Witcher dev: The game counts, not the money

CD Projekt Red CEO says people buy their games because they trust them: "If we screw that up, it's the end of the story..."

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CD Projekt Red CEO Marcin Iwinski has spoken out regarding the business of making games. In an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Iwinski said making money is important to the health of the studio, but it should not be put before gamers' best interests.

"But at the end of the day, the game [counts]--and not the money. Because the game will make the money if it’s good," Iwinski said.

He said some people believe it's the other way around; and in the short-term, from a business perspective, this makes sense. However, putting aspirations for money before game design could lead to gamers losing faith in the company, something Iwinski wants to avoid.

"I think it's in a way our trademark. People buy our games on day one because they trust us," Iwinski said. "And if we screw that up, it's the end of the story pretty much."

Elsewhere in the interview, Iwinski said downloadable content and updates for the PC version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be free, while console pricing has yet to be determined.

"It's too early to talk specifics, but definitely all the DLCs and updates will be free," Iwinski said. "Of course, we'll see what the platform holders will allow--what we can do for free [on next-gen consoles]. I mean, there are different business models on consoles. From our standpoint, we'll definitely do everything we can to deliver the same experience across all platforms."

If CD Projekt Red decides to create "big" expansions for The Witcher 3, the studio will charge gamers an "honest and fair" price for the content, Iwinski said.

"But again, it's all value for money," he said. "I think $15-$20 for new gameplay is a pretty honest and fair deal. But additional weapons and fixes, those of course come as part of the package."

The Witcher 3 launches in 2014 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Discussion

493 comments
Dagus0323
Dagus0323

probably my favorite game company. if i could hug this man and call him dad, i would.


mjswooosh
mjswooosh

And this is why I bought new copies of The Witcher 2 for PC and 360 for myself...and purchased a couple other copies for friends as well. Developers who have a core sense of right and wrong, care about what is important to gamers, and seem to be at least aware of consumer rights should be rewarded. Publishers lacking those qualities like EA should not be. Simple as that.

madglee
madglee

Ooh, it IS a PC game. I feel very excited. I trust you CD Projekt Red.

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

Game matters and not the money eh ...


so this will be free to play ?

June-GS
June-GS

Wow. CD Projekt Red, if you guys ever decide to make a religion someday, please sign me up for the Sunday choir.

IshmaelSonata
IshmaelSonata

Day 1 buy for the Witcher 3. CDprojectRed is honestly the best game developer out there. 

jameson425
jameson425

Now debating after being ass-raped by Microsoft to buy gaming PC and play the entire series couldn't get into The Witcher 2 for Xbox but really want to...

Alvin_the_Elf
Alvin_the_Elf

If they keep up this attitude, I'll pre-order every single one of their games as long as I live. Can't express in words how much excited I am for The Witcher 3.

MagneticFusion
MagneticFusion

These guys know how to treat their customers. Excellent.

Witcher 3 is a day one buy for me.

Shango4
Shango4

I hope they do really excellent on the PS4.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

I love these guys! Need a CD Projekt tattoo!

TenraiSenshi
TenraiSenshi

For a business, making money should actually be the top priority, because you can't service your consumers if you're going bankrupt. In saying that though, a smart business man/woman will understand that the best way to make money is to keep your customers happy and the best way to keep them happy is deliver a quality product that doesn't make them feel like they're being ripped-off.


The two goals are not separate, but rather, go hand-in-hand and should be seen as one.

slainta
slainta

Money second. Sure. As long as the money doesn't come from us consoles suckers. Why are the DLC for PC free? Why do we have to subsidize them? Share the costs, buddy.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Sometimes I wonder if what CD Projekt Red says is all PR bullshit. They obviously know what gamers want to hear. You could come on a site like this and in 5 mins. know exactly what to say to win gamers appreciation.

apolloooo
apolloooo

their business practice ,sadly is dying. they are one of the very few that have "passion first, money second" philosophy

carolino
carolino

got it right !

keep it up

mezati4
mezati4

i fucking love CD Projekt Red

ewjiml
ewjiml

CD Projekt Red...keeping it real

Falconoffury
Falconoffury

If you make great games, and then sell those games for a fair price, you won't have to worry about money. Plenty of it will come.

If you have teams of business analysts looking to maximise profits, and find gimmicks to squeeze money out of gamers, then you are only going to lose money in the long run.

tightwad34
tightwad34

I am getting this game for sure, but if you can somehow prove you aren't about money then I will support you till the end of you or me.

Dan11223344
Dan11223344

@DeViLzzz They also said "making money is important to the health of the studio"

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

@TenraiSenshi Right, and I think this is pretty much what CD Projekt is saying. They understand this simple concept while apparently many others don't -- if you consistently make good games and are good to your customers, they will be more then happy to buy your products.

Trying to nickel and dime people might seem beneficial from a business perspective in the short term, but long term it can really hurt you as your customers become suspicious and hateful (see: EA). The concepts of brand loyalty and customer service seem lost on most devs, it's good that at least some of them still seem to get it and are seeing success as a direct result.

SgtSilock
SgtSilock

@TenraiSenshi And what you said isn't exactly difficult, there are plenty of good games out there that butcher themselves because of schemes to get more money out of us. If they just stop dirty tactics like this, everyone would be better off for it as a result. 

Instructor_Doc
Instructor_Doc

@slainta .because unlike pc gamers console gamers are stupid and deserve to be ripped off. cant stand outdated hardware, no mods etc.
gaming on console is like 2+2=4.
gaming on pc is 2+2=5.
it is one louder ;)


jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@slainta MS and Sony charge quite a bit to push even normal patches out through their systems.  Developers / publishers hate to have to push content down through MS and Sony networks because of cost.  The DLCs on consoles will probably have to cost something just so that CDPR isn't _paying cash_ to give you the DLC.

Slash_out
Slash_out

@slainta the reason is that microsoft doesnt allié free patches on their consoles. And extra content must be paid by the clients. That`s why they say" if they can". Its not up to them but up to your console maker

Lambchopzin
Lambchopzin

@slainta The updating and distributing process, as well as the business models were significantly stricter on consoles then PCs last gen. They need to see how much that's changed (if at all) before they can give specifics on console pricing.

If you want to blame somebody blame the console manufacturers, not CD Projekt.

schesak
schesak

@slainta Basically, until he knows what it will cost them to deliver DLC to consoles, he can't say that DLC will be free on consoles.   He knows it will not cost them much to deliver it to PC users, so he can speak on that with understanding of the financial impact on his company.   

Keep in mind that devs have said it costs them $10,000 just to deliver a patch on the x-box 360. . . that's not pocket change, and for all he knows the costs will be even higher on the next-generation x-box.      Until he knows what it costs them to deliver DLC to the next-gen consoles, he has no way of making the same promise to console players as he did to PC.   You got an issue with that, take it up with MS and Sony.

last3minutes
last3minutes

@slainta 

read it again dude. not yet determined. make sure that console people buy lots of copies and dlcs will probably also be free. Also blame that on the consoles next gen, new architecture model since that will always introduce more costs to devs.

jimrhurst
jimrhurst

@Vodoo I've often wondered this myself, but its a risky gamble.  As Marcin points out himself in this article, if he fails to deliver, all that goodwill goes up in smoke.  The gaming community will flay them alive all over the internet.  So you had better believe what you're selling at some point if what you are selling is authenticity.  So far, they seem to live up to it, whether they truly "believe it" or just accept it as their particular way of competing in the market.  I suppose I don't care either way if it means they keep giving me high-quality, uncompromising, DRM-free 100 hour games for $60 with free patches and minor DLC's.

pug987
pug987

@Vodoo You can just look at their track record. The Witcher 1 and 2 were supported even with extra content absolutely free. When they released a "director's cut" edition for The Witcher 1 that had re-recorded dialogue to better convey to english the original polish text they gave it as a free update to all who had bought the game. They went to court with a publisher (Bandai I think) because they dropped all DRM from Witcher 2 worldwide. They own gog.com and promised to deliver The Witcher 2 at the same price across the globe. They found out they couldn't due to some trade agreements so they offered free games from their catalogue to those living in Europe that had to pay extra due to the euro/dollar price difference.


If they were just talking they wouldn't be as convincing but time and time again they have backed their claims. That's why people believe in them.

last3minutes
last3minutes

@Vodoo of course they know, only that they friggin back it up with legit actions

edinko
edinko

@apolloooo To play the devils advocate and suggest another theory that I don't really believe but its is possible- They may be PRETENDING the stuff you said.

Like Sony is pretending to be consumer friendly now but what they are doing is abusing bad MS PR which sounds good to people but they are not saints and are not doing it for consumers. For example the abuse of the DRM applause on the E3 to slip a hidden to cost to the PS4 which is the mandatory PSplus 5 bucks.

Sony did bad anticonsumer stuff in the past and its the same people. Its not like some angel  appeared to them in Japan and they saw suddenly the light:)

My point: No matter how great the company seems on the outside there are nearly always some rally bad people that are abusing everything possible even customer goodwill. CDP probably isn't one of them but we learned already that no matter how good was some dev in the past there is always a possibility of terrible stuff from them in the future

erMonezza
erMonezza

@Lambchopzin @TenraiSenshi If the day comes when CD PRojekt sell themselves to any kind of big publisher (WA, Activision.) it's going to be the ruin for them.

But If they can keep this up, even after Witcher 3 (the final game for the trilogy) I will support them and buy their games. 

I'm not a big cuberpunk scenario fan, but will buy their Cyberpunk 2077 in a heartbeat if they keep what they promise with W3.


cheers

Vojtass
Vojtass

@schesak @slaintaBecause PC is a free platform, it doesn't have any owner, so developer can do what he wants. If he doesn't want to publish on Steam, he can publish on GOG. When it comes to console, he has no choice. PC developer doesn't have to beg or pay for patching own game. If PC dev wants to give DLC for free, he can do it immediately.

slainta
slainta

@schesak @slainta So, if there will be 100K copies sold the DLC will be only 10c? I strongly doubt it. As it happened already with the Dark Souls DLC. Included in the PC port, which was also considerably cheap, and 15€ on console. It's just because that game is my most favorite, otherwise Namco Bandai would have got a big finger. Well, it still does, together with my money, though.

Vojtass
Vojtass

@schesak @slainta Tim Schafer said, that patch costs $40,000. console players should thank Microsoft for such awesome support.

slainta
slainta

@last3minutes @slainta What?! The next gen consoles are basically PCs. I'm pretty sure they can even run Windows on them if they want to. Even the PS4. Only on Sony labs sure. Who wants that MS crap in a shiny PS4? *my treasure!* :D

tightwad34
tightwad34

@Thanatos2k Can't think of any off the top of my head, but I am willing to bet there are some Japanese devs who do actually care about their consumers. As for American devs, maybe Sucker Punch, and maybe Naughty Dog but not sure.