Friday 29 June 2012

GOG - Critical Review


A wonderful site for purchasing games. GOG (formerly Good Old Games) is a group that has so much to offer in comparison to other many online stores.

They provide any game bought as DRM-free, so you're not limited once you buy a game. It's yours and you can do anything with it – download, reinstall, back it up, or what ever else you want. All your purchases are saved on your account (which takes a few minutes to set up) so you can access them anywhere as long as you have some internet connection; hopefully that will become universal and never be an issue! Though I understand housing and food comes first. The convenience of access along with the hassle free downloads make buying from GOG easy.

The best part is their strategy of bribery. GOG throws stuff at you, instead of taking the normal method of appealing to the customers by hyping something up. Often companies will provide something, then forget about it. By this I mean, most companies will provide a product, and once they have milked that product to the point that no more money can be taken, they move on to something else. Where as GOG decides to go the opposite path. GOG decides to go for a more customer satisfied method. Giving quality games away with enough content for each dollar to attract thousands with their fancy deals. It's a long term vs a short term focus on the customers. Take a company like CAPCOM, who decided to release Street Fighter X Tekken, then take the popularity from that, and make people buy more after they had already purchased the game through DLC (downloadable content) to get the full experience. The point behind that is they know they have a fan base so once they hook people into buying the game, they can just saying, "Oh we've got ourselves another character" to reel in more money. After buying a game, if the person you bought it from keeps asking for more and more money, it doesn't seem as if you're actually being treated with any respect. It's almost as if you're in debt, a striking similarity between the mafia and developers (a good example would be Zynga [responsible for the infamous Mafia Wars on Facebook]). GOG provides quality games, but doesn't stop there. They make sure to look and track down any extra goodies you might be interested in. This includes manuals (613 as of June 28th 2012 along with the rest of these numbers), soundtracks (568), custom avatars (1320), game guides (171), high resolution wallpapers (734), artworks (4989 pieces of concept art, renders, and others), videos (207 trailers, making of videos, and others), and a lot more. They provide a great product packed with all you could want and try to satisfy you on purchase with their bundles. Providing a quality fully finished product, that has something to offer forever, will keep the customers coming. Something that continues to get customers or manipulating them for as long as possible, what's the better business decision. Most importantly from a business stand point is that the short term method will cause upset among the customers and damage reputation. GOG continues to improve it's own reputation with this service and casts the bigger companies in it's ever growing shadow. As of today this is a quote from their website which should only become more impressive as time goes on.
Did you know? We have bundled over 40.8GB of bonus content FREE with games 

Now in terms of games, you might be wondering, how much better is GOG than the 60 dollar average price we see in stores? Well the prices are in the range of a bag of chips to a decent resturant meal. As a translation this means that games can go from 3 bucks to 30. I've only seen one game that comes close to a regular store price and that's the games made by CD Projekt themselves (the game developers who run GOG). Though as mentioned before the content recieved will be in a much higher quanitity than from a regular store. A great feature they possess is a weekly sale special. Useually at a rate of 50% or higher off the regular prices. For games that often cost about 6 dollars, its really no more than the price of a snack.

The reason for these low prices on the other hand may dissapoint some arogant gamers but for those who aren't hell bent on getting the best graphics, GOG has games you won't find anwhere else (mostly). They do at times release games that have just been released on their site but it seems to be only indie games, things that need more attention anyways. The main focus of GOG is to rerelease older games, hence the name: Good Old Games. They try (and do a damn good job) to remaster games which can't be found in stores anymore or are to old to run on your computer anymore. They bring back the nastalgic moments of your favourite classics, and let you experience the great works of art that have been forgoten. There is a mountain of old soundtracks, effects, and writting, which all play a role in the works of art we call video games. It is a shame to think that so many great songs will not be heard and so many adventures will not get to be explored all due to time passing by. GOG trys to remidy that issue. Allowing the users to purchase super cheap copies of old school classics like Deus Ex and some you've probably never heard of. They make sure that these remastered version are completely compatable for the latest version of Windows. Sadly for Linux users, we have to deal with that, but I'm sure your all used to that and know your ways around it. Mac users will have to do their best to work around that blockade as well. The fact they make these games so functional, is reason enough to be happy with the Windows realease, and letting them continue to provided quality games every week (that's right, a new game every week, minimum). No one else really provides this kind of content, other than retro video game stores, but even than not often for PC's. Without any compatition they still strive to provide the best service possible for something so rare.

One could claim the site has flase and needs to fix certain aspects, or that it's missing something, but GOG knows this and welcomes feedback. Unlike some sites (which do a decent and admerable effort) to get specific information about things they want to focus on, GOG lets the users identfy any problems or issues they find need the most attention. Using a voting system, GOG users can submit an issue they have found just as you would do with many other services though the difference is it then made public. If other users around the site look and see that the compliant/ comment you made correspondes with the same thoughts sturing up in their minds, they can give it a vote. The more votes something gets the higher the chance it will be seen by those who run the site. The higher the number of votes a submition has the closer it gets to the top of the list. As a result the users decide what features get added and fixed. This essentiually means the improvments people want get done. Along side this feature for voting on website changes, they offer the same system for new games. They allow the users to submit classic games people want to be able to play again. As before, if your choice is popular enough and gets enough attention then the focus will turn to that desired game. Make suggestions and support the quality ones. The community matters.

Just to bribe you even more, once you sign up with GOG they give you freegames as well. Nine games to be exact. This including Beneatha Steel Sky and UltimaIV, so there is an incentive to try GOG out. If you decided to buy agame, or even just wanted to install a free-bee, then you may do sowithout any concern, because GOG offers tech-support. A popular feature they don't have is a questionnaire (thankfully), to get all your information. Some sites will ask for your information and than only store it for their use (often in the fine print they say it will be distributed to other companies). GOG instead just doesn't keep that information and really doesn't request much. They let you pay and then the information swap is done. No billing address, it's online after all. GOG does these things to simply make the features of their website as friendly and appealing as possible. It's an environment that is quite easy to enjoy.

With all of that convenience, free content alongside the quality content you pay for at such great prices, the rare experience, and products you can achieve from GOG is something to appreciate. A company that cares about the customers and allows them to be in direct relation to how it grows, while games continue to bring back memories or install knew ones that could have so easily never existed. 
They also have a Youtube channel for trailers of upcoming games.

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