CD Projekt: The Witcher 2 Heavily Pirated, DRM’s Don’t Work

by on November 29, 2011

The Witcher 2 PiracyDRM has been an issue that has been in the news a lot over the past few months. A necessary evil for some developers, while others don’t user it at all. One game that didn’t use DRM, The Witcher 2, has been heavily pirated, with an estimated 4.5 million copies downloaded illegally, CD Projekt CEO Marcin Iwinski told PC Gamer in an interview.

When asked about numbers of pirated downloads, Iwinski could not give exact figures, but his estimates were nothing short of staggering. “There are no stats available, but let’s make a quick calculation,” He said.

“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. Let’s take 20k as the average and let’s take 6 weeks. The game is 14GB, so let’s 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 let’s multiply it by 20k simultaneous downloaders.

The result is roughly 4.5 million illegal downloads. This is only an estimation, and I would say that’s rather on the optimistic side of things; as of today we have sold over 1M legal copies, so having only 4.5-5 illegal copies for each legal one would be not a bad ratio. The reality is probably way worse.”

Iwinski seems to have been blunted by illegal downloads. He almost seems nonchalant in the interview that so many copies of The Witcher 2 have been stolen. Take 4.5 million copies at £39.99 each at retail and it’s a massive amount of money that has been taken from the developer, publisher and supply chain. At the estimate of £39.99, it adds up to almost £180 million in lost revenue. A sobering figure indeed.

When asked about DRM, Iwinski said that it didn’t really work, and it was not nice for the loyal, and legal, gamers to have to put up, and actually asked why the industry doesn’t abandon it.

“In my almost 20 years in the industry, I have not seen DRM that really worked. We have seen a lot of different protections, but there are only two ways you can go: Either you use light DRM, which is cracked in no time and is not a major pain for the end-user, or you go the hard way and try to super-protect the game

“Yes, it is then hard to crack, but you start messing with the operation system, the game runs much slower and – for a group of legal gamers – it will not run at all. None of these solutions really work, so why not abandon it altogether?”

It would seem that there really isn’t a solution at the moment for the problem of piracy in gaming. What do you think the solution should be? Should CD Projekt be more worried about how many sales its losing through piracy? Let us know in the comments below.

Via Eurogamer


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