For many PC gamers, GOG.com (formerly known as Good Old Games) is a game distribution platform that acts as a major rival to other distributors such as Steam and Epic Games Store. For many years, GOG built up a reputation for itself as a distributor of older games with a particular interest in restoring titles that are difficult to access and then making them available again. However, GOG sells lots of new games and it recently got involved in controversies by selling Hitman: Game of the Year.
In addition to its interest in older games, GOG has an obligation to sell games without digital rights management (DRM). GOG users who purchased Hitman: GOTY Edition found its online requirements made the game include DRM, so sell Hitman flew in the light of a main principle on which GOG is built. It resulted in a valuable reminder to GOG that its users take its anti-DRM stance seriously, and these users are not afraid to express their dissatisfaction if it ever shows up on the service. Now, Hitman: GOTY Edition has an uncertain future at GOG.
GOG and Hitman Backlash
For those unfamiliar with the concept of DRM, it is a system of tools that digital content distributors sometimes use to verify that players have the right license for their products. E.g, Diablo 3 requires permanent internet connection to play, which is a form of DRM that allows Blizzard to approve players’ copies each time they play. GOG opposes practices such as these, meaning players should own their games when purchasing them instead of having to connect to the Internet or log in to an account to play.
This is where GOG sales issues came into play Hitman: GOTY Edition. Although technically fans could play Hitman title without access to the Internet, large parts of the game are inaccessible without going online, from a variety of missions to a long list of weapons and clothing. Hitman: GOTY Edition had a form of always online DRM built-in, even if it did not completely lock players out, so GOG users quickly became angry that it was available via a service that was famously against DRM. Users expressed their frustration by undergoing bombings Hitman GOTY Edition on GOG.
Fortunately for these users, GOG was listening. It pulled Hitman: GOTY Edition from the store and issued an apology stating Hitman should never have been available with these Internet requirements intact. In addition, GOG told fans that it communicates with IO Interactive, Hitman‘s developer, which may indicate plans to install a DRM-free version of Hitman: GOTY Edition on GOG. For now is Hitman title is not available on this service and it is impossible to say when it might return, if at all.
GOG’s commitment is doing well
GOGs Hitman slip-up is embarrassing for that, but the storefront has handled the controversy with grace. When users expressed their distress, it responded in accordance with its principles, suggesting that this was a mistake rather than an intentional compromise. As long as it is vigilant and does not like anything else Hitman: GOTY Edition sliding through the cracks, its image as an anti-DRM stronghold should remain intact. As for Hitman fans who prefer GOG as their favorite distributor, hopefully its conversation with IO Interactive goes somewhere. Good luck there will be a non-DRM version of Hitman: GOTY Edition on GOG before long, giving fans a version they were hoping for.
Hitman: Game of the Year is available now on PC, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One.
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