Despite Being Pirated 4.5 Millions Times, 'Witcher 2' Developer Refuses To Annoy Paying Customers With DRM

from the there's-more-to-serving-your-customers-than-updating-a-spreadsheet dept

As we all have seen demonstrated here at Techdirt, there are several ways to react to piracy. Ubisoft, in particular, has usually found a way to make the worst of it, either through incapacitating DRM or by expressing a firm reluctance to release certain games for the PC.

On the other hand, you have companies like Valve, who recognize that not every instance of piracy is simply someone wanting something for nothing, but rather an opportunity for the pirated company to experiment with pricing and convenience options in order to meet the expectations of underserved customers.

Now you can add CD Projekt, the publisher of Witcher 2, to the growing list of software companies who see piracy as an opportunity, rather than a sinkhole of lost sales. In an interview with PC Gamer, CEO and co-founder Marcin Iwinski came up with some quick math on how many times Witcher 2 was pirated, arriving at a truly jaw-dropping number:

I was checking regularly the number of concurrent downloads on torrent aggregating sites, and for the first 6-8 weeks there was around 20-30k ppl downloading it at the same time. Let’s take 20k as the average and let’s take 6 weeks. The game is 14GB, so let’s assume that on an average not-too-fast connection it will be 6 hours of download. 6 weeks is 56 days, which equals to 1344 hours; and with 6h of average download time to get the game it would give us 224 downloads, then let’s multiply it by 20k simultaneous downloaders.

The result is roughly 4.5 million illegal downloads. This is only an estimation, and I would say that’s rather on the optimistic side of things; as of today we have sold over 1M legal copies, so having only 4.5-5 illegal copies for each legal one would be not a bad ratio. The reality is probably way worse.

Despite the fact that the free version was “outselling” the retail version 5-to-1, Iwinsky remains adamant on his company’s no-DRM policy, pointing out that CD Projeckt has always had to compete with free:

From the very beginning our main competitors on the market were pirates. The question was really not if company x or y had better marketing or better releases, but more like “How can we convince gamers to go and buy the legit version and not to go to a local street vendor and buy a pirated one?” We of course experimented with all available DRM/copy protection, but frankly nothing worked. Whatever we used was cracked within a day or two, massively copied and immediately available on the streets for a fraction of our price.

We did not give up, but came up with new strategy: we started offering high value with the product – like enhancing the game with additional collectors’ items like soundtracks, making-of DVDs, books, walkthroughs, etc. This, together with a long process of educating local gamers about why it makes sense to actually buy games legally, worked. And today, we have a reasonably healthy games market.

There’s your “reason to buy.” And now, here’s Iwinsky stating the obvious:

DRM does not work and however you would protect it, it will be cracked in no time. Plus, the DRM itself is a pain for your legal gamers – this group of honest people, who decided that your game was worth the 50 USD or Euro and went and bought it. Why would you want to make their lives more difficult?

Of course, this obvious conclusion still escapes many software companies. In their (usually) wasted efforts to deter piracy, they routinely deliver a product that is crippled by its own protection measures. The DRM is a joke to pirates and an insult to paying customers. So, why do these companies continue to punish their paying customers? Iwinsky has a theory:

[A]s with every growing business, there are a lot of people coming in who… have no clue about games and could work in any other industry. They are not asking themselves the question “What is the experience of a gamer?” Or “Is this proposition fair?” But rather, they just look to see if the column in Excel adds up well or not, and if they can have a good explanation for their bosses.

As funny as this might sound, DRM is the best explanation, the best “I will cover my ass” thing… You are asking, “So why is it taking so long for them to listen?” The answer is very simple: They do not listen, as most of them do not care. As long as the numbers in Excel will add up they will not change anything.

Even with companies like CD Projekt and Valve demonstrating that attempting to punish pirates through DRM or other restrictive measures just makes your customers miserable, others continue to view every pirated copy as a reason to ramp up protection. Iwinsky notes that the “Excel guys” aren’t paying attention. The only way to get them to listen is to truly show them what a lost sale is: “Vote with your wallet.”

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Companies: cd projekt

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Comments on “Despite Being Pirated 4.5 Millions Times, 'Witcher 2' Developer Refuses To Annoy Paying Customers With DRM”

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97 Comments
PaulT (profile) says:

A lot of assumptions in those figures, so I’m not sure they’re anywhere near the truth. Either way, nice to see someone not freaking out over piracy but accepts the reality of the marketplace they’re trying to service. Quite refreshing, actually.

Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that a quick glance of the Wiki page on the game reveals a couple of drivers for piracy that would have inflated the figures, and even driven legal purchasers of the game to piracy. If piracy was high, maybe these factors would have been the cause:

“At launch, many critics and gamers complained about activation problems, registration issues, and performance on high-end systems with both nVidia and AMD cards.” (registration and activation would not have been issues for players of the pirated version)

“Players who purchased The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings through Steam have had to download several 9GB patches to update the game to versions 1.1 and 1.2 respectively. In contrast the 1.1 patch for non-Steam purchasers was only 15MB.” (Have the Steam version? Might as well pirate a non-Steam version or a crack so you can apply reasonably sized patches)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Where you live, maybe, if you have a decent internet connection. For some people, it could take several days to download 9GB, or that could quickly take them over their monthly bandwidth quota and either cost them serious money or get them cut off. You’d better believe that people would turn to piracy to get a playable copy of the game they legally purchased once that started happening.

xenomancer (profile) says:

And this is why I will be trying and then in all likelihood buying the Witcher 2 after I graduate later this month. If I don’t like it, I will uninstall and delete it, then recommend it to friends to try out. If I do like it, I will uninstall and delete it, then purchase it and recommend it to friends to try out. Its as simple as that, and as reasonable as trying on a shirt in a clothing store to see if it fits before buying. Pirates indeed.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re:

I just bought the first Witcher title during a Steam sale. Should Witcher 2 ever go on sale for a price that whets my appetite, you can be sure I’ll buy that one, too. I might have to wait a while, but I’m patient, and I’m sure the revenue from folks like me who buy games that are a few years old will continue to help businesses like CD Projekt.

TheStupidOne says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you know you’ll buy it when the price is right, why don’t you just download it now and actually buy it when the price comes down? Or better yet send some money their way now saying “Love your game, just couldn’t afford retail. Here’s what I can pay” My guess is they would appreciate that even though they aren’t asking for it.

egghead (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Or better yet send some money their way now saying “Love your game, just couldn’t afford retail. Here’s what I can pay”

Yeah, that’s like saying, “Here’s my name, address and confession to ‘pirating’ your game. I’ve included a fraction of the purchase price in hopes that you will not turn loose your money-hungry legal hounds.”

You might want to add some fine-print to the letter such as, “By reading any part of the message above and/or accepting the payment proffered, you agree to relinquish all rights and privileges to sue this message’s author, his household, employer, extended family and/or pets and/or any other attempt to engage the aforementioned parties in legal proceedings including, but not limited to, a claim of copyright infringement. Failure to abide by these conditions entitles the message’s author to five (5) free-of-charge lifetime-licenses for each game (past, present and future titles) published, designed, developed or otherwise influenced by the employer of this message’s recipient as well as a lump-sum payment of ten-million U.S. dollars to the message’s author and an additional ten-million U.S. dollars donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).”

Doonk says:

Bad Inputs

I have to point out that I think he’s FAR off the mark on that download number. I would hack off several toes to be able to download 14GB in 6 hours.

He’s obviously working on a first-world country’s download speed. I would imagine these are global downloads he’s looking at and the average speed would be a LOT lower than he’s estimating.

To give you an idea, I’ve got a fairly decent (by local standards) 4mpbs ADSL line here in South Africa and I kicked off a torrent of 8GB last night which is coming down fiarly quickly (again by local standards), and the estimated download time was almost 30 hours. The limit is not so much the ADSL line as the international bandwidth limitations.

If we assume that, say, half those torrents he looked at are on lines similar to mine (not unlikely in this global world we live in), that 6-hour average download is likely to become at least a 24-hour average. This would reduce his bought:pirated ratio to almost 1:1. Not bad at all methinks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Bad Inputs

His claimed speed of 4mb/s is greater than the calculated average of 64kb/s, so my comment stands. He should be able to get 86 gigs in 6 hours, never mind 14.

His real complaint is that the games he wants are overseas and there’s a narrow pipe there which (1) I don’t believe applies to half of the torrenting world as he assumes, and (2) corrects itself after a few cycles when the overseas data becomes relatively-local data.

xenomancer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Bad Inputs

He’s only lucky for about (250GBcap * 1024MB/GB * 8b/B)/(25Mb/s) = 81920 seconds * 1/(3600s/h) = 22.7556 hours * 1/(24h/d) = 0.948148 days. Then he is screwed for daring to use the internet.

Bear in mind the US is lagging FAR behind other countries in terms of “high speed” broadband connectivity and data transfer rates. Data caps just add insult to injury by telling the customers that they are the reason for the slow internet and/or spontaneous shut off after breaching the data cap and not the company trying to rake in a few more cents before finally trying to compete with cable companies as broadcasters. These people are in the business of providing a communications platform, not a one way crap stream from the richest advertisers.

/rant

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Bad Inputs

My math puts that at 5.4Mbps (AKA 680KBps) download speed.

14GB = 14,336MB = 14,680,064KB = 117,440,512Kb
117,440,512Kb 6h = 19,573,418Kb/h
19,573,418Kb/h 60m = 326,223Kb/m
326,223Kb/m 60s = 5,437Kb/s or about 680KBps
(my calculations include the repeating decimals)

While 680KBps isn’t unheard of, it’s still faster then most of the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Bad Inputs

There are parts of the world that get far better than 4mbps, in fact the South Koreans average 17Mbps (as of Q2-2010). Or about 3 times the speed used to estimate the number of downloads. The average connection speed of the fastest 10 countries (as of Q2-2010) was 10Mbps. No one is going to download something that large unless they have decent bandwidth.

Ilfar says:

Re: Re: Bad Inputs

I have my bittorrent setup to download at 6kbps max, and only during sleep hours. I’m quite happy to wait a month or so for a torrent to finish – if I want it faster than that, it’s important enough for me to pay for.

Personally, I think it should be a mandatory thing – if you don’t want to wait a month for something free, go pay for it. Admittedly, I think this now that I have a job and can AFFORD to buy them.

I can’t think of a single game I pirated as a kid that I haven’t purchased since then, except Creatures 2 (because I got Creatures 3 instead).

Planespotter (profile) says:

It doesn’t matter about his math whether we believe it to be accurate, far short of the mark or far in excess of the actual amount.

The sole point to take from CD Projekt and Marcin Iwinski is that they are competing with “free” and doing quite well out of it. They are on the right track and long may that continue.

Bravo to Marcin and all at CD Projekt.

Anonymous Coward says:

As soon as I was able to afford it I bought a copy of Doom. A few years later I did the same with Starcraft. I was delighted to finally own a manual and cd key when that happened and as I got older and had more discretionary money I bought Starcraft 2 right off the shelf without looking at the reviews. Meanwhile, a year after release got a copy of a game I never played before called bioshock at the clearance section for 2 bucks. This is going to lead me to buy the next edition. I was hooked on free and paid for the content and ease of getting a product I knew I would like for the full price later. I will bet that is the story of a bunch of folks!

JaDe says:

Re: Re:

That’s pretty much my story too. I got into PC gaming back in high school with the release of Half-Life. One of my friends bought a copy and he shared it with our whole group of friends. We had entire LAN parties where we all played off of only one legal copy. This was the case for a lot of the games we played at the time. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to pay, we were just broke.

Fast forward to today and now we’re all employed and have plenty of money to spend on games and guess what, we do. I have not copied a game in years largely because of Steam. Anytime they have a holiday sale I pick up a bunch of games. It’s too the point now where I’ve bought more games than I have time to play. Last Christmas I bought GTA 4 and Mass Effect during the Steam holiday sale. We’re almost a year on and I still haven’t downloaded either of them because I’m busy playing other games.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Pathetic sad is your understanding of the real world where the 20 – 80 makes perfect sense.

In every market what you see is that only more or less 20% of the people consume something and the other 80% don’t, meaning 20% pay and 80% don’t ever pay anything no matter what the incentives to do so.

There is even a name for it.

The Pareto Rule

Quote:

The distribution shows up in several different aspects relevant to entrepreneurs and business managers. For example:

80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers
80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers
80% of your profits come from 20% of the time you spend
80% of your sales come from 20% of your products
80% of your sales are made by 20% of your sales staff[9]

Therefore, many businesses have an easy access to dramatic improvements in profitability by focusing on the most effective areas and eliminating, ignoring, automating, delegating or re-training the rest, as appropriate.

jsf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The 80/20 split is about the same I used to see back in the early 80’s when it came to Apple II games and home recording of albums onto cassette tape. So it’s really not about the “digital generation” that you would think of today. It mostly comes down to limited money, but mostly unlimited desire for stuff.

You also have a certain percentage of downloaders that do it because it is the only way to get something. Because of region blocking there are a fair number of countries where you can not even purchase a game or music even you are willing to pay for it.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Re: Yesterday, it was "piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million"...

@Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2011 @ 6:28am

Simple the price point was not $1 dollar it was $50 thus 80% of people didn’t pay it, reduce the price point and more people would buy it.

Ever heard of the bell curve?
————–

I said, fool, that IF the publisher had gotten A BUCK APIECE from each pirated game, THEN he’d be $4.5 million ahead, NOT anything about what the price of the game was. Then I compared that with yesterday’s piece asserting that the ENTIRE MOVIE INDUSTRY is said to lose only $60M from ALL movies gotten off Pirate Bay. Those two figures can’t be squared.

You are at the LOWER end of the bell curve.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Yesterday, it was "piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million"...

They used Netflix subscriptions (1 month of Netflix subcription) to come up with the $60 million figure. That would be like me saying that all the cars stolen in the US amounted to only the cost of bus fair for each stolen vehicle. Apples <> Oranges

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Yesterday, it was &amp;quot;piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million&amp;quot;...

content creation is not free, just like creating cars isn’t free, both take resources.

The analogy has nothing to do with the cars except for the fact that cars are being used as metaphor for movies. Bus fair is being used as a metaphor for Netflix subscriptions. Notice how Netflix subscriptions really has nothing to do with the downloaded movies just like the bus fair has nothing to do with the stolen cars.

Netflix has a very very limited instant viewing library and riding the bus is not the same thing as driving a car.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Yesterday, it was &amp;amp;quot;piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million&amp;amp;quot;...

So what if content is not free I don’t see you pay all the costs for developing a new car, do you pay billions of dollars to Ford to pay for a car?

About your flawed analogy, cars can be stolen, when you take a car from someone you are depriving someone else of the use of that object, in the case of imaginary property you don’t deprive anyone from the use of that imaginary property or the exploitation of that imaginary property, for a car to be like imaginary property in your dishonest allusion you would have to say that someone using his own resources copied a car and use it, now how is that in any way or shape stealing?

On the other hand depriving someone from something like in the “exclusive rights” of content owners is really stealing from everybody, because you are depriving everybody else the use of that imaginary property without giving nothing back in return.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Yesterday, it was &amp;amp;quot;piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million&amp;amp;quot;...

You pay a pro-rata share of those “billions” when you purchase a car since they are included in the pricing established by the manufacturer.

Stealing from everybody becasue you are depriving them of use without giving anything back in return? Surely you jest. Did the author not provide a work to the public that would not otherwise exist but for the author’s labor?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Yesterday, it was &amp;amp;amp;quot;piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million&amp;amp;amp;quot;...

So do pirates, that are the people interested in that “art”, after all what they are doing is finding a competing service to deliver what they want just like you when you buy not official spare parts from other car part manufacturers that are not the original content producer 🙂

About the content owners stealing the rights of people to use something, is like the right of passage, content owners are impeding others from passing through and that is not right, nobody should have to pay another for work they have done, somebody doing a cover of some band should have not to pay somebody who didn’t do the work, that is what is very wrong with copyright and if you want to call it stealing I don’t mind I will rip off any artist that believe they have those rights and I want to see you or any government try to enforce it, that will be a laugh.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Yesterday, it was &amp;quot;piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million&amp;quot;...

“content creation is not free, just like creating cars isn’t free, both take resources.”

But you can’t make an unlimited number of copies of a car for free like you can with digital content, so your comparison is meaningless.

You would think by now people would get this simple but important concept…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Yesterday, it was &amp;quot;piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million&amp;quot;...

The cost of content creation isn’t the cost of reproducing it. Don’t be willfully stupid. The cost is the actual cost of producing the content, like paying employees and hiring contractors to do the music and art for the game. Now whether or not every game is worth it’s price tag, is another debate.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Yesterday, it was &amp;quot;piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million&amp;quot;...

“Don’t be willfully stupid.”

You fail to understand a basic economic fundament, and I’m the stupid one?

You cannot compare physical goods with digital ones. It’s stupid to even mention them together as you did, you just look ignorant.

Griff (profile) says:

Re: Yesterday, it was "piracy cost MPAA /at most/ $60 million"...

If you’re talking of the article I recall, it compared fantasy “lost sales” numbers with possible income via the “pirates” legally watching the movie through Netflix.

The difference between the fantasy MPAA number and the $65M is the amount the MPAA is losing because of Netflix. The $65M is the amount they are losing because of pirates.

In the case of games, there is no Netflix where the user could legally get one view of the game for a few $$ as part of a monthly subscription. But games are different to movies. Many people don’t want to spend 50 hrs in front of the same movie, yet who’d rent a game for one night ?

Robert Doyle (profile) says:

Demos people

I personally prefer companies who give you demos of the game to get a taste and then an option to easily purchase if it is to your liking. I used to pirate games that I wanted to try that didn’t have demos – but if they had a demo I would take a look there.

Now, if there is no demo I am just too lazy to click three or four times to set up a torrent… and I won’t even look at the game.

There are always exceptions, such as games that have been heavily reviewed and there is a lot of YouTube info on, but otherwise, no demo, no sale.

I am willing to bet a fair number of these pirates (15%) are like me – try before you buy types who just don’t want to get ripped off with a crappy game and no return option.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Demos people

I do.
As I recall when a movie is good, people want to see it and experience it in as many forms as they can as many times as they can.

I saw this interview once with a Star Wars fan, and was him recalling what he felt the first time he saw Star Wars and was he telling others how after going out of the first session he immediately bought another ticket to see it again and telling that that went on for a while he saw Star Wars over and over again because it was so awesome and probably because ticket prices where low at the time.

Its been ages since I saw something like E.T. great success appear to keep getting far in between, you want to input that as a piracy consequence too?

out_of_the_blue says:

One game loses 4.5 million sales, yet ALL the movies on TPB lose the studios a mere $60 million bucks?

You are evidently innumerate. And idiots. And dishonest.
This quite clearly points up that even figures here on Techdirt are flexible enough to support the on-going assertion that piracy doesn’t hurt and is even good.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111123/03341616884/how-much-does-file-sharing-really-cost-hollywood.shtml

“In the end, they find that it’s possible the studios might have made about $60 million more under this simplistic scenario.”

Yeah, I know you’re going to start the “pirated copy doesn’t equate to lost sale” crap, but it’s just baloney. You guys aren’t even honest enough to admit that studios WOULD get SOME of those lost sales if thieves weren’t around in 4.5 to 1 ratio, according to this very piece above.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: One game loses 4.5 million sales, yet ALL the movies on TPB lose the studios a mere $60 million bucks?

Or you just don’t want to look at the numbers and see that despite rampant piracy in every corner there have been no reduction in revenues for the moronic entertainment industry or for the gaming industry for that mater.

There are 7 billion people in the world, how many of those actually buy anything?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: One game loses 4.5 million sales, yet ALL the movies on TPB lose the studios a mere $60 million bucks?

The important question is…

There are 7 billion people in the world, if a pirated version of a movie were not available for download, how many would actually buy the movie.

We don’t know the answer to that question because no one wants to actually correct the problem, they want to pretend that it doesn’t exist. And in fact DEFEND piracy as promotion or claim that people are pirating because they can’t get the content any other way.

Many more people pirate simply because it’s free, and readily available (even when legitimate and still cheap, legal and just as easy distros are available).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: One game loses 4.5 million sales, yet ALL the movies on TPB lose the studios a mere $60 million bucks?

Quote:

There are 7 billion people in the world, if a pirated version of a movie were not available for download, how many would actually buy the movie.

Probably less since, the people who didn’t paid would be the majority and people don’t like to comment on things they didn’t experience so they would find other things to entertain themselves and call it a day.

It could easily depress the market for that movie that without the word of mouth wouldn’t be that great now would it?

How many people do you know buy merch from something they didn’t watch?

Would children buy E.T. merch today because it is cute?
You think kids would buy Picachu merch or keep emulating his love for ketchup because they didn’t see it?

The movie is a vehicle that brings people to a state where they are pliable and suggestible, taking that away takes with it also your revenues away.

Aaron *Head* Moss (user link) says:

RE: Vote with your wallet

The only real “issue”, I “have” with the article is the last line: The only way to get them to listen is to truly show them what a lost sale is: “Vote with your wallet.”

I don’t know if voting with your wallet will effect their decision on DRM.

All that will do (in my opinion), is make them scream “It’s the fault of pirating that we’re losing money” even louder and then they’ll try to make stronger (and/or worse) DRM policies and/or try to buy more politicians to make more stupid, restricting laws.

Again, I could be wrong, but if we look at how they’re acting now, just imagine when people really stop buying their crap to protest the DRM.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: RE: Vote with your wallet

@”Aaron *Head* Moss”: The only way to get them to listen is to truly show them what a lost sale is: “Vote with your wallet.”

Thanks for pointing that out. It’s the stupidest assertion in this piece, and that’s saying a lot.

@ “Tim Cushing”: HOW THE HELL CAN 4.5 MILLION PIRATES “VOTE” ANY MORE NEGATIVELY? They DON’T PAY BUT DO USE the product! — Most would steal it whatever the price, anyway.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Re: RE: Vote with your wallet

ootb – I know you’re far too busy to ever be bothered to RTFA, but see those little symbols around that phrase? They’re called quotation marks. Unlike slashes, they actually mean something. This means I was quoting Iwinsky.

Now, I agree with his statement, but that doesn’t make it my assertion. My assertion is that the only truly “lost sale” is the one where you piss off your customers enough that they will no longer purchase your products.

I agree that voting with your wallet can have some effect, but as others have pointed out, refusing to buy a game will make some companies tighten up their DRM even more, simply because they can’t imagine that someone would just not purchase their game. If it’s not purchased, it must be stolen. It would take a long time to drain a software company in this fashion, but they would certainly help it along by crippling their software in increments until it’s damn near unplayable, no matter what your PC setup/internet connection is.

@ “Tim Cushing”: HOW THE HELL CAN 4.5 MILLION PIRATES “VOTE” ANY MORE NEGATIVELY? They DON’T PAY BUT DO USE the product! — Most would steal it whatever the price, anyway.

And yet Iwinsky doesn’t see a whole bunch of people not interested in his games. What he sees is potential, whereas you (and many others) only see the loss. The same goes for some software companies, hence the DRM and lousy attitude towards PC gamers.

E. Zachary Knight (profile) says:

Re: RE: Vote with your wallet

I vote with my wallet every day. It doesn’t matter what excuse bad developers use to continue bad business practices. The point is to reward businesses whose practices you agree with and whose games you like.

If those developers who are losing sales because of DRM can’t see that these other DRM-free developers are making loads of money, that is not skin off my nose. They are idiots.

Anonymous Coward says:

Rampant piracy is moving game developers to pay to play service offerings. You pay a monthly fee to play a game, which really sucks because in the long run this business model costs the gamer much, much more than if they had paid a flat rate up front.

How many developers are being discouraged from entering the gaming market because of piracy? I am sure there are many who look at the 5 to 1 ratio and decide that it isn’t worth it. Pirates are hurting the gaming market because their actions are limiting the number of games that are released.

Stopping piracy would be in everyone’s best interest. Perhaps some rewards should be offered for reporting people who pirate. Then if we could convince law enforcement to actually prosecute the pirates to the fullest extent of the law you might actually see piracy rates drop.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The reason there are more developers is because the market is larger now than ever before. The question I am posing is how much variety is missing because of piracy. If you think the answer is none you are wrong. We know of developers who are refusing to release games on specific platforms specifically because of piracy (Ubisoft is ONE example of dozens).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yada, yada, yada, pirates have been hurting the gaming industry since the 70’s and the gamming industry only grew more and more and now is bigger than Hollywood that used to shun them.

Further smartphones practically killed the market for PSP and DS Nintendo platforms with their $1 dollar games available everywhere.

Also stopping piracy may even recede sales since it kills the promotion part of it, I have yet to see anybody prove that a bigger exposure doesn’t translate in bigger sales, because if that wasn’t true I don’t understand why all those people expend billions in promotion in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Also stopping piracy may even recede sales since it kills the promotion part of it”

Your fantasy of piracy as promotion makes me laugh. I chuckle everytime I read it. It’s called denial.. Pirates don’t want to feel guilty so they imagine that in some twisted version of reality they are actually helping things.

RD says:

Needs even more of a clue

“The question was really not if company x or y had better marketing or better releases, but more like “How can we convince gamers to go and buy the legit version and not to go to a local street vendor and buy a pirated one?”

While I applaud their progressive and forward-thinking outlook here, this statement is indicative of one of the big problems with the entertainment industry as a whole.

Please take a moment to get this clue FIRMLY established in your head:

NO ONE BUYS A PIRATED GAME FROM A STREET VENDOR ANYMORE!

Now, I’ll grant you, there are probably some small, very local (think neighborhood-level) people trying to sell movies/music/games/whatever on a street or flea market somewhere, but really, almost NO ONE gets their stuff this way anymore, not for at least 10 years now. The vast majority (and I mean like 95%) download. Maybe their friend makes them a copy, but thats also usually from the one they downloaded.

Please put this myth to rest that there is some huge network of Mafioso-like criminal enterprises out there that are engaged in a massive scale of cd and dvd printing and making huge money off of it and then funneling that money 100% in toto to terrorist organizations. Ain’t happening, sorry. These criminals are engaged in things that ACTUALLY make them money, like drugs, guns, and prostitution. I’ve lived in getto/hood places in recent years, and never once was I approached or seen a street vendor offering a movie on a burned DVD. I was offered all the other things, many times.

So please, for the sake of our sanity and reality, get off the “pirates sell DVDs of our stuff!” mouse wheel already.

RD says:

Re: Re: Needs even more of a clue

“NO ONE BUYS A PIRATED GAME FROM A STREET VENDOR ANYMORE!”

Maybe where you live.”

Yeah…try EVERYWHERE I have lived. I havent seen a cd or dvd for sale outside of a flea market in almost a decade. The only place I have really seen it on the streets in recent times is NYC, and even that is a lot less than it used to be.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Needs even more of a clue

In the small tourist port close to where I live, there’s 2 Chinese guys who constantly wander around offering DVDs to people, and often get sales from locals and tourists alike since there’s no reliable legal English language outlet nearby.

Sometimes, you have to realise these arguments are global, not the patch of earth you happen to currently inhabit.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Re: Needs even more of a clue

NO ONE BUYS A PIRATED GAME FROM A STREET VENDOR ANYMORE!

Iwinsky is referring to when he first started his company, which was back in 1994. Probably much more common back then. That’s not very clear from the portion I quoted, but he goes into a bit more detail on that at the original article.

I’m not trying to be pedantic. Just pointing out that Iwinsky isn’t suffering from the same illness that infects the entertainment industry as a whole.

william (profile) says:

The only way to get them to listen is to truly show them what a lost sale is: “Vote with your wallet.”

Well, I believe some of us are already doing that. Except the Excel Guys will interpret that phenomenon in a way that is not aligned with what we expected. OH MY GOD OH MY GOD! More people are pirating!

In their simple little minds they can only reach one conclusion: The previous DRM is not strong enough. We need STRONGER DRM!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Boycotting them is not enough, people need to talk about in the open.

I can pirate anything and I do from time to time, I bet if the police kicked the doors of every American home starting with the very rich they would find trillions of dollars of illegal material.

What it amazes me is that they try to enforce this BS laws on the poor first, the very same people who are the least likely to have ever bought anything, they even screen out VIP people so they don’t get in trouble, but to the commons is “the law”?

Right, screw that, I’m a pirate, I will pirate to my hearts content and I’m calling that BS out, come and pick me up the only way I will stop pirating now, is when I die(with luck more 20 years).

I’m sick and tired fo those people who believe in monopolies and think they have a right to exclude others or stop others from doing something that they don’t like, even if there are some little benefits to it, it doesn’t matter because of all the evil it does to the rest of us.

So to all content owners out there “fuck you” come and get me if you can, to the American government I say “fuck you” you can’t touch this. They say it is the law, well I want to see them enforce that law, is one thing to say it and a completely different thing to actually do it.

Anonymous Coward says:

I can applaud this move, but I still won’t be purchasing this game. At the time they announced that it wouldn’t have restrictive DRM, they also announced that they would be taking legal action against everyone who downloaded it illegally. They haven’t learned the entire lesson, especially since law suits cost FAR more than the implementation of DRM.

I give it a pass.

Anonymous Coward says:

Okay, that’s it, I’m buying “Witcher 2”. Let’s face it, the majority of games that I pirate I never play (something that seems to escape folks like the SPA, since the MAJORITY of pirated software isn’t a lost sale). Even if I never play it, I feel it’s right to reward companies like CD Projekt, who do things the right way. I’ve also bought a bunch of stuff from Valve, just because either the price was right, or it was something I wanted. I pirated the original Portal, but bought Portal 2. Pirated Oblivion, but paid full price for Skyrim. Pirated games translate into REAL sales, not lost ones…

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