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CD Projekt: Publishers "scared" to go DRM-Free

CEO Michal Kicinski says publishers need to offer better value to combat piracy

The best way to fight piracy is to compete with it by offering greater value, according to Michal Kicinski, CEO of CD Projekt, but publisher's are too afraid to release titles without DRM.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz about CD Projekts new digital distribution project, GOG.com, Kicinski explained that publishers have been hesitant to sign up to the service due to its DRM-free policy.

"We're trying to convince them there is nothing to be afraid of," he said. "DRM-free, that is something they are really scared of, but on the other hand we can say 'all of those games are available pirated widely so it's better to sell them for small money than make the customer's life difficult and get some more revenues'."

Kicinski's comments come as EA suffers from a backlash over the restrictive DRM system implemented in Spore, which despite measures still suffered from high rates of piracy.

"We're gamers and we are using all these digital distribution platforms," commented Kicinski. "I had Steam but I had the problem that my internet provider could not work with it so I couldn't use the games I bought. I think that if somebody is paying for the game then they deserve own it, not with a certain list of conditions and sometimes the list of conditions can be long."

The boss of The Witcher developer went on to explain that many companies were dropping DRM due to the complications it causes the end users.

"It's the same with buying music online with DRM, Amazon has decided not to provide it with DRM, iTunes is doing this iTunes plus."

He added: "DRM makes customer's lives too complicated, and this is usually because of some corporate ideas, policies and trying to be smart, too smart, in how to get customers and how to keep them and no let them go somewhere else. We are believers in the free market and bringing freedom to customers."

Kicinski went on to comment on the recent move by five UK publishers to threaten 25,000 suspected file-sharers with legal action unless a fine of GBP 300 was paid immediately.

"Piracy in Poland is always much, much bigger here than in Western countries so we got used to living with piracy and we grew up in a surrounding where there was no help from governments to actually fight piracy," he said. "So we had to learn to compete with pirates"

"For example we believe that GOG.com makes such a good offer that it's not worth pirating... We attract people to buy the original games instead of pirating them and that's the most efficient way of fighting piracy."

The full GamesIndustry.biz interview with CD Project CEO, Michal Kicinski along with Adam Oldakowski and Lukasz Kukawski of GOG.com can be read here.