The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings proved popular with PC gamers and reviewers alike, and it was apparently no slouch with pirates, either.
Speaking to PC Gamer, CD Projekt CEO and cofounder Marcin Iwinski broke down the anecdotal numbers based on concurrent torrent downloads and came to the estimation that The Witcher 2 has been pirated more than 4.5 million times. Iwinski said the real numbers are likely much worse.
CD Projekt has been a vocal advocate of releasing games without digital rights management, saying it is easy to circumvent and ends up punishing legitimate customers. Good 'Ol Games, the publisher's DRM-free digital storefront, appears to be doing well, but Iwinski doesn't see the industry moving away from copy-protection schemes.
"As funny as this might sound, DRM is the best explanation [for big publishers], the best 'I will cover my a**' thing," Iwinski said. "I strongly believe that this is the main reason the industry has not abandoned it until today, and to be frank, this annoys me a hell of a lot. 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."
However, Iwinski is encouraged by the rise of social media, as he feels it provides consumers a real way to have their voices heard. "This is the only way to get the Excel guys moving," he said.
The Witcher 2 is set to hit the Xbox 360 in the first quarter of next year. CD Projekt Red also has "two different AAA+ projects" in the works for 2013 and 2014.
For more on the original PC version, check out GameSpot's review of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.