And they should take that into account. I know a few people who pirated a game, but their only reason for doing so was to A: See if it ran well on their computer and B: To see if the game was good enough to buy. They pretty much used it as a "demo" since the companies aren't releasing demo's for us to actually try out their game.
Since their estimates are at the game being pirated even more than 4.5 million times, $160-200 million is probably a pretty solid estimate. You have to factor in that they don't have a way of counting the number of pirate activations, and the statement was very carefully worded to say pirated downloads, not pirates. They're going on concurrent downloads of the game, so basically you're looking at a much-smaller-than-4.5m group of pirates who are possibly redownloading the entire game each patch. I'm guessing that since Mr. Iwinski projected the number of downloads being much higher than 4.5m, but gave it as their estimate, they're probably going on full game downloads only. Then there's the standalone patch/cracks and initially DLC, since it wasn't included for anything but preorders/CE until 1.2.
All this aside, CDPR is arguably one of the few developers I will never, ever hesitate to give money to. They've basically turned a Polish natural treasure (the books) into a game that does it justice - and they never expected it to take off outside Poland and maybe a few other Eastern European countries, and the first game will probably remain the single biggest surprise sleeper hit in gaming ever for quite some time. Shame they never released a Collector's Edition of TW1 in the US though, would've gladly paid $150 for one in the same vein as the one for TW2. Which was released in America, and I got - probably my favorite CE out of all the ones I've ever owned, to boot. Hell, even the basic DVD box had fluff feelies and the CE expanded on those in an awesome way. Pretty great throwback to the days when lots of companies threw extras in for free - usually because the back stories of the game couldn't be explained ingame, but also sometimes just for the sake of having neat nick-knacks.
GOG.com is also awesome, as there's really nothing quite like it (or at least nothing on such a large scale) on the internets. Having a source for all the old games I used to love at pretty reasonable prices? Sign me up! Extras with each game? No way!
Also, they still host the Gothic 3 Community Patch project's main mirror, which is awesome. And iirc a couple people from CDPR have worked on that project at one point in time or another. (e.g.: they lended some of their team to help crunch, hired from the project's team, not sure though)
Their "these are not the DRMs gamers are looking for" attitude is a pretty practical approach, and they genuinely seem to care about supporting their fanbase as best they can, and also love to expand on their games rather than making half-assed sequels. TW2 2.0 and TWEE are good examples of this. They've also demonstrated quite good business practices - they built up their skill base and funding on translating and publishing games, rather than going straight for The Witcher - which the founders of the company have basically said was always their goal. They just took the cream of the crop and split them off into a sister studio (CD Projekt RED) once they felt they could do it justice, and I, for one, think they have.
Exactly. Specially if the player is new to the genre or the game itself and doesn't know if it's worth buying or not because companies don't post a small demo for download.
Often times with big, open RPGs there usually will never be a demo, as it's basically a waste of time and resources on the developers part, especially if they plan to release the demo pre-launch. Though the Steam forums are rife with "NO DEMO = NO BUY LOL THIS IS A BAD GAME I HOPE DEVELOPER GOES UNDER," usually targeted at smaller/indie developers that are selling their games for $9.99-19.99 already and provide ample gameplay videos and screenshots. I can't say a demo hurts for games in that price range, but they may very well take up more time than necessary.
I'm still not sure if demos would make that much an impact on sales - in this day and age there's no excuse to buy games blindly by any means, but you have to think about it for a second: How many more sales do you get if you have a demo? How long does it take to produce? Is it a cliffhanger during a plot quest, unique, or just pure gameplay? If you release a demo, are people going to go straight to buying the game, or still pirate it anyway if the demo was good and only then consider buying it? If you have no demo, piracy is just as inevitable, and honestly I think the number of sales gained is probably about equal to a demo.
Though console players do kind of get gypped out of a "try before you buy," and with more devs turning to Online Passes and Season Pass DLCs, renting games may, for all intents and purposes, become the demos. Since you lose some kind of functionality with the Online Pass model if you don't buy the game or the Pass, developers/publishers can impose any kind of restriction on content they want (the latter forcing the former to eliminate functionality to increase new game sales/DLC sales so that they still actually get their game published) if you don't have one. The way they're currently implemented doesn't choke you too hard if you don't have the pass, usually just limiting you to single player/fewer options in multiplayer, but I'm afraid the "rent to try, pay extra to play" scenario may become more prevalent.
Every major developer company will be using some kind of subversion system for builds of their games. A build that is stable up to a specific point in the game that would provide a good sample of what the game is can be forked into a demo area and eventually released not only as a demo for the whole game, but as a preview of it before the game is even released. While it would take a few more builds to create a basics for a menu system (unless they're made then they can disable random menu items easily) but you vastly overestimate the time it would take to push a demo out. The company's advertising department can give good estimates of what content to demonstrate (leaving the programmers not having to worry about it).
I should know that rushing a game is not the best strategy for game releases. This is why I love Blizzard's "it will be released when it is ready" philosophy with their games. Demo can be extended beyond just a trial version of the game.
[Edited by moderator Neo7, 12/6/2011 3:09:31 PM]
At last someone is willing to tell the truth about the whole situation and not use excuses for everyone.
Nice one Admiral
Gotta say I agree with this. The whole "I want to try it before I buy it" excuse is just that- an excuse. If downloading a game wasn't available you'd either buy the game or do without. So anyone who downloads it then decides they don't want to buy it is a lost sale, regardless of how they come to the decision not to buy it. In an age of widespread sales with varying discounts, it's silly. Same goes with "but I can't afford the game". Well, in that case, like everything else in life, do without - if you couldn't afford a new sofa or TV, you wouldn't bust in to a store and take one.
Maybe you know some people who honestly download it just to try a game, but I guarentee there'll be a whole more people who say "I'll just download it to try it" then just keep playing until they've finished it without buying.
On the specific subject, though, I've bought TW1 3 times - once at release, then the physical copy of the Enhanced Edition, then more recently a digital version. Add to that the £90(?) collectors edition of TW2 and I'd say CDPR has definitely had a good share of my money over the years . It's well worth it though. They have a philosophy which other developers seem to lack. In most other cases, the Enhanced Edition patch for TW1 and the 2.0 patch for TW2 would probably have been released as paid DLC. CDPR gives it away for free to reward people for supporting their games.
[Edited by Skyheart, 12/6/2011 6:44:31 PM]