Witcher 2 dev stops pursuing pirates

CD Projekt CEO says developer will immediately "cease identifying and contacting pirates" as a pledge of faith to its fans.

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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.

Witcher 2 developer says it will stop hunting pirates.

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.

Discussion

132 comments
lo_crow98
lo_crow98

Game companies used to release demos as a common practice before the internet took off, and I think a lot of the reason people pirate now is because they have been lied to so much in the past (Fable anyone?) and don't get a demo that they simply pirate to demo the game.

iHarlequin
iHarlequin

Discounted on both Steam and GOG.

Geogyf
Geogyf

i regret to say that i also pirated the game (had no money back then), then felt sorry about it for (got job after few months) punishing such a wonderful company for a beast game. So i bought witcher 2 and witcher 1 for all my good friends on steam and my brother. 

i got them on sale for 10 and 2 euros respectively and i have not regretted it. kudos to cd redproject and i encourage people to do the same. 

witcher 1 and 2 steam prices sales are hot!

for Rivia!



Heydan1984
Heydan1984

They deserve every penny.They will eventually just like Blizzard and Bioware get folded into a bullshit publishing company and we'll probably end up spitting on their grave but until then... :)

wowcabbage
wowcabbage

Some people fail to understand that some just don't have the money to spare, like myself. I have a kid to feed. Does that mean I should be denied culture? Am I not allowed to enjoy music at my leisure because i'm poor?

 

Others do it because they are sick of being treated like mugs by publishers *cough EA

When a person downloads a torrent, magnet link, it is a string of numbers nothing more nothing less.People that make ignorant comments like "it's just as if you were stealing from the shelves" are obviously those that have the money to buy what they want. But say they didn't and there was something they really wanted & could get by no other means than piracy, How long would they stick to there "morals"

 

You wouldn't download a car?

Fuck you I would if I could.

 

 

WispOfDespair
WispOfDespair

I'm currently 43 and have been supporting the game industry for over 30 years. I was saving up paper route money and buying games way before the internet was available to tell me a game was lousy. All I had to go by was the hype on the cover. I'd spend the hard earned money to get it home install it and have it be absolutely horrible with no return policy. To this day I will try to play a demo, if not I'll download it and play for a bit. If it's a quality game that I enjoy I will then pay for it. I won't be screwed over ad nauseum by crappy development, or flat out rushed products pushed out by greedy software publishers (Activision, EA listening)? I've pirated in the past and also have THOUSANDS of dollars in PC and console games from every system. Is what I occasionally do wrong? By the laws standards, yes. Is what software companies do to us illegal? Mostly not, but ethically should be. Nothing more dissappointing then seeing my son open a couple games for xmas only to find out 20 minutes later it wasn't the fun he was looking for, which absolutely no way to return. Who's stealing from who?

Grovilis
Grovilis

And may I just say how much I despise living on this wretched planet after reading some of these uneducated, hateful comments supporting piracy in any way shape or form. You can't justify it.

Grovilis
Grovilis

This almost brings a tear to my eye. They virtually stopped doing this because of the possible false accusation of ONE SINGLE fan. Holy cow. Talk about fan service. Only makes me despise pirates all the more.

coop36
coop36

@Mistwaver1985 Thank you for taking that out of context and rambling on about something unrelated to piracy. I said "If you cant afford it, get a job.". It was a blanket statement implying: If you cant afford to buy videogames you are either a child, unemployed, or have a tight budget (which is fine). However videogames should be at the bottom of your priorities if you are that badly off. And dont be an entitled moron and use that as an excuse to steal. If you couldnt afford to buy a car would you walk onto a car lot and steal one? Its the same thing.

Yulaw2000
Yulaw2000

@smiling_bull They didn't make the game DRM free, the boxed copy contained DRM that slowed the game down on even good systems and it was only after fans complained that they removed it. I would also like to point out that to not include intrusive DRM is what a good developer should do. Its not like they are doing any one a favour to behave properly. Another thing that you may not have considered is that many people that pirated it may have done so to see if game works on their system and upon doing so many may have found that it didn't and therefore decided not keep or purchase it. If developers took the time to make demo's, that would probably not be necessary.

smiling_bull
smiling_bull

I'm speechless. Look what the developer have done. It creates a wonderful game, DRM free, gives free DLC and makes every effort to patch it. What it gets are loafers who pirates it. When a person steals a can of coke, he's a thief. What about those who steals hours of hard work from the programmers, developers without paying them their due diligence? Do not tell me those hrs are less than the cost of a can of coke.

Mistwaver1985
Mistwaver1985

@coop36 If it were really that easy, believe me, people would rather "get a job" as you say so they could afford the products and support the companies they love rather than having to bootleg everything. In case you haven't been paying attention, there are over 25,000,000 unemployeed Americans. And believe me, it's not 'by choice'.

Mistwaver1985
Mistwaver1985

@rasputin177 You're absolutely right. I'm not going to say everyone who pirates games would buy the games they play if they were cheaper, but a good majority of them would. You spend $60 to buy a new release, then you spend anywhere from $10-15 every 3 months on new DLC to get the most out of the game. Typically, games have an average of 2-3 content based DLC packs that is released over the lifespan of the game. That's spending over $100 for the same amount of content we used to have for $50, despite the fact that wages actually haven't went up with the cost of games and game content. The sad thing is this is reality and this isn't going to change. All we can go is think back at the good ole days and remember how you could have every weapon in a game without having to pay for the game + $40 worth of DLC.

rasputin177
rasputin177

Drop the prices of games and DLC and I have to hope that less people would pirate games. I guess its mostly a PC problem so maybe I am wrong. Here is the thing I think most people who pirate a game would not pay for the game legally so it kind of pointless in a way.

JOKER677
JOKER677

I think its good to try out the game rather than wasting money, playing the demo doesn't really show much. If it is worth it I think most people with money would buy it.

cephas90
cephas90

@eva02langley in regards to your skyrim comment (and you are right, don't get me wrong) you have to realize that skyrim was MADE for consoles and the witcher 2 was MADE for pc's. That's not to excuse it, but it's the truth. In addition, my pc experience with skyrim has been GREATLY enhanced by the use of mods. Texture mods, interface mods, tweaks mods, so much so that all my friends who play console skyrim are so jealous they want to start buying pcs. The witcher 2 is a great game, I like skyrim more just because of the freedom. Checkout skyrim nexus, it's a mod website that really enhances the game if you're willing to take the time to install their downloader and research some mods.

cephas90
cephas90

@freestyler_85 the quality of people has been declining for decades.

TheDarkNut
TheDarkNut

Very strict DRM (*cough*ubisoft*cough*) means higher percentage of piracy. No DRM and a great game = low percentage of piracy. Thumbs up if you agree!

Barighm
Barighm

Considering how many people pirated the game, it's safe to assume the vast majority of the community consists of the pirates who stole the game. Of course they would get upset when spanked! And people around here still don't seem to understand there is a difference between ease of theft and true theft. The easier it is to steal, the more likely a normally honest consumer will steal. Saying those 4.5 mil were never going to buy anyway is bull. The true pirates, sure, but the reality is a third of all thefts are from people who have the means but merely took advantage of the opportunity. It's really common sense, but there are tons of studies out there to prove it. Google it.

Xeogua
Xeogua

That sucks, they stand up against DRM and what do they get, more pirates. I can't run this on my PC, but I'll be sure to buy it when it hits the 360.

Sigil-otaku
Sigil-otaku

@fillup0 Lol that is the most stupid comment I ever heard. It's like me saying 'here, I've got a care for sale with the keys still in the ignition, please buy it while I turn around and don't watch what you do', only to hear tires screeching away from some thief. DRM is problematic when done in a poor method such as limited installs, when done in other ways it can be a lot better and I'd rather have DRM just to stop thieves than to not have it at all and let any ignorant fool who wants to rob every game he can get away with it. They CHOSE to have no DRM and still got pirated, so they went after only the pirates and the community still turned on them. How pathetic. @thrice00 That's called punishment, if the crime wasn't deterred then it'd be pointless to even have laws. After all if they just said 'you know what, pay for that 1 game' and it was the only game they got caught downloading but they downloaded 50 then I think they'd be pretty happy. You punish to deter, if you don't have a severe punishment to deter people then your punishment is useless and will happen again.

fillup0
fillup0

This is more likely to stop piracy than any DRM solution to be honest, if a developer trusts a consumer with a DRM free product, they are more likely to buy it. Also, Steam is the main vehicle that drives me to buy PC games these days.

freestyler_85
freestyler_85

Its pretty sad when a dev does something for its fans and what it gets in return is more piracy. A PC exclusive game with no DRM.. what more could you want? Plus the retail version has the value of a collector's item. It seems all these perks actually have a reverse effect on profit... in other words, scum will always be scum when its feasible , no matter how much effort a dev puts forth

coop36
coop36

Defending piracy is ridiculous. There is no argument for it. If you cant afford it, get a job. If you dont like it, dont get it. If you cant find it, order it. You obviously have an internet. Pirates are idiots that ruin a good thing for everyone.

ydnarrewop
ydnarrewop

Include more swag with the physical game Id say. Remember when instruction manuals actually had instructions and pictures and stories. Offer more for the dollar and people will want to own it. There ya go problem solved. Facetious yes.

alecrast82
alecrast82

Not 1 of those 4.5 million pirates would have bought the game if there were no piracy.

thrice00
thrice00

And let's not forget form the 4.5M how would have really bought it anyway? Differences Betwenn downloading something free(I kNow it'ss not free) and paying for it. And i'm not defending Piracy and i Pre-ordered Witcher 2.

thrice00
thrice00

Sure is piracy bad. But how come you can find it's ok to give Millionaire and Billionaires companies right to sues citizens for 2-3-4k for a 50$ things is beyond me!!

Gadeos
Gadeos

sometimes, as a gamer, you might wish to own almost every game that comes out, but hey, just because you like to play doesn't mean you have the right to steal others work. That's what piracy is: STEAL. If you don't have the money to buy a game, then WORK for it, like honest people do. Downloading copies is the same as to take tha wallet from someone in the street.

CptRexKramer
CptRexKramer

@d_khan "In the old days they would cut the hands off thieves... OK, that last line may have been a little 2 much :-P" No, no. I like your line of reason here. Clearly, fines and jail terms simply don't do the job anymore. Perhaps more drastic measures need to be taken to convince people not to break the law. ;)

Kendojin
Kendojin

Once I get me a good gaming pc I'll gladly buy the Witcher one and two, because they're both great games but also because I applaud CD Projekt for not using some ridiculous DRM program, and also for still supporting PC gaming even with all these douche bags that pirate anything and everything. I gotta say though that if I were CD Projekt I'd go the route of Serious Sam where if you had a pirated copy of the game it would spawn an enemy that you couldn't kill.

smghottie
smghottie

Piracy is thievery, let's not beat around the bush. This is a project that a company has worked on, which many millions in the public would like to own, they have a right to sell their work, and instead people steal it. But I don't think developers realize why so many people pirate: A it's easy, B too many games to afford, and C said games are $50 to $60, unless you wait a few months or are lucky enough to buy used/on sale. IMO, the problem lies with game pricing. Bring it down to $40 or $30 and you'll sell three times as many copies. Videogames are the least valuable asset after a short period of time, their depreciation is worse than that of ANY CAR. I mean for god sakes a game that came out a month ago can be had used for $25. What a JOKE. Game pricing changes, people would be more willing to pay. I know that was MY REASONING when I dl'd a few games back in the day. I mean, I dl'd DemiGod to see how it was instead of pay $50. I'm f'in glad I didn't pay for it b/c it wasn't worth more than 20. Maybe Developers can also give us a damn demo, b/c it seems to me only about 1 in 5 games, maybe less, offer a demo to try out the game. Glad I'm getting older and hardly play games any more...

d_khan
d_khan

@CptRexKramer Good to hear someone who is not hiding behind BullS**t lies for ones. If you uphold the law, they cannot prosecute on any valid terms, if you break the law, then it's your own damn fault. In the old days they would cut the hands off thieves... OK, that last line may have been a little 2 much :-P

bblundell
bblundell

It's sad that people are trying to defend piracy in the fact that they pay for the game at a later date.......here's a clue. It's still wrong whether you buy the game afterwords or not.

00Joseph00
00Joseph00

I don't think anybody should be concerned with piracy of games. If a person plans to pay money for it, they will. I have personally gotten free copies of games, and then purchased later because I like them. Skyrim, I paid $150 for it later because I liked it that much.

velvetj2000
velvetj2000

I buy my games on Steam or from indie developers like Minecraft was sold. I used to pirate everything I could. I had at least 6 cd/dvd folders that held 300 discs each. Full of apps and games I downloaded. Funny thing was 99% of the apps and games I never even installed and played. Dunno why I downloaded them and burnt them to dvd/cd. I guess OCD or hoarding I dunno. Steam made it easy to buy games. They have a ton of great sales and it's all their in one app. I hate that all these other companies are trying to make their own. I am not going to have 3 or 4 content delivery systems running because its origin or games for windows exclusive. Work with Steam to sell your game. I may have to go back to pirating games that refuse to sell on Steam because they are greedy and want to have total control of the game and have an online app running in order for you to play it. Screw you greedy bastards. Make it easy to buy and play the game and I'll buy it. Otherwise utorrent will get a workout.

Agent-M
Agent-M

Its sad enough to pirate a game, its even sadder to pirate a game from a company that truly cares and appreciates its fans/customers and that delivers superb content. CD Projekt is a type of developer that rarely exists these days, one that isn't all about the money, but about the happiness of its fans. Stop being cheap and buy their games, they are actually worth the purchase.

NoodleFighter
NoodleFighter

If people say they're "innocent" demand that they show their physical copy of The Witcher 2 or show their online account in which they purchased it through or their debit/credit card purchase history for those that got it digitally.

nastyhotpocket
nastyhotpocket

they should just stop making pc games all together most pc gamers are uneducated and dumb...problem solved...trollface

erencubu
erencubu

people pirate games because most games suck these days... not only do most games suck, but they take 5 hours to beat.... if a game is awsome, and gives hours and hours of fun and replayability then it deserves to be purchased, and likely will be... if a game sucks, and is hype hype hyped and completely lets fans down, then pirating is a way for everyone to voice their opinions.... hey developer, i played your game and i hated it, so i didnt buy it... or hey, i could have downloaded this for free, but its so good imma buy it and have it for life... dont pay for games unless they are good, and i'm all for testing a product before i buy have not played witcher two yet, but one was awsome.... ne'ways, in sum... if a game is good, buy it, if not pirate it... pirating can be like voting

Dragdar
Dragdar

Frankly, it's a miracle they stayed loyal to the PC crowd, which royally butt-fuc7s them every time and endangers the next project. . Try to explain this to PC fanboys and they'll thumb you down, just watch. PC exclusivity is dying breed (unfortunately), that's just how the cookie crumbles. .

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

@nyran125 That's BULL CRAP. If this were the days before the internet could easily share these games anyway, this wouldn't be so widespread. Saying that people steal it because none of them would ever pay for games is a lie. There are plenty of people out there who won't pay for anything they can't hold in their hands. This would mean all films, games, music, etc. HOWEVER, most of the people who pirated it wouldn't do so if they weren't given the easy option. If it were difficult to pirate games very few people would do it simply because it would be more of a hassle than just buying the frickin thing anyway. But because it's easy, piracy is rampant in the media industries. A worker deserves his wages. I don't care if that worker is making a chest of drawers, a house, a film, or a video game. Giving someone a pass simply because piracy of media content is so widespread is inexcusable.

nyran125
nyran125

lol whats the point in pursuing pirates, when they were never customers and were never going to be lol. They wouldnt of magically bought The Witcher 2 at full price regardless if piracy existed or not. The only way they were ever going to buy it , is after 3-6 months when it was half price. Alo 4 million is realyl REALLY fabricated. Thats a statisitc that isnt fact, its hypothetical theres no proof it was that many. Some people it takes 4-5 days to download 15 gb's of something. What about all the people that bought it legally and allow thier mates to play it? theres probably another 2 million just on sharing with mates. As far as im concerned if i buy a game and want to share it with mates, these companies can get stuffed.

supertom221
supertom221

Hunting them down, One-by-one?? WOW, CD Projekt must be pretty dumb about this one. Good that they stopped this. I mean, Look at the numbers-- They are outnumbered 4 to 1. Many of the pirates are not even from Europe, they are not scaring anyone out of their vicinity. It's a good thing they gave up on this, They would waste more money and resources paying to law firms and the like to hunt users down than they could ever get back. Anyone who fights Piracy is a dumb***. Which is why SOPA will fail and will only cause legal users to lose their rights.

Mimicry
Mimicry

Piracy is a huge topic in its own right. What saddens me is seeing yet another great gaming studio draw the wrong conclusions from what seems like basic math: 1 Million units sold + 4.5 Million pirated = 5.5 Million total units moved ... Right? Wrong. While I am not suggesting pirates should get a free pass, thinking that each person who has played an illegal copy of the Witcher 2 can be scared into becoming a paying customer is a fallacy. To take this a step further - would gaming companies be OK with issuing refunds for their customers' hard earned cash if the latter find that the game they paid for is utter over-hyped garbage that they were mislead into buying by powerful publishers using their deep pockets to buy glowing but fake reviews?

Soothsayer42
Soothsayer42

Damn... Im not really against piracy and all, but seeing a company didn't get the profit they should for making such a great game is very sad.... But hey, thats the World turning around as usual right? No need to be a douche *cough* SOPA *cough*

CptRexKramer
CptRexKramer

This is lame. CD Projekt knows who pirated the game. Go get them! If you got the game legally (Meaning you actually bought it.), you don't have anything to worry about. By their numbers, around 5.5 million people are playing it, yet only about a million people obtained it legally. So, more than likely, the majority of people complaining to CD Projekt about hunting down pirates are the pirates themselves. F**k these people. Hunt them down, and prosecute.

q-bert39
q-bert39

 @WispOfDespair There is nothing wrong with it. They call it piracy to scare mothers and make them think their children are doing something evil. The devs are just mad that people are getting free demos of their shitty games. I've pirated almost every single PC title that has come out in the last 2 years, and you know what? I'd probably have payed for 1 or 2. The only pc games i've bought are battlefield 3 and diablo 3, which hilariously enough, i stopped playing BF3 in a week, and i returned diablo 3 immediately.

 

I think this is how all games should work. The devs whine and bitch about piracy yet they make 4 hour on-rail games like bulletstorm, or massive but extremely superficial games like skyrim. The only game i would ever consider paying for for the PC right now is Dark Souls, but then i heard they are making a very shitty port out of it, so i will pirate to teach those lazy fucks a lesson.

legolas506
legolas506

@q-bert39 @WispOfDespair How will company's continue to make games (shitty or not) if every single copy was pirated? Yea, download the game, but I hope if you actually like it, you purchase a real copy to support the company.