CD Projekt Red: Don't punish pirates, win them over

The Witcher III dev explains why it “believes in the carrot, not the stick” when it comes to game piracy
Publish date:
The Witcher 3-2.jpg

The team at CD Projekt Red believe the most effective way to prevent illegal downloads is to convince pirates that your product is too good to be stolen.

The company went to great lengths with The Witcher III’s launch to win good will among consumers, releasing the game without copy protection through its own retail portal GOG and offering a string of free DLC.

Now co-founder Marcin Iwinski has shared more on the studio’s attitude towards countering piracy. Speaking frankly at last months’ InfoShare 2016, as reported by Kotaku, the exec said devs “cannot force people to buy things… we can only convince them to do it”.

He went on: “We totally believe in the carrot, not in the stick… We don’t like when people steal our product, but we are not going to chase them and put them in prison. But we’ll think hard what to make to convince them… in a positive way, so that they’ll buy the product next time, they’ll be happy with our game, and they’ll tell their friends not to pirate it.”

Iwinski said the studio’s community has rallied behind its efforts in this regard, praising the free DLC and often holding off pirating the game until it was made available at a price they could afford. He also told of forum users lambasting potential pirates, urging them to buy the game because CD Projekt “are fair, [the] only fair guys in the industry”.

Despite releasing with no copy protection, The Witcher III still managed to sell 10m units across all three platforms.

CD Projekt Red were the big winners at this year’s Develop Awards, picking up prizes for Use of a Licence or IP, Visual Arts, Independent Studio and Studio of the Year.


The Witcher 3.jpg

Seeing Red: The rise of CD Projekt and The Witcher

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt developer CD Projekt Red took home four prizes from this year’s Develop Awards, including the coveted Studio of the Year title. Game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz tells James Batchelor how the team has evolved with every game it releases