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-   -   GOG - The DRM-Free Revolution (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20641)

Couchpotato June 3rd, 2013 05:56

GOG - The DRM-Free Revolution
 
Forbes contributor Erik Kain has an interview with managing director Guillaume Rambourg of GOG.
Quote:

“It’s hard for the industry to think this way,” Rambourg says, “but consider this: if Zork I had an always-on internet connection requirement, do you think it would still be possible to sell the game 33 years later and have it work? It does work just fine on GOG.com, and the rights holders make revenue on this great old classic, but that’s because it’s not crippled with a short-sighted DRM policy. Of course, it wasn’t possible to use DRM like that back in the day, but I think it’s best for all of us who like seeing the classics that shaped gaming that it wasn’t.”

Always-online should be reserved for MMORPGs, Rambourg says, because large online games are built with an always-online internet connection in mind. It’s the point of this sort of game.

“However,” he says, “using an “always-online” feature for games that very much look and taste like single player titles is really a worrying trend to me and just like any short-sighted fasion out there, I hope it will just vanish in a near future.”
Mostly, however, Rambourg thinks the company’s success boils down to something simple: customer service.

“We treat our gamers like humans,” he says, “not criminals—and I think this is why our community is so active and faithful.”

Like any relationship, fostering trust between a business and its customers is crucial, and CD Projekt and GOG.com have figured out how to cultivate trust and respect with a tough crowd: gamers. The video game industry should take note. Abandoning DRM may sound risky, but abandoning your customer base is a far greater threat to the bottom line. If anything, CD Projekt and GOG.com have illustrated how important service is to the video game industry, and how adding value and treating customers with respect can pay dividends.
More information.

Bedwyr June 3rd, 2013 05:56

Good for their exposure.

SleepingDog June 3rd, 2013 09:35

I am no fan either of DRM or stealing/ piracy. However I have on occasion removed the DRM from my games to protect the disk media while speeding up the game. Now I tend to only buy DRM free games from the likes of GOG but it does limit what you can buy.

I also wonder whether these "always on-line" games allow the passing of information back to the publisher and developer on how the game is actually played by the average gamer. Perhaps I am being paranoid. Steam has the achievements for most (all?) games and I have wondered if this provides information on how the game is played. I know that for some games it provides a source of re-playability or challenges like with "And Yet It Moves" but still could the information be a source of revenue? Sales and Marketing in any company loves information and can't get enough to help them understand their market.

Ihaterpg June 3rd, 2013 10:45

In my opinion if it works it's because it's an isolated approach and that point bring them something that probably compensate for more than the possible loss. It's also a way to create a distinction and get fame.

And for editors or dev contributing, that's not Gog but their decision, it's made on old games they don't know sell anyway, or from indie dev that anyway suspect DRM too.

But from a more general point of view, just remove any DRM from any game released, I don't think it would be wise.

bkrueger June 3rd, 2013 11:00

I love GoG and their approach to make old games playable using DOS box etc.
This alone is worth the price even if you could get an old game elsewhere.

However I don't care so much for the DRM discussion. I use Steam for most of my new games because it is the easiest method to keep you games up to date and to migrate to a new PC by simply re-downloading. Moreover you can play most Steam games off-line, if you disable the steam community and the cloud saving features in the game preferences.

That said, I buy all older games from GoG, whenever possible and like very much that they made Wizardry 8 available recently.

I have only one suggestion for improvement: Make completely separate lists for old games and for new games (mostly indies). While I support their support for indies, I am mainly only interested in "Good old Games and would like to see them in their own list.

Ihaterpg June 3rd, 2013 11:09

The gog downloader keep you updated about the new versions, but ok the upgrade isn't transparent as in Steam if you set it auto update.

On Mac installation is just drag&drop for many games so that's very cool. And Steam client forced launch is a real nuisance. And no I won't disconnect my internet each time I want launch a game and not have steam client do the whole procedure.

As I launch more more often games than I update them, Gog or Gamersgate are easy winners for me. But I have much more games on Steam because they are very talented to sell games, I can't count the number of crap in my Steam library that I'll probably never play. But that point is also why I'm tuning down my Steam usage because I know that if I launch their client too often ie if I launch Steam games too often, they'll trick me. :-)

The DRM debate is very complicated.

EDIT: And if Steam forced/pushed approach to make free a Mac release when you have the PC release is a burden for Mac games, Steam jump into Mac gaming has most probably been a bless too for Mac gaming. But at same time Apple launched their Mac App version so it's difficult to know what started the rebirth of gaming on Mac, probably both and that's really the only reason why I keep a good estimate to Steam and still use it relatively often.

Alrik Fassbauer June 3rd, 2013 12:43

Quote:

“It’s hard for the industry to think this way,” Rambourg says, “but consider this: if Zork I had an always-on internet connection requirement, do you think it would still be possible to sell the game 33 years later and have it work?"
This is the fate of all online games as well.
At one point, they just want to shut the servers down.

What i do wonder, however, is this : How much money get the developers after 33 years ?
I expect them to get nothing. And that's why I consider today's big publishers rather as parasites. They are feeding on the works of developers, giving them nothing back, apart from the usual funding.

We need a kind of "fair trade" towards developers - and unions, too.

Gaxkang June 3rd, 2013 14:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by SleepingDog (Post 1061201110)
I also wonder whether these "always on-line" games allow the passing of information back to the publisher and developer on how the game is actually played by the average gamer. Perhaps I am being paranoid. Steam has the achievements for most (all?) games and I have wondered if this provides information on how the game is played. I know that for some games it provides a source of re-playability or challenges like with "And Yet It Moves" but still could the information be a source of revenue? Sales and Marketing in any company loves information and can't get enough to help them understand their market.

Not all Steam games have achievements. I have some flight sims (DCS) and they don't even report back how long I played, let alone have achievements. OTOH I believe Jeff Vogel complained about having to force them into his games as part of the deal with Steam.

But yeah, metrics and telemetry are there - you're not being paranoid. For ME Bio did public presentations showing who chose Geth over Quarian, who played Femshep etc. And god only knows what info they didn't share. I think 'design by telemetry' is really one of the major forces pushing publishers to make lowest common denominator output. In theory you can shut telemetry off, but unless you inspect every packet Steam is sending out (and can decrypt it) then I'd say it's fairly likely that a lot of your gaming habits are now part of someone's spreadsheet (and they know you're an evil person for shooting Mordin).

Maylander June 3rd, 2013 15:11

The "won't work in the future" thing is actually one of my fears when it comes to all online stores and always-online features. I really enjoy re-playing older games, and I just don't consider it likely that some of these newer games will still have online servers 10 years from now.

At least if GOG goes down they can let us know and I can just download all my games and store them on an external hard drive or some such thing.

GhanBuriGhan June 3rd, 2013 15:23

Quote:

Originally Posted by Maylander (Post 1061201166)
The "won't work in the future" thing is actually one of my fears when it comes to all online stores and always-online features. I really enjoy re-playing older games, and I just don't consider it likely that some of these newer games will still have online servers 10 years from now.

At least if GOG goes down they can let us know and I can just download all my games and store them on an external hard drive or some such thing.

Well, I tend to think that good games will find a way to remain available. I mean we play games on GOG now that were released on floppies although few of us probably have one of those drives still in our computer (and fewer still actually use it). Some will be lost for sure, but those that really have fans will resuface as abandonware projects or on GOG like services.

Cacheperl June 3rd, 2013 17:52

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ihaterpg (Post 1061201120)
And for editors or dev contributing, that's not Gog but their decision

Actually, it's your (our) choice. At least in the long run it is the consumers choice. You buy the game, you support the DRM strategy.

Many customers do not realize that. Or just fail to show some self-control when supporting bad products.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan (Post 1061201170)
Well, I tend to think that good games will find a way to remain available. I mean we play games on GOG now that were released on floppies although few of us probably have one of those drives still in our computer (and fewer still actually use it). Some will be lost for sure, but those that really have fans will resuface as abandonware projects or on GOG like services.

Mostly, such games will probably resurface in form of the illegal versions that already exist. Which show that even always-online is a joke, and the joke (as usual) is mainly on the paying customers.

SonOfCapiz June 3rd, 2013 18:14

Personally, I despise the always online thing. Call me pirate all you want, but after I've bought a game, I ALWAYS get the crack for it, if it's a single player game but requires an internet connection. I live in a place where the internet connection isn't always reliable and having once experienced being unable to play a single player game because the internet is down was enough for me. I don't appreciate not being able to use something I bought because the makers don't trust those who don't/won't buy the game.

SpoonFULL June 3rd, 2013 18:35

Always online DRM is a technique enforced by publishers to change gamers' mentality about games that the games are still property of the publisher and that the game's lifetime is short (max 5 or slightly more) and determined (controlled) by the publisher.

This way, the publisher can keep producing new (medicore) games that people will continue to buy and therefore increase their profit (no such thing as replayability or mods), save money by shutting down previous games' servers and the cycle continues.

This is a very deep and damaging strategy aimed at younger and future generations.

TheMadGamer June 3rd, 2013 19:04

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpoonFULL (Post 1061201210)
Always online DRM is a technique enforced by publishers to change gamers' mentality about games that the games are still property of the publisher and that the game's lifetime is short (max 5 or slightly more) and determined (controlled) by the publisher.

This way, the publisher can keep producing new (medicore) games that people will continue to buy and therefore increase their profit (no such thing as replayability or mods), save money by shutting down previous games' servers and the cycle continues.

This is a very deep and damaging strategy aimed at younger and future generations.

Couldn't have said it better. It's a paradigm shift and not a good one. I think however it is going to be successful if for no other reason than the socio-political momentum in the world right now is towards socialism and mainstream-everything frowns upon ownership of anything by anyone and begins this indoctrination at a very early age.

I'm an old fart. I like owning things. I like that I can go get my old cartridge of Adventure and plug it into my 34 year old Atari 2600 and play it if I want to. In 34 years, it's doubtful my two boys, who currently are in love with the new Sim City game, will be able to play that game 34 years from now - if for no other reason than for nostalgia. Always on-line is a short term fix for a long term problem.

Ryder June 3rd, 2013 22:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer (Post 1061201219)
I like that I can go get my old cartridge of Adventure and plug it into my 34 year old Atari 2600 and play it if I want to.

Watch out for Rufus.

I'm coming to your house if you have H.E.R.O.

TheMadGamer June 4th, 2013 00:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryder (Post 1061201262)
I'm coming to your house if you have H.E.R.O.

But of course I have H.E.R.O. it's almost insulting that you think I could not. :P

Zloth June 4th, 2013 02:53

Zork? Hmmm, I get his point but he should have used an old Ultima game instead. Zork was originally a mainframe game - in other words, it was completely cloud based much like OnLive or one of those Flash web games.

His point is a good one. If I suddenly find that I have grown to like Diablo games ten years from now and I want to get Diablo 3, it isn't going to happen. The servers will be long gone. Blizzard (or whoever owns the rights at the time) isn't going to get a sale and I miss out on a game.

There are also lots of folks for whom partial-online games just aren't feasible because their internet connection is weak. That's more lost sales. Having little/no resale value will reduce the value to the customer so you'll lose some sales to that factor, too. Keeping those servers up and running isn't free, either, especially in the first weeks of release.

But the publisher has to weigh those costs against the sales gained by forcing people to pay them instead of Gamestop or not paying at all. If they don't add up (and the sales for Diablo 3 and various MMOs indicate that they won't) then they are going to go for the online option.

The numbers are all squishy to say the least so the publishers will need to invest in some good tea leaves. The genre could be a big factor, too. Some genres may get pirated less than others.

Ryder June 4th, 2013 03:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheMadGamer (Post 1061201294)
But of course I have H.E.R.O. it's almost insulting that you think I could not. :P

I wish I was smart enough to hang onto my Atari, C64 and Amiga 500. :(


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