Is anyone else worried about GOG?

Yesterday a story popped up in my news feed from Kotaku, saying that due to financial pressures GOG is laying off at least a dozen people. It sounds like they are trying to be respectful about it so its not a scandal or anything. Just business.

Here’s the article:

Then today I get an e-mail from GOG that says that they are getting rid of the Fair Price Program due to financial pressures. The FPP didn’t impact me directly, but that’s two things in 24 hours that GOG is getting rid of because of financial problems.

You can read about the FPP cancellation here:

I’m not saying that GOG will just disappear. That seems unlikely just because GOG (and CD Projekt Red) is not a small company anymore. But with half my digital collection of games on GOG (with the rest being on Steam) there is always some slight nervousness about the platform.

So could this just be a normal fluctuation that happens with any larger company, where they shrink and grow as the market changes? Or could this be a sign of deeper problems for GOG? I am surprised sometimes that they still survive on the same planet as the ubiquitous Steam. It made more sense when GOG actually was about good old games, but now they are trying to compete with Steam on Steam’s terms. I wonder at the long-term viability of a platform like GOG unless they go back to marketing to a specific group of people in a specific way. At the same time, there are a few new (and admittedly weird and self-serving) digital distribution platforms popping up lately. Origin is a heinous example, and the Epic Games store is a potentially interesting one. Does that mean that there will always be a place for Steam competitors like GOG, especially if GOG can offer unique experiences, features, or titles to make it stand out?

What do you think?

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That is troublesome. Jason Schreier knows what he’s talking about normally, so this story has a lot of credibility in my book.

It’s surprising they would be struggling financially. I don’t know how much intermingling of the finances that CD Projekt Red does with their development side and the GOG stuff, but maybe Cyberpunk is just costing a ton of money? Maybe this is just ignorance on my part, but I would have thought GOG would be making a pretty good chunk of change even if they are only a fraction of the size of Steam. I would assume they take the normal 20-30% cut of sales that Steam does. Maybe all the big sales they run cuts into that, but 20-30% is a pretty good margin for the most part. Maybe they’re just over staffed.

All that being said, I’m not too worried about losing my game collection from them. I don’t think they’re going under anytime soon.

A dozen people doesn’t seem like that many, especially with so many positions open. And you can always download your games before they would go belly up.

I was also wondering if it might be the development cost of Cyberpunk. I’m not sure how thin the lines are financially between the different parts of the company, if high development costs on the game dev. side would suck some money out of the GOG budget. As far as how much money GOG actually makes, I also have no idea. It used to be a more niche platform, so it probably had some loyal fans but not as much cash flow. And even now a lot of mainstream gamers don’t know about GOG or would check Steam first for a game, because GOG just has less market reach. I’m not sure how that translates into zloty though.

For anyone curious the noclip documentary about GOG talked all about when GOG was a niche platform and why it was made in the first place:

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I was thinking that I could download/upload my games to DropBox if I needed to. Backing up a TB of game files is going to be a hassle though.

I really appreciated a store that focused on being DRM free, both for its ability to let me take care of my collection regardless of a third party, and for its commitment to making sure that classic games remain around for people to purchase and enjoy in a legal manner.

But at the same time, the community and social features of Steam are such a big draw. They’ve added lots of features, like achievements, auto-updating, controller support, and more, but I’ve spent years developing a friends list on Steam, and that’s where all my achievements and other stuff is.

I am a little concerned that they’re struggling, but at the same time, cutting the fair price guarantee is probably more about matching the new, more generous revenue splits with developers/publishers from new stores than them feeling a significant squeeze. As someone who thinks that many people undervalue their own consumer rights and freedom to enjoy purchases in the way I choose, GoG is an important player. I hope that they’re doing ok, and this is just a way for them to make sure they can handle this transition more comfortably.

This was posted under the news of the closure of the ffp program:

“First of all, thank you for your support. This was not an easy decision to discontinue the FPP program and we’re grateful to you for understanding the reasons behind it. We see that quite a few of you raised concerns about GOG’s future. As a part of publicly traded company, we can’t comment on any financial results until they are officially reported, but we want to ensure you everything is good with GOG. Being part of a big gaming company, some reports - especially some given by significant media outlets - can often sound much scarier than reality.
You’ve been also concerned about your access to the games you’ve purchased on GOG. We’ve covered this topic years ago and it’s been in our User Agreement for a long time (please check the section 17.3). This is not only a legal obligation to you but a core part of our ethics as a company.
But don’t worry, all is good, and we have a great plan for the future of GOG. We can’t wait for you to see some of the exciting things we have coming very soon.”