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Default GOG - Interview @ Arstechnica

January 2nd, 2014, 05:25
Arstechnica has a new interview from Wired.co.uk with GOG’s Managing Director Guillaume Rambourg about DRM

Wired.co.uk: What was the story behind setting up the GOG.com website?

Rambourg: It all began in the mid-90s, when friends Marcin Iwinski and Michal Kicinski started their business as retail distributors in Poland. Back then, Poland was a very highly pirated market, with most gamers using outdated hardware and not having too much money to spend on games. That's a tough market to break into: one where people aren't used to paying for games.

To convert pirates to paying customers, the founders of CD Projekt introduced a budget series of classic PC games which quickly became one of the company's best sellers. The reasons for the budget titles' success was both kind of simple and also kind of complex. The budget line was made of carefully picked top quality games with tons of goodies (manuals, posters, world maps, and whatnot) made available at an attractive price.

It's since been proven in many arenas that pirates are willing to pay for computer games if they feel that the price is equivalent to the game's value, but this was new and crazy thinking at the time. From there, Michal and Marcin dreamed bigger: if it worked in Poland, why shouldn't it work worldwide? Going DRM-free was a natural consequence of this train of thought: if you trusted your customers to pay for reasonably priced games, why would you want to use copy protection and treat gamers like potential thieves?

Wired.co.uk: Did the situation in Poland regarding piracy mean you considered DRM in a different way from other digital distribution sites, or is it a universal problem that you were hoping to find an alternative solution for?

Rambourg: Trust and respect for your customer is quite a universal set of values, I think. It's not always been a very popular value in the computer gaming industry, sadly. Our founders' Polish market experience was important, because it proved that you could build a successful business model on trust, even in a difficult market. DRM is an ineffectual tool (games are still being pirated at launch—if not earlier!—even with state-of-the-art DRM systems) and it antagonizes paying customers, because effectively the pirate is getting a less constricted gaming experience. This is crazy. Our belief in trusting and respecting our gamers who are part of GOG.com remains at the core of how we approach our customers.

Wired.co.uk: Do you feel that DRM policies are getting better or getting worse overall?

Rambourg: I wouldn't necessarily like to differentiate between those policies. Sure, some are more annoying than others, like the always-online requirement, which practically stops you from playing your game if you don't have an Internet connection available at all times, but all in all, DRM is just terrible as a concept. With no real progress in its efficacy, big publishers and developers are trying new, more aggravating ways of copy-protection. Thankfully, the resistance from gamers is stronger than ever before. Wins, like the recent Xbox DRM policy reversal, caused entirely by gamers' strong reaction, prove that tolerance for DRM is dropping.
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January 2nd, 2014, 05:25
I love GOG. I really do. I've always been happy to support them, and it's by far my most favorite way to own games online. I hope they continue to do well for a long, long time. <3

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January 2nd, 2014, 07:47
Much love, GOG. Stay strong.
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January 2nd, 2014, 08:33
My first choice for game buying too, I am looking forward to GOG being the DRM Free choice for many of the Kickstarted games coming out in 2014.
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January 2nd, 2014, 10:11
DRM is an ineffectual tool (games are still being pirated at launch—if not earlier!—even with state-of-the-art DRM systems) and it antagonizes paying customers, because effectively the pirate is getting a less constricted gaming experience. This is crazy.
Damn straight, and it's really frustrating.
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January 2nd, 2014, 18:34
GOG is great, and I've found so many great oldies on there. It allowed me to introduce my son to gaming with the classics. I respect any distributor or publisher (like Paradox) who doesn't treat their customers as potential thieves.
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January 2nd, 2014, 19:40
I absolutely love GOG. I hope they can really become the main portal for indi games.

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January 2nd, 2014, 20:20
At release, the version widely available on torrent sites was not the DRM-free GOG version but the one that posed any sort of challenge to the hackers, the one that included DRM.
That's actually very interesting.

2 million+ unique gamers visiting our platform every month.
Wonder how that compares to Steam. We know they're the big dog of the market but having a percentage would be useful.

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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January 2nd, 2014, 21:23
My number 1 online gaming store - DRM free, games downloaded on any web bowser, self extracting executables that are easy to back up without any download manager or third party online crapware, priceless classics and indies.

Wish them all the success and continued growth - I will continue to support them.
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January 3rd, 2014, 00:20
I try to buy anything that remotely interests me there. I have even bought titles that I already own the originals, such as the recently removed Fallout series, just to not have to worry about the CD.

I did think it was interesting that they do not see many accounts with more than a single download per game, showing that people are not sharing their accounts. I am glad that it is turning out that way. With more examples of DRM-free software not affecting sales, maybe others will start following suit.
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