PC Publishers “scared” Says CD Projekt CEO

By Jim Rossignol on September 22nd, 2008 at 9:19 am.


GI.biz has been talking to CD Projekt CEO Michal Kicinski, who reports that publishers are scared of using a DRM-free distribution system, despite cracked versions of their games being widely available on torrents. “DRM-free, that is something they are really scared of,” said Kicinski. “But on the other hand we can say ‘all of those games are available pirated widely so it’s better to sell them for small money than make the customer’s life difficult and get some more revenues’.”

The DRM-free product in question, of course, are the titles on CD Projekt’s digital distribution platform gog.com, which is currently in its closed early-access beta. We’re looking forward to this one going live.

Via VG247.

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60 Comments »

  1. Katsumoto (jvgp100) says:

    GoG is awesome, money-sapping stuff. I’m playing Fallout Tactics for the first time thanks to it, and also loving all the extra content you get bunged in – the soundtrack, wallpapers etc. All for 6 dollars or something stupid. Amazing scenes.

  2. aldo says:

    Oh, they have Freespace 2.

  3. Lukasz says:

    GOG is indeed awesome.

    I like how they treat customers like friends, buddies not like criminals or annoying necessity of game distribution.

  4. Ubernutz says:

    GOG is great. I bought Fallout and got Fallout 2 free ^^

  5. Duoae says:

    Yeah, freespace 2 and Fallout are the ones i want to get…. however i’m kinda busy and have a massive backlog of games to get through so i’m holding off purchasing them for the time being.

  6. Chris Evans says:

    GOG is bloomin marvelous I must say. The chance to get some good old classics at good prices and with all the little bonuses they have is just classy. Looking forward to more games appearing on it.

  7. slang says:

    Are they selling Fallout 1 and 2 in its uncensored form?
    As far as I know all the European versions lack the child killings. I hate the way Steam is selling censored stuff to people with certain IP addresses.

  8. groovychainsaw says:

    It is brillilant – a slick website, easy delivery of (cheap, awesome) games, and a really friendly approach. I think it will do very well once it opens up.

  9. Lukasz says:

    @Slang
    Fallout 1 has children removed
    Fallout 2 has not

    Patching fall1 is simple. there are directions on the forum.

  10. Ragnar says:

    Of course they are scared of DRM-free. It’s against their view of the world where control of your product is everything and customer care is worthless.

    Long live GoG.com!

  11. monkeymonster says:

    Oooh, freespace! Fingers been itching to play a fun space sim again.

  12. slang says:

    @Lukasz
    Thanks. I certainly like GOG’s philosophy.

  13. Mr Pink says:

    I thought Freespace 2 was already available for free?

    GOG does look great though. Their point about DRM is so obvious, if people want to pirate stuff there are well known websites they can go to. Give people rewards for buying from you rather than trying to lock everything down.

  14. James G says:

    GOG is great, if anyone is interested, I’ve posted some of my first impressions of the beta:
    http://blog.jaspsplace.co.uk/2008/09/09/good-old-games/

  15. Heliocentric says:

    I’ve targeted the multi player games as they age better in a way. But Perimeter gives me a headache because of the POV.

  16. Shadowcat says:

    GOG is excellent, and I look forward to shopping there for a great many years to come!

    Listen up publishers… there are a LOT of gamers who are so sick of heavy-handed pain-in-the-arse copy-protection that they almost desperate to give their money to a publisher who treats them like honest customers.

    Jump on board early, I say.

  17. suchchoices says:

    i tried to find alpha centauri for digital download somewhere on the internets last night, or for sale locally in australia.

    failed.

  18. MasterBoo says:

    If you’ve never tried Sacrifice, get it from GoG. It’s the best game ever created.

  19. aldo says:

    I thought Freespace 2 was already available for free?

    (I used to be pretty active in the FS modding community, so I know a bit of the background…)

    It’s complicated – some versions of the EULA had, bizarrely, a section that allowed you to give ‘friends’ copies of the game disks. Although this was rescinded in later versions (I think an anniversary rerelease). On top of the this, the source code – but not the art etc – was released a few years back (and there are some huge differences – not been back looking for a year or so, but last time I checked stuff like specular and bump mapping was added, and other fancy stuff). I think the developers ended up releasing the code without asking Interplay, because they’d been dicked around so often trying to get permission to open-source it.

  20. Twanni says:

    Still waiting for Alpha Centauri: Alien Crossfire to come on GOG.com
    I have it both legally and illegally, the latter as the legal version won’t install anymore. I’d be willing to buy it again for under $10,- so I can ditch that illegal copy.

  21. rocketman71 says:

    Which goes to show, again, that (most) PC Publishers are managed by idiots.

    It is so easy: if DRM is useless, why inconvenience your customer?. Spore has sold a lot, yeah, it’s from Wright and has the full EA marketing machine behind it, but… how many sales has it lost because of the way they’re treating their customers?. I know they lost mine (and the PR bullshitting doesn’t help either!)

  22. Mort says:

    Picked up Fallout and Sacrifice from GoG, really chuffed with not only being able to nab Sacrifice specifically but the awesome support in the community forums, also the pre-patched downloads of the media, together with manuals, guides etc. All for a few quid.
    Wife not too chuffed though.

  23. Naurgul says:

    I can’t say I love GoG but it’s very nice indeed. I was a bit hesitant to wander outside the familiar fields of Steam digital distribution but it wasn’t that bad. I got Perimeter and Sacrifice so far (as suggested by someone I know) and I really like having the installers on my disk and being able to do whatever I please with them. The extras are icing on the cake.

    I’m all for less DRM. It’s cracked by pirates on day 1 always and it’s an inconvenience for legit costumers. ’nuff said.

    As for the friendliness, am I the only one that finds it a bit creepy? This is a web page calling me buddy, not a real person I know and trust.

  24. kuddles says:

    I can understand companies being concerned about day one piracy, but they’re really concerned about no DRM on their ten-year-old out of print games? Really?

  25. Caiman says:

    I wonder if I could survive by restricting myself to buying DRM-free from now on? It’s very tempting from a philosophical point of view. GoG would certainly be one service getting my dollars.

  26. Bobsy says:

    GOG’s great, but will it make a profit? The prices are so tiny I can’t help but wonder.

  27. Carra says:

    Signed up with two e-mail addresses but no message :(

    It’s a lovely idea. The kind that makes me wonder “why hasn’t anyone before thought of that”?

  28. Jay says:

    +1 to people happy with gog.com.

    The only wish I have is that I’d like to see more games there, because the list is pretty limited. I already bought 3 gems (and got one free) so I’m really happy about the service, but i want MOAR!

  29. subedii says:

    Between Freespace and Descent, I just need to find a store that sells joysticks again.

    It’s true, some classic games really do age well, and you can look past the flaws in the graphics and some of the conventions because there’s still nothing like it on the market today. I look forward to seeing what they’ve got coming in future.

  30. Jeeva says:

    I’m still waiting on my mail. =(
    Checked m’spam and everything.

  31. Subject 706 says:

    GOG turned out to be a great place for me to catch up on those old classics that I missed back in the days.

    Why aren’t more (or any for that matter) games like Freespace made? They can’t be very expensive to make vs an FPS, but they are LOADS of fun!

  32. Fazer says:

    DRM IS FOR KILLING SECOND-HAND MARKET, NOT PIRACY.

    People have to realize it.

  33. kadayi says:

    V Impressed with GoG, that all the games run hassle free on Vista 64 is a complete godsend and it has certainly encouraged me to buy up quite a few golden oldies. When I’ll get the time to play them all is another matter….!(

  34. Optimaximal says:

    This sort of reaction is understandable – people didn’t want to touch Digital Distribution as a whole until someone [Valve] took a risk and went for it. Now everyone under the sun is doing it! (I await RockPaperDownload)
    CD Projekt are looking to do the same with old games that publishers are sitting on out-of-print ‘because they can’.

  35. Acosta says:

    Yes, I really like it and it has a lot of potential. I bought Freespace 2 and got Stonekeep for the same price, but I have only tested Stonekeep that works great under Direct3D configuration on Vista64. The extras in form of manual and so are nice too and the page design is simply awesome, clear, intuitive and very user friendly. It has potential for a great community too as each game has its own specific forum where you can find mods, opinions, helps and other useful stuff about the game in question.

    Companies should understand that for each gamer that looks for old games in Ebay, HOtU or Abandonia, they are losing revenues. I guess there must be a reason why they are scared of a not drm model for old games, but it’s beyond me.

  36. Caiman says:

    I can’t wait until they make an XP/Vista compatible version of Tir Na Nog, Chaos: Battle of the Wizards, 3D Monster Maze and Mazogs. Come on GoG! It’s easy money.

  37. Chris says:

    Fun articles to read, but they didn’t really review the games they just reported about how bad the trials are. Mmo’s are quickly becoming so big and lengthy that it would be impossible to correctly review them unless you have played them for 4-6 months rendering it impossible to be on time for release.

    This is probably the main reason i don’t ever buy games mags.

    How you could solve this i don’t know.

  38. Koopa says:

    Gog is great, already got both of the Fallouts, will get Tactics later and possibly some others too. Just hope they keep expanding the list with more quality releases (Chaos Gate rumoured, wohoo!).

  39. Pidesco says:

    EA is sitting on a lot of great titles that deserve to be in GOG. LGS’s entire repertoire, for example.

  40. grumpy says:

    GOG is *awesome*. I got into their beta a few weeks ago, and I’m just shocked by how well it seems to work. The support is good, the games are good, everything works. Even their installer is by far the smoothest and most hassle-free I’ve seen.

  41. Mr Pink says:

    DRM IS FOR KILLING SECOND-HAND MARKET, NOT PIRACY.

    People have to realize it.

    I’m not sure that’s true. Why would they have removed the limited installs after a few months for Bioshock for example?

  42. toni says:

    I sell my drm-infested games 2nd hand, most of the time you get a revoke tool by Securom so you can convince the next owner that it’s still gonna work. and in their last explanation note about Spore’s DRM EA said that it’s PURELY AGAINST DAY1 PIRACY at which they FAILED horribly. they can’t even justify it themselves without contradicting themselves.

  43. gnome says:

    GOG is god and -after all- turning out to be such an expensive little habit 4 euros at a time…

  44. Frank says:

    Yep, GOG’s good stuff. I hope it doesn’t take too long for other publishers to join them.

    I’ve just recently begun deviating from Steam thanks to GOG, exclusives on Bionic Commando Rearmed and King’s Bounty (GamersGate), and the Blizzard store. There are loads of other games available on both GamersGate and Impulse that aren’t on Steam, which is sort of irritating. Seems that Valve don’t want my money.

  45. dhex says:

    i want to support gog, but they haven’t offered something i want yet. lionheart has neat art, but is apparently horrible. shogo is monolith’s second shooter, but apparently hasn’t aged well. and i don’t like rts/strategy games for the most part.

    still…great idea.

  46. Someone says:

    So GOG is windows only right? How are they running something like Stonekeep? Dosbox? Could you potentially take stonekeep and just load it in Dosbox under mac or linux?

  47. frymaster says:

    “Between Freespace and Descent, I just need to find a store that sells joysticks again”

    My sidewinder force feedback 2 still works :D

    And if you edit the dosbox config file, you can use all the buttons :D :D

    3 axes of rotation and 3 of translation baby, yeah :D

    (i’m grinning quite a bit)

    If I had a gripe it would be that it doesn’t support either Maestro or Paypal so I have to get my mate to buy the stuff for me.

  48. Saflo says:

    They’ve started accepting PayPal.

  49. droid says:

    As the old regime contemplates this, I can smell their fear.

    Viva la revolution.

  50. Esha says:

    I’d actually love to see a paper these days, a research effort if you will, in which many a publisher is confronted with the question “What is a customer?”, the likes of Stardock and Projekt included.

    I’d further love to see the results of this printed online, because this would be a great basis for future companies to work from. Projekt has it figured out, that sales are almost equally as big of a part the attitude of the salesman as they are of the product in question. The internet has changed things, and today the Everyman is far more aware of the company providing them games (along with their practices and ethics) than they were back in, say, the 16-bit era.

    Of course, a salesperson needs to be amicable in order to sell a product well, and therein lies the problem. These days it’s becoming more and more prominent, the seller, that is. In fact, the more time progresses, the more the attitude of the seller is becoming as important as the product itself. Perhaps this isn’t as pronounced with consoles as it is with the PC, though. But I think that as consoles touch more upon the realm and capabilities of the home computer, this will become more the case there, too (ex: Sony’s downloadable media DRM system).

    The problem, however, is that many a company these days both old and new might not actually be aware of their position as a salesperson, many within that company might’ve become comfortable with the distance between customer, product, and publisher that existed in the past, and they might find the present quite uncomfortable.

    But that doesn’t mean that future companies can’t be helped, and that doesn’t mean that some of the younger companies haven’t already picked up on this themselves. These companies are salesmen, like door-to-door salesmen. They want to be respectful, they want to be helpful, and they want to be your friend. Because today, the experience one has with the provider of a product counts almost as much as the experience had with a product itself.

    To put it simply, people always desire respect and now that those walls of the past have been broken down, they’re going to know whom exactly they should look to for it.