The classic game digital store GOG.com is launching the rerelease of their website today along with some new titles for sale, among them the original Baldur’s Gate. There’s been alot of controversy going around the gaming community about their choice of marketing tactics, that being the faked death.
The problem with a complete shutdown of the old site with no warning is that most digital distribution services come with an implicit promise that you can redownload the software you buy from them repeatedly whenever you need to reinstall for whatever reason. By eschewing the traditional box and disk they save on the cost of printed materials and can offer games released with dos-box optimized settings that will run on modern gaming hardware. It’s a service that is sorely needed, as many classic games after their useful life become abandonware or if the company chooses to fight online distribution a severely overpriced collectors item. A service that can sell and support those classic games that are not abandoned makes them available to a new generation of gamers who didn’t grow up with Baldur’s Gate, Kings Quest or Masters of Orion.
Using a complete shutdown of your well supported and by all accounts thriving website to generate ‘buzz’ is a clear betrayal of the trust people placed in GOG.com, and it’s no surprise that it left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. It’s my opinion though that it was an honest mistake by them, and if anything it will have taught them that when/if the service actually does go out people will expect plenty of notice and next time will probably get it. What they’re doing by bringing back these classic titles is a necessary service for game publishers and the community, and it’s one made possible by digital distribution and the internet. Give them the benefit of learning from their mistakes I say, in the past they’ve been the go to website for classic game downloads with tons of extra material, support and service. It’s a service worthy of your trust, and I’m going to continue to be a customer.