Witcher Dev Frightens Publishers with DRM-free GOG

By Nick Breckon, Sep 22, 2008 11:30am PDT CD Projekt CEO Michal Kicinski recently said that his company is having trouble convincing publishers to join its Good Old Games digital distribution service due to the platform's lack of DRM.

"We're trying to convince [publishers] there is nothing to be afraid of," said Kicinski in a GamesIndustry interview. "DRM-free, that is something they are really scared of, but on the other hand we can say 'all of those games are available pirated widely so it's better to sell them for small money than make the customer's life difficult and get some more revenues.'"

Developer CD Projekt, best known for the PC RPG The Witcher, recently launched the public beta of Good Old Games. The service offers cheap, Vista-friendly versions of classic PC titles such as Fallout and Freespace, all distributed via digital download.

Games included on the service must be stripped of any copy protection, the GOG website proclaiming "we hate draconian DRM schemes just as much as you do."

"I had Steam but I had the problem that my internet provider could not work with it so I couldn't use the games I bought," added Kacinski. "I think that if somebody is paying for the game then they deserve own it, not with a certain list of conditions and sometimes the list of conditions can be long."

Kacinski believes that the benefits of DRM are not worth the hassle, as evidenced in the music industry: "It's the same with buying music online with DRM. Amazon has decided not to provide it with DRM, iTunes is doing this iTunes plus."

"DRM makes customer's lives too complicated, and this is usually because of some corporate ideas, policies and trying to be smart, too smart, in how to get customers and how to keep them and no let them go somewhere else. We are believers in the free market and bringing freedom to customers."

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26 Threads | 81 Comments

  • While I agree that it makes sense not to have DRM in this case, the comparison to music DRM doesn't work for me.

    Music DRM is a pain in the arse because it artificially prevents you from listening to the music you bought on different hardware/software, or it forces you to reduce the quality and jump through hoops in order to do so.

    Games and other computer programs are inherently tied to a particular platform/OS/hardware with or without DRM. DRM, especially if it's overly restrictive, can still cause hassle but for most people, most of the time, it's a non-issue (at least when a game/program is new; DRM on software tends to cause problems when you want to play those games years later and the OS/hardware/servers no longer support the protection methods).

  • If the publishers were smart they should be applauding this. The games are essentially in an unofficial state of public domain. These are old games which are probably not selling much anywhere else. Most brick and morter stores wont give them shelf space. I would think they would love the opportunity just to get their games and franchises out there to make a bit of cash and build recognition to improve demand for future sequels! Or is that too logical for business people?

    I have casually come across at least 30 people in the GOG.com beta who have already bought Fallout 1 and 2... (including me) and those are just the few I've happened across in game forums etc. How many of those people would have bought the game otherwise? (I wouldn't have... because I've wanted these games for years and just never got around to it).

    I think a decent amount of people honestly would rather buy a game (for a decent price) and know it's safe and it works rather than pirating it. Whether it's because of fear of viruses and spyware, compatibility issues... or just to have a clear conscience about it. When given the option to pay $6 for a truly great classic game and pirating the same game off some dirty, diseased torrent site... I think they might be surprised how many people would be willing to jump on that opportunity.