A few weeks ago, some forum members received an e-mail invitation for a “one of a kind community event” in Warsaw. The reason for the invitation was that GOG wants to improve communications with the community. They are aware that they have been having difficulties on that front, that mistrust has been building, and that many of the larger controversies in recent years could probably have been avoided altogether. To this end, they wished to get the input from some of the community members, to see what improvements could be made.
Not everyone who was invited could make it, but 6 of us did go. Other than myself there was one Swiss, one Scandinavian, one Canadian and two Germans. It’s up to them whether they want to come forth or not, I’m not going to name them.
In Warsaw, we had a tour of the GOG Office, a tour of the CD Projekt offices and a QA Session with iWi, W0rma, Destro, elcook, fables22 and KatyaGOG. We spoke to a lot of people with diverse responsibilities within GOG, about all manner of things, some trivial, some important.
All of us signed an NDA so there are severe limits to what we can disclose. Specific names and numbers are out of the question, and so are details of ongoing negotiations and future plans.
There are some things we can share, though. Some of us may choose to share some of our personal experiences and opinions, but to begin with, here is a list of things we discussed with GOG:
: Financially, CD Projekt Group is doing very well. GOG is not in any kind of danger and shouldn't be for the foreseeable future.
: DRM-Free is here to stay. Even if the industry moves towards online or mixed experiences GOG will continue to offer fully offline installers and single player experiences that will not depend on any kind of network or client connection (though there might be an optional use of such capabilities, if the player wishes).
3) Market share
: GOG is currently at a decent position (we did get numbers but we can't disclose them). They are not irrelevant but they also need to grow for more publishers to be invested in bringing DRM-free titles day 1 on GOG and assure updates the same time Steam is updated.
4) Galaxy installers
: Our understanding is that there was no malice behind the announcement, though naïveté was probably involved; they had a lot of support request from users complaining that their games didn't update, and that they didn't have access to multiplayer, achievements or cloud saves. These were from users that downloaded the games but didn't understand that they also had to install Galaxy to benefit from those extra features (despite all the banners and other "try Galaxy" buttons), so they wanted streamline the experience for those users. They underestimated the strong reaction from other more advanced users from the forum, and it resulted in the shitstorm we are all aware of. Classic installers will stay and an option to set default installers is coming (but we don't know when). And despite how the forum may feel about the Galaxy installers, according to GOG it did lessen the support load.
5) Regional restrictions
: GOG is aware that the situation is not ideal, but there isn’t anything they can do about it right now. They are looking into ways of changing this, but that is a lengthy process.
6) Regional pricing
: Situation is complicated. The pricing model does depend on a lot of factors so it’s not so easy to enforce a specific price point. For classic games GOG still tries to prevent higher price points than the base price.
: GOG knows the current forum software sucks, and they are looking at other options. Suggestions and opinions on required features were given. They know about the importance and are investigating the ideas we shared with them, but replacing the whole forum is not an easy task and will take some time so don't expect anything soon, however other improvements to the site might come in the meantime.
: GOG did ask us for feedback, as they are looking on how to improve the forum moderation.
9) Product acquisition
: The wishlist does help. Enthusiasm in forum threads also helps to get the ball rolling. Doing the legwork of finding who owns the rights can take a lot of time and that is something the community can help with (see the old https://www.gog.com/forum/general/the_search_for_game_rights_a_diaryesque_thread
/ thread), but just make sure that any data you send to GOG is correct and let them take care of the rest.
10) Old games
: GOG are still very much actively trying to get more classic games onto the platform. They are working to make deals both for new partners, and for games in the back catalog of existing partners that have not yet been released on GOG. It is quite difficult work though. All the low-hanging, mid-hanging and even quite-high-hanging fruit has already been picked, so it takes quite a lot of resources, but they are still committed to it. They also occasionally go back to games they failed to get earlier and try again, if they think there is a chance they might succeed this time.
11) Game rejections
: Games do get rejected. A lot of them. GOG does provide feedback, though neither party is required to disclose it to third parties. Some partners also assume that they cannot actually disclose any of it, and that may be true for some of the feedback.
: Support does work almost 24/7. The only section that gets a lower priority on weekends is technical issues with games, and that is because people may work remotely and not have access to all the testing machines to try and reproduce the errors.