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Hey Goggers;

As many of you know, we announced on last Friday that we are going to introduce regional pricing for 3 new games coming up on GOG.com soon. Looking at the amount of reactions (over 3,500 comments at this very moment), it is obvious that this change is making many of you guys worried. We must have failed to clearly explain why our pricing policy for (some) newer games will change and what this means as a matter of fact for our PC & MAC classic games, which account for over 80% of our catalogue.

To be honest, our announcement was a bit vague simply because our future pricing policy is not 100% set in stone yet and we were just worried to make any promises before it was. You know, GOG.com has been growing quickly (thanks to you!), and the more we grow, the more we are worried to make some of you guys disappointed. This is why we were so (over-)cautious with our announcement.

We should have just been upfront about why we've made these changes and what they mean for us in the future and what we're planning. So let's talk. To be clear: what I'm talking about below is our plan. It's a plan that we believe we can accomplish, but while it's what we want to do with GOG, it may change some before it actually sees the light of day. Please don’t blame me for talking open-heartedly today and telling you about the plans and pricing policy we want to fight for and eventually achieve. The below plans aren't sure. The only guarantee I can give you is that we’ll do our best to fight for gamers while still making sure GOG.com as a whole grows (because well, we still want to be around 50 years from now, you know!). So, enough for the introduction, let’s get things started.

Why does GOG.com need to offer newer games at all?

We've been in business for 5 years now, and we've signed a big percentage of all of the classic content that can be legally untangled. There are still some big companies left we're trying to bring into the GOG.com fold, like LucasArts, Microsoft, Take2 and Bethesda, but what classic titles will we sign in the future once we have those partners on-board? We need to sign newer games or else just fire everyone and keep selling the same limited catalog. Either we bring you “not so old” releases from 2010+ or brand-new AAA titles, because these will become classic games tomorrow. It’s as simple as that.

Also, well, we want to expand beyond just classic games, hence the fact we have been offering you brand-new indie releases for almost 2 years now. Why expanding? Well, obviously, because the more games we sell, the more legitimacy we have on the market and the more likely it is that we can achieve our mission: making all PC & MAC video games 100% DRM-free, whether classic or brand-new titles.

To be straightforward (excuse my French):DRM is shit-- we'll never have any of it. It treats legitimate customers like rubbish and pirates don't have to bother with it. It's bad for gamers, and it's also bad for business and our partners. We want to make it easy and convenient for users to buy and play games; rather than give piracy a try. Happy gamers equals a healthy gaming industry; and this is what we fight for. Anyway, I am sure you well know our opinions about DRM.

To make the world of gaming DRM-free, we need to convince top-tier publishers & developers to give us a try with new games, just like they did with classic games. We need to make more case studies for the gaming industry, just like we successfully did back in 2011 with The Witcher 2. It was our first ever 100% DRM-free AAA day-1 release. GOG.com was the 2nd best-selling digital distribution platform worldwide for this title thanks to you guys, despite having regional prices for it. We need more breakthroughs like this to be able to show all the devs and publishers in our industry that DRM-free digital distribution is actually good for their business and their fans. And when I say breakthroughs, I am talking about really kick-ass games, with a potential metacritic score of 85% or more, AA+ and AAA kind of titles.

And this is exactly why we signed those 3 games we told you about last Friday. We believe those 3 games can be massive hits for hardcore gamers, that they can help us spread the DRM-free model among the industry for newer games and we did our best to convince their rights holders to give GOG.com a try. One of those games, as you see already, is Age of Wonders 3. We're planning more titles even beyond these first 3 soon.

Alright, but why is regional pricing needed for those (only 3 so far!) newer games then?

First of all, you have to be aware of an important fact when it comes to newer games: GOG.com cannot really decide what the prices should be. Top-tier developers and publishers usually have contractual obligations with their retail partners that oblige them to offer the game at the same price digitally and in retail. When they don’t have such contractual obligations, they are still encouraged to do so, or else their games might not get any exposure on the shelves in your favorite shops. This will change over time (as digital sales should overtake retail sales in the near future), but as of today, this is still a problem our industry is facing because retail is a big chunk of revenue and there’s nothing GOG.com can do to change that. We need to charge the recommended retail price for the boxed copies of the games in order for developers (or publishers) to either not get sued or at least get their games visible on shelves. You may recall that our sister company CD Projekt RED got sued for that in the past and we don’t want our partners to suffer from that too.

On top of that, you have to know that there are still many top-tier devs and publishers that are scared about DRM-free gaming. They're half-convinced it will make piracy worse, and flat pricing means that we're also asking them to earn less, too. Earn less, you say? Why is that? Well, when we sell a game in the EU or UK, VAT gets deducted from the price before anyone receives any profit. That means we're asking our partners to try out DRM-free gaming and at the same time also earn 19% - 25% less from us. Other stores, such as Steam, price their games regionally and have pricing that's more equitable to developers and publishers. So flat pricing + DRM-Free is something many devs and publishers simply refuse. Can you blame them? The best argument we can make to convince a publisher or developer to try DRM-Free gaming is that it earns money. Telling them to sacrifice income while they try selling a game with no copy protection is not a way to make that argument.

Getting back to those 3 new upcoming games coming up. The first one is Age of Wonders 3, which you can pre-order right now on GOG.com. The next 2 ones will be Divine Divinity: Original Sin and The Witcher 3. We’re very excited to offer those games DRM-free worldwide and we hope you’ll love them.

Still, we know some countries are really being screwed with regional pricing (Western Europe, UK, Australia) and as mentioned above, we’ll do our very best, for every release of a new game, to convince our partners to offer something special for the gamers living there.

And don’t forget guys: if regional pricing for those few big (as in, “AA+”) new games is a problem for you, you can always wait. In a few months. The game will be discounted on sale, and at 60, 70, or 80% off, the price difference will be minimal indeed. In a few years it will become a classic in its own right, and then we have the possibility to to make it flat-priced anyway (read next!) The choice is always yours. All we are after is to present it to you 100% DRM-free. We are sure you will make the best choice for yourself, and let others enjoy their own freedom to make choices as well.

So, what is going to happen with classic games then?

Classic content accounts for about 80% of our catalog, so yes, this is a super important topic. We've mentioned here above that we can’t control prices for new games, but we do have a lot of influence when it comes to classic games. GOG.com is the store that made this market visible and viable digitally, and we're the ones who established the prices we charge. We believe that we have a good record to argue for fair pricing with our partners.

So let's talk about the pricing for classics that we're shooting for. For $5.99 classics, we would like to make the games 3.49 GBP, 4.49 EUR, 199 RUB, and $6.49 AUD. For $9.99 classics, our targets are 5.99 GBP, 7.49 EUR, 349 RUB, and $10.99 AUD. This is what we’ve got in mind at the moment. We’ll do our best to make that happen, and we think it will. How? Well, we have made our partners quite happy with GOG.com's sales for years - thanks to you guys :). We have created a global, legal, successful digital distribution market of classics for them. This market didn't exist 5 years ago. By (re)making all those games compatible with modern operating systems for MAC and PC, we've made forgotten games profitable again. When it comes to classic games, we can tell them that we know more about this market than anyone. :) Being retrogaming freaks ourselves, we know that 5.99 EUR or GBP is crazy expensive for a classic game (compared to 5.99 USD). We have always argued that classic games only sell well if they have reasonable prices. Unfair regional pricing equals piracy and that’s the last thing anybody wants.

What’s next?

We will do our very best to make all of the above happen. This means three things:

First, we will work to make our industry go DRM-free in the future for both classic and new games (that’s our mission!).

Second, we will fight hard to have an attractive offer for those AA+ new games for our European, British and Australian users, despite regional pricing that we have to stick to.

Third, we will switch to fair local pricing for classic games, as I mentioned above.

TheEnigmaticT earlier mentioned that he would eat his hat if we ever brought DRM to GOG.com. I'm going to go one step further: by the end of this year, I'm making the promise that we will have converted our classic catalog over to fair regional pricing as outlined above. If not, we'll set up a record a video of some horrible public shaming for me, TheEnigmaticT, and w0rma. In fact, you know what? Feel free to make suggestions below for something appropriate (but also safe enough that we won't get the video banned on YouTube) so you feel that we're motivated to get this done quickly. I'll pick one that's scary enough from the comments below and we'll let you know which one we're sticking to.

I hope that this explanation has helped ease your worry a bit and help you keep your faith in GOG.com as a place that's different, awesome, and that always fights for what's best for gamers. If you have any questions, comments or ideas, feel free to address them to us below and TheEnigmaticT and I will answer them to the best of our abilities tomorrow. We hear you loud and clear, so please do continue sharing your feedback with us. At the end of the day GOG.com is your place; without you guys it would just be a website where a few crazy people from Europe talk about old games. :)

I end many of my emails with this, but there's rarely a time to use it more appropriately than here:

“Best DRM-free wishes,

Guillaume Rambourg,
(TheFrenchMonk)
Managing Director -- GOG.com”
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Warrior57: Thanks, I didn´t notice that thread. But to be honest: they still charge me 60€ (minus discount for owning 1&2) instead of $ & keep my exchange.To make me happy I get codes for games which I probably allready own or aren´t interested in? I think I pass.
They give you codes for games OF YOUR CHOICE, dude. If you get the ones you already have, you have only yourself to blame.
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Warrior57: I am very very angry about this new policy. With this change you just support publisher who try to maximize their profit and rip me of. I intended to pre order Witcher 3 just like 2 but now I wont. I I used your services for years but to be honest if you extend this to all your games I will stop using your services. I really hope you´ll reconsider this move and try to find a different solution.
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groze: They went back on this policy. Here:

http://www.gog.com/forum/general/getting_back_to_our_roots

Please, blue guys, lock this thread already... it's just confusing people.
Um, did you read that manifesto? The word 'Back' may be in it but they didn't go back on that policy. In fact, number 3 in that list specifically states they're still going ahead with regional prices. Witcher 3 being one of the ultimate examples at the moment.

The back to our roots statement was basically a restatement of the original, but with a lot more focus on the fact that they were going to try and get fair pricing where they could (but in the end it's still in the dev/publishers hands so a rather empty statement), and more significantly, that they were going to do a proper compensation for any game that was negatively affected by regional prices. (codes for games at the moment, later on a GOG wallet reimbursement)

Their was no turn around on the Regional Pricing thing.
Post edited June 07, 2014 by Pheace
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Pheace: Um, did you read that manifesto? The word 'Back' may be in it but they didn't go back on that policy. In fact, number 3 in that list specifically states they're still going ahead with regional prices. Witcher 3 being one of the ultimate examples at the moment.

The back to our roots statement was basically a restatement of the original, but with a lot more focus on the fact that they were going to try and get fair pricing where they could (but in the end it's still in the dev/publishers hands so a rather empty statement), and more significantly, that they were going to do a proper compensation for any game that was negatively affected by regional prices. (codes for games at the moment, later on a GOG wallet reimbursement)

Their was no turn around on the Regional Pricing thing.
Just a heads up - it's point #2, point #3 talks about introducing the use of local currencies.
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HypersomniacLive: Just a heads up - it's point #2, point #3 talks about introducing the use of local currencies.
which was the point I was trying to highlight :)
The mistake was that they promised One world, fair price policy again and all the people just took it as no regional pricing ever and did not read at all that Divinity, Witcher 3 and Age of Wonders 3 will be regionally priced as it was stated in Getting back to our roots post.
Post edited June 08, 2014 by Matruchus
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Pheace: which was the point I was trying to highlight :)
I'm afraid you lost me - would you please elaborate on why it's so important to link the two?
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Pheace: which was the point I was trying to highlight :)
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HypersomniacLive: I'm afraid you lost me - would you please elaborate on why it's so important to link the two?
Let me ask it differently. Which policy do you think Warrior57 meant?
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Pheace: Let me ask it differently. Which policy do you think Warrior57 meant?
Using your local currency (if available) if you so wish instead of USD can be implemented and work independently of regional pricing. Games can still be under the flat worldwide pricing model and you choose to be charged the equivalent of the USD price in your local currency.

I'm well aware that there are no guarantees for the currently flat priced games when agreements come up for re-negotiations, but then I'm also not one of those that read the "Getting back to our roots" announcement as abolishing every and any regional pricing - I have a very clear understanding of how GOG's fair pricing works.
But to be fair and reasonable, we currently have no evidence that every single game on GOG.com will be regionally priced at some point in the future - yes, it's probable, even possible, but it's not certain. In fact, so long as their compensation policy is in place, GOG.com themselves have great incentive to avoid regional pricing for all games. Until this changes, there's no reason to go around the forum and present probabilities as 100% certain facts.
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Pheace: Let me ask it differently. Which policy do you think Warrior57 meant?
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HypersomniacLive: Using your local currency (if available) if you so wish instead of USD can be implemented and work independently of regional pricing. Games can still be under the flat worldwide pricing model and you choose to be charged the equivalent of the USD price in your local currency.

I'm well aware that there are no guarantees for the currently flat priced games when agreements come up for re-negotiations, but then I'm also not one of those that read the "Getting back to our roots" announcement as abolishing every and any regional pricing - I have a very clear understanding of how GOG's fair pricing works.
But to be fair and reasonable, we currently have no evidence that every single game on GOG.com will be regionally priced at some point in the future - yes, it's probable, even possible, but it's not certain. In fact, so long as their compensation policy is in place, GOG.com themselves have great incentive to avoid regional pricing for all games. Until this changes, there's no reason to go around the forum and present probabilities as 100% certain facts.
I'm not even sure where this is coming from, you're making it sound like I'm saying every game is going to be unfairly priced, when all i was highlighting was that nothing changed when it came to implementing regional pricing, Original statement vs Back to our Roots. They're still going to do it, Regional pricing is still going to be up to the devs, it's still going to happen for the classic games catalogue as well. I didn't say any factual statement about how many games might be becoming unfairly priced, neither 1 nor the whole catalogue.

The only point I made was that it's still going to happen. There was no policy reversal in the Back to Our Roots statement.
Post edited June 08, 2014 by Pheace
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Pheace: I'm not even sure where this is coming from, you're making it sound like I'm saying every game is going to be unfairly priced, when all i was highlighting was that nothing changed when it came to implementing regional pricing, Original statement vs Back to our Roots. They're still going to do it, Regional pricing is still going to be up to the devs, it's still going to happen for the classic games catalogue as well. I didn't say any factual statement about how many games might be becoming unfairly priced, neither 1 nor the whole catalogue.

The only point I made was that it's still going to happen. There was no policy reversal in the Back to Our Roots statement.
Point #3 of the "Getting back to our roots" announcement does not state what you're saying with the part of your post I've highlighted, and is the reason I don't understand your insistence on highlighting point #3 - unless you're reading a different version of that announcement that I'm not aware of.
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Pheace: I'm not even sure where this is coming from, you're making it sound like I'm saying every game is going to be unfairly priced, when all i was highlighting was that nothing changed when it came to implementing regional pricing, Original statement vs Back to our Roots. They're still going to do it, Regional pricing is still going to be up to the devs, it's still going to happen for the classic games catalogue as well. I didn't say any factual statement about how many games might be becoming unfairly priced, neither 1 nor the whole catalogue.

The only point I made was that it's still going to happen. There was no policy reversal in the Back to Our Roots statement.
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HypersomniacLive: Point #3 of the "Getting back to our roots" announcement does not state what you're saying with the part of your post I've highlighted, and is the reason I don't understand your insistence on highlighting point #3 - unless you're reading a different version of that announcement that I'm not aware of.
http://www.gog.com/news/getting_back_to_our_roots
Three: We still intend to introduce the pricing in local currencies. Let us explain why we want to do it and how we want to make it fair for everyone. From the very beginning our intention was to make things easier for users whose credit cards/payment systems are not natively in USD. The advantages are simple because the price is more understandable and easier to relate to. There would be no exchange rates involved, no transaction fees, and no other hidden charges. However after reading your comments, we realized we have taken an important element away: the choice. In order to fix this, we'll offer the option of paying in the local currency or the equivalent in USD. This way, how you pay is always your choice.
I don't see what's confusing. They're still going to put the classic catalogue up in Dollars, Pounds, Euro's and I think Rubles it was. Ie, regional pricing. Same as they're still allowing devs to pick whether to go with flat pricing or regional pricing.

The point is, nothing changed from the first statement to the Back to our Roots statement when it came to regional pricing. (Maybe you're assuming I mean Regional pricing = always unfair pricing? I don't)

Three: We still intend to introduce the pricing in local currencies. Let us explain why we want to do it and how we want to make it fair for everyone. From the very beginning our intention was to make things easier for users whose credit cards/payment systems are not natively in USD. The advantages are simple because the price is more understandable and easier to relate to. There would be no exchange rates involved, no transaction fees, and no other hidden charges. However after reading your comments, we realized we have taken an important element away: the choice. This way, how you pay is always your choice.
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Pheace: I don't see what's confusing. They're still going to put the classic catalogue up in Dollars, Pounds, Euro's and I think Rubles it was. Ie, regional pricing. Same as they're still allowing devs to pick whether to go with flat pricing or regional pricing.
You missed a very big part of that quote:

In order to fix this, we'll offer the option of paying in the local currency or the equivalent in USD.
Hi guys,

We are locking this thread and we can all move this converation to the "Back to Our Roots" thread here: http://www.gog.com/news/getting_back_to_our_roots

Thanks :)