Piracy is an ongoing battle; when game developers find a way to combat it, the pirates find a way to circumvent that. Some companies take their DRM to the extreme, while others prefer a more relaxed approach, seeing each pirates download as an opportunity. As PC Gamer reports, CD Projekt is one of the companies on that list.
CD Projekts CEO and co-founder Marcin Iwinski made the following observation about the number of pirates that have acquired the companys The Witcher 2 on PC:
I was checking regularly the number of concurrent downloads on torrent aggregating sites, and for the first 6-8 weeks there was around 20-30k ppl downloading it at the same time. Lets take 20k as the average and lets take 6 weeks. The game is 14GB, so lets assume that on an average not-too-fast connection it will be 6 hours of download. 6 weeks is 56 days, which equals to 1344 hours; and with 6h of average download time to get the game it would give us 224 downloads, then lets multiply it by 20k simultaneous downloaders.
With these estimations in mind the game could have been pirated more than 4,500,000 times or less, but it is a reflection on how entitled the gaming community often feels towards the games they cllaim to love. Assuming Iwinskis estimation is entirely correct, it means that for every copy of the game sold, roughly five copies were never paid for.
And yet, despite the statistics Iwinski himself estimated, he is adamant the company will not fall back on DRM to counter pirates. He points out that from the start, CD Projekt always had to compete with free. He says their original intent was to find an incentive for making people pay for the game instead of buying or downloading an illegal copy instead. Iwinski then admits that they experimented with DRM and other protection, though watched as it was broken in a matter of days again.
He then claims their best solution was the one that they are working with now: selling retail copies of their games with other items to enhance the experience of a purchase, such as the art books and soundtrack CDs typically found in collectors edition copies of games. Iwinsky went on to condemn DRM for inconveniencing legal gamers and merely providing a small obstacle for the people intent on not paying. He said the following:
DRM does not work and however you would protect it, it will be cracked in no time. Plus, the DRM itself is a pain for your legal gamers - this group of honest people, who decided that your game was worth the 50 USD or Euro and went and bought it. Why would you want to make their lives more difficult?
Iwinsky ended things by telling gamers the "Excel guys" who consider piracy a lost sale are as much a problem as piracy itself to them, saying simply to vote with your wallet.
It is a rare stance to take in the gaming industry but that is not to say it is an unwelcome stance to see. Companies such as Valve and CD Projekt should be commended for attempting to find a way to tempt gamers onto the morally correct path of paying for their games, rather than punishing them for not doing so and driving them away from wanting to pay a company which uses DRM to cripple the experience otherwise.