GOG’s death highlights problems with DRM
by Jeremy

According to a sudden message posted on the site this morning, apparently DRM-free PC game digital distributor Good Old Games is shutting down:

We have recently had to give serious thought to whether we could really keep GOG.com the way it is. We’ve debated on it for quite some time and, unfortunately, we’ve decided that GOG.com simply cannot remain in its current form.

They say they’re going to enable those who’ve purchased from them to re-download their games, but that won’t last long and support will then cease.

Why is this happening? Looks like more publishers and management parasites cutting off their nose to spite their face:

Sometimes it’s really hard being DRM-free… hard to keep things the way they are and keep management and publishers happy :(

The mindset of those bullying GoG over its DRM-free philosophy appears to be: those customers who will not buy DRM crippled games? We don’t need or want their money! We must destroy the entities that highlight how unnecessary and awkward our DRM process is. And if that means driving customers away, so be it. OUR BUSINESS MODEL IS FLAWLESS.

The thing is, the shutting down of GoG is actually a very clear demonstration to gamers of why DRM-locked content is transitory and much less worth our money. Imagine if GoG was a DRM-based site, as the industry would apparently prefer it to be. In that case, its customers would now be up that brown creek without a means of recovery. And don’t try to reassure me “oh the publishers would still support their customers” – no, they wouldn’t. Any DRM that requires checking in with an online server is inherently transitory and unreliable. These companies do not last forever, and they do not bother supporting old products forever. They turn servers off to save money, they abandon their old titles – not legally, no, they still want the power to prosecute the people who care enough about their games to keep them alive and functioning, but effectively, since they’re not charities, they’re businesses, and the historical and cultural value of their products is a side-effect the managers who run them couldn’t care less about.

GoG’s apparent death is just another example of how flimsy your relationship with any of these companies is, and how you’d better hope that your continued enjoyment of the product for which you’ve paid is not dependent on them into the future. Which it would be if it had DRM. Thank God GoG’s wares didn’t.

ELSEWHERE: Steam Unpowered think that GoG will be back, but it isn’t looking good. And the point remains – if you think this could never happen to DRM-based distributors, I admire your faith.

UPDATE: Lazygamer look at the corporate shenanigans currently involving the GoG parent company.

UPDATE #2: It appears to have been a mystifying ruse on the part of Good Old Games to increase attention for their full, post-beta launch, by making customers fear their games being cut off at a moment’s notice without warning. BRILLIANT.

6 Responses to “GOG’s death highlights problems with DRM”

  1. Joaby says:

    You should probably issue an apology to the publishers you maligned huh.

  2. Jeremy says:

    What, for giving GoG a hard time over DRM? You’re saying they didn’t?

  3. Joaby says:

    It was all a hoax. A ruse, designed to generate publicity for their relaunch. They’re back up Jeremy. They made it all up.

  4. Jeremy says:

    The shutting down was a ruse; do you seriously doubt that the publishers gave them a hard time about the lack of DRM?

  5. Joaby says:

    Do you seriously believe what they say, just because they say it? Or are you, as always, reluctant to admit that you are in a position of error and that you should issue some sort of retraction.

    It’s probably the second one, as you do it whenever you’re wrong.

  6. Jeremy says:

    I love when you tell me I’m “wrong”, Joab.

Leave a Reply