"The whole industry knows DRM is just smoke and mirrors"
August 28, 2014 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Online game retailer GOG--which started (as Good Old Games) with a focus on updating classics to run on modern computers, then branched into offering newer games DRM-free--has announced that they will start selling movies under their DRM-free model.

Major studios have been leery of embracing this model after years of fighting for DRM, but GOG has a history of accomplishing the seemingly impossible. Meanwhile, speculation swirls that Steam may also be looking to expand into non-video game media.

As part of the launch, GOG is offering two movies--the unwieldily-titled TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard (which was released last year under a Creative Commons license) and The Art Of Playing, a short-form doc produced by Austin's PBS affiliate.
posted by kagredon (13 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
They could probably do well for themselves if they worked out a deal with PBS, or even one of the big PBS studios that produce the underlying content (WGBH is a huge one). There's not a ton of PBS content online, surprisingly to me. But that could be less because they're uncomfortable with Netflix et al, and more because they're leery of anything that will upset the traditional local-affiliate distribution model, so perhaps that's an unlikely pairing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:48 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Related: The True Purpose of DRM
mp3/youtube link, ~1 hour discussion on how DRM is not about piracy, but rather consumer control
posted by LiteS at 11:14 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Steam has enough penetration on the right devices to be an almost instantly credible Netflix, Amazon Prime or iTunes competitor, if they want to be.
posted by bonehead at 11:18 AM on August 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

That's great! Whoohoo!
posted by oceanjesse at 11:19 AM on August 28, 2014

Great news. I will never buy anything that has DRM. I hope more industries come around to this.
posted by Alex404 at 11:26 AM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Could you imagine buying a film (or a license for a film) and getting an update when new resolutions/formats become available? Could be a great thing. I've always found it ridiculous that when I buy a film on VHS (for example), I don't get a discount or contribution to re-buying it on DVD or Blu-ray.

The easy solution, as always, was bittorrent. GOG's been great with gaming (always surprised to check back in there and find Mac versions of PC-only games I'd bought from them previously) - this can only be a good thing.
posted by davemee at 11:27 AM on August 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

GOG seems like an awesome company. I've bought a bunch of classic games from them that they'd patched to work on modern hardware and they ran perfectly.
posted by octothorpe at 11:29 AM on August 28, 2014

YES. I support GOG heavily as a game dev, and encourage everyone I work with to consider it as a release platform instead of (or in addition to) Steam. Usually it's in addition to, since the potential revenue from Steam is massive, but at least making it an option to get your stuff out there DRM-free is amazing. I'm proud to say Shovel Knight is doing well on GOG, and it wasn't even my idea, they're just awesome like that.

Also, as someone who works with hundreds of audio plugins and virtual instruments, DRM is a freaking nightmarish inconvenience that SEVERELY impacts my daily work. Managing dongles and updates with challenge-response authorizations takes a huge chunk of my time (and sometimes impacts deadlines) and almost all of my legit software can be found cracked with a 30-second search. I know several composers who pay for a legit license and don't even open the box, but simply use a cracked version, bypassing all the bullshit. It horrifies me that this is a thing people need to do just to get their jobs done.
posted by jake at 12:05 PM on August 28, 2014 [11 favorites]

I am a remorseless pirate of films and television shows and music but not, for some reason, games. I can't remember the last time I didn't pay for a game, and I think it has a lot to do with how gosh-darned easy GOG and, to a far lesser extent, Steam, make it. (Actually, Steam is a horrible mess, and slow, and painful to use, and I wouldn't ever risk buying a Greenlight game through there after getting burned so badly on Towns.)

I'd also buy every single Humble Bundle that was ever released if they had some animal charities available on their sliding scale.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:58 PM on August 28, 2014

I've heard it say that when you have memories of someone, you don't always remember what was said, but you almost always remember how you felt about that person.

GOG just makes me feel good all the time. And that is a pretty awesome thing to build a good product on.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:50 PM on August 28, 2014 [6 favorites]

I've always found it ridiculous that when I buy a film on VHS (for example), I don't get a discount or contribution to re-buying it on DVD or Blu-ray.

Have you heard of Vudu Disc to Digital?

I've tried it for a couple of DVD titles I bought many years ago. For just a couple of dollars I now have streamable digital versions. Kinda mind-blowing, but it just works.
posted by General Tonic at 7:55 PM on August 28, 2014

I used to be skeptical when I read in piracy threads people would pay for DRM free content if it was easily available. I mean, come on, torrents are free.
But GOG has changed my mind. I've bought a bunch of games from them that are readily available as torrents, but I can get a legit copy, that will work, with reviews and ratings and that won't break when some auth server goes off line or whatever.

So I hope this new venture does just as well. My kids get really angry waiting through all the anti-piracy and forced menu bull shit on legit DVDs when they can get torrent which just plays the damn movie right away.
I'd love to have the same convenience for movies with some quality control on releases, readily available codecs, subtitles etc.
posted by bystander at 1:51 AM on August 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Joining the chorus here, but I also have nothing but good things to say about GOG: reasonably priced, does what it says on the tin, never had anything but a smooth, flawless experience.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:51 AM on August 29, 2014

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