GOG (Good Old Games) are hoping to provide a steam like alternative with their GOG Galaxy platform, and their hardline stance of no DRM isn’t going to be changing. Those users who have accounts with Valve’s Steam service likely know the story by now. You buy the title, install the game and sure there’s an offline mode play (for a lot of titles, not all) but you’ll need to be online at least initially to activate the title. Worse – some games (Ubisoft titles in particular) have a few levels of DRM, with requirements to activate on Steam, and then via UPlay. Oh, and that’s not to mention the titles were you’ve every gamer’s best friend – a limited number of activation’s.
GOG Galaxy will be totally different, as Guillaume Rambourg, the Vice President of GOG North America told Eurogamer:
“DRM is only impacting the good-hearted passionate gamers out there, The very same gamers who are ready to spend $50 or more to own their favourite triple-A title and support our industry,” he explains, “”Our industry should be cherishing and treating all gamers with respect, those people who pay our wages, servers, development projects and what not. Instead, we just make it frustrating for them to buy games. How schizophrenic is that?”
Some of you might be wondering “well, what about the piracy side of things”. Rambourg counters “Many people in the industry were worried that the first version to be leaked illegally on torrent websites would be ours. Guess what? The version that got uploaded first, a few days before the game release, was the cracked retail version, which shipped with DRM! If being a DRM-free platform was such a threat, then how come GOG.com welcomes 2 million gamers a month, distributes 755 games as of today, has been profitable from the day one; and is more ‘alive and kicking’ than ever, five-and-a-half years after we launched?”
Bold claims indeed – but CD Projekt Red (owners of GOG) are confident in their claims, and they should know their sales figures well enough by now. GOG Galaxy will remain DRM free – because they believe quite simply that frustrating your paying customers isn’t going to make the ones who’re not paying cough up the cash.
PC gaming (particularly by Triple A developers and publishers) has long been associated with piracy – but in reality, how true is this when so many console owners have a modded Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 to play their games? Indeed, Sega’s Dreamcast console was notoriously easy to pirate games on – and largely affected software sales on the machine.
PC Piracy isn’t difficult either – with cracks of popular games appearing in some cases before the official release date of the game. It’s very easy to cite piracy – but how many gamer’s have illegally downloaded the game just for a chance to play the title early, even if they’ve already paid the money for a Steam pre-order?
It’s clear some gamer’s will take advantage of GOG’s policies, but hopefully the numbers will be low to show others developers their decisions are justified. “As for involving other client providers, such as uPlay or Origin: we haven’t started any discussions yet, but if we could someday sign a great game, available on GOG.com and those platforms as well, and convince Ubisoft and EA to have their gamers play with GOG.com users… This could be really great – we’d love that,” said Piotr Karwowski, vice president of online tech at GOG.
Let’s hope it all works out well, shall we?