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Witcher 2 studio co-founder says DRM doesn't work

by Garnett Lee, Nov 29, 2011 5:30pm PST

As some publishers continue to expend massive resources in the fight against piracy, or completely ignore the PC platform, another developer has thrown their voice behind the idea of eliminating digital rights management (DRM) altogether. Sounding a lot like Brad Wardell did back in 2008 when he discussed his Gamer's Bill of Rights with Shacknews, CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski says that DRM simply doesn't work. And he's got more proof that there's a better way: CD Projekt RED's The Witcher 2 has now sold over 1 million legal copies, without DRM.

Speaking with PC Gamer, Iwinski explained that he's been dealing with piracy since the 90s, learning a few things along the way. No copy protection scheme ever really worked. "Whatever we used was cracked within a day or two, massively copied and immediately available on the streets for a fraction of our price," he said.

Rather than continue to butt heads with video game pirates, he says CD Project RED adopted a different approach. They asked themselves, "How can we convince gamers to go and buy the legit version and not go to a local street vendor and buy a pirated one?" They came up with a two-part answer. First, they started to include extras with the game, like soundtracks, books, and walkthroughs. And second, they started a long-term mission to educate gamers about why they should buy games legally.

Granted, one could counter that the approach only works with a game as popular as The Witcher 2, and even then the naysayers will counter that millions more may be lost to piracy. Iwinski, though, points to another reason for publisher's reluctance to move away from aggressive DRM practices. He says that it's a "cover my ass" mechanism for explaining balance sheets for PC games to upper management. "They do not listen, as most of them do not care. As long as the numbers in Excel will add up they will not change anything," he added.





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