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Last week, we launched the first ever DLC on GOG.com (for tactical-strategy game Omerta: City of Gangsters). The launch was a bit rushed on our end, and we did a bad job communicating what it was, and why we're adding it to the store. That was a screw-up on our part, and we're sorry. We've read all of your comments (and there were a lot!) and it's lead us to wonder about DLC and other new models of gaming that are happening right now. There's a survey at the bottom of this newspost, where we'd like to hear more about what you think GOG.com should do in the future, but don't jump down there just yet.

First, we wanted to explain the reasoning behind offering DLC for sale. It boils down to this: the number of newer games that have DLC keeps growing every year. As publishers and developers look at ways to remain profitable--look at how many big studios have gone bankrupt in the last 3 years if you think that's not a challenge--they're exploring new things like DLC, episodic content, and so on. GOG.com loves games, and we're committed to bringing the best games in history--classic or new--here to the site for you to enjoy. To sign some of these newer titles, however, we need to make a decision: do we sell DLC for these newer games, or do we not offer DLC and, increasingly, find that what we sell doesn't contain all of the content available for the game, content that hardcore fans of the game will probably enjoy?

We thought about it and decided that the best thing for us to do was to offer you the freedom to choose. We don't like telling you what to do with your games, whether it's how you want to back it up or how often you want to reinstall it, and it felt like refusing to sell DLC for new games was another instance where we were limiting your freedom. In our minds, if you don't like DLC, you're free to ignore it; if it represents a good value to price to you, then, you're free to buy it here--DRM-free, of course--from GOG.com.

For classic games, our goal always remains to bring you the definitive version of the game--with all expansion packs--at one price. Sometimes, for one reason or another, we don't get the expansion packs. At least, not right away (::coughcoughSidMeier'sAlienCrossfirecough::), but the goal remains that way and it won't change.

New games are different, though. Classic games aren't being actively developed, and they aren't being updated with new paid content, so it's easy to negotiate a single fixed price. For new games, that's not the case, and we can't promise a fixed price for all of the expanded content ever for a new game. We will try to get you all of the DLC that we can for free, but let's be realistic: developers release paid DLC because they want more money. Offering it for free is not always in the cards. Offering it for free 6 months, a year, or 18 months after the launch? That's more likely to be possible, and it's certainly something that we would love to be able to do for all of our games. We can't promise anything, but that's another goal for us.

So, as we mentioned above, we didn't do a very good job letting you guys know about this ahead of time, and as such your response was--unsurprisingly--pretty strong. To help determine what you want us to do in the future, we've prepared a short survey for you about DLC, episodic content, and other possible new areas of gaming that GOG.com might venture into offering you. Please take a moment and answer the survey, and leave us a comment below. We'll pick 10 winners who comment below and give them any game from the catalog--even Omerta and its DLC, if you like. :)

tl;dr version: We're sorry about how we communicated to you during DLC launch. We hope you'll give us feedback on what new things GOG.com might start selling in the future.

The survey is now closed. Thanks for your time and your insights, everyone. We'll take a close look at the outcome. This will surely help us in making GOG.com an even better service custom-tailored to its users tastes and expectations. Again, thanks for your opinions!

As promised, we'll pick 10 posts from the comment thread and give their authors a game of their choice. We'll PM you to ask you what would you like to get.
Post edited March 15, 2013 by G-Doc
I don't mind GOG having newer games and the stuff that comes with that - actually Id love to be able to go completely Steam - free.

That said, I hope you don't lose your focus on bringing Good Old Games back. I believe whatever trouble you had with SS2 paid off quickly. I want my Myth, and I want Homeworld. Don't forget that :)
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EddieSchweitzer: Much of it just outright seems to go against what gog.com stands for. I would rather that gog would stick to selling the complete version of games without DRM which is what I think adds value to the games here, i'm more than willing to wait some extra time until a game comes in a GOTY edition (or anything to that effect) with everything included, thus having season passes and games that force you to be connected to 3rd party accounts just take out the appeal out of buying a game here.

Not entirely opposed of having beta tests, but definitely against having pay more for it.
This pretty much sums up my thoughts on the subject as well.
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timppu: I know some of you have your "gee this community sucks, so unclassy!"-act still going on
..oook... who said anything about sucking? I said it'd explode with complaints and yes bloodlust, which I'll guarantee there'll be posts very nearing that if not worse if drm-ed games came to pass on GOG.

And of course those were business decisions. Just like in my opinion it's a business decision not to do it right now for DRM games, because (a large part of) their fanbase isn't ready for it. Especially after having gone from Good Old Games to GOG their image seems mainly focused on No-DRM, even with the new games. Losing that now is simply not a good step, and is not really necessary yet, they've got plenty to expand into atm before doing that.

But since you brought it up, let me reverse that for you:

Why wouldn't they be selling DRM-based games yet if *not* for the possible reactions of their userbase?
I'm not against the DLCs but the Season Passes and the need of a 3rd party accounts are bulls...not good.
I hate when I buy games on steam and I need a bunch of other accounts to play with them.
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sqlrob: That horse has already left the barn (CD keys are DRM, unless you distribute the key gen code). We're trying to keep it from leaving the pasture.
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timppu: In the same sense, manual checks are also a form of DRM (some GOG DOS games have that too).

I guess so many consider DRM to mean the authentication check of your purchased games with the publisher's database/server. Ie. a game that once worked fine for you might one day not do that anymore, just because it needs that authentication.

EDIT: Ninja'ed by three sons.
Yes, manual checks are DRM. They also give you the manual, so I let that slide.
If they gave the key-gen with the CD-Key games, I'd let that slide. They don't currently.
If they gave the unobfuscated source of the third party server and you can set the server in the game, I'd let that slide too. Don't think that's going to happen though.
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Licurg: CD keys are only necessary for online multiplayer, I don't consider that DRM.
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sqlrob: Does it constrain how you use the program? If so, it's DRM. Does it give another entity control over how you use the program? If so, it's DRM.
Does it give the other entity (ie. the publisher) the power to change it after the purchase how you use the program? No, so it is not online DRM.

But I agree it can still be called DRM, just like manual checks and the DVD movie copy protection can be called DRM. But that is still beside the point, the same way as saying "killing an ant is the same as killing your wife". Technically correct, but...
Since I joined GOG I've seen you guys are something that's unique, no gaming organization has ever be so focused onto their users, you guys are doing the things right always because you hear your people's opinion, and for that, me and I'm sure all of us using GOG will be always grateful.

It is good that you want to bring all the content you can to our hands, and that's certainly awesome, but I believe I'd rather wait for you guys to get a good deal for the game and the content (even if you don't get one, waiting will be always a shot I'd take) so that you can bring us games, classic-like and new ones all complete and bundled into one price, so waiting a little while and then having a full, and DRM version of that game, for a reasonable price for me and for GOG's, man that's something really worth waiting for.

My only wish is that you guys keep doing things like this, you rock, I want to have Good Old Games at a fair price, but also I want you to receive quite a profit so that you can keep on doing an excellent job.

Thank you GOG for so many good titles, you've bring my childhood back a couple times now, and for that you have my complete love and full support.
yes to all questions. these aren't the Dark Ages of gaming anymore.
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Starmaker: Games like Telltale's, Journey Down, etc - those in which there's no core experience to be "enhanced" by addons in the first place, so if you don't get all of them, you won't get the complete storyline.
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Leroux: Ah, so it's a distinction between seasons of games where each part could also be enjoyed as a standalone game and seasons of games where it's more like one game split into several chapters? Or does "Season Pass" in the first case mean that you also pay for all add-ons that might be added later on?

So:
Case 1, Season Pass: Pay now, get the game and all future content developed for it,
Case 2, Season Pass for "episodic content": Pay now, get the first chapter now and the full story later?
DLC: buy released additional content for a complete game that you have.

DLC season pass: preorder an uncertain amount of additional content for a complete game that you have.

Unfinished episodic game: buy a released episode of a yet-unfinished series (the risk here, compared to buying a standalone game, is that the series might not be finished or may develop in a direction that you don't like).

Unfinished episodic game season pass: preorder several episodes in a series.

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IMO season passes are not only unattractive to me personally but a terrible business decision for a community-oriented distribution service; if a developer brainfarts, there'll be ragestorms to dwarf Omerta, Botanicula, and Sep'10 taken together.

Also, alot depends on the presentation/packaging. I'm a completist; I want to have all the products GOG offers. If there are separate products for a single game, I certainly won't buy as many games and might quit altogether, out of disinterest.
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ThreeSon: I'm a little astonished at the number of people here who are o.k .with online activation for single-player games, but then say that mandatory 3rd-party accounts bother them.

The whole point of GOG is DRM-free games, isn't it? With any online activation you cannot claim a game is DRM-free in any way. At some point in the future (10 weeks or 10 years) the servers will be taken down and you will be left with a useless game in your library. It could be an entirely single-player game and the publisher added the one-time activation "to combat piracy." But you're still screwed in the end.

So, to people who make that distinction (online activation DRM ok, 3rd-party account DRM not ok) what is your reasoning for being comfortable with the former but not the latter?
IIRC, the question was about multiplayer serial keys and those need not be about activation. I voted yes for multiplayer serial keys because they can be used as a form of identification. It's my understanding that the serial keys associated with the stock installs of the multiplayer Unreal games have been banned on many servers. Player's bumping into that problem can request unique serial keys. There will always be people who can't behave themselves so I'm content to see that practice continue in future.

However, if any future serial key practices were to impact my ability to play my 'Unreal client' on my personal 'Unreal server' in my fallout shelter/ mom's basement, then I'd be very much against it. ;)
DLC is fine in and of itself, it's just unfortunate that the first bit of DLC to come here was for a game not widely well-received and the DLC itself was not very big.

Season Passes I'm ok with, mainly because I don't bother with them until all of the DLC is already out so I can see if the Pass is overall cheaper than the individual DLC. I don't give them a second glance at a game's launch.

CD keys are fine, you already have games like UT2k4 and Neverwinter which are heavily reliant on the multiplayer aspect and require keys to play with other people. Needing to log-in to a third-party system may be pushing the DRM-free aspect a little too far, though. Then again, I'd love to see Torchlight 2 show up here someday, so if it's something like that, I'm alright with it.
I would prefer to WAIT on unreleased DLC and buy it as all one package. I like knowing when I buy a game I'm buying the whole thing. I think GOG has been right on this issue previously.

Having separate DLC to purchase is too messy and complicated. Keep them together, thanks!
If those 3rd party servers are the only way to play, if users are forced to use them in order to play, then it doesn't appeal to me, that could be seen like some kind of DRM.
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sqlrob: Does it constrain how you use the program? If so, it's DRM. Does it give another entity control over how you use the program? If so, it's DRM.
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timppu: Does it give the other entity (ie. the publisher) the power to change it after the purchase how you use the program? No, so it is not online DRM.

But I agree it can still be called DRM, just like manual checks and the DVD movie copy protection can be called DRM. But that is still beside the point, the same way as saying "killing an ant is the same as killing your wife". Technically correct, but...
Yes, it does give the power.

GoG went under. You don't have the key but you have the installer. How do you use multiplayer?
I personally do not care much about DLC, multiplayer games and season passes. I am here primarily for the old games.
However, as long as there are people who are interested in the above, I do not see a reason why you should not offer them. It would be financially beneficial to you, and therefore, beneficial to us as customers, because you will be able to offer us even more content in the future.
Everyone has a choice, after all. If I don't like DLC content, I don't buy it.