Stolen Pixels #229: The Tearful Goodbye

By Shamus
on Sep 24, 2010
Filed under:
Column

And Good Old Games went out not with a bang, but a incoherent tirade.

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201636 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. krellen says:

    They actually do seem contrite enough about it, so I think I’m going to forgive them. They’re staying DRM free, and that’s what really matters.

    • Tim Skirvin says:

      In what way do they contrite? What I’m reading is “I’m sorry. *giggle*”, over and over again.

      I bought a few games on promo just before I left on vacation. I figured that I’d be able to play when I got back, so I didn’t bother downloading anything. And then I couldn’t actually download the games… well, I’m *still* annoyed about this, more-so because the company refuses to refund my money for the games that I have yet to download and no longer have time to play.

      And yes, it’s hard to say that it’s really that bad being out $8. But, on the other hand, why is it so hard for them to give me back my $8 if it’s not much money anyway?

      • krellen says:

        Did they refuse by sending you an email saying “no refunds”, or have they refused because you can’t find an easy way to click “give me my money back”?

        However, a “no refund” policy would not overly surprise me. It might be the concession they have to make to keep the games DRM free. It’s not like “no refunds” isn’t the industry standard.

      • Tim Skirvin says:

        …”are they contrite?”. Sorry.

        • krellen says:

          You’ve got to take the language barrier into account, and not try to read too much into body language or tone. French and Polish are these men’s first languages, not English, which means not only do they have to translate ideas from one language to another, they’re also translating from one grammar to another.

          The words they say convey most of their meaning, and not their tone. It’s very, very difficult to be sarcastic in a language that is not your native tongue.

  2. Heron says:

    I figured they were just doing a site redesign; if they were shutting down they would have just left the site running long enough for people to download their stuff. As such my only worry was that they’d add DRM, even if only to “new” titles; but they’re not, so I shall remain a loyal GOG customer :D

  3. Factoid says:

    The thing I didn’t get about why everyone was so upset: do people really buy stuff from GOG and not download it or keep a copy?

    It’s DRM free so once it’s yours you don’t need them around. I keep a copy of all my GOG installers on a backup drive.

    If anything they did their customers a favor by reminding them that these services can go away without notice so it’s very important to keep your stuff and not rely on GOG to maintain it for you.

    • krellen says:

      I was mostly worried that it was a sign that The Bastards(tm) had won again.

    • houser2112 says:

      I’d guess the typical scenario that leads to not downloading right away is taking advantage of a weekend discount, and not an impulse buy where you just had to play Duke Nukem RIGHT NOW.

    • Mari says:

      Put it this way, I bought Baldur’s Gate yesterday but didn’t download it until this afternoon. It’s nearly a 2 G download and I wanted to wait until the rest of the fam were safely out of the way so that their traffic wouldn’t screw with my download.

      That’s pretty common in our house. I mean, four people, six computers, sharing bandwidth, all with varying interests including streaming HD video, MMO playing, light surfing, and Flash games, all going at once. So most of the time if anyone has serious downloads to do, they wait until they have the house to themselves or everyone else has gone to bed.

    • Miral says:

      Probably over half the games I’ve bought from gog.com I haven’t actually downloaded yet. As Mari said, mostly it’s from weekend sales. Download caps also play a part — I can’t download too many at once.

  4. Josh R says:

    Is anyone else noticing a trend over the last three posts?

  5. Old_Geek says:

    If you are a fan of the site, just think of all the free publicity they got from this stunt. Every gaming website including this one broke both the news of its death and rebirth. How many people were reminded by all of this that gog still exists? Gamers are a fickle lot, and for many the website had probably become yesterdays news. Now, because of the hype, they might drop by and find some game to drop 5 or 10 dollars on.

    I say that if this stunt helps Gog’s sales and allows them to sign more publishers, than it was worth a tiny bit of inconvenience for the rest of us.

    • Tim Skirvin says:

      This is actually my biggest gripe. This is not behaviour I want to be reinforced. I do not want them to get more sales through lying and taking away the games that I paid for. Throwing away my trust in order to get publicity should be a Bad Thing.

      • Griffin says:

        How have they taken away your games? I just logged into my account, and I seem to be able to download my games just fine. If you’re having problems, you should let them know.

  6. Meredith says:

    I’ve looked at GOG several times because of all the love here, but they never have the games I’m actually interested in.

    This seems like a daft way to announce a re-design, but I suppose it worked — they did get people’s attention.

  7. Jarenth says:

    This comic neatly encapsulates my feelings about this whole mess. Especially that second video they released — that ‘monk’ nonsense — where they explained what was actually happening:

    No, man, we were just playing a prank on you guys! You should have heard youselves, going all like “Aah, they’re going to get DRM!” and “Aah, they’re going to get taken over!”. Hah, you guys suck! Now come check out our new site when it’s done.

    I mean, I’ll still be supporting them, as it’s a good cause and a good place to get working games of yore, but still, this whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth.

    • krellen says:

      The message I got was more “It sounded like a good idea at the time, and we thought we made it more obvious, and we’re really sorry we got you guys all freaked out. But we’ve got these great new features and this great new affiliate, so we’re really hoping all this cool stuff will make up for the stupid stunt we pulled.

      The second video, at the end, has them being monks again, asking “Will they ever forgive us?” “I don’t know, but we have to keep going on like we do, because our cause it just”.

  8. Tesh says:

    It was an idiotic stunt.

    It’s still a great way to buy games.

    The latter far outweighs the former for me.

  9. Mari says:

    It was in incredibly poor taste, but if they apologize with gems like Baldur’s Gate every time I invite them to indulge in as much poor taste as they wish.

  10. Dev Null says:

    I thought it was very very weird that they would shut down so abruptly and without warning. But even while they were pretending to do so they assured us that we’d have access to download our games again within a couple of days. That to me was the kicker that means I don’t hate them for it. Poor taste? Probably. But they never even pretended to take my games away. (And, as somebody mentioned, it reminded me to make sure I’ve got offline copies of all of them…)

  11. Steve C says:

    I don’t like that stunt either, but like others I’ll forgive them. It’s not like GoG stops people from accessing their purchases, just the off-site backup that GoG has of their customer’s purchases. If GoG went offline forever their customers would not be unduly influenced. That’s the reason why we LIKE GoG in the first place.

    The real problem is when another company with a different model and a different level of goodwill to spend decides to do it because “It worked for GoG!” Can you imagine Activision or Steam pulling a similar stunt?

  12. Irridium says:

    I was pissed at first, but then I got better knowing they’re still going to be with us. Good to know there’s at least one company/website/service that still treats people like actual people and not potential pirates carrying lots of money.

  13. Sagretti says:

    It was an interesting stunt, and really the only reason it worked is because Good Old Games has so much goodwill built up. Nearly anyone else trying the same thing would result in some pretty long-lasting backlash. I do fear it’s tarnished their reputation a bit, as it makes me wary to do business with them until I’m sure things are stabilized. Also puts them in danger of falling prey to the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” problem if they ever do have real problems in the future.

  14. Nice to see them “back”. (I wonder what would have happened if nobody reacted at all to the “news”. *laughs*)

    Btw! Shamus wanna see something really sad?
    http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/926558-indigo-prophecy/53890055

    Read the 2nd post, I had to re-read it to make I was seeing right.
    To play Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy in USA) a legit customer needs to illegally “crack” the game.

    Again the ugliness of DRM strikes (apparently), forcing legit owners to enter the world of software piracy to play their favorite games (or in this case even install?).

    • Khizan says:

      If you read the post, they need to crack it to get it to install on an OS that wasn’t even out when the game was released.

      And while I hate obtrusive DRM as much as the next guy(so long as the next guy isn’t Shamus, he’s kinda obsessed with it), this looks like it really isn’t a case of OMG THE DRM IS SO HORRIBLE YOU CAN’T INSTALL IT so much as a case of the game not being compatible with a OS that was released 4 years or so after the game was developed.

      • MechaCrash says:

        Except that the reason it’s incompatible is solely the DRM.

      • Nidokoenig says:

        You do realise that one of the big gripes about DRM is it takes away ownership and means you can’t install it when you want, don’t you? This is what people hate, this is what this DRM has done, it’s the company’s fault for adding in a system that failed after giving no benefit to the consumer.
        This isn’t like a DOS program trying to run on a DOS-less system, which you can fix with DOSBox without risking DRM circumvention-related legal trouble, and this problem was already encountered and solved for Vista, meaning people didn’t even get four years of trouble free play, which is a damn sight shorter than the old offer of FOREVER.

        • Miral says:

          This is why games that have been out for a long time ought to have an official patch that ditches the DRM. (Of course, in an ideal world they wouldn’t have had the DRM to begin with, but that’s a different argument.)

          Sadly, not enough publishers are willing to do this, either out of some misplaced fear of Teh P1ra37ez!!11!!, or just because they’ve moved on to later games and are completely ignoring their older catalogue.

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