CD Projekt today held a virtual conference announcing its digital PC classics service Good Old Games (GOG.com) going out of beta, not closing as they led the public to believe. Indeed, this was a prank, one the pulled partly because of a limited marketing budget. The team knows some are upset about it and they'll work to regain your trust as best they can, and they won't be doing it again.
The conference starts off with CD Projekt's co-founder and GOG's Managing Director both dressed as monks and repenting their sins. The hilarious roleplaying continues throughout the rest of the presentation ("I see you do not know the Bible by heart, brother." "Ohh Jesus Christ...")
Along with going out of beta after two years of service, they have two major items to announce: a new design and features, and the release of Baldur's Gate complete with expansion and lots of extras, selling for $9.99. Given this is the game that helped make their publishing business famous, they're extremely pleased about it. As for other RPGs with the D&D license: "the answer is yes."
DRM is still banned from GOG, so you'll be able to get your RPG on without any hassle. In fact, they're surprised anyone suspected otherwise.
On the design and features front, they note this was not for the sake of a new design but for accessibility and enjoyability.
One new "feature" users will love is the server upgrade: now GOG.com will be able handle much more traffic and with greater speed.
Judging from the screens, you can see the site is similar to the previous look, but even more user friendly. For one, there are now proper filters and checkboxes for the game catalogue, so you can search for multiplayer or single player FPS games, for example.
The "GOGmix" feature is what we suspected: essentially a "playlist" of games with a certain theme ("best RPGs"). These seem to function a lot like Amazon lists. Some neat subfeatures include ratings and voting, so if you really know your stuff, your list will be promoted throughout the community.
Windows 7 compatibility is now confirmed, for 32-bit and 64-bit users.
A new product page design hosts a new sidebar for other games in a series, so the Baldur's Gate page for example will show the sequel once that arrives. There's also a time estimation function for how long your game will take to download based on your connection speed -- you can adjust a slider bar to suit.
The community/forum page receives an overhaul too, and looks much more functional than before, with sections for hot topics, participated topics and favourite topics all neatly put together.
On a sidenote: they're not afraid to admit there are one or two "bad" games on the service. As keen GOGers know, sometimes these are more or less necessary at times to bring in other great titles as part of a publisher deal (our words, not theirs).
In the long-term: the company's plan is to make GOG the "number one alternative to Steam."
Well, that wraps things up, though we'll be posting some assets within an hour about, so check back here or via our Twitter / Facebook pages.
The new GOG.com will launch tomorrow (Thursday) at 1PM GMT, with Baldur's Gate and the Tales of the Sword Coast expansion up for sale. An apology and countdown can be viewed at the source.