According to yesterday’s announcement, which they actually made sure I was aware of, GOG.com is taking some steps back from its plans of allowing regional pricing for certain games. In addition, according to clarifications posted by both Marcin Iwinski and Trevor Longino, the latter as part of a more detailed post, they will also make some necessary changes to their plans for introducing local pricing for the entire catalog, turning that part of the mess into an actual improvement by allowing users to choose between the standard price in USD and that in the currency assigned for their country, if different. These local prices will still be fixed, however, so the better choice will depend not only on any conversion fees the user may incur, but also on how the exchange rates will vary over time.
As such, while the new plans do not imply a true return to their previous principles by once again completely rejecting any and all regional pricing and no other improvements can make up for that, so the announcement itself is no reason to celebrate or congratulate them, I feel they have taken sufficient steps for me to tentatively suspend the call for a boycott. Trust is extremely hard to rebuild once lost and I rather doubt they’ll ever regain my confidence and support to the extent they had it before this mess, but at the moment I believe those of us who saw them as more than a business, those of us who supported them thanks to their principles and to the fight they led, can once again make purchases from there. I will definitely stay well away from any games that are or will be regionally priced, however, regardless of any compensation, and strongly urge everyone else to do the same, regardless of how or even if this policy affects them personally.
Despite being tempted to download these games that are or will be regionally priced, if merely to make a point, I will also return to my rule of never “pirating” any game available on GOG, not that I had done so during this brief time. Of course, the fact that I have not and will not make purchases from any other such stores, seeing as I’m not aware of any others that clearly and firmly reject DRM and regional pricing, in fact most enforcing both, has never been affected in any way and my choices of obtaining digital copies of games will remain limited to GOG and “piracy” at least until I’ll become aware of another service that’ll adhere even more strongly to both of these principles. If I’ll ever learn of one that, on top of rejecting any and all forms of DRM, will actually practice fair pricing, as in establishing the base price, which is usually the one for the United States, as maximum but striving to offer lower prices to as many poorer countries as possible, I’ll definitely have a look, but I’m yet to hear of any even attempting such a thing.
This was meant to be a much longer post, analyzing the new plans, speculating about the real reasons behind this new change, trying to determine what should be done next and offering several suggestions which may help them make the most of the current situation while at the same time helping all of us have a greater impact and, if at all possible, score more victories in this battle against the rotten practices the gaming industry sees as the norm. However, I definitely don’t seem to be getting anywhere when it comes to actually writing what I mean to write, so let’s hope tomorrow will be a better day.