212: Gateway to Gaming

Gateway to Gaming

What started as a simple experiment for a small independent strategy game developer has turned into a new way for people to purchase and play games. Christos Reid speaks with the founders of GamersGate about the company's growth in the online gaming space.

Read Full Article

I think that many people are a little disadvantaged by games being more available online, but that can be the result of their situation. Being unable to afford, or not having available, a sufficiently high download cap to make this kind of purchase worthwhile hamstrings many consumers. I, for example have a 7GB monthly limit in a family of four which means that there is no circumstance in which it's practical.

Obviously as the industry moves forward there'll be a shift in both the home download capacity (I hope) and the way we work with games. It's slowly getting there.

Paradox is really a company that excels at the way it treats the consumer, as all us Paradox fans know. It's not a surprise to me, therefore, that their digital download platform has the same approach. When you purchase a game from Paradox, there's a feeling that you truly own it, and what's more, they encourage you to alter the game to your own desire.

I notice that it's the more... indie isn't the right word, but almost boutique developers, Valve, Paradox, and StarDock, companies that pride themselves on their relation to their consumer, that seem to be creating the most successful DD platforms: Steam, GamersGate, and Impulse, respectively. And while none of these platforms are quite as perfect as we want them to be, I think it's rather a good thing that these distribution schemes are handled by companies that believe in treating the consumer as the party who should be rewarded in a business transaction.

Never heard of this service before... I have both Steam and Impulse, but I mainly use Steam. I do like the idea of games not being tied to your account, and playable without the client open. But I also like to have a client, it gives me an integrated platform where I can buy my game, launch the game, and access other players.
GamersGate would be great for people who want a simple, easy way to get games, but I would miss the other features.

I'm a huge paradox fan and have to say that Gamersgate and the paradox plaza forums are awesome. The company actually seems to listen and learn from what their forum members say, I came across little or no trolling and some of the devs actually take part in the discussions.

Just checking the PP forums I cam across this http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?t=413935 this is one of the devs asking what a community wants a few wks before release.

"A patch is never late! Nor is it ever early. It arrives precisely when I mean it to do!"
Johan Andersson

Why can the gaming industry adapt to changes, but other digital media industries cannot seem to do the same. It takes a third party to get video distributed online, even then they are only streams or sells of a digital movie laced with DRM.

I say kudos to the video game industry, show the rest of them how it is done.

I use Gamersgate regularly, and I love it's easy handling. Another I use is GOG.com for those old favorites.

I once bought a hardcopy of Portal at a retail shop. Or so I thought. So at home I popped the disk in and noticed the small size of the content. Well long story short, I had to install the steam-client first, download the game from steam and then install it. Now of course in the end it played just as well as a hardcopy would, but I felt betrayed. I had bought nothing more than an empty shell. On top of that there was this 'spyware' which just wouldn't go away and started up each time tried to play the game. Anyway this was my first experience with direct2drive, and since I'm all for it, but I haven't since bought anything from Steam.

manaman:
Why can the gaming industry adopt to changes, but other digital media industries cannot seem to do the same. It takes a third party to get video distributed online, even then they are only streams or sells of a digital movie, laced with DRM.

I say kudos to the video game industry show the rest of them how it is done.

My thoughts exactly.
Other industries, and other developers/publishers has a lot to learn from this.

We are willing to pay, but not for an inferior product that has an expiration date.

I do hope we can get to a situation where you can choose which download service suits you best. At the moment, there are certain games that are only available from specific DD services, which tends to make me ignore them all and opt for retail. When we get to the point where it's just like picking a retail store (or buying from Amazon, Play.com etc.) then I'll be more interested.

I also dislike things like the Steam client, as I feel it's just DRM (I don't use any of it's "services" since I don't play multiplayer etc.)

My personal favourite download service has to be Good Old Games, and I would recommend it to anyone. It does help if you like older games though!

I absolutely adore GamersGate (as you'd expect from the creator of a User Group called "Paradox Fans".) Paradox's games play a lot better if you download them from GG than if you download them from Steam, mostly because patches tend not to come out on Steam for weeks after they're made available to the retail/GamersGate version. It's not without its drawbacks (connections are slowed down by distance to the servers in Stockholm if you're in the US and my bank---Wells Fargo---charges me a 3% "foreign exchange fee" even though I'm paying them in US dollars), but it's got a great customer experience. Add in the fact that GamersGate handles additional authentication requests on third-party DRM-limited games (on those occasions when the third-party publisher *cough*Ubisoft*cough* wants to be a dick) and it's win-win across the board.

That's not to say I don't like Steam (love it, in fact), but for Paradox-published games you can't beat going straight to the source.

http://gamersgate.com/info/faq-10
Can I download the game on my office PC and install it on my home PC which does not have an internet connection?

NO. An internet connection is needed to install the games.
If the target computer got a slow connection we recommend that you download and burn, or store in any other way, the downloads from a computer with high speed connection and move it to the computer with slow speed.

So, GamersGate is the same as Steam is the same as Impulse. GOG remains the only download service I know of where you can buy games, not rent them.

Why didn't Christos bring this up when the GamersGate representative gushed over "trust"?

Nutcase:

http://gamersgate.com/info/faq-10
Can I download the game on my office PC and install it on my home PC which does not have an internet connection?

NO. An internet connection is needed to install the games.
If the target computer got a slow connection we recommend that you download and burn, or store in any other way, the downloads from a computer with high speed connection and move it to the computer with slow speed.

So, GamersGate is the same as Steam is the same as Impulse. GOG remains the only download service I know of where you can buy games, not rent them.

To counter that, if you buy an actual Paradox game, it's pretty much self contained in the one directory. You could just transfer the installation folder and have a fully functioning game. And to be fair, it's a lifetime rental on all those DDs. "Rent" is a loaded word, implying that the initial payment will be one of many. There won't be, not on any of those distributors. The only companies that rent you their games are pay-to-play MMOs.

HobbesMkii:

Nutcase:

http://gamersgate.com/info/faq-10
Can I download the game on my office PC and install it on my home PC which does not have an internet connection?

NO. An internet connection is needed to install the games.
If the target computer got a slow connection we recommend that you download and burn, or store in any other way, the downloads from a computer with high speed connection and move it to the computer with slow speed.

So, GamersGate is the same as Steam is the same as Impulse. GOG remains the only download service I know of where you can buy games, not rent them.

To counter that, if you buy an actual Paradox game, it's pretty much self contained in the one directory. You could just transfer the installation folder and have a fully functioning game.

This is nice to hear. It speaks of good software engineering, and in these special cases you could say the game has no strings attached after it is installed.

And to be fair, it's a lifetime rental on all those DDs.

Not "lifetime rental". "Indefinite duration rental" is just about correct. If you can think of a more accurate term for things that you don't own, but have paid to have a temporary permission to use (and have to keep checking whether that permission still stands), I'm all ears.

"Rent" is a loaded word, implying that the initial payment will be one of many. There won't be, not on any of those distributors. The only companies that rent you their games are pay-to-play MMOs.

It implies the buyer does not control the game indefinitely, which is precisely the case here. Whether their authentication servers are up at a given time, and whether the company itself is around to keep the servers up, is out of your hands.

I stumbled across Paradox and Tale Worlds' game Mount and Blade while shopping at Big Lots. I got it on PC CD-ROM for $6 on sale. It's a great game. Despite having somewhat dated graphics for a game that was released in 2008, it's still become one of my favorite RPGs. If you haven't found in on store shelves or on Gamers Gate yet, check it out. It's almost more like a simulator of medieval life as a mercenary than your typical RPG. It's worth even what they want for it on Gamers Gate. Especially once you install a few of the community made mods. It'll even play without the CD in the drive which is pretty nice.

This game led me to Gamers Gate via paradoxplaza.com and taleworlds.com. I agree it's a great service. I much prefer Gamers Gate's method of selling and supporting games over Valve's. My computer won't even start Steam up properly most of the time.

I love being able to download a game or content for a game I have already and then being able to do what I want with it. I'm still deep into Mount and Blade, but I'm sure I'll be getting more games from Gamers Gate later on.

Labyrinth:
I think that many people are a little disadvantaged by games being more available online, but that can be the result of their situation. Being unable to afford, or not having available, a sufficiently high download cap to make this kind of purchase worthwhile hamstrings many consumers. I, for example have a 7GB monthly limit in a family of four which means that there is no circumstance in which it's practical.

Obviously as the industry moves forward there'll be a shift in both the home download capacity (I hope) and the way we work with games. It's slowly getting there.

While I love the concept, and would love even more to be able to use it, I have to agree with Labyrinth. It's just not plausible for those on low caps. When you not only have to pay for the game, but shell out for a massive download limit as well, it can be hard.

Especially in countries like Australia which are so far behind places like Europe in terms of access and broadband infrastructure.

JediMooCow:
While I love the concept, and would love even more to be able to use it, I have to agree with Labyrinth. It's just not plausible for those on low caps. When you not only have to pay for the game, but shell out for a massive download limit as well, it can be hard.

Especially in countries like Australia which are so far behind places like Europe in terms of access and broadband infrastructure.

Don't forget our endlessly backwards legislation! That's always fun.

Nutcase:

HobbesMkii:
And to be fair, it's a lifetime rental on all those DDs.

Not "lifetime rental". "Indefinite duration rental" is just about correct. If you can think of a more accurate term for things that you don't own, but have paid to have a temporary permission to use (and have to keep checking whether that permission still stands), I'm all ears.

Yeah, that's the problem--the words we have for things that are not land--lease, rent, buy--really don't capture software: in a way, it's like a 'fifth property' (I'd divide things into property, resources in the property, intellectual property, and stuff--you know, anything that isn't an idea or part of the land/water).

In some ways, the closest term is a profit a prendre:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Jgu3hq1yQBEC&pg=PA188&lpg=PA188&dq=profit+licence+a+prendre&source=bl&ots=Y0DCoB4Pny&sig=rVaV2yXUoWhorOpZClDsBH01g1g&hl=en&ei=5AF2SuTRJYOHtgfFjNGWCQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2#v=onepage&q=&f=false

You're allowed to run the code like someone with a profit is allowed to enter the property, and while there you're allowed to 'enjoy' the game the code makes possible, like someone who has a profit is allowed to 'enjoy' the timber.

Labyrinth:

Don't forget our endlessly backwards legislation! That's always fun.

Never for an instant :). It's kind of hard to forget when everyone you know from another country is rubbing it in your face. Is it wrong to hope that something terrible happens to Messers Fielding and Conroy?

JediMooCow:

Labyrinth:

Don't forget our endlessly backwards legislation! That's always fun.

Never for an instant :). It's kind of hard to forget when everyone you know from another country is rubbing it in your face. Is it wrong to hope that something terrible happens to Messers Fielding and Conroy?

If by "wrong" you mean a pleasant fantasy which would result in less censorship then yes.

Their way of handling this sounds VERY appealing to me. Because of that, I will try it out, I wasn't so fond of steam and their way of selling games is appealing to me.

Count me in!

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here