GOG.com announced its plan to introduce regional pricing on both new and classic games. This, of course made a lot of GOG’s customers unhappy and some already started avoiding the website.
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Good old games were available through GOG.com for years and all titles were DRM-free. Last Friday an announcement was published, stating that 3 new games coming up on GOG.com will have regional pricing. This was followed but over 3,500 comments from users and most of them were criticising the decision. The managing director went on to explain the decision today and while it was supposed to be a good news, some worrying issues were revealed.
“First of all, you have to be aware of an important fact when it comes to newer games: GOG.com cannot really decide what the prices should be. Top-tier developers and publishers usually have contractual obligations with their retail partners that oblige them to offer the game at the same price digitally and in retail. When they don’t have such contractual obligations, they are still encouraged to do so, or else their games might not get any exposure on the shelves in your favorite shops. This will change over time (as digital sales should overtake retail sales in the near future), but as of today, this is still a problem our industry is facing because retail is a big chunk of revenue and there’s nothing GOG.com can do to change that. We need to charge the recommended retail price for the boxed copies of the games in order for developers (or publishers) to either not get sued or at least get their games visible on shelves. You may recall that our sister company CD Projekt RED got sued for that in the past and we don’t want our partners to suffer from that too.” Wrote the MD on GOG’s site. We can understand the regional pricing on new games as it’s up to developers and publishers to decide on that matter.
Now, onto the classic games where GOG basically decides the pricing. What is the reason behind the decision to change that system now?
“So let's talk about the pricing for classics that we're shooting for. For $5.99 classics, we would like to make the games 3.49 GBP, 4.49 EUR, 199 RUB, and $6.49 AUD. For $9.99 classics, our targets are 5.99 GBP, 7.49 EUR, 349 RUB, and $10.99 AUD. This is what we’ve got in mind at the moment. We’ll do our best to make that happen, and we think it will. How? Well, we have made our partners quite happy with GOG.com's sales for years - thanks to you guys :). We have created a global, legal, successful digital distribution market of classics for them. This market didn't exist 5 years ago. By (re)making all those games compatible with modern operating systems for MAC and PC, we've made forgotten games profitable again. When it comes to classic games, we can tell them that we know more about this market than anyone. :) Being retrogaming freaks ourselves, we know that 5.99 EUR or GBP is crazy expensive for a classic game (compared to 5.99 USD). We have always argued that classic games only sell well if they have reasonable prices. Unfair regional pricing equals piracy and that’s the last thing anybody wants.”
As most users said on their forums, this is not fair pricing. Why does someone have to pay more for the same product just because they live in Europe or Australia? Well, GOG.com gave an explanation and stated that taxes are a major reason for this decision. Although the US has taxes, so it is still unclear why this move all of a sudden.
Meanwhile, users are commenting every few seconds and most are saying they will abandon GOG.com due to the unfair policy of regional pricing. Have a look at GOG’s statement and the comments related to it. You can find some drama there, though most users are trying to say why they think this is not needed.
Dolores is SEO and Digital Marketing consultant who has been completely hog-washed into doing this site by KC.