Good Old Games: Pirates Are Our Competition, Not Steam

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Good Old Games: Pirates Are Our Competition, Not Steam

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Good Old Games says its ultimate goal is to be as easy to use as a torrent tracker.

Good Old Games, the digital distribution service famous for bringing us, well, good old games with absolutely no DRM, recently talked to games.on.net about its thoughts on pirates, Steam and censorship. "We see pirates as our competition," said Trevor Longino, Head of Marketing and PR at Good Old Games, adding that "We don't see Steam as our competition."

"Our goal is to be as close to the ease of use as a torrent tracker, where the process for finding a game on a torrent tracker is your search for the game name, you download it, you play it, that's it. In our case, you search for the game name, you pay for it, you download it and you play it. And you really can't subtract any of those steps and still have a legit enterprise happening here."

Longino says that the additional flimsy steps that many publishers force on gamers, such as having to make accounts with several different online services in addition to having to "check in" to online servers, is what makes people turn to piracy. He seems to understand that not all pirates are criminals, they are just trying to cut through all the DRM restrictions and simply play the games they want to.

Longino is also not convinced that the popular notion of Valve making all games DRM free should its Steam service ever fail is entirely genuine. "I would not put my faith in 'If Steam goes bankrupt you will magically have all your games to play,' I'm pretty sure you will magically have none of your games to play," he said, adding that many people believe Valve head honcho Gabe Newell assured gamers their Steam libraries would be playable if the service shut down, when there is actually no record of him ever having said anything of the sort.

Check out the full interview for more of Longino's thoughts.

Source: Games.on.net

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Valve seem like a company who would do their best to release their games to you but I guess the problem is that in the situation where Steam is closing down they're probably in a horrible cataclysmic mess where what few staff that remain basically aren't even providing for their families. Devoting coding time to a solution for everyone (and even paying for bandwidth to distribute the solution) might not even be feasible.

I wonder if they would get in any legal trouble as well. Their are a lot of third-party publishers who force you to sign up with steam because they're using the steamworks DRM. Presumably Valve sold them that service, or agreed to give it to them in exchange for tying people into their steam accounts more. I wonder if those contracts would allow Valve to ever disable the DRM if they so chose.

BrotherRool:
Valve seem like a company who would do their best to release their games to you but I guess the problem is that in the situation where Steam is closing down they're probably in a horrible cataclysmic mess where what few staff that remain basically aren't even providing for their families. Devoting coding time to a solution for everyone (and even paying for bandwidth to distribute the solution) might not even be feasible.

I wonder if they would get in any legal trouble as well. Their are a lot of third-party publishers who force you to sign up with steam because they're using the steamworks DRM. Presumably Valve sold them that service, or agreed to give it to them in exchange for tying people into their steam accounts more. I wonder if those contracts would allow Valve to ever disable the DRM if they so chose.

what.

On Topic: I pretty much agree with gog, but steam is a pretty convenient service as well, with all their sales and community/etc. . Also I believe steam has reached a level where they're too big to just die, and considering they're no stock company, their screwup potential is qite low as well.

"understand that not all pirates are criminals, they are just trying to cut through all the DRM restrictions and simply play the games they want to."

Longino I love you. Well said and I admit I torrent games I own to get around the DRM because it's my game and I shouldn't need permission to install it.

i always assumed in the best case of steam going under that the publishers and developers might patch the game to make it playable

sure, say you're not competing with them, and then throw in a little jab anyway

it's all smiles and fluttering of eyelashes there

Rainforce:

BrotherRool:
Valve seem like a company who would do their best to release their games to you but I guess the problem is that in the situation where Steam is closing down they're probably in a horrible cataclysmic mess where what few staff that remain basically aren't even providing for their families. Devoting coding time to a solution for everyone (and even paying for bandwidth to distribute the solution) might not even be feasible.

I wonder if they would get in any legal trouble as well. Their are a lot of third-party publishers who force you to sign up with steam because they're using the steamworks DRM. Presumably Valve sold them that service, or agreed to give it to them in exchange for tying people into their steam accounts more. I wonder if those contracts would allow Valve to ever disable the DRM if they so chose.

what.

I forgot exaggeration doesn't work over the internet. I mean if steam shuts down, chances are Valve is bankrupt.

Rainforce:

BrotherRool:
Valve seem like a company who would do their best to release their games to you but I guess the problem is that in the situation where Steam is closing down they're probably in a horrible cataclysmic mess where what few staff that remain basically aren't even providing for their families. Devoting coding time to a solution for everyone (and even paying for bandwidth to distribute the solution) might not even be feasible.

I wonder if they would get in any legal trouble as well. Their are a lot of third-party publishers who force you to sign up with steam because they're using the steamworks DRM. Presumably Valve sold them that service, or agreed to give it to them in exchange for tying people into their steam accounts more. I wonder if those contracts would allow Valve to ever disable the DRM if they so chose.

what.

On Topic: I pretty much agree with gog, but steam is a pretty convenient service as well, with all their sales and community/etc. . Also I believe steam has reached a level where they're too big to just die, and considering they're no stock company, their screwup potential is qite low as well.

Steam is very good for people who live in the US, not so for people who don't. They don't enforce fair prices among publishes and seeing as how big they are; they probably should.

BrotherRool:

Rainforce:

what.

I forgot exaggeration doesn't work over the internet. I mean if steam shuts down, chances are Valve is bankrupt.

nah, it was more about the

Presumably Valve sold them that service, or agreed to give it to them in exchange for tying people into their steam accounts more.

-thing, which sounds more like "it's a conspiracy!" than anything. (and people sure like to shout that a lot when it comes to big companies, especially in gaming. "X has paid Y to make itself look better!" [although Y = journalists most of the time])

...and is also beyond my conceivable range of honest exaggeration, as you already figured.

Magmarock:
Steam is very good for people who live in the US, not so for people who don't. They don't enforce fair prices among publishes and seeing as how big they are; they probably should.

it's quite good for a lot of european countries as well.
And the pricing is ALWAYS up to the publisher/developer, that's part of the deal. (afaik)
Steam enforcing a certain price scheme would probably be the death of quite some indie devs (they do make recommendations, though).
but yeah, All in all, you're not completely wrong, I guess.
(that's quite some commas there, huh. But I just woke up, and proper sentence structure is apparently quite hard to come by, or so I heard)

DRM getting in the way making people want to pirate? Sounds familiar, buying a game, getting 3 installs then after fiddling with your hardware, which the game CAME WITH, you find you've used up your installs because it counts everything from HDDs to GPUs. More installs? Well there's going through all that tape with Ubisoft or just finding another website. What did I settle on? Not bothering at all.

EDIT: To clear this post up:
Which thankfully GoG is awesome about as they have stated, make it easier/as easy to buy and get games with less hassle as possible. Hence why Ubisoft was not exactly liked with their psychotic and stupid DRM with limited installs

Yeah I'm not sure GOG could get much more convenient. Unless you're wanting to patch/mod games that you've bought (which is none of their concern so nothing they can/should deal with) it really is a case of click to buy - click to download - click to install - click to play.

Hell from my limited knowledge of pirated games, aren't they more complex than that? I thought you generally had to muck about with ISOs and mounting virtual discs and all that jazz. Sounds like hassle to me. Pff I thought those pirates were supposed to be providing a service.

Rainforce:

BrotherRool:

Rainforce:

what.

I forgot exaggeration doesn't work over the internet. I mean if steam shuts down, chances are Valve is bankrupt.

nah, it was more about the

Presumably Valve sold them that service, or agreed to give it to them in exchange for tying people into their steam accounts more.

-thing, which sounds more like "it's a conspiracy!" than anything. (and people sure like to shout that a lot when it comes to big companies, especially in gaming. "X has paid Y to make itself look better!" [although Y = journalists most of the time])

...and is also beyond my conceivable range of honest exaggeration, as you already figured.

Oh okay, I didn't mean to exaggerate on that bit or make it sound like a conspiracy or anything. It's what they do and it's a normal business transaction. Disc based games often now come with Steamworks DRM installed, despite not being a Valve game. They require mandatory steam account registration and the normal (fortnightly? I hear conflicting things) online Steam checks to run and you can't sell them used. SecruRom sells its DRM to publishers and likewise either Valve sells theirs or they're giving it away for free. Valve are a good company, but they're not a charity (and free DRM isn't exactly a good deed) so if they don't charge for it, it's presumably in the hope that if more people are made to us steam to play their games or people have more games tied to their steam account, they're more likely to buy games from steam.

That's just how it works. Either they charge for it, or it's to increase steam sales, I can't see why valve would do it otherwise

Finally, a voice of reason. Kudos GOG, keep it up.

As for the Steam going down forever scenario: I'm covered. I have only a few digital games, but I have a list of them on a notepad file along with their prices on GOG. I also have a pile of cash equaling that amount stashed away in my house, so if I need to buy them again I can. That pile also comes in handy when something important, like my car, breaks down. Course, sometimes I think - since I already paid once for the game - I might as well pirate a DRM-free version anyways, just in case. It's really a grey topic to me...

Teoes:
Hell from my limited knowledge of pirated games, aren't they more complex than that? I thought you generally had to muck about with ISOs and mounting virtual discs and all that jazz. Sounds like hassle to me. Pff I thought those pirates were supposed to be providing a service.

Sometimes. If the pirate is being lazy than you have to go through all that because they didn't set it up to a "setup.exe" file or something similar. Most I've seen, er, heard of, do have that "setup.exe" file method so you just activate that file, install, then replace some files with cracked ones. Or so I've heard... Oh, fine. Yes, I've pirated games, I admit it! But in my defense they were all made before 2000 and I couldn't find them on an online store or a physical one.

BrotherRool:
Valve seem like a company who would do their best to release their games to you but I guess the problem is that in the situation where Steam is closing down they're probably in a horrible cataclysmic mess where what few staff that remain basically aren't even providing for their families. Devoting coding time to a solution for everyone (and even paying for bandwidth to distribute the solution) might not even be feasible.

I wonder if they would get in any legal trouble as well. Their are a lot of third-party publishers who force you to sign up with steam because they're using the steamworks DRM. Presumably Valve sold them that service, or agreed to give it to them in exchange for tying people into their steam accounts more. I wonder if those contracts would allow Valve to ever disable the DRM if they so chose.

+1 to this.

The important bit on this point is not whether Valve will willingly screw up their customers or not, the point is that, as a rather big corporation, they might have no other choice.

It's a sad fact of high-end business, the good of the costumer means diddly-squat when the shareholders face diminishing returns of investment, and, as BrotherRool pointed, once Steam faces termination, it will most certainly be because of economic failure, which doesn't give much wiggle room for good will manuevers.

And this is very relevant to what the GOG guy is saying. They are building their business model on the idea that consumers own the games they buy which, for the time being, is not what Steam is doing (you only have access to a service, but can't play the games without the service), thus Steam isn't really competing with GOG, as their approaches are very different.

I recently signed up for GOG precisely because of this attitude.

As for the article, I fully endorse what they are trying: Compete with Pirates through convenience, rather than restriction.

BrotherRool:

Rainforce:

BrotherRool:

I forgot exaggeration doesn't work over the internet. I mean if steam shuts down, chances are Valve is bankrupt.

nah, it was more about the

Presumably Valve sold them that service, or agreed to give it to them in exchange for tying people into their steam accounts more.

-thing, which sounds more like "it's a conspiracy!" than anything. (and people sure like to shout that a lot when it comes to big companies, especially in gaming. "X has paid Y to make itself look better!" [although Y = journalists most of the time])

...and is also beyond my conceivable range of honest exaggeration, as you already figured.

Oh okay, I didn't mean to exaggerate on that bit or make it sound like a conspiracy or anything. It's what they do and it's a normal business transaction. Disc based games often now come with Steamworks DRM installed, despite not being a Valve game. They require mandatory steam account registration and the normal (fortnightly? I hear conflicting things) online Steam checks to run and you can't sell them used. SecruRom sells its DRM to publishers and likewise either Valve sells theirs or they're giving it away for free. Valve are a good company, but they're not a charity (and free DRM isn't exactly a good deed) so if they don't charge for it, it's presumably in the hope that if more people are made to us steam to play their games or people have more games tied to their steam account, they're more likely to buy games from steam.

That's just how it works. Either they charge for it, or it's to increase steam sales, I can't see why valve would do it otherwise

oh, ok, that's true and alright, then : D *people agreeing on the internet*

Magmarock:
"understand that not all pirates are criminals, they are just trying to cut through all the DRM restrictions and simply play the games they want to."

Longino I love you. Well said and I admit I torrent games I own to get around the DRM because it's my game and I shouldn't need permission to install it.

I don't actually do that, as I'm not sure how much my ISP monitors torrent traffic, but I can say that if I lost a game and had to get it from a torrent site, I'd be like Longino and not feel bad about it. That's the *only* time I'd do it, though. Otherwise, DEATH TO THE PIRATES!

weirdguy:
sure, say you're not competing with them, and then throw in a little jab anyway

it's all smiles and fluttering of eyelashes there

That was my first thought as well.

Also rather nice timing.

Teoes:
Yeah I'm not sure GOG could get much more convenient. Unless you're wanting to patch/mod games that you've bought (which is none of their concern so nothing they can/should deal with) it really is a case of click to buy - click to download - click to install - click to play.

Hell from my limited knowledge of pirated games, aren't they more complex than that? I thought you generally had to muck about with ISOs and mounting virtual discs and all that jazz. Sounds like hassle to me. Pff I thought those pirates were supposed to be providing a service.

You're right, installing a game off an ISO would actually be an extra couple of steps. You can throw in one step more if the torrent is in a split rar. So you have

GoG: Search for game -> pay for game -> download game -> play game

Torrent: Search for game -> download game -> unrar game -> mount .iso -> install game -> play game

OT: I have ALWAYS said that piracy is an issue of convince rather than people trying to steal stuff. Look at Russia, for the longest time, no-one released games in Russia because "all Russians pirate games." Of course, the Russians only pirated the games because there was no legitimate means for them to get them. Valve, and a handful of other developers, really tried their best to open themselves up to the Russian market and lo and behold, Russians actually fucking bought the games that were available to legitimately buy.

Other factors, such as lack of demos, "day 1 DLC", and gross inequalities in region pricing force otherwise legitimate customers to piracy. I honestly don't feel bad at all when I hear about my friends back home in Australia pirating the latest Call of Duty because Activision feels it can charge Aussies double what Americans pay for a digital copy of the game.

frizzlebyte:

Magmarock:
"understand that not all pirates are criminals, they are just trying to cut through all the DRM restrictions and simply play the games they want to."

Longino I love you. Well said and I admit I torrent games I own to get around the DRM because it's my game and I shouldn't need permission to install it.

I don't actually do that, as I'm not sure how much my ISP monitors torrent traffic, but I can say that if I lost a game and had to get it from a torrent site, I'd be like Longino and not feel bad about it. That's the *only* time I'd do it, though. Otherwise, DEATH TO THE PIRATES!

Well
it's also a good way to try before you buy. Pirates come in so many different shapes forms from those that only pirate EA games to those that pirate anything and actually laugh about it. However, from my experience most of them do it out of distrust.

Snotnarok:
DRM getting in the way making people want to pirate? Sounds familiar, buying a game, getting 3 installs then after fiddling with your hardware, which the game CAME WITH, you find you've used up your installs because it counts everything from HDDs to GPUs. More installs? Well there's going through all that tape with Ubisoft or just finding another website. What did I settle on? Not bothering at all.

GOG has no DRM, so what are you talking about?

Oskuro:
It's a sad fact of high-end business, the good of the costumer means diddly-squat when the shareholders face diminishing returns of investment, and, as BrotherRool pointed, once Steam faces termination, it will most certainly be because of economic failure, which doesn't give much wiggle room for good will manuevers.

Well Steam is privately owned, so they don't have to jump through hoops trying to keep fickle investors happy.

But yeah, I really doubt in the event Steam fails that Valve will make all our games DRM free. Of course, there are always alternatives to recovering games you owned that were taken away from you because of corporate greed.

Teoes:
Hell from my limited knowledge of pirated games, aren't they more complex than that? I thought you generally had to muck about with ISOs and mounting virtual discs and all that jazz. Sounds like hassle to me. Pff I thought those pirates were supposed to be providing a service.

Not so much anymore. They mostly favor prebaked installers, or an already unpacked ISO with a crack folder. I don't know how much experience you've had with games with DRM beyond steamworks, but that's definitely providing a service.

Evil Smurf:

Snotnarok:
DRM getting in the way making people want to pirate? Sounds familiar, buying a game, getting 3 installs then after fiddling with your hardware, which the game CAME WITH, you find you've used up your installs because it counts everything from HDDs to GPUs. More installs? Well there's going through all that tape with Ubisoft or just finding another website. What did I settle on? Not bothering at all.

GOG has no DRM, so what are you talking about?

Nothing. He feels guiltily slighted at the mention of the word "pirate" so he responds with his knee-jerk speech without bothering to examine the content of the OP.

Genocidicles:

But yeah, I really doubt in the event Steam fails that Valve will make all our games DRM free. Of course, there are always alternatives to recovering games you owned that were taken away from you because of corporate greed.

This will not happen. I have no idea how people can believe this outside of pure wish-fulfillment. Valve does not have the authority to arbitrarily rescind the DRM it has agreed to publishers to provide.

llafnwod:
This will not happen. I have no idea how people can believe this outside of pure wish-fulfillment. Valve does not have the authority to arbitrarily rescind the DRM it has agreed to publishers to provide.

Uh... that's what I was saying. But there are ways to find replacements to games that may be lost when Steam falls... such as getting a retail version and using a crack to remove the Steam requirement, as well as other slightly less legal methods.

Makes sense. Steam is for AAA and indie games, with many intergrated features, at the cost of having your games tied to the user's Steam account and not owned directly by the user. GOG is for retro and indie games in a restriction-free service.

Both are different services for different user-bases. I'm glad that on the PC we get a choice.

As for Steam going bankrupt (blasphemy!), I doubt it'll just disappear. It's far more likely that another company will buy it.

Genocidicles:
Uh... that's what I was saying. But there are ways to find replacements to games that may be lost when Steam falls... such as getting a retail version and using a crack to remove the Steam requirement, as well as other slightly less legal methods.

I know, man, I was agreeing with you. But using a crack to circumvent DRM on a legitimately purchased game is still usually a breach of the EULA.

Well, I hate to break it to you guys at GoG...but your system is already a bit simpler to use than torrent sites.

With your standard torrent service you have to scroll through torrents to find one you like.. with GoG I just type in what I want, ande buy it. It also shows me other snazy things I hadnt considered before.

I like to imagine that Valve are using their Steam revenue to make Half Life 3 into a giant titanic super-game.

It's what I'd like to imagine, but we all know that they're just making more hats.

Teoes:
Yeah I'm not sure GOG could get much more convenient. Unless you're wanting to patch/mod games that you've bought (which is none of their concern so nothing they can/should deal with) it really is a case of click to buy - click to download - click to install - click to play.

Hell from my limited knowledge of pirated games, aren't they more complex than that? I thought you generally had to muck about with ISOs and mounting virtual discs and all that jazz. Sounds like hassle to me. Pff I thought those pirates were supposed to be providing a service.

Yeah gog has gotten to the perfect point, I buy the game, download the game, install the game then play the game. That simple. Steam has gotten it to that point as well which is why their popular, Origin has also but their prices are stupid. However the last 2 get complicated when the net is down (they can work offline but sometimes they have a hissy fit and say no, gog never has that issue).

Since Steam and GoG do not sell the same games afaik it is obvious that they don't compete...

Steven Bogos:

Teoes:
Yeah I'm not sure GOG could get much more convenient. Unless you're wanting to patch/mod games that you've bought (which is none of their concern so nothing they can/should deal with) it really is a case of click to buy - click to download - click to install - click to play.

Hell from my limited knowledge of pirated games, aren't they more complex than that? I thought you generally had to muck about with ISOs and mounting virtual discs and all that jazz. Sounds like hassle to me. Pff I thought those pirates were supposed to be providing a service.

You're right, installing a game off an ISO would actually be an extra couple of steps. You can throw in one step more if the torrent is in a split rar. So you have

GoG: Search for game -> pay for game -> download game -> play game

Torrent: Search for game -> download game -> unrar game -> mount .iso -> install game -> play game

OT: I have ALWAYS said that piracy is an issue of convince rather than people trying to steal stuff. Look at Russia, for the longest time, no-one released games in Russia because "all Russians pirate games." Of course, the Russians only pirated the games because there was no legitimate means for them to get them. Valve, and a handful of other developers, really tried their best to open themselves up to the Russian market and lo and behold, Russians actually fucking bought the games that were available to legitimately buy.

Other factors, such as lack of demos, "day 1 DLC", and gross inequalities in region pricing force otherwise legitimate customers to piracy. I honestly don't feel bad at all when I hear about my friends back home in Australia pirating the latest Call of Duty because Activision feels it can charge Aussies double what Americans pay for a digital copy of the game.

If an Aussie is paying that much for a game they need to be acquainted with ozgameship.com, for eg: Pre-order for CoD Ghost on PS3 is $64.99 and most games are far less than that. Nowadays I refuse to pay the rip off prices and frankly even in retail stores most games have dropped to $70-80 new (PS3/xbox), so theres no excuse to accept the old prices unless it's a collectors edition...

You've just got to shop smartly, oh and GoG/Greenman gaming/Steam rule for cheap new games :-)

I find it hard to believe to that anyone's genuinely worried about Steam going to down, although I won't mention why for fear of The Escapist's ban hammer.

Ishigami:
Since Steam and GoG do not sell the same games afaik it is obvious that they don't compete...

Not that it's a big deal but there's plenty for sale on both sites. Purely off the of my head: The Witcher games, Alan Wake, System Shock 2 and pretty much every indie game that GOG sells.

EDIT: in general on the topic at hand and more evidence of just how lovely GOG is, I just found a Thank You note on their website for the success of their recent summer sale.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to service downtime with one of our payment processing providers some of you couldn't complete your purchases on Monday, July 1st (between 7:46PM GMT and 9:18PM GMT). This was a worldwide issue affecting not only GOG.com users. The problem wasn't caused nor could it be fixed by us, but we're concerned with the fact that some of our customers missed out on our Monday offers.

We think that's unfair, so if you were one of those people, please contact our support. If your purchase failed during that time and your funds were frozen on your account, we will send you some free game codes to make up for your inconvenience.

I love this lot.

All very nice but can you please stop charging so much for very old games.

I mean 6 bucks for ultima 4 5 6, that's ridiculous for games that old, so until you chance the price to 2 bucks I'm sticking with abandonware thank you very much.

I love these guys, and we need more like them. Not only do they own up to their own mistakes -- during the #NoDRM sale, their email "flyer" had the wrong cutoff time for a free game and they, shock of shocks, HONORED it, even extending the deadline to make up for the hoop-jump of having to go through the support system for the code. They even care about OTHER people's screwups as it affects their customers, like Teoes said.

Evil Smurf:

Snotnarok:
DRM getting in the way making people want to pirate? Sounds familiar, buying a game, getting 3 installs then after fiddling with your hardware, which the game CAME WITH, you find you've used up your installs because it counts everything from HDDs to GPUs. More installs? Well there's going through all that tape with Ubisoft or just finding another website. What did I settle on? Not bothering at all.

GOG has no DRM, so what are you talking about?

I believe Snotnarok's referring to Ubisoft's draconian "limited installs" DRM they used to use before introducing their Steam clone, UPlay. This was a dig at Ubisoft, not GoG.

Edit: Oops, llafnwod already answered this and I missed that post. Nevermind.

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