CD Projekt Red, developer and publisher behind The Witcher franchise and owner of GOG has always had a unique stance when it comes to DRM-free policies and the age of online marketplaces. They champion the notion of selling their games without any DRM restrictions and letting the pirates do their thing, regardless of whatever impact that has on sales.
Kotaku grabbed a bit of what CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński had to say regarding piracy at last month’s infoShare 2016 convention. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been doing supremely well in the sales arena, and it’s a DRM-free game that’s completely subject to piracy.
Here’s Iwiński, as transcribed by Kotaku.
We released [The Witcher 3] without any copy protection. So, on day one, you could download the game from GOG, and give it to a friend (enemy as well)…and still we sold near to 10 million units across all 3 platforms. But the piracy factor was irrelevant, because we cannot force people to buy things. We can only convince them to do it. We totally believe in the carrot, not in the stick…I’ve seen many times, comments [that say] ‘Hey, I couldn’t afford the game when it was full price, but these guys are so fair, and they were never against us. They were always trying to do good, add a lot of value, give free DLC, give free content, that I bought the game from them when it was mid-price.’
…[In] lower income countries, people just cannot afford a 50 dollar game. So maybe our price-point offering in a certain country wasn’t right. For example, we have lower prices in Russia. And there is many cases like that.
We don’t like when people steal our product, but we are not going to chase them and put them in prison. But we’ll think hard what to make to convince them. And uh, convince them in a very positive way, so that they’ll buy the product next time, they’ll be happy with our game, and they’ll tell their friends not to pirate it.
Iwiński goes on to offer that these consumers will stick up for CD Projekt Red moving forward, telling friends that they should “‘not download the game. These guys are fair, they’re the only fair guys in the industry. You should go and buy it.’”
What do you think? Is this the right mentality for a studio and publisher to have?
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