Out of all the digital PC game retailers that offer alternatives to Steam, in my opinion, GOG.com (Good Old Games) is easily at the top of the pack. They were able to find a niche that Steam does not particularly cater towards (older games that may be difficult to get working on current machines) and they’ve capitalized on that opportunity very well. For those unaware, GOG.com is a digital PC game retailer that focuses primarily on upgrading older games to run on current machines by selling completely DRM-free digital copies. Note – they simply get them to run on current machines in their original state, not graphics overhauls or big-time upgrades.
The catch here is that, unlike a lot of places, GOG.com really is DRM-free in every sense of the term. Once you buy that game, you get the installer on your PC, digital wallpapers, digital manual, and often many other goodies like soundtracks and game guides. You are free to transfer the game to any and all computers you own and freely use it as you wish. It’s quite a liberating notion and is paying off very well for them. Their games are surprisingly cheap and their sales are on the same level as Steam’s – their business model built on trust and respect is working so far. Here are the actual words from their announcement:
So, you bought a game on GOG.com and you’ve run into some trouble launching and playing it on your system, despite the fact it meets the specs we’ve put on the game’s catalog page?… If such a rare event should occur, we’ll give you your money back. Simple as that. If you buy a game on GOG.com and find that it doesn’t work properly on your system, and our support cannot fix the problem, you get a full refund. It’s a worldwide guarantee, and you have whole 30 days after the purchase date, to contact us about the refund.
There’s even more! If you bought a game by mistake, or simply changed your mind about a purchase, you can get a full refund within 14 days, as long as the game wasn’t downloaded. If in any doubt about our refund policies, please consult our FAQ.
We hope our Worldwide Money Back Guarantee will make you feel secure while you expand your DRM-free catalog on GOG.com. Having that said, we’re confident that our titles won’t give you any trouble in 99.9% cases!
Even though this policy is introduced today, its effect goes back 30 days. If you bought a game within the last 30 days and have any of the trouble described here, contact us! We have you covered.
All this means is that GOG.com will remove access to download the game again from their account and give the player their money back. If you understand what DRM-free means, then you see the potential problem. Theoretically, buyers could download the game, claim it does not work, get their money back and still have a working DRM-free copy. Alternatively, if it actually doesn’t work, they could still get their money back then just install it on a different computer.
Hopefully GOG.com is placing its trust wisely and they have systems in place to verify actions like this, but I fear that it may not be the case. The honor code is in full effect now; hopefully they don’t get taken advantage of in this situation as it’s a good step forward for digital game downloads. Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below – is this a good or bad move?
Source: New GOG.com Policy Statement