FMV Without The Clicking: GOG Starts Selling Movies

Things wot you can buy.

Look, all I want to know is: when can I exchange wizard hats for whisky? The few video game digital distributors that seem to have survived the tensies in decent shape are all moving towards selling digital movies and music and software and all that, but when will they get serious and go physical too? When will they sell groceries? When will Steam let me earn virtual wizard hats playing Dota 2 then sell them on the Steam Community Market to fill my Steam Wallet and blow that on official Demoman-branded whisky or Kunkka’s Rum that someone will deliver to my door?

Today we’re perhaps one step closer to realising that dream, as GOG have started selling DRM-free downloads of movies.

GOG’s launch lineup of 21 movies and documentaries covers the usual “gamer” interests of video games, cosplay, old video games, comics, bronies, YouTubers, and so on. It’s gamerfication–building that curious supposed shared lifestyle, identity, and wider culture around video games–but GOG need to start somewhere. The announcement says they’re looking to get into just plain old regular moving pictures too once they’ve proven selling DRM-free movies is feasible:

We talked to most of the big players in the movie industry and we often got a similar answer: “We love your ideas, but… we do not want to be the first ones. We will gladly follow, but until somebody else does it first, we do not want to take the risk”.

Most of the starting lineup comes as 1080p video, some 720p, and GOG also offer 576p versions for people who don’t want to download, or can’t run, the full fanciness. They all cost £3.69 ($5.99) right now, though that’s only a promo price for some.

Here, look, you can see how it all works by downloading a free documentary about The Pirate Bay or another free one about indie games (no, not that documentary).

Humble already sell comics, books, and movies in their Humble Bundles from time to time. Valve had a bit of a nosey at selling moving pictures through Steam, starting with Indie Game: The Movie in 2012, but still haven’t really given it a good go. We’ll see about that. SteamDB spotted that a Steam client beta added item categories for TV series, video, and music earlier this month.

50 Comments

  1. wiper says:

    Well I’m glad to see that GOG has finally achieved its ambition of rendering each individual aspect of its acronym redundant, with the media available having first ceased to be necessarily Good, then losing the requirement to be Old, and now finally not even needing to be Games. Good work, team!

    (In seriousness I have no issues with this – a DRM-free movie download service gets no quarrel from me. Just amused that their name now has completely no meaning, aside perhaps from being mildly offensive to anybody from North Wales)

    • mentor07825 says:

      I’m okay with this though. They’re staying true behind the principles that we all know and love about the business, they continue to reward purchases with free swag and when they messed up their big website update several years ago they openly apologized about it.

      They do everything they can to stay true to their fan base. If this move allows them more revenue to keep on going and making video games at the same time, I’m all for it.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        They did announce the removal of region free pricing as good news though and then doubled down on it, despite a 10k threadnought on the forums. Until they caved and reversed it.

        They claimed that even pricing was never a core value (despite several videos of them saying it that they attempted to remove). Thing is, if they’re willing to cut one core value, why not cut the DRM free as well? They seem willing enough and even send out a survey asking if the users would accept just a bit of DRM in order for new games on the store.

        I dunno. Damage is kinda done, for me at least. I haven’t bought a game from them since the pricing fiasco. Not really a boycott, but I just don’t really have it in me.

        • stiffkittin says:

          ^This. The regional pricing thing really hurt my confidence in them. I think they try harder than most to please their user base because they’re more reliant than most on customer satisfaction to remain in business. However, there is a false representation out there of an altruistic GOG that cares more about principles and their customers than profits, which is apparently nonviable.

          • Koinzellgaming says:

            I think the reason for them to remove the “region free pricing” thing was to get Triple A’s on because the publishers for Triple A’s are really butthurt about that thing. But I do wonder if they really would’ve been OK with it if it has no DRM. Or maybe GoG is really hurting for money? Eitherway GoG is a business so having a reasonable way to earn more money only makes sense. I mean if you live in a poor country and earn 500€ a month per average, then it’s just too hard to pay for games while there’s others who earn quadruple the amount of money and can easily buy games for the same amount. I’m not saying it’s pro-consumer, but there’s most certainly a difference in paying power between countries and for GoG who already is as Pro-consumer as possible, if they need money then I’d say the region free pricing thing is the smalles drop out of the cup that’s possible for them to spill. I’d say the main reason to use GoG is the money back guarantees and drm-free games (+the sales are just as good as steams.).

          • stiffkittin says:

            As I said, I do think they try. Over and above anything else, I think listening to and being beholden to the opinions of your customers is the biggest incentive to support them.

            To be clear, I understand the reasoning for regional pricing. Still, when opening GOG from my home in New Zealand, I’m greeted with forced prices in Australian dollars (replacing one foreign currency for another) at the rate publishers have decided Australia will bear. I don’t live in Australia and I don’t earn an Australian wage and it’s crystal clear no one gives a crap about what is actually a “fair” price for me to pay, based on my earnings and buying power. I don’t think a 50% (or more) increase in prices is fair for Australians, and I certainly know it’s not fair for me.

            I simply don’t believe their store credit offer is a solution. It accepts the inevitability of publishers exploiting artificial market control and protectionist policies; admitting the futility of attempting to effect positive pressure for change. I for one, will just continue to use a VPN for all my purchases until publishers and distributors alike wake up to the fact that I’m not a bitch (Pulp Fiction reference), nor restricted by my physical location to find the best deal.

          • Koinzellgaming says:

            But has the region based pricing been applied in the moment or are you talking about how it’s on steam? I’m asking this because your current situation is somewhat of an exception as you kinda buy games through Australia and your country doesn’t have a sensible region-based pricing model and that’s the place for GoG to show their pro-consumer wills.
            The games in Australia are notoriously expensive so I do feel for you if that’s what you need to do on steam. Although I’m not too sure how fair it would be to go by the price from the cheapest of regions as I don’t know what kind of economy New Zealand has, but it can’t be as bad as Russia or India?

          • stiffkittin says:

            The Steam store is a mixed bag for us. We view it in USD anyway and prices depend on the publisher: some cost the same, including the majority of indie games. Others, like 2K, charge double the US price. I haven’t checked GOG’s whole catalog but I believe they’re currently offering actual regional prices (adjusted for market rather than just currency conversion) on just a handful of new titles including their figurehead Witcher 3, which retails for A$90.

            Overall it’s just easier for me to browse through the lens of the US, unless I know in advance prices are even. I’ve never bothered setting my region anywhere else. It’s the baseline for most pricing anyway; the value of our dollar, taxes and buying power are close enough; and many already sell digital goods to us at US prices. Factoring currency conversion on every transaction, this seems fair to me. Unlike publishers I’m not interested in exploiting the system, in my case to pay Brazilian, Russian or asian prices. I just want to pay a fair price, same as everyone else.

    • GameCat says:

      I’ve checked their site. They are still selling old DRM-free games. Their name still have meaning.
      They just added some other things to stay afloat more easily.

      • Greggh says:

        Rather than just stay afloat, mayhaps they wish to start sailing at full-steam.

        • GameCat says:

          Not bad thing, imagine world where major companies (and everyone else) are releasing their new AAA games in DRM-free strores.

        • Frank says:

          I hope they don’t try sailing at full steam. That would be an awful waste of effort, using two forms of locomotion at once.

    • Anthile says:

      Steam, on the other hand, puts out more hot air than ever.

      • Greggh says:

        Everybody is already boiling mad with Steam’s store-keeping policies (or lack thereoff)…

        …or so they say, at least (and keep buying anyway)

    • Wulfram says:

      How can you say these aren’t games? They’re simply expanding the medium and challenging our assumptions.

    • sleeper says:

      Small consolation, but at least the obsolescence of the acronym as they change their focus is quite not so bad as the famous example of MTV.

      Unless I jinxed it and they become a 24 hour reality show internet channel.

  2. rexx.sabotage says:

    “You think the Fonz is gonna make it?!”

  3. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Speaking of going physical, I’d love it if GOG would start selling CD/DVDs of games. I’d happily pay a little extra for a hard copy with a printed manual and all that.

    • mlaskus says:

      You might be entertained by a bit of a history lesson.
      GOG was founded by the same people as CD Projekt.
      CD Projekt is a holding company now, CD Projekt RED while the most famous is only a part of it.

      CD Projekt started as a distributor of physical games in Poland. They were famous for incredibly high quality releases with plenty of extras and superb translations.(classic RPGs like Baldur’s Gate were voiced by some of the very best theatrical actors in Poland, their dubbing was superior to the originals)

      Then they’ve expanded into a few other EE countries, they’ve had a brief foray into direct digital distribution of physical games(gram.pl). They’ve sold all of these some time ago and concentrated on GOG and RED.

      Back when Marcin and Michał(the founders), were in high school in the early 90s, they started bringing games from abroad by themselves and selling them on electronics market in Warsaw. These guys were always awesome.

      • Ross Angus says:

        Wow. Did not know that.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s not all roses—CD Projekt were responsible for the dire Saints Row 2 PC port.

      • harcalion says:

        Using that piece of history I asked through their contact form if they could release physical editions in a similar way to Indiebox, having the contacts in the Polish industry and so on. A very kind customer representative told me that their licence is only for digital games and could not.

        Hello, unfortunately our licenses give us the rights only to digital distribution, so while your idea is interesting, we are not able to work with it.

  4. qrter says:

    Ooh, they have Rewind This!.. if you’re going to watch one documentary this year about VHS video and the genre films that flourished on it in the 80s, you won’t do better! Highly recommended!

  5. PostieDoc says:

    What’s a Bronie?

  6. Stellar Duck says:

    Right, two things: I don’t like the mobile friendly site and good god, I hate seeing prices in Euros. I don’t know what anything costs anymore.

    • mlaskus says:

      You can change the prices back to USD at the bottom right of the page.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I was looking for that switch in account settings.

        What the hell is it doing there? Oh, well. At least it’s a thing.

        Edit: Ha! That really shows the ridiculous regional pricing of some games. 52$ for Divinity OS. I kinda regret buying that game as it feels icky to support nonsense like that.

        Also! Christ on a pogo stick. 65$ for Witcher 3. And that’s with a 17% discount. 57$ when you further take away the loayalty bonus I’d get for owning the other two game. Screw that. It’s mine for a fiver in a couple of years.

        • a_thief says:

          How is that nonsense? We have been paying 1 $ = 1 EUR on Steam for ages. And now, just because it does not work in your favour (Belgian developer; sets the price in EUR; price gets properly converted) this is nonsense?

          • Stellar Duck says:

            It’s nonsense on Steam too. Which is why I don’t buy games on Steam unless they’re discounted to almost nothing.

            1€ isn’t the same as 1$. And fuck it, my currency isn’t even euro so I have to convert it to even figure out what I’m paying.

            Edit: A new release on Steam is more expensive than if I go and buy it in a shop. That’s nonsense. 50€ is more than 50$. And it’s more than the game costs in retail. Why would I support that?

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            I’m sorry, are you suggesting that there’s some kind of cutoff period after which something stupid has existed long enough to be accepted as reasonable?
            Yes, steam would have you believe 1 $ = 1 EUR, and yes they have been selling games that way for some time. That doesn’t mean exchange rates have suddenly ceased to exist.
            As the surprisingly sensible aquatic fowl above me so eloquently pointed out, it’s dumb on steam too.

    • elwood_p says:

      Or use a currency converter.
      Admittedly, they are incredibly difficult to find.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        They’re not.

        But fact remains that I’m pretty much unable to think in Euros.

        • melnificent says:

          Practice then. I buy enough in USD to automatically convert it in my head to within a couple of quid.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Psst
        google can convert currency for you.

  7. Tei says:

    The Pro:
    This could be fun.

    The Cons:
    This will never escape the guetto of movies made by people that did not used that time to make a videogame.

  8. XhomeB says:

    Meanwhile, they’re removing 35 (!!!) games from their catalogue because of the dispute over currency exchanges.
    I mean, what the hell… They’re DRM free on your site, that’s good enough, why make a fuss about a slight price increase, losing all these games is too big a price to pay.

    • HadToLogin says:

      You sure it’s slight? Not $20 in Russia against $60 in US?

    • stiffkittin says:

      Looks like Nordic Games is pulling out. What’s the controversy? If they want to overcharge for their games in different regions they’re welcome to do so.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        While I can’t vouch for the truth of this, according to one GoG staff member on the forums, Nordic actually don’t want to overcharge for those games at all – they even gladly agreed to sell them dirt cheap in the ‘last chance’ sale.
        Apparently the fact is that both GoG and Nordic want to keep those games on the site, region free, but there are some kind of contractual issues standing in the way.
        As I said, can’t vouch for it, just what they’ve said.

        • stiffkittin says:

          Fair enough. That reply was meant to be cheeky and probably came off snarkier than intended. I really have no clue as to why they’re leaving.

          While they were never my cup of tea, I’m sure the Gothic games will be missed — as far as classics go. Won’t shed a single tear over the spellforce series departure but might grab Desperados for $1.50. Never heard of it before but looks like a lovely morsel of isometric, Western, tactical strategy.

  9. BlueTemplar says:

    Actually, I heard that there already ARE legal movies/serials you can buy without DRM… it’s just that AFAIK none of them has any “popular”/”commercial” movies/serials (like these GoG ones).

    And the legal offer for DRM’ed movies/series is worse than Uplay… except maybe for the people that have access to Netflix which is still far from being deployed worldwide (and which still doesn’t allow to download its videos, does it?)

  10. Christo4 says:

    Aww…
    I was hoping they were going to sell visual novels :(

  11. Brtt says:

    Dear RPS writers,

    90% of the time you are newsing about games that are on Steam, you “forget” to talk about it when said games are also available on GoG.

    And now that you have a news all about GoG, you get all Steamy over it… *spank*