GOG.com (Good Old Games) is a Polish company that specializes in bringing DRM-free games to consumers cheaply in a digital format. A couple of quotes from their site:
Everyone at GOG.com is a gamer, just like you. We’ve combined our real-life love for classic games with the amazing virtual world of the internet to bring some of our favorite games to your PC, with nothing – except maybe our budget – holding us back from conquering the world through gaming.
Don't let your DRMs turn into nightmares (clever, no?). You won't find any intrusive copy protection in our games; we hate draconian DRM schemes just as much as you do, so at GOG.com you don't just buy the game, you actually own it. Once you download a game, you can install it on any PC and re-download it whenever you want, as many times as you need, and you can play it without an internet connection.
Their prices range from $5.99 to $9.99 and they have regular sales that drop their prices from 10% to 50% on select games. I love the site, and have bought several games. But now the problem with digital distribution rears it's ugly head...
I bought TOCA Race Driver 3 and Colin McRae Rally 2005 from them with the full knowledge that Codemasters was removing the titles from the GOG.com store, but had been re-assured that the games would remain downloadable to those that had bought them before the sunset date. Then I get the following e-mail this morning...
Dear GOG.com Customer,
Thank you for purchasing TOCA Race Driver 3 and/or Colin McRae Rally 2005 from GOG.com.
As we announced on GOG.com, TOCA Race Driver 3 and Colin McRae Rally 2005 had to be removed from our games catalogue as per our licensing agreement with Codemasters. Due to some expiring licenses within the games, Codemasters is obliged to withdraw copies of TOCA Race Driver 3 and Colin McRae Rally 2005 from all sales outlets within a certain time period, which includes GOG.com and its servers.
This means that the games won't be available to re-download from your GOG.com account as of August 29th 2009 (TOCA Race Driver 3) and October 29th 2009 (Colin McRae Rally 2005). We know it would be ideal for these games to be available for re-download forever and we're working on this, however we kindly ask you to download the games and back them up on CDs, DVDs or flash drives.
Sorry for any inconvenience this causes.
Would I have bought them if I had known? Probably. I mean, I can still back them up and install them whenever. But one of the reasons I bought into this whole digital distribution thing was the idea that I didn't *have* to keep backups- that I could just re-download ithe games whenever and/or wherever. This feels like a great big change in the digital download arena... and to a certain extent I feel... betrayed. I know it's not GOG.com's fault... and at least they aren't taking the kindle approach and deleting something after the fact. But still, it's a change from what I expected, and those expectations were not my own, but expectations that were fostered by ALL of the digital download sites. And what about the ones with DRM? If I had bought either of these two games from Steam... where would I be now?
It seems like a slippery slope... I thought the games industry had at least learned a bit from the fiascos of their brethren in the recording and movie industry... but maybe not...