Published on January 13th, 2012 | by Dan11
Witcher 2 Developer Stops Trying to Hunt Down Pirates
With stunning visuals and open world gameplay, CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings was one of the most acclaimed PC titles of 2011. As such, the game became very popular with both legitimate buyers and pirates alike.
In a misguided effort to defend their intellectual property, CD Projekt RED claimed that they could track every single person who had pirated The Witcher 2 and very accurately determine who they were. The studio had stated previously that they strongly opposed the use of DRM as an anti-piracy measure and had not included it with The Witcher 2. No details were ever released as to how they were supposedly able to pinpoint the pirates individually, but they didn’t appear to be lying; they sent out letter after letter threatening legal action to individuals who allegedly pirated the game. They threatened to sue, but offered to settle with these individuals for around 750 euros (roughly $960 USD)–just slightly above the game’s original $60 price tag. As you can imagine, this caused an uproar in the gaming community. A company who had built up good will with two great games had destroyed much of it. The worst part was that the studio seemed very sure of itself the whole time, as if it wasn’t doing anything wrong.
In December, the backlash came to a head in the form of a response from Rock Paper Shotgun. RPS published an article citing why this response to piracy is exactly the wrong thing to do and then offered CD Projekt RED the opportunity to respond. And yesterday, RPS posted the studio’s response.
In the open letter below written to “the gaming community,” CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski said that they will cease legal pursuit of pirates. The main reason? The mistrust it caused in the community. It is great to see a response like this to such a controversial and divisive topic.
An Open Letter to the Gaming Community from CD Projekt RED
In early December, an article was published about a law firm acting on behalf of CD Projekt RED, contacting individuals who had downloaded The Witcher 2 illegally and seeking financial compensation for copyright infringement. The news about our decision to combat piracy directly, instead of with DRM, spread quickly and with it came a number of concerns from the community. Repeatedly, gamers just like you have said that our methods might wrongly accuse people who have never violated our copyright and expressed serious concern about our actions.
Being part of a community is a give-and-take process. We only succeed because you have faith in us, and we have worked hard over the years to build up that trust. We were sorry to see that many gamers felt that our actions didn’t respect the faith that they have put into CD Projekt RED. Our fans always have been and remain our greatest concern, and we pride ourselves on the fact that you all know that we listen to you and take your opinions to heart. While we are confident that no one who legally owns one of our games has been required to compensate us for copyright infringement, we value our fans, our supporters, and our community too highly to take the chance that we might ever falsely accuse even one individual.
So we’ve decided that we will immediately cease identifying and contacting pirates.
Let’s make this clear: we don’t support piracy. It hurts us, the developers. It hurts the industry as a whole. Though we are staunch opponents of DRM because we don’t believe it has any effect on reducing piracy, we still do not condone copying games illegally. We’re doing our part to keep our relationship with you, our gaming audience, a positive one. We’ve heard your concerns, listened to your voices, and we’re responding to them. But you need to help us and do your part: don’t be indifferent to piracy. If you see a friend playing an illegal copy of a game–any game–tell your friend that they’re undermining the possible success of the developer who created the very game that they are enjoying. Unless you support the developers who make the games you play, unless you pay for those games, we won’t be able to produce new excellent titles for you.
Keep on playing,
CD Projekt RED
As we have said many times, we patently oppose piracy here at KBMOD, and we respect a studio’s right to protect their intellectual property. However, as evidenced here, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about combating the problem of piracy, and taking legal action against everyone who you believe has pirated your game is never a good approach (just ask the music industry).
Kudos to CD Projekt RED for a response that hits all the right notes and shows that they do care about the gaming community. Now let’s show our appreciation by supporting these kinds of developers so that they can keep making great games.