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Why is The Witcher 3 so Cheap on Steam?

The Witcher 3 is consistently discounted up to 85% off on Steam sales because CD Projekt Red uses Steam‘s frequent promotions to build audience, while still maintaining full profits since they self-funded the game‘s development.

As an independent studio without shareholders or a publisher to please, CD Projekt Red leverages Steam‘s sales in a strategic way to maximize exposure and build goodwill with players. Let‘s dive deeper into the reasons behind the bargain pricing for this acclaimed open world RPG.

CD Projekt Red‘s Pro-Consumer Philosophy

Polish developer CD Projekt Red have built strong brand loyalty through pro-consumer practices:

  • No DRM – The Witcher 3 can be freely shared or resold after purchase
  • Free DLC – 16 free DLC packs released, adding weapons, quests, and more
  • DRM-free GOG.com store – CDPR owns and operates this storefront

This approach has cultivated immense goodwill from gamers. And without shareholders or a publisher to please, CDPR has flexibility to focus on the player experience versus short term monetization.

Self-Funded Development Enables Pricing Control

Many large games require backing and financing from an external publisher. But CD Projekt Red self-funded the 45 million euro development budget for The Witcher 3, maintaining full creative control and ownership.

Without having to recoup investments from a publisher, CDPR can price and promote the game however they want. Their priority is building audience over time rather than aggressively monetizing.

Witcher 3 Development Budget and Sales

Development Budget 45 million euro
Total Sales to Date Over 50 million copies
Revenue Over $1 billion to date

Self-funding such an ambitious game was risky, but paid off hugely in the long run.

Frequent Discounts to Build Witcher‘s Audience

On Steam, The Witcher 3 has gone on sale for 85% off its $60 base price numerous times. This amounts to only around $10-15 per sale.

Obviously CDPR doesn‘t profit much from individual sales at that price. But it serves as a longer term audience building strategy.

Each Steam sale brings in new fans, growing the player base and community while driving recommendations through word of mouth. This builds lasting goodwill and sets the stage for future game releases.

Witcher 3 Sales Figures Over Time

First year sales 6 million copies
Sales after 2 years 10 million copies
Sales after 5 years 50 million copies

This shows how the frequent sales continued paying dividends over a long period.

Witcher 3 Pricing on Other Platforms

On other platforms, Witcher 3 generally maintains higher regular pricing:

  • GOG (CDPR‘s store): $40 base game / $50 GOTY edition
  • Epic Games Store: $40 base game / $50 GOTY edition
  • Playstation Store: $20 base game / $25 GOTY edition
  • Xbox Store: $20 base game / $30 GOTY edition

The pricing strategy is tailored for each platform. But Steam clearly sees the most frequent and aggressive discounts.

Steam‘s Key Features and Audience Size

Steam boasts a vast built-in audience and rich feature set that many buyers prefer:

  • Community forums
  • Achievements
  • Cloud saves
  • User profiles
  • Workshop mods
  • Trading cards
  • Familiar interface

With over 120 million active monthly users, Steam‘s dominance as the center of PC gaming makes it an essential sales platform.

Breakdown of Witcher 3 Editions and Contents

On Steam, Witcher 3 is broken down into several editions:

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

  • Base game
  • Typically $10-15 on sale
  • Provides around 50 hours of gameplay

Witcher 3: Game of the Year (GOTY) Edition

  • Base game + both expansions
  • Usually around $15-20 on sale
  • Over 150 hours of content
  • Best value edition

Witcher 3: Complete Edition

  • GOTY edition + bonus content
  • Around $20-25 on sale
  • Extra quests, items, digital goodies
  • For big fans who want all content

Witcher 3: Ultimate Edition

  • Complete Edition + Cyberpunk 2077 bonuses
  • $25-30 on sale
  • Cyberpunk extras only appeal if you own that game

For most buyers, the GOTY edition delivers the optimal amount of content at an incredible bargain price point relative to the quality and scope delivered.

Incredible Replayability and Play Time

Here‘s a look at how much gameplay Witcher 3 offers:

  • Main story: 51 hours
  • Completing main + extra content: 172 hours
  • Completionist playthrough: 218 hours

With multiple difficulty modes, branching quests, and player choice, no two playthroughs are the same. Players have sunk over 500 hours into the game without seeing all outcomes.

At $15 on sale, that‘s potentially 300+ hours of entertainment for the cost of a single movie ticket.

Likelihood of Future Discounts

The upcoming next-gen upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X will likely come alongside new record low discounts on Steam. As the game enjoys a second wind, Steam sales will help capture new fans who missed it the first time around.

For a game that already goes on sale frequently, the next-gen update represents one more opportunity to grab this open world masterpiece at an irresistible price.

An Obvious Choice for RPG Fans

Thanks to CDPR‘s pro-consumer philosophy and Steam‘s sales promotions, you can regularly pick up one of the greatest open world RPGs ever made for less than the price of dinner.

If you have any interest at all in fantasy adventures, I couldn‘t recommend The Witcher 3 more highly during its next discount window. Don‘t miss out on exploring this meticulously crafted world.