The Witcher Developer Explains DRM Policy

Further elaborating upon its declaration that "nothing is decided yet" regarding The Witcher 2 and DRM, developer CD Projekt RED has issued several statements on the matter, including a breakdown of its internal policy on DRM and patches.
CD Projekt RED internal DRM/patches policy
  • We believe that the chief way to achieve favorable sales of legal game copies is to establish the right relation between game price and product quality. In our opinion, it is more important to encourage acquisition of original game copies than to punish those who play pirated copies.
  • Copyright protection cannot impede or hamper the use of legally acquired game copies. In particular:
    • Games that do not require an Internet connection for gameplay reasons should not require an active Internet connection for normal use.
    • Game installation should in no way be limited, neither as regards the number of repeated installations on a given system, nor in terms of the number of systems on which a game can be installed.
    • Internet-based registration of game copies is advisable only where the developer makes available, free of charge and via the Internet, additional game content or other services requiring an Internet connection.
    • Traditional forms of copy protection like CD-check and serial numbers are acceptable provided they are highly stable and reliable.
  • All patches and updates should be made available free of charge as additional services provided to consumers who acquired original game copies. Charges can be applied only to completely new material providing additional gameplay time.

    Our chief aim is to provide our customers with a positive and satisfying game experience. We strive always to remain true to our principles and find solutions that enable CD Projekt to operate effectively in the games industry while allowing us to pursue our stated aim.

Statements from CD Projekt RED CEO Adam Kinski

Given the concerns expressed by players and growing media speculation, we have decided to make public our internal DRM policy. Although we are the game's developer, we obviously won't be making a unilateral decision on the DRM protection that is applied to The Witcher 2. Nevertheless, our internal rules and guidelines should reassure players. As the game's developer, we will strive to do everything in accordance with our stated policy.

I would also like to inform all of our fans that no decisions have yet been made as to whether The Witcher 2 will feature DRM protection or what form it might take. As per our policy, we will do our utmost to prevent the adopted DRM solution, if any, from making life difficult for those who acquire legal game copies. I can't imagine using any protection that would deprive game fans of any of the pleasure that will come from playing the game, as has been the case with other notable PC game titles.

Our aim is to produce games that provide the best and most satisfying playing experience. Copyright protection can't stand in the way of that. Especially since it makes life difficult for players who acquire legal game copies, that is, those to whom we owe our greatest respect. Paradoxically, those who play pirated copies usually do not face the same impediments. In our view, aggressive attempts at stopping piracy are less important than ensuring that the relation between game price, game quality, and any additional services offered in connection with a game are favorable enough to encourage players to reach for original game copies.

Statements from Marcin Iwinski, CD Projekt CEO and Head of GOG

Being a player myself, I'm always surprised to see how many companies focus solely on preventing piracy instead of thinking about how they might encourage players to acquire original game copies. The assumption is that protection is the only way to prevent piracy, but a glance at any file-sharing site demonstrates that this is pure fiction. This assumption is also a good way to forget one of the keys to this business: taking good care of your customers.

As I see it, the best way to prevent piracy is to set the right price relative to product quality. The website is a good example - no DRM protection, yet piracy of the games sold there is marginal. Obviously, the site sells vintage titles, but its business model shows that given the right price/quality relation, selling even completely DRM-free games is possible.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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