Something Afoot At GoG

By Jim Rossignol on September 19th, 2010 at 8:53 pm.

Woo
Hrm. So there’s something going on over at DRM-free digital distribution site GoG.com. The site is down, and in its place a message that, in part, reads: “We have recently had to give serious thought to whether we could really keep GOG.com the way it is. We’ve debated on it for quite some time and, unfortunately, we’ve decided that GOG.com simply cannot remain in its current form.” (And the message seems to have changed since I read it earlier, which is interesting.)

However, it’s not necessarily over, and there will be a solution for everyone to download their games. We contacted the GoG team and received this message: “As the message on the site says, this doesn’t mean GOG is gone. We’ll have more to share in the coming days.” So we wait and see. My guess? They’ll be assimilated into another digital distribution system, something like that.

EDIT: This unfortunately-timed Bit-tech article is worth a read.

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330 Comments »

  1. Alex McLarty says:

    Here’s hoping so. Was a fantastic site.

  2. Centy says:

    We’re closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await.

    Seems fairly permanent to me atleast in its current form and just on principle if any DRM of any kind is introduced I will not be using it and just stick to the games I have already bought from them.

  3. Fede says:

    “On a technical note, this week we’ll put in place a solution to allow everyone to re-download their games.”
    Phew. I have everything backed up, but I feared for the worse, while reading the message.

    It was a nice idea, it’s sad to see it go.

  4. Tom OBedlam says:

    Well, while I applaud their efforts to remain DRM-free, I don’t mind if they have to start using an unobtrusive form of it. Having been at the wrong end of Starcraft 2′s DRM and having fallen foul of Steam’s so-called “offline mode”, I’m not the biggest fan of online verification but I’ve never understood why people hate key-code verfication so much.

    • Nick says:

      losing your key for one of many reasons… followed by no tech support down the line is just as bad as any other form of ‘oh shit, now I can’t play my game’ thing.

    • BAReFOOt says:

      What we hate is the mental illness behind it. The lie, that you could “own” ideas/information/data. That’s so absurd, it boggles the mind. Ownership is defined trough control over something. And in the case of information, you either control it, and can’t prove it exists. Or you pass it on, and can’t control it anymore. Period. That’s just the physics of it, and denying it, is like denying gravity. It’s not keeping you from falling flat on your face. ^^

      So DRM literally is physically impossible. It’s the idea of giving someone a safe with the content, a key, and a list of instructions (a program) on how to use the key on the safe, and then expecting him to destroy whatever he took out of there, right after usage. And on top, to never make a copy, despite it being impossible to even prove the existence of the content, without copying it multiple times (CPU, cache, RAM, bus, graphics card, display, eyes, brain). It’s insane. Medically spoken.

      So what is the purpose?
      Fraud. Plain an simple. Making money, without delivering work. (The very thing they accuse us of. Which psychology calls “reflection”, and which is a very common reaction.)
      They provide a service (not a product!!), and instead of asking money once on first publication, like with every other service, they want more and more and more and more and more! Despite having been fully paid for their service.
      And then they excuse it, by saying that the creators would otherwise not be fairly paid. While in reality, those very creators are put into positions of mere code monkeys, working hard, and the “publishers” (who needs that service anyway, nowadays?) only pay them a irrelevantly tiny amount of the money they make. Keeping the rest for themselves. For the work of… well, what exactly? Since every idiot can publish his game for no money. And even a marketing company still comes at a fraction of the price, and only take money *once*. While publishing companies turned it around, and only give the creators money *once*. Taking away their rights. And in the end acting as if they “own” the game (Nobody can own information, as we just learned.), and are the only ones who keep making money of it.

      And you ask why we hate that they are just “adding a little bit of ‘protection’” to it??

  5. Vinraith says:

    I don’t know what’s going on here, of course, but whatever it is it’s being handled very poorly. If they’re shutting down, some warning would have been nice. If they’re changing format, some warning would still have been nice, and a message making the situation more clear would be appropriate. If they’re being bought, ditto. No matter what they’re doing, the abruptness and vagueness of all this is simply bad business, and lowers my opinion of the site and its owners.

    • Vinraith says:

      Ultimately, I just hope i can download DRM-free versions of the games and extras I was too stupid to have backed up already. This is, if nothing else, an excellent reminder of just how ephemeral digital purchases are, and how important it is to keep good backups.

    • TCM says:

      The funny note here is that it’s the ostensibly DRM free service that has gone down, blocking access to any and all things you’ve purchased.

      As opposed to the large, ostensibly DRM loaded service which will not go down in the perceivable future.

      I think there’s some kind of meaning here, but frig if I know what it is.

    • TCM says:

      And, naturally, if rumor is to be believed, they have taken away access to everything you have purchased (DRM free! You’ll never lose access!) for a publicity stunt.

      Pretty poor form.

    • Kelron says:

      To be fair, anything you’ve bought from them and previously downloaded is still DRM free and able to be installed or backed up at will. I’m not aware that they ever offered a guarantee that GoG will be around forever.

      Still a silly thing to do with no warning.

    • subedii says:

      I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying TCM. I think you misunderstand how GOG works.

      What they released is DRM free, that’s the whole point.

      If Steam went down tomorrow, my games go with it. With GOG.com, every game I’ve got from them still works. The games don’t depend on an external company or client, so it doesn’t matter if they go under. Every installer I’ve gotten from them, I can still use, it doesn’t need to phone-home on install (like say, Gamersgate) before it will run.

      I’ve got copies of the installers for maybe 8 games off of GOG.com. Those installers will still work now even if GOG is gone, they’re completely stand-alone. The same cannot be said of other services. That’s what DRM free means.

    • TCM says:

      Oh, I realize that. I have some gog games.

      What you miss is that there’s, essentially, no way steam will go down tomorrow. With the resources valve has access to, and the money it generates on a daily basis for everyone involved, it’d be economically unfeasible to shut it down at the current moment.

      Also, for those like, say, Vin, who did not backup his installers, he currently has no access to games he purchased from Gog. If rumor is to be believed, the reason he has no access is due to a publicity stunt, nothing more. I think that should say something about the sincerity of their commitment to the consumer.

      There is one thing everyone cares about, and that is Money, dear boy. Don’t delude yourself into believing Gog, Stardock, or anyone else is looking out for ‘your interests’ any more than Valve or even freaking Microsoft. What they want is your money, and if being DRM free is a way to get it, they will take advantage of it.

    • mlaskus says:

      CDP is also a big company, I don’t know how it compares to Valve, but rest assured that there are resources behind GoG. Which only makes this all the more strange. Even if GoG was not profitable, they could afford to give us a heads up and keep it up for a while to avoid a PR disaster.

    • TCM says:

      To further clarify my statement regarding steam, I doubt it will go down, or otherwise revoke access, in the conceivable future.

      I have no proof regarding this, and no reason to believe it outside the wads of digital cash that pass through it every day. I believe that by the time they do revoke access, if ever, it would be about the time I would lose comparable physical media, or my last backup of a DRM free installer. In any case, I lose access to a game I purchased, but Steam gives you a convenient scapegoat to blame. Which is, I suppose, the primary reason people consider horror stories about LOSE ALL YOUR GAMES TOMORROW.

    • subedii says:

      Who on Earth said I believed they were running a business for the sake of altruism? :S

      As for Valve never going down, well, people said the same about Sega. Steam won’t go shut down tomorrow. Doesn’t mean that when they do go down they won’t take the rest of your game collection with them. Or simply change business models. The day that Valve goes public is the day that the shareholders start analysing just why they’re giving away so much bandwidth for free on lots of people who haven’t bought anything in years. Valve as a company make rational long term business decisions. That’s their prerogative as they’re in a good position to see where those decisions will go, and to carry them out. Shareholders are usually more interested in short term profits, and tend to take a different approach to business and concepts like monetisation. Not to say it’s a change that’s going to happen, doesn’t make it impossible either.

      It’s all costs and benefits. Ultimately, I feel as if I’ve gotten value for money out of my Steam collection regardless, largely because I’ve bought most of it for ridiculously cheap. Doesn’t change the fact that if I had the option between the two for the same game, I pretty much went with GOG.com.

    • TCM says:

      In the end, my statements aren’t intended to be an arguement for anything except “don’t trust any digital distribution company blindly”.

      Make backups, buy things for cheap, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That sort of thing.

      If it comes across as anything else, frig it I need to get more sleep.

    • bob_d says:

      @TCM: So what you’re saying is that Steam is too big to fail? Now where did I hear that before…

    • TCM says:

      Oh, it will absolutely fail.

      At some point, it will stop being economically viable, the servers will get turned off, and everyone will lose access to anything.

      Now is not that point.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Nope, you have no basis for that. It may well go down at some point, that is rather likely. But it will not definetly go down. In a hundred years all games could be distributed by it, as all physical media is gone. There is no way to know.

    • Vinraith says:

      @TCM

      In the end, my statements aren’t intended to be an argument for anything except “don’t trust any digital distribution company blindly”.

      Make backups, buy things for cheap, and don’t put all your eggs in one basket. That sort of thing.

      Amen. I’m embarrassed that it took something like this to remind me of that, really. Mind you I’ve always believed it, but I got lax about applying it…

    • bob_d says:

      @TCM: Actually I agree with you. However, I also suspect people may be saying, “now is not that time” just before Steam spectacularly implodes without warning at some unspecified time in the future. It’s the game industry.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @TCM: No offense, but anybody spreading rumors about this being a publicity stunt is pretty clueless. How would this in any way, shape, or form help their business? Who would want to buy from a digital distribution service that already threatened to go under without warning? I sure wouldn’t. That makes no sense at all.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      To add to what I said (grr no edit button), I think the people saying this is a publicity stunt are wishfully hoping that this is a joke and gog.com isn’t going under.

    • psyk says:

      “conceivable future”

      What is that? a month, 1 year, 10 years

    • RealityCheck says:

      Er, wtf people.

      First off: Without DRM, you could care less if the company/distributor dies.
      THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT. Utter and total independence after purchase.
      Something that these days is near impossible to get elseplace.

      So, if you were unable to actually download your purchases and actually follow the logic that made GOG so great, then a good deal of the blame of actual “loss” is on your shoulders. Getting a dropbox or mozy account and uploading the majority of your own games there as a backup is a thing of 1-2 weekend afternoons.

      If DRM infested BS goes down, it’s locked forever unless you wish to trust in cracks, which may or not even exist for the last version of the game you played and have savegames for.

      A stupefying number of games did not even get a single bug fix patch after release(Dead Space, Kane And Lynch, many more), so the illusion that right before they have to close everything down, the publishers will invest in a round of unlock patches for the DRM bits is nothing other than a self-deceiving and self-serving lie by all DRM proponents.
      It can and has happened for various games here and there, but the vast majority has just remained locked forever.
      That’s just how life in the land of cash-in-and-run bastards seems to be. Publish-and-let-perish.

      Secondly, there exist “inofficial backups” aplenty on various “modern content distribution” sites of said GOG games, which means you can reget bit-identical downloads of the site’s content of whichever game you purchased.
      This is one of the main “memory” functions of the so so evil, evil internet that people like to overlook.

      So even if GOG had up and died without notice, I can assure you there exist right now various possibilities to still get your games, not the least being all the other then ex-customers of GOG.
      Just takes one other guy who also bought your game and didn’t kill it off just yet.

      Sure, some of this might not always work the “show me proof of purchase and you’ll then get XYZ in turn to DL” route, but what I am saying is that if you yourself are staying honest with it, you can reget at least those games you actually did rightfully pay for.

      Innovation doesn’t have to be good or bad in itself, but the use can be either. Just like how these “backups” are used if you actually do own the right to a copy.

      How anyone can think there are pro-arguments for DRM mechanisms from the perspective of the consumer is still beyond me. You can safely replace the R in DRM with “restrictions” any day.

    • LionsPhil says:

      RealityCheck is completely correct.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      @ RealityCheck: I completely agree regarding the DRM not getting patched out if the company is going down. Obviously that’s not a concern with GOG. But I always maintained that whatever promises Gabe Newell has made about Steam being patched out before they ever went under is wishful thinking at best. (Yes I know, the odds of them ever going down anytime in the foreseeable future is about zero). If a company is going to go out of business, do you really think they are going to stick around to crank out that patch? Most likely everybody would be laid off effective immediately. And considering how many Steam games there are by so many different publishers good luck getting all of those fixed. If anything Valve would patch their own games, but everything else you’d be SOL.

      Of course all the Steam fanatics say “NO YOU’RE WRONG!” whenever I bring this up in forums. I love Steam as much as anybody but lets be realistic here.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      To add to what I said above, I’m assuming it’s going to take more than flipping a switch and only patching Steam itself to fix every game. I could be wrong of course.

    • Someguy says:

      Personally it’s one thing to get an official local steam-emu out there should the thing go down.

      But the true shitfest is that ADDITIONAL on-top-of-everything BS has often been added, like Securom and similiar, that then turns it all into a surreal nightmare.

      There is no good life in the bad; there is no good argument for DRM.

      Period.

  6. Blandford says:

    A poster on NeoGAF claims this is just a marketing stunt:
    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=23418875&postcount=240

    Makes sense I guess, considering how this announcement came pretty much out of nowhere.

    • Butterbumps says:

      Hm, reading the message on the site with that in mind is interesting. It’s worded suspiciously vaguely.

    • mlaskus says:

      If it is true, it is a terribly uncharacteristic move for them. I have been a customer of CDP for many years and they never used such poor marketing stunts before.

    • evilentity says:

      I believe they used same thing with their cheap re-releases brand in Poland. Tho it was few years ago and maybe it was different distributor.

    • Sigma Draconis says:

      If true, that’s not like GOG at all. A PR stunt of this sort is downright lame, really.

    • mlaskus says:

      Hmm, I think I remember that. They redesigned one of their buget releases series and introduced it by having a big, farewell sale of the old version. Only to introduce the new one a few days later. That was different though, they didn’t scare us with a possibility of not being able to access the products we bought(they mention some way of downloading the titles you bought, but who knows how long will they be available that way), or losing tech support.

    • Jacques says:

      It does read like a marketing letter.

    • sfox says:

      I don’t know if I believe it’s a stunt or not, but with this quote:
      “On a technical note, this week we’ll put in place a solution to allow everyone to re-download their games.”

      It does kind of sound like a hint that they’re about to launch a client.

    • Kadayi says:

      If it’s a PR stunt it’s in poor taste. Personally all they’ve done is make a bunch of existing customers worry needlessly…..

    • Zogtee says:

      Yeah, the rumours online point towards a crude marketing stunt and the post on the website is worded so it leaves all sorts of doors open, ie cannot remain in its current form, the idea behind GOG.com is not gone forever, new challenges await, a solution to allow everyone to re-download their games, etc.

      I’m not too worried, but then again, I back up my downloads like a motherfucker. :D

    • lePooch says:

      It is definitely just a announcement of release, not an announcement of them shutting down. The whole ‘solution to redownload games’ probably refers to the Adobe Air Download client they have been bandying about. I only know this because I recently used it to download Caesar 3 after last weeks sale.

      As terrible as the idea is, I think its a great way to get people talking about the fears we face with digital distribution, as well as the novelty that GoG has offered us.

      Also, this has made me start the days-long process of backing up my entire Steam game collection. I am going to need a new hard drive soon….

  7. Freud says:

    I think it would be sad if there isn’t a place for them. That said, I haven’t bought anything from them. I have played most of the classics I am interested in and have plenty of newer games being available on sales for me to have enough to play these days.

    I have said it before, the $5-20 segment of the market is brutal these days. It is hard for anyone to stick out. Fantastic indie games, classics and great newer games on sale. It is a great time to be a consumer. The sites on the other hand, while hopefully telling tonnes of games, have to compete very hard for every sale.

  8. no says:

    A post on NeoGAF claims that this is all a publicity stunt and that they’re actually coming out of “beta” and possibly also introducing a client (ugh). The poster on NeoGAF claims that the CEO had posted a note in “financial forums” (whatever that means) stating that people should ignore any announcements in the next week about them shutting down.

    I really doubt they’d have such awful PR as to think this is a good maneuver, but who knows.

  9. Antsy says:

    Buggers. I was excited to see Age of Wonders 2 and Shadow Magic in the coming soon tab. Hopefully it’ll be back in action in some form soon.

  10. hun23 says:

    ARRRGH!
    On Pirate Day too.

  11. Alexej says:

    funny thing is, the page was done with Frontpage! Check the HTML.

  12. Andy_Panthro says:

    Well if it’s a merger I hope it’s with GamersGate (since I already have an account with them…) although I’m sure others have their preferences.

    Really bad way of going about things though, should have been far more clear on their website message.

  13. mihor_fego says:

    Speculating about what happened can only lead to paranoid thoughts. I loved them for offering drm-free versions of games I didn’t have to struggle with to run on recent operating systems. I just hope this isn’t the last we see of this service and the guys are ok financially.

    • mlaskus says:

      It’s not like whole CDP is going bankrupt. ;)
      We don’t really what happened yet, but GoG is only a small part of a big, international company.

  14. Pandaemonius says:

    Haha, the wikipedia page for CD Projekt already says this is a marketing stunt! I think it’s stupid but might actually work to bring in customers if it is one.

    If it is being sold/axed… Did CD Projekt decide they need some extra cash to help push The Witcher 2 or something? Which would you rather lose, GoG or CD Projekt RED?

    • Gritz says:

      Bring in customers? If anything, this has insured that I never buy anything from them again.

    • Pandaemonius says:

      Well, it is generating publicity and sympathy. People who were always meaning to have a look but never did will be sorry they missed out. Once they find out, some will be more pleased that it’s there than annoyed at being manipulated….

      Didn’t say it was smart. They will likely get new customers. But they will also generate a bad feeling amongst existing ones.

    • Ozzie says:

      I think most people will be pissed for being tricked into having sympathy with them. Like me, for example.

  15. Dominic White says:

    Yeah, this is pretty shitty either way.

    If the site is dead, we basically have to hope that they do work out a way to salvage our bought games – they’re under no obligation to, though.

    If this IS just a giant prank, then they’ve proven that they can and will (if they find it amusing) revoke all your rights to your purchased software at a moments notice, and lie outright to their customers.

    Either they’re dead without warning, leaving us without a major webstore and unable to access our own games, or have devolved to 4chan-esque trolling vaguely disguised as ‘marketing’.

    • Lukasz says:

      Revoke your what?

      they did not revoke anything. You still can use the game you bought and purchased. Them not having those games available for download is not the same thing as revoke. Steam closing down would be a revoke because at the moment there is nothing you can do to make games playable without steam being in business. WIth gog i can still run Caesar 3, i can still install it. Just not redownloading.

      Learn the difference.

    • TCM says:

      So when your hard drive crashes, and you lose the installer, and you can’t download it, and you haven’t backed it up…

      Which is no more unfeasible a scenario than steam suddenly revoking your access to all your games.

    • Dominic White says:

      I had all my GoG installers backed up, on a seperate external HDD I used specifically for keeping things safe and off my primary work drive.

      It died two weeks back, and I hadn’t redownloaded my games. I have one of the 11 installed. The other 10? I don’t own anymore, apparently.

    • Lukasz says:

      if you have a fire, your cat pees on cds, if you step on a box

      you cannot play the game either.

      You could have burn the game on the disc making it no different than a retail game. cheaper and more convenient as you can make backups anytime (no cd protection)

      At the moment if steam goes down there is no hope for your collection. Gog dieing now is nothing more than inconvenience.

      and you can always ask someone who also bought it to send you a copy right?

    • TCM says:

      Are you listening to your own arguements?

      Yeah, all those things will kill your access to games sure as steam going down will. Steam going down is that same level of terrible-but-unlikely scenario. It’s not like you’ll be able to make backups on disc of your games if your computer goes up in flames, or something. And there’s obviously still hope for your collection, since the last thing you said to do is illegal anyhow, you can always just pirate it.

    • Dominic White says:

      You seem to have trouble comprehending the entire nature of digital distribution.

      When you buy a game, you are buying the authorization to access those files from their servers. If they can (without any legal complaint) remove those servers altogether without warning and run off with my money, laughing, that’s just not on.

      I know a guy who bought a game off the site last night, and just hadn’t gotten arounnd to downloading it yet. He got nothing, they got his money. Isn’t that called theft?

    • TCM says:

      It’s not theft because, despite what Gog claims, he never owned the game, merely a liscense to download its installer from their site.

      Money, dear boy.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I thought you only ever buy a licence to software? If they have had to shut it down to losing money and being forced to. Then I don’t see how they owe you anything.

    • Dominic White says:

      So, we’ve reached the conclusion that digital distro sites are fully within their legal rights to take your money, and then do whatever the hell they want? Even if that means not actually giving you the service that you paid money for?

      That’s just peachy.

    • Lukasz says:

      First: you bought the game so no. its not illegal. whoever gives you the game it will be the same one as you bought. it will be yours.

      second:

      Yes. Your friends was robbed.

      Third:

      Nothing was revoked. I can still play all those games i had installed. I can reinstall them without problem from backup media. Because the backup media got destroyed doesn’t mean anything got revoked.

      Fourth
      Steam will fall, so will d2d, gamergate and gog. The difference is that with gog (and maybe gamergate too. don’t know) at the moment at least, when this happens you won’t be able to play games you purchased. With gog games you can.

    • TCM says:

      They are absolutely within their legal right to do so. Firmly and completely.

      Is it wrong? Yes.

      Is it legal? Sure as heck.

      In a court of law, would it hold up? Yes, as confirmed by a recent appeals court ruling that all you ever own regarding software is a liscense, and not the software itself.

      It’s not preachy, it is a statement of unforgiving fact.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah it sucks. But it will have been in the licence agreement you agreed to when you purchased it.

      Also, they have said they will make the games available to download to everyone who bought them anyway so it doesn’t really matter. You will be able to download the games again, just not at the moment.

    • Calabi says:

      So it looks like I’ve lost one of my games then. I stupidly didnt download it at the time because I didnt want to play it at the time, and it seemed to have the same funcionality as steam(your games are kept with your account).

    • Dominic White says:

      Well, if it turns out that this whole thing was an elaborate PR stunt/prank/troll, then they’ve well and truly proven that they have the right to screw with me whenever they want. And thus, I have the right to never give them money ever again.

      Like I said, it’s a shitty situation whether they’re really shutting down or not.

    • Lukasz says:

      so no more Digital downloads for you then Dominic?

    • malkav11 says:

      They specifically promised that you would be able to redownload your purchased games from their servers. This was part of the service that they were providing. I specifically repurchased some games that I already owned for that very reason, and I refuse to do business with any digital distributor that does not make that promise. So, they very much have revoked something I was promised for my money, and even if this is a publicity stunt or they provide the promised alternate download mechanism in the future, the manner of the current takedown is very much unacceptable.

    • Dean says:

      “In a court of law, would it hold up? Yes, as confirmed by a recent appeals court ruling that all you ever own regarding software is a liscense, and not the software itself.”

      Is that true? It’d be interesting if so. As it’d make torrents of games and software (assuming they didn’t include a keygen) completely legal. If the rights only lie with the license, sharing the files would be fine, and any RIAA style prosecutions would have to prove you used the software, rather than just downloaded it.

  16. Akira says:

    The idea that this is a marketing stunt, wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for GOG. They frequently have mysterious count downs on their site, which create a furry of speculation and excitement on their community forums.

    In the event that this isn’t a stunt, this provides a nice opportunity to illustrate one of the grand benefits of DRM-free games: I have fully functioning backups of all the games I purchased on GOG.com, so I am empowered to install and play the games I purchased whether the company continues to exist or not :D

    -Akira

  17. sinister agent says:

    Damn. A warning would have been nice. I’ve bought more games from gog in the last 18 months than I bought in the previous decade.

    Damn and double damn. I like gog. If they start treating their customers like criminals like (almost) everyone else… I don’t think I even want to think about it.

    • TCM says:

      They aren’t treating you like a criminal.

      Rather, they are behaving in such a way that they know they already have your money, and there is nothing you can do about it. Whether or not they actually give you what you paid for is at their discretion, and there is no law preventing them from simply running off with the cash and leaving you without access to anything you purchased. It’d actually be cheaper that way than to bother spending money on servers people can download their games from.

      Money, dear boy.

    • sinister agent says:

      They aren’t treating you like a criminal.

      Yes, I know they’re not. Hence my use of the word “if”.

    • Davian says:

      Common fucking decency, dear boy, is what they lack. This is despicable. Thank goodness this other thing I like to call “torrents” has some pretty good deals going on right now.

    • TCM says:

      You should read the rest of my statement.

      They are, in fact, treating you worse.

    • TCM says:

      Common decency means nothing to any company. Or most people.

      Money. That is all they want, it is all any company cares about, and you’re fooling yourself if you ever believe otherwise.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think it actually does to most companies. Gog’s business was almost built out of being nice, if it was a PR stunt it could destroy their current fanbase.

    • TCM says:

      So basically, they have ignored common sense.

      So common sense means nothing to them.

      Q.E.D.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Oh indeed. And I read that in the voice of the Hitchikers Guide and it made me laugh out loud!

    • Adventurous Putty says:

      For God’s sake, will you stop saying “Money Dear Boy” every goddamn post? You’re giving me a headache.

      (Money, Dear Boy.)

  18. Andrew Morris says:

    Thing i hate the most about this, is if its a stunt or not, they might of done serious damage to publishers or even customers when it comes to the future of digital distrbution.

    If a company such as GOG can go under in such a quick fashion, who’s to say any number of other digital distrubition companys can’t do the same?

    But if its a prank, to me its just managed to highlight the biggest issues you can get from digital distrbution.

    If i pre-order a game at a Game store, and Game goes bankrupt overnight, i may be able to get my money back when the administrators come in.
    If my house burns down, my insurance will likely cover the cost of replacing most of my games.
    If someone like GoG goes down, and i have ten’s or hundreds of pounds of undowloaded games, thats it, theres no way of contacting them, and no way of getting my games if they dont offer a way to get them before they are gone forever.

    Also highlights the issues of going towards the smaller companys to digitally distribute your game.
    Know GoG did classic stuff, but why would a small publisher try and sell with a similar service, if the same thing could happen to them?

    Anyway, as i was typing GoG have restated the fact they will let you download all your games again, but if all this conference and secret email stuff is true, it looks like a very very bad stunt.

    • Akira says:

      Backup your games buddy! That’s a wonderful privilege offered by purveyors of DRM-free games.

      If you are writing a novel, would you trust that your hard drive it is stored on will not fail, or would you make regular backups to another storage medium. Same with GOG; if the games you have purchase constitute great value to you, then it is worth maintaining a backup copy, ie 1 copy on GOG servers and 1 copy at home.

      As for pre-ordering games: I don’t do it often myself. There isn’t much reason to spend your hard earned coins on something that doesn’t yet exist.

      -Akira

    • TCM says:

      But what if you lose both your original and your backups? You’ll be left without the game just as much as you would if DRM cut off your access to it.

      If you think that’s unlikely, why argue that Steam could revoke your access to games? It’s a double standard.

      There is NO REASON to trust any digital distributor above the rest, and no reason to believe DRM-Free makes everything alright. This is what I have argued from the start, and will continue to argue. Use them all you want, but don’t trust them as far as you can throw them.

    • DrGonzo says:

      To be honest I back most of my files up on the internet so I can redownload them later because Hardware fails, but I can always download it again. Oh no wait..

    • Andrew Morris says:

      Ah, but failure of your hardrive is a mechanical issue that can occur at any time. A company is self aware, so it should know it only has enough time/money/staff before the ability to backup is gone, so can atleast inform the community of that before it shuts down.

    • Akira says:

      TCM. Judging by your words, I think that you haven’t put much thought into the nature of DRM games, vs non-DRM in the context of backups.

      TCM says:
      September 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm

      But what if you lose both your original and your backups? You’ll be left without the game just as much as you would if DRM cut off your access to it.

      Yes – if you lost the original and all your backups you would be left without the game. That’s pretty obvious. The likelihood of that worst-case scenario happening depends on lots of variables, ie: how many copies you have, how reliable the storage mediums are and what scenario created the data-loss (it may have been a fire that destroyed all your copies). Data redundancy is just a practical problem though, and if you have the intention to backup and average mental abilities I’m sure it’s a problem that you can solve.

      DRM can undoubtedly change the scenario. If the DRM implementation stops you from playing the game without checking in with a remote server, then that remote server becomes a single point of failure. It doesn’t matter how many backups you have, whether they are geographically separate (to avoid theft / fire scenarios), or the quality of the backup medium. If that server fails you loose your legally purchased copy of the game. If you ok with computers and don’t mind breaking the law and don’t mind risking getting a virus on your computer you could resort to obtaining a cracked copy of the game on some p2p network.

      TCM says:
      If you think that’s unlikely, why argue that Steam could revoke your access to games? It’s a double standard.

      Steam is an real world implementation of the DRM-implementation example I mentioned above, so all of the text above applies to it.

      TCM says:
      There is NO REASON to trust any digital distributor above the rest, and no reason to believe DRM-Free makes everything alright.

      DRM-Free doesn’t make everything alright , but in the context of backups alone, it puts you in a much better position. As for trusting the distributor – you don’t need to trust them (once again, only in the context of backups), if they don’t use activation servers. You have paid for your copy, downloaded your copy and you never need to interact with them again if you don’t want to.

      TCM says:
      This is what I have argued from the start, and will continue to argue.

      A blind, unfaltering stance on an issue. I think you’d relate well with fundamentalist Christians.

      -Akira

    • Torgen says:

      I just *love* these people whining that it’s GOG’s fault that they didn’t backup or take delivery of the games they purchased. Personal responsibility is truly a dead concept nowadays. Are you people going to cry that WalMart are thieves that stole your money when you step on a CD of a game that you bought from them?

    • TCM says:

      For the record I am a fundamentalist Christian.

      It’s okay, I take no offense at your remark. Insert smily face here.

    • Harlander says:

      Personal responsibility is truly a dead concept nowadays.

      Sadly, the more popular concept of bloviating about ‘personal responsibility’ will never die.

    • Torgen says:

      @Harlander
      Oh that’s right, someone may be scarred for life if they’re criticized for their irresponsibility.
      Carry on (in both senses of the phrase.)

    • blargh says:

      @Akira:

      Good man! Took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Akira says:

      @blargh

      He he – I was hoping you wouldn’t notice :P

  19. Gabbo says:

    Not exactly the best way to garner good will among your existing customer base (though if final, it shines a light on the problems of digital distribution) or anyone weary of such services.

    Still, I’ll wait and see what the 22nd brings before I feel I’m out the 12-18 dollars in games I dont have backed up (not a huge loss in the end)

  20. Nero says:

    I was very surprised when I saw this message. Don’t know what to think, if it’s a stunt then what the hell.

  21. Carra says:

    If it’s not a joke it’s handled very poorly. The correct way to do this is to just prevent everyone from buying new games. Let your clients in and let them download the games they bought. Personally got an archive of about 40-50 games on gog.com. Still have to download half of them too…

    • Archonsod says:

      That assumes that whatever they’re doing leaves the back end intact enough to identify whether someone is entitled to download a game, and that you’re not changing the storage of said games significantly so they’re still available to be downloaded via http in the first place.

    • Lukasz says:

      Forums should be fine.

      and they should have handled it much better. it is my fav. service but damn. the whole situation is shitty.

      if we get system shock 2 or PST or syndicate 2 then i might forgive them. otherwise 2 years of my respect is down the drain.

    • Archonsod says:

      I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they relaunched with a focus on more than just old games.

  22. ZIGS says:

    As long as when they’re back, they have System Shock 2 up for sale, I don’t care

  23. Blather Blob says:

    That was a rude and abrupt way to go out of business.

    If it is just a lie (“We’re closing down the service”) and a prank, it has succeeded in shaking my trust in them (being able to redownload is a massive value in a DD), and I doubt I’ll ever buy anything from them again.

    Aside from all the lost customers, I imagine it’s going to make it harder for them to justify their DRM-free position to publishers, since I’m sure a lot of guilt-free uploading (and promotion of the uploads) of their installers is going to start happening real soon, to help everyone left high and dry without backups. And I’m sure not just legitimate customers will be the ones downloading those installers in the days and months and years they’ll continue to float around as torrents.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “On a technical note, this week we’ll put in place a solution to allow everyone to re-download their games.”

    • TCM says:

      But they have no obligation to.

      And beyond that, there’s still no access right now.

      And beyond that, they have proven they can cut access any time.

      And beyond that, they seem to have cut access for a simple, childish PR stunt.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “And beyond that, they seem to have cut access for a simple, childish PR stunt.”

      For moving out of beta, you mean. Unannounced interruption of service might not be all that unexpected in a beta, come to think of it. Happened to Starcraft 2 a fair few times as well, actually.

    • TCM says:

      Coming out of beta while pretending like they’ve gone down for good, yes. I would classify that as a childish PR stunt.

      I would be on your side, if they made a clear statement on the page that they were just coming out of beta, and they’d launch the proper full version soon. But they didn’t, so they’re just jerking the chains of everyone who bought anything from them. Proving, naturally, that they can and will jerk the chains of people who buy things from them.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @pkt-zer0: If they are going out of business, they apparently delayed announcing until they can no longer even afford to keep their full website running. I wouldn’t trust any promises of what they hope to do in the coming weeks.

      If they aren’t going out of business, this is now burned in my memory as to how they feel an orderly shut down will look in their future. I’m not going back either way.

  24. Snuffy (the Evil) says:

    I hope they’re not going down. I buy stuff from them all the time.

  25. deneb says:

    I think they might be trolling us. Let’s wait and see.

  26. Optimaximal says:

    Translated post on Polygamia.pl, with quote from the ‘financial forum’ referenced on NeoGaf -
    http://bit.ly/cHZTfM

    Note, the date of the conference is probably 22gi early Wednesday evening. Information about this soon on GOG.com (please do not panic after reading the information contained there:). Please remember that this conference on-line, first organized in such a way:)

    Virtually closed the calendar of conferences and we will send an official info about this in the Mon-Tues

    Tweet from GOG.com approximately 30 seconds ago -

    The official statement from GOG’s management about the situation will be announced soon. We’ll have more details about this tomorrow.

    (Link)

    Basically, they’ve realised that they’ve fucked up and everything gets pulled forward. So, in a nutshell, we could be looking at a conflagration of the scale seen by the Elemental shit hit the fan.

  27. iax says:

    The ugly thing about this whole mess is, that if it is part of some kind of weird publicity stunt, it is probably a huge success. Instead of a one shot “GOG is out of beta” news flash, they will now get several days of coverage.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Any news is good news, yes… But kicking the established userbase in the shins?

    • Lukasz says:

      any publicity is a good publicity.

      the word had spread quite rapidly. what will be the result. a week we wait.

    • iax says:

      Optimaximal: Yes, it is very disappointing. Everyone should report about the closure of GOG and then completely ignore its re-opening (if that’s what going to happen). Maybe that could prevent future PR stunts of similar ineptitude.

    • MWoody says:

      Eh, while I usually agree with this logic, I think in this case it doesn’t apply. Gog depended, to the tremendous extent unique to small indie stores, publishers, or developers, on the good will of its customer base. “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” might not apply when the only people who buy from you are those that like you, since it’s painfully easy to get what you’re selling for free.

      Of further concern is the nebulous nature of downloadable merchandise. The products you purchase from stores like D2D and Steam only have inherent value so long as you trust the service to remain solvent and accessible. Damaging their lifeline of consumer confidence in the way they’re doing now can’t possibly end well for Gog, or even digital distribution as a whole.

  28. Cooper says:

    I’m guessing a PR stunt. I hope it is – I admire the /b/ nature of it…

    • Bob Bobson says:

      I really don’t want companies to do this sort of PR, if it is PR. It’s trolling and stupid. But if gog comes back later this week with a “we’re gone for good in a month’s time” message, I’m systematically buying everything they offer that I might want someday. Except that would be rewarding them for doing something horrible. But I don;’t want to not own good cheap games… it’s a dilemma.

  29. stephan says:

    I knew i should have downloaded Arcanum when they first offered it…

  30. MacQ says:

    Let’s hope it’s just a marketing campaign gone awry and it won’t bite them in the ass.

  31. Hippo says:

    Are people commenting in this thread not able to read? The GOG-site says that you will be able to redownload your games.

    • Dominic White says:

      They also completely failed to mention that their entire site would dissapear into the digital ether, leaving nothing but a clumsily worded page of text. Any promises they make should be taken with a serious pinch of salt until they can actually prove they’re trustworthy again.

    • sinister agent says:

      I heard they took the site down because they wanted to eat babies and stamp on puppies’ paws instead.

    • iax says:

      @Hippo If you really have to shut down your download service, you ought to inform your customers before you take it down, so that they can at least backup their games beforehand. Just shutting down and promising that there will be some way to get your games in the future is inexcusable behaviour towards your customers.

  32. Al3xand3r says:

    Wtf @ TCM. The whole point of being DRM free is that you can make any backup you want and be safe from anything that happens to the company. It’s up to YOU to keep yourself safe just like retail copies in the good old days, not just the company you purchased it from. Yeah, there’s a chance you’ll still lose all your shit from a streak of bad luck with the company going down, your hard drive crashing and your discs melting in a fire that destroys your house, but you’re just being silly saying that those possibilities mean you shouldn’t “trust” a dd service because with that thinking you shouldn’t trust any purchase ever, digital or physical, game or not, as with such a mind boggling streak of bad luck anything you own can get destroyed for good and leave you with no proof of ownership. It’s not a trust issue, it’s a shit happens issue, and being DRM free severely reduces the possibility of losing your stuff since a lot of shit has to happen for that, not just one as it is with other services.

    • sinister agent says:

      I believe I owe you a virtual pint.

    • TCM says:

      Dominic and Vin alone prove that that bad string of events isn’t super unlikely, and, in fact, can happen fairly often.

      Why is it your fault if you lose your backups and the company shuts down at the same time, but the company’s fault if they shut down service? Do you plan to maintain that double standard?

      In both cases, it’s your fault for having any trust in a company in the first place — buy what you want, but keep in mind that you can lose everything, at any time, for any reason. The same applies to physical media, as much as it does to digital media — no company has any obligation to replace a broken disc.

    • TCM says:

      And yes, I do believe you should never trust any purchase, of any sort of media — no company in the entire world deserves your trust, no matter what anyone may believe.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      So you also went and cmplained to the game publisher when you lost your CD back in the day and were all like “omg I lost my CD and don’t have my game, those fucks can’t be trusted” or what? Cos that’s what you’re saying here. What was untrustworthy about GoG (especially when they say they’ll let people redonwload their games even though you admit they aren’t obliged to)? They offered DRM-free games, and they worked great. For some people, shit happened, and they lost them. It has little to do with the company. And I never said it’s “your fault” if you have a streak of bad luck. I said shit happens. Not just with games, with physical objects also. Anything you buy could burn down alongside with receipts so you have no insurance/warranty. Whatever. It’s not a trust issue because there’s no trust relationship with a company, they sell you something, you buy something, and that’s it.

    • Alex says:

      I bought bread and on the way home I tripped and it fell in the mud and the baker wasn’t obliged to and wouldn’t replace my bread what a fucker I’ll never trust him and just keep our relationship professional.

    • Akira says:

      @Alex:

      Loving the bread metaphor. For some reason I feel you should of ended it with “… so I beat the living shit out of him.” :P

      -Akira

    • Alex says:

      Lmao. But then I would end up in Jail over bread :-(

    • Jason Moyer says:

      The bread metaphor makes no sense. Unless the baker came out and threw your bread into the mud. This situation (presumably a PR stunt) is being caused by the service provider, not the userbase.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      The service provided DRM-free games to you, just like the baker provided a no-strings-attacked bread, if you lost them then it’s just like the bread metaphor. Aside from a minority that may have bought a game just before they closed and didn’t have time to download it just yet for one reason or another, but they do say they’ll provide a soluton for people to download their games which should take care of that.

    • Stu says:

      No, see, this is like a local baker who told you that if you buy a loaf of white bread from him then you could go back at ANY TIME to get another loaf and then one day you’re all out of bread and you want a cheese toastie so you go to the baker but he’s pulled the shutters down and put a sign up saying “THIS BAKERY CANNOT GO ON IN ITS CURRENT FORM” so you have to drive to Sainsburys to get a loaf and then a few days later the baker reopens the bakery and he’s all like “HAHA oh man I pranked you good, I just meant it couldn’t go on without selling croissants as well!” but by that point it’s too late because you don’t feel like you can rely on him any more so instead you buy all your bread from Sainsburys and the baker ends up going out of business THE END

    • Al3xand3r says:

      No, it’s like the baker telling you you can get a new bread as long as he’s in business, for obvious reasons, as if he goes out of business he can’t keep making bread for you. The same would apply if he was temporarily locked down for any reason, be it sickness, vacation, inspection, or anything of the sort. He wasn’t gonna send you bread from Hawaii! And something like that happened! But hurray, your already received bread remains usable because thankfully it was DRM-Free unlike other bakers’ bread where you couldn’t eat their bread until you called the bakery and they gave you the magic word that made it edible! Oh and the baker in this instance is even assuring you he’s working on a solution so you can get your bread while whatever is happening happens and it will just take a little while so if you could be patient, especially considering you already have enough bread for quite some time short of a fire that destroys your house and all your stored bread, so it’s hardly the prank you describe.

  33. jalf says:

    It seems the Pc games industry is now trying to kill itself.

    And that’s different from what it’s been doing for the past decade how, exactly?

    As TCM says, you really shouldn’t trust *any* DD service. But at least with a DRM-free service such as GOG we had the opportunity to back up our purchases. Those of us who did so will be able to play our games as long as we keep those files safe.

    Of course, the odds of Steam going under any time soon are pretty remote, but the stakes are also higher: *if* it happened, we would have no legal way to install, much less play, our games again.

  34. westyfield says:

    The fuck, GOG?

    I never did get round to buying Freespace 2.

  35. oceanclub says:

    If it is a marketing stunt, it’s one of the most stupid ones I’ve ever seen.

    P.

  36. blargh says:

    I think it’s just a PR stunt. I have a hard time believing they’d just shut down like this overnight.

  37. Po0py says:

    They tweeted this the other day: “Sometimes it’s really hard being DRM-free… hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy :(”

    I sincerely hope it’s not about the DRM issue but judging from their tweet it looks that way.
    I kinda thought something might be amiss. Good luck to them. I bagged a few good games from that site and always check in from time to time.

  38. Wooly says:

    I think I don’t believe it… From a business point of view, no rational company would do this without some sort of closing sale. If they are closing, which I really really really really REALLY hope they’re not, they had better have a sale so I can buy all the games on there that I was planning to purchase but never got around to buying!!

  39. Hippo says:

    TCM: If you buy a DRM-free game in retail (boxed copy), forget to make a backup and then break the DVD, who are you going to blame?

    • Hippo says:

      (and if you buy a DRMed game in retail, which won’t allow you to make a backup, and you break the DVD, who are you going to blame then?)

    • Dean says:

      Actually, I believe if the game has DRM such that you can’t make a back-up, the publisher are obliged to provide replacement media at a reasonable cost. It’s generally the small print at the back of the manuals.

  40. AlexW says:

    Annoyingly, this poorly-worded move to a new version means I can’t take advantage of that weekend deal they were running. Good job on the timing there, guys.

  41. Duoae says:

    So… does anyone know what the original wording was as alluded to by Jim? When i first saw the site many hours ago, it was as it is now.

  42. StingingVelvet says:

    PR stunt, service change or actual closing, no matter what this is it was handled VERY poorly. Even though it is a Sunday I would get some people in and correct this if I were them, one way or the other.

    I’m a big supporter of GOG for being DRM free and for selling games I consider to be better than most modern games. This is a kick to the balls though, no matter what the intent. Launching again with DRM and a client after this would just be spitting on my already kicked in the balls body while it lies on the floor in agony.

    That said, watch a client and DRM make them more popular than ever. Worked for Valve.

    • blargh says:

      I wouldn’t hold it against them if that’s what it takes for them to sell newer games and start competing with Valve. Otherwise, I see no point of launching with a client if they’ll still only sell older games.

      And yes, I agree, this is not the best way to handle things, even if it is just a stunt which I believe it is.

  43. Davian says:

    This is one of the reasons why I miss big box versions of games. Even if my cd got scratched from too much use or neglect, I’d still have my mint-condition manual, cloth map, glossy box, original promo material, wobbleheads all those other delicious goodies. Nowadays there’s really no incentive to buy games non-digitally, seeing how stingy they are.

  44. Gunrun says:

    I sure am glad I decided to buy that Codemasters pack yesterday.

  45. Starky says:

    Meh, if GoG shot down and I somehow lost the games I downloaded and backed up… I’d just Pirate them.

    I have receipts in my email archive proviong that I baught and paid for them, so it doesn’t matter where I download them from.

    Just like I have freespace 2 in a box with a CD that is ureadable, so I downloaded a Pirate copy… no big deal.
    Thanks to bit torrent almost nothing disappears on the internet, and if you can’t find it a simple request will get you it most times.

  46. Al3xand3r says:

    The service provided DRM-free games to you, just like the baker provided a no-strings-attacked bread, if you lost them then it’s just like the bread metaphor. Aside from a minority that may have bought a game just before they closed and didn’t have time to download it just yet for one reason or another, but they do say they’ll provide a soluton for people to download their games which should take care of that.

  47. Colin says:

    I hope this is just them coming out of beta and pulling some sort of stunt

  48. Fergus says:

    Anyone else feel slightly guilty that they didn’t spend more time checking this site out?

  49. Reliant39 says:

    Will the people with the broken analogies c.q. metaphors please shut up? Yes, I’m talking about downright moronic statements like “Ooh, if a disc breaks, who you’re gonna blame?”, “What if your houses burns down and turns your discs into ash?” and your “If I buy bread from a baker…” nonsense. For your information, it used to be the case that if you broke a disc or scratched it or whatever, you could send it in the mail to the publisher, along with a self-addressed envelope (and stamps), and they would send you a replacement disc (or floppy, tape, whatever–I’m showing my age). And if your house burns down, you can probably get some money back via insurance, so you can replace at least part of your burnt collection.

    This situation is very different from buying a loaf of bread–which is, after all, a consumable (i.e. you buy it, you eat it–or drop it in the mud, or whatever it is that some of you apparently do with bread). When you buy a game, you buy a licence to play that game; GOG.com offers a service by adding the game to your account and storing it on your virtual shelf, so that you can actually make use of your licence. You can then download the game from this virtual space and install at your leisure. It’s no different in that respect from Steam, apart that the games themselves have no DRM and come with their own handy little setup program, so that you can, indeed, make backups. But if the service stops to exist, where can you go to download your game when you haven’t been paranoid enough to make backups of all of your purchases (guilty here)? What does your licence buy you then? A big fat nothing, that’s what!

    People who are worried about this kind of development clearly have every right to be. Don’t belittle them buy hitting them over the head with your preposterous, fallacious, and downright childish soggy bread analogies!

    • Unreliablyso says:

      “But if the service stops to exist, where can you go to download your game when you haven’t been paranoid enough to make backups of all of your purchases (guilty here)?”

      I know places. So do quite a lot of people. They are just hatey-frowned upon by the righteous everyone-elses here and other places. Nonetheless they exist and likely have 1:1 original copies of most if not all your potentially lost purchases(and no, not trojanvirusmadhaxxinfested, either) if you are willing to go there.

      Personally I feel there is nothing wrong with redownloading a game you have purchased a license for.

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