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DRM-Free Games Site GOG.com Gone 326

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."
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DRM-Free Games Site GOG.com Gone

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  • 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 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:Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the_Bionic_lemming ( 446569 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:41PM (#33630932)

    He's not the only one buying those games.

    Big fan of GOG, I love the fact that I can run Masters of Magic, Moo 1 and 2, and redneck rampage now.

    That said, I dislike your post as it's obviously typed by a brat.

  • by Polo ( 30659 ) * on Sunday September 19, 2010 @07:51PM (#33630994) Homepage

    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.

  • Re:Sigh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:02PM (#33631052) Journal

    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:It's a stunt. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by seebs ( 15766 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:16PM (#33631112) Homepage

    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 hitmark ( 640295 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:22PM (#33631158) Journal

    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 then be replaced ever so often in a franchise fashion as we see today. While it is unlikely that this system would produce the kind of multi-million productions that we see right now, a dedicated and talented team may well keep themselves going for years.

  • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:26PM (#33631176) Homepage

    Plus, they must suck at advertising. This is the first I heard of them.

  • by sammyF70 ( 1154563 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @08:28PM (#33631190) Homepage Journal

    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 material with many of the games (like soundtracks, concept arts, ...). If you install some third party mods, GOG won't start telling you your copy is not valid and start re-downloading the original files neither, which, for example,means that you can slap Freespace2 Open [indiegames.us]ontop of your FS2 install without any difficulties.

    Compared to Steam, which asks me to validate my games online if I don't play for a while and then force me to download 1GB of updates even if I just wanted to play, I'll take GOG games everyday.

    Yes, the games are old'ish, but that is definitely not a problem if you are more into gameplay than eyecandy (although, as an example, a modded Freespace2 is a good looking Spacecombat simulator/game even by today's standards)

    I really hope it's just a very stupid publicity stunt and GOG comes back.

  • by Haeleth ( 414428 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @09:07PM (#33631414) Journal

    Have never used Steam, and never will.

    This is called "prejudice". In most circles it's considered a negative thing.

    DRM, product activation, and Internet-access requirement render Steam a non-starter.

    Why? You clearly have access to the Internet. Product activation is completely invisible and automatic. As for DRM, well, I realise some people hate it on religious grounds, but it's really not that bad.

    Sure, one day in the hypothetical future Valve's servers could disappear, leaving you unable to play your games any more. This is no different from non-DRM-encumbered games you own on physical media, which could stop working at any time due to loss of or damage to the CDs.

    Denying yourself jam today and tomorrow because of the hypothetical possibility that you might only be able to get it today is just silly.

    (Personally, I've actually bought copies on Steam of older games I also own on physical media. It's only a few bucks, and the convenience of being able to install the game at the click of a button -- instead of having to dig around for the disk and then hope it still works -- is well worth the money. Strange, really: this suppsoedly evil DRM platform means I can play games I own more easily than the DRM-free versions!)

    There's many good games I would have liked to have purchased (starting with Half Life 2). Guess I'll never know what it would have been like to play that game.

    It was probably sour anyway.

  • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wampus ( 1932 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @09:17PM (#33631484)

    Slashdot loved Loki, too. How are they doing again?

  • by suomynonAyletamitlU ( 1618513 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @09:17PM (#33631486)

    I've used them a couple times in the past; its' a nice site. I forget where I heard about them, but it was either an indie games site, or while I was searching for abandonware. I might even possibly have seen a banner ad, but yeah, I haven't seen much that really shouted that they were there.

    On the plus side, the games I bought from them probably won't die, unlike some others.

  • 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.


    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.

  • I call shenanigans (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Karunamon ( 1845630 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @10:12PM (#33631760)
    From someone close to the CEO, supposedly he went to a number of financial organizations and told them to ignore what was on the front page in the following days. Sounds like a sh*tty marketing stunt. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=23418875&postcount=240 [neogaf.com]
  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @10:14PM (#33631772)

    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 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.

  • Noo.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shovas ( 1605685 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @10:56PM (#33631930) Homepage

    This makes me sick to my stomach. I loved GOG. I plugged them often on my own blog. They have a permanent link there. I purchased many, many games from them and don't regret it at all. GOG had integrity, great prices, no DRM, great games, great community, great throw-ins, great sales. Argh! Why! It makes me wonder if the "good guys" can make it. My faith in humanity has again been dimmed a little bit.

  • by Miseph ( 979059 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @11:29PM (#33632108) Journal

    Yeah, there's an ENORMOUS amount of gray area in that, and I suspect you've not really thought about what the world would actually look like if nobody tried to tell others about their products at all, and simply relied on word of mouth or actively looking in opt-in directories (here's a hint, the first still requires at least one person to know, and the latter doesn't really work if the directory service never solicits merchants for listings or advertises to potential customers that their list exists).

    I'm no fan of pop over/unders or Flash ads with screaming monkeys, but the opposite extreme just isn't workable.

  • by PixelJaded ( 1904696 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @11:37PM (#33632176)

    Yes of course, because 3D Realms (legal name Apogee Software) have no experience publishing games at all. How old are you, 12?

    Duke Nukem Forever is not a case of developers needing a "publisher". Its simply an inside joke. Everytime 3D Realms work on a prototype, they call it Duke Nukem Forever and the artists throw in a few silly Duke Nukem assets for the programmers to work with until they actually have a real game plan.

  • by g051051 ( 71145 ) * on Sunday September 19, 2010 @11:49PM (#33632264)

    I was initially really excited by the service, and hoped it would fill the void from when GameTap dumped the good client and went with the atrocious web-based infrastructure. Unfortunately, GOG had a terible bait-and-switch policy that kept me from using them (after the first bad purchase). While they specifically claimed to be porting games to modern systems, all they did in many cases was bundle the games with DOSBox and call it a day (without mentioning this in the FAQ). At one point the site FAQ read:

    "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 couldn’t play properly on that busted old 386."

    Well, this simply wasn't true. I had my original copy of Redneck Rampage, but was never happy with it under DOSBox. So, I bought the GOG version, expecting to get a real port. I was surprised to see that not only was the GOG product was just a DOSBox wrapper over the original game, it was LESS functional than the version I had with my tweaked settings.

  • Re:RIP GOG.com (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PincushionMan ( 1312913 ) on Sunday September 19, 2010 @11:53PM (#33632280)

    Dude, Torchlight was on GamersGate (GG), not Good Old Games (GOG). Torchlight wasn't old enough to be considered 'old'. King's Bounty was, however. For reference, though, here's how to ID the sites (without URL):

    • Good Old Games: Dark Grey/Light Grey (depends on preference), http or AIR downloads, parent Co: CD Projekt
    • GamersGate: Light blue, wide margins (used for advertising), downloader apps, parent Co: used to be Paradox, don't know now
    • Steam: Black and Goth-angsty-looking, special Win32 program, parent Co: Valve
    • Direct2Drive: Yellow, downloader: ???, parent Co: ?
    • EA: light blue & lime green (looks quite a lot like The Sims), intrusive, annoying integrated-into-game downloader (Adobe AIR?) parent Co: evil
    • Games For Windows Live: White theme, Win32/.NET downloader, easily most annoying and unreliable of the lot, parent Co: MicroSoft

    For the nay-sayers, GfWL is already at 3.0. Just proof that 3.0 doesn't fix everything at MS.

  • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @02:22AM (#33632902) Journal

    Howdy cow.. you do not enter slashdot a lot uh?

    GoodOldGames has been *the posterchild* of "good example" for gaming distribution each time a story of DRM-something apears in slashdot!

    Maybe what happened is just that they were not profitable... because you know... people copied the games instead of buying them .. hmmm how could they avoid that ;-)

    yeah yeah i know, mod down -1 sad reality and all that..

  • 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.
  • 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?

  • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @09:55AM (#33635092)
    Really, what kind of point are you trying to make? That people such as myself in this kind of situation don't deserve Any type of happiness or fun until we hit rock bottom?

    I guess the point of my post is that you really do come off as an elitist asshole, and just because you might be better off than many others out there, does not at all make you a better person.

    The point I am making is that most people who say they live paycheck to paycheck are in that condition because they spend everything they get, as they get it. And freqguently do so on things that they don't need. And then they complain that they don't have any money. I've had this exact converstion with people who run their air conditioning hard all summer, and heat their home to sauna temperatures all winter. Or who can't be bothered to go get a gig mowing lawns on Saturday for a year to establish a slush fund for emergencies. Or people who complain about living paycheck to paycheck, but mysteriously still manage to smoke cigarettes, or buy a latte, or get overpriced mixed green salads from Whole Foods. If you really hate not having so much as one single extra dollar in your wallet at the end of each pay period, do some extra work, or make yourself more valuable and get different work ... and once you start making $50 more a week, put it in the bank instead of spending it.

    I work 60-70 hours a week in IT, and work Saturdays and Sundays in other areas. I haven't taken anything resembling a vacation in over 10 years. But I'm putting some money away for later, when it really matters. What mystifies me is that you equate "happiness" with spending money. Are you unable to find any pleasure in someone else's company, or while reading a great book, or going out for a walk in the real actual outdoors, or in building something with your hands out of found materials, or teaching some kid how to write a WHILE/WEND loop, or anything else? You sound more like someone who is lacking motivation and/or imagination, or who expects that the rest of us are supposed to somehow make your life better by inflating the value of what you do (at whose expense?).

    Don't give me that "elitist" crap. I work my ass off seven days a week, and give up all sorts of modest pleasures because of that. I'll suspend lumping you in with them, but you know exactly who I'm talking about: the "vast majority" (to use your words) of people who live paycheck to paycheck do so because of a lazy habit of instant gratification and total lack of discipline and drive. And even in paycheck-to-paycheck mode, they live like kings compared to people 50 years ago.
  • Re:Sigh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by turtledawn ( 149719 ) on Monday September 20, 2010 @01:35PM (#33638590)

    Well, good luck with your life... I try to have some fun on the way, because I could get hit by a truck tomorrow. While it's nice that my savings will go to my husband should I get hit by that truck, I also appreciate the memories we've created together while we're young and fit enough to do more than sit in our rockers and say to each other, Man, I wish I had worked more and spent less time with you while we were young!

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982