The Witcher 2 has been pirated 4.5 million times
Has sold only one million copies.
Developer CD Projekt doesn’t support DRM, even despite their latest title, The Witcher 2, was pirated 4.5 million times compared to the surprisingly low number of copies sold: 1 million.
Speaking with PC Gamer, CEO Marcin Iwinski went through a series of numerals and formulas to arrive at that number, although he believes the numbers could be far more worse.
“I was checking regularly the number of concurrent downloads on torrent aggregating sites, and for the first six to eight weeks there was around 20-30k people downloading it at the same time,” he said.
“Let’s take 20k as the average and let’s take six weeks. The game is 14GB, so let’s assume that on an average not-too-fast connection it will be six hours of download. Six weeks is 56 days, which equals to 1344 hours; and with six hours 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 one million 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 still remains upbeat, choosing to offer “high value” content than implementing useless DRMs that gets “cracked in no time”.
“From the very beginning our main competitors on the market were pirates,” he said. “We of course experimented with all available DRM and copy protection, but frankly nothing worked. Whatever we used was cracked within a day or two, massively copied and immediately available on the streets for a fraction of our price.
“We did not give up, but came up with new strategy: we started offering high value with the product – like enhancing the game with additional collectors’ items like soundtracks, making-of DVDs, books, walkthroughs, etc.
“This, together with a long process of educating local gamers about why it makes sense to actually buy games legally, worked. And today, we have a reasonably healthy games market.”
He better not say this in front of Ubisoft.