GOG Connect: A worthy DRM-free endeavor, or a waste of time?
Yesterday, GOG.com announced the "GOG Connect", an initiative allowing players to connect their Steam account to their GOG.com account to import DRM-free games at no extra charge. While creating a free opening for gamers to have a chance for more DRM-free games, there were several questions from particular people wondering if there was any point to the GOG Connect.
To summarize, here are two specific points that several people brought up that peaked my interest:
1. Why should I buy DRM Steam games when I could purchase them already DRM-free on GOG.com?
And on the flip side:
2. Why should I use GOG Connect when I already have a copy of the game on Steam?
Both questions are valid viewpoints that say the same thing for both sides:
"Sure the GOG Connect exists now, but why use it when I already have a copy of the game I want?"
Answering this question differs for both sides. For question 1, as several commenters mentioned, it is a matter of cost and variety. A person might prefer to purchase a game on Steam than GOG.com because it is cheaper due to a sale, or available at an earlier date. Steam tends to have many sales throughout the year where players can get a copy of the game for a significantly cheaper price.
As website Lifehacker observes, Steam has a higher tendency to be the first place to put a sale on a new game compared to other online services -- 41% compared to GOG.com's 6%.
Furthermore, Steam also has a larger variety of games -- this means more AAA titles, so it can be more advantageous to purchase a game on Steam first than wait for GOG.com to release a DRM-free copy. The GOG Connect provides a benefit to GOG.com in this case, because once a consumer purchases a game on Steam, then there's little point to purchasing a DRM-free copy on GOG.com.
As the GOG Connect service's game roster changes constantly (i.e. a listed game has a limited duration for importing, and then a new game takes its place), it also encourages users to check GOG.com on a more regular basis. This means a better chance for GOG.com to have more customers -- a win-win situation.
The second question has a different focus. Why would a Steam user find benefit in having a DRM-free copy of their game? Is there a point in having two versions of the same game? The answer is focused on primarily on the benefits of having something "DRM-free". Steam is a DRM service, which contains limitations that inhibit users for accessing their games conveniently compared to a DRM-free service like GOG.com.
Let's back up a bit and let me explain the difference between GOG.com and Steam:
GOG.com, previously known as "Good Old Games", is a online service dedicated to selling games and movies "DRM-free". DRM-free games allow players to back up and download their games on multiple computers with little hassle. This method also allows for gamers to play without an internet connection. There is no need for an "activation key" or online confirmation to play a game--simply purchase it, download it, and play it.
Steam, on the other hand, is an online service that is majorly into DRM, requiring users to sign in to their accounts before playing a game. Steam also puts restrictions on sharing games or downloading games on multiple computers, requiring passwords, account permissions, and several other security checks before gamers can download and play their video game of choice. GOG Connect is an attempt to alleviate these tighter limitations, though Steam does have its own small library of DRM-free games.
Therefore, there are benefits for Steam users to have a DRM-free copy of their game via GOG Connect, because it allows them to freely access a game without going through the obstacle course of DRM permissions.
In conclusion, the GOG Connect is a worthwhile venture, as it allows GOG.com users a chance to purchase games at a cheaper cost on Steam, and it allows Steam users to have a DRM-free copy of their game for sharing or playing without hefty restrictions.
What are your thoughts on the GOG Connect, or on games being DRM/DRM-free? Feel free to leave a comment below!