Good Old Games relaunches as GOG, will sell indie games and more current titles DRM free
Good Old Games relaunched this morning, and shall henceforth simply be known as GOG. The online store has occupied a neat niche in digital distribution, reselling modernised versions of classic games with bonus parts like soundtracks and extra artwork, DRM free. The relaunch heralds a bit of a shift in their remit. GOG will now sell indie games through the service, and games from major labels within three years of their release. Trine, The Whispered World, Machinarium, Darwinia and SpaceChem are on the way, with more planned soon.
The increasing variety of games available on GOG will dilute their identity a bit, but they're planning to sell new titles and indie games with the same principles in mind. Their stance against DRM remains as firm as ever, as managing director Guillaume Rambourg told Gamespot. "It has taken us 3 years of hard work to build up this catalogue and convince rights holders that removing DRM is actually the best way to fight against piracy, a "sector" that managed to succeed where most of the gaming industry failed to perform: providing (illegal) gamers with a simple and fast access to games within a few clicks."
But is there a risk that GOG's decision to sell more current games will put them in competition with massive digital distributors like Steam? "I think the answer is "no," said Rambourg. "In that case, because our offer deeply differs from the offer of Steam or Valve. All our games will be DRM-free, sold at fair price worldwide (no regional pricing), and with tons of added value (free digital goodies, full customer support, an optional light-speed downloader)."
"As a matter of fact, I think that GOG.com is more of an alternative than a competitor. There is still no way to fight against Steam, for example, something we knew from the very beginning of GOG. The only way to shine is to offer an alternative model to gamers. Being different is our daily obsession to make us stand out from the rest of the field."
CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski also took a bit of a dig at Steam sales, suggesting that they devalue the games involved, and dent perceptions of how much games are worth on a wider scale. "Running so many discounts decreases the perceived value of our entire entertainment media. When you can buy a bundle of fantastic indie games for $1, it's that much harder to convince someone to shell out $10 to try one indie game," he said.
"Of course you see a huge number of people buying games when they're on such incredible sale, but how many of them are enjoying the games they buy? Buying a dozen games, if you never play them, means that you're just a cow to be milked by the industry. I don't think this is good for the industry or the gamers who pay our salaries."
GOG.com will still be getting weekly retro titles, which Rambourg refers to as "GOG.com's daily bread and butter." What do you think of GOG's new direction? Would you be tempted to buy a new game through GOG.com instead of Steam or Origin if it was DRM free?