February 9, 2023

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The dream of DRM-free Steam PC games is fading away

picture: Casimiro PT (stock struggle)

Good Old Games or GOG, CD Projekt’s digital rights-free PC game marketplace and platform, has officially ended a service that wasn’t already too long for this world. What once seemed like a promising way to slowly import parts of your Steam library into GOG, where they could exist in an infinitely archivable format, has now finally evaporated.

GOG was launched in 2008 as an alternative to other digital game storefronts on the PC, with a focus on making hard-to-find older games purchasable. The cherry on top? All these games will be available without any DRM software to restrict what you do with exe copies. Unlike Steam, GOG games are much easier to backup and reinstall on multiple computers, all without having to get tangled up in any kind of online account authorization. In 2012, the service expanded from vintage PC game gems to modern titles, while keeping a DRM-free policy in place.

In 2016, GOG announced “Connect”, a service that allows you to connect your Steam library to redeem select titles you already own as DRM-free copies on GOG, with said games only eligible to be redeemed in a limited amount of time. However, those who have checked GOG.com/Connect in recent years have found nothing but digital weeds. And now, in January of 2023, the link and service now head to GOG’s homepage, officially marking the end of this very promising program.

GOG.com/Connect has always had a “too good to be true” vibe. A service that gives you an extra copy of a game you already own, with no restrictions on how you can back it up, install it, reinstall it, sell it, or share it? How even?

But while the service was active, not only was it a great way to transition to a new platform, it was an easy way to archive your Steam library. Although Steam is a very accessible and reliable platform that often gives you access to games you’ve bought but pulled from the storefront (2007) victim One example), DRM is still widely used in Valve’s storefront and trying to use the service without a reliable internet connection can easily render a game unplayable, as many mobile Steam Deck users have discovered. GOG Connect was once a promising solution to this problem. But the idea of ​​someday being able to transfer a great deal of your library into something that could be archived, without spending a dime, was too good to be true.

Like many, I used this service sensibly when it was launched. I will keep the link in bookmark to visit once a week. But when the available games started to dry up, it drifted from memory. I’m still playing the “Should I get this on Steam or GOG?” Every time something I want appears on both services. GOG Connect once promised Make this question irrelevant.

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