The Full Counter-Argument To Game Studios Claiming A Need For DRM: The Witcher 3

from the how-it's-done dept

DRM, or digital rights management, can be said to have been effective in practice at accomplishing many different things. It makes products less useful, for instance. It also serves as chaff to distract the technically proficient into disabling it instead of doing any number of actually useful things. DRM is also actually quite good at making our lives just a bit less safe. What's interesting is that none of those things are the stated reason companies use DRM. Instead, DRM is explained by companies as the only way they can protect themselves from damned dirty pirates and, without it, these companies would simply not be able to make enough money to sustain themselves.

The proper counter-argument to this assertion, as it turns out, is: "Shut up, because The Witcher 3."

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has proven to be incredibly successful for CD Projekt RED, having sold a whopping six million copies within its first six weeks on store shelves. According to CD Projekt's latest financial results (via NeoGAF), the company earned 237 million PLN ($63.3 million USD) in net profit for the first half of 2015. The publisher also noted its open-world RPG has performed well both at retail and digitally.
Yes, a game publisher, one which released its game both in retail and in the scary, scary digital realm, has spent six weeks selling an insane amount of copies of its latest game. But how is this possible? After all, CD Projekt RED long ago promised that the game would be shipped completely sans DRM. On top of that, the company also made every last tiny drop of DLC for the game...completely free. In other words, CD Projekt RED decided bucking one modern trend in gaming was too easy so it decided to go for an exacta. Were the theory that lies behind every other instance of DRM in gaming existence to be true, the game should have been a failure everywhere other than on dastardly pirate sites. Instead, the game sold six million copies in six weeks. How is this possible?

It's actually quite simple: CD Projekt RED made a fantastic and well-reviewed game, didn't hamper customers with annoying DRM or pushy microtransactions, and then went about its victory lap with about as classy and gracious an open-letter from its studio head that I can remember seeing.
One could think we have six million reasons to be happy and that’s it. We do, but that number is also a big responsibility and I want everyone to know that we, as a studio, realize that. For us, all your high praise, all the positive reviews, are also an obligation -- we’ve made a really good game but there’s still a long road ahead of us. Everyone here in CD PROJEKT RED is really attached to their work and how you, the gamers, perceive it. RED is full of artists, wild dreamers and people crazy about what they do (and sometimes just plain crazy). We lose sleep over that particular colour the sun has when it sets over Velen, and argue over arranging the furniture in a house the majority of gamers will probably never see. We’re not the kind of people who are easily satisfied and we always strive for more. I’d like you to know that.

Yes, six million copies is a great achievement for a company making RPGs, but this business is not only about that. If our games are a gallery of sound, picture and text - you are the visitors of this gallery. To an artist, there’s no sweeter sight than people enjoying their work. That’s why, in the name of all the devs in the studio, I’d like to say thanks to each and every one of you.  

Thanks!

Adam Badowski,
Head of Studio
CD PROJEKT RED
This is how CwF+RtB is done. In fact, the studio has always had a reputation for being open and awesome to its customers. The release of this game, the lack of DRM, the free DLC, and the gracious attitude is merely a continuation of a culture that fans and gamers are naturally going to gravitate towards. And so they buy. Of course they buy. That they buy isn't the surprise. Instead, the surprise is how difficult to understand this all apparently is for the other gaming studios still traveling a different road.


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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:18am

    Indeed. I don't have any disposable money at the moment but the game is at the very top of my to-buy list. Amusingly I skipped the chance of acquiring every single Heroes of Might and Magic ever released for $10 (I'm a fan of the earlier games, specially Heroes III and the awesome mods out there) because most of them required uplay. No, thanks.

    Still we will see some lunatic either dismissing this as an anomaly or... something. I kind of want to see how it will be twisted.

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

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:22am

      Re:

      Amusingly I skipped the chance of acquiring every single Heroes of Might and Magic ever released for $10 (I'm a fan of the earlier games, specially Heroes III and the awesome mods out there) because most of them required uplay. No, thanks.

      Heroes of Might and Magic are available on GoG, sans uplay/DRM of any type, and occasionally they have sales where you can pick them all up for around $10. Watch around June and December.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 1:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Which, amusingly enough, belongs to the CD Projekt group as well.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 9:02pm

        Re: Re:

        I 2nd Gog.com

        During their last december sale I picked up the RPG and Heroes series of Might and Magic for about $20-30 depending on exchange rate.

        Personally I love the site because they only sell games without DRM and have sales all year long. Sure, you don't want 99% of those but once in a while there is a game I really want to play again. But the best time to buy is like you said: atm the closest date is the end of the year.

        During the last December sale I bought the MM and HoMM series and I got Dungeon Keeper and Mount&Blade for free for simply visiting their site 7 days in a row. And after playing Mount and Blade for a while with mods I have to say that it wasn't a bad deal.

        So check out GoG in December and pick up some DRM free games. Or just visit the site for some free games, they don't care :)

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

    • icon
      Wyrm (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      It is an anomaly.
      It's a great game developed for gamers. That is sadly quite rare nowadays. Not completely exceptional, but rare.
      That it sells well "despite" (or "thanks to" depending on the point of view) the absence of DRM is therefore surprising to those who have so much faith in that broken technology.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 6:25am

        Re: Re:

        The DRM-thing is mostly used by a special kind of developers: Short term profit prioritising and people with a dream of living off the development without the willingness to build a scalable vehicle for communication with users and potential users.

        Many of the publishers who are unable to buy success and milk it dry, will have a far more pragmatic relation to the product and a more consumer-friendly view of the world. As soon as the publisher is sold on the stock-market, the consumers become second to the stockholders and their shorter term economic interests!

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

  • identicon
    privatefrazer, 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:44am

    all well and good

    but what about The Pirates!? and their Piratizationisms.

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:56am

      Re: all well and good

      The pirates will very quickfully take notice.

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

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:57am

      Re: all well and good

      It's the shanties!

      "Yo ho, yo ho, The Techdirt life for me"
      "We read the posts, we make our comments,"
      "we do it all for joy."
      "For every boy, there is a girl.
      "For ootb there is a boy".

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 5:00pm

      Re: all well and good

      The lack of DRM actually likely decreased the availability of the game on pirate sites, if their previous game is any indication.

      There is an interesting detail to this story. Like all GOG.com games, the version of The Witcher 2 released in 2011 shipped without DRM – pirating it would have been little more complex than sharing the file. However, it was also published in the US as a boxed, on-disc game by Atari. This version shipped with SecuROM copy protection. “Most people in the gaming industry were convinced that the first version of the game to be pirated would be the GOG version (as it was DRM-free), while in the end it was the retail version, which shipped with DRM,” notes GOG.com’s Managing Director, Guillaume Rambourg.

      ...

      But why, then, would the DRM-free version of The Witcher 2 be ignored by pirates, when it was an open target? Marcin Iwinski, CEO of CD Projekt Red, responded:

      "You would have to ask someone at the pirate group which cracked it, but I have to admit it was a big surprise. We were expecting to see the GOG.com version pirated right after it was released, as it was a real no-brainer. Practically anyone could have downloaded it from GOG.com (and we offered a pre-download option) and released it on the illegal sites right away, but this did not happen. My guess is, that releasing an unprotected game is not the real deal, you have to crack it to gain respect and be able to write, “cracked by XYZ.” How would “not cracked by XYZ, as there was nothing to crack” sound? A bit silly, wouldn’t it? The illegal scene is pretty much about the game and the glory: who will be the first to deliver the game, who is the best and smartest cracker. The DRM-free version at GOG.com didn’t fit this too well."


      ...

      It’s perverse, but perhaps the fun of file sharing – especially when done for status and bragging rights rather than serious financial gain – is in frustrating efforts by content owners to stop it. Within two hours of its release the DRM was cracked. Meanwhile, GOG.com’s DRM-free version hid in plain sight, too tempting and easy a target.

      Source

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous, 16 Jan 2016 @ 10:03am

      Re: all well and good

      Pirates,,, What?
      I am a pirate. I used to download pirated copies and play.
      Once i bought GTA 4.Really surprised how annoying the security of the game is. Though i'm a legit user, the game's DRM really is an headache. But once i heard about witcher 3 and bought it. Why? because it is awesome. No drm, no game verification procedures etc etc., Why i download pirated games is because the drm and other protection shit that comes with the games, i dont like it. But with pirated games, its not like that. just play. After i saw about witcher 3, what is the reason for me to pirate?So i bought it.

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

  • identicon
    David, 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:52am

    Well, they sold 6 million copies

    but that's it. It's like a printer manufacturer selling 6 million inkjets that use stock barrel ink for printing.

    If you throw away all after-sales profits, your development costs are going to eat you alive when you are pricing competitively for the initial package.

    Because the competition will be raking in a multiple of what you get. It's basically the Hollywood cash cow principle: invest once, milk for a century.

    When you don't compete on those terms, either your price tags will look scary or you'll likely drive your company in the ground.

    Because nobody betting on the stupidity of the masses ever went broke.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:01am

      Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

      Do you really think that they can't manage to make a game for under $192 million? That's based on selling 6 million copies at a paltry $32 each - the lowest price I found on a sketchy CD Keys site via web search. In reality a lot of people bought at full retail price, but lets just call that differential and the markup/distributions fees a wash. This game will also continue to sell for years to come at lower price points on Steam and other platforms to new players just checking it out. The industry worked since it's inception on the concept of selling the game, not DLC. There is little evidence that the market is such that you can only make money if you monetize DLC. What has changed to imply that that is the case?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:08pm

        Re: Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

        There will be two paid dlc's iirc.
        Also, 192m$ is poland can achieve a lot more than it could in the US, especially if they are motivated and have a strong fanbase.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

          ...192m$ is poland can achieve a lot more than it could in the US...

          I'd bet that operating a business in Poland costs a lot less than in the US. Business liability insurance, for starters.

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

    • icon
      DannyB (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:01am

      Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

      What about this idea. Take most of the proceeds from that windfall and invest it in building your next hit game. You've now already got an experienced team and infrastructure for building and marketing it. Plus a qualified audience of people who are likely purchasers.


      Oh, wait. But I'm forgetting something. Hollywood accounting. The six million in sales, and hundreds of millions doesn't matter. Hollywood Accounting means the game didn't make any money. That team of artists and dreamers don't get anything. You're right! Stop investing / creating. Just take what you've got and try to milk it for a century.

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

    • identicon
      michael, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:39am

      Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

      You're forgetting the millions being made on merchandising and all the inevitable spin-offs that accompany a successful game launch.

      Like movies, the game itself often isn't the primary money-maker.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:10pm

      Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

      "the company earned 237 million PLN ($63.3 million USD) in net profit for the first half of 2015"

      Yeah only $60ish mio net profit. That just isn't enough to keep going and they will have to close soon... seriously?

      And if you do not know what net profit is:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_profit
      "Net profit, also referred to as the bottom line, net income, or net earnings is a measure of the profitability of a venture after accounting for all costs."

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:45pm

      Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

      Did you miss the part where they made a 22 million in profits?

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

      • identicon
        David, 1 Sep 2015 @ 3:26am

        Re: Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

        So 22 millions is enough to develop a blockbuster game from scratch when taking into account that only a fraction of games have the planned success? Can they afford two flops in a row?

        At any rate, screwing the customer with after-sales leeching still pays better, and the customer doesn't learn.

        Basically, the DLC monetizers don't sell a game as much as they rent it out, like an arcade game lender. The money box stays yours, but people have something nice to look at. And if they want to play more than the demo, there's the coin slot.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 5:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Well, they sold 6 million copies

          Its $62million for the first half of the year.

          They will still continue to make sales for the foreseeable future.

          You seem to be butthurt, are you an employee of EA?

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:54am

    7 years late to the party

    It's not like this is the first time this has happened. Anyone remember the most successful game of 2008? That's been the standing rebuttal to the "but, but... piracy!" claim for 7 years now.

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

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:57am

    One could think we have six million reasons to be happy [...]
    It could also be said that you've given other game publishers six million reasons to quit borking titles with Digital Restrictions Malware. ;)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 9:23pm

      Re:

      HaHa! Good one! Unless there are 10 billion "reasons" DRM will exist because if you catch one "pirate" they have to pay at least $150,000. So each caught "pirate" is worth 3,000 sales at $50 each.
      Most people on Torrent do not use a VPN or other services so it is rather easy to find out who they are. Spend $50,000 to catch a so called pirate and get $100,000 for "free".

      One must love the ability to buy politicians... oh I mean influence the people who create laws. My bad, it is hard to keep those to apart. Capitalism says you should make as much money as possible which points to the bought politicians/laws but human morals contradict that. So I guess morals won.
      On the other side if I could post here without the fear of being put into prison or live (for made up charges) or having a hellfire missle dropped on my head I'd say that politicians are paid puppets and whoever pays the most controls them. But I'm not that stupid to suggest that so my opinion is that politcians are good people and will always act in the best interest of their underlings.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Sep 2015 @ 2:43am

        Re: Re:

        if you catch one "pirate" they have to pay at least $150,000. So each caught "pirate" is worth 3,000 sales at $50 each.

        All these copyright maximalists like the headlines of huge damages awards, but the reality is that they are almost never paid, as the 'pirate' almost never has any money, The the cost of going after them is almost never recovered.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 10:57am

    surely, the old adage, 'Treated like a criminal, act like a criminal' comes to mind here.

    those that do the above, dont deserve to have customers!!

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

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:05am

    Pro-DRM Game CEO: "Yes, The Witcher 3 has sold very well...but imagine how many more sales it would have had if they had slathered it in DRM!"

    Of course, wasting money on DRM can only last so long before competitors take their lunch by using every available resource to serve the customer instead of punishing them for buying their games!

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

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:36am

      Re:

      Of course, wasting money on DRM can only last so long before competitors take their lunch by using every available resource to serve the customer instead of punishing them for buying their games!

      I agree, but I think what CD Projekt Red is showing is the clothes-less and naked emperor...it is kinda hard for the Pro-DRM Game CEO to maintain that they would have more sales when they are outpacing quite a few of the DRM-released games (though there are still people buying a lot of AAA games, but not nearly as many as who would buy them if they didn't have DRM.) I suspect CD Projekt Red is actually selling more games without DRM, just cause people are tired of spending $50 for a game that they may not be able to install and play because of DRM (I know I've stopped buying any DRM games, solely because they might not like virtualization or running under wine or on a particular version of Windows they don't like.)

      My last EA game purchased (from EA,) was about 13 years ago (Command & Conquer Generals,) which didn't work after I purchased it because of some issue with the DRM on the disk not liking my CD-ROM drive and after spending the money on a non-functioning game, I vowed never to buy any game with DRM on it ever again. Now, if it doesn't come DRM-less, I avoid it like the plague (though I still do buy some Steam games, a lot less now that I realize 6 months after they appear on Steam, they'll likely appear DRM-less on one of the DRM-Free game sites, like GoG.) And I know I am not the only one.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:07am

    It's all about the magic formula.

    Give people what they want, when they want it, for the right price, and people will happily throw their money at you.

    Valve learned this lesson a long time ago. Netflix learned it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 5:19pm

      Give people what they want, when they want it

      I just went to gog.com, and the site tells me I can't have the game until October 31, presumably because I live in the wrong country. That's not very customer friendly.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 5:35pm

        Re: Give people what they want, when they want it

        If I had to guess, you likely mixed up the main game and the 'Expansion pass' they're offering. The main game has a release date of May 19, 2015, while the expansion pass has a release date matching what you noted.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:24am

    Like Taylor Swift, copyright / DRM is not about the already successful. Witcher 3 implies two prior successes.

    First, as always, you wait for third generation big bright cherry before you pick out just one and proclaim proves you're right in every case that copyright / DRM aren't needed.

    2nd, also as always: ignore the overall moral milieu in which creators are due rewards and insinuate that they'd be just as successful with no copyright at all. But as Taylor Swift said, copyright in practice protects those just starting out -- especially from already rich predators who'd otherwise just "monetize" it and the start-up could go begging. Is dog-eat-dog the societal milieu you guys want? Of course not. You only like the still fairly well-tamed version of "capitalism", but even of that do not at all want to be on the low end.

    3rd, ignore too that game play itself now relies on central servers, which is simply sneaky but highly effective DRM.

    4th, much further: these systems rely on combination of proprietary hardware / operating systems / central servers to definitely identify users, which is invasive DRM indeed. Xbox for one has actual cameras that could prove piracy...

    [ Okay, I admit not knowing for sure whether this specific game requires central servers and specific game machine hardware. You might for once have actual substance to counter with, but bet I'm right that you're overlooking those. ]

    5th, popular games are popular. Why? Because they're popular. But no one has ever even implied that pleasing large numbers of people is bad for business.

    6th, But for your implications here to be valid, YOU must state how any using copy protections and DRM ever survived before the present enlightenment? Because you're ranting as if those are such poison as should have killed off the entire industry.



    Tired of slow page loading waiting on javascripts and images, and of not seeing comments the fanboys have censored?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:26am

      Re: Like Taylor Swift, copyright / DRM is not about the already successful. Witcher 3 implies two prior successes.

      As usual, you're just babbling and wrong.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        ottermaton (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re: and also as usual, here comes a parade of knuckleheads to argue with him

        You think they'd figure out they're just feeding a troll, but I guess that's beyond their comprehension.

        Report 'em all. None of them are worth listening to.

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

        • icon
          Sheogorath (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 2:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: and also as usual, here comes a parade of knuckleheads to argue with him

          You do realise you're emulating those you claim to be fighting, right? Now fuck off!

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

      • icon
        Sheogorath (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:28pm

        Re: Like Taylor Swift, copyright / DRM is not about the already successful. Witcher 3 implies two prior successes.

        And those successes came after CD Projekt Red released tools to remove the DRM from The Witcher and The Witcher 2 , which is why they released the third game without any DRM at all. Numbnuts.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:40am

      Re: Like Taylor Swift, copyright / DRM is not about the already successful. Witcher 3 implies two prior successes.

      I'm amazed how wrong you are on every point, Witcher 1 and 2 were very successful and turned them into the studio they are now. None of their games need a central server and got itself is based around not having den or running off authentication servers. Nobody knew of this company pre Witcher, no big name company, their first games major re-release was free to everyone who had purchased the original.

      I mean... you're wrong. In every conceivable way.

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

      • identicon
        Dreddsnik, 31 Aug 2015 @ 6:18pm

        Re: Re: Like Taylor Swift, copyright / DRM is not about the already successful. Witcher 3 implies two prior successes.

        Witcher also, very nearly tanked. The first Witcher game was saddled with DRM so horrible that most purchasers couldn't play it at all without cracking it ( I was one of them ) I vowed never to purchase from them ever again. When I heard that Witcher 2 was DRM free I gave them another shot. I will happily buy 3 as well, but you are mistaken if you think it was a smooth road for them.

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

        • icon
          ltlw0lf (profile), 1 Sep 2015 @ 8:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: Like Taylor Swift, copyright / DRM is not about the already successful. Witcher 3 implies two prior successes.

          The first Witcher game was saddled with DRM so horrible that most purchasers couldn't play it at all without cracking it ( I was one of them )

          Witcher was released on GoG DRM free, but was released by Atari with SecureROM protection. If you bought the game on GoG, you got it without DRM. If you bought it on CD, you got screwed because Atari.

          I bought mine on GoG, installed it on the machines I played games on, and never had an issue.

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:51am

      Re:

      First, as always, you wait for third generation big bright cherry before you pick out just one and proclaim proves you're right in every case that copyright / DRM aren't needed.

      Not true. For example, here's Techdirt talking about Minecraft and the creator's stance on piracy. My guess is that Minecraft is probably one of the most profitable games ever.


      On an aside:

      Take Notch's comments (linked above) and add in the sale of Minecraft to Microsoft and then for fun throw in Microsoft's newly minted "right" to disable first-party (aka Microsoft) titles should they be found to be pirated.

      Does this mean Microsoft will disable all the "pirated" copies of Minecraft out there that didn't concern Notch one little bit?

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:31pm

      Re: Like Taylor Swift, copyright / DRM is not about the already successful. Witcher 3 implies two prior successes.

      Given this is the third Witcher game, and they have all been successful, helping build a successful company (its their only IP) and their DRM free empire (GOG.com), your first point is a bit off. They in fact noted from past releases (that Techdirt also commented on) that versions of the (previously released) games were the ones that showed up on pirate sites. The DRM free versions released on GOG.com were not. This is not the first time Techdirt has made this point, This is just the most recent.

      Your second point on copyright is a bit rambling, and seems to have no relation to the discussion at hand.

      YOur third point is wrong, as the Witcher requires no central server for gameplay.

      Your fourth point is also wrong, as it is a stand-alone Windows game. It has no proprietary hardware or software requirements. There is the option to use the steam-like client that GOG has released, but it is completely optional to use, and it is intended to be that way.

      NOt sure how your fifth point has any bearing on the fact that sans DRM this game has somehow not fallen into a well of piracy. Popularity should only make that worse.

      Not sure what you are asking in the 6th point. I think you are asking how, if what they say is true, DRM survived? Mainly because aside from CD Projekt RED and their publishing/distribution arm GOG.com, no one has been willing to experiment without DRM in some form. It was a sacred cow in the games industry. And GOG.com and CD Projekt are proving (and techdirt is reporting on) the sacred cow to be a little silly.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:50am

    Funny thing... I'm no stranger to piracy (and I won't justify it) but I've never once looked at Witcher 3 and though "Hmm, that game looks fun... I should pirate it."

    Now, while I haven't bought it yet, when/if I do eventually want to play the game, I'll easily drop the money on it.

    Meanwhile, I've stopped buying any and all Ubisoft games because of crippling DRM. I don't even bother to pirate it anymore. I just feel like it's not worth my time. Ubisoft is not worth my time. Or Konami. FucKonami.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 11:52am

      Re:

      Same here, I no longer buy any Ubi games unless they are DRM free.

      I refuse to install UPlay as well which gets my friends knickers in a twist...

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

  • identicon
    John Cressman, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:18pm

    I bought a copy...

    I bought a copy and never even played it. It looked TOO good... I'm afraid it's going to suck away my free time and I have too much side work to do!

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

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:19pm

    You beast

    you actually expect other studios to WORK at creating a great game, environment and support package? Why do that when you can slap crap together, DRM it and the foolish masses will still buy it?

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

  • identicon
    Rikuo, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:30pm

    I suppose that the only move a pro-DRM CEO could make now is to ship game discs that don't have the game on them...no, don't laugh. That actually happened.
    http://www.vg247.com/2015/08/31/metal-gear-solid-5-the-phantom-pain-pc-disc-only-contains-s team-installer/

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

  • identicon
    Shmerl, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:30pm

    Eveyone knows

    DRM only reduces sales it doesn't increase them. DRM isn't really used for preventing piracy (because it simply doesn't). It's usually used for more sinister purposes.

    Such as:

    * Covering incompetence (i.e. poor sales are blamed not on low quality of production values, but on pirates, and DRM is used as an excuse for "doing something about it").

    * Controlling markets and enforcing lock-in. Often DRM is used for distribution lock-in, patents poisoning and so on. Just think of mobile network carriers using DRM to prevent users from switching to competitors and you'll quickly see its true nature.

    * Attacking those who want to reduce control of the vendor (like Sony attacked Geohot for unlocking PlayStation). This is really a variation of the previous example.

    And so on.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:44pm

    Now if only they'd listen to the users and fix the million bugs with the game... instead of turning a blind ear like they've been doing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 12:55pm

    This seems like a lot of effort for a DRM free game. (source kat.cr)

    for those who are having "game installation not found", you need to do the following:

    note: GOG patches works only on the GOG version of the game.

    Step 1: Memorize/Write/Observe the path in which you have installed 'Witcher 3' game.
    Step 2: Open Notepad and save it as witcher3.reg (registery file).
    Step 3: Make the contents of the registry file in a notepad look like this:


    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\GOG.com\Games\1207664643]
    "PATH"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt"
    "GAMENAME"="The Witcher® 3: Wild Hunt"
    "STARTMENULINK"="C:\\ProgramData\\Microsoft\\Windows\\Start Menu\\Programs\\GOG.com\\The Witcher® 3 - Wild Hunt\\The Witcher® 3 - Wild Hunt"
    "STARTMENUFOLDER"="C:\\ProgramData\\Microsoft\\Windows\\Start Menu\\Programs\\GOG.com\\The Witcher® 3 - Wild Hunt"
    "GOGGAMEDLL"="goggame-1207664643.dll"
    "GUID"="{BF679CAD-FE6D-4CBE-9E99-D7193809207A}"
    "BUILD"="28 "
    "STARTMENU"="The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt"
    "gameID"="1207664643"
    "uninstallCommand"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\unins000.exe"
    "DEPENDSON"=""
    "DLC"=""
    "INSTALLDATE"="2015-05-12 00:00:00"
    "VER"="2.0.0.28"
    "SUPPORTLINK"="the_witcher_3_wild_hunt"
    "LANGUAGE"="english"
    "GALAXYLINKS"="1 "
    "SAVEGAMEFOLDER"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\"
    "LAUNCHPARAM"=""
    "LAUNCHCOMMAND"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\bin\\x64\\witcher3.exe "
    "EXE"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\bin\\x64\\witcher3.exe"
    "EXEFILE"="witcher3.exe"
    "WORKINGDIR"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\bin\\x64\\"
    "SKU"="DIGITAL"
    "languageText"="english"
    "languageVoiceover"="english"


    Step 4: Suppose that the installation directory of your game is P:\\Games\\Witcher\\The Witcher 3 - Wild Hunt, then copy this path and overwrite it in the above registry file at following places:

    "PATH"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt"
    "uninstallCommand"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\unins000.exe"
    "SAVEGAMEFOLDER"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\"
    "LAUNCHCOMMAND"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\bin\\x64\\witcher3.exe "
    "EXE"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\bin\\x64\\witcher3.exe"
    "WORKINGDIR"="I:\\Play\\The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt\\bin\\x64\\"

    Step 5: Save the registry file and double click afterwards to execute it.
    Step 6: Now Run the patches.











    Why would that pirates be running patches if it's DRM free?

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


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