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GOG.com: Now with Microtransactions and 30 Prices for One Game

Still not up to make much sense, but received a notification yesterday that the GOG.com User Agreement and Privacy Policy are being updated, with three changes being mentioned. One was expected, having to do with the introduction of GOG Wallet, but the other two mention more data sharing with their partners and purchasing virtual goods, which they state will be needed for future releases. And I’m going to assume that by “future releases” they first of all mean Gwent, but once yet another set of floodgates will be opened, I’m sure that won’t be the last game using them, far from it.
So microtransactions are yet another thing which will end up there though it shouldn’t, after regional pricing, regional locking, DLC packages available separately that aren’t in any way proper expansions, preorders, preorder-exclusive content, overpriced games, games that require Galaxy for some of the functionality to be enabled, games for which those using Galaxy get patches days earlier than those who don’t, versions of games that no longer get the patches and even additional content that the developers continue to create for the versions sold on other platforms, and I’m sure I missed some. Plus probably newer games in general, since I guess that’s where it all started from, even though some of these terrible practices have since started being applied to old games as well.
Now they even got to the point of announcing that they are selling and will continue to sell an inferior version of a game as good news! And to a game having no less than 30 different prices, while at the time I’m writing this a mere 24 non-free titles still stick to their original “one world, one price” policy. And, of course, I’m just waiting for the first game which will require Galaxy to run at all, ditching even their DRM-free policy for all practical purposes. Gwent may well be that one, in fact, which you may say is quite ironic, but in truth isn’t.

So my question remains: Where do those who supported GOG for what it was at first, those who were drawn to it for those original principles and who actually got them in the position of even considering to rise beyond that initial niche level, go? They took over this niche, a digital game store with practices worth supporting and a mission to push through the increasing amount of filth in the industry and change it all for the better, then trampled all over it by expanding to compete at the highest level by imitating others and discarding all those original values and rules with the sole exception of DRM-free for the single-player part of games. They attracted new customers that don’t care about anything and outnumber and overpower the old loyal base while pretty much dismissing said loyal base and probably breathing a small sigh of relief if they even notice it at all whenever one more of the remaining few gives up, and by all accounts also hired more and more new staff members that also don’t care while many of the original ones who did have left.
Even mrkgnao left, though MaGog remains operational. And IAmSinistar, who had given up hope of the tide turning again and things getting anything but worse and worse quite some time ago, also recently stopped maintaining his threads and mixes. Some others have taken up the flag in case of those mixes, sure, but the group is ever smaller and even some who may be seen as part of it now likely aren’t as dedicated to those initial core values, while the voices of those who firmly support whatever will make GOG bigger and more profitable, just in order to get more games, keep getting stronger, also backed by the deafening apathy of the ever larger majority of users who simply stumbled in and, according to the rules that govern masses of people everywhere, don’t usually give much of a fuck about anything, won’t do anything about even the things they may claim to give a little fuck about, and are terribly easy to manipulate in order to make them do whatever’s needed to give the appearance of supporting those in power whenever they’re challenged.
So, again, where do those who want what GOG used to be go? I decided to completely stop “pirating” games for them, because there was a reason to hope that something may actually be worth supporting in this rotten industry, and then just got played, along with most others who initially supported them. I got there for games that are completely free of any form of DRM and require no clients or connections in order to install or play, that are treated as the single products they are and are therefore sold for the same price and with no blocks regardless of the customer’s location, that receive great customer support, that are pretty much the final versions in the sense that they’re as patched as they’re going to get and preferably also include all additional content that will ever be released from the beginning, that are properly tested to run well right away on modern hardware and the operating systems listed, that are affordable even for me, definitely no more than that $10, or in fact $9.99, that was the original maximum price, and that are sold by a store operated by a group of people truly dedicated to these principles and to changing the industry step by step according to them, no matter what.
Well, GOG.com is definitely not that anymore, hasn’t been at least since the original “good news” announcement, though I guess the slippery slope should have really been clear since the “Bigger. Fresher. Newer.” announcement. It has been taken over by the rotten industry and the people who just accept things as they are, while those who wish for something different, including those who truly worked, unrewarded, to help them grow and improve and become better known and more relevant, are left once again with nowhere to go. I mean, where do we go? Does anyone know of any other place like GOG used to be, that adheres to those original values and truly strives to change the industry and is actually making a dent whenever it gets a chance without allowing itself to be pushed back and thrown off that course? Because I sure don’t…

2 Comments

  1. BreathingMeat says:

    For me the microtransactions are the hill I’ll die on. The other issues I was able to justify and be comfortable with, but microtransactions are inherently a form of DRM.

    The Galaxy client offers additional functionality which I don’t care about. GOG caters for the “just the games” crowd: we choose not to have achievements, friends and whatever other fluff the Steam client enables, because we’re just interested in the game content. If they reckon they can get more customers by offering a client which adds these things, I’m fine as long as I can download and play my games without it.

    Regional pricing is outside of GOG’s control and I understand that. Yes, GOG had a line in the sand where it came to DRM which they could have attempted to enforce with regional pricing too, but to achieve region-free pricing they’re not just fighting publishing companies; they’re up against the legal and tax systems of countries. If the voters in the United Kingdom (for example) elect to have a sales tax, and that makes games more expensive in their country, GOG’s prices should reflect that sales tax. Not doing so would be subsidising gamers in the taxed countries at the expense of everyone else. I say this as a resident of the United Kingdom!

    Region-locking game content is another issue that is the fault of voters and governments. GOG can’t break the law in Australia by selling games with boobs in them to Australians. Sorry Australia, your government sucks.

    All of the DLC packages that I’ve seen for sale on GOG contain extra content that isn’t necessary to properly enjoy the base game. I’ve not looked at all of them, but I have been comfortable with the way it’s been carved so far. It’s a pity that some soundtracks and galleries have been separated out into DLC when the classic GOG would have offered them bundled in with the game purchase, but I guess when things are sold as Kickstarter tiers etc there needs to be some reflection of that in the pricing.

    On the other hand, for microtransactions to work, games need protective code to prevent players from applying modifications to the game and gaining the advantages that publishers want them to pay money for. That’s DRM. That’s not selling me something and letting me do what I like with my own thing. That’s not “like a book or a CD.” That’s not the feeling “that you own the products you buy.” That’s not GOG’s own definition of DRM-free.

    September 2, 2016 @ 12:31 AM

  2. Cavalary says:

    See, the thing is that the hill to die on is different for each person. I came to GOG and decided it was finally a model worth supporting and worth getting off “the high seas” for because of everything it stood for, not just one thing or another. When you accept a break from any principle, be it written one (of which there were just two specific ones, DRM-free and flat price) or unwritten, however justified you see it, that’s the slippery slope that allows them to give up on more and more till they’ll eventually get to one that bothers you too.
    And taxes existed before Feb 2014 too (plus that regional pricing has nothing to do with taxes, just look at how it works out, it’s just whatever the publishers think they can get away with), including at the time of their ad poking fun at Steam for its regional pricing and at the time of their summer of 2013 (so just half a year before the “good news”) conference when they said they will not make any exception from their principles no matter what and named Take Two and Capcom as companies they couldn’t work with because they wanted exceptions to flat pricing due to their other contracts. And stupid censorship laws also existed before launching the German storefront.

    September 2, 2016 @ 12:42 AM

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