In an unusual marketing stunt, management for the digital distribution website Good Old Games
confirmed that the site's supposed closure
last weekend was a hoax.
In an online press conference Wednedsay, GOG.com co-founder Marcin Iwinski and managing director Guillaume Rambourg, dressed as monks, bowed their heads and repeatedly said they had "sinned."
Iwinski said that the industry takes itself too seriously, and GOG wanted to try something new from a marketing standpoint. "We are gamers, so we really have to say that we decided to play a game with our media and their users," he said. Over 900 people were in attendance during the webcast.
He claimed that the company left plenty of hints to imply that the site would return. Most speculated that the site would return in some form, as the original announcement said, "This doesn't mean the idea behind GOG.com is gone forever. We're closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await."
"We are here today to beg your pardon and ask for redemption. Yes, we have sinned, we have sinned," said Rambourg.
"We are here today to express our humble apologies to all the users that got surprised with the closure of Good Old Games, and who had not been made aware that they could not access the games they purchased."
He said that aside from any marketing ploy, the "closure of the website was needed from a technical perspective," as GOG programmers had to rewrite "98 percent of the code" for the site in order to add new community and search features, among other optimizations.
GOG launched in 2008 from Polish The Witcher
publisher CD Projekt, and is home to a library of classic, low-priced, DRM-free PC games. Games on the digital storefront are priced for $5.99 and $9.99, including titles such as the original Fallout
games, MDK 2
and Giants: Citizen Kabuto
. The relaunch of the site, slated for 1 p.m. GMT Thursday, marks the end of GOG's two-year-long beta.
The "monks" confirmed that, counter to speculation, the new website will still host DRM-free games and require no download client, two of the main selling points of GOG. Management also confirmed that GOG was not acquired. "Our monastery is pretty well-funded these days," said Iwinski. "We are back and we believe we are stronger and healthier than ever."
The revamped GOG will feature a simplified login and registration system more inviting to new users, a more "eye-catching" interface, a new recommendation system, improved browsing and search features and faster performance, management said. One of the main new features is GOGmix, which the site describes as a "User-created list of games around one theme."
Along with the announcement of the new site, the pair of brothers confirmed speculation that 1998's classic role-playing game Baldur's Gate
and its expansion will be available together for $10 at GOG's relaunch. Rambourg said that GOG's goal is to become "the number one alternative to Steam. We want to be different."