“We believe that games we make deserve support,” says Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, Senior Quest Designer at CD Projekt. “You couldn’t call the extra stuff being added an expansion pack. We are trying to be fair and honest with our customers. We believe that the things we have added, customers should get it for free, because they have already paid for the product.”
If it wasn’t already obvious, it should now crystal clear: CD Projekt isn’t like other developers.
Meet Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz. Along with Agnieszka Szostak, he is here to show the Xbox version of The Witcher 2. Their presentation is barrelling along nicely. The game will be released April 17, at the reasonable RRP of $79.95, and launches along with a number of new elements — new content, new cut-scenes, etc. Interesting enough.
But the next slide catches us completely off guard.
“All of these updates will be made available to current owners of the PC game for free,” says Agnieszka.
There’s an audible murmur in the audience.
‘In this day and age?’ I think to myself. ‘This is madness.’
“I believe that you shouldn’t pay twice for the same product,” says Mateusz, when we quiz him later. “Simple as that.”
Sometimes it seems as though CD Projekt makes a little too much sense; you catch yourself thinking — ‘why don’t other studios think like this?’
More often than not, it appears as though gamers are being punished for doing the right thing. When gamers buy a game legitimately, they have to endure DRM. If they want the full experience they have to download paid DLC. CD Projekt wants to do the opposite. It wants to reward those who do the right thing.
“In my opinion this is the healthy attitude,” says Mateusz. “As a customer you are buying something, so you should be rewarded!”
It’s a case of positive reinforcement over negative reinforcement. CD Projekt wants to inspire loyalty to itself as a brand — so instead of removing things from the player, it continually adds new content to the package, after it’s been paid for.
“It’s part of our philosophy,” says Agnieszka, “it’s what we believe in. That’s part of our attitude towards DRM as well. Since we’ve been a PC developer piracy has been a problem for us, obviously, but in the end we to try and build loyal users by rewarding them — we don’t want to punish them!
“It’s just the attitude we have to gamers, she continues.”We want to be honest with them.”
And that includes owning up to past errors.
“It’s not like we make mistakes,” admits Agnieszka, “because we do. The last mistake I think we made was the controversial thing where we sent letters to people who pirated our game.
“But we listen to gamers. If people make complaints, we try to be honest and say, ‘well, that wasn’t a good decision’ and we try and change things.
“That’s our attitude.”
According to both Agnieszka and Mateusz, it’s an attitude that has become quite profitable for CD Prokekt as a company, so why haven’t others followed its example?
“I think you should probably ask the other developers,” laughs Mateusz. “I’m sure they have their reasons!”