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Pirates Are Misunderstood Customers, Says CD Projekt RED
Owners of the ever-growing digital distribution outlet known for being pro-consumer and anti-DRM, CD Projekt RED, talks about operating Good Old Games, bringing in new customers and trying hard to be the complete opposite of everything that Electronic Arts and Microsoft have turned into.
PSU managed to get an interview with one of the cool folks at the Polish based CDP RED – the company's lead game director for upcoming titles like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077, Konrad Tomaszkiewicz. This guy was throwing down some jiving word play of pro-consumerism that would make Ralph Nadar blush through all the BS Washington tossed on his face.
According to Tomaszkiewicz...
"We believe that pirates are just misunderstood customers," .... "That’s why we always try to approach gamers from various angles and see what makes them tick. . . . We decided to build our business on trust and a mutual understanding of sorts--you buy our games and we genuinely give a damn about your experience with them."
It wasn't always rosy in the RED parks, though. The company had ran into some trouble with attempting to sue gamers at one point over the whole piracy thing. It created nothing but a negative backlash, a poor outlook of the company throughout the gaming community, and a lack of consumer trust, especially when there are instances where DRM-ridden copies of games require people to download or torrent pirated copies of the game in order to get it to work right (and screw you Games for Windows Live for forcing some of us to do that).
However, CD Projekt RED had a nice relaxing sabbatical at the springs of Gabe Newell's Jedi Consumer Training Camp where the motto is "Pirates are potential consumers". The results worked wonders. GOG.com's managing director Guillaume Rambourg and CD Projekt's CEO Marcin Iwinski were revived and ready for a different kind of fight... a fight against DRM.
The duo studied up on the trends and found that their DRM-free version of the Witcher 2 was pirated less than the SecureRom version. This led the duo to start prime-focusing on value and content over restrictions and blockades – the same sort of restrictions and blockades that Ubisoft was embracing with a great deal of passion during the same time frame.
CD Projekt, amidst announcements for some cool upcoming titles, then decided to focus entirely on jamming as much content and goodies into their games as possible in order to win back the favor of the gaming community, and win back the favor they did.
As it stands, some people actually now prefer GOG.com over Steam (there are no scientific polls for this, just general grumblings about Steam's DRM and online sign-in requirements for some games). Still, if the forum fanboys and keyboard aggregator warriors are backing your product then it means you're generating positive word of mouth, and that's something to be proud of; it resonates a lot of good will and potential sales for the next product.
CD Projekt is also looking forward to working on the PS4, as they're on the same page with Sony's policy approach to DRM-free gaming, with Tomaszkiewicz saying...
"You can expect we will do everything on our end to extend this business model on Sony’s console," ... "We always do everything we can to be as gamer-friendly as we can. We just don’t believe in DRM."
This is great news because there aren't many publishers or large studios out there championing a strong, grounded relationship with their fanbase. Instead, some publishers are doing just the opposite, nearly forcing gamers to buy products because their favorite title is held hostage under some ridiculous measures... Star Wars: Battlefront sort of comes to mind.
Right now, CD Projekt has their plate full with Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3, both of which are planned to release on PC and next-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony. Both titles will also be the first games from CD Projekt RED for a PlayStation console, so Sony fanboys will be in for a real treat when the games finally launch.
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