Two years ago, Polish game publisher CD Projekt (known internationally for developing the Witcher series) launched Good Old Games, a digital distribution platform for old, out of print PC games. GOG rapidly gained popularity for offering these classics at affordable prices with no DRM getting in the way. CD Projekt even released its own game, The Witcher 2, on the service earlier this year DRM free.
In a world where piracy is a top concern with almost every big name publisher, and with some opting to not even release their games on PC because of it, their no-DRM policy is certainly an interesting one. So how does CD Projekt feel about piracy? They don’t worry about it. In fact, in a way, they embrace and even admire the pirate community.
In an interview with Gamer’s Mint, GOG representative Trevor Longino talks about the company’s interesting take on piracy. They believe that focusing on piracy as the “evil enemy” of the game industry makes publishers lose sight of what’s important. Namely, offering enough value in the product that people will want to buy it. Longino also recognizes that pirates are often better at distributing games than some of the big name publishers, and that the industry could stand to learn a thing or two about easy pirates make it to get them.
The most interesting part of the article, however is when Longino talks about where GOG gets most of its traffic. GOG actually advertises on torrent and abandonware websites, and according to Longino, it’s paying off:
“Some of the largest sources of traffic on GOG.com are from torrent trackers and abandonware sites. And you know what? The traffic from these websites converts to purchasers at a better percentage than straight search traffic from Google does. The first exposure these people had to GOG.com came through illegal free copies of the games we sell, and they found our offer so compelling that they sign up and buy from us.”
It’s certainly refreshing to hear that there are still publishers and distributors that aren’t making piracy protection a main focus, when so many are throwing themselves behind the SOPA bill. One can only hope that the rest of the industry can learn from these examples.