CD Projekt RED, Green Man Gaming Witcher 3 Product Key Controversy

Friday, May 8th, 2015

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The Witcher 3 | oprainfall

Strap yourselves in, folks. This one is turning into quite a dramatic exchange. Warnings ahead of time: a lot of this is in the realm of ‘he said, she said,’ meaning that we have no confirmation of what the actual truth is. The purpose of this article is merely to inform on a development concerning one of the biggest video game releases of the year. We here at oprainfall take no sides in this issue and are acting solely as observers reporting on the story.

Green Man Gaming, one of the great places to buy video games if you want to save a buck, has been offering the forthcoming open-world fantasy RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for $39.99. This is a fantastic price for a game that has yet to even be released, and is considerably cheaper than the price points being offered at digital distribution site Good Old Games, CD Projekt RED’s own DRM-free video game purchasing website (and another great place to get video games on the cheap.) The way it works is that early buyers will receive a product key to go and download the game from GOG.com and pre-load it before the launch date.

“Not so fast,” says CD Projekt RED. According to a a recent news story, CDPR has come out and said that the keys are coming from an ‘unknown source,’ and that they are not authorized codes issued by them. They stated that they won’t get any money from the GMG sales of The Witcher 3 and asked people to instead buy the game from GOG.com.

Soon afterwards, CDPR business development manager Rafal Jaki posted the following comment at the official Witcher 3 forums:

I would kindly ask our fans no to buy via GMG at this time. We had not sold them Keys and dont know the origin of them.

Later in the same thread, Jaki expanded on his initial post:

We have worked with GMG in the past for w2 and they were a legit partner.
We control all digital and the codes, and because we decided not to sell Keys to GMG it came as a suprise that they are doing a special promo without buying Keys from us. We have reach out to ask for the source of they Keys but up until now there was no response. They might sell nVidia Keys (which are not to be sold but gifted with the nVidia promo), or they just bough Keys from gog just like a regular customer and now they resell them with a loss (we cannot prevent anyone from selling something).
They also list Bandai Namco as the published which is not true for w3 (namco is our box distributor in PAL), so GMG is not a CDPR partner for W3 but they still might sell Keys that will work.

So, that would seem to be the end of it, right? Witcher 3 publisher CDPR says GMG isn’t a legit distributor and that should be final word on the subject. GMG begs to differ. In their own statement to GameSpot, GMG CEO Paul Sulyok explained that they tried to work something out with CDPR, but felt that they were more concerned with distributing the game through the publisher-owned GOG.com platform rather than dealing with other retailers that wanted to sell and distribute the product. Ultimately, according to Green Man Gaming, they were forced to purchase the keys through avenues that CDPR was working with and then taking the hit on the difference by reselling the keys at the discount price. Sulyok says that CDPR is getting all of the profit for these keys because they were purchased through legit sources.

Here are some quotes from Sulyok’s statement to Gamespot:

Following a six-month dialogue with [CD Projekt RED] about the launch of The Witcher 3, we were disappointed that despite the offer of significant cash advances, and other opportunities to officially work together, (we even offered to fly to Poland to discuss in detail how we could and wanted to support this launch), CDPR chose not to engage with a number of significant, reputable, and successful retailers, including ourselves, as they instead focused on supporting their own platform GOG.

We, like millions of customers, are huge fans of The Witcher series, and have been eager for the launch of this amazing title. We believe that CDPR’s desire to support their own platform by working with retail outlets that would not conflict with their own is greater than that of meeting the demands of their audience, therefore we made the decision to indirectly secure the product and deliver it to our customers.

We would heartily welcome a renewed dialogue with CDPR, and are keen to continue to not only support the launch of The Witcher 3, but to keep celebrating and bringing the whole catalogue of CDPR titles to a worldwide audience, as we have done since 2011,

It’s unfortunate that the pending release of this long-awaited and anticipated title is being marred by such controversy. Additionally, both CD Projekt RED and Green Man Gaming have had impeccable reputations for being strong consumer advocates for many years. Let’s hope that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is so good that it makes everyone forget this controversy and finger pointing ever happened. Better yet, let’s hope CD Projekt RED and Green Man Gaming sort this out and put it behind them.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will be available worldwide on May 19, 2015 for the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and Windows.

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About Tom Tolios

Really smart, talks too much, loves the video games and the Star Wars and the Game of Thrones, likes the manga and some anime and knows that Kentaro Miura's Berserk is the greatest thing ever made.




  • Atticus

    But why would they buy then sell at a loss tho?

    • dftgamer

      That’s what makes it suspect.

      They aren’t getting them at that price through CDPR which means either they are selling them at a loss or they are breaching some rules, like striping the codes off promo graphics cards or from regions with lower prices.