GOG talks about game streaming, and the reluctance of big publishers in embracing the DRM-free movement
GOG, the purveyors of classic and DRM games, have labelled game streaming "just another layer of DRM".
In a wide ranging interview with GameIndustry.biz, GOG's head of global communication Lukasz Kukawski distanced the digital games store from the hype surrounding game streaming, suggesting that GOG's customers prefer to download and own games instead.
"We don't see it as a thing that will take over games distribution," Kukawski says in relation to game streaming. "Our stance in digital distribution is to own the games because they are DRM free, and for many gamers this is very important. With streaming, there's another layer to it. You already have games with DRM, so it's more like licensing games than owning them. And streaming is more like renting a game, so it's another layer to this ongoing discussion."
Kukawski further believes that hardcore gamers would want to own their games and would not want to compromises such as the delay for streamed games.
Furthermore, Kukawski says GOG isn't worried that a streaming platform operated by a game publisher directly, and offering access to classic games on a subscription basis, would pose a threat to GOG's business model.
"I don't see it as a threat on that side, at least at the moment," said Kukawski. "When we talk to publishers or to rights owners about some old games they have, in many cases they either don't know they own the rights for a game, or they just probably don't care about it. Like, 'We have it but we don't see it as something we can monetize or we don't have the time and resources to do it.'"
In other words, big game publishers are just not interested in monetizing classic games in their inventory, preferring to focus on AAA titles.
As for the noble task of convincing the rest of the game industry that DRM-free is the way to go, Kukawski says that while indie publishers are open to the idea, big publishers are still staying away, despite GOG's own success with its Witcher 3 game, which was published DRM free.
"We're trying of course to convert them as much as possible, for example bringing up the example of Witcher 3, which launched on GOG day one [DRM free] and nothing happened. The world didn't end. The game is selling extremely well even nowadays. It's not like the DRM-free version killed the sales for the game. And we see that gamers appreciate this approach, and more and more publishers are open to at least talking to us and seeing what the concept is behind us doing it, and why it's worth it for them to do it. It's a more open discussion. It's an ongoing process, but we see definitely that publishers are more open to the concept," said Kukawski.