"People Will Stop Buying Their Stuff"
CDPR co-founder Marcin Iwinski believes that many publishers are continually "over-exploiting" us gamers with DLC and monetization schemes... and that this practice will eventually come back to haunt them. Instead, he's struck upon the bizarre notion that, perhaps, developers and publishers should actually treat their fanbase like valued customers, creating "good will" instead of chiselling us at every opportunity.
"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," Iwinski told Gamasutra as part of a wider-ranging interview. "That's just not the way things work."
CD Projekt have been a bastion of consumer-centric development over the last few years, providing free DLC for The Witcher and its sequel as well as DRM-free backups. Iwinski believes that flying in the face of traditional publisher thinking may be difficult, but treating your fanbase like valued customers and creating "good will" can pay dividends.
"Well, we had a lot of discussions with The Witcher 1's Enhanced Edition," Iwinski elaborated, using their Atari-backed project as an example of this philosophy in action. "It was a bit different then because we had a publishing deal whereas now we have distribution deals. 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."
"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."
Respect for the consumer and fanbase is also a key part of CD Projekt's philosophy - something that has been sorely lacking in the games industry this generation.
"I also think it was a very bold statement for us in terms of respecting the fan base. A lot of companies would put that in and be like, "Hey, that's perfect for an expansion set. Charge 20 bucks, more revenue!" But that's not our way, we like it like this. You can be sure to expect more experiments from us."
Hear hear. Anyone else sick and tired of being treated like a brainless wallet?