Good Old Games started out as a business trying to resurrect old games that had long become unplayable due to updates in operating systems. It is with this model that they have become a top competitor to Steam and other game sales sites. Now they do not have the extensive libraries of Steam or some other platforms. They do on the other hand offer games you cannot find elsewhere right now because they have bought up old licenses and updated them and now they are selling them to nostalgic nerds like myself.
Now GOG has moved from this model into more modern games. They provide most modern games with a caveat and they also produce their own games some of which you may know (Witcher series, Cyper Punk 2077). The caveat is games they sell have to be DRM free. So some developers refuse to sell on their site. This stance limits them but also ensures they are the most user based company out there.
DRM free is one of my many loves for this company. First what is DRM and why is it bad? Well DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. This used to be those annoying codes you had to type in at the install of a game but now it has gotten more complex and sometimes game breaking. DRM is supposed to prevent piracy but it only serves as a small road block to that, but can provide a significant barrier to playing sometimes.
There have been cases of DRM breaking a game or rendering it unplayable. One such game I own is Earth 2060 I love this game but sadly I cannot play my physical copy because to install it you need to activate it through servers that do not exist anymore or call a phone line that has been closed down for years now. So my game is forever a locked disk unable to be played ever again.
DRM has caused more problems then it has solved and normally equates to very anti-consumer practices like locking a game out when a company chooses to stop supporting it. Not to mention launch day woes, like Diablo 3. Diablo 3 needed to be always connected to the internet for it’s DRM. There was no logical need for this since the game was completely single player. With an online marketplace and optional co-op but just to play the base game you should not have to be online. Well due to their requirement of always online launch day they experience way more traffic then they had anticipated and their servers crashed, and most people who had bought the game were un able to play their game. This caused a lot of rage and hatred towards Blizzard, and tarnished the public opinion of Diablo 3.
Now GOG only offers games that are DRM free. Now this has hurt them a little since their games are very easy to pirate, but it also attracts more people then that in my opinion. Imagine the old days when you actually own your game. As opposed to now where you are at best renting your game. Well with GOG you can close down your account delete GOG Galaxy and you will still be able to play your game as long as it is installed on your computer. Not to mention transfer it to other computers without GOGs oversight.
That to me is worth a lot and makes me want to support them more.
Now like everything they do have their flaws and things I would like for them to improve. One is their sales pages. These are hard to navigate and are lacking features most sales sites offer like listing prices from lowest to highest. Or better filters for games. On a sale day you basically have to sort through all games for a sale just to make sure you are not missing out on that one game you may want to purchase for a significantly reduced price.
The wishlist is very notorious for bugs. Just the other day I was going through their winter sale and I selected the filter of games below 5 dollars, and only 6 popped up but if you look at the main list with out a filter there were several more that were under 5 dollars they just didn’t filter out when I selected the option.
They have also done timed sales a practice that I hope they are moving away from. By timed sales I mean what Steam used to do where they would have a large sale like their winter sale but you would have to log in every day just to make sure something wasn’t in deep discount that day and heaven help you if you bought it the day before not knowing it would be discounted more the next day. Steam moved away from this model because it was very unpopular. It seems if this current Winter Sale is any indication GOG are moving away from this as well. We shall see.
I do like their launcher but I do not like the sales page experience. It is hard to sort through and very cumbersome just to find what you want.
This brings me to another reason why I am starting to really like GOG and that is their GOG Galaxy 2.0. This launcher is everything I never knew I wanted. I never thought about having all my games under one launcher until I found out about GOG Galaxy 2.0, but now I love the idea and will start using it more then any other launcher just because it is so easy to use. I just open it up select a game to play or install and I am off playing the game very easy and I don’t have to remember what launcher has what game. It is very easy and make looking for a game to play much more enjoyable.
The last and this is probably only my axe to grind is their refusal of Epic Game Stores Exclusivity with Cyber Punk 2077. I like many people am getting sick of hearing about Epic buying out game after game just to lock it down under their exclusivity deals. Now all is fair in love, war and business, but their deals have led to people who backed certain games being wronged by game developers just for a quick buck, and that I cannot stand behind.
So when I heard that Cyber Punk 2077 would not be an exclusive I was very happy that CD Project Red did not go that route. Granted I think they will make more money releasing on all platforms especially on Steam who have the largest user base, but I can still count it as a plus in their corner.