Er, Australia: GoG Drops Geo IP Check

By John Walker on May 10th, 2011 at 11:59 am.

This has nothing to do with Australia.

We can bring you news that Good Old Games definitely haven’t changed their geo-locating policies in order to get around the Australian censoring or price hikes of The Witcher 2. Under no circumstances have the changes announced last night, that mean customers’ IPs will are no longer tracked when making purchases, anything to do with letting Oz, and perhaps even American gamers get full access to the game.

Good Old Games sent out a press release last night that made it absolutely clear that the reasons for this change, which means customers can choose their own geographic location when purchasing, was because of gamers who are travelling abroad, or simply having their IP report incorrect locations. And those are absolutely the only reasons. As the Managing Director, Guillaume Rambourg, explains,

“GOG.com has always been about trusting the user. We’ve come to the conclusion that there are a number of issues with using a customer’s IP address to determine what offer they are being presented with from GOG.com. A good number of users can find themselves negatively impacted by a policy of using geo IP to set their region.”

And that’s the reason they’ve done this. And it’s definitely not because The Witcher 2 has been censored in Australia by the lunatic Australian system where no game can be rated over 15. Definitely.

Rambourg continues, not mentioning Australia because it’s nothing to do with that:

“For example, customers may be travelling when they want to purchase or download a game from GOG.com. In this case, automatic IP address capture might change the price or the content of the game they’re ordering (such as the default language of the installer). Further, geo IP data collection is not always right. IP addresses are not a perfect or unique identifier of location, and can report the incorrect region of users, particularly ones who are not using standard Internet connections. Finally, we’re always very sensitive of our users’ privacy. Effective privacy protections for our users means that any data that we don’t need to collect, we shouldn’t. We only need to know the country that you’re making this purchase from, so although we originally planned to use geo-IP to determine user’s location, we’ve decided to trust our users and let them inform us as to the correct region for their purchase.”

It’s great that GoG are employing trust in their customers this way, because it means they know that no one in Australia would ever dream of breaking this bond by using the lack of IP geo-tracking to purchase a game that’s been censored by their country’s government. It’s arguably a big risk they’ve taken, but I’m sure that not a single Aussie will let them down in this way, by taking advantage of the honour system by entering another country as their location when pre-ordering or purchasing the DRM-free version of the game from www.gog.com.

__________________

« | »

, , , .

138 Comments »

  1. The Hammer says:

    Hey…

    Won’t Australians just set their locations to somewhere else in order to get Witcher 2, which I hear is banned in their country?

    • John Walker says:

      Look – we don’t want that sort of talk on our site, mister.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      No, because GOG trust them not to.
      It’s not like they are all descended from convicted criminals over there…

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Surely Australians are an honourable bunch?

    • Kulantan says:

      We are indeed. I sure no one here will take advantage of GOG’s trust.

    • fionny says:

      Lame that a modern country like Aus would ban something like the Witcher… fine impose age restrictions but to take a totalitarian no you cant have it outlook is a bit poo :P

    • adonf says:

      Also I’m sure no one will use the new system to pay US$ 50 for The Witcher instead of 50€, no sir, no no no !

    • tomeoftom says:

      I’m very respectful of my country’s censorship policy, and as a result I will in no way be taking advantage of this devious loophole.

    • ColdSpiral says:

      @fionny To be fair, the game hasn’t been outright outlawed here in the colony, it’s just had the opportunity to accept a certain quest “reward” disabled, so that Geralt politely declines the offer whilst the player rages impotently at their monitor.

    • 12kill4 says:

      As an inmate of this mediocratic nanny-state, I can say I will be.

    • President Weasel says:

      To be fair, most of the Attorneys General in that there Australia think the same ratings should apply for games as for films; the “MA15+ or bust” thing is mostly down to one particular luddite. There’s even on AG over there planning to unilaterally give games 18 ratings (although my imperfect understanding of the situation is that he’s planning to just slap an 18 on some games that have MA15+ from the Australian Classification Board).

      Anyway, I am pleased to hear that none of our Australian friends are planning to circumvent the censorship by purchasing the game from GOG, as this really reinforces the current Australian policy of having a rating system that is out of step with the entire rest of the world.

      In related news, I am entirely convinced that no German has ever misrepresented themselves as an Austrian for the purpose of getting their hands on a PEGI-rated but USK-unrated title.

    • icupnimpn2 says:

      ‘Twould be just like a wiley Australee to do just so!

    • Unaco says:

      You heard wrong. The Witcher 2 has NOT been banned in Australia. It has been censored, but that is 1 side quest reward, which had the option of choosing some ‘rumpy-pumpy’ as a reward… for Australia the option has been removed, and the ‘rumpy-pumpy’ is the only possible reward for that quest. Or similar. Does seem strange that keeping the sex, but removing the choice for it, has appeased the censors… so I might have been reading that wrong.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Point of information, Mr President: The particular Attorney-General that was blocking the vote on this matter – one Mr Michael Atkinson – did, in fact, resign his position last year. There doesn’t appear to be any reason this discussion is still ongoing, besides the fact that for non core or critical decisions, Aussie politics moves at a glacial pace.

    • moonwalker says:

      @adonf: to be fair, GOG.com gives you back € 16 in store credit if you buy The Witcher 2 in Euros. I already wishlisted Torment :-)

    • adonf says:

      @moonwalker: No, all their prices are un USD so they don’t give 16€ but $16 in store credit.

      So more like 10€, but it’s still a honest way to treat their customers and circumvent deals with local publishers. These guys know how to go around policies and rules, don’t they ?

      I did preorder a while ago but I already own Torment and Psychonauts and there’s not much else on there I’m interested in.

    • Muzman says:

      JuJuCam says:
      Point of information, Mr President: The particular Attorney-General that was blocking the vote on this matter – one Mr Michael Atkinson – did, in fact, resign his position last year. There doesn’t appear to be any reason this discussion is still ongoing, besides the fact that for non core or critical decisions, Aussie politics moves at a glacial pace.

      Almost as soon as Atkinson stepped down there was an attempt by the Feds and some state governments to gather the Attorney’s General on this point. But since the last time it was brought up many of the states have had elections and had a change of government or had elections coming up. The sounding out of the AGs on the issue showed they would split on party lines and the Labor states typically didn’t want to have to fend off any ‘prostitute murdering simulator’ debates very much either.
      Thus, no dice.

    • President Weasel says:

      I know all about the glacially slow pace of change in bureaucracy; 3 years since the Byron Report recommended one rating body for the UK instead of the current two, nearly 2 years (it was June 2009)since the government declared the BBFC would be replaced by PEGI, and the date for it to happen keeps on shuffling back.
      Shame that the Aussie policiticians are too scared of political mudthrowing to take the sensible step and change the system, but they’re probably right; hard to underestimate the extent to which policiticians will ignore the truth in order to smear their opponents.

      What a shame.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Australia is part of the UK Commonwealth, thus all good Australians have a legitimate claim to marking the UK as their homeland.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      I suspect it’s actually not that the pollys are worried about mudslinging – it’s just that they can’t not bow down to the wills of their Christian lobby groups. And over 80% of Australians be damned.

      Yes. I for one most certainly don’t have GoG open in another tab right now.

    • drewski says:

      The current proposal seems to be that the Commonwealth will classify R18+ rated games, then allow the states/territories to decide whether or not to allow such content to be sold in their jurisdiction.

      South Australia and the ACT are the only states to have officially commented on their plans under such a system, with SA stating that they will relabel all MA15+ content up into the R18+ category (presumably joining R18+ content), and the ACT planning to allow R18+ content to be sold in the new category.

      Good news for Canberra’s mail order emporiums, no doubt.

    • Shaid says:

      You mean “mail order emporniums”, amirite?

      For all of those reading from outside Australia; may I draw your attention to the fact that there’s only one place in this country where it’s legal to purchase X-rated pornography? Also, you should know that’s the one place a large number of our politicians live… Coincidence? Probably. /shrug.

    • drewski says:

      I think it’s just that civil servants tend to be a pretty leftish bunch, so they tend to vote for governments who are relative fans of civil liberties.

  2. Moni says:

    Also The Witcher: The Enhanced Edition: The Director’s Cut is $4.99 on GOG for the next two weeks.

  3. DuckSauce says:

    What I don’t get is why a game that isn’t even out yet is on a site called Good “Old” Games, perhaps it should just be http://www.gg.com? :P

    • yhancik says:

      I see I’m not alone to have fallen in that time wrap :o

    • subedii says:

      Basically just because CD Projekt run GOG.com, so they can release their new game on it if they want to.

      Personally, I’d be more than happy if GOG.com started releasing more new games DRM-free.

    • DuckSauce says:

      Ah so they own it, and for all I care they put everything up there they’d like, it’s just… confusing nonetheless :P

      Perhaps they should put something like copyright 2100 on their site, then we’d know why they’ve got new games on it, they just live nearly a century into the future :P

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      Also, http://www.steampowered.com is not actually powered by steam engines. And Impulse actually travels at warp speed. One of these may not be true.

    • DuckSauce says:

      And RockPaperShotgun does not ever seem to talk about Rocks or Paper, just Shotguns, what kind of site is this!?

    • Bret says:

      Well, Fallout has rocks, and there’s a paper every Sunday.

    • DuckSauce says:

      Touché on the latter, but where does RPS really talk about the fine subject of rocks? :P

    • Acorino says:

      Well, sometimes it does link to some rock music…

  4. yhancik says:

    The Witcher 2 is an old game? Wait, what year is it?

    • jon_hill987 says:

      2021, The Witcher 2 is nearly 10 years old now. Now if you excuse me I have to go and top up my car with petrol, I have finally saved up the £1000 I need. FOR ONE LITRE!

    • yhancik says:

      Damn, I knew that nap was a bad idea, I always end up overnapping.

      Has Valve released EP3 yet?

    • Quxxy says:

      jon: Count yourself fortunate, good sir, that you did not buy one of those newfangled “electronic automobiles”. ‘Twas quite a sight when that virus insinuated itself into the electrical plumbings and induced all said vehicles to violently savage their previous owners.

      Now if you would but excuse me, I must return to my toil in the Uranium mines on the moon!

    • jon_hill987 says:

      That is a negative on Episode 3. I guess they have been too busy working on the 8th sequel to “Left 4 Dead” called “8 by Zombies” I hear it is 8 player cooperative this time.
      You will be pleased to know that Valve are still making money from Team Fortress 2, the install is now 2.4TB thanks to all the hat updates.

    • Bhazor says:

      Although having to enter your credit card number for every heavy bullet has taken it a bit too far.

    • mbp says:

      Just to prove to you that it really is 2021 you can pop over to STEAM and see that Duke Nukem Forever is actually going to be released next month.

    • Bret says:

      Also, we have schizophrenic computers and black helicopters.

      Just read a William Gibson novel, by the way. He does good period pieces.

    • DD says:

      “8 by Zombies”
      You are a genius.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Sadly I am sure I heard it somewhere so no, not a genius.

    • hexapodium says:

      @Bhazor it’s a good thing the cheese crisis and hyperinflation of 2016-18 has left us using ten-million-pound notes. I just wish they didn’t have Blair and Bush on the back, striking the Bond pose. It’s just wrong.

  5. Quxxy says:

    The Witcher 2 was banned? Last I heard, a single sex scene had been removed from the game; that’s it.

    Also, I agree; absolutely no Australian would ever misrepresent their location. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work on my American accent for completely unrelated reasons.

    • Laminer says:

      Yeah, as far as I am aware, Witcher 2 hasn’t been banned, only minor change made. The issue for this game specificity, is more about regional pricing, where the game has gone up in price by about 20% a bit over a week prior to release.

    • NegativeZero says:

      They removed the ability for us to choose to be rewarded for good deeds with sex. And added a 20% premium to help us pay for this streamlining.

      Of course, by ‘our’ I don’t mean me. I live in Barbados, not Australia.

    • vagabond says:

      I’m somewhat annoyed that I pre-ordered this on steam back before GoG had it available for pre-order and it was announced it would be censored. I guess at least I avoided the price hike.
      It’s a shame there isn’t going to be a DRM free version from somewhere that I could torrent so that I would be able to play it uncensored…

    • drewski says:

      You can cancel Steam pre-orders prior to the release date.

  6. Lewie Procter says:

    Whatever their motivations, this is good for customers.

    • nofing says:

      Now we just need some of the other d2d providers to follow their lead.
      I mean, I wouldn’t pretend to be in another country, just to get uncut games for half the price.
      They can totally trust us!

  7. Tei says:

    Steam 0 – GOG 1
    For some reason I can’t play Brink, but I read most people has ben playing it.

    • Zanchito says:

      I was going to get The Witcher 2 on Steam, just because most of my games are there and I don’t want to deal with several online distribution services, but even though I am not australian, I gotta support this. Buying it on GOG allright!

    • somini says:

      Maybe you’re no an American. That’s a pretty glaring flaw is the possibility to play Brink right now. Don’t you know that oceans exist on the internet?

    • allanschnorr says:

      It also seems that the Panama Canal delays the internet traffic somehow, as Brink is not available in South America either.

    • drewski says:

      Given Valve happily undercut retail on their own releases through Steam in Australia, I’m sure they’d be delighted to provide Australians with a more competitive price.

      If they were allowed to by publishers.

      Which they’re not.

  8. sonofsanta says:

    This is completely immoral. Clearly the reason why Australia bans games that receive an 18 rating is because the whole country is some kind of Mad Max/Logan’s Run nightmare and no-one survives past their 17th year. It’s the only sensible explanation for such a ludicrous concept of censorship.

  9. Deano2099 says:

    Just in case any doubt remains, GoG just tweeted the link to this RPS article confirming that the speculation is correct: this has nothing to do with Australia and Witcher 2

    http://twitter.com/#!/GOGcom

  10. beloid says:

    things like this remind me that GOG is a polish owned site. We’re probably close to no one when it come to fiddling with policies, laws etc.

  11. cHeal says:

    Just a heads up fellas, Witcher 2 has it the Torrent sphere:
    http://www.hookedgamers.com/blogs/chrispriestman/2011/05/09/the_witcher_2_leaked_online_causes_uproar_from_gamers.html

    EDIT [Though maybe the gameplay is faked? I dunno but I wouldn't be surprised if it were leaked.]

    As for the article I think it’s pretty obvious the reasons for this change but more significantly the change reflects how GOG deal fairly with it’s regional currency anomalies. For instance I am paying more for a euro priced version of the game than Americans in their dollars. This change would I presume allow me to buy the game as an American and save. Except with GOG there is little reason to, they have already committed to refunding me 16 dollars for use on the site. Actions like this really only endear me more and more to the company.

    • Burning Man says:

      You…. did not see that coming 50 billion miles away?

      You must not PC game very much.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Not every game gets leaked before launch. It’s a shame as for once I can see some sort of call-in once DRM as a release date check being a good thing…

    • DuckSauce says:

      I suspect fake, I pre-ordered yesterday though, why would it be a bad thing if I “pirated” it now if I already paid for it to get it, a week or two sooner? :O

      Regardless, I’ll probably bide my time and wait for it to release… additionally, wish I read that it’s DRM free on GOG sooner, then I’d have pre-ordered there :(

    • Jharakn says:

      It’ll be the review version, some journalists like Richard cobbet have been tweeting about playing the full version (not the 1st act preview build). Still makes me sad that some unscrupulous journo decided to torrent the game.

      Either way I’m patiently waiting for my legit copy to arrive

    • Burning Man says:

      I’m certain it’s fake. The non-GOG preorders all have their own DRM and that is never cracked before release. GOG hasn’t started preloads yet, but it will not allow you to play the game until the 17th. It’ll retain some crucial code component or installer or… something.

    • cHeal says:

      I’m not surprised it’s leaked, I’m a little surprised it’s leaked so soon. Given that the game is available for preload today, it seems to me that the release version is finished so this doesn’t have to be a journo leak, this thing be in production which means a whole lot of people could get their hands on it.

      Duck Sauce I’m not condemning the pirates. I think it is a case where people should give the developers credit, it is available DRM free but that is another argument, I was simply bring the news to peoples attention.

      I also suspect it’s a fake.

    • Bhazor says:

      Definitely faked.
      The video shows that female torture victim topless. Something that was removed by CD Projeckt as it was agreed to be a bit icky to have a rape/torture victim restrained alluringly like that.
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/09/13/the-witcher-2-covers-up/

      That said there is some small sardonic part of me which is secretly hoping for Witcher 2 to get pirated like crazy and then sell poorly whilst their patches are downloaded millions of time.

  12. pigfat says:

    .

  13. Vexing Vision says:

    I’m surprised we’re allowed to get the full version here in Germany. Not like I’m from Germany, or anything.

    I like where they are going, and I am slowly overcoming my grudge for their publicity stunt.

  14. GuideBot says:

    I don’t think Witcher 2 was banned in Australia, was it? I understand there was some objection to the rewarding of sex for doing a quest but I was under the impression that changes would be made to the Australian version (with mods, of course, available online very soon after release to restore it to the real version)

    The real win here is for the victims of regional pricing. When a game is $50USD and Australians are being charged $80 or $90USD even on Steam, let alone the $90 AUD ($97USD) for a new game at an actual real store, it becomes very difficult to feel sad when publishers complain about piracy.

    GoG was at least offering store credit for those affected by regional pricing, but I still felt a little angry when they announced the price for Australians would be rising from the normal USD price to a new, new, new 50% higher price because of distributors. This is a great response – I don’t really have any interest in Witcher 2 despite being a big RPG fan but I almost feel inspired to buy it just to support such a great moral stance as they are basically standing alone on this one – Steam was good for the first couple years but now Australians are forced to pay twice as much on basically everything, Valve games excepted.

    Down with fake borders! If corporations get to benefit from globalisation, so should consumers.

  15. Saul says:

    I just inexplicably moved to the UK.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      I predict a sudden surge in the population of the US and Europe.

    • Starky says:

      That’s good, we need more Australians in the UK, we’re always short of good bartenders.

  16. gmcleod says:

    Definitely not banned. Minor change to a secondary quest that I actually dont give a shit about and would happily pay full local Aust price for. Having a job has had this indiscriminate game buying affect on me.

  17. Diziet Sma says:

    Which of the 5 classic RPG options would RPS recommend you download as part of the pre-order offer:

    Beyond Divinity
    Divine Divinity
    Gothic 2: Gold
    Realms of Arkania 1+2
    Realms of Arkania 3

    I’ve never played any of them, and let’s pretend I know nothing of them.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      Realms of Arkania is excellent, but EXTREMELY old-school with pretty fugly graphics and confusing maps.

      However, if you haven’t played it yet, recommending Gothic 2 is a no-brainer that is still extremely playable and impressive nowadays.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      Ta.. I’m guessing I can choose and download when it’s released and I’ve actually paid.

      It’d make more sense to get Gothic 2 then as the gold edition is $9.99 and Realms of Arkania 1&2 are only $5.99.

    • Rinox says:

      As for the Divinity games, DD is great – BD is a bit of a mess. Not a BAD game by any means, but (imho) a somewhat failed side project.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “extremely playable”

      Except for the terrible, terrible controls that led me to stop playing after about 10 minutes and never start it again.

      I never played KOTOR beyond the first 5 or 10 minutes because of similar control issues.

    • Oozo says:

      Realms of Arkania are the games that make me understand Wizardry (the RPS commenter, not the game) delivering his rants on how RPGs have become poorer in the last decades. That said, they are very old school, what with having tons of text, dozens of skills that are, as obscure as they might seem, of use in at least one minor part of the game, isometric turn-based battles, and an actual sprawling map, which you best should have at hand in printed form when playing the game.

      Especially the first two parts feel at times a bit like a hiking simulation in a fantasy world, where you can never expect what happens next (albeit in a text box), and can get severly punished for not having brought a pair of shoes or a sleeping bag along. Those games have more ailments that you can fetch while being not properly equipped than most games nowadays have character models. (And there’s a proper treatment for each and every one of them.) And then you save the realm. Exciting.

      Old school, but for my money the best old school RPGs there are. (And yes, I dream of the day when that complexity can be achieved in modern engines. Which does not mean that I won’t play any RPGs till then – far from it.)

    • Burning Man says:

      You did not play KOTOR?? WOW. O.O

      Please play KOTOR. Please. It’s for your own good.

    • Wizardry says:

      Realms of Arkania 1 and 2 by a large fucking margin. They are absolute classics. Especially the second one. Gothic 2 and Divine Divinity are both pretty good action RPGs. Of those two I’d pick Gothic II by quite a bit. Beyond Divinity is the worst of the bunch by a significant amount.

      Realms of Arkania is quite old but it’s not from the 80s or anything. It has VGA graphics and is quite easy to handle. The game itself, though, is pretty old-school. You create an entire party and get dumped in a vast world in which to explore. There are many situations you can come across that depend on the skills and equipment of your party. When travelling between towns you need to rest every night, requiring items to keep you warm. You can set a watch, go hunting for food and pick vegetation for alchemy. You have to equip yourself with the necessary clothing when travelling, depending on the terrain. Combat is turn-based and isometric on a battle screen. It’s pretty tactical and fun but quite limited.

      Put it this way. It’s the only pure CRPG of the lot. It’s also one of the most pure in all of video gaming.

    • Diziet Sma says:

      I’ve played all the KOTOR’s but I guess that comment wasn’t directed at me. As for Realms of Arkania… the more people have commented on the vagaries of the game the more it sounds right up my street. Looks like it’s a toss up between Arkania 1&2 and Gothic 2 Gold then. If I don’t choose Arkania as the freebie I’ll pick it up anyhow at some point.

      Thanks for all the input guys/gals.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      The problem with Realms of Arkania is not that the graphics are ugly – they stand up pretty well, actually. It’s that the interface is a bit shit. Especially for combat.

      It’s well worth pushing through the minor annoyances, though.

  18. GuideBot says:

    I didn’t like the Witcher when I initially bought it but intended to give it a shot with the Enhanced Edition patch but could never be bothered working out how to get it all working – the new $4.99 price is a good opportunity to finally try it and see if I want to play the sequel (which will be purchased off GoG, naturally) and also to try and reward them a bit for doing what’s right instead of what’s profitable.

    Now we just need a video of them announcing this change in monk robes and accented English!

  19. therighttoarmbears says:

    Just FYI, I think I heard somewhere that if you buy the U.S. encoded version but live in the U.K. that you will hate the terrible accents and abhor our dishonorable spelling of things.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Also, all the swords have been replaced with guns.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      I heard the US version’s release was going to be held up until Geralt produced his birth certificate…

    • Inarborat says:

      Geralt uses Buweiser and cheeseburgers for mixing potions.

  20. Lars Westergren says:

    It’s strange that the Australian politicians are so incredibly uptight while all the Aussies I meet are so very tolerant and laid back.

    When I was there studying in 2000 one conservative politician was talking about how he was opposing increased gay rights because he didn’t want “Australia to be associated with such things”. I felt like telling him – “look mate, after Sydney Pride, the Abba fixation, and Priscilla:QOTD, you are already the most gay nation in the world’s mind. This is something you should be proud of.”

    • John P says:

      I live in Aus and it surprises me too. I honestly think we could be a very liberal/tolerant/progressive/whatever-you-want-to-call-it country if our politicians led the way. But for some reason it seems like the people who get into policy-making positions are fiercely conservative, or once they get to that position they’re affected by some mysterious unseen influence that makes them unwilling to discuss these things. (And when they retire from politics, only then do we hear what they actually think.)

      Seriously, we could have gay marriage tomorrow if politicians got on board. There might be quiet disagreement from a minority, but that’s it. But for some reason, no politicians except those from minor parties want to even discuss it. It’s very strange.

      On the R rating for games … I think we’ll see some progress on that this year.

    • vagabond says:

      Because any changes to the way our censorship regime functions, require the unanimous agreement of the Attorneys General from all of the states plus the federal government, it only takes one of those seven to have a conservative government and block the required change.
      Previously it was thought that only Michael Atkinson was blocking the change, however not all of the other AGs were on the record as supporting the change, so it was possible there were others that were just letting him take the politcal flak for the stance. Subsequent to his retirement from office there have been a number of state elections and resulting changes to the list of AGs, and there is now at least one other AG that is against the proposed change. (Victoria’s government changed from Labor to Liberal (our conservative party) and as a result the Victorian AG now opposes the change).

      It has, however, always been possible for any given state to opt out of the centralised censorship regime and do their own thing. What I believe is being proposed by the new South Australian AG is that if there is no change to the censorship regime agreed upon in at the July SCAG meeting (Standing Committee of Attorneys-General) then SA will adopt their own regime.
      This will replace the existing MA15+ with R18+, with some unstated mechanism to determine which titles that are currently refused classification would be rated R18.
      This would leave SA with the ratings G, PG, M*, and R18.

      * For confused foreigners, we had two 15+ ratings, M and MA. M15+ was a recommendation, MA15+ is a legally enforcable rating, so a 12 year old could go and buy themselves an M rated game, but the shop would get fined if the sold the same 12 year old a an MA game. Then they decided to make these in line with film ratings, and so M is now allegedly 12+. The whole thing is stupid, confusing, and needs to be replaced with a uniform system for all media types that lets parents make informed decisions.

    • John P says:

      The SA A-G’s idea is a good one. It’s absurd that we have an M rating and an MA rating, one being merely a recommendation and one being a restriction. Scrapping MA is instituting R instead is a good way to go, though it might also require some changes to the M rating.

    • Rii says:

      @Lars

      The problem is that Australia has only recently developed a socially progressive party – and then largely accidentally – in the Greens. The two major parties – Labor and Liberal – are split entirely along economic lines, and both stick to conservative positions on social/civil matters for fear of alienating the relatively small but nonetheless decisive minority of voters who will switch allegiance to the other major party at the first sign of social progressivism from either. Hence the current situation whereby the majority of citizens favour gay marriage but the issue is an electoral dead-end. Essentially, there is near-zero impetus in the Australian political system for movement on non-economic issues.

    • Shadram says:

      That’s odd, because the worst homophobia I’ve ever been subjected to was at the hands of some Australians (not in a violent way, just in an insulting, verbally abusive way), and I’ve met others that were similarly narrow minded. I don’t wish to make a sweeping generalisation, of course, I also know many liberal Aussies, but describing them as one of the most tolerant and laid-back populations is not my experience.

    • drewski says:

      Australians are certainly laid back, but I wouldn’t confuse that with tolerance. Australians are racist, homophobic and sexist…just not usually bothered about actually doing anything about any of their prejudices apart from calling people poofs and having a bit of a moan about immigrants.

      The political climate is especially conservative at the moment due to there being a minority government supported by very conservative independent MPs from rural electorates.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Spoken like a true Aussie, drewski. Lived there for 4 years and I can tell you this much: you folks are good at pissing in your own beer. As you just demonstrated. But that’s about it. And it’s really no different from anywhere else on the planet. As an immigrant in your country however (a temporary one and an invited one, but still an immigrant) I was very well received, and never felt any kind of xenophobic behavior.

      I’d however agree there’s some racial issues. But that’s to be expected considering the country’s history. It’s also true that there’s a negative reaction towards immigration. But that’s a political issue to which most Aussies don’t care about. In Australia — despite those stupid pools they like to do now and then — for anyone on the streets, it becomes obvious that the only people really worrying about immigration are the politics. The population takes the same mild level of intolerance of every other nation these days. But when you get to know them, and them know you, any immigrant risks spending the night at some club having a good time with good Aussie humor, and before the night ends he’s already holding a free ticket someone gave him for the footy match the next day.

      You people are way cooler than you folks like to paint yourselves. It’s just your beer that tastes like piss.

    • drewski says:

      Only if you drink the stuff that’s made from piss…

  21. Groove says:

    Every single time I’ve looked at GoG it’s made me wonder why I don’t use it more. Looking at all the free stuff with the Witcher 2 I may buy it from them, and before this I probably wasn’t going to buy it at all.

  22. Stormtamer says:

    Nice to see GoG looking out for folks who travel. Along withe the new privacy stuff ‘if your bound by GoG’s TOS, the worse that can happen is the ban you for lying, Australian law can’t do squat’ they are doing so much more than Sony or Apple

  23. Avenger says:

    Somebody call Yahtzee!

  24. Archonsod says:

    I was beginning to get tired of maintaining an array of web proxies to ensure they got the correct location, but if I can just tell them where I am instead this makes life much easier.

  25. terry says:

    This is totally unacceptable. I represent the Ministry of Never Having Fun in Australia and this sort of heathen tactic is what we are paid to punish. I extend absolutely no congratulations to GOG on this sort of naughty policy.

  26. Ergates_Antius says:

    I wonder how many of us can pre-order the game from Vanuatu before they get suspicious…

  27. Danorz says:

    well played, GOG. well played indeed.

  28. tomeoftom says:

    In other Aus news, budget’s out. Fucking chaplains?! Oh well. At least don’t have Cameron’s hideousness to deal with.

  29. Rasputinator says:

    So let me get this straight, you can switch your GOG account’s country from Australia to United States to buy the game at 44 USD. Since it no longer tracks it. But when your account is set to Australian, the price shoots back up to 67 USD (62 AUD).

    What’s the point of even increasing the price if you can bypass it anyway? If I’m missing something here people, please do fill me in.

    • GuideBot says:

      @Raspunator – you’re not missing anything, that’s entirely the point. GoG doesn’t like regional pricing but distributors force it on them (they don’t want the ultra-expensive Australian retail product being undercut online). This way customers can get around it and GoG has plausible deniability.

    • Petrushka says:

      What GuideBot said. But also, to be fair, they do give shop credit if you pay in AUD to compensate for the higher price — “Since the AU price is almost $26 more than the price in USD, we’re giving our AU customers a $26 credit to purchase anything on GOG.com. ”

      (from http://www.gog.com/en/page/tw2v3 — not sure why I, in NZ, am seeing that. When I log in, my region is set to NZ, but I get the US version and I get to pay in USD.)

    • Rasputinator says:

      Ah now I see. Thanks for clearing that up.

  30. MeestaNob says:

    YOUR ARCHAIC RATINGS SYSTEM JUST GOT CIRCUMVENTED BY SAXTON HALE, ERM, POLISH DUDES.

  31. Stranglove says:

    Does the real australia feature Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman?

  32. Tams80 says:

    I’m still not sure I got your jist John. Could you emphasis it for me?

  33. mwoody says:

    …and perhaps even American gamers get full access to the game.

    Hrm? Have there been rumors of a censored version in the US? Crap, I hope not. ‘Thought we were done with that silliness.

  34. Joshua says:

    So does this mean I can get the censored version of the game when I switch to Australia?

    That actually sounds like a neat idea. Might keep the more conservative elements of the family down.

  35. Symitri says:

    Being located in Australia, I didn’t just pre-download this game using this new-found information, I didn’t enjoy incredibly fast speeds which rivalled speeds I’ve got from Steam and I’m certainly not happy with how incredible GoG has been with region checking.
    Now only to hope the game turns out to be not as great!
    Using these negatives hurts my head :(

  36. Carra says:

    Games for Windows Live does ip tracking.

    Result? Their marketplace is in French with no way to change it. Hint: 60% of all Belgians speak *Dutch*.

  37. Pahalial says:

    Sure, this will get press primarily for the Australia / regional censorship thing, but I’ve actually had Steam deny me the chance to give them money because I had the audacity to travel abroad. We’re talking Canada-US travel, i.e. identical Steam pricing, identical offers, etc.

    Props to GoG for respecting their customers.

  38. AlexV says:

    …and bought. Wow, but their download servers are *fast* too. Sucking down the predownload using their GOGDownloader at 8000-9000 KB/s here which is a damn sight better than Steam ever manages.

  39. Ergates_Antius says:

    Ooooh.

    I just pre-ordered this on GoG and when I looked at my account page I saw that Jagged Alliance : Deadly Game in there. Aparently they gave it away to all their users as an apology for the fake closing thing.

    Is it any good?

  40. Shadram says:

    I like this move. More for the price bit than the censorship. The New Zealand government is slightly less insane than the Australian one, so we get full uncensored versions of the games (which no Australians ever buy on import, of course), but we do suffer some extreme price hikes.

    Prices on Steam are always the funniest, in a tragic way. We get charged in US dollars, but companies like EA still hope that we won’t notice them hiking the prices of their games up. Crysis 2 and Darkspore are both currently $70 (US) on Steam over here. The only response that seems justfied in the face of such villainy is “Hahaha. Fuck you!” But then again, new games at retail here are $100-$120 (NZ), which, at the current exchange rate, is about $80-$95 (US). So it’s “Fuck you!”s all round as far as big release games go at the moment.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Mrs Ergates suggest emigrating to NZ every now and again. That sounds like reason enough not to (priorities and all that!!)

    • theunshaven says:

      Weirdly enough, in this situation we were TRIPLY fucked: GoG.com confirmed that NZ was due to get both the censored Australian version of TW2, but also the Australian pricing because of the licensing agreement with the retail bods.

      This despite the fact that we have a completely independant, and as you say, more relaxed national censorship board. The situation was an utter disgrace, except GoG.com fixed it even as they announced the problem. I give them manly huggles.

    • Rii says:

      I’m importing Witcher 2 via the UK, sowwy.

  41. Shadram says:

    “GoG.com confirmed that NZ was due to get … the censored Australian version of TW2″

    We are? Better cancel my pre-order, then. I’m off to the states in a couple of weeks, I’ll pick it up there instead.

    EDIT: Oops, reply fail. My first!

    • Shadram says:

      Confirmed with Mighty Ape (NZ online store) that they’ll be shipping the censored Aussie version, and cancelled my pre-order. Any other kiwis here, take note!

      I’ve never had this problem before, we usually get the full versions. Will definitely make a note to check in the future, though. Let’s hope it’s not a sign of things to come.

  42. AndyE says:

    I have a good old drinking buddy who is neither good nor old. We had a good old time at the pub a few nights ago.

  43. drewski says:

    When I eventually buy this, it will almost certainly be from GoG.

    I certainly wouldn’t pretend to be from a different region just to get a cheaper price, though. Oh no, definitely not…

  44. kennycrown says:

    is very good…

  45. Ezhar says:

    Nice work, GOG. Glad I bought it from them!