CD Projekt: “Over-Exploiting” Gamers Will Hurt Industry
Witcher 2 developer CD Projekt has already done a hell of a lot to endear themselves to gamers by bucking industry practices with surprising frequency. In March, they vowed never again to use DRM for their games; since then they’ve doubled down, espousing the opinion that small DLC packets ought to be free, and reiterating their belief that DRM doesn’t work, and that developers should provide greater value to players rather than punishing them. So, yeah, we love them.
They’ve also put their money very firmly where their mouth is, recently releasing the Witcher 2 enhanced edition free for PC owners of the Witcher 2. In an interview with Gamasutra, CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski elaborated on their philosophy, and it makes me want to go out and purchase everything CD Projekt has ever made:
MI: Well, we had a lot of discussions with The Witcher 1′s Enhanced Edition. It was a bit different then because we had a publishing deal whereas now we have distribution deals. When we had that publishing deal, we went to the publisher, and said, “So we have this idea where we make all this stuff, all this new content, and you don’t pay anything for it, we give it away for free. How about that?” The publisher went all big-eyed and said, “Whoa! Let’s charge 10 dollars! 10 Euro!” But we believed that we would sell more units if we put it out for free.
And when we put it out for free, we saw a boost in the sales with the Enhanced Edition because it just created good will, and it refreshes the product. You can always do it from two angles, and sadly I see the industry trending toward over-exploiting the gamer, and I think this will come back to the publishers that are doing that, and eventually, people will stop buying their stuff. That’s just not the way things work.
We have to agree. As we’ve seen with the horrible launch of Diablo 3 and, just over the weekend, Ubisoft’s Uplay outage fiasco, players do not like being limited to playing their game at the pleasure of the developer, especially when it’s part of an invasive scheme that only punishes law abiding citizens. Every time some complicated DRM scheme blows up like this, customers flee. How many it will take to make developers take notice and stop it remains a mystery, but Gods bless CD Projekt for getting it, and trying to do gamers right.