Good Old Games Gets New, Relaunches

By John Walker on September 22nd, 2010 at 5:21 pm.

Hmmmmmmmmmm.

So what is going on at Good Old Games? The press conference is in full flow, and the company has announced… it was a hoax. Quite possibly one of the most ill-advised hoaxes imaginable. The site will continue on, completely rewritten and no longer in beta, with a few new features and some new games. There’s all the details below. More details will be added, so refresh until I say not to. It’s finished. The site relaunches tomorrow at 1pm, UK time.

Speculation has been rife since the site disappeared last Sunday, replaced with simple text statements deliberately implying that the site was closing down. “This doesn’t mean the idea behind GOG.com is gone forever,” they said. “We’re closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await.”

It was all thinly veiled allusions toward their beta phase coming to an end, rather than the site disappearing forever. But it was one that saw users unable to access their games for five days, without knowing if they’d get them back.

GoG chose to deliver the message by dressing as monks and expressing “our humble apologies”, stating that “we have sinned”. Rather than any sense of contrition, they’ve instead chosen to continue their joke, which in light of their extremely poor decisions, while certainly quite funny out of context, doesn’t seem a brilliant plan.

The site needed to close down for the update, but their choosing not to explain this to their audience with any clarity will long be remembered as one of games publishing’s poorest choices. Boasting “a lot of hints”, they imply that it was the audience’s fault for not having gotten the joke. A joke, they say, was because they feel the industry is too “stiff”. They have not been bought by a larger distribution platform, and will continue to be an independent publisher.

98% of the website code has been rewritten. The site is “ten times faster”, and can now handle six times as many users. And the download client – which was always horrible – has gone.

In demonstrating their new simple login system, unfortunately they managed to screw up their own password, and then complain that it’s running too slowly.

There’s a new recommendation system, which will suggest games to you based on games you’ve bought, and those you’ve rated. The game catalogue will divide games by genre, letting you filter by really specific choices, including single or multiplayer gaming.

Product pages will explain “what’s cool about this game”. These are being written by fans of the games, rather than quoted from marketing speak. They also say they will have been completely tested from “A to Z”, hopefully suggesting they’ll all be guaranteed to work.

They will continue to bundle “goodies” with games. 150 of the games in their catalogue will work in Windows 7, and they intend to patch the rest in the future.

They’ve also added a download calculator on each game page that lets you work out how long it will take to reach your hard drive. And there’s all the community doodahs everyone else is adding, Facebook buttons, a community page that lets you leap straight to forum topics you’re interested in, and simplifies their forum system.

PC Gamer also reports that they will have Baldur’s Gate when the service comes back. PCG also has a statement from the team, saying:

“First of all we’d like to apologize to everyone who felt deceived or harmed in any way by the closedown of GOG.com. As a small company we don’t have a huge marketing budget and this why we could not miss a chance to generate some buzz around an event as big as launching a brand new version of our website.”

They’re also very excited about their “GOGmix”, which seemingly allows you to get recommendations for games from others more expert than you. (At this point in the presentation you can really tell they’re bored of their own monk joke, but still they persist.)

The site is two years old in October, and with that they have a big surprise. Unfortunately by telling PC Gamer that surprise earlier, well, we already knew. So their big finish is to announce Baldur’s Gate, with expansion. But sadly no word on Baldur’s Gate 2 yet. But they imply that it may be coming, along with other classic RPGs. No hint on Planescape: Torment, however. It’s great that the game will be available once more, but it has of course been released on budget repeatedly over the last decade.

The site relaunches at 1pm tomorrow, UK time, with Baldur’s Gate available then.

Almost a confession that the hoax was a mistake at the end there, but corrected to “a technical mistake”.

They finish by professing they intend to be “the number one alternative to Steam.”

Update: here’s the video.

, , .

451 Comments »

  1. Vinraith says:

    They need to fire their PR department, but I’m glad they’re neither gone nor moving away from the DRM-free commitment. I can forgive PR stupidity, especially in the only DD site whose continued existence is totally irrelevant to be being able to access the games bought from them (as long as I keep proper backups, anyway).

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      It’s interesting that the people who were most put out by this were those who didn’t have backups – i.e. those who took the site’s continued existence for granted. I think that may have been precisely the point they wanted to make about DRM.

    • Vinraith says:

      The effect is that they hurt their own business, I don’t think a point about DRM is worth that. To the degree that I’m pissed off at them, it’s mostly because I fear they’ve done serious harm to the goodwill that sustains them, and I’d hate for that to cause them to actually shut down. They’ve got by far the best digital distribution model on the web, risking their continued survival by pissing off their customers for no good reason is a disservice to that model.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      This is exactly how I feel about it too. I’m not angry about their stunt—but I’m laughing at them for it, not with them. And as soon as the site is back up I’ll forget about it and get right back to the reason I love GOG: great games, at great prices, with the only good DRM.

    • Kyle says:

      No, this makes me very much doubt they have PR/Communications people at all. If they do, it’s an informal position, and likely untrained. It reeks of nerd humour — the sort that one weird kid in highschool always made that took it just a toe over the line, while still managing to not actually be funny at all. No professional Coms-person worth their liberal arts degree would ever let anything like this happen.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      This may have been a poor exercise in PR, but it was an excellent lesson for gamers who digitally download games.

      Potentially, any server on the internet could disappear overnight. Companies fail – or are bought or restructured, or make budget cuts – all the time, and this usually happens without warning. Now, if that server was your online authentication server, you just lost your game. Thanks for playing! On the other hand, if the server lets you download and keep DRM-free installers, it shouldn’t have cost you anything, unless you assumed it would always be online. False alarm, this time. Next time, maybe you will have backups.

    • Vinraith says:

      @SheffieldSteel

      This may have been a poor exercise in PR, but it was an excellent lesson for gamers who digitally download games.

      Again, tanking your business to “teach people a lesson” is a piss poor idea. All the moreso when no one is learning said lesson. You’ll note the volume of folks in this thread swearing off DRM-free GOG and heading off to buy their stuff from Steam (which, if it went down, really WOULD be the end of all your games). I don’t think they were trying to make a point, but if they were they’re even dumber than I thought. They’ve essentially driven a percentage of their customer base racing into the arms of the most heavily DRMed platform out there, well done GOG.

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Wooo, reverse reply fail. That’s new :-)

    • SheffieldSteel says:

      Vinraith, I hear what you say. I just hope that most of their customers won’t cut off their nose to spite their face. Moving to Steam doesn’t solve this problem. It just adds a couple of extra mechanisms by which a gamer could lose access to their game.

      Is there any competition for GOG in the DRM-free sector?

    • Vinraith says:

      I just hope that most of their customers won’t cut off their nose to spite their face.

      Me too. I guess only time will tell. I’m kind of torn between not buying anything for awhile, as punishment for this stupidity, and cleaning out my wishlist (and backing everything up diligently) so as to ensure that the next time they go down (presumably for real) I won’t find myself in this situation.

      Is there any competition for GOG in the DRM-free sector?

      Not really. The closest you can get is that Direct2Drive offers a few games DRM-free, and doesn’t require any interaction with their site to install or run them. Beyond that GOG are the only show in town for truly DRM-free gaming.

    • TheApologist says:

      Yep – agree with this.

      Crap PR won’t stop me from using a great service, but I’m worried it might stop others and damage a store I value.

    • Jeremy says:

      I doubt this will really “tank their business” and it really didn’t hurt it either, I doubt many people are going to stop downloading DRM free games for cheap just to make a statement against a poor PR decision.

    • Carra says:

      Good point, you can still play your games during these three days.

      Imagine steam going offline for 4 days. It would cause an outrage which makes this one seem like two babies fighting.

    • Warduke says:

      “The effect is that they hurt their own business, I don’t think a point about DRM is worth that. To the degree that I’m pissed off at them, it’s mostly because I fear they’ve done serious harm to the goodwill that sustains them, and I’d hate for that to cause them to actually shut down. They’ve got by far the best digital distribution model on the web, risking their continued survival by pissing off their customers for no good reason is a disservice to that model.”

      That’s a bit how I feel Vin. If I heard they had fired their PR dept some of my heartburn might dissipate but for now I kinda feel like telling them to eff off and close my account. I’ve been a preacher for GoG to my entire gaming group since it’s inception and really really like what they had going. Like many people I would even re-buy games I already owned on disc just to support them. Now I just feel like I’ve been screwed over by a horrible PR stunt. I just don’t feel good about recommending them any more after this mess.

      Well written piece too John. Sums up a lot of the feelings on here I’d say.

    • DrGonzo says:

      They could have done the exact same stunt, but kept a service up allowing you to download your games and no one would have been angry about it.

    • Vinraith says:

      @DrGonzo

      That’s an excellent point, actually. If they’d kept the download page up, 95% of the rage in this thread wouldn’t be here.

    • Po0py says:

      People are being incredibly harsh. I was never in fear of loosing access to my games. I’ve always known that if they were to close down that the games would be made available afterward. They have always said that. Wasn’t this a part of their original launch PR? To respect the customer? Even after the site went down they were also pretty quick to get the word out that they would make the games available at a later date. I seriously am surprised at the tone of John Walkers post. Don’t know what all the fuss is about.

      People are being way, way too harsh. They are a small company and they were trying to make a big splash. In the end, the, intention was to have maximum impact so that the company could grow. Maybe they could have done it a little better but you can’t blame a small company for giving a bit of viral style marketing a go. Kudos to them. And congrats on leaving beta.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well I agree that people may be overreacting somewhat, but I think anyone who was unable to download something they paid for has the right to be angry about it. They also have the right to not use GOG anymore and I could understand that reaction. I will still be using them personally, but I can appreciate the rage people may be experiencing and it would probably be in GOGs best interest to trying and make up for it. Announcing another free game would probably go some way to restore people’s faith.

    • Henrik J says:

      @SheffieldSteel What is the point of digital downloads if you have to manually make a backup? When i buy a digital game i buy it under the assumption that i can redownload it as many times as i want and that even if the company goes under i will have a chance to get my game, if those things arent there why even have a digital games industry? I can just buy a physical copy that comes with a manual and where i know i dont have to make backups.

    • Blather Blob says:

      What this highlighted for me is how much I value the “online backup” provided by a digital download service. I already had backups of everything I’ve bought from them (and have now compiled a list of MD5 sums in case I ever need to re-accquire backups from less trusted sources). But I was happier when I believed that I would be able to redownload if and when my backup media crumbles to dust (e.g. 3-4 years). DRM-free is great, but the stability of the company behind it is also important to me, it turns out.

      @SheffieldSteel: DRM-free competition includes DotEmu, a company emulating GOG heavily (I’ve never tried them, but they look good), a small, poorly-labelled selection of games on Direct2Drive (ship as .zip files / developer-provided installers, nothing as slick as GOG’s installer), and with a bit more work: anything on Gamersgate labelled as DRM free if you can “break” the XOR “encryption” on their installer files (hint: try 0x7F repeated 1000 times), and Impulse if you use the client’s built-in backup feature (it creates a 7-zip of the setup files with your username as the password).

    • Wulf says:

      I’m kind of amazed at some of the naivete and misinformation, here.

      1.) Steam can make backups.
      2.) Cracks exist.
      3.) Steam works offline.

      If Steam ever died, then you’d simply run Steam in offline mode, restore whatever backups you wanted to play via that, and then crack them. Yes, the cracking is an extra step over GOG, but it’s the only extra step really. And some modern console conversions on Steam have been riddled with activations and the like (stupid publisher choices), so I’ve had to crack a game, here or there.

      I’m able to backup my Steam games the same way I can backup my GOG games. If Steam went down and Valve tanked, then Valve might provide an ‘endless offline’ mode solution anyway, or one might be leaked. So cracking might not even be a necessary step.

      It just annoys me how stuff like this is used as a platform for misinformation, peddling ideas like ‘you can’t backup your games on systems that use an authentication server’. Uh… yes, you can.

      Here’s a fun example: Minecraft uses an authentication server, but you can still backup the files and play it offline.

    • Blather Blob says:

      @Wulf: Your corrections aren’t quite correct. Steam backups are useless without the Steam servers. They must connect to the server to be restored. Trying to use the restore feature in offline mode just pops up an error message telling you to restart Steam and choose “Go Online”.

      Further, offline mode requires you to have logged into the account once before switching to it. It’s not a long-term solution; you’d be unable to reinstall Steam ever again, or upgrade your computer or OS without losing access to your “signed in” offline mode.

      You can of course .zip up the installed copies, try to find all required registry keys, and keep a copy of a cracked exe, but that’s basically attempting to recreate what you could download pre-made from a pirate. If you ever have to restore a Steam game without Steam’s help, TPB is probably the best you can do for a backup plan.

    • drewski says:

      I think you need to divorce the intention from the lesson. The intention was clearly a poorly conceived PR stunt to get people talking about the GOG relaunch. On one hand – nerdrage. On the other hand, we’re talking about the GOG relaunch.

      The *lesson* is clearly DOWNLOAD AND BACKUP YOUR GAMES ALREADY. I don’t think that’s what CDP intended the lesson to be, but it is clearly the lesson nonetheless.

    • Optimaximal says:

      @Po0py

      People are being incredibly harsh. I was never in fear of loosing access to my games. I’ve always known that if they were to close down that the games would be made available afterward.

      Didn’t Realtime Worlds basically say APB was pretty safe and secure with its 130,000 users, only to shut down (permenantly) two weeks later?

      Nobody is safe in this climate, regardless of how much PR and good will they put behind it…

    • alantwelve says:

      3 points:

      1 – I think the whole thing’s been rather fun and it was always quite clear from the wording on the webpage that the service was not dead, but being updated;

      2 – Anyone who would refuse to use GOG in future over this really needs to grow the fuck up – the internet is not just about you. I am constantly amazed at just how personally some people take things like this (or any decision by any publisher/developer, etc.). It all ties in to so many debates we have about games-as-art, the Citizens Kane of gaming, etc. – the main thing holding games back from being an acceptable mainstream pursuit is that the majority of gamers appear to be angry, solpisistic retards;

      3 – Baldur’s Gate! Almost makes me wish I didn’t already own it.

    • ix says:

      @alantwelve:
      2. Yeah, fuck you too.

      Seriously, is it that hard to get that when a publisher screws you over (lying to you, plus 5 days of no access to your games), that you might want to reconsider buying from them in the future? What’s to stop them from doing similarly stupid stuff a couple months from now? Maybe decide to retroactively patch in DRM because no-DRM is “just not working out”.

      And could you really not make your point without resorting to such horrible ad hominem attacks?

      Okay yes IHBT.

    • jalf says:

      If Steam ever died, then you’d simply run Steam in offline mode, restore whatever backups you wanted to play via that, and then crack them

      Which misses the point that you wouldn’t legally be able to play your games. Sure, you can pirate them, but you never needed Steam for that. And I find it an odd argument in Steam’s favor that “if they go down, you can just pirate the games you bought”.

      Because yes, legally, that is exactly what you would be doing.

      Nobody is safe in this climate, regardless of how much PR and good will they put behind it…

      Well, true. But how does GOG’s stunt affect this? Does it make you think GOG is more likely to be forced to shut down?

      Seriously, is it that hard to get that when a publisher screws you over (lying to you, plus 5 days of no access to your games), that you might want to reconsider buying from them in the future? What’s to stop them from doing similarly stupid stuff a couple months from now? Maybe decide to retroactively patch in DRM because no-DRM is “just not working out”.

      Yeah, or they might nuke your apartment one afternoon. I’m sorry, but your argument seems as much ad hominem as the one you’re replying to. You’re not discussing anything to do with the PR stunt itself, you’re just attacking the company behind it.

      What’s to stop Valve from doing similarly stupid stuff a couple of months from now? **nothing at all**.
      And why do you feel that making bad PR campaigns makes GOG more likely to “retroactively patch in DRM”?
      That’s what I don’t get about this outrage. I don’t see how it’s changed anything about the actual service they’re providing. I don’t see why this means that GOG is suddenly going to go bust any day, or likely to patch in DRM or any of the other hyperbole thrown at them. It’s a completely absurd argument.

      The only thing this shows is that they’re more likely to come up with bad ways to draw attention to themselves when they improve their service… Because that’s all they did.

      Yes, they lied. Valve has lied to you as well, several times. Most publishers have. And no, lying is not cool, and I wish none of these companies did so.

      But at least GOG didn’t lie to make a product seem better than it was, the way, say, Valve did with L4D. They simply lied in order to draw attention to their big announcement. Which is a pretty common practice, whether we like it or not.

      No, it’s not hard to get that when a company treats you badly, you reconsider using them.
      What is hard to get is why this rule applies to GOG only, while the rest of the games industry is allowed to piss on you constantly, without you even noticing.

      What is hard to get is why GOG’s PR department seemingly means more to you than the actual games they’re selling. If GOG had deceitfully changed their business model (say, patching in DRM), then I’d have a real problem with it. But they didn’t. And I don’t see any indication that they’re likely to do so.

      Which, by the way, is unlike Steam which *did*, with absolutely no warning, implement some pretty drastic changes to their service, which vastly reduced its value to a lot of their users (European pricing, implemented overnight with no warning)
      For some reason, Steam, who has proven themselves willing to double prices overnight with no advance warning, doesn’t warrant the slightest suspicion from you, but you’re all but certain that GOG who have *never* ever given the slightest hint that they might consider doing something like this, is going to implement DRM in all their games retroactively.

      What is hard to get…. is simply the double standard employed here.

    • Hamburger says:

      “an excellent lesson for gamers who digitally download games.
      Potentially, any server on the internet could disappear overnight.”

      This is also a loud reminder that piracy and cracks are not a bad thing.
      Imagine this hadn’t been “the DRM-free place”, but someone else as already mentioned.

      Cracks are in effect inofficial “last ditch” activation bypass patches, that, if (as I suspect eventually 80% of all titles will end up) the publisher decides to just not bother or goes down “too fast”, are the only thing that will let you continue to play the game you legally purchased.

      Just about every DRM proponent and piracy hater conveniently overlooks that people exist that actually replay games or at times sideline them until they feel like playing at THEIR convenience.

      If at that point your activation servers are sitting on an electro-dump somewhere, you are just sh*t out of luck if it weren’t for the capitalistic-world-destroying terroristpedophilemassmurderers game scene.

      Of course cracks ironically wouldn’t be as needed if they just wouldn’t lock games down with an internet/PC tether in the first place..

      So to me this was a very good reminder that I should be grateful non-DRM titles and protection crackers exist.

  2. Butler` says:

    1. Thank fuck, ‘cus I love me some GoG

    2. rofl they actually went there

  3. Alan says:

    Well, this was an utterly stupid hoax, but I’m willing to let it slide this time, primarily because they’re (seemingly?) still DRM-free.

    That said, I hope everyone learned their lesson about keeping backup copies of their installers.

    • Fraser says:

      Yeah, this is pretty much where I’m at. It was a bad idea, but a lot of the hatred they’re getting for it seems waaay over the top. There was no malice in it, they never intended to cheat anyone out of their games and they were overly optimistic that everyone would work out the “mystery” so nobody would get upset. It was a silly mistake, not a sign that they’re greedy and evil.

      The people demanding they “fire their PR department” seem not to have considered that they probably don’t have one, or they wouldn’t do stuff this dumb. If they had professional PR reps, would their marketing videos sound like this?

  4. Samuel Bass says:

    Wow…just wow.

  5. houseinrlyeh says:

    I can’t see myself buying anything from GOG again. Who knows when they’ll make a “hoax” again? And what else might fall under the definition for them.
    Turns out I’m not the type of customer who likes to be lied to.

    • bob_d says:

      The irony is that I wasn’t really aware of them before, despite buying a lot of older games from other sources, and now I most definitely am, but I don’t want to buy from them. I don’t want to do business with the boy who cried wolf.

    • apa says:

      Here’s a “me too”. I did consider getting Interstate ’76 from them to replace the original I have from 90′s: those CD’s are scratched and I couldn’t get it to run properly last time I tried. But then I read feedback and their forums… and they haven’t fixed it to run on WinXP and modern PCs either. There’s a bunch of customer-made hacks explained on the forums but I won’t be paying money for those.

      Gog’s road to hell seems to be paved with good intentions :)

  6. Reliant39 says:

    What a shitty thing to do. They’ve lost me as a customer.

  7. Snall says:

    Eh, their PR department did well in the fact that it sure went all over the Net. It didn’t piss me off because it was pretty obvious it was BS…or at least almost certanily BS. *shrug*

    • Vinraith says:

      They’ve severely damaged their own reputation, struck at the greatest fear of the digital download customer by cutting off access to their games (for purely frivolous reasons, no less), and then pretended it was funny. They’ll lose customers over this, quite a few of them I’d guess. Speaking as someone that values their service enough to let this slide, I hope it doesn’t harm them so much that they actually DO go out of business.

    • plugmonkey says:

      @ Vinraith

      Hear, hear!

      I was sad to hear it was shutting down, then I thought it looked like a relaunch stunt and hoped it was, now I hope all the people throwing tantrums doesn’t jeopardise the service in the long term.

      For me, one ill-advised publicity stunt isn’t going to cause me to abandon a company that supports every single notion I have with respect to how old games should be made available to new users.

    • Rob says:

      @Vinraith

      That’s actually my principle fear over the whole affair. I just hope it’s more of a L4D2 boycott situation where actually people like the finished product to much to hold the (perhaps not entirely unfair) grudge.

  8. Ashley K. says:

    This was quite possibly the worst way to handle the situation. I can’t say I’m pleased with them at all.

  9. Longrat says:

    Predictable, and yet, in such bad taste.

  10. Paul B says:

    Well, the fake shutdown proved that a lot of people care about GoG. I just hope that the goodwill hasn’t been eroded at all by this ill-considered (imo) stunt. Still, looks like I’ll be able to snap up Arcanum which I feared I’d never get to play.

  11. Fumarole says:

    GOG is dead. Long live GOG!

  12. stahlwerk says:

    What a poor poor, incredibly poor move. There’s a reason why business is “stiff”, it’s because money is involved. How would the world economy react if the NYSE shut down its computers for an update and declared it was closing down indefinitely.

    Yes I know I’m exaggerating.

  13. CMaster says:

    Someone should point out to them that if the majority of your customers didn’t get/like your PR, then it’s the PR department’s fault for misreading their audience or mispitching the event, not the customers fault for not getting it. Even if the reason the customers didn’t get it is because they are too stupid, your PR still hasn’t achieved its fucking aims.

    Also, am I the only one with some vague qualms about the ethics of GOG in some ways?

    • stahlwerk says:

      Qualms because it invalidates the abandonware movement?
      No, I can see that.

    • CMaster says:

      Roughly speaking yeah.

      When a game is pretty much “abandonware” in that all the companies originally involved have long since disbanded, liquidated or whatever, it’s hard to see how some random corporation who happens to have wound up with the rights is particularly deserving of the money. I mean, even if GoG were to sought out who they should be paying for the System Shock games, it seems unlikely that any of the money they collect will make its way back to the developers (what with Looking Glass being long gone) or the people who originally funded the game development?

    • DrGonzo says:

      As long as the game works properly on modern systems, is easily downloaded, and comes with some nice extras I don’t think there is any moral issue as it’s that service you are paying for.

    • Ravenger says:

      @Cmaster

      I’ve got personal experience of that issue. Two games I worked on are on GOG, but I won’t see a penny from the sales. Now I’ve accepted that, because that’s unfortunately the nature of the games business, and unless you’re the rights holder you forefit any rights to royalties or other payments when you leave a company, even if you had to leave because the company closed.

      I doubt that much money from any given GOG game will ever get to the original developers who worked on the games, but I’d much rather the games I worked on were on sale than not have them on sale at all, even if I don’t get any profit from them. That’s because I made games for people to play and. GOG makes it possible to play them on modern machines. It also allows them to find new audiences and keeps the IP alive, and I’m very happy with that.

    • Robert says:

      It seems like you have more problem with selling the rights than anything else. If you sell the rights, you receive the money you might receive upfront instead of in parts. The money did get to the original owners, just in a different way. Don’t blame the last owner for that, but the first one that decided to sell it. And don’t justify piracy with it.

  14. DerpDerp says:

    After a dumb stunt like this it doesn’t matter how much faster their site loads or how simple their new login system is to use, at least not to me. I can’t support a company that’ll screw with their entire customer base instead of being honest about downtime.

  15. bleeters says:

    Well, that’s me thinking twice before I buy anything from them again, then.

  16. no says:

    I figured as much, a few days ago. I’ll be going to their site to download the games I bought in the past and then I’ll be discontinuing my use of their service from this point, onward. They would have gotten plenty of attention and no ill-will, if they had just announced their new stuff. This stunt (it’s not a hoax, it’s STUNTING) is just pathetic and lame and offensively stupid. Lost a customer.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I’m not going to give up on them, but in most respects I agree.

      I don’t see why they couldn’t have down the whole ‘GoG shutting down!’ biz while providing a link to a log in screen + download page for people’s games. It wouldn’t have ruined the already dubious appeal of the ‘joke,’ it’d have got some publicity and it wouldn’t have got peoples backs up. Win/Win, surely?

  17. Andy_Panthro says:

    I was pissed off, but there is something about the monks apology that has won me back.

    • Zinic says:

      I definitely agree. It would have been worse if they bowed to the pressured. Makes me feel that they’ll keep going, even if it kills them.

  18. frags says:

    The GOG lives on!

  19. The Innocent says:

    Eh, I thought it might be a hoax. I was never angry, but a bit annoyed, yes. PR transgressions can be forgiven, though. I played Dragon Age.

  20. Than says:

    Oh my GOG!

  21. Red Scharlach says:

    Unfortunately GoG chose to deliver the message by dressing as monks and expressing “our humble apologies”, stating that “we have sinned”. Rather than any sense of contrition, they’ve instead chosen to continue their joke.

    The site needed to close down for the update, but choosing not to explain this to their audience with any clarity. Boasting “a lot of hints”, they imply that it was the audience’s fault for not having gotten the joke. A joke, they say, was because they feel the industry is too “stiff”. They have not been bought by a larger distribution platform, and will continue to be an independent publisher.

    Classy!

  22. Okami says:

    While they haven’t lost me as a customer, it’s still a fucking stupid thing to do.

  23. jon_hill987 says:

    Well I am going to download what I have already pad for and make a backup. Who knows if I will bother to visit the site again?

  24. terry says:

    I didn’t really believe they could be that boneheaded, but no, really apparently they can. Waiting to download my installers and then I am forgetting the site ever existed. Good job lads.

    • drewski says:

      Classic case of nerdrage – cutting off nose to spite face.

      “How dare you trick me with unfunny joke! I shall no longer play DRM-free, reasonably priced classic games which work on modern systems! That’ll show you!”

    • Optimaximal says:

      Actually, he said he’s going to take the stuff he’s already bought, enjoy that using the DRM-free system and just not give them future money unless they really earn it.

      Which is something I am also considering…

    • terry says:

      Not rage exactly, just not a fan of the silly way this was handled. Taking down the storefront for your business with a “Sorry, closed!” message for some sort of zany madcap viral marketing is not something I’m all that thrilled to support.

  25. Andrew Morris says:

    So small companys like GoG usually thriv,e and often survive off their communitys. So they decided to cut all access to the community features of the site without warning, and left customers unable to acces products they have paid for. This not sounding good to anyone else?
    Then think that an emo message on Twitter of ‘Its hard to be DRM free’ and then post on the ‘closing’ of the site saying ‘We’re closing down the service’ was a big hint that the company will come back better than ever in afew days?
    As Vinaraith said, the PR needs to go from GoG, because i dont think showing major problems with digital distribution sites if they just suddenly dissapear, and angering the community over the lauch of one game series, and afew new upgrades to features, was the best thing to do.

  26. LewieP says:

    Funny PR that keeps things a mystery from customers is great.

    Unfunny PR that withholds games that customers have paid for is bad.

    As a measure of how unproffesional this is, could you imagine Valve doing this?

    • Rich says:

      In short, no. If ever there was a good example of how to do, and how not to do PR, they are Valve and GOG respectively.

    • Fox says:

      Valve = Thousands of MW2 players erroneously banned for cheating? 2 free copies of L4D2.

      GoG = We need to update our website? Let’s erode the shaky trust our customers and potential customers have in our entire business model. It’ll be funny!

      If ever there was a good example of how to do, and how not to do PR, they are Valve and GOG respectively.

      Quite so, quite so.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      Even if aliens took over Valve for day and did what GoG did, Valve would afterward apologize and give everyone TF2 hats or a free game or something.

  27. Crusoe says:

    Dressing up like Monks: WTF.

  28. Rob says:

    I’ll still buy from them, but I’ll make considerably more sure that I have backup copies of the games and extras around. It was an execrable PR move, but in the end I like getting the games that they offer legally too much to dump them; it’s pretty much a monopoly in the case of several of the companies they represent.

  29. Oliver says:

    What idiots. You want press, there’s really better ways to get it. All they needed to do was have a splashpage that said.

    GoG.com

    Back on thursday with…

    Faster downloads.
    No Download clients.
    Easier logins.
    More games.
    Newly coded website.

    If they had done THAT, they wouldn’t have lost many people’s business. As it stands… well, I wouldn’t doubt their marketshare will drop.

    • bob_d says:

      That wouldn’t have gotten all the gaming websites to do articles about gog, though. They really did get a lot of attention with their stunt. I was only vaguely aware of them, and hadn’t ever paid them much attention until this; this got me investigating them. On the other hand, I’m now extremely unlikely to buy anything from them, as I’m not going to do business with a company if I have to worry if they’re still in business or not before I’ve received my product from them.

    • drewski says:

      You don’t have to worry if you download it straight away.

      The only way to be absolutely 100% sure the company will be there to give you your product when you pay your money is to only buy from brick and mortar retail, and only buy items currently in stock. If you pre-order, if you mail order, if you internet order, if you digital distribution buy – all of these options run varying risk of company going bust before you get your product.

      I can’t say that the idea of not being able to access games I’ve paid for sits well with me, but as always, it merely affects the price I’m prepared to pay for games. With GOG, failure risk is, in my opinion, adequately compensated for by the dirt cheap prices to begin with. Given I can greatly mitigate that risk by downloading purchased titles immediately, resulting in my total loss at any one point being what, US$10?? If I buy one game at a time? Oh noes.

  30. Gargulec says:

    Well, most of their PR ideas comes from company owners. Unfortunately, you can’t fire them.

  31. Bob says:

    What is it with all you crybabies? This was a joke and they’re the only place that delivers non-drm’d GOOD OLD GAMES with nice extras and good support. Cut them some slack! What’s with americans being butthurt over everything?

    • stahlwerk says:

      I’m not american, I’m not butthurt, and there’s always abandonia. This doesn’t keep me from saying that they commited the cardinal sin (harr harr) of digital distribution, effectively suiciding their service by doing their own DoS-attack.

    • The Innocent says:

      Are you American? Do you know that all the complainers are American? What’s with whatever-you-are getting butthurt about supposed Americans getting butthurt?

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Whats all this butthurt?! It’s bumhurt surely, or perhaps arsebleed.

    • Bru says:

      A joke that is unfunny is no joke.

      I’ve never bought anything off gog, though I’ve been tempted. This just tells me that they do not care how the public perceives them, as long as they make a point. And I have no use for people trying to make a point rather than do what is right.

      Steam might be DRM that can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but Valve would never, and I mean never pull this kind of stunt. Every mistake that Valve has made, they’ve copped to immediately, and did something nice to try and make up for it. VAC makes bad MW2 bans? Gabe hands everyone 2 free copies of L4D2. That is how you build a good relationship with your customers, not by trying to shove a point down peoples throats and then claim it was all a joke.

  32. GenBanks says:

    I don’t see the need to be pissed off at them… When they pretended to close down they made it clear that they would sort out a way for purchasers to redownload and backup their games. Not being able to redownload a game for a few days really isn’t a big deal.

    • Rich says:

      It is if you’ve only just bought it. Also, even if they’ve promised to let people download their games again in a few days, if it looks like they’re going under then that ability might be temporary.

      Hell, I haven’t even got any GOG games. I just think this is remarkably stupid, and any misunderstanding and subsequent anger is entirely the fault of GOG’s PR. The infuriating smugness in saying “hey it was only a joke, didn’t you get it?” is something I will always take exception to.

  33. oceanclub says:

    I wonder what great thinks the VP of PR and Marketing for CD Projekt will go on to do. Perhaps he could advise Coca Cola to do a viral marketing campaign saying that raw faeces has been detected in their product.

    P.

  34. Arthur Barnhouse says:

    Don’t companies usually save this kind of bullshit for April Fools Day?

  35. Lucas says:

    Incredibly disappointing behavior. I really expected better from GOG.

  36. Flimgoblin says:

    Glad GOG are just being daft and not out of business.

    - bad to upset their customers needlessly
    - bad to highlight the issues with digital distribution – though to be fair they don’t have as big an issue since you can currently download all your games and save them elsewhere for a rainy day. If Steam somehow were to self combust before they had a chance to implement the plan B that wouldn’t be the case… rather unlikely I know but meh..
    - good that they’re getting rather a lot of press coverage, even if half of it is “wtf?”

    • Veracity says:

      @Flimgoblin:
      > not out of business
      Give it a few months. You can get plenty of what gog’s offering elsewhere, and I don’t think the desire to buy legit fully DRM-free versions of games is a significant motivator for as many people as the fans of that policy would like to think.

      The irksome thing is a backlash big enough visibly to damage them would end up making great ammunition for publishers who’ve never been comfortable with the idea of DRM-free downloads.

  37. Clive dunn says:

    My wife came home today and told me that she’s had enough and she’s leaving me and taking the kids. After seeing my shocked reaction she laughs and points saying, ‘haha got you’. The moral of this story is that all hoaxes and stunts are fucking stupid. Idiots!

  38. Sam C. says:

    Are people really so angry that they’ll never use the service again? I agree that it was a pretty stupid move, especially the bits where they implied they were switching to some sort of DRM. But I don’t think anyone was really hurt by not being able to redownload their games for a week. Maybe if they’d waited until April 1st, people wouldn’t be as angry?

    • Ysellian says:

      I do think it’s shameless, they sacrificed their loyal customer to gain a large audience, but agree that they never stated people’s games were lost at any point. Besides the fact that their games have no DRM means that you can back them up and use them whenever you see fit anyway. So the lesson learned is to simply back your games up.

      I would be much more worried if Steam stopped functioning to be honest.

    • Sam C. says:

      Oh god, if Steam fell over all those wonderful human beings that populate the Steam forums would take to the streets and riot. Well, the streets of the internet… you know what I mean.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      What Sam said. Stupid move, but “lose access to their games”? The whole point of GOG (besides selling good old games) is that you don’t lose access to your games, ever. It’s not a question of having a back-up. It’s about not having them downloaded at all. And, while I acknowledge it was a stupid stunt, how inconvenienced are you really if you can’t “access” a game you haven’t even bothered to install? You can probably wait a couple of days for them to bring the site back.

    • Pardoz says:

      So angry I’ll never use the service again? No. But they’ve definitely pissed away two years of accumulated goodwill with this little stunt, meaning that next time I want a game out of their catalogue buying it from them will be my last choice (after finding a torrent or buying it someplace else) rather than my first choice.

    • bleeters says:

      I’m not personally angry per sa, but this entire thing was unprofessional bullshit. Having their service turned off for a little under a week didn’t drive me into a fit of foam-at-the-mouth rage in of itself, but doing it without warning, under the guise of shutting down for good? Disappointed irritation, and for what? Extra publicity? Had they been honest about what was going on, I wouldn’t have minded at all.

    • Robert says:

      “after finding a torrent”

      How you can talk about right behaviour if you are willing to torrent…

  39. Gunrun says:

    Fuck em. Another lost customer.

    • 7rigger says:

      Well, it gained one here.

      Never even looked at them before all this.

      CAPTCHA: PHUK

      Awesome.

  40. Ravenger says:

    Terrible stunt, but I’m relieved they’re just relaunching and not closing down.

    I’ll still be buying from them – heck, I’ll re-buy Baldur’s Gate just to get a fully patched up-to-date version rather than having to find and apply the patches manually.

  41. ChampionHyena says:

    Thank you, GOG, for being here for us.

    Oh, and incidentally, fuck you. Oh my God.

    I’m going to hurl a car in pure unassuaged consumer fury. And then I’m probably gonna buy Baldur’s Gate.

    Maybe GOG’s bottom line deserves a ding in repayment for this impossibly inadvisable PR bullshit, but I’m not sure I provide it.

    Like Vinraith said, they’re too useful for me to completely leave them behind. But wow. Wow. I know GOG doesn’t have a huge staff, but I’m a little aghast at the reality that nobody stopped them midway through this and said “guys, this is a fucking terrible idea.”

  42. august says:

    This was the worst pr stunt imaginable for a downloadable game service.

    That said, I’ve been so happy with the service and the actual games in the past that I will continue doing business with them. Getting Baulder’s Gate is pretty huge.

  43. Eclipse says:

    goodbye GOG, you was such a great DD platform until you took this pathetic direction

  44. Bullwinkle says:

    If they wanted to create buzz, then why didn’t they just set an orphan on fire? They still would have generated buzz, people still would have thought they were assholes, but on the other hand, their customers wouldn’t be sitting here wondering if they’d one day disappear in the night, taking the games they’d paid for with them.

    Humour: you’re doing it wrong, morons.

  45. Papageno says:

    While it was a silly way of doing things, I’m not going to shy away from buying games from them in future if they have a good sale. I’ll just make sure to back up the installers just in case.

  46. Jake says:

    Complete speculation, but the temporarily down page is written in Frontpage, while the new site is all shiny looking (not Frontpage), surely a proper PR stunt would get the designers in on the act? So maybe this was all the fault of one manager type who had a spontaneous brainwave and didn’t consult with the monks in PR and they are trying to cover. Or maybe not, but at least this way you can lay the blame at the feet of just one imaginary guy.

  47. no says:

    These guys are idiots.

    QUOTE: “they imply that it was the audience’s fault for not having gotten the joke”

    First, it’s not a joke. As I said before, it is STUNTING.

    Second, we’re not an “audience”. We’re your paying customers and clients.

    Third, it’s not our fault when we recognize your “joke” as not being amusing or interesting in anyway. It’s even less our fault when we see behind your “joke”, immediately.

    This reminds me of people who pull “pranks” on April Fool’s day. “Our website is changing to do all pokemon coverage all the time!” or “Hey, why are you at work today? It’s Saturday! — NAH, JUST KIDDING, IT’S FRIDAY — APRIL FOOLS!”. Those aren’t practical jokes. Those are “lies”. They’re stupid, terrible, unoriginal, groan-inducing, pathetic, embarrassing attempts at “humor”.

    Just like this stupid stunt was.

  48. Ridye says:

    Heh.

    The BAD
    In these times when “angry internet men/women” are ready to strike for pretty much naught, GOG team should indeed have known better. Specially reducing the downtime to 1-1.5 days at most which -to me- is the only valid concern/critic from customers: That they were not able to access their yet-to-download purchased titles for several days. And only on those cases.

    Not my case, and luckily enough I’m not the kind of person that stress that much for these antics. I take it as it is.. A good spirited prank ..as badly executed as it was.

    Now, give a spank to your PR leader, and then start working extra on releasing more titles.

    The GOOD
    *New features on all the site, and perhaps extra performance (never an important issue on my case).
    *Baldur’s Gate is finally here, and seems there are more titles of the same caliber to come.

    To Improve
    a) Improve support for Win 7 (specially x64)
    b) More guidelines to download non-official MODs, specially those that add extra resolutions or improve gameplay/sounds/graphics.
    c) Fix the wishlist for future titles, merging duplicates.

    Still, welcome back GOG! (seriously, spank your PR)

  49. DrDoc says:

    No, fuck you GOG. THANK GOD they don’t use DRM, imagine Steam closing down like this… but even without DRM you closed down without warning without letting customers download their games first! I will never buy anything from GOG again, that’s for damn sure. Idiots, I never thought I would say this about GOG but I hope you go away for good now, it would only be fair now that old customers can download their old games and new customers can run for their life.

    • Humppakummitus says:

      The guys are twats but I can’t help but love them. :)

  50. Dan says:

    I hope someone notices the niche consumer market for older games, nicely cleaned up and patched, with an easy installer, backed by Dosbox, and no DRM.

    GoG clearly needs some competition.