CD Projekt Calls Off Hunt for Witcher 2 Pirates
CD Projekt RED has responded to pressure from players over its lawyers seeking out players who pirated the game, saying it will call off the hunt.
There’s no digital rights management software on The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, because unlike other developers and publishers in the PC gaming industry, CD Projekt doesn’t believe in it. DRM hurts paying customers while pirates just bounce around it, they argue — which is, you know, exactly right — and so the Polish game developer opted to release its game and hope that, if it created a good product, people would pay for it.
Largely, people have paid, but CD Projekt also estimates The Witcher 2 has been pirated some 4.5 million times. (Guys, c’mon — seriously?) And it’s not as if The Witcher 2 hasn’t been on sale for extremely reduced prices, like, 900 times since it was released. I got it for $16. You pirates should be able to afford $16.
Anyway, instead of punishing everyone in fear of piracy, CD Projekt has just been, you know, hunting the pirates — contacting people they believed to have pirated the game and asking for financial compensation for the game you goddamn stole. But a lot of people in the gaming community have expressed some reservations over this approach, fearing that some of the people being targeted might not actually have pirated the game. CD Projekt denies it has bugged anybody who turned out to be innocent, but who knows.
In an open letter to the gaming community released today, CD Projekt announced it was calling off the hunt for pirates and basically letting the issue drop (even though they’ve been robbed of a conservatively estimated $72 million at the $16 Witcher 2 rate I got from Amazon last month). And they’re still committed to not using DRM. And they’re not condoning piracy.
I’ll just let CD Projekt speak for itself. From the letter:
Being part of a community is a give-and-take process. We only succeed because you have faith in us, and we have worked hard over the years to build up that trust. We were sorry to see that many gamers felt that our actions didn’t respect the faith that they have put into CD Projekt RED. Our fans always have been and remain our greatest concern, and we pride ourselves on the fact that you all know that we listen to you and take your opinions to heart. 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.
Let’s make this clear: we don’t support piracy. It hurts us, the developers. It hurts the industry as a whole. Though we are staunch opponents of DRM because we don’t believe it has any effect on reducing piracy, we still do not condone copying games illegally. We’re doing our part to keep our relationship with you, our gaming audience, a positive one. We’ve heard your concerns, listened to your voices, and we’re responding to them. 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. Unless you support the developers who make the games you play, unless you pay for those games, we won’t be able to produce new excellent titles for you.