of musicians a century ago? We are waiting. Want a chair?

    I'm pretty sure that EA with its draconian DRM is selling more than this company, so that DRM intrinsically reduces profits is just another wacky Techdirt assertion.

    Yes! Rocks also keep tigers away. Want to buy a rock? There are stupid people out there willing to throw money away at crappy companies such EA. I didn't even want to pay $1 for their games(Humble Bundle hosted a bundle with EA games and the minimum amount was 1, not only I didn't buy I also don't bother pirating their games anymore). Maybe when society fully rejects drm those morons will finally be put to rest.

    Nvm, keep living in denial, seems to do you good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Anonymous Howard (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 1:58am

    Re: DRM ag... Wait What The!!!

    GOG is DRM free. So is all CDPR games. They removed DRM from The Witcher 2, and going on without it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Steam is indeed DRMed

    Do you have to have an active Steam account to install at some future date, or just have the Steam client?
    Yes, you need to have an active account, since the client installs games from their server only after authentication. So if the service closes down or your account is terminated, you'll lose access to all your games library (i.e. you wan't be able to install any of the games again). So essentially Steam is always DRMed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    TimothyAWiseman (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 10:47am

    Re: DRM

    I agree with all of that, but its worth noting that there may be no fiscal cost to avoiding DRM with video games.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Nov 4th, 2013 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Steam is indeed DRMed

    I could be wrong on this, but didn't they mention at some point, that if the service was ever likely to shut down, they'd work to push out a patch/update to the client to enable people to play their games without a connection, just so something like that wouldn't happen?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Shmerl, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Steam is indeed DRMed

    They did, but do you really trust them on this? They can promise lot's of stuff and never deliver - it's not even a part of the user agreement, and when companies close down, they usually have neither resources nor time to help their former users. I'd say, those who care should demand an ability to back up installers / packages or whatever they buy right away, and avoid services which don't allow them to do it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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