Witcher Franchise Sales Almost Match Illegal Downloads

Witcher Franchise Sales Almost Match Illegal Downloads

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CD Projekt's DRM-free philosophy apparently doesn't hold back high sales.

People have taken a liking to the monster-slaying, potion-brewing, lady-wooing Geralt of Rivia, and there are numbers to prove it. The Witcher franchise has moved more than 4 million units worldwide, according to a statement issued by developer CD Projekt RED.

The figure covers both The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and includes PC, Mac, and Xbox 360 sales. Adam Badowski, head of CD Projekt RED, is certainly pleased with the numbers, stating that he is "still amazed with the result" of having the games go quadruple platinum. The White Wolf now has its sights set on the land of the rising sun; The Witcher 2 will arrive in Japan for Xbox 360 gamers on August 23rd. Mac owners will also be able to play The Witcher 2 later this year.

The sales volume is definitely impressive, and close to matching the illegal download estimates made in late 2011. CEO Marcin Iwinski surmised that The Witcher franchise had been pirated about 4.5 million times, and further admitted that "the reality is probably way worse".

In spite of this, the company continues to have a firm anti-DRM stance, and it encourages other companies to do the same, insisting that its existence complicates consumers' lives. That doesn't mean that the company condones people enjoying its hard work for free, either; earlier this year, letters were sent to German residents demanding fines of €1,000 for illegally downloading the game.

It's great to see such a positive result for a company that's taking a position other developers would consider risky. We'll see if this mentality continues to yield more positive results for its future releases.

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So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

RE: the future Mac release of the Witcher 2

So does this mean that my physical copy of The Witcher 2, currently installed on my Windows partition, will also work on my Macbook Pro without anything required of me, except to install it again? Or will I need to buy another copy/uninstall it from Windows first?

Sorry I don't know this stuff, I'm hardly a PC "Gamer" - I just play the odd game on my Mac when I can.

saintdane05:
So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

Other games are pirated just as much.

I can't believe the Escapist is still running with this dishonesty about the piracy figures, which he admitted were an asspull.

saintdane05:
So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

No, the fact that the game has managed to still sell despite high piracy figures means the company won't change policies. Which is crap, since those numbers weren't even close to true. In order to gt 4.5 million pirated copies, they would have had to have outpirated COD, Battlefield, and FarCry. And the reality? "Probably worse."

Regardless, 4.5 million sales is still quite good for the franchise.

saintdane05:
So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

No amount of DRM would have stopped that game from being pirated, as it does not stop any game from being pirated. But it does piss consumers off. They are taking the stance that since it does not stop piracy, enacting some sort DRM will only serve to infuriate their paying customers. I would not be surprised if a great many titles were pirated more than they sold at first. You can't stop it, so worry about the only people that matter, which should be your paying customers. All of the layers of fruitless DRM that appear on games these days, all it does is let the paying customer know they play second fiddle to the guy who wanted the game for free.

There is also the element here and now that shows that even though it was pirated a whole lot at first, it has not stopped the lifetime sales of the game from increasing dramatically.

LOL! Germans in trouble for stealing from the Poles, when will they learn?

saintdane05:
So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

Yes, because obviously adding consumer-obtrusive DRM to a game definitely cuts back on pirating.

/sarcasm.

Fact of the matter is, that while there may be a lot of pirated versions of the game being played, there is no way of telling if some of the people buying the game now are also people who previously pirated it. That DOES happen, so the overall number of pirated copies being played could conceivably go down as ex-pirates of the game buy it.

Though I'll say this. Releasing this game on the 360 in Japan is definitely not going to garner them any real sales. Microsoft has been struggling for years just to get a small foothold their. They finagled Final Fantasy 11 for the initial release, then more recently tried to get more JP sales by snagging Monster Hunter: Frontiers, the MMO(ish) version of the insanely popular Monster Hunter series.
And yet, far as I'm aware of, the system still has a very tiny share of the market there.

Anyone who believes that the Witcher was pirated 4.5 million times is a retard, especially with torrent freaks chart showing that the highest pirated game of 2011 was only about 3 million at crysis 2 and that the Witcher didnt even make the top 5 pirated games.

Source:

http://torrentfreak.com/top-10-most-pirated-games-of-2011-111230/

EDIT: (For paranoid mods that have nothing better to do, I do not condone or endorse piracy, the above link is merely to prove that the witcher stats are completely bogus)

Witcher 2 has quite obviously not been pirated 4.5 million times, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't had it's fair share of piracy.

I do if they don't change their policies, I would be really sad if they jumped on the fucking DRM-bandwagon, because that would really suck.

About Witcher 2, I find it...lacking, in some way. Despite it almost being made to be replayed two times, I just couldn't bring myself to finish the game the second time (I was still stuck in the stupid Kaedweni camp, and gods was it boring).

don't forget that its actually a good game lol

Love their business model but if the game sucked it wouldn't have mattered. so gj and keep making quality games :D

What I really, really want to know is what the exact and presumably ongoing costs/savings CD Projekt are experiencing without using DRM. Not having a license agreement to support or the need of staff to fix the bugs must be saving them a large amount of money.

saintdane05:
So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

Not really, even the most intrusive DRM systems have the sum-total of no effect on piracy.
Whilst their games have been pirated more than downloaded, so was Spore, Bioshock and Assassin's Creed 2, all of which included complicated (and expensive) DRM systems.

Zachary Amaranth:
I can't believe the Escapist is still running with this dishonesty about the piracy figures, which he admitted were an asspull.

To paraphrase Uncle Chop-chop, "never let the truth get in the way of good copy."

No, the fact that the game has managed to still sell despite high piracy figures means the company won't change policies.

Also, ask anyone who follows this sort of thing closely and they can tell you it wasn't the GOG.com DRMless version that was the source for the wide spread 'scene' pirate releases - most of those were cracked Steam versions.

SecretNegative:
I do if they don't change their policies, I would be really sad if they jumped on the fucking DRM-bandwagon, because that would really suck.

Not going to happen under the current ownership/management. They've already come out and said for future CD Projekt RED titles they're going to avoid 3rd party distributors who use DRM where possible. The question there is whether they have the balls to do that, especially in regards to digital distribution and Steam.

fix-the-spade:
Not really, even the most intrusive DRM systems have the sum-total of no effect on piracy.

You need that AND a game bugger all people want to play for it to have an impact on piracy. See: HAWX 2. :D

saintdane05:
So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

Witcher 2 is a graphically intensive game - likely a lot of the piracy was a stress test, Crysis 2 has a high piracy rate for the same reason.

DTWolfwood:
Love their business model but if the game sucked it wouldn't have mattered.

I dunno, the fact that the pre-Enhanced Edition of The Witcher 1 was close to unplayable didn't seem to hurt them that much... although kicking out the EE as a megapatch (same as they did for 2) won CDP a lot of goodwill.

This makes me happy, as CDP is one of the few companies out there that really knows how to keep its fans content in this day and age. Between the Witcher series and GOG, they have a loyal fanbase that's quickly rivaling Valve.

I'm still patiently waiting for more info about this CyberPunk 2020 game they're working on.

The bastard Investors will STILL moan that even though they're making a HUGE profit they will still say "but if the game had DRM we could get even MORE money!"

SecretNegative:
Witcher 2 has quite obviously not been pirated 4.5 million times, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't had it's fair share of piracy.

I do if they don't change their policies, I would be really sad if they jumped on the fucking DRM-bandwagon, because that would really suck.

About Witcher 2, I find it...lacking, in some way. Despite it almost being made to be replayed two times, I just couldn't bring myself to finish the game the second time (I was still stuck in the stupid Kaedweni camp, and gods was it boring).

If they did I'd stop buying their games.

Which would mean they tried to address a fake loss and ended up with a real one.

The last kind of DRM I'm willing to accept is Steam, anything more than that and its a no-buy. I'm not willing to have less of a fun time because some investor somewhere thinks that each pirated copy is a lost sale.

I doubt even a % of pirated copies are lost sales. Because if this sort of thing was the case the gaming industry would be dead. It's being killed by bad management and overbloated budgets in some areas, but not by much else.

Richardplex:

saintdane05:
So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

Witcher 2 is a graphically intensive game - likely a lot of the piracy was a stress test, Crysis 2 has a high piracy rate for the same reason.

Nah dude. If the game didn't run at all I'd just take it back and get a refu...

Oh. Oh right. You can't do that.

"But minimum and recommended specs on box!" Almost never give an accurate idea of how it'll play. I've hit recommended specs on quite a few titles and they ended up being turds in terms of frame rates and visuals acuity.

Buuuut these days it's not an issue for me personally, got a bonus and did the full American thing where I spent it all on a nice PC.

Timothy Chang:

The sales volume is definitely impressive, and close to matching the illegal download estimates made in late 2011. CEO Marcin Iwinski surmised that The Witcher franchise had been pirated about 4.5 million times, and further admitted that "the reality is probably way worse".

Pretty solid lie.

I am guessing that he's one of those people who thinks computers make all those Sci-Fi sounds when they are loading things like they do in the movies.

theultimateend:

Timothy Chang:

The sales volume is definitely impressive, and close to matching the illegal download estimates made in late 2011. CEO Marcin Iwinski surmised that The Witcher franchise had been pirated about 4.5 million times, and further admitted that "the reality is probably way worse".

Pretty solid lie.

I am guessing that he's one of those people who thinks computers make all those Sci-Fi sounds when they are loading things like they do in the movies.

Actually the real fuck up in his estimate is that it would take 6 hrs to download a 14Gb file... a timeframe that would require around a 5.5Mbit/s download speed and while having an internet connection with the bandwidth to pull that off isn't an achievement finding a torrent with enough seeders to push out an average 5.5MBit/s to every leech is up there with finding a unicorn.

ScatterBen:
RE: the future Mac release of the Witcher 2

So does this mean that my physical copy of The Witcher 2, currently installed on my Windows partition, will also work on my Macbook Pro without anything required of me, except to install it again? Or will I need to buy another copy/uninstall it from Windows first?

Sorry I don't know this stuff, I'm hardly a PC "Gamer" - I just play the odd game on my Mac when I can.

I doubt that unless they're going to use Cider in which case you're being screwed over. If CD Projekt are nicer that we think then they might provide a Mac version for free but again I won't put my money on that.

Zachary Amaranth:
I can't believe the Escapist is still running with this dishonesty about the piracy figures, which he admitted were an asspull.

saintdane05:
So wait, the fact that the game was pirated more than it was purchased at one point means that the company isn't changing policies? I'm against DRM as much as everyone else (I don't care if a game has it though), but isn't that really, really stupid?

No, the fact that the game has managed to still sell despite high piracy figures means the company won't change policies. Which is crap, since those numbers weren't even close to true. In order to gt 4.5 million pirated copies, they would have had to have outpirated COD, Battlefield, and FarCry. And the reality? "Probably worse."

Regardless, 4.5 million sales is still quite good for the franchise.

It's not just me noticing the level of conjecture, speculation and blatant sensationalism is on the rise around here of late? Even newspapers are more interested in stories than they are news. God, media has gone to shit.

Ahhhhh. The sweet sweet feel of moral and financial victory.

So! EA? Ubisoft? What have we learned? Draconian DRM and online passes will not help the sales of your shitty games. Only making good games will.

Gotta feel happy for CD Projekt. Good work guys :D

4.5 million times pirated was an estimate, a crap one at that. Didn't the guy who said it admit it? If so why exactly is it in the article?

Aside from that, good for them. that game has sold brilliantly.

dogstile:
4.5 million times pirated was an estimate, a crap one at that. Didn't the guy who said it admit it? If so why exactly is it in the article?

Aside from that, good for them. that game has sold brilliantly.

Good point actually. if you're gonna use some data you know is wrong, why use it at all? for all they actually know, it could also be less than 4.5m.

And the DRM thing is really not what drives or kills piracy. DRM only sucks for the buying customer, pirates don't care, they always found ways to bypass anyway. It's always been about the money, so long as there's a way to get software for free, people will use it.

No DRM is definately the way to go, but more than that, cloud is the way to go. I haven't researched on this but im pretty sure anti-piracy is the big reason behind diablo 3 always-on internet, and i believe this is where the industry will go.

I applaud cd projeckt, wtg guys. gaming is a tough tough business and I salute the owner of the big balls behind the decision to stick to no DRM. Thank you for trusting the more mature gamers.

Wait, you're telling me that people are happy to pay money for a game thats worth the money?

Moral Victory: For when you've completely failed to achieve any other kind of Victory.

Will be joining the paying club later this year when I have the money.

 

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