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PC Games (Games) Businesses Entertainment Games

DRM-Free Classic Games Store Opens To Public 122

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-the-people-what-they-want dept.
arcticstoat writes "With all the controversy surrounding DRM in games at the moment, one games store has decided to buck the trend, proudly proclaiming that all its games are DRM-free. First announced back in July, Good Old Games is now in the public beta stage, which means that anyone can now access the site's archive of classic PC games, and you can do what you want with your game when you've bought it, too. 'You won't find any intrusive copy protection in our games; we hate draconian DRM schemes just as much as you do,' says the site. 'Once you download a game, you can install it on any PC and re-download it whenever you want, as many times as you need, and you can play it without an internet connection.'" In related news, Stardock, the company responsible for the Gamer's Bill of Rights, is apparently working on a new copy-protection solution that will be friendlier to consumers than current schemes.
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DRM-Free Classic Games Store Opens To Public

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  • Whoa (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xtense (1075847) <xtenseNO@SPAMo2.pl> on Saturday October 25, 2008 @03:37AM (#25507995) Homepage

    I'm pretty surprised that they managed to get all these out on the start. I expected one or two good games, but whoa, Descent? Earthworm Jim? Fallout? Gothic? MDK? Operation Flashpoint? Shogo?

    It's like I died and got zombified in the better part of the 90's!

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      I've been reading magazines that occassionally came with a free game for so long that I already have most of the games you listed without going out to purchase them...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      A good selection and a good price ($6 each). The one question remaining is, what platform do they require? A lot of the games I saw were originally released for DOS, and so would run nicely in DOSBox. Are these the originals, or are they updated versions that I can't run because they require Windows? Looking at Battle Chess (a game I remember playing on a 286), it says compatible with Windows XP and Vista, so apparently I'm not in their target market. Possibly they just include the original games and b
      • Re:Whoa (Score:4, Informative)

        by the_arrow (171557) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @06:28AM (#25508613) Homepage

        I just downloaded the Descent and Descent 2 package, and yes they do indeed use DOSBox.

      • by Loibisch (964797)

        They apparently all run under XP and Vista:
        http://www.gog.com/en/about_us/#4 [gog.com]

        4. All games are Vista and XP compatible.
        Thanks to our handsome programming team, the classics are now Windows Vista and Windows XP compatible. Now you can use your lightning-fast PC to unleash the full potential of those games you just couldnâ(TM)t play properly on that busted old 386.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcvos (645701)

        A good selection and a good price ($6 each). The one question remaining is, what platform do they require?

        You mean: does it run on linux?

        That's what I'd like to know too, actually.

      • I'm fairly positive the entire store is dedicated to making older games run on XP and Vista only.
        • Oops, hit submit prematurely.

          Just wanted to add that I bought Descent Freespace 2 from GoG and was able to use a FOSS third party interpreter to run the game asset files with a different executable. I don't remember the exact interpreter I used (I think it was on Sourceforge) but it's multiplatform including Linux and maybe Mac. Many of the games on GoG include the unmodified asset files which might be compatible with various community projects.
      • by Pommpie (710718)

        Most of them advertise XP/Vista compatability, but that's not always entirely true. Freespace and Freespace 2, for example, say that they work with XP and Vista and do so long as your computer doesn't have more than three gigabytes of RAM. Their support was unhelpful as well: I sent in the bug report, got one message back asking me a question, I sent back an answer, and never heard from them again.

        I eventually found the cause of the problem via Google, luckily. Now, in this particular case the Freespace ope

    • by Exanon (1277926)
      I completely agree, this is like walking down Memory Lane. Hostile Waters, Giants: Citizen Kabuto etc.

      But the most interesting thing is this: Soldiers: Heroes of World War 2. This game used to have Starforce on it. Wouldn't it be great if it sold more now than before the DRM was removed? Seriously, check the game out, the level of destruction and interaction is almost crazy.
      • by click2005 (921437)

        But the most interesting thing is this: Soldiers: Heroes of World War 2. This game used to have Starforce on it. Wouldn't it be great if it sold more now than before the DRM was removed? Seriously, check the game out, the level of destruction and interaction is almost crazy.

        I bought this game recently. Its now also available to download off the codemasters website (1400Mb).

    • by mcvos (645701)

      I'm pretty surprised that they managed to get all these out on the start. I expected one or two good games, but whoa, Descent? Earthworm Jim? Fallout? Gothic? MDK? Operation Flashpoint? Shogo?

      Fallout 1 and 2 are particularly nicely times with the release of FO3. Lots of people will want to play the originals again.

      It's like I died and got zombified in the better part of the 90's!

      They don't have Baldur's Gate and Torment yet, but I hope they soon will.

      • Fallout 1 and 2 are particularly nicely times with the release of FO3. Lots of people will want to play the originals again.

        I wonder who the money goes to, though... In the case of Fallout 1 and 2, certainly not the developer, since Black Isle is long gone. So.. whoever hold distribution rights now, is that sill Interplay or did they sell everything to Bethesda? My point being, if your rationale for paying for games is supporting the devs, then buying some of these classics may not do that at all.

        • Re:Whoa (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mcvos (645701) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @07:56AM (#25508931)

          I wonder who the money goes to, though... In the case of Fallout 1 and 2, certainly not the developer, since Black Isle is long gone. So.. whoever hold distribution rights now, is that sill Interplay or did they sell everything to Bethesda? My point being, if your rationale for paying for games is supporting the devs, then buying some of these classics may not do that at all.

          Could be. Supporting the devs is probably best done by buying within a year of release. But by buying you might still give a signal that there's a demand for this kind of game.

        • Re:Whoa (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Haeleth (414428) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @08:00AM (#25508951) Journal

          if your rationale for paying for games is supporting the devs

          Since when did one need a rationale for paying for things that cost money?

          It's pirates who have to go to extra lengths to justify their behaviour, not purchasers.

          • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

            by Darkness404 (1287218)

            Since when did one need a rationale for paying for things that cost money?

            Ummm... Because I can buy all the games listed for about $5 on Ebay or pirate them all for free. If the money doesn't support the devs, why should I pay the new price for it when I can either buy it used or pirate the thing.

            • by X0563511 (793323)

              Yes, because these are selling for the "new" price.

              Read. The games are all 5.99.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by phorm (591458)

              Because piracy is not proper an alternative to purchasing. Not buying is a good alternative. Pirating a game - especially one that's available in a convenient form at a more-than-reasonable price - just proves that really no matter what argument you use, you're just a cheap loser who doesn't want to shell out cash and has to come up with stupid arguments to justify your behavior.

              Buying on eBay is another story, but really I doubt the prices on there are much better than most of the games on this site.

            • by Kneo24 (688412)
              Yes, $5 on eBay, and now what about the shipping costs? Oh, wait, it comes out to about the same. So why wait for it when you have it slightly later than now?
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by larry bagina (561269)

              You'd rather pay $5 (plus shipping) and deal with ebay, paypal, and an unknown seller than pay $6 to download them?

          • Since when did one need a rationale for paying for things that cost money? It's pirates who have to go to extra lengths to justify their behaviour, not purchasers.

            Does not economics presume a "rational actor", acting in his or her self-interest? If I can choose between getting X for free and paying for X, then if I'm acting in my rational self-interest, I've got to take the free version unless there's some other consequence.

            • Does not economics presume a "rational actor", acting in his or her self-interest? If I can choose between getting X for free and paying for X, then if I'm acting in my rational self-interest, I've got to take the free version unless there's some other consequence.

              If your entire life was a simulation, then maybe.

              Of course, a rational actor might also realize that a functioning society was a benefit. You don't HAVE to do anything.

              • Of course, a rational actor might also realize that a functioning society was a benefit.

                Are you suggesting that paying someone who was completely uninvolved with the creation of a work, and who will not pass any of that payment on to the creators, is somehow necessary or sufficient for a "functioning society"?

                • by mattack2 (1165421)

                  Do you know for sure that none of the payment will go to the creators? I would suspect it doesn't either, but I would hope that some of the redistribution of "old games", e.g. the old games on the Nintendo download system, were made available for some relatively low price + a cut of sales. (That is, the new publisher presumably had to do some work to get it to work in the emulator since they're not always perfect.. but would have to pay less of an up front cost to get the rights to redistribute the game.)

                  • Do you know for sure that none of the payment will go to the creators?

                    100 sure? No. But since the copyright holders would have been the company, not the actual creators, I can't see any way this would have benefited the creators. They almost certainly got their compensation via salary long ago

                    Plus, even if that *weren't* true, how is getting something illegally not detrimental to a functioning society?

                    When the law is bad, blind obedience to it is detrimental to a functioning society.

        • How about this rationale: By increasing the profit potential for really good games (even a decade after their original release!), we encourage game companies to make more really good games. Otherwise they'll just focus on short-term gains with yet another Sims expansion pack.

    • And Sacrifice! That was a completely under-rated game!
    • by ksd1337 (1029386)

      It's like I died and got zombified in the better part of the 90's!

      So that was you in that Micheal Jackson video!

  • Freespace FTW (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 25, 2008 @04:00AM (#25508067)

    I bought Freespace 1/2 off of GOG and played it on my Mac through FS2_Open, the open sourced FS engine... a kick ass game, in beautiful high res graphics. This is how all abandonware should work ;).

    And it sure as hell beat the X-Wing / Tie-Fighter series out of the water in terms of innovative mission design.

    Plus, their site is really slick, clean and easy to use.

  • The price is a bit on the high side for some of the old games. Battle chess for $6?
    Now that the canadian dollar has tanked again, that's closer to $20.

    I might be a little more interested in buying some of the really old games for something more in the neighbourhood of $3.

    You can get a sale on steam sometimes for some new indie games around $6-$8.

    • by Kneo24 (688412) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @05:00AM (#25508293) Homepage

      And how would they make a profit from that price? I imagine the publisher / developer needs to get a slice of the pie too. And then there's the cost of the servers, etc... That $3 would be eaten up fast with likely little to not profit being made.

      • by crossmr (957846)

        its a 44 mb file.. storage is trivial, bandwidth is trivial on that. The other more recent games (games as recent as 2004 and actually worth $10). I imagine that the publisher/developer takes a percentage and not a fixed fee per game. You make it up in volume that is how business works. You don't make the same profit on every single item in your store.
        Some items you sell few of but are high margin, other items are low margin but you move in high volume. At $3 battle chess is an impulse buy with some other g

        • by vux984 (928602)

          At $3 battle chess is an impulse buy with some other game, at $6 I'm going to take fall out before I take battle chess.

          -shrug-

          meh, 3$ 6$, whatever. Either is an impulse buy price for me. And I like the single price point model for classic games.

          Sure I might buy twice as many games at 3$ than I would at $6... but so what? That doesn't make THEM any more money... and indeed will cost them more in overhead... transaction fees, bandwidth etc. $5.99 is a pretty solid price.

          When I went to the site, although I was

          • by crossmr (957846)

            Yes, but with some $3 games you might be more inclined to buy a $3 game and a $6 game. than just 1 $6 game. There is nothing wrong with targeting various price points and frankly you'd have a hard time trying to convince me that fallout and battle chess have the same value as far as a video game go.

            • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Give it time. By starting the store at these prices, they can then have sales later, "buy one $6 game, get one from this other set for $3."

          • by hedwards (940851)

            Indeed, $6 has been more or less the agreed upon price for the last couple decades. Which is really less expensive now than it was back then.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            They'd just ship them in Dosbox anyway. Might as well download them if they're not going to sell them to you. Dosbox should even support your USB joystick.

          • by Jaysyn (203771)

            I'm pretty sure you can get X-com on Steam now. Don't remember the price.

        • by Kneo24 (688412)

          I never stated they would get a fixed fee, just that other people have to be paid besides the people at GOG for this service to even be available.

          I'm not entirely sure loss leaders would work in this type of environment for an extended period of time.

          And you still don't address how GOG would make money from that $3 price tag. What? Because you mention a little about volume and percentages? Why would a developer even choose to sell their IP on this service if they're not going to be making a decent amount of

          • by crossmr (957846)

            Who said anything about a loss leader? You can't make up a loss leader in volume. I said that its likely that each party is paid a percentage. I have no idea what that percentage is, but its extremely unlikely that the cost of storage for a 44 mb file and the cost to transmit it would be more than their share of $3. If it is there is no way they're making any profit on storing and transmitting a 500 MB file for twice as much at $6. Fallout is well known, its really close to being their flagship game right n

            • by Kneo24 (688412)

              The loss leader comment was bit of hyperbole, so relax. Even at your suggested price, it just probably ends up as an endeavor that wasn't worth it. There is the initial development and testing to consider. At $3, sure, that might be covered, but in what time frame? And from there does it look like a wasted effort? Just because it's profitable doesn't mean that it was a wise decision to make.

              Your complaint about the price is ultimately irrelevant. You have failed to take into consideration some mitigating fa

    • by sheath (4100)

      Not sure what part of Canada you live in, but where I am, $6 US is about $7.65 Canadian. (With the dollar at 78.5 cents today...)

      If an extra $1.65 is a big problem, you might want to save your money for more Kraft Dinner...

      • by crossmr (957846)

        I'm not anymore, but the rate is far different from when I left 4.5 months ago when we were sitting at par. I hadn't been paying much attention to it at all until I went to make a web purchase recently and found out that the exchange was vastly different on my credit cards now. But that does bring paying for Battle chess to almost $8, which is far and above what a 20ish year old game is worth.

  • So, it's probably fine in standard Wine too once you have your configuration solid.

    Oh, and this is on my Mac , CrossOver Games 7.1 from codeweavers.com :D

    Thanks GoG!

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Do you know if Crossover will run on a PS3? It's got a PPC core...

      • by cbhacking (979169)

        Crossover (or Wine in general) isn't an emulator, just a program loader and a bunch of libraries (the Win16, Win32, and NT DLLs) that are all x86 and designed to link with x86 applications. Short answer: No.

        On the flip side, a lot of these games are DOS based, and DOSBox, an open-source 286/386 emulator, does work on PPC. True emulation costs performance, of course, but given the speed these games were designed to run at any modern CPU should have more than enough clock speed.

        Does anybody know if it's possi

  • I mean I thought Volition officially released it as a free game for anybody to play. I thought it was released as Freeware a couple of years ago.
    • As far as anyone can tell when reading the EULA, it is free. But that doesn't mean Interplay can't sell it as part of their back catalog.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Yes, according to the EULA it can be freely redistributed. But since GOG started selling it, it looks like the places that were hosting it stopped in favor of directing people to GOG. $6 is plenty reasonable anyway.

  • I've been using GOG since they released the private beta, and it's really good!

    Being an "old-but-not-pacman-old-school" gammer, I just loved the fact that I can get some old favorites for a very reasonable price, and without DRM!

    I even got the chance to buy Messiah, wich I never got to play, although I can remember the hype quite clearly ;)

    It's a really great project and I'm looking forward to see even more oldies-but-goldies on GOG.

    The industry should really wake up and realize that we the people still enj

  • Does anyone know if I can get any of the Tex Murphy games (preferably just Under A Killing Moon & The Pandora Directive) anywhere? TIA
  • Very interesting. So in 10 years I can get Spore or Bioshock from them and it won't have any DRM?

  • Needs more (Score:3, Insightful)

    by etherlad (410990) <ianwatson@gPARISmail.com minus city> on Saturday October 25, 2008 @11:13AM (#25509891) Homepage

    Looks good so far, but their library is still a little limited. I still have copies of most of the games I'd want to buy.

    Now if they get access to Sierra and LucasArts' back catalogue, then we're in business.

  • all those DRM'less digital download games are perfect for netbooks without optical drives. a jolly good idea that i will be supporting.
  • this site is tops (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bobtree (105901) on Saturday October 25, 2008 @12:47PM (#25510437)

    I signed up and bought Hostile Waters on Thursday.

    GoG.com is easily the best online buying experience I have ever had.

    The selection is quite good but currently limited (I already own 20 of the 40+ titles). Most titles are $6, with a few more recent ones at $10.

    The site design itself is excellent, with a global wishlist, ratings, reviews, and forums. Buying was totally painless.

    Games are DRM-free downloads, pre-patched, XP/Vista compatible, come with installers, have extra download materials (like manuals), and get game-specific support sections and forums.

    I'll definitely be shopping there again.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I logged in and read Bobtree's review of GoG.com on Saturday.

      This review is easily the best online reading experience I have ever had.

      Reading was totally painless.

      AAA+++++++ Would read again.

    • by thepotoo (829391)
      Don't forget that this is the same company that made The Witcher (you know, the ones that released free patches with 5000+ better translated lines of voice acting, and several hours of new quests). I've never seen a company that took such good care of paying customers (not even Newegg).

      Totally worth supporting!

  • The old game by Monolith? Tough to get running on Windows XP correctly, I'd pay good $$$ for a working port.
  • Geezus, I am getting old.

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