Forgiving GOG

Posted by: on Sep 23, 2010 | No Comments

gog.com logo

The internet’s been all-aflutter of late over the guys at gog.com and their recent marketing stunt. GOG.com – the “GOG” is for “good old games” – has been around for about two years. It’s a digital distribution platform for classic Windows games like the Master of Orion and Heroes of Might and Magic series.
GOG just moved out of beta, and to “generate some buzz” they peremptorily took the site down, as part of a hoax announcement they were shutting down for good. A few days later the site was back up, but the damage had been done. Everyone was howling like spider monkeys.

Now I don’t mind if a site needs to go down for an upgrade or server maintenance. Or whatever. Just tell me first, that’s all I ask. Don’t lead me to believe you’re going away and that I might never get a chance to download all the stuff I paid for.

But that’s all the howling I’m gonna do. I’m utterly willing to forgive the GOGers. There’s nothing like gog.com out there, not that I know of. I’ll keep giving them my business no matter how many times they toy with my heart. Here are three reasons I love thee, gog.com:

1. 100% Web-based. Actually, I wouldn’t mind a GOG “client”, showing a list of all the games I’ve downloaded. But such a program would just be a convenient organizer – with gog.com, you can get right to your games without an irritating intermediary pseudo-browser.

2. No digital rights management (DRM). You don’t buy a game with DRM, you rent it. If the game’s servers ever go down — if your Internet connection goes down! — if the game’s parent company ever disappears, so does your game. But not with gog.com! Once you buy a game from the goggers, it’s yours.

3. The prices and all the promotions. GOG.com charges just $6 or $10 for their games. That’s unbelievable, considering the stupendous buttload of entertainment-hours you’re getting. Plus, it seems like every other weekend GOG has a sale going on. I’ve gotten most of my games for $3 or $5. $5 for a game like Beyond Good and Evil – that’s beyond awesome.

“Wait a second, buck-o,” you say. “GOG.com only sells old games. That’s why they can price things the way they do.” And to that I would say “please, GOG, start selling new games, too.” Civilization V shows there’s still a market out there for immersive strategy games. There’s a level of complexity and richness to computer games that consoles, as great as they are, will never, ever be able to duplicate.

And I freely admit piracy is a huge problem – how can anyone justify stealing a game like World of Goo, made with love by a tiny developer probably just scraping by?

I don’t know what the answer is to the problem of piracy, I just know it’s not DRM. I guess this is all I can say: any developer who puts a great game up for sale on gog.com DRM free has got my money.

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