Impulse isn’t inspiring much writing from me at the moment (executive summary: Steam without residency), but CD Projekt’s freshly-announced Good Old Games is another story. Shacknews has the details:
Located at GOG.com and slated to launch in September, the online store will sell DRM-free digital downloads of old-school PC games at $5.99 or $9.99 a pop. A closed public beta will go live on August 1, with the site currently accepting beta applications.
Each game sports full compatibility with Windows XP and Vista, and does not require any sort of online activation. To eliminate compatibility issues, the team has source code access to most games and will be creating custom installers for each title.
Once purchased, a title can be re-downloaded an unlimited number of times, allowing users to install the game on multiple machines.
In addition to retro game downloads, the site will boast a number of community features, including message boards, user reviews and game guides for select titles.
Ohle revealed that LucasArts’ beloved catalog of PC games represents one of the “holy grails” CD Projekt hopes to offer one day. That lineup includes adventure games such as the Monkey Island series, Sam & Max: Freelance Police and Grim Fandango, along with Totally Games’ space combat simulators X-Wing and TIE Fighter.
I’ll buy Sacrifice again any day if I saw widescreen support and revitalised online play for my money.
It’s CD Projekt’s commitment to bringing the games up to modern compatibility standards that shines out here. It can’t be inspiring work, setting up compile environments for and crawling around in the guts of decrepit codebases, most of them unique, and for that I salute them!
Further warming the cockles of my heart are the requests from gamers for CD Projekt to partner with Valve and sell GOG’s games through Steam. But as desirable as that is, it’s stretching the money a little thin. Valve would collect the money and pay CD Projekt a cut, who would pay the game’s publishers a cut, who would finally pay the developers a cut (assuming they’re still around).
With GOG’s prices no higher than $10 that’s hardly worth anyone’s effort, not to mention that fact that it goes a long way to re-introducing the tangle of middle men that bogs retail down. CD Projekt could feasibly have taken the role of a consultancy, collecting a one-off fee and/or modest share of revenues for their compatibility work on each game, but that just hasn’t happened — and fair enough.
If you missed it in the quote above, beta sign-ups are being taken at Good Old Games’ site right now.