Constantly grinding cash out of gamers will come back to haunt certain publishers, CDPR co-founder Marcin Iwinski has warned, explaining that sales of The Witcher 1’s Enhanced Edition rose as a result of issuing free DLC.
Iwinski and his team created a huge amount of new content for The Witcher to create the RPG’s Enhanced Edition, which was given away for free to those that had already bought the game.
“Sadly, I see the industry trending toward over-exploiting the gamer, and I think this will come back to the publishers that are doing that, and eventually, people will stop buying their stuff,” he said in a Gamasutra interview. “That’s just not the way things work.”
He said that publisher mentality steered immediately towards charging for the new Witcher content.
“We had a lot of discussions with The Witcher 1’s Enhanced Edition. It was a bit different then because we had a publishing deal, whereas now we have distribution deals.
“When we had that publishing deal, we went to the publisher, and said, ‘So we have this idea where we make all this stuff, all this new content, and you don’t pay anything for it, we give it away for free. How about that?” The publisher went all big-eyed and said, “Whoa! Let’s charge $10! €10!’ But we believed that we would sell more units if we put it out for free.
“And when we put it out for free, we saw a boost in the sales with the Enhanced Edition because it just created good will, and it refreshes the product. You can always do it from two angles.”
Atari was the original publisher of The Witcher, while Namco distributed the sequel.
The Enhanced Edition content contained 200 new animations, two new missions, new NPCs and much more. It required a $1 million investment. The original game and the Enhanced Edition sold around 2 million copies as of 2010.