In November last year, Witcher 2 developer CD Projekt revealed that the PC role-playing game had been pirated more than 4.5 million times, despite only selling 1 million legal copies.
A month later, the developer enlisted the help of a law firm and began to contact individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally, seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement and threatening court action for any individual who refused to pay.
Now, CD Projekt CEO and cofounder Marcin Iwinski has released an open letter to the gaming community revealing that the studio will immediately stop identifying and contacting pirates.
"The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly, and with it came a number of concerns from the community," Iwinski wrote. "Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions."
Iwinski went on to say that the studio's success could only be attributed to the faith of its fans, and he was sorry to see that many gamers felt CD Projekt did not reflect this trust.
"While we are confident that no one who legally owns one of our games has been required to compensate us for copyright infringement, we value our fans, our supporters, and our community too highly to take the chance that we might ever falsely accuse even one individual."
"So we've decided that we will immediately cease identifying and contacting pirates."
However, Iwinski reiterated that CD Projekt does not support piracy, despite its decision to remain a staunch opponent of DRM.
"We've heard your concerns, listened to your voices, and we're responding to them," Iwinski wrote. "But you need to help us and do your part: Don't be indifferent to piracy. If you see a friend playing an illegal copy of a game--any game--tell your friend that they're undermining the possible success of the developer who created the very game that they are enjoying."
The Witcher 2 was released on May 17, 2011. CD Projekt released a downloadable version of the game free of digital rights management through its own online storefront, Good Old Games. An Xbox 360 version of the game is set to be released in the first quarter of next year.
For more on the game, check out GameSpot's review of The Witcher 2.