Witcher dev: Publishers use DRM as "smokescreen" to cover their a**es

CD Projekt Red CEO Marcin Iwinski says industry already knows DRM doesn't work, but continues to use it anyway.

The industry at large knows DRM doesn't work, but continues to use it to cover their a**es, according to The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red CEO Marcin Iwinski, an outspoken opponent of DRM.

Speaking with GameSpot sister site GiantBomb, Iwinski went into detail on why he believes DRM, as it is currently used, is a broken system.

"It seems to me that the industry as a whole knows DRM doesn't work, but corporations still use it as a smokescreen, effectively covering their asses, pretending to protect their intellectual property in front of bosses, investors, and shareholders," Iwinski said.

"I've actually had quite a few discussions with high level executives who admit they know DRM doesn't work, but if they don't use it somebody might accuse them of not protecting their property. Whenever policy trumps common sense, the best interest of gamers is lost in the process," he added.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on PC will feature no DRM whatsoever. This doesn't mean the game will be pirated more than if it did have DRM, Iwinski said.

"Will it be more pirated than if we put DRM on it? I definitely don't think so. Practically every single game's DRM is cracked on day 0 (or even before then), so that's not really an argument for using it," he said. "With a DRM-free release, we're hoping to build more trust between us and gamers."

Check out the entire Giant Bomb feature for more from Iwinski on DRM. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, and PC in 2014. In addition to that game, CD Projekt Red is working on next-generation role-playing game Cyberpunk 2077 and a "smaller" unannounced game at its new office in Krakow.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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467 comments
death_dealerK
death_dealerK

Simply put I trust the creators of Witcher and i plan to get witcher 3 in the future.

thyshalldye
thyshalldye

Ms rolled back their drm because it was too sudden... people learn to live with small pains.... like paying to play online ( you pay for the game then pay more to access its online features? ) this is becoming more absurd with dlc and crap.... that is the future .. full of rules and restrictions ... and we will have to learn to live with it ...

nirmalbalaji
nirmalbalaji

A bold statement and of course everyone knows DRM fails. More DRM more pain for genuine buyers.

ritsukoblue
ritsukoblue

Gamespot! You mean Xbox One! Not Xbox 360.

renerak
renerak

Well, I need to get cracks from net for games I buy because of drm, the only problem is games with multiplayer.

prats93
prats93

"Practically every single game's DRM is cracked on day 0 (or even before then), so that's not really an argument for using it".

Is this guy retarded? Yeah, if its secuROM, but these days its all about online integration. Was D3 cracked day 1? How about SimCity 5, or Starcraft 2?

MrAVKV
MrAVKV

@prats93 He's obviously not referring to online-only games. Those don't get cracked. He is right when he says that most games get cracked on day 1 because it does get cracked on day 1. So no, he's not retarded.

pyro1245
pyro1245

@prats93 The witcher games don't have MP so your comment is kind of irrelevant to this article; but yes, games that focus on online play usually don't get pirated as much or as quickly.

asmoddeuss
asmoddeuss

@prats93 Bringing you down to earth for a second, not to be rude or anything, but there are legions of single players games that doesn't requiere online integration in order to play.

RabidBurp
RabidBurp

Spyro: Year of the Dragon had the perfect anti-piracy measure.

Developer Insomniac devised a series of crack-protected traps that constantly broke the game's inner workings (removing certain key items, disabling the pause menu, sending you back to the beginning of the game, etc.). When pirates managed to fix one broken portion of the game, that in turn broke a different part of the game. This kept pirates in a never-ending cycle of glitch fixing and hair pulling for over 2 months after the game's release. 

A game makes most of its sales within the first month, and in this case, the pirates had minimal impact on dev/publisher earnings.

forbiddenmow
forbiddenmow

People who pirate games are pricks anyway. If I were a publisher I'd hire a team of 10 Indians or Chinese kids to spend 40 hours a week sabotaging the pirate community by flooding it with virus infected games.

forbiddenmow
forbiddenmow

@pyro1245 @forbiddenmow i suppose so but using viruses as a deterrent for theft seems ok in my book. it's like shooting the guy who breaks into your home. it's a fair deal.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@forbiddenmow People pirate games because most games deserve to be pirated. Either they are too short, done too lazily, multiple re-iteration of the same previous games, and so on...

On top of that studies shows that people who pirate games, music, movies and so on... are buying much more games, music, movies and so on than those who don't, for the simple reason that they continuously feed a passion.

forbiddenmow
forbiddenmow

Well you can try and justify and rationalise theft if you want. That's your own moral compass. And you second point is dumb. Obviously people who love games are more likely to buy AND steal games than people who don't like games. Please don't tell me there's a causal link between stealing something and buying more of something.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@forbiddenmow I'm saying that hypocrites like you can take the moral high-ground as much as they like but are less likely to buy as much as those who don't. To flap one's mouth against piracy is one thing, to pull money out of your pocket to buy something is another, that's what studies shows.

As for any moral compass do we have to point out that we like in a capitalist society, in other words: in a society based on stealing other people's work? Or maybe that little detail eluded that brilliant mind of yours.

Finally, technically speaking: stealing is depriving someone's else good while copying doesn't deprive anyone of anything. The same companies you are defending spend their time copying what everyone's else does when they think what their neighbour does is successful. The only thing that stops them from being thrown in prison is a barrage of lawyers they can rise between them and justice. My God: Microsoft and Apple itself build an empire by stealing other people's idea...

Take the next spaceship from planet Thethan III or something and come back to earth, my friend...

joeo7_13
joeo7_13

I think the whole concept of DRM is flawed, as it restricts consumer rights in the name of intellectual property theft. Its like selling a baseball bat to someone and then telling them to use it themselves only and never ever let anyone else use it(not even your own family members), I understand that softwares in general cannot be compared to physical objects but I am comparing them on the basis of their eventual use, i.e. consumer gratification.

Another important point about the whole software industry is that the makers(developers,publishers and software engineers) these days charge way too much for their softwares, and the reason they provide is that almost 70-80% of the consumers use pirated copies of their softwares, so if they dont charge decently to the remaining 20-30% then they wont be able to survive. This whole paradigm is completely flawed, cause as far as I know, those 70-80% peoples use pirated softwares only because they cannot afford a licensed copy.

Some peoples might think that CDProject RED overdoes this whole DRM issue, but atleast they are standing up for what they think is right, and actually doing something about it, even if that would cause them some percentage of financial loss, they are still sticking up to it. These days almost every multinational company uses some sort of strategy to expand their brand name and its value, thus maximising profits, but atleast CDPR are honest about their ideas, and in my opinion they make one of the most technically proficient, aesthetically pleasing and memorable games in the whole industry.

surferosh
surferosh

@joeo7_13   you are right.. and it is high time the governments across the world look into the matter of digital ownership and treat it on par with physical commodities.. only hurdle is the publishing houses - cinema, music and video games.. they are very power lobbies.. very very powerful and they continue to use archaic copyright regulations to squeeze every profitable cent they can.. their excuse being "this is to support the artists and other people who work in the industry".. i say it is all bullshit as most of the workers do not get paid extra irrespective of how many copies of a DVD or CD or game are sold.. most of it goes into the velvet lined greedy pockets of the Suits.

crognalsen
crognalsen

@joeo7_13 

I agree with you on terms of ownership.  It doesn't seem right to just buy the right to use software on one PC.  You should be able to do with it what you want.  It's what has made PCs great over the years.  You enjoy a high level of freedom.  A freedom that is being taken away with things like tablets and game consoles.  It seems logical if you buy a software then you should be able to use it offline and do what you want with it unless there is some reason it requires online like a multi player only game.  The worst part is that they have taken LAN almost completely out of games.  You also rarely hear of anyone offering a discount for buying multiple copies of games.  One for yourself and your friend or a family discount.  I do think that games cost a lot more money to make these days with the advanced graphics, User interface, AI, Physics, voice actors, etc, but it does seem unfair to the consumer in many ways.  I don't believe the DRM is as intrusive as people say though.  I've used most of the game clients that exist for PC and they don't really interfere with anything I do.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@joeo7_13 You cannot say developers charge too much for their software since prices hasn't move for as long as I can remember. 20 years ago I paid $50-$60 for a game and I still do now.

A lot of people used pirated games for 2 major reasons: 1 - most games deserve to be pirated because they are done lazily, are too short, are a re-iteration of a re-iterated game, itself re-iterated from a previous one and so on. 2 - because many DRM fucked your computer and forced you to reformat and re-install windows.

Studies shows that people who pirate games, or movies, or music and so on buy much more games, movies and so on than those who don't because they continuously feed a passion. Ask those obsessed by porno the effect of free porno everywhere, their need for porno goes up, not down. Cut that and everything will drop like a ball.

The question the industry has is not how to stop piracy it's how to maintain that passion and pull more money from our pockets. It's the only thing they care about because money itself can be a passion and a vice like porno.

wexorian
wexorian

How can someone pirate any witcher game especially after 2nd one ...............

Sardinar
Sardinar

@shreddyz @prats93 @Sardinar @wexorian Yeah, disagreeing with the flock in a vague, inflammatory, and unnecessary presentation of an acute opinion is trolling. 

What's the point of saying that if not to piss off a bunch of people? People thinking that Witcher 2 is good to those who don't is like 20 to 1. 

Sardinar
Sardinar

You didn't make a point, I have nothing to refute. You only called Witcher 2 average with nothing to back that up, using phrases like 'considering Witcher 2 was average' is like you're presenting it as a widely accepted fact rather than an enclosed opinion.  The amount of people to disagree with you is huge, there was no reason to say that in the first place.

shreddyz
shreddyz

@Sardinar So when people write 'I love this game' aren't trolling but when someone writes 'I hate this game' they're trolling? They're both opinions. One is yes and one is no. Opinions don't NEED substantiation, only in your world, bub!

crognalsen
crognalsen

I don't really agree that cracked software is better.  It generally has a virus somewhere in it that gets installed with the game and you generally can't play online unless it was also hacked to work on a rogue server.  I don't trust big corporations, but that doesn't mean it's safer or better to use pirated software.  It's people who download pirated stuff that usually end with their computer crashing and having popups all over the place.  Of course there are legit companies like Oracle (Java) that try to sneak in crap software during install that can cause issues with your PC too.  You just have to be very careful in general.  I haven't had any problems with steam.  Even Origin and Uplay seem to work pretty well.  I just hate that Origin doesn't have an open to disable ads.

shingui5
shingui5

"Practically every single game's DRM is cracked on day 0"

Well now, that's not exactly true, is it?

CDprojekt, i know you need to keep up this image of being this gamers champion, but misleading information like that isn't the right way to go about it.

stillfailing
stillfailing

I dunno, as a security expert I can't recall ever not seeing a game pirated - as long as it didn't require always online type login credentials. I.e. Diablo 3.

shingui5
shingui5

@stillfailing 

Oh, almost everything gets pirated, yes, but not everything gets pirated day 0 like this guy is claiming.

gufberg
gufberg

@shingui5 "Keep up this image" You're sounding like they're bluffing. They're not. 

shingui5
shingui5

@bryanhudd @shingui5 @stillfailing 

And here's the thing: DRM isn't about tackling the militant, hardcore pirates, whom will find a way and will pirate regardless, it's to stall and annoy the pirates who do it casually; the people who will probably just pick up the game legally if it means they can play it right now, instead of a month or two.

pyro1245
pyro1245

@shingui5 ....hell i've seen games up before the actual release date. I think enough games are pirated day 0 to go ahead and group them together. Games pretty much all get cracked day 0.

bryanhudd
bryanhudd

@shingui5 @stillfailing Does it matter when the game is going to get pirated? I bet you a pirate won't pay $60 for a game to get it a month early.

toyo75
toyo75

DRM only further motivates pirates to crack their games, particularly groups who are against corporate greed being displayed by certain software publishers.

bluefox755
bluefox755

DRM is like gun laws, the only ones affected by them are the one's who already obey the laws, criminals simply obtain them illegally. People that pirate aren't affected by the DRM, the only one's that have to deal with it are the people who legitimately purchase the game, in fact I know people who still pirate games after they buy them so they don't have to deal with the DRM.

renerak
renerak

@bluefox755 I download cracks to play single player games which I bought. so YES.

roninfury
roninfury

if you pirate CD Projekt Red games after this you're a first degree prick.

bluefox755
bluefox755

He's right, people that wanna get around it, always find a way a around DRM. I dunno, if I was someone who pirated occasionally, I'd be much more likely to pay for a game from CDPR than i would some company with heavily intrusive DRM.

shingui5
shingui5

@bluefox755 

The idea of DRM isn't to combat the militant pirates, as they will always pirate, and they would have always been a sale that was never there to begin with. The idea of DRM is to stall the pirates long enough, so the casual ones get impatient and buy the game anyway.