Last month the developer of The Witcher 2, CD Projekt Red, estimated that their game had been illegally downloaded 4.5 million times. Now TorrentFreak reports that the company is slapping BitTorrent pirates with legal notices seeking €912 to cover their debt to the company.
Anyone familiar with CD Projekt Red, the development studio closely tied to GOG.COM, will know that the company has a strong stance against including DRM in their games. When I spoke to Marcin Iwinski, the co-founder of CD Projekt Red and GOG.COM, a few months before the launch of The Witcher 2, he said that he doesn’t believe that paying customers should be punished for the actions of pirates, and that the inclusion of DRM does just that.
Iwinski’s company, founded in the early 1990s, was responsible for bringing legal PC gaming to Poland. Prior to the establishment of CD Projekt, software was seen to have no value in Poland, and so it was pirated and distributed at a low cost and the quality was often poor. It became Iwinski’s mission to raise the standards of PC gaming by bringing localised software to PC gamers. He competed with pirates by making his product better, while also offering it at a reasonable price. Iwinski still strongly believes that paying customers should receive a superior product and experience, which is why The Witcher 2 shipped without DRM.
“As you know, we aren’t huge fans of any sort of DRM here at CD Projekt RED,” the company said in a statement to Joystiq.
“DRM itself is a pain for legal gamers — the same group of honest people who decided that our game was worth its price, and went and bought it. We don’t want to make their lives more difficult by introducing annoying copy protection systems.
“However, that shouldn’t be confused with us giving a green light to piracy. We will never approve of it, since it doesn’t only affect us but has a negative impact on the whole game industry. We’ve seen some of the concern online about our efforts to thwart piracy, and we can assure you that we only take legal actions against users who we are 100 percent sure have downloaded our game illegally.”
CD Projekt did not state how they were targeting the pirates properly, but told PC Gamer that the method they are using was developed by an external company.