Screenshot of GOG.com's homepage
|Type||Limited company (subsidiary of CD Projekt)|
|Managing director||Guillaume Rambourg|
|Industry||Internet, Computer and video games|
|Alexa rank||2,874 (March 2015[update])|
|Type of site||Digital distribution|
|Available in||English, French, German, Russian|
|Launched||August 1, 2008|
GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games) is a distribution service and publisher for PC games and films, operated by GOG Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of CD Projekt based in Warsaw, Poland. GOG.com delivers video games through its DRM-free digital platform for Windows, OS X and Linux. In March 2012, it began selling more recent titles such as Alan Wake and Assassin's Creed, among many others.
The offered digital goods (video games and movies) can be purchased and downloaded online and they are distributed without digital rights management. The prices of products typically range from about $5 to $10 for older games, along with special offers in sales held several times a week. Some newer titles have a higher price. GOG.com's digital products can also be given to other persons via redeemable gift certificates.
The user does not have to install special client software to download or run the games, although a download manager, which is due to be phased out, and the GOG Galaxy client, which is currently in beta, are available. After downloading, the customer is free to use the software for any personal use like installing on multiple devices, archiving on any personal storage media for unlimited time, modding and patching; with the restriction that reselling and sharing is not permitted. The software installers are technically independent of the customer's GOG.com account, although still subject to GOG.com's EULA, where a "licensed, not sold" formulation is used. The "licensed, not sold" model frequently raises questions of ownership of digital goods. In the European Union, the European Court of Justice held that a copyright holder cannot oppose the resale of a digitally sold software, in accordance with the rule of copyright exhaustion on first sale as ownership is transferred, and questions therefore the "licensed, not sold" EULA.
In order to ensure compatibility with newer versions of operating systems and current PC hardware, some games are pre-patched or bundled with Open Source emulation and compatibility software, such as ScummVM and DOSBox. Additional compatibility fixes are included if required, sometimes coming from the game community itself (community-made patch). Examples of games which have such additional fixes are Outcast or Dungeon Keeper 2.
Along with the games, customers are also able to download numerous extra materials relating to the game they purchased. Often these extras include the game's soundtrack (partly as FLAC), wallpapers, avatars, and manuals. GOG.com also offers full customer support for all purchases and a money-back guarantee for the first 30 days.
Promotions are organized regularly. The style of these promotions varies from a discount for products that are bought in bundles, to thematic competitions like riddles, “guess a game from a picture” contests or “best time on a specific level”. Also, GOG.com gives away promotion codes for a game with review contests.
Marketing stunt and relaunch
During a period of days from September 19 to 22, 2010, the GOG.com website was disabled leaving behind messages on the web site and their Twitter accounts that the site had been closed. A spokesperson for Good Old Games reiterated that the site is not being shut down, and confirmed news would be forthcoming about changes to the service. A clarification posted on the site on September 20, 2010, said they had to shut down the site temporarily "due to business and technical reasons", with industry journalists believing the shutdown may be related to the nature of DRM-free strategy, based on Twitter messages from the company. On September 22, 2010, GOG.com revealed that this shutdown was a marketing hoax as part of the site coming out of beta. The site's management, aware of the reactions to the fake closure, stated:
First of all we’d like to apologize to everyone who felt deceived or harmed in any way by the closedown of GOG.com. As a small company we don't have a huge marketing budget and this is why we could not miss a chance to generate some buzz around an event as big as launching a brand new version of our website and even more important, bringing back Baldur's Gate to life!
The site returned on September 23, 2010, with an improved storefront and additional benefits, as outlined during a webcast presentation. During the presentation, GOG.com's co-founder Marcin Iwinski and managing director Guillaume Rambourg had dressed as monks to atone for their sins. The relaunch of the site was considered by Rambourg to have been successful, having brought new customers that were previously unaware of GOG.com. As promised after its relaunch, GOG.com was able to offer several Black Isle Studios games such as Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment and Icewind Dale which have previously been unreleased through any download service due to legal issues between the ownership of Dungeons & Dragons-related games between Atari, Hasbro, and other companies.
On March 27, 2012, Good Old Games announced that it was branching out to feature "AAA" and independent titles in addition to older games. The site was rebranded to GOG.com.
OS X and Linux support
In October 2012, GOG.com was announced to be bringing DRM-free games to OS X. This included the previously Steam exclusive (OS X version) The Witcher and The Witcher 2, both made by CD Projekt RED. GOG.com gathered user feedback in a community wishlist, and one of the most demanded feature requests was support for native Linux games, which gathered close to 15,000 votes before it was marked as "in progress". Originally GOG.com representatives said, that there are technical and operational issues which make it harder than it seems, however it's something they would love to do, and they have been looking at. On March 18, 2014, GOG.com officially announced that they would be adding support for Linux, initially targeting Ubuntu and Linux Mint in the fall of 2014. On July 25, 2014, Linux support was released early, and 50 games were released compatible with the operating system. Several of the launch titles included games that were newly compatible with Linux, while most of the games already supported downloads made for the operating system on other distribution platforms.
Expansion to DRM-free video
On August 27, 2014 GOG.com announced the launch of the new addition to their service - distribution of DRM-free films. GOG.com offers DRM-free downloading in mp4 format and streaming of video in standard and DRM-free HTML fashion which doesn't bind users to any specific platforms or devices. The movies are made available in Full HD 1080p, 720p and 576p for limited bandwidth or download quotas; however, a few titles do not have the Full HD 1080p format available. GOG.com started with adding 21 documentaries about Internet culture and gaming. They also have plans for adding fiction films and series; according to GOG.com's managing director Guillaume Rambourg, they were in talks with many major studios. While studios' representatives liked the idea, they also were reluctant to let go of their current DRM approach until some other major studio would make the first step. Still GOG.com plan to work on overcoming the initial reluctance and moving DRM-free video forward.
On December 9, 2013, GOG.com introduced a money-back guarantee for the first 30 days if a customer faces unresolvable technical problems with a bought game. Beginning April 2, 2015, GOG.com began to offer DRM-free downloads to holders of game keys from boxed copies of select games whose DRM validation systems no longer operate. Over $500,000 of retail game purchases have been redeemed through this system.
In the CD Projekt RED company update in June 2014, GOG.com announced that it would be bringing a Steam-like client, GOG Galaxy, to Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. The client is designed as a storefront, software delivery, and social network client, allowing players to buy and play games from GOG.com and share them with friends. Galaxy is also going to include an original multiplayer API, allowing developers to include the same kind of multiplayer functionality in GOG.com versions of games as on Steam. The client is optional and will retain the DRM-free objective of the GOG.com website. On 15 October 2014 the open multiplayer beta of the GOG Galaxy client was started, accompanied by the giveaway of Alien vs Predator. In July 2015 the GOG Galaxy beta client was reviewed favorable by the PC Gamer magazine, especially noting the focus on user respect in comparison to a competing client.
On March 26, 2009, GOG.com announced it had signed a deal with Ubisoft to publish games from their back catalogue; this was the first deal with a major publisher to offer DRM-free downloads. The deal to publish through GOG.com also included games that were not available through any other online distribution channel. On 5 September 2014 GOG.com started to sell Amiga games from Cinemaware's catalogue, starting with Defender of the Crown. This was technically made possible through Cinemaware's own written emulator called "Rocklobster". On 28 October 2014, GOG.com was able to secure another major publisher as a DRM-free partner, Disney Interactive / LucasArts. With this new partnership, GOG.com began to re-release several often-requested game titles from LucasArts, starting with six titles (Star Wars: X-Wing, Star Wars: TIE Fighter, Sam & Max Hit the Road, The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic). On 5 May 2015, GOG.com released Pacific General and Fantasy General and named itself, GOG Ltd, as the publisher. The company revealed that it had acquired the copyright to these titles and that it intends to acquire more in the future.
As GOG.com does not typically release absolute game selling numbers, market share considerations of GOG.com among the digital distributors are a challenge. But, sometimes an individual game developer releases his internal statistics about the selling performance on different game distribution channels for his specific game.
In an article dated November 11, 2011, PC Gamer reported statistics for online sales of the The Witcher 2. According to PC Gamer, Direct2Drive, Impulse and Gamersgate's combined sales were a total of 10,000 (4%), GOG.com sold 40,000 copies (16%), while Steam sold in the same time period 200,000 copies (80%).
On February 20, 2013, Defender's Quest developer Lars Doucet revealed the first three months of revenue following his game's release across 6 different digital distribution platforms, including 4 major digital game distributors and 2 methods of purchasing and downloading the game directly from the developer. The results showed that GOG.com generated 8.5% of the revenue – second only to Steam's 58.6% among the digital distribution platforms used. Doucet noted that "for the major [digital game distributors], GOG’s star is clearly rising. Even under direct competition, GOG generated 14.5 percent as much revenue as Steam. [...] Steam enjoys a captive market of ardent loyalists, but GOG is swiftly becoming an attractive alternative and gaining loyalists of its own, especially in the anti-DRM crowd."
Until June 9, 2015, GOG.com sold 690,000 units of CD Projekt Red's game The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, more than the second largest digital seller Steam (approx. 580,000 units) and all other PC digital distribution services combined.
GOG.com has more than 1,100 DRM-free games in its catalogue and new ones are added several times a week. The company has published several games and has made deals with a number of publishers, including:
- Adventure Soft
- Apogee Software
- CD Projekt RED
- Coktel Vision
- Cyan Worlds
- Deep Silver
- Disney Interactive
- Electronic Arts
- Empire Interactive
- Enlight Software
- Epic Games
- Firefly Studios
- Focus Home Interactive
- Metropolis Software
- Nordic Games
- Oddworld Inhabitants
- Paradox Interactive
- Revolution Software
- Running with Scissors, Inc.
- Remedy Entertainment
- Sierra On-Line
- Square Enix
- Strategy First
- TopWare Interactive
- Valiant Entertainment
- Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
- Wordplay LLC (Access Software)
- "GOG.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-04-01.
- Callaham, John (2010-07-10). "GOG (Good Old Games) to offer classic PC DRM-free games for download". Big Download. Retrieved 2012-04-07.
- "Shape your career with GOG.com". GOG.com. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Nunneley, Stephany (2012-03-24). "GoG.com to become "bigger, fresher, newer" on March 27". VG24/7. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
- Vilches, Jose (2012-10-19). "Good Old Games brings all-time classics to the Mac". TechSpot. Retrieved 2012-12-05.
- Caron, Frank (2008-09-25). "Good Old Games and the 'idiocy' of DRM". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- Website Help Gift certificates on GOG.com
- Caron, Frank (2008-09-09). "First look: GOG revives classic PC games for download age". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
- "GOG Galaxy FAQ". Retrieved 2015-05-14.
- "GOG.com FAQ". GOG.com. 2014-12-27. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
Can I enjoy my purchases both on my laptop and desktop computer at home? Yes. We do not limit the number of installations or reinstallations, as long as you install your purchased games on computers in your household.
- Walker, John (2012-02-01). "Thought: Do We Own Our Steam Games?". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
I asked gamer lawyer Jas Purewal about this a short while back, not specifically about Valve, and he explained that the matter is still unresolved. “In fact,” he says, “it’s never been completely resolved for software generally[...]"
- Purewal, Jas. "The legality of second hand software sales in the EU". gamerlaw.co.uk. (mirror on gamasutra.com)
- hg/mz (AFP, dpa) (2012-07-03). "Oracle loses court fight over software resale rules". dw.de. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
A European court has ruled that it's permissible to resell software licenses even if the package has been downloaded directly from the Internet. It sided with a German firm in its legal battle with US giant Oracle.
- Voakes, Greg (2012-07-03). "European Courts Rule In Favor Of Consumers Reselling Downloaded Games". forbes.com. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
Could this be the victory we need for a “gamer’s bill of rights” ? DRM is an oft-cited acronym, and resonates negatively in the gaming community. The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in favor of reselling downloaded games. Simply put, legally purchased and downloaded games will be treated like physical copies of the game, and consumers can then sell their ‘used’ game.
- "JUDGMENT OF THE COURT (Grand Chamber)". InfoCuria - Case-law of the Court of Justice. 2012-07-03. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
(Legal protection of computer programs — Marketing of used licences for computer programs downloaded from the internet — Directive 2009/24/EC — Articles 4(2) and 5(1) — Exhaustion of the distribution right — Concept of lawful acquirer)
- Timothy B. Lee (2012-07-03). "Top EU court upholds right to resell downloaded software". Ars Technica.
- "EU Court OKs Resale of Software Licenses". AP.
- Hall, Charlie (2014-07-14). "Nostalgia is a powerful drug: How GoG.com is growing beyond a back catalog". Polygon.com. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
That piece of software was designed to work with a version of Windows that is seven generations old. There’s no earthly reason it should play on a modern computer. And yet there are people out there who can make it work. Scattered across the internet, devoted fan bases secret that kind of information away. One team in Poland is constantly reaching out to these communities and soliciting their rarified knowledge, collecting and digesting their expertise so that other gamers don’t have to.
- terence_13 (2010-02-14). "Outcast Shamazaar-MUD+Twon-Ha patch inside". www.planet-adelpha.net. Archived from the original on 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
The release of the Openoutcast-Demo has inspired my to finally sit down and try two find the cause of these two bug. After some hours with Ollydbg I finally nailed down the cause of the first bug. [...] Update: Twon-Ha Bug is also solved.
- "Outcast 1 available on GOG.com! | Outcast". open Outcast. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
I had some old save-games so I was able perform a quick bug-check. Twan-ha riding? – No problem! OK. Going through the mud in Shamazaar? – Cutter switches to normal walking speed, just like he should! OK. Music? – Plays normally! OK.
- _Zenger_ (2010-08-08). "EXPERIMENTAL OUTCAST HI-RES PATCH, UP TO 1280x768 + CYANA LIGHTHOUSE PROBLEM FIXED". GOG.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
Hi, I've made an EXPERIMENTAL patch to play Outcast in HI-RES, now You can play in 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x720, 1280x768. Also I have fixed the problem with the last jump at the Cyana Lighthouse, now You can reach that last platform without problems.
- GOG.com team (2012-07-04). "Dungeon Keeper 2 Hardware Acceleration Fix is now LIVE!". GOG.com. Retrieved 2013-09-08.
Please check your games shelf for an update to Dungeon Keeper 2. We just released a Hardware Acceleration Fix for you all to download. We hope it works well and we appreciate y'all's patience in this matter!
- Devore, Jordan (2014-01-31). "How nice: GOG.com adds 31 FLAC soundtracks". Destructoid. Retrieved 2014-06-17.
One of my favorite features of GOG.com is its inclusion of bonuses at no additional charge [...] Going a step further this week, GOG.com has added 31 FLAC-encoded soundtracks to games like Another World, Darklands, Earthworm Jim, Heroes of Might and Magic, MDK 2, Neverwinter Nights 2, Shadow Warrior, and The Witcher.
- Griffiths, Daniel Nye (2013-12-09). "Good Guy GOG? Online Games Merchant Offers Money-Back Guarantee". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-12-29.
- Good, Owen (2010-09-19). "What's Happening With Good Old Games?". Kotaku. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- Pereira, Chris (2010-09-20). "Good Old Games Undergoing Changes But Not Shutting Down". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- Graft, Kris (2010-09-20). "Reboot For DRM-Free PC Game Download Service GOG.com?". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
- Smith, Graham (2010-09-22). "GOG hoax: "we could not miss a chance to generate some buzz"". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- Martin, Joe (2010-09-22). "GOG relaunches, admits closure was a hoax". bitgamer.net.
- Walker, John (2010-09-22). "Good Old Games Gets New, Relaunches". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- Graft, Kris (2010-09-22). "'Monks' Confirm Good Old Games PR Stunt, Site Relaunch". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-09-22.
- Graft, Kris (2010-09-24). "In-Depth: GOG's Monk Fiasco And The Fight For Publicity". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
- Graft, Kris (2009-12-19). "Hasbro Files Suit Against Atari Over Dungeons & Dragons Deal". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- Purchase, Robert (2010-09-28). "Planescape: Torment re-released at last". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2010-09-28.
- "Bigger. Fresher. Newer. See what's new on GOG.com". GOG.com. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
- "Add Linux versions of games - GOG.com". March 2012.
- "GOG.com (Good Old Games): No Linux For You!". 2012-10-16.
- "GOG.com on Windows 8, Mac gaming, and Linux support". October 24, 2012.
- "GOG.com Soon On More Platforms". March 18, 2014.
- "GOG.com Now Supports Linux!". July 25, 2014.
- "Introducing GOG.com DRM-Free Movies". August 27, 2014.
- "GOG.com forum: Cause there's no business like show-business!". September 1, 2014.
- GOG's new money-back guarantee is more about trust than refunds on gamasutra.com (December 2013)
- Clint Smith (2015-04-03). "GOG Announces New DRM-Free Reclamation Service". techraptor.net. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
- "Reclaim Your Games". GOG.com. Retrieved 2015-04-08.
- Farokhmanesh, Megan (2014-06-05). "GOG Galaxy promises no online activation needed for gaming". Polygon. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- Prescott, Shaun (2014-10-15). "Alien versus Predator Classic is free on GOG this week". PC Games. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
- Davenport, James (2015-07-14). "GOG Galaxy is a necessary break from Steam's feature creep". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2015-07-15.
But I think Galaxy is great—it never gets in the way of how I want to play my games. And yeah, there’s a tangible sense of ownership when I can play the games offline or outside the client. GOG doesn’t want to shape and direct the user experience. They leave it up to choice, not swayed by ill figs.
- Games Press (2014-09-05). "Cinemaware announces one-of-a-kind Amiga & PC distribution agreement with GOG.com". http://www.mcvuk.com. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
Cinemaware today announced a digital distribution agreement with GOG.com,[...] GOG.com will offer a selection of Cinemaware’s classic games, starting with Defender of the Crown®! All Cinemaware games will come with original manual scans, box art, music files and when possible other bonus content available at the time of their original release. [...] the original, graphically superior Amiga versions of these games will be sold with the DOS version!
- "Defender of the Crown - One of Cinemaware's greatest games is now on GOG!". indieretronews.com. 2014-09-05. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
According to Cinemaware, the Amiga version is playable through a custom emulator called "Rocklobster" Which was developed by Cinemaware themselves!
- O'Connor, Alice (2014-10-28). "Sam & Max & X-Wing & TIE Fighter: GOG Get LucasArts". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
LucasArts games have dominated GOG's community wishlist for years and I too am jolly glad to see some of them emerge from the archives
- Kuchera, Ben (2014-10-28). "Disney and GoG re-release classic Lucasfilm games, X-Wing was just the beginning". polygon.com. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
- "New Publisher: Disney Interactive / Lucasfilm". GOG.com. 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2014-11-09.
- "Release: Pacific General + Fantasy General". GOG.com. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
- "GOG.com staff posts regarding the acquisition of copyright". GOG.com. 5 May 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
- Hill, Owen (2011-11-30). "GOG release The Witcher 2 sales stats. Steam dominates all competitors combined". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
- Doucet, Lars (February 20, 2013). "Defender's Quest: By the Numbers, Part 2". Gamasutra.
- "News: GOG Galaxy home to over half of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt PC gamers". GOG.com. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
- "The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt". Steam Spy. 2015-06-11. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
Owners 572,544 on 2015-06-11
- Newhouse, Alex (2015-06-11). "More People Playing Witcher 3 on GOG than on Steam - CD Projekt's digital distribution service edges out Steam and all other PC platforms.". Gamespot. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
In a press release, the company revealed that over 690,000 people play the game through GOG, a substantial number considering it sold 4 million copies total across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. In fact, GOG didn't just edge out Steam--more copies are activated on GOG than on all other PC distribution platforms combined.
- "Games Catalogue". GOG.com.