The GOG.COM story began in Poland, 1994 – a time and place where bootlegging reigned supreme and legal games were a luxury that few could afford. These were the early days of CD PROJEKT – back then specializing in local retail distribution, but the job wasn't easy. After all, how do you compete with the grey market?
Our answer was to offer value that gamers were already used to and then some: beloved games in big beautiful boxes packed with goodies, professional localization, and prices that are simply reasonable. And it worked!
This was the defining moment that would inspire the very soul of GOG.COM years later: the belief that gamers want to support devs, they appreciate respect, and just love it when games are affordable.
Fourteen years have passed. It's the infancy of digital distribution. Computer hardware and games are making strides at a dizzying pace – more pixels and more fancy effects demand more processing power with each new day. Yesterday's news is old news, and all eyes are on the next big thing.
So what about all the games we've poured our love into in the past – games like Fallout, Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment – should we just forget and leave those behind?
These days, getting your hands on a classic legally means overpriced second-hand copies or shady abandonware. Assuming you don't get scammed and the games still work.
And so out of ardor, nostalgia, and sort of out of necessity, Good Old Games is born. A perfect reflection of the past, starting with the games right down to the very soul.
Good Old Games launches in open beta as a legal way to support classics at affordable prices. No longer abandoned, all games would come with tech support and sorcery to get them running on modern PCs. Every game stuffed with goodies and bonus content that tickles our inner collectors. Everything would be DRM-free – it's only fair after all, and it captures that feeling of ownership on your digital shelf.
The past year has been a reminder that good old games will always have a place on gamers' digital shelves. As GOG.COM turns one year old, the first major publisher joins the DRM-free store. Classics like Beyond Good and Evil, Heroes of Might and Magic, and Rainbow Six are returning with support from Ubisoft!
This is serious progress. It means that our ideas are being recognised by the biggest players in the industry: classic games will always be in demand, fans really care about preserving gaming heritage, and gamers actually appreciate DRM-freedom.
Ubisoft is the first of many, paving way for treasures like Gabriel Knight, Dungeon Keeper, Alpha Centauri, STAR WARS TIE Fighter, and many more.
Good Old Games is turning two and have we got news for you! Most of the website has been rewritten, we're ready to leave the BETA tag behind, and it's time to unveil some of the biggest, most sought-after classics in gaming history: Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, and Planescape: Torment.
We've always listened to what our community wants to revisit the most, and these three Hasbro classics topped our community wishlist from the very start. A decade has passed, and the RPGs that inspired a generation of gamers and developers would finally be playable again!
But first things first, exiting beta will take significant downtime. And that's just too plain and boring, these games deserve better. So instead we'll announce that Good Old Games is being forced to shut down – that'll get everyone's attention. We still feel bad about that, by the way.
A few days later Good Old Games officially emerges from BETA. The forums are open for business, there's a host of new website features, and the world can finally return to Baldur's Gate – the biggest comeback story in the history of video game comeback stories thus far.
By now we've established that gamers want to support DRM-free gaming. But can a mainstream AAA game succeed without DRM?
Produced by our sister company CD PROJEKT RED, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings will put that to the test. If the first day one AAA release on GOG.COM can succeed it'll shape the future of our platform for years to come.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings would sell really well on GOG.COM, second only to Steam and significantly more successful than all other digital platforms.
That alone is proof enough. With the indie renaissance in full swing and prolific (for better or worse), it's the perfect time to bring the DRM-free revolution to indie gaming. By focusing on a selection of handpicked games we can pour all our efforts into supporting independent developers: help them get noticed and offer years of industry experience while providing in-house tech support for games on PC, Mac OS, and eventually Linux.
With that, Good Old Games no longer seems fitting. We're simply GOG.COM now, and we're crawling through the mysterious Legend of Grimrock, mulling over Machinarium's mysteries, trying to take on Trine and foraging for food in Don't Starve. We're following all protocol in Papers, Please, noping right out of Amnesia, hacking all the things in Shadowrun Returns, and… well, you get the picture.
As more and more independent developers grow eager to give DRM-free a shot, their games grow up as well – indies are getting bigger, updates more frequent, and online features become commonplace even in single-player games. Slowly but surely, the old way of doing things is not always enough.
Development starts on the GOG Galaxy SDK – a set of tools designed to help developers support the full range of modern features, and provide frequent updates, in GOG.COM releases.
There's something here for gamers too: the GOG Galaxy client, which brings DRM-free ideology into a modern, connected era.
By the end of BETA, the GOG Galaxy client and SDK support the full range of true cross-platform multiplayer, cloud saves, auto-updates, achievements, user profiles and more.
The client itself, and its individual features, will remain optional while enabling us to support AAA titans like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, as well as the joys of online co-op in Divinity: Original Sin, Dying Light, or Shadow Warrior 2.
Shortly after The Witcher 3's release, the unassuming minigame, Gwent, had gained a huge fan following! Fan-made browser-based recreations started popping up, but everyone was eager for a standalone version of the card game.
Combining the talents of CD PROJEKT RED in making extraordinary games and GOG.COM’s foray into online experiences, we set out to create GWENT: The Witcher Card Game – our first shot at co-developing a game from the ground up. Three years of work on the GOG Galaxy client and SDK prepared us for the next big adventure.
That's not to say we got distracted from all the important things. 2017 alone accounts for nearly one fourth of the entire GOG.COM catalog, a plentiful and creative year indeed. A year of stunning day one releases such as Divinity: Original Sin 2, Cuphead, Night in the Woods, Hollow Knight or Thimbleweed Park, and long-gone classics like Jazz Jackrabbit and SWAT 4.
From a classic PC game store to a digital distribution platform – today GOG.COM is the DRM-free place for decades worth of hand-picked games ranging from classics and indies to big day one releases.
Our 10th Anniversary is a chance to step back, understand what works, and recognize the things we can do better.
We’re introducing a brand new front page, an overhaul of how you'll browse our catalog and decide what's worth playing. Our goal is to improve the way you search for the next game you'll be playing, while the revamped review system will give you better insight into what others are thinking.
We can also pretty safely say that the GOG.COM catalog will keep getting bigger and finer. Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales is coming very soon and you can expect a single-player RPG with tons of story, quests, and old-school vibes – just the way we like it.
As for what’s next – there's plenty more to say about our vision for the GOG.COM store and the GOG Galaxy platform: a new understanding of how the two complement each other, and where it makes sense to diverge and improve without compromise. We're excited about the future and we can't wait to talk about it with you all.
But now it's time for all of us to celebrate the decade-long journey. Thank you for your endless support and pushing us to be better. Enjoy the new games and gifts while we raise a toast to the past and all that is ahead!