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Thanks for all the feedback you gave us after the previous update. You’re awesome and it shows the GOG insights piques your interest. Today’s article is about a topic that we know is very important to you – our commitment to DRM-free gaming and what it exactly means.

GOG was built on trust, which is at the very core of our identity. It is evidenced by our 30-day refund policy or releasing games DRM-free, among other things. At the same time, we understand DRM-free might mean different things to different people, especially when modern games blend offline and online experiences.

When GOG first launched, the gaming market looked very different from what it is now – retail was the main place to buy games, and digital distribution was just taking baby steps. DRM, the copy protection software created to protect licenses against unauthorized disc copying, was a huge source of annoyance for gamers often restricting how they can access their content. From the beginning, part of GOG’s mission was to provide gamers with a simple way to access and play games, without the need to fiddle with files or deal with any DRM. Making sure you can play games purchased on GOG offline, make backup copies, and install them as many times as you need is even more relevant now, as things like game preservation become an important topic for the whole industry.

Today, while some of the most infamous DRMs of the past are thankfully long gone, it doesn’t mean the constraints are fully gone. They just have a different, more complex face.

Games are evolving and many titles offer features beyond single-player offline gameplay, like multiplayer, achievements, vanities, rewards. Many such games are already on GOG and will continue to join our catalog. But it also raises the question: is this a new frontier for DRM?

And this is the crux of the matter. Some think it is, some don’t. Some hate it, some don’t mind it. And to be fair, we didn’t comment on it ourselves for quite some time and feel this is the time to do so:

We believe you should have freedom of choice and the right to decide how you use, enjoy, and keep the games you bought. It manifests in three points:
1. The single-player mode has to be accessible offline.

2. Games you bought and downloaded can never be taken from you or altered against your will.

3. The GOG GALAXY client is and will remain optional for accessing single-player offline mode.

We fully commit to all those points. Aside from this, we reaffirm our continuous effort to make games compatible with future OSs and available for you for years to come.

As for multiplayer, achievements, and all that jazz – games with those features belong on GOG. Having said that, we believe that you have the right to make an informed choice about the content that you choose to enjoy and we won’t tell you how and where you can access or store your games. To make it easier to discover titles that include features like multiplayer, unlockable cosmetics, timed events, or user-generated content, we’re adding information about such functionalities on product pages. In short, you’ll always know.

We always took a lot of pride in the freedom we provide gamers. While we know DRM-free may have a different meaning to everyone, we believe you have the right to decide how you use, enjoy, and keep the titles you get on GOG. With games evolving towards adding more online features, we want you to understand our DRM-free approach and what it means to us. It is an important topic – let us know what you think.
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Neeranel: Back in my old days, multiplayer was just a matter of opening a server and connecting to an IP. Guess this requires a DRM now?
GoG could (should?) have a clear stance on that matter. People like me like (liked?) GoG for two reasons: because you own the games you buy, and because games were supposedly filtered to only keep Good games (which is subjective, yes, but can still represent a minimal quality requirement). Those were very similar and compatible with the Linux mentality, and I'm pretty sure GoG has a much bigger ratio of Linux users than other platforms.

However, what has it become now? GoG Galaxy 2.0 (also known as "the update nobody wanted") arrived, unfinished but yet mandatory, still incompatible with Linux, and allowing games to implement a DRM *inside* GoG. Two issues here, one obvious, and the other a bit less as it has been forgotten long ago, it seems:
- GoG is supposed to fight against DRM, not to implement them
- GoG is not supposed to accept games with DRM, and should a game be sold on GoG while still including DRMs (whether using Galaxy or not), it should be removed as quickly as possible from the store, allow anyone who bought it to be refunded, and never come back unless every kind of DRM has been removed. Yes, it is extreme, but it should *never* happen if the GoG team filtered the game properly in the first place.

Now why would it matter that much for GoG? Money is money, and if people who got lured into using GoG for DRM-free games forgot about it and keep buying without thinking, it's all good, no?
Well, let's put aside the moral aspects (since those seem to be long forgotten anyway). Out of all decent game shops, the only ones that still provide DRM-free games are GoG, and Out of those two, GoG is the only one that has the strength (let's not forget that CDPR made more money than, for example, Ubisoft: if they want to do something, they can) to attract big games and "force" them to provide fully DRM-free versions. Yes, it means losing money (or rather, losing profit, which is not the same), and making a lot of efforts, and showing a lot of honesty towards buyers. Yes, it is hard.
It is hard, but the main strength of GoG is the trust from people who buy there. As far as I know, most people who buy on GoG will try to mainly buy on GoG, even if prices are a bit lower on steam or whatever. That's because they trust and like this platform. However, all this relatively dishonest talk about DRMs while still implementing them is destroying this trust, and I'm not sure there is much left. People like me are getting really disappointed at GoG, and don't see it as "a good alternative" but a "less bad alternative". I am more and more frequently going on Itch to see if the games I want on GoG are there, and I'd rather buy on Itch than on GoG now. Even though they have a relatively crappy interface which makes everything more complicated.

Now I don't know who is at fault here. Marketing teams deciding that money is worth more than trust? CDPR for not putting enough budget in GoG? Community managers giving off a wrong idea of the current stance of GoG about DRMs (as this post may suggest)? I don't know, and to be honest it's not my job to find out. GoG made a single promise, that it keeps on breaking more and more. Buyers like me are trying to be patient with GoG, to give it a chance to stop doing all this nonsense, but we're getting close to the point of no-return. Trust isn't something you can get back, as a company, especially when you prove that no matter how central your promises are, you can still break them for something as trivial as money for a company as big as CDPR.

It would be time to go back to the core of what made GoG a serious platform: the idea that a game retailer could still have ethics and morals. Because it's your last opportunity to disappoint us, or not.
"Those were very similar and compatible with the Linux mentality, and I'm pretty sure GoG has a much bigger ratio of Linux users than other platforms."... this is very doubtful and a meaningless stat. The majority of linux users do not shop here since we cannot get linux versions of the same games here and if you can they are usually not on the same version as steam. Secondly the linux community has been begging for a linux client to keep the games patches and updated.
SmollestLight: As for changelogs, those are provided by publishers and developers.
In my opinion the Devs do not need to supply their Changelogs.
But if they don't manage to do so, they should Link an external source for update information.

Take AI War 2 as an example. The Changelog only contains one Link.

And as far as I know I got other games that simply link to a release forum thread in the forum of the developer where they list all updates one after the other.
While those external sources are always in danger to vanish, it works for me.
And to be fair, if those sources vanish further work on the game has stopped anyway.

In addition you (aka GoG) might ask yourself, why some devs post their update information into the GoG forum of their game but not to the changelog of the gamecard.
If the Changelog of the gamecard is harder to fill than a simple forum post - something is wrong.
Many thanks for the communication it helps to know you are still behind DRM i just wish there where more companies as passionate as yourselfs on this subject.
David9855: The main points are I'd like to see; the GOG down loader for offline installation come back so we can easily download games without Galaxy.
But you can download games without GOG Galaxy. That is what I do... Just go to your Library -> Select the game you want download and choose the Download Offline Backup Game Installers and download the files there.
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commit to some forum moderation in update #3 pls :D thanks
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Gersen: And what it your solution, remove a 200+ hours games like X4 just because there is 4 ugly paint job, that you can get equivalent for free on Nexus mods, that requires you to connect online ?
GOG should work with these developers to get it fixed. And definitely start with their sister entity to show that it's NOT OK to do. (Instead of, you know, being a shining example of actual fully DRM-free gaming.) In many cases they're already doing separate GOG builds. Or a one-time offline DLC for GOG versions to enable all the crap that would otherwise be unavailable. Or just stop designing bad reward schemes (as is the case with No Man's Sky).

CDPR's own flagship product violates #1 and #3 of the original post with its cosmetic DRM. Instead of being an example of how to do things right like The Witcher games were.

Yeshu: You are doing some hard mental gymnastics here to make your point.
No, you're the one doing the acrobatics that online gated content is OK for a single-player game and that there's some magical line to be found.

Yeshu: Why not go all in and claim players are not mandatory for a game to function?
Indeed, why don't you? This is the logical conclusion of YOUR argument that it's OK for anything "not mandatory" to be gated away.

randomuser.833: In my opinion the Devs do not need to supply their Changelogs. But if they don't manage to do so, they should Link an external source for update information.
Agreed. I'm OK going elsewhere for them, just copy/paste in a link to them. They don't have to live in GOG. Again, GOG could model or suggest this behavior to them.
Post edited March 17, 2022 by mqstout
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Laugh out loud!

2 words Gog: mental gymnastics

Digital Rights Management (aka DRM) goes WAY beyond than "copy protection"
DRM is about ownership and control. As simple and extensive as that.

So, with this pseudo commitment you are offering me:

"1. The single-player mode has to be accessible offline.
2. Games you bought and downloaded can never be taken from you
or altered against your will.
3. The GOG GALAXY client is and will remain optional for accessing
single-player offline mode."

Few acid tests:

-Are you going then to let me access the whole versions catalog if any update goes "against MY will"? or who exactly "will"s person/people is/are you stating?
me alone as individual? you as company? the dev/pub? a voted system among the Gog community? A committee? Who??

-Detailed Logs (some members already covered it)

-Will I be able soon(tm) to download my purchases without this mandatory user / password thing? in other words: Make purchases without creating a mandatory account first

-What's up with the default enabled Telemetry? Trackers?

-Crazy thought: What if the Steam Deck is a success to the point Linux overcomes Windows as the main operating system for gaming. And you decide to make your entire vgames catalog Linux compatible -Only- through your Galaxy Client.
I do not see anything on your ,,commitment,, protecting my ownership for that. But hey! Glad to see the vgames here are mine!

-If you proclaim I own the games here: Why can't I resell them?

-Why are there EULA's all over the place stating/limiting exactly what I can-do/can't-do with every vgame?

-Have you thought about implementing USB hardware tokens to ,,prevent piracy,,?
That would be so kool and does not require internet! (online)
So your points 1,2,3 would pass without a problem!!

Let's be serious, shall we? Your DRM-Free definition is a pure Marketing bullsh##.

Thanks for confirming that and good luck fishing incautious people with your ,,commitments,, (like your other big lie: Curation) LOL!

Anyway, I'll keep buying here with all my precautions and my conveniences first BUT not helping you promoting this false advertising. (Hint: That's why is so difficult to you to define DRM-Free and your castle of cards falls so quickly every single time!)

This is a business relation where you want to control & limit me as much as you can.
Stop pretending and leave your savior bs!
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TheGrimLord: "Show Adult Content?" Then of course have a checkmark box.
Gersen: Remember that the US is not the full world, in a lot of countries, for example in Europe, Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk are both adult content, there is no difference in classification between them and Evenicle they are all PEGI-18.
Then they need to make a distinction between Adult and Mature games. For example, I doubt The Witcher and Cyberpunk feature rape scenes. That's what really set people off. They may feature some adult content, but not extreme adult content. Maybe instead of "adult content" they need to filter out "extreme adult content" if that makes any sense? This way games with mature content would still be shown, but actual XXX content would be hidden.
joppo: Gog is trying to communicate at least.

One thing I wanna point out however is that actions speak louder than words. If they want to make that message of commitment to DRM-free undeniably clear they could release the Cyberpunk2077 "My Rewards" items DRM-free in a free DLC not bound to Galaxy.

But I am pleasantly surprised by this, so much that I will temporarily suspend my boycotting position.
SmollestLight: The in-game items received in Cyberpunk 2077 are purely cosmetic and in no way affect the single player experience of the game.
Way to show how you guys are STILL completely missing the point on what WE, THE CUSTOMERS, have been saying.

By the definition shown in GOG's post, the Hitman game (which was only removed after A LOT of negative feedback) is perfectly fine to exist on GOG, since its single player portion is accessible offline. I guess the game progression locked behind always-online DRM was considered as "purely cosmetic" initially by the GOG management back then?

Unfortunately, your comment and this recent post shows that absolutely nothing has changed, and we are certain to find future titles sold on GOG that locks game content behind layers of DRM.

And like others have said: if GOG Galaxy is completely optional, then why is it necessary for the "purely cosmetic" content of Cyberpunk 2077, which is a 100% offline game?
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You could buy back a lot of lost face by releasing Devotion.
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David9855: The main points are I'd like to see; the GOG down loader for offline installation come back so we can easily download games without Galaxy.
TemniTulipan: But you can download games without GOG Galaxy. That is what I do... Just go to your Library -> Select the game you want download and choose the Download Offline Backup Game Installers and download the files there.
Try to downolad more than 800 games one by one to back up your games, and then come back and say me it's not neccesary an alternative to GOG Downloader. I haven't problem because I use galaxy, but who want not use it have a serious problem. And the third point it's not 100% true, not opcional if you need it to manage your library. With Gog Downloader it was, but they remove it wihtout an alternative.
MarkoH01: The problem here is that IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT NECESSARY to lock this content behind Galaxy and so far not a single reason why this still is the case - despite GOGs devotion to DRM-free - has been mentioned. Maybe it is news to you but "experience" is completely subjective and maybe some people who dislike Galaxy would simply love to play with this cosmetic content so the question remains: why on earth don't you simply make an offline DLC for free with this content instead of constantly trying to defend you for something you would not even need to defend yourself. Forcing people to use Galaxy is and always will be be the opposite of it being optional - no matter how important you or anybody thinks the content is that those without Galaxy can't use.

To make it perfectly clear: I use Galaxy, I enjoyed the game and I basically sold those rewards pretty quick. But even this does not change my point at all. There's no reason to lock this content behing Galaxy and GOG makes themselves unbelievable if they continue to do so.

Since you, SmollestLight, are ignoring my questions or PMs since quite some time now, I actually don't expect any reply from you but maybe someone else on GOG willing to reply tio critical questions might say something more about this.
SmollestLight: I understand your concerns, but we leave it up to publishers and developers if they want to give cosmetic rewards as an incentive for something, like signing up for their newsletter or in this case, using GOG GALAXY. While CDPR and GOG are part of the same group, they are separate companies, and in the end it's up to the developer to decide on the rewards.
As Marko already pointed out, this isn't true. Otherwise CDPR wouldn't have any reason to release an incentive for GOG-Galaxy!
You give Galaxy users a preferential treatment. Galaxy users get offline content that offline installer users don't get. This makes your claim that Galaxy is 100% optional for offline content false.

So, until you and CDPR fix this point, all your pretty words about commiting to DRM-free are empty. Show us actions, not words! In an ideal world I would expect you to address all the DRM-instances on the List. Asking the publishers to fix those instances of single-player DRM. But GOG has taught me to expect less.

But the very least you can do, because it doesn't cost you anything, is stick to your own rules. Show us, that you are commited to DRM-free again. Fulfill your promise of '100% optional Galaxy' by releasing the Cyberpunk Rewards to everyone. Not just Galaxy users! Even if they are oh so minor, why do you (or CDPR) insist on restricting them?
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I'm just going to say that I remember the days when GOG's policy actually stated that a user didn't just own the game but that they could put it on a disc and give it to friends. I don't believe I'm mis-remembering, but we are obviously leagues away from that now. "If you buy it, it's yours."
Post edited March 17, 2022 by TheGrimLord
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avatar 2. Games you bought and downloaded can never be taken from you or altered against your will.
This point directly implies that user should be able to download all previous versions of offline installers, not the latest ones only (with some odd patches here and there).
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Yeshu: not mandatory for offline play
mqstout: Stop being daft and apologizing for bad company behavior. I like I said, there's NO WAY to draw the line in between anywhere but "all is fine to remove behind online gating" and "nothing is".

Viewing the ending is not mandatory. (see: stats that show just few people actually finish games)
Side quests are not mandatory. (see: Oblivion)
Voice overs are not mandatory. (see: how many people turn them off or set it to an unknown language)
Controller inputs are not mandatory. (see: all the games that don't have them)
Non-flat textures are not mandatory. (see: loads of flat-textured, low-poly games, such as Shores Unknown)
Music isn't mandatory. (see: many people turn it off anyway)
Optional party members aren't mandatory. (see: damned near any RPG)
Guns other than the starting weapon are not mandatory. (see: Hitman)
Classes are not mandatory (see: Grim Dawn, you can complete the game entirely without classes; or with only one of 2 allowed per character).
Leveling up isn't mandatory (see: Final Fantasy X's no sphere grid challenge).
Very good examples mqstout and in the context of the GOGs mental gymnastics.
Their ,,DRM-Free definition,, is a total joke full of holes on purpose to fck us as soon as we get distracted.