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GOG Drops IP-Based Location Check

| 10 May 2011 17:55
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GOG has announced that it will no longer use IPs to determine the location of its customers because it trusts them to correctly report their location and thereby comply with the censorship laws of their country and/or region.

A lot of online services use IP addresses to determine an individual's location, which ensures that people in one part of the world cannot purchase content that would be inappropriate for them from a different, perhaps more liberal-leaning part of the world. But it's an imperfect system, fraught with flaws, and so GOG has decided to drop it and go with locational self-reporting instead.

"GOG.com has always been about trusting the user," said GOG.com Managing Director Guillaume Rambourg. "We've come to the conclusion that there are a number of issues with using a customer's IP address to determine what offer they are being presented with from GOG.com. A good number of users can find themselves negatively impacted by a policy of using geo-IP to set their region."

"For example, customers may be traveling when they want to purchase or download a game from GOG.com. In this case, automatic IP address capture might change the price or the content of the game they're ordering (such as the default language of the installer)," he continued. "Further, geo-IP data collection is not always right. IP addresses are not a perfect or unique identifier of location, and can report the incorrect region of users, particularly ones who are not using standard Internet connections. Finally, we're always very sensitive of our users' privacy. Effective privacy protections for our users means that any data that we don't need to collect, we shouldn't."

GOG explained that users who are having difficulty with the site's offerings due to incorrect location reporting can make necessary changes and updates by going to "My Account" and selecting "Account and Settings." "We only need to know the country that you're making this purchase from, so although we originally planned to use geo-IP to determine user's location, we've decided to trust our users and let them inform us as to the correct region for their purchase," added Rambourg.

As Rock, Paper, Shotgun noted, the change has nothing whatsoever to do with the recent news that The Witcher 2 will be censored and significantly more expensive for gamers in Australia than for those who live in other parts of the world.

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