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CD Projekt estimates The Witcher 2 has been pirated over 4.5 million times

Tuesday, 29th November 2011 21:20 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

CD Projekt CEO Marcin Iwinski has said the firm estimates that The Witcher has been downloaded illegally more than 4.5 million times, and despite this, the developer standes behind its anti-DRM policy.

Speaking in an interview with PC Gamer, Iwinski said that while it’s impossible to calculate the exact number of times Geralt’s latest has been pirated, the 4.5 million figure complied by the firm is probably a conservative estimate.

“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 said that despite such a large loss of probable income for the company, it still maintains the belief that “DRM does not work”, because no matter how hard a company tries to protect its product, “it will be cracked in no time” and isn’t worth the pain and difficulty it causes “legal gamers.”

“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.”

Thanks, Eurogamer.

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31 Comments

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  1. Mike

    4.5 million cunts.

    GOOD DAY TO YOU, SIR!

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Razor

    :O

    #2 2 years ago
  3. endgame

    too right m8!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    @1 I approve of this message.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Charlie Sheen

    Proud member of the 4.5 million.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. T_L_T

    “The game is 14GB, so let’s assume that on an average not-too-fast connection it will be six hours of download.”

    I wish I had an average not-too-fast connection. It took me 12 hours to download Batman from Greenman gaming going at my full speed of 450kb/s

    So lets assume that with a torrent for most people it would be downloading significantly slower than that, say 225kb/s which would make it 24 hours per download.

    So in six weeks that would give us 56 downloads times by 20k gives us 1.12 million pirating.

    These people are indeed cunts, but this 4.5 million figure is completely meaningless and doesn’t really help PC gaming at all.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. deathgaze

    Too bad the game is garbage. I wouldn’t pay for it.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Charlie Sheen

    @7 agreed

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    Well to be fair this is a good soundbyte for them. “our games so good, it’s been pirated 4.5 million times… DRM? Fuck that shit, just buy a collector’s edition”.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    The estimate definitely isn’t correct. Some people will have downloaded it twice, and I don’t know whether the average download is going to clock in at 6 hours. There’s no guarantee that people will use their entire bandwidth to download a game, I rarely do.

    It’s certainly not great news though.

    The Witcher 2 was a good game, sold cheap on GOG, and it didn’t have any DRM that could scare customers away. The Humble Bundle ironically reported something similar a while back, and those are essentially games that you can get for a penny if you’re that desperate.

    There’s definitely a considerable group of pirates out there that’s extremely compulsive. I personally don’t get it.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. K-V-C

    damm thats a huge loss of money they couldv made !!!! sadly i only have a ps3 so i couldnt get a chance to play it either !!!! :(

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Phoenixblight

    “There’s no guarantee that people will use their entire bandwidth to download a game, I rarely do.”

    A very small part of the world actually has their bandwidth capped and especially so at 15GB. ANd generally if people are pirating they aren’t going to if they have such a restriction.

    This is a good example that DRM doesn’t cause piracy. Thats practically 4:1 and people wonder why Developers steer clear of the PC market.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. DarkElfa

    @11, That assumes that all 4.5 million downloaders, if indeed that number is accurate, would have bought the game had the pirated version not been available.

    @12, This only goes to show that if you don’t want your game pirated, don’t release it on the PC or give your customers a good reason to have to pay for it. Either way, developers can either put up with it and shut up already or change their tactics.

    Piracy will never disappear and inventing new types of DRM only makes pirates better at cracking new forms of DRM while pissing off those that do buy.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DSB

    @12 Yup, aside from the fact that the publisher with the most heinous DRM solution has lost over ten times more than anybody else on the PC market, it’s certainly very conclusive.

    @13 I think you’re right. Nobody likes to see their hard work stolen, and that probably goes for the user-friendly developers more than anybody else, but the idea that the PC market isn’t perfectly viable in spite of that belongs solely to Ubisoft.

    Activision has made a ton of money on the PC over the last few years, not counting their MMO income, and EA have been holding steady, and obviously saw a market for BF3.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Phoenixblight

    “aside from the fact that the publisher with the most heinous DRM solution has lost over ten times more than anybody else on the PC market, it’s certainly very conclusive.”

    Well yeah it can definitely steer people to do that but you have to wonder with ubisoft if it was actual consumers that gave up with using the DRM and went ahead and downloaded the game through torrents or what have you. I know I would, I bought the damn game and retailers don’t refund PC games, I am getting a playable version.

    The best way to control piracy is creating some form of Multiplayer attached to it. Any person can circumvent a program that controls the game but to go and mess with the actual source code to go to a private server to play with other pirates and some how keep that server up with the developers and publishers sticking various lawsuits, cease and desist and federal officers.You would also have to find a way for pirates to know where to go to play private servers and such. I honestly think that’s the best solution, I am not sure but I would think Valve games are doing well because of their games being MP based.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Wintermute

    Not bad for a mediocre sequel.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. freedoms_stain

    Estimates sounds like too accurate a word for what they did here. There are far too many baseless assumptions flying around in that calculation to grant it any sort of credence.

    A better headline would have been “man pulls large number out of arse, morons take it seriously, in other news room full of monkeys recreate Shakespeare on typewriters”

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Phoenixblight

    @17

    You do realize that developers put data hooks and that can easily estimate how many of the game is active and with having the numbers of units sold you can get a pretty good estimate of how many is pirated. This is not new, companies have been doing this for the last 7 years. How do you think Bioware knew how many people were playing male sheperd versus female?

    #18 2 years ago
  19. m2stech

    Consolization and rebooting of RPG sequels like Witcher 2 and Dragon Age 2 over their originals is the main reason for the inclined pirated copies, Deal with it!

    #19 2 years ago
  20. DSB

    @19 That’s bullshit though. The Witcher 2 may have been a console-friendly design, but how do you feel about the original one?

    The combat system basically wasn’t a system at all, beyond pressing a single button to select one of three(?) styles, and then basically quicktiming your way through enemies, using a single mouse button.

    That’s not even to mention the fact that the world was basically a series of very transparent corridors, to a point where it would even have been unworthy of a console game.

    It was a terrible game in my opinion, and definitely not one that should stand as an example of how to do a PC design.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. freedoms_stain

    @18, so why doesn’t he reference data mined from a data hook instead of spinning this mathematical web of bullshit assumptions?

    If he had any such data that pointed to a 4.5 million figure he’d have said so instead of inventing some bullshit nonsense anyone with any basic analytical prowess could see through.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Phoenixblight

    @21

    Because he was doing a general calculation there because he was asked on the spot.That question is not typically asked nor are they going have that number on them at all times. His calculations would be a really rough estimation still the point stands.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. freedoms_stain

    @22, the point is irrelevant since it has nothing to do with the 4.5 million figure which was calculated so ham handedly as to be near enough fictitious.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Phoenixblight

    Yes, the actual number is a rough inflated estimation but they still reported that the game had a high piracy report a few weeks after release. CD Projekt and the publisher have no need to report these numbers, its not proving anything except that the PC market is volatile. If they were saying that they were coming out with a DRM next launch because of it then I would see it as them justifying it but they aren’t unless they are just trying to sell numbers based on being a martyr which I don’t see them doing that. Its a slow week we are in holiday season nothing to really report at this time really.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Big_Boss

    Witcher 2 = one of the best games this year

    If you’ve got a gaming PC and you haven’t played it, buy it right now!!!

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Maximum Payne

    So what ?
    I pirate sometimes game that I don’t like.Games like Prototype and Saint Row 3 I pirate because I will play for one hour or two maximum and I will delete them because I don’t love that kind of game.Who knows how many download Witcher 2 just to jerk on graphic and then they exit…

    #26 2 years ago
  27. YoungZer0

    @26: I know at least one VG247 Member who does that all the time.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Maximum Payne

    @27 LOLOLOL

    #28 2 years ago
  29. NeoSquall

    @27 I see what you did there.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. GrimRita

    I love how companies just make these figures up based on no actual facts. Sure its hard to tell but just by throwing numbers out there is pointless.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. IL DUCE

    Screw dudes like this Charlie Sheen guy on here…I’m not even a PC gamer and I feel pirating is highly offensive and is why PC has become less of a focus for mass market games…

    Paying for peoples games makes the future products better…geez gamers who pirate are lazy broke-ass retards…get a job ya bums

    #31 2 years ago