The Witcher 2 pirated 4.5 million times - CD Projekt

CEO of Polish publisher says latest PC role-playing game sold over a million legal copies, but was stolen much more often.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings proved popular with PC gamers and reviewers alike, and it was apparently no slouch with pirates, either.

Maybe Geralt can go after a cutthroat gang of pirates in The Witcher 3.

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.

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Discussion

718 comments
fillup0
fillup0

I wonder how many of those people were just trying the game? I wonder if a bunch of them went on to buy the game?

Piracy statistics never account from this. Piracy should never be seen as a product stolen, but rather a product not sold. If they really wanted it they would have bought it anyway, because piracy is messy.

XanderZane
XanderZane

This is why CD Projekt started making the game for consoles. lol!!

Atombomb1981
Atombomb1981

Witcher 2 is a great game, with high production values, no DRM, has a decent price and every bit of extra content is free. Paying customers are treated with respect, which is very rare these days.

countermonkey
countermonkey

I'm not trying to condemn anyone who pirates but some of the arguments in favor of piracy that I've seen here are ridiculous. "I'm poor but I still deserve culture," or "it's not really stealing because it's digital" or best of all "not all 4.5 million units would have sold." It's stealing, You are taking money out of the developer's pockets - money that might ideally go towards rewarding employees who worked hard to deliver a great product and fund other great projects in the future.

 

Grow up. No one OWES you anything in this life if you fail to EARN it and in the case of videogames earning the privilege to play means paying what it costs. I'm not going to tell anybody to stop being a thief, but please stop trying to justify it because you're embarrassing yourselves.

scifiknut
scifiknut

We are usually paying USD $65-70 for a physical copy of new PC games here in Norway. I think that's a fully acceptable price considering the hours of entertainment included. We have good wages and we are in general very lucky (spoilt?), yet we are very much in the top when it comes to piracy. We are very tech-savvy and PC's are everywhere, so this comes down to one thing: Attitude. A very bad attitude. When people don't bother any longer to actually save up and buy (if needed), but just goes online and downloads from a torrent site, then we have reached a pinnacle of egotistical righteousness. This is a sign of the times; if you don't want to pay for an item and it is available from a torrent site, you just download it. No one will apparently stop you, because the politicians are extremely reluctant in making new laws that will protect intellectual property. Wouldn't be popular, you know, and being a politician is all about popularity, yes? So, if you are a games publisher and you are given the cold shoulder by those who should partake in protecting your investments (governing bodies) instead of just closing their eyes, how could you avoid not resorting to DRM? It might be one of the worst ideas ever to be realized, but with millions of dollars/euros and many thousands of man hours invested into many games titles these days, how can you protect your investment in the best way and make sure people actually pay for the right to play? When even DRM-free titles are heavily pirated, how can you convince those doing the pirating not to do it? Do they even care? Most likely not, if the comments below are anything to go by.

c0kemusheen
c0kemusheen

@ Famekiller So you say that since Australian new releases can cost up to 100$ it's okay to pirate them. Piss off with your ignorant foolish mentality. It's not the developers fault that Australia has draconian government towards games, (censorship and crazy tax rate) Don't steal from the people who make these great games just because your country hasn't came into the modern age. pathetic

brpw4lif3
brpw4lif3

I have to say if developers weren't such whiny bastards and didn't have ridiculous new release prices for games, I would be way more inclined to buy a copy of the game. I for one actually purchased The Witcher 2 on amazon via digital download because it was $20. If more games were in this $20-$30 price range, I most definitely would purchase instead of downloading a potentially non-working or virus infected torrent. But when a game costs nearly a days worth of work,(I'm 22 make minimum wage), then its pretty difficult to make myself wait 3 years for a game to come down in price enough for it to be affordable.

bodamer
bodamer

This is a shame. Pirate BF3, pirate MW3, but don't pirate this game. This studio put a lot of work into this game. And I'm sure they put a lot of work into porting it to the 360. And on top of that they have spoken out AGAINST DRM. If you can afford it and you want to play it, buy it.

FoxeoGames
FoxeoGames

Also, let's get something straight -- piracy, while illegal in most countries, is NOT theft -- it is NOT stealing. Stealing requires taking another's property. My question is, if you pirate a game, who owned that particular digital copy and who lost it when you stole it? Of course no one lost property, and the digital copy was not "taken" from anyone but was produced via the action. While I still hate piracy and I encourage everyone to legally buy ALL of their games, it's not theft. It's a different type of crime. And please people, stop this bullsh*t about multiplying the number of pirated copies by the amount of the game -- it doesn't work that way, because many, many pirated copies would never have been purchased anyway. It's a fact.

FoxeoGames
FoxeoGames

I am *NOT* supporting piracy, but... 4.5 million pirates copies DOES NOT equal 4.5 million potential sales. It doesn't. Period, end of story. People pirate things they don't want to buy, or can't afford to buy. I would be amazed if even 10% of pirated copies would have been purchased had they not been available for (illegaly) free. In fact, many pirates in countries around the world routinely pirate more in software than their entire monthly salary could have paid for if they had purchased the products legitimately. We need to stop letting developers get away with this bullsh*t. They are trying to overestimate and inflate the supposed losses from piracy to justify inappropriate, crippling DRM and higher product prices. Don't believe the garbage.

famekiller
famekiller

@luckylucas11 Geez man, you have no sense of humor. Lighten up! Don't take yourself so seriously.

luckylucas11
luckylucas11

@famekiller Too much information you weirdo.

Supabul
Supabul

Thats 270,000,000 the Dev's lost because of pirates

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

heh its funny the pirates complain about DRM's and how that is the reason why people pirate, except the DRM's came out because of the pirates not because the pirates disagreed with DRM's :P I hate having to always be connected to the internet to play games now, and I point the finger at these 4.5 million people, and anyone else thats ever pirated a game/music/movie etc etc etc.

OverlordGunnar
OverlordGunnar

@ demi_veritaz I totally agree with you and i apply those morals to everything in life, if i can't afford to buy that new mercades, i just steal one and drive it around for a while until i find one that's on sale. It's really their fault anyway for making them so expensive. If i'm hungry but i'm strapped for cash, i'll just eat at a restaurant and then run when i'm finished, it's not like i'm stealing, because later on i'm going to return it to them in a flaming paper bag, because that's how much of a baller i am.

famekiller
famekiller

Maybe games are over priced! New releases in Australia can set you back $100. If movie studios can release their movies on DVD for $10-20 why can't Games companies. I'd buy more games. Movies cost just as much if not more to make. Also, piracy is on consoles as well. It's everywhere. Music, Movies, Games, Hey i even pirated my Girlfriend. Well, i get her to dress up as one, kinda the same.

Defianc4
Defianc4

Lol, other PC gamers complain about getting console ports, when the number of dishonest PC gamers outnumbers the number of honest ones by a ratio of 4.5:1 Seriously, the PC platform is technically superior, but since we live in a post-modernist world where everyone believes that everyone else is their brother's keeper, people think they're entitled to others' labour and lives. Until we break the amoral idea that we are ours brother's keeper, gaming in general will continue to suffer.

hsl77
hsl77

Piracy news like this must surely harm the future of PC games releases? Downloading current games is far worse than downloading the lastest big movies.

iiIsSueZ
iiIsSueZ

@snaptrap Yes they do. Moron.

demi_veritaz
demi_veritaz

@snaptrap @shadowhunter0 Actually, studies have shown that those who pirate are generally the ones spending the money on music, games, software etc. Also, pc gaming is making a decent comeback. Consoles are just easier to develop for. used game sales are probably more of a detriment than piracy, in all honesty. I spend hundreds on games every year, and I torrent to preview games that I am unsure of. I know damn well that games won't be made if they don't sell. Most people that torrent are aware of this. Is torrenting always used in such a way? No, I'm sure there's plenty of those who would take and give nothing back. But realistically, sales aren't hindered by torrents unless the game is bad and people decide not to buy it. tl/dr: "Pirates" buy games, probably more often than you or any other typical consumer. There's been a lot of propaganda being pumped out, especially with sopa and the like.

Snaptrap
Snaptrap

@shadowhunter0 That's what many people say about piracy but I'm sure they do it anyway since there's nothing to stop them. They just don't want to be perceived as a bad guy by admitting to doing so.

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

@Snaptrap I have never pirated anything doing so is illegal

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

people who pirate games ruins if for everybody look at what it is doing to the pc less and less games are being made for the pc and piracy pretty much ruined the psp the psp would have been allot better more awesome games to to play but because of piracy allot of devs left the psp PEOPLE WHO PIRATE GAMES SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO PLAY GAMES OR EVEN TOUCH ANY ELECTRONIC DEVICES

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

Everyone who pirated copies of that game should be ashamed of themselves. They spent tons of time, effort, and money developing this title and they deserve compensation. Especially them, they are so good to their customers.

demi_veritaz
demi_veritaz

@d_khan: I believe it's about them getting their money, and you can see how steam and other indie developers are building with and around the torrenting community to maximize their profits without using draconian drm and wielding archaic IP laws like they're the right arm of god. I guarantee you've broken laws before so don't act so high and mighty. You're not Jesus. Start reading up on major developers commenting on drm and anti-piracy, you'll clearly see current laws and drm are more of a hindrance to actual consumers. Ubi is going down for thinking like you. Beyond that, the laws and drm do nothing for the industry except stop people from playing the games, so yeah, I'm going to break the law, buy the games I like and continue on my merry way as a happy customer.

d_khan
d_khan

@demi_veritaz Yet, another DUMB excuse for breaking the law. How many excuses can people come up with??? I get the fact that you don't want to spend money on crap games, I do. I also believe that ALL game producers should be FORCED to make DEMO's of ALL their games, so that we as costumers can decide if the product is worth our time and money. But, THAT IS NO EXCUSE FOR BREAKING THE LAW. If one can do it, then so can everyone else, and if one law can be broken, then so can they all, unless ofcourse U think you have the right to do things that the rest of us don't :-o

demi_veritaz
demi_veritaz

@d_khan: Actually yes, people do pirate things because they can't afford them. i played a torrented version of skyrim for 2 months because I couldn't spare the money for it. I did finally buy it last week when the steam workshop sale came out. I'm not actively looking for a way to scam people out of their money, I just can't be wasting my money on games that don't deserve it. To assume I'm a bad person because I torrent a game before I buy it is ridiculous. I can afford internet, and I can afford to scrounge for parts for my computer, but I cannot always shell out 60$ for a game that lasts 12 hours or is falsely advertised. Skyrim, the recent batman games, battlefield bc2 and a few others earned my money, others fell short and did not. Was piracy the culprit? No. I wouldn't have even bothered looking at some of the games if I had not played the torrented version first. So really, torrents actually netted them a few sales in all reality. All in all, go F#*k yourself.

Grovilis
Grovilis

If the human race continues to kick others down for their own gain then I don't think we'll be existing much longer until we virtually rip each other apart.

nyran125
nyran125

if its half price or a 75% off sale ill buy it..if its overpriced i wont, simple. I didnt need to work out anything, that was an easy conclusion.

DarckArchon
DarckArchon

@Tahir_Ahmad That is your opinion if you say the gameplay was a improved, in my view it wasn't. "you still don't have any right to write something like "They got their share" " Excuse me but i have my right of free speech, even if its crap, i am allowed to speak out. And pardon me but having my view cluttered with grass, being unable to lower shadows, WTF is that if i may ask, it looks like a port to me if i can't change the settings right, only your Xbox and PS 3 don't need that cos they are all the same compared to PC's. And finally i know pirating is a crime, yet i have my reasons, but i aint gonna waste my time to brag more about this.

RGSTRDSXOFNDR
RGSTRDSXOFNDR

@sonicare : Totally agree. For example, as much as I love Bethesda and all the great stuff they've made, I'm waiting to buy Skyrim. (Also waiting to get a GTX 590, but that's a whole 'nother story...)

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

wthskbv
wthskbv

and most of the pirated copies are from...where ? RUSSIA!! ahhhah

Greggor
Greggor

@sonicare My thoughts exactly.

321FOX123
321FOX123

No big surprise here... They should release this game on consoles, if want to make a profit. Pirating is what PC gaming all about.

sonicare
sonicare

I'm all for freedom of information and things like that. But video games are a luxury good. They're not essential for survival and as previously mentioned, are not a right. Sure, games can be expensive, but you dont have to buy them right at release. Most games I buy have dropped in price because I wait for deals. If you want the latest and greatest without any delay, then pay the piper.

jollybest1
jollybest1

didn't pirate this game , these past 3 years I was clean but this number is irrelevant, from 4.5 milion downloads only 60 % or more are individual downloads and a part of the downloaders/pirates probably bought the game, the rest aren't interested in the gaming industry and they do not carre about others ......and as for consoles , every game released this year was released a week before it's release date on xbox, unbelieveble..............AC Revelations was released by the pirates 1 week before the legal release, yah I've waited 1 week to receive my copy and some had the game before me and without paying , made me feel stupid for giving my money for a game that could have been released by UBI in the same week with the console version or a week afther(UBI you s**** for releasing the pc games so late after the console release date).......this s**** TW2 deserved some respect but this is life

Wogrim
Wogrim

Meh most pirates won't buy something if they're unable to pirate it. Pirating should be stopped, but I really don't think it's going to change sales that much.

fts89
fts89

bought the game just now, all hail DRM-free

marksteele6
marksteele6

If i ever were to pirate something it would be as a "trial" before I purchased it. @lped you would be surprised its bigger then you think, especially because cracking groups are taking advantage of the attention PC pirates are getting and are able to release console games sometimes months in advance of the official release and in most cases within a week before the release.

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

I get mad when a lot of people pirate a game just cause they don't have the money to pay for it at full retail price! Just wait until it gets cheaper ffs! I maybe buy 1 or 2 retail price game a year, everything else I get from ebay, months after the game has been released or on Steam when they go on sale. PC gaming has never been cheaper yet some morons don't realize that.

Lpedraja2002
Lpedraja2002

@ marksteele6, I get what you're saying but I believe that even though piracy exists on the consoles it isn't as widespread or as easy to achieve like the PC. It just takes a quick trip to any popular torrent site to see that the top torrents are PC game releases. What I have always admire is CD Projekt's stand on piracy. They value their costumers and give them a truly enjoyable experience when they buy the game and they make buying physical copies worth it, anyone who has bought any of the Witcher games will know how many goodies the box brings and even the people who buy online gets them. Also, people who pirate games are the ones who would have never buy the games in the first place so why make such a big deal about them? Just focus on the actual consumer and make sure he gets what he payed for.

marksteele6
marksteele6

what a lot of these ignorant posters don't know is piracy is just as common on consoles as on PC. There are many ways, some totally free of charge, that priates can get their hands on console games AND unlike PC games have access to multiplayer and hacking multiplayer.

001011000101101
001011000101101

Damn pirates. You know what, being able to play videogames is not a right. If you can't afford to buy your games, too bad, but don't steal them!

nomadski69
nomadski69

Are some of the console gamers here suggesting piracy isn't an issue with their system? VERY few PC games these days get "released" before the legit games comes out. It's incredibly rare for console games to be released before their pirate counterparts. Make of that what you will.

Skilnes
Skilnes

shoulda released the game for consoles first, pc's a bonus

Tahir_Ahmad
Tahir_Ahmad

@XanderZane Piracy is also present on consoles, not to mention the resales. CDPR went to consoles because now they are stable enough to run multiple projects and they got this stability from PC. I have nothing against their decision because the more audience you have the better response you get but to say they went to consoles just because of "Piracy" is a false assumption.

TheJamin
TheJamin

 Call it what you want.. but the end result is the same. get some TP for your mouth.