CD Projekt RED - How They Conquered Poland
Polygon posted a new article about how CD Projekt RED conquered Poland in the last decade. Here is a sample from their tour of the developer.
Like so many other companies in Poland, CD Projekt started as a direct result of the collapse of communism. Poles were suddenly left to fend for themselves, and many like Iwinski saw the opportunity to build businesses, something that was denied to ordinary people under communist rule. He calls the years following the 1990 change in government an "incubator of entrepreneurship."
CD Projekt's version of entrepreneurship involved capitalizing on Poland's lax copyright laws and Western games companies' general disinterest in the Polish market. When the copyright laws changed, CD Projekt changed, shifting into licensed localization, distribution and, eventually, game development. But it all started simply as an excuse to play new games before anyone else.
"We had access to new games," Iwinski says. "How silly does that sound as a reason for founding a business? But I think it was quite important. ... We were doing the first localizations in Polish. We did PR and marketing campaigns. In the beginning, the market was quite wild. No retail chains selling games. In the first few years we were just selling to mom-and-pop shops. [Customers] were coming up with a Volkswagen and filling it up with games and selling them in small stores all around Poland."
The success of CDPR's early efforts convinced Iwinski that he wasn't the only one who wanted to play games, and that most Polish people wanted to play them in Polish. CDPR became the first company in Poland working directly with Western companies to localize games in Polish, hiring famous Polish actors to redo the spoken dialogue. Suddenly the world of game development broke wide open. CDPR could offer Western companies something no one else was offering.