GOG Accidentally Gives Out Thousands of Free Games, Lets Users Keep Them

GOG Accidentally Gives Out Thousands of Free Games, Lets Users Keep Them

good old games title

A glitch in GOG's Linux promotion allowed users to grab a bunch of games for free - games which GOG is letting them keep.

A special promotion on Good Old Games.com in order to promote its new Linux support has offered users a greater discount than GOG was expecting. Due to a glitch with the promo, dozens of games were accidentally reduced to the low, low, price of $0.00, and a GOG spokesperson reports that several thousand games were snagged up at the "discounted" prices before the glitch was corrected. However, if you did happen to snag any of these free games, GOG has assured you that you won't be punished, and you can actually go ahead and keep them, because GOG is awesome like that.

"Thank you for your honesty," said the spokesperson, responding to a forum thread where a user felt guilty for snagging 21 free titles. "Yesterday, due to a small glitch on our end, you and a bunch of other lucky people ended up getting games from the Linux Launch promo for free. Don't worry, though, as it's totally cool with us and you may keep them. Yes, we will not be removing these titles from your account and we do hope you will enjoy them! :)"

The spokesperson added that "Of course, if you prefer, like some of our community members, we can always remove [the free games] from your shelf - just let us know replying to this email. Again, there's no problem if you want to keep them :)"

The user who made the initial forum posting bringing the glitch to GOG's attention stated that he wanted his "ill-gotten" games removed from his library, as "I like free but I like GOG more."

It's really nice to see such a heartwarming story of honesty and respect between customers and video game publishers, especially considering all of the stories we have gotten used to reading that involve lies and deceit...

Source: GOG via Polygon

Permalink

Psst.

Hey, EA. Yo. Over here.

Want to know the right way to treat customers? Maybe you ought to have a gander over at Good Old Games.

It's hoping beyond hope, I know... but maybe... just maybe... a little humanity will rub off on ya.

Letting them keep?

Uhm... you know, it's not a matter of 'letting' if you had no meaningful way of stopping them ore removing the game from their library.

Cause you know.. once it;s downloaded there's nothing GoG can do from that point on. I also highly doubt it was a glitch. Look do you have any idea how much back checking and rechecking gets done on POS systems before they go live? It'd take a rather massive database error to cause something like that

This is likely nothing more than a planned publicity stunt. A good one mind you.

BigTuk:
Letting them keep?

Uhm... you know, it's not a matter of 'letting' if you had no meaningful way of stopping them ore removing the game from their library.

Cause you know.. once it;s downloaded there's nothing GoG can do from that point on. I also highly doubt it was a glitch. Look do you have any idea how much back checking and rechecking gets done on POS systems before they go live? It'd take a rather massive database error to cause something like that

This is likely nothing more than a planned publicity stunt. A good one mind you.

They can actually remove the game from your library, if you'd have read the article you would have seen that some of the people who snagged the free games actually opted for this option as they felt guilty.

But sure, as there is no DRM, once you've downloaded the title you can still install it and play it

Every time GOG does a thing, the rest of the games industry weeps.

BigTuk:
Letting them keep?

Uhm... you know, it's not a matter of 'letting' if you had no meaningful way of stopping them ore removing the game from their library.

Cause you know.. once it;s downloaded there's nothing GoG can do from that point on. I also highly doubt it was a glitch. Look do you have any idea how much back checking and rechecking gets done on POS systems before they go live? It'd take a rather massive database error to cause something like that

This is likely nothing more than a planned publicity stunt. A good one mind you.

Actually they can remove it from your galley and prevent you from receiving updates. But if you're going to play the planned publicity card, people can always torrent GOG games they don't want to pay for; and there's even more nothing they can do about that. However many GOG customers want to buy their games.

Well, isn't that a nice change of pace. Nice to see honesty on the side of consumers and great business acumen on the side of GOG. They could have made a big fuss about it, revoking accounts or worse but instead they played it cool and got a massive kudos from the internet. That's how you create positive buzz for your operation!

I bet you whatever hit they took for those free games they'll recoup easily within a few weeks with new people joining the service just because they heard about this.

It's nice to see these things rewarded by letting people keep their free games rather than with bans...

Hint, Hint, Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge AAA Industry!

Kudos to GoG, the guys just know how to treat their customers.

And quite a lot of the consumers actually wanted the games to be removed from their account. See AAA industry, that's what happens when you treat your customers right.

BigTuk:
Letting them keep?

Uhm... you know, it's not a matter of 'letting' if you had no meaningful way of stopping them ore removing the game from their library.

Cause you know.. once it;s downloaded there's nothing GoG can do from that point on. I also highly doubt it was a glitch. Look do you have any idea how much back checking and rechecking gets done on POS systems before they go live? It'd take a rather massive database error to cause something like that

This is likely nothing more than a planned publicity stunt. A good one mind you.

They can remove it from their library, it even says so in the article. Sure, once you've downloaded it you've got it, but you wouldn't be able to download it again. I think the main point is they're niether trying nor demanding people lose their games, which they would have every right to do so. I don't think it's a publicity stunt, but they have managed to generate good publicity out of it.

Steven Bogos:
The user who made the initial forum posting bringing the glitch to GOG's attention stated that he wanted his "ill-gotten" games removed from his library, as "I like free but I like GOG more."

Take note, games industry: this is what happens when you respect and value your customers. If you want people to be loyal to your brand, you need to earn that loyalty. Don't just expect it, give people a reason to become loyal customers, and they will. I genuinely cannot fathom why more people aren't following GOG's example.

Next month Origin or uPlay will have a similar problem, and EA/Ubi will revoke everyone's access to their free games and refuse to refund the price for any DLC that was bought for those free games.

You know a "Secret free sale" would be a really clever thing. Drop some hints and start a Steam style treasure hunt to find out which games are actually free. Or just make a game actually free, let users find out, then say "It's not a bug it's a feature, game isn't listed as free but it's free for the next X hours. Tell your friends!" And watch the internet go a bit wild.

I know this was a genuine mistake and not marketing but if they did decide to market in this way who would blame them? I know "Viral Marketing" and "ARGs" have developed a bit of a kitschy, corporate reputation of late but they can still be effective at creating genuine groundswell if down correctly.

Hairless Mammoth:
Next month Origin or uPlay will have a similar problem, and EA/Ubi will revoke everyone's access to their free games and refuse to refund the price for any DLC that was bought for those free games.

Nah, ban their accounts [from orbit], it's the only way to be sure.

This... this is why I love GOG. They are just the best when it comes to treating their customers like people.

I find it humorous when the conspiracies start rolling in. I simply do not care - GoG did something nice for the gaming community that follows them, and that is ultimately what matters.

elvor0:

BigTuk:
Letting them keep?

Uhm... you know, it's not a matter of 'letting' if you had no meaningful way of stopping them ore removing the game from their library.

Cause you know.. once it;s downloaded there's nothing GoG can do from that point on. I also highly doubt it was a glitch. Look do you have any idea how much back checking and rechecking gets done on POS systems before they go live? It'd take a rather massive database error to cause something like that

This is likely nothing more than a planned publicity stunt. A good one mind you.

They can remove it from their library, it even says so in the article. Sure, once you've downloaded it you've got it, but you wouldn't be able to download it again. I think the main point is they're niether trying nor demanding people lose their games, which they would have every right to do so. I don't think it's a publicity stunt, but they have managed to generate good publicity out of it.

Well it's hard to recognize these things if you don't have a back ground in Public Relations and Marketing. But here's a simple thought experiment. How many points along the chain would have to fail for this 'accident' to happen? That is how many people/depts would have had to utterly fail at their job.

If it's more than one, chances are it's not an accident.

The Web Development, The Database Administration, The Quality Control and the Management would have had to fail for this accident to happen. Seriously do you know how much testing, double-checking and rechecking goes into the implementation of any transaction system or store front before it goes live? This is somewhere along the lines of a bank teller accidentally handing you a $100 instead of a $10. It can genuinely happen buuut..yeah, chances are it's not gonna.

And yes, I have actually been a part of such 'under the radar' marketing campaigns. Heck they may have already intended to do a give away (GoG gives away quite a few freebies in general). So how hard is it to spin the free giveaway in such a way to make it sound like 'oops we made a mistake! You totally weren't supposed to get or fabulous product for free. oh My. But you can keep them because we be cool like that'

The first one makes customers a happy. The Second one makes them feel lucky and happ, maybe also a wee bit special.

BigTuk:

elvor0:

BigTuk:
Letting them keep?

Uhm... you know, it's not a matter of 'letting' if you had no meaningful way of stopping them ore removing the game from their library.

Cause you know.. once it;s downloaded there's nothing GoG can do from that point on. I also highly doubt it was a glitch. Look do you have any idea how much back checking and rechecking gets done on POS systems before they go live? It'd take a rather massive database error to cause something like that

This is likely nothing more than a planned publicity stunt. A good one mind you.

They can remove it from their library, it even says so in the article. Sure, once you've downloaded it you've got it, but you wouldn't be able to download it again. I think the main point is they're niether trying nor demanding people lose their games, which they would have every right to do so. I don't think it's a publicity stunt, but they have managed to generate good publicity out of it.

Well it's hard to recognize these things if you don't have a back ground in Public Relations and Marketing. But here's a simple thought experiment. How many points along the chain would have to fail for this 'accident' to happen? That is how many people/depts would have had to utterly fail at their job.

If it's more than one, chances are it's not an accident.

The Web Development, The Database Administration, The Quality Control and the Management would have had to fail for this accident to happen. Seriously do you know how much testing, double-checking and rechecking goes into the implementation of any transaction system or store front before it goes live? This is somewhere along the lines of a bank teller accidentally handing you a $100 instead of a $10. It can genuinely happen buuut..yeah, chances are it's not gonna.

And yes, I have actually been a part of such 'under the radar' marketing campaigns. Heck they may have already intended to do a give away (GoG gives away quite a few freebies in general). So how hard is it to spin the free giveaway in such a way to make it sound like 'oops we made a mistake! You totally weren't supposed to get or fabulous product for free. oh My. But you can keep them because we be cool like that'

The first one makes customers a happy. The Second one makes them feel lucky and happ, maybe also a wee bit special.

Same things happened on Origin before. They punished people for it and in some cases removed their games if they came out with it.

So no. No conspiracy theories for me this day.

BigTuk:

elvor0:

BigTuk:
Letting them keep?

Uhm... you know, it's not a matter of 'letting' if you had no meaningful way of stopping them ore removing the game from their library.

Cause you know.. once it;s downloaded there's nothing GoG can do from that point on. I also highly doubt it was a glitch. Look do you have any idea how much back checking and rechecking gets done on POS systems before they go live? It'd take a rather massive database error to cause something like that

This is likely nothing more than a planned publicity stunt. A good one mind you.

They can remove it from their library, it even says so in the article. Sure, once you've downloaded it you've got it, but you wouldn't be able to download it again. I think the main point is they're niether trying nor demanding people lose their games, which they would have every right to do so. I don't think it's a publicity stunt, but they have managed to generate good publicity out of it.

Well it's hard to recognize these things if you don't have a back ground in Public Relations and Marketing. But here's a simple thought experiment. How many points along the chain would have to fail for this 'accident' to happen? That is how many people/depts would have had to utterly fail at their job.

If it's more than one, chances are it's not an accident.

The Web Development, The Database Administration, The Quality Control and the Management would have had to fail for this accident to happen. Seriously do you know how much testing, double-checking and rechecking goes into the implementation of any transaction system or store front before it goes live? This is somewhere along the lines of a bank teller accidentally handing you a $100 instead of a $10. It can genuinely happen buuut..yeah, chances are it's not gonna.

And yes, I have actually been a part of such 'under the radar' marketing campaigns. Heck they may have already intended to do a give away (GoG gives away quite a few freebies in general). So how hard is it to spin the free giveaway in such a way to make it sound like 'oops we made a mistake! You totally weren't supposed to get or fabulous product for free. oh My. But you can keep them because we be cool like that'

The first one makes customers a happy. The Second one makes them feel lucky and happ, maybe also a wee bit special.

Why do you care? Have you never heard the expression "Do not look a gift horse in the mouth." before?

It's also happened during Steam flash sales where discounts get misapplied and the game shows with a negative price, so it is possible. Steam prevents people from acquiring the games for free by automatically disabling the Add To Cart button if this happens.

BigTuk:

Well it's hard to recognize these things if you don't have a back ground in Public Relations and Marketing. But here's a simple thought experiment. How many points along the chain would have to fail for this 'accident' to happen? That is how many people/depts would have had to utterly fail at their job.

If it's more than one, chances are it's not an accident.

The Web Development, The Database Administration, The Quality Control and the Management would have had to fail for this accident to happen. Seriously do you know how much testing, double-checking and rechecking goes into the implementation of any transaction system or store front before it goes live? This is somewhere along the lines of a bank teller accidentally handing you a $100 instead of a $10. It can genuinely happen buuut..yeah, chances are it's not gonna.

And yes, I have actually been a part of such 'under the radar' marketing campaigns. Heck they may have already intended to do a give away (GoG gives away quite a few freebies in general). So how hard is it to spin the free giveaway in such a way to make it sound like 'oops we made a mistake! You totally weren't supposed to get or fabulous product for free. oh My. But you can keep them because we be cool like that'

The first one makes customers a happy. The Second one makes them feel lucky and happ, maybe also a wee bit special.

It sounds like they could have implemented a word-of-mouth marketing campaign for free games in a way that didn't encourage opportunism amongst savvy consumers. Would there be a reason for this kind of act rather than a straight announcement to attract both attention and goodwill?

Malbourne:

It sounds like they could have implemented a word-of-mouth marketing campaign for free games in a way that didn't encourage opportunism amongst savvy consumers. Would there be a reason for this kind of act rather than a straight announcement to attract both attention and goodwill?

Yes, and you just have to look at the posts on this thread to see the difference. It basically garners more goodwill. By giving the customer the feeling that they're benefiting from the store's mistake the customer tends to feel special, lucky, happier.

It's a good trick when done well but still a trick. PR and marketing is not just about the product it's about cultivating a loyal consumer base for your brand. It's the difference betwen telling someone 'Hey take this, it's free' as opposed to telling them 'You're winner!! because <reasons>! Here's your prize!"

GarouxBloodline:

Why do you care? Have you never heard the expression "Do not look a gift horse in the mouth." before?

A horse without teeth isn't much of a gift.

Actually being connected to the PR industry it's a professional thing. It's like how stage magicians observe the tricks of their peers. We break it down, see what's really being done and how what's being done affects the performance. So we can then maybe use it or elements from it in our own tricks.

Nikolaz72:

Same things happened on Origin before. They punished people for it and in some cases removed their games if they came out with it.

So no. No conspiracy theories for me this day.

Well it's easy to pick on Origin but that's typically how a business reacts when something negatively impacts their bottomline. GoG is not reacting that way so they are either bad at business or... this was planned and thusly had no negative effect on their bottom line.

And of course they;re counting that no one will look very hard. After all some people watch a magician's act and go 'Dude, he's totally flying! Awesome!" and accept it at that. Others will look, and consider, look a little closer and see the piano wires.

There is nothing free in this world. EVerything has a cost and a value. When someone loses something and it costs them more than the value of what they received....they are generally very pissed about it. Especially if they run a business because you have less money and you still have the same amount of people to pay aat the end of the month;

When a company gives something away it's always good to think closely. WHat are they getting out of it? Think and analyse it. Not saying you should turn down free stuff... fuck no. But understanding the hidden dynamics of economics, marketing and business will go a long way to being a savy consumer and a better haggler/negotiator.

Seeing the zipper on the rubber suit doesn't stop you from enjoying a cheesy monster movie... in fact it can make it even more enjoyable.

 

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
Register for a free account here