Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Classic Games (Games) Software Games

DRM-Free Games Site GOG.com Gone 326

Posted by timothy
from the reconstruct-your-amnesia dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Just a day after adding a new game and a handful of promotions, GOG.com, a seller of classic games in a DRM-free format, has closed shop, leaving only a sparse placeholder page and a mention on Twitter that 'sometimes it's really hard being DRM-free... hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy.' The site mentions that games purchased in the past will become accessible for downloading within the week, but there is no word on how long this will continue to be possible." The announcement on the site's front page says, in part, "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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DRM-Free Games Site GOG.com Gone

Comments Filter:
  • More to the story.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:10PM (#33630736) Homepage

    They closed down right in the middle of a sale. A lot of people are unable to get what they purchased.

    I don't think this is the end of it.

    Perhaps they got hit with a massive lawsuit or someone is considering buying them out?

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Oe it's an ill thought out stunt before ending beta phase (a rumor which circulates in quite a few places) - wouldn't surprise me too much, considering from where they come and how things can function here...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jedi Alec (258881)

      My thoughts exactly. They announce a sale on the 16th and on the 17th close down stating "they've thought long and hard about it".

      Curious to see what happens next. Had quite a few more purchases planned with them, but in light of the circumstances...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228)
        yeah this smells fishy. I have been buying from them for nearly a year, and have bought more games from them than I've bought in the past 3 years because they were cheap, easy to use, and DRM free. Well it looks like I'll be keeping all my GOG installers on a portable drive just in case one of my backup discs gets scratched. man this fucking sucks!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by caitsith01 (606117)

      Perhaps they got hit with a massive lawsuit or someone is considering buying them out?

      Perhaps they will get hit by a massive lawsuit when all those people who paid for games and relied on their representations that the games would be re-downloadable in the future sue them.

      I never backed mine up locally as I relied on their (seemingly outstanding) service to give me access whenever I wanted it.

      Very, very poor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by IBBoard (1128019)

        The moral of the story there would appear to be that the cloud has its flaws, that you're reliant on a provider not going under/shutting down a service, and that if a simple "downloads always available" service can't be kept open then an "authenticate your game" service for DRM is even less likely to survive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by X0563511 (793323)

        You did read the page, right? It's stated plainly that they will be putting up a means for previous customers to get their stuff.

  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cstec (521534) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:12PM (#33630742)
    Publishers don't get it. I purchased more games from GoG in a year than I have in the last 10 through any other channel. Specifically BECAUSE they were DRM-free. ;-/
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Indeed. I'm glad that I've been keeping my own backups of my games. They are planning on giving some option for those that purchased, but still. These sorts of things tend to make it harder for whoever tries this next to gain any customer trust.

      I'm a bit curious as to the timing, in the middle of their weekly sale.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192)

      Personally, I don't get it. These old games made their money back ages ago, everyone involved has other jobs. I don't feel like I'm depriving anyone when I grab a torrent of DOS classics. Cheap doesn't compete with free when there's no moral imperative. I'd rather spend my limited funds on those making new homebrew hardware and software for classic systems.

      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Informative)

        by hitmark (640295) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:12PM (#33631086) Journal

        Iirc, the GOG sold games where more then simply copies of old games. They provided binaries that would work on modern systems using the old data.

        • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

          by emkyooess (1551693) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:18PM (#33631130)

          This, here, is the exact reason why GOG was the greatest.

        • Sucks this is the first I've heard of them. I would have loved to buy some old games.

      • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by InfiniteWisdom (530090) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:14PM (#33631092) Homepage

        People don't go into business just to "make their money back" any more than you work your job to make just enough to pay your rent and feed yourself.

      • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tehcyder (746570) on Monday September 20, 2010 @11:22AM (#33636358) Journal

        These old games made their money back ages ago, everyone involved has other jobs. I don't feel like I'm depriving anyone when I grab a torrent of DOS classics.

        If the copyright holder has decided to release these games into the public domain, then fair enough. If not, I don't really care what your deluded self-justifications are.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mqduck (232646)

      ;-/

      Is that a winking concerned face?

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:13PM (#33630748)

    Not because of the no DRM thing, but because all they sold was old games. Those are going to have to be budget priced, of course, and are just not as popular. They probably had trouble making much money since they didn't make a whole lot each sale (at least half, maybe more, of the price goes to the publisher) and there just weren't the numbers. this is particularity true since Impulse and Steam, the big download services, do old games too. You can find a lot of old title on them, and they add more all the time. More people will shop from them, since they already have an account.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      OTOH their parent company offers for a long time, in its home market, large number of inexpensive and great older games (think anywhere between 3 and 10 USD for boxed game at retail - of course it's basically just a DVD box with thin manual inside, but that almost tends to be the norm for new releases too, anyway). Not precisely the bargain bin - it's a quite popular, continuing "series" of (re)releases; which I doubt they would do on such scale if it wasn't giving decent and stable profits. Distribution in

    • Not because of the no DRM thing, but because all they sold was old games. Those are going to have to be budget priced, of course, and are just not as popular.

      This,

      I think the most recent games they sold were before 2005, many of them were late early 90's. In addition to that many other services like Steam and Impulse sold the exact same products for pretty much the same price so the market was not only small, but highly competitive.

      The timing of this is terrible for me, with the AUD being so high,

      • by tepples (727027)

        I think the most recent games they sold were before 2005, many of them were late early 90's.

        The Virtual Console section of Wii Shop Channel sells only old games and still prints money. If Nintendo can do it, why couldn't GOG?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by 0123456 (636235)

      Not because of the no DRM thing, but because all they sold was old games. Those are going to have to be budget priced, of course, and are just not as popular. They probably had trouble making much money since they didn't make a whole lot each sale (at least half, maybe more, of the price goes to the publisher) and there just weren't the numbers.

      Except according to another site, they were one of the most profitable components of their parent company. Of course that might be a lie, but they basically had to pay for a server, people to remove DRM from old software, and download bandwidth, so it wouldn't surprise me if true.

      One thing I've noticed in recent weeks is a significant slowdown of the site, so either they were getting a lot more customers or switched to a less powerful server to save money... hard to tell which.

    • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @11:08PM (#33631990)

      I don't think they provided enough of a value-add above and beyond the (IMHO very good) value they offered on the games. For example, DRM-free was great, and the price was right, but they didn't really play up the fact that purchasing through them rather than torrenting provided a *legal* copy to the purchaser. It may seem a rather trivial thing, but these days in which everyone is presumed to be an illegal downloader and the 'rightsholder police' can threaten lawsuits on a whim, the ability to produce valid proof of ownership is powerful. "Why, no, I did not pirate that game - in fact, here is a copy of my proof of purchase certificate (digitally signed and verifiable as authentic by downloading GoG's public verification key). As you can see, your honor, I have the right to possess a copy of the game. The plaintiff has no case." I tried a few times on the forums to advocate that they provide some sort of distinct proof of purchase, whether a signed 'digital receipt' of some sort, or even a nicely formatted pdf document that provided proof of ownership, but nobody was interested.

      Other areas they might have explored: tangible media (for an extra fee) and gifting (with on-demand shipping of hard copies ready for wrapping). The former would be great for those that want a disk for backup/security purposes, or nice graphics and a case. The latter would be useful for giving 'Cousin Bob who loved Psychonauts but can't play his copy on the new PC' a cool gift for christmas that you could wrap up and put under the tree. GoG did gift certificates or somesuch thing, as I recall, but that is just no substitute for something that can be unwrapped and admired. Maybe the answer is to partner with someone like Amazon who has the infrastructure to target a broad audience and could properly sell the DRM-free message, as well as produce and ship tangible media at reasonable cost for those that want to purchase gifts.

      All in all, DRM-free at a low price alone wasn't enough.

  • by therealmorris (1366945) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:15PM (#33630760)

    It's starting to look like the platform's shutdown is just a marketing stunt. Good Old Games spokesman Tom Ohle told us that "as the site says, this doesn't mean GOG is dead. We will have more to share in the next couple of days." A NeoGAF poster dug up a Polish business forum, in which CD Projekt co-founder Micha Kiciski purportedly mentions a conference dated for this Wednesday, adding, "we'll post information about this soon on GOG.com (please do not panic after reading the information contained there.)" We'll keep an eye out for more info.

    Joystiq [joystiq.com]

    • by rm999 (775449) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:22PM (#33630816)

      This reddit thread contains more links that indicate GOG is not actually dead: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/dfzhe/rip_gogcom/c0zxgih [reddit.com]

      Personally I think they are going to change their service in some way, perhaps add a devoted client (like Steam) and perhaps introduce DRM. If so, I will be angry at the lack of transparency; the whole thing smells like a publicity stunt. If this is the case, the game I bought from them last week will be the last.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by syousef (465911)

        This reddit thread contains more links that indicate GOG is not actually dead: http://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/dfzhe/rip_gogcom/c0zxgih [reddit.com]

        Personally I think they are going to change their service in some way, perhaps add a devoted client (like Steam) and perhaps introduce DRM.

        If you're right GOG is gone. Adding DRM negates the advantage of buying from them. They'll become just another crappy publisher of old nostalgia games. At best that'd make it Zombie GOG.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by 0123456 (636235)

          If you're right GOG is gone. Adding DRM negates the advantage of buying from them.

          Indeed: adding DRM would just make them another Steam competitor... in which case, why not just buy from Steam? OK, they could have better prices, but I usually only buy Steam games when they're on sale anyway.

    • by omglolbah (731566)

      Wonderful of them to throw away any shred of credibility by pulling such an asshat stunt....

      I suspect a lot of people will be somewhat reluctant to do business with them if they think this is good marketing.... meh

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        I suspect a lot of people will be somewhat reluctant to do business with them if they think this is good marketing.... meh

        Except all my game installers are on my hard drives, so even if they are permanently gone I still have all my games; unlike something like Steam, where I lose most of my games if they go away (some don't do any DRM checks, but the rest would be toast).

        If they come back and are still DRM-free, I'll still be buying from them.

        • by omglolbah (731566)

          What I'm getting at is: "If they think this is a good idea... what else do they think is a good idea?"

          I love DRM-free content, but there is still that little lingering doubt in my mind... Do I really want to give these people my CC info?

          • by 0123456 (636235)

            What I'm getting at is: "If they think this is a good idea... what else do they think is a good idea?"

            I love DRM-free content, but there is still that little lingering doubt in my mind... Do I really want to give these people my CC info?

            Dunno, I've always used Paypal. So unless they started putting malware in the games there's not much to worry about.

            Otherwise it seems no different to asking 'do I want to buy a bag of chips from the corner store, when it could go out of business'? If I hand over the money and get my chips, then I don't care whether it closes the door for good just after I leave.

        • by tepples (727027)
          If you have your Steam user ID and password, you can redownload all games purchased through Steam. But you're right that if you're stuck on satellite Internet, it's a pain in the behind.
    • by Cidolfas (1358603)

      It's not necessarily a stunt, it could be they've been negotiating with publishers/backers to keep it open and today they got a shut-it-down-now ultimatum, and are announcing their contingency plan on Wednesday.

      Though this is slashdot, and conspiracy makes for a better story :P

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:31PM (#33631228)

      There's no "stunt" to this. It says right in their notice that the site is ending in its "current form" and that it will eventually return. Which contrasts with Joystiq's sensationalist headline that GOG "shuts down" (also Slashdot's).

      What CD Projekt actually said in the forum was that posting the notice on the current site (which IS closed and isn't just going to be reactivated) was part of a process to raise awareness of the new site that will take its place, which is pretty plain from the notice that they posted, had anyone bothered to actually read it.

      Marketing yes, stunt no. This isn't Death (and Return) of Superman. They said right up front what was going to happen. Just because people glossed over the text and rushed to print a headline, well, that kind of makes the editors at Joystiq (and Slashdot) out to look like tools. Don't try to shift blame to CD Projekt for this.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kirijini (214824)

        The stunt is in shutting down suddenly, without warning, and, apparently, in the middle of a sale. If this was planned, it's a stunt. They could have announced ahead of time, even just a day or a week ahead of time, that they'd be shutting down for a period before reopening. Hell, they could have announced ahead of time that they were shutting down permanently, and probably gotten some kind of fire-sale/goodbye-sale revenue.

        Doing this suddenly produces shock and probably some panic from long-time custome

  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:19PM (#33630794) Homepage Journal
    in the age of internet and digital downloads, the middleman, publisher, is the problem. not needed anymore, yet they still introduce problems into the production to consumer sequence, right in the middle. actually, in some sectors, they totally control entire sequence.

    they need to be removed.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      Well, fulfillment of that need could explain the disappearance of GOG ;) (run by a publisher, after all)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hitmark (640295)

      Indeed. In this time of fast data transfer, a system where one produce a master copy first and then expect to recoup the cost of the work later by selling copies of the master is broken at best. With the ease of reaching a interested public, i suspect a system where one would collect funding up front (i a example/start provided for free) and then produce and release when a goal have been reached would work just as well.

      Hell, with a system like that in place, one may well see a game evolve with time rather t

      • by unity100 (970058)
        that is a desirable system.
      • by muridae (966931) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @10:38PM (#33631860)

        Mount and Blade did something like this. The earlier you bought the game in the development cycle, the less you paid. This works fine if you are a small team and have dedicated audience and coders, or the game is not the programmers main source of income.

        The problem is publicity and numbers. How many people are willing to pay early in a games development cycle, and is it enough people to fund the developers? Even if it is enough people, and you are certain they are willing to buy your game, you still need some capital to borrow to pay the developers or wait to hire developers for a short term as each monetary goal is met. And if you find a company that is willing to do this, they might want distribution rights to the game.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:42PM (#33631302)

      The main function a publisher provides for videogames is money. Games are expensive to develop. Game studios cannot always assume that financial risk. Remember that if you self develop you have to pay everyone's salaries, all the costs, while it is being developed. If it flops, you are SOL. So publishers are companies that put up the money. That is their primary function. You sell them a game idea they like, they put up the costs of developing it.

      Along those lines, they function as the business side of things. A bunch of programmers might not make for the best business team. The most classic example is Duke Nukem Forever. 3DRealm had lots of money from the original Duke title so they could self publish, if they wanted to, and elected to do so. However that meant nobody was minding after them to release it. So they faffed about and delayed things and so on. Eventually it became a joke, a lot of wasted money, and ultimately their demise. In a situation with a separate publisher they could have said "No, the game is looking good as it is. You go in to crunch mode, and we ship in 9 months." Might not have been The Best Game Evar(tm) had that happened but it would have been a game, not a perpetually half-finished project.

      Publishers also do marketing and distribution. If you think that is easy or unnecessary then that only exposes your ignorance of the situation. Stores are still where most sales happen (ask Stardock, they publish, develop, and sell online, they'll tell you stores still outsell online 3-4:1). Publishers make sure people know the game is coming out, negotiate with stores for shelf space and release dates, and so on.

      In fact, because of the distribution, even some self funded shops use publishers. Valve funds their own development, but uses a publisher for physical distribution (Activision I think).

      Also none of this is relevant to the older games being talked about. Even if you think they shouldn't have been paid for by a publisher, they were, meaning the publisher owns the rights and sets the rules.

    • by Haeleth (414428)

      Sadly, removing publishers would only help something like Good Old Games if you went back in time and removed them 10-15 years ago -- at which point in time, of course, they were essential because there was no way of getting games without physical media on store shelves.

  • I guess that teaches me to not take advantage of a chance to get Total Annihilation for cheap :(
  • Steam is a master of painless and organized installation and management -- especially important with older games.

    I would have bought stuff from GOG but I got the feeling I was going to have navigate a bunch of installs and manage a bunch of loose zip files.

    • by westlake (615356)

      I would have bought stuff from GOG but I got the feeling I was going to have navigate a bunch of installs and manage a bunch of loose zip files.

      You gut feeling was wrong.

      What you got was an installer that worked just fine with 64 bit Win 7.

    • by Sparr0 (451780)

      Many of us still have a mountain of objections to Steam. Long live GoG!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sammyF70 (1154563)

      Steam is a pain compared to the way GOG works/worked/used to work (?).

      I'll write in the present tense, as GOG's future doesn't seem to be set in stone yet.

      You get one file (granted, Psychonaut has actually three). You can download the file from a fast server .I never could get a fast, and I'm being deliberately NICE here, so > 100KB/s) download from steam, no matter what ports I opened. You can make as many backups as you want of the setup file. Installation is straight forward, and you get some bonus ma

    • by chris411 (610359) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:32PM (#33631234)

      Having purchased games from both GOG and Steam, I'd pick GOG over Steam any day. I'd argue that Steam made it more complicated, if only because they force you to install and use a client. And then it forces me to download the game again if I choose to uninstall it from my HD. GOG was a simple download and install, always. I never had to download the game again after uninstalling it, I could just burn it to DVD as is, or move it to another HD.

  • There is a good amount of information suggesting that this may in fact be a marketing stunt; have a read of Kotaku's write-up: http://kotaku.com/5642141/what-happened-to-good-old-games [kotaku.com]. Personally, if this is in fact a marketing stunt, I will -never- purchase from GOG again. Lying to your customers doesn't make them want to spend their money on your products.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by seebs (15766)

      I guess it depends on what the stunt is. They have been pretty careful not to say that they're closing up shop or going out of business, and the emphasis on "in its current form" seemed pretty clear to me.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Personally, if this is in fact a marketing stunt, I will -never- purchase from GOG again. Lying to your customers doesn't make them want to spend their money on your products.

      Hey, this could be the Polish version of April Fools.

      I hope it is a publicity stunt, no-one else will actually let me download the game install file or let me install it offline on multiple machines.

  • Sad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ShakaUVM (157947) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:54PM (#33631006) Homepage Journal

    I bought the Fallout games from them, real sad that they're gone now (or at least, appear to be gone).

    The value they added wasn't just removing DRM, but in also making the old games compatible with new operating systems. It's a pain in the ass for me to get some of my older games to work, and I'm more than willing to pay $5 to let someone else do it for me.

  • by owlman17 (871857) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:23PM (#33631162)

    Posted 3 hours ago:

    The official statement from GOG.com's management about the whole situation will be announced soon. We'll have more details about this tomorrow.

    Sigh. Sure hope this isn't just a gimmick. Like many here, I still have or had quite a number of planned purchases.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2010 @10:09PM (#33631740)

    The official statement from the owners of GOG.com (CD Projekt) is:
    "Attention! We scheduled a press conference on 22nd of September, early evening. Information about this event should be soon available at GOG.com (please, don't spread panic after reading what will be posted there:). Please keep in mind, that it's going to be an on-line conference and it's going to be a very first time for us to try such thing:).

    We basically closed all our schedules and we are going to send information about this event on Monday or Tuesday.

    MK
    CDP"

    It was suggested on a forum connected to the company, that this is some kind of mislead publicity stunt... Well we'll see on 22nd.

  • yo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 19, 2010 @10:48PM (#33631902)

    But the cool thing is, this doesn't affect their customers' ability to play games in any way.

    If Steam shut down, though...

  • Out of Beta (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sumbius (1500703) on Monday September 20, 2010 @04:22AM (#33633264)
    Like others have already said, this is most likely a marketing stunt for getting out of beta. Yes, they have been in beta for the last 2 years and like the message in the site says, "we've decided that GOG.com simply cannot remain in its current form". At no point do they really say that GoG is gone. They mention change and that you will be able to re-download the games you have bought. They also had a promo running and this "announcement" happened on Sunday, which would be highly unlikely if this was a real site closing situation. A real closing announcement wouldn't come suddenly out of the blue without any previous indications of internal or external problems that caused it, nor would they do it on Sunday when most of the workers (and boss staff) are not working.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kalirion (728907)

      At no point do they really say that GoG is gone. They mention change and that you will be able to re-download the games you have bought

      You forgot this little part: "We're closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await."

      How exactly do you misinterpret "we're closing down the service"? Does a landlord serve you an immediate eviction notice, and tell you that "sometimes next week you can stop by and get your things.", when he just wants to remodel the kitchen?

  • by 0111 1110 (518466) on Monday September 20, 2010 @04:35AM (#33633300)

    Some of their games simply could not be found anywhere else. Not even on TPB. They had a version of Arx Fatalis that was integrated with the latest patch that played nice with modern graphics cards. A sort of hacked patch that tries to accomplish the same thing is available, but it is hard to find and the developers claim it is buggy and unsupported. I guess it needed to be integrated into the source code directly in order to function properly. My understanding is that they worked with some of the developers directly to get their old games working on modern hardware and OSes. They made a big mistake IMO in not having a separate category for truly custom binaries that are more than just a dosbox install with tested-as-working settings. I never knew whether they were just selling a DRM free version that could be found on TPB/Emule or whether they had actually worked with a developer to modify source code or produce a custom patch. Does anyone know of a comprehensive list of all of their games that were sold with custom binaries which can't be found anywhere else? Was Arx Fatalis the only one?

  • by soccerisgod (585710) on Monday September 20, 2010 @06:42AM (#33633834)

    There was a lot of buzz about this yesterday, but in fact this is just a very stupid marketing stunt.

    All they're doing is going from BETA to NORMAL activity but they make it look like they're closing shop for the extra attention and "phew" effect afterwards.

    How do I know? Well, apparently there were some warnings about this not to be taken seriously by investors in other parts of the interwob.

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing." -- Sledge Hammer

Working...