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Reboot For DRM-Free PC Game Download Service
Reboot For DRM-Free PC Game Download Service
September 20, 2010 | By Kris Graft

September 20, 2010 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC, the digital distribution website for DRM-free classic PC games, unexpectedly closed over the weekend, with management hinting at a possible reboot.

Management for GOG, short for "Good Old Games," issued a vague statement on the website that leaves the door open for a possible return of the service: "We have recently had to give serious thought to whether we could really keep the way it is. We've debated on it for quite some time and, unfortunately, we've decided that simply cannot remain in its current form."

The statement added that "This doesn't mean the idea behind is gone forever. We're closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await."

An update on the site said the apparent closure was "due to business and technical reasons," and an official statement "concerning the ongoing events is planned on Wednesday" this week.

GOG launched in 2008 from Polish The Witcher publisher CD Projekt. Games on the digital storefront were priced for $5.99 and $9.99, including games such as the original Fallout games, MDK 2 and Giants: Citizen Kabuto.

One of the main draws of GOG was that all of the games were free of DRM -- there were no security measures in place to keep users from copying and illegally distributing games from the site. The site's operators touted the DRM-free approach, assuring that GOG users wouldn't be hassled with intrusive security measures.

But being DRM-free may have been a difficult policy to uphold. A statement on GOG's official Twitter account said, "Sometimes it's really hard being DRM-free... hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy."

The GOG team said that on Thursday it will post a solution for GOG customers to re-download games that they purchased. Management added that was "a great adventure for all of us and an unforgettable journey to the past, through the long and wonderful history of PC gaming."

[UPDATE: Added information from site update.]

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Carl Chavez
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When they come back, if some or all of their previously sold games have DRM attached to them, I wonder if their customer service department and lawyers are prepared for the onslaught of refund demands and possible class-action lawsuits. People who paid for DRM-free installs should get DRM-free installs.

Alan Youngblood
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"Sometimes it's really hard being DRM-free... hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy."

The correct solution: Fire management and publishers. Throwing more brute force at a problem and still going the wrong direction isn't going to help. I love GOG but with DRM they are going to lose me and the rest of their customer base and have to rebuild from scratch. Might as well really start from scratch.

Adam Bishop
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Since GOG is a digital download service and does not directly produce the games they sell, I'm not clear on how they have any say in what "management" and publishers do. While I love GOG and I think being DRM free is a huge part of the draw, ultimately if no one will let them sell games without DRM then they either need to allow DRM or go out of business. It's sad, but seemingly unavoidable.

Maurício Gomes
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So, it is good old gog now?

I hope not.

The champion of the good old games was HotU, they died :(

Now gog takes the torch (unfortunately only for the good old games, not the new Indies like HotU did too) and dies too :(

This is baaaaaad.

Really baaaaaaaaaad.


Gregory Kinneman
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Why do you have to bring up something as sad as HotU right now? By the way, some of the stuff there is still online...

Maurício Gomes
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the site mirrors the original, I dunno if downloads work (or even links to retail...), but they have the original Scratchware Manifesto up there :D

But it is seemly half-dead too.

Todd Boyd
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Whatever form it decides to return in, the old form will be missed sorely.

David Brady
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I think that their real problem was marketing. I didn't hear about them (and their lack of DRM), until yesterday when they closed shop. I've always used Steam for all downloadable game purchases, because I trust Valve (more or less), and their DRM is far less insane than any alternative that I knew of (DRM plays a pretty big factor in my purchasing decisions).

But now that I know about them, I really want to buy their stuff. It will be a crying shame if they add DRM to everything.

Josh Bycer
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Shit and I was just praising them in my piracy post I made last week. I like most of my friends if we would have known sooner would have gone on a shopping spree to get all the games we wanted before this trouble started. I didn't even have a chance to get MoM.

Maurício Gomes
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MoM you mean Master of Magic? It was on gog? And I lost it?


* jumps of a cliff *

Brett Williams
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I hope this really leads to more peoples understanding that the distributors of goods do not always have the say in how something is handled. Publishers, and even Developers have an interest in how things should be done, and if that is something that is not supported by a given distributor then they will have trouble getting traction.

Many consumers will have an issue with this, however they should understand it is not always the distributors choice of how things are handled. Businesses are designed to make money, and that is a goal the always have to strive for.

DRM in my opinion is a lot about how the consumers are handling their decisions. If DRM proves ineffective (either because purchasers avoid it, or they pirate it) is the same in the publisher or distributors eyes. If you don't buy a product they don't make money and they stop distributing it.

A lot of these titles that GoG is selling are legacy titles, and so it proves that people either don't have a large enough interest in the titles, they are spending too much on services, or people would rather pirate the titles. It's impossible to determine which impacted their business.