He sadly sees our industry "trending toward over-exploiting the gamer" and eventually "people will stop buying their stuff." Witcher 1 sales 'boosted' from free content as it "created good will".
When the studio came up with the idea of the Enhanced Edition for the original their publisher wanted to charge for it but CD Projekt went ahead with a free release.
“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,” said Marcin Iwinski in an interview.
“That’s just not the way things work.”
The current publisher climate prejudices that all new content should be charged for.
“We had a lot of discussions with The Witcher 1′s Enhanced Edition. It was a bit different then because we had a publishing deal, whereas now we have distribution deals," he continued.
“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! €10!’ But we believed that we would sell more units if we put it out for free."
“And 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.”
Atari published the original Witcher while Namco Bandai was signed for the sequel. The Enhanced Edition cost the studio around $1 million and provided 200 new animations, two new quests, new NPC characters and a lot more polish for the world. The original and Enhanced Edition sold over 2 million units as of 2010.
CD Projekt RED also released an Enhanced content pack for PC gamers at no charge as it incorporated a lot of fixes and tweaks the developer put into the Xbox 360 version of The Witcher 2.
Check out thebetween Marcin Iwinski and Gamasutra.
CD Projekt: Publishers who are "over-exploiting the gamer" will pay the price
17 July 2012 | By Simon Priest