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Default Namco Bandai Sue CD Projekt RED Over The Witcher 2 DRM

July 8th, 2011, 05:36
Just a little news story I came across on gamebanshee.

Not only is Namco Bandai claiming that CD Projekt RED removed the DRM from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings without permission, but they're also unhappy about THQ being named the publisher of the Xbox 360 version in Europe. So much so that they're withholding nearly $2 million in payments due to CDP, and suing them for what might result in further financial penalties. Giant Bomb reports:

When THQ announced it had obtained the European publishing rights to The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings for Xbox 360, that apparently surprised Namco Bandai, who had signed a distribution deal with developer CD Projekt Red for the European release of the PC version.

Atari will be publishing The Witcher II on Xbox 360 here in the US. Complicating matters, Atari Europe was acquired by Namco Bandai in 2009, gobbling up Atari's European distribution.

Namco Bandai is also arguing CD Projekt Red broke its contract with Namco Bandai by removing DRM from the PC version of the game without its permission.

Naturally, Optimus and CD Projekt Red believe both are in the clear.

"Namco's claims are unfounded," reads the statement.

As a consequence of the lawsuit, Namco Bandai is withholding payments of 1,225,000 Euros (roughly $1.75 million dollars).

"In the opinion of the [Optimus] management board, Namco consequently claim the desire to continue cooperation in the distribution [of] CDP RED products after the recent release of games released on PC, due to the expected potential sales of this title for console Xbox 360," concluded the company. (Also, I blame Google Translate for the awkward phrasing.)

I'm not sure what to make of this. Even though DRM is universally hated by gamers, if CD Projekt RED really removed it without permission, then I suppose Namco Bandai has every right to be angry. Then again, it would be hard to make the argument that it negatively impacted sales.
Seems Namco has a case for drm but as for publishing it was a deal only only for the pc. They did not pay or own the console version.

Response from CD Projekt RED-

Adam Kicinski, CEO of CD Projekt RED said:
"As with most cases, we first tried to end the dispute peacefully. Attempts failed and because of this, we hoped that our partner would send the case to the court. The agreement that we signed last year, concerned only the distribution of “The Witcher 2″ for the PC. The records were carefully clarified to avoid any ambiguity.

Namco Bandai have options when choosing the priority of our distributor’s version of the Xbox 360. It could use, but not taken advantage of certain preferences. In this situation, we chose the offer that THQ made us.

Our financial situation is very good at the moment and the lack of a few million does not have any impact on current activities. Withholding of payments means only that after some time, our partner will have to give us the money.

I hope that the whole thing will end with a pre-litigation settlement. If it doesn’t, I am sure that we will win the case and then the loser will pay for our lawyers."
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Last edited by Couchpotato; July 8th, 2011 at 05:46.
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July 8th, 2011, 12:22
So Namco was happy with people not able to access their games - AFTER they had already handed over the money at the cash counter ?

I know, this is extremely put, but that's what just came to my mind upon reading this.
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July 8th, 2011, 12:22
That kinda sucks for CDP, even though it seems they can cope financially.
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July 8th, 2011, 12:34
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Seems Namco has a case for drm but as for publishing it was a deal only only for the pc. They did not pay or own the console version.
That's how I see it. I was surprised when CD Projekt removed the DRM as I was curious how they would have gotten permission to do so.

How is it that Namco can hold onto such a substantial amount of cash? I would have thought Namco would need to hand over the cash and then sue CD Projekt, if they wanted to make the most of their situation.

Interesting politics though, with Namco quite willing to risk future dealings with CD Projekt. I suppose it could work both ways, but having popular titles under your belt does have its advantages.
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July 8th, 2011, 13:07
Since when you can withold payments just because you "feel like it" (and practically steal the money)? Pay up and only after that do sue whoever you want to.

It's not just CD Projekt, but everyone else. After this I bet Namco Bandai won't be seen as a most desired partner in the future.
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July 8th, 2011, 17:04
I wonder if Namco is referring to the week 1 patch that removed DRM after the release because that's the only thing that makes sense. All retail versions supposedly had DRM. Unless people have been reporting that the European Witcher 2 had no DRM. Maybe the Polish version?
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July 8th, 2011, 17:42
Originally Posted by Grimlorn View Post
I wonder if Namco is referring to the week 1 patch that removed DRM after the release because that's the only thing that makes sense. All retail versions supposedly had DRM. Unless people have been reporting that the European Witcher 2 had no DRM. Maybe the Polish version?
I think they are on about the patch that removed DRM. I was quite surprised by that move as well.

I wonder how much money they made in Europe for the game given that $1.75 seems low. I guess my be that's part of the money rather than whole of it….
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July 8th, 2011, 21:04
Well, way to make yourself popular, Namco…

I really hope CDPR doesn't lose too much out of this. They seem to look after their market pretty well. I really like what they've reportedly done in the upcoming patch.
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July 9th, 2011, 22:22
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Since when you can withold payments just because you "feel like it" (and practically steal the money)? Pay up and only after that do sue whoever you want to.
Agreed.

But that much money can solve a lot of problems, and cash flow depends on the 'when' as much as anything.
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July 9th, 2011, 23:09
Originally Posted by lostforever View Post
I wonder how much money they made in Europe for the game given that $1.75 seems low. I guess my be that's part of the money rather than whole of itů.
Namco's cut is probably quite small. According to the news it's only a distribution agreement.
The console versions are about publishing.
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