“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.