For every copy of The Witcher 2 that’s been legitimately sold, more than four copies have been pirated, according to the CEO of creator CD Projekt.
Marcin Iwinski insisted it would be pointless for his company to use digital rights management (DRM) technologies to attempt to curb piracy, but believes Witcher 2 was a recurring victim to illicit file sharing.
“I was checking regularly the number of concurrent downloads on torrent aggregating sites, and for the first 6-8 weeks [since the game’s release] there was around 20-30k people downloading it at the same time,” Iwinski told PC Gamer.
“So 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 1 million legal copies, so having only 4.5-5 illegal copies for each legal one would be not a bad ratio.”
The reality, he said, is probably worse.
“But still, DRM does not work and however you would protect a game, 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?”
Iwinski said that, in his two decades in the industry, he hasn’t come across a DRM solution that worked.
His comments comes days after research firm Envisional claimed that illicit game downloads in the UK have climbed 20 per cent over the last five years.
However, PC games kingpin Valve believes that piracy is no longer an issue for the company.