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CD Projekt RED: sending letters to Witcher 2 pirates "wasn't the best choice"

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CD Projekt RED's DRM-free policy has made The Witcher 2 a popular target for piracy (opens in new tab) , and the studio is well-aware. Though it maintains its anti-DRM stance, in 2011 it briefly tracked down holders of pirated Witcher 2 copies (opens in new tab) and sent legal notices requesting compensation. CDP has since stopped the practice and apologized (opens in new tab) , something I spoke to PR Specialist Agnieszka Szóstak about yesterday.

"Yeah, it was going on," said Szóstak. "It was all about sending letters to people who we knew pirated [The Witcher 2], and say, 'Hey, we know you have the pirated version of the game, and it would be nice if you could actually pay for it if you find the game good enough.'

"Although, once we started doing that, we got lots of feedback from the community—from gamers, and not even pirates, but actually legal gamers with a legal version of the game, saying, 'You know what, guys? That's not entirely right to do that.' And they were like, 'You're saying that DRM is not such a great thing, and you try to give your games without it, but on the other hand, you're doing something like that?'

"So, we're not afraid to say that wasn't the best choice and best solution we could have done. And that's why we kind of resigned and we don't do it anymore."

When I asked if she thought asking for money from pirates was fair, Szóstak said, "Yes, it is fair. It is fair to ask for money for a job that we do. And for content we do believe it's actually worth paying for. So, it is fair to ask for money, although one thing doesn't collide with another."

The "another" Szóstak refers to is CD Projekt's current customer policies, not only in regards to DRM, but also ongoing service. "There's nothing we can do about [piracy]," she said. "It's something that we're aware of, but that will never change our attitude towards what we do and the approach we have.

"I mean, we really do believe that it's better to deliver high quality content and support gamers on several different levels. So, either releasing modding tools, or giving DLC for free, or doing huge updates which are like 10 gigs and give them out free. Instead of doing DRM, because that's, frankly speaking, a pain in the ass for the users."

Check back tomorrow for transcripts of my chats with Szóstak and GOG Head of PR & Marketing Trevor Longino.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.