GOG.com views piracy, not Steam, as its competitor

By Brenna Hillier, Sunday, 23 October 2011 23:03 GMT

Digital distribution service Good Old Games doesn’t look on other businesses as competitors in the war for PC gamers’ dollars.

“Our main competition has always been piracy not other digital platforms,” managing director Guillaume Rambourg told MCV.

“Despite being aimed at a niche audience, GOG.com has become the second most popular digital distribution platform for gamers. Steam is obviously competing in another league here, both in terms of scale and target market. Still, our niche is comfortable and shields us from the competition, which allows us to keep on cultivating our singularity and propose a pleasant alternative to gamers.”

Not competing with Valve;s juggernaut doesn’t mean GOG.com has it easy, but the strategies it has adopted to combat piracy seem to work.

“To beat piracy, our offer to gamers had to be both hassle-free and rewarding. If you make the overall experience more troublesome than downloading and playing an illegal copy, then all you can achieve is encouraging users to give piracy a try,” the executive commented.

“Adding technical constraints on such products would only encourage piracy and that’s why we decided to do exactly the opposite. We reward users by providing them with a fair pricing policy worldwide, tons of free goodies, and by solving their technical problems, rather than sending them back to the rights holders.

“Let’s be honest: it is very easy for any gamer to pirate a PC game these days, so the last thing we want to do is to impact loyal gamers. These people should be rewarded for buying PC products in 2011 and beyond, and spread the good message out there.”

Rambourg said that GOG has been successful wooing publishers to its cause because it turns “invisible losses into visible profits”. Rather than squandering time and resources in legal pursuit of “pirates”, publishers can trust GOG to establish trusting relationships with “abandonware” sites turned genuine business affiliates.

“When we sign a title and make it legally available, those websites remove it from their catalogue and instead direct traffic to GOG.com to help us make the back-catalogue segment a viable and clean digital market.”

Good Old Games resurrects classic PC games which are no longer available at retail, making them compatible with current Windows operating systems and offering them at low cost without DRM.

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Guillaume Rambourg