CD Projekt RED: Industry trending towards over-exploiting gamers

Marcin Iwinski says giving away Witcher content actually boosted sales

CD Projekt RED's Marcin Iwinski has warned publishers that overexploiting consumers with DLC could lead to a drop in sales.

The company co-founder and joint CEO told Gamasutra that they had actually seen a rise in sales after giving away content for the original Witcher title.

"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, and 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. That's just not the way things work."

Iwinski admitted the publishers had been a little confused by the idea at first.

"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 dollars! 10 Euro!' But we believed that we would sell more units if we put it out for free."

Just last week the Polish developer announced that over 4 million copies of The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings had been sold worldwide.

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Latest comments (6)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 7 years ago
*shock* Treat consumers like you would want to be treated, and chances are it'll create goodwill (unless you're some sort of masochist, I s'pose. :p ).

It's interesting to compare CDPR to Flying Wild Hog. CDPR gave all owners of TW2 a free bump-up to the Enhanced Edition when the EE shipped for the 360. FWH did the same with Hard Reset, but due to a conflict with their publisher, the owners of the PC version were left hanging on, for months on end, with no clue as to when the new update would appear. As such, though the new content was free, some people felt cheated due to the lack of communication and transparency of the FWH.

Which is a round-about way of saying free content is good, but means less when there's no clear release date or communication from developers.
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Benjamin Crause Supervisor Central Support, Nintendo of Europe7 years ago
This should come as no surprise. If you treat your custmers well they will spread the word and encourage others to try your product too and they will buy themselves more too and are more likely to accept later genuine DLC.
The other way works too (discouraging, loosing customers, bad reputation, decreased customer base).

The games industry is still playing around with DLC and indeed exploiting customers to see how far they can go and how high the prices can be jacked up.

I vote with my wallet and unfortunately I believe not enough customers do that yet.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd7 years ago
Indeed, the world is slowly realizing that consumer-friendly can mean great profits and support. I blame Amazon for catalyzing the change and Steam for popularizing it in gaming.
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Show all comments (6)
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
It also helped that The Witcher 2 was a damn fine game (one of the best this year on the 360, in my opinion).
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Brian Smith Artist 7 years ago
Can't say I know myself what the general trend is with DLC etc but for me, I tend to ignore a lot as I think the price is over-inflated in relation to the core game. They could be shooting themselves in the foot if others are similar in buying habits.

I'd say there has been a lot of DLC that I potentially would have bought but never did, and it was totally down to cost. If DLC was say 25-50% less in cost I bet I'd probably have spent more overall than I have done. Publishers see DLC as Cash-in time and when you've been taken for a chump a couple of times you just stop buying. It's the nature of consumerism.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 7 years ago
@Brian: which is why waiting for a Game of the Year version of some titles is the better deal. More game for less money (unless THAT extra content is locked out to those who can't access it)...
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