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.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: cd projekt

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Building Good Will: The Witcher 3 Team Promises Absolutely No DRM For PC Release”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
37 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 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.

T Teshima (profile) says:

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.

anonymouse says:

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.

out_of_the_blue says:

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

HUGELY 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

S. T. Stone says:

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~

RD says:

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…

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Ninja (profile) says:

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.

Al says:

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’.

Noneone says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Shmerl says:

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.

Shmerl says:

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.

Shmerl says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...