This time, Pig-Min did an e-mail interview with Lukasz Kukawski, who is doing PR & Marketting of GOG.com

GOG.com is new Download Game Store, which carries Old Good Games only. It could be another good example & case for Game Market scene, especially it's made by CD Projekt from Poland.

And this interview is done at 15th. Oct. 2008, around 2 weeks ago before I update. Something is changed, as GOG.com started Public Beta - Started new publisher as Stratedgy First. Please make sure about that, when you read this. :)

Korean version of this Interview


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GOG.com started Public Beta, and you could subscribe freely.


1. GOG.com is made by CD Projekt, and CD Projekt is famous for [Witcher]. But we don't know CD Projekt very much, except for [Witcher]. Please let us know about mother company of GOG.com. And CD Projekt is from Poland, but we don't know much about Polish gaming scene, game makers / players / ... etc. . Please let us know about that, too.

CD Projekt was founded in 1994 and is one of Eastern and Central Europe's largest game distributors. CD Projekt group includes the publishing and distribution companies in Poland, Czech, Slovakia and Hungary; the dedicated Localisation Centre, which is the leading provider of cross-platform porting, quality assurance and localisation services in the region; CD Projekt RED, the development branch responsible for the hit role-playing franchise, The Witcher; Metropolis Software, currently developing the anticipated multiplatform sci-fi shooter; and GOG.com, the ultimate online destination for DRM-free classic PC games.

As for the polish gaming market it's still pretty young, but it's growing really fast. In the early 90's Poland had a big problem with the piracy, so the western publishers didn't care about the Polish market. But thanks to domestic gaming companies like CD Projekt the gaming business started to evolve and now Poland is one of the fastest growing market in the Eastern and the Central Europe. The foreign companies see that and are opening offices here, just to mention this years openings of Sony Computer Entertainment Polska and UbiSoft Polska.

With the development of the gaming market, development studios have appeared. CD Projekt RED's "The Witcher" is definitely one of the most popular games made by Poles, but there are more and more games made by Polish development studios. For example, Metropolis Software, the creators of Gorky 17 (Odium) and The Prince and the Coward, is now working on a big project which is a multi-platform science-fiction shooter. And People Can Fly, who made Painkiller, are working on some projects which should be published by Electronic Arts. We have lots of able programers, graphic designers and we have great potential.


2. 'Good Old Games' is every gamer's dream, but nobody did it before. They were around some Abandonware area, or cheese re-issue as Sierra did for old adventure re-issues. How come to decide starting such a store? And how about feedbacks from all over the world, including Press & Gamers?

The reaction of both gamers and gaming media was incredible. We've announced the service just before E3 and we were worried if announcing the service so close to the biggest gaming event in the world won't get omit by the gaming world. We couldn't be more wrong :). Couple of hours after we've sent the announcement, GOG.com was all over the PC gaming portals and forums. We've received thousands of sign ups for the closed beta and decided to change the 2,000 people closed beta to the Early Access Beta for everyone who have shown the interest in our project. The whole Early Access Beta is a great experience for us. Everyone is very helpful, we're getting lots of positive feedback and lots of additional ideas to make GOG.com even better.

And it all started from a nostalgic chat of couple of guys from CD Projekt's management about a year and a half ago. They were recalling those good old days and the games they used to play back then and found out that it's almost impossible to buy most of those classics in retail or on-line. Even if you have your collection of original old games, they won't run on modern operating systems. That's how they came up with the idea of games-on-demand platform with classic PC games, sold dirt cheap, without DRM and compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista.

 
3. GOG.com games are cheap. Some are 9.99$, but most of them are 5.99$ only. Cheap price is good, but can you make the profit from such a low price? Your games are not so light-weighted to download, over 2-300 MB usually. Traffic might cost money seriously, and even Casual Game download sites are very sensitive to traffic. Can you really make the profit from that price, even if it needs several hundred megabytes of each games to be downloaded?

The price points were set after a detailed research of digital distribution market. Those two price points seems to be the best for gamers, publishers and for us. Even if we are, hopefully, considered as user-friendly service, we're not doing it for free. At the end of the day it's all about money. We are aware of the costs of traffic, but we're considering it more as an 'Investment' than a 'Cost'.

Retro gaming has great potential and we believe that offering good, classic games for low price, without DRM, optimized to run on modern OS and with cool additional stuff is something gamers are missing and will take advantage of. The Early Access Beta showed us we're heading the right way and as soon as we'll launch the site to the public and get more deals signed we can count on big interest and hopefully big sales.
 

4. You dealed with Codemasters & Interplay. [Witcher] was distributed through Atari, so we could understand if you dealed with Atari, but... Codemasters & Interplay? How come to deal with them? And for Interplay, do they still have copyrights for older games? We heard that [Fallout] copyright was sold to Bethesda.

Interplay and Codemasters were the first couple of publishers we approached. Their reaction to our offer was pretty fast and that's how we've managed to sign the deals.

As for the copyrights for Fallout, Bethesda is the owner of the Fallout IP, but Interplay has the rights to sell the classic Fallout games so everything is legal :).
 

5. [Fallout] question. It's really good chance for you to sell [Fallout] 1 & 2, because many gamers are hyped by upcoming [Fallout 3]. But does it really effect GOG.com marketting, and are gamers really happy with that? Are they really best sellers, or some other games are selling much better?

The hype around the Fallout 3 is not a problem for us :). The upcoming premiere of Fallout 3 and all the hype around it is motivating younger audience, which haven't played the first Fallouts, to check what's all the fuss about this series. As for the gamers who already know and played the Fallout games, they were just excited about getting the games without DRM and for such low price, no matter the hype around Fallout 3.

The Fallout games are our top sellers, but as we're still in the Early Access Beta we can't really say if it's going to be remain the same after we'll open the service to the public. Right now most of our users are older gamers who know and recognize the Fallout series, but maybe after the service's opening some other games will become the best-sellers.

 
6. All GOG.com games are Windows XP - Vista compatible. It might need some additional tech work, maybe not so easy. For example, Gamersgate sells older game [Majesty Gold Edition], kinda compatible but not so perfect. So we might guess it's not so easy work, to make older games compatible with XP / Vista. How do you proceed that process? And How long does it take for each game, to make it compatible with XP / Vista?

I must say it takes a little magic from our programming team to make the old games work. Our programmers search for any incompatibilities which may occur and bypass them with their great talent and little programming tricks that us ordinary people wouldn't understand.

Of course the whole process of optimizing the games to work on modern OS depends on the game, but generally it takes several weeks to finalize it.


7. Will GOG.com restrict sales regarding to Region, or always worldwide available? For example, [GTA] series are only available in USA from Steam / Direct2Drive. Region Strict is another wave of Download Purchase, and wish to know if GOG.com is free from that or not.

Right now all games offered in our catalogue are available worldwide and we'll do everything we can to sign future deals to remain so. It's tough as some games have different rights owners on different territories. Getting the worldwide licenses takes a lot of time and is very complex, so there's a possibility we'll have games available only in some regions. But like I said we'll do everything we can to offer all games without any region restrictions.
 

8. Until now, GOG.com doesn't have so many games, but you might update more & more in the future. What games are the next, and how often you will update games? And besides Codemasters & Interplay, there might be more distributors. What company will be the next you will deal?

Of course we will add more games with time. Right now we're concentrating on signing new deals and getting as many Good Old Games as possible. We believe that when we launch the service and show other publishers great interest in GOG.com from the gamers and big sales it'll be easier to convince them to sell their back catalogue classics via GOG.com.

We are finalizing couple of deals right now so you can count on official announcement from us in the nearest future.


9. Your community service has 'Wish List' feature, and [System Shock] series are top. Is it just 'Wish List', or will it effect very high for your business way? Can you really sell top list of your wish lists, as [System Shock] series - [Monkey Island] series? If you'd really sell them, it will be real big news in gaming scene.

We've made the wishlist because our goal is to sell via GOG.com the classics which gamers want to play again. We can't promise you anything, but we will do everything we can to get them.

Like I said before, first we need to launch the site to the public and then hopefully we'll be able to show the publishers like Electronic Arts or LucasArts astronomical sales and huge interest from gaming media and gamers which should convince them GOG.com is the best place to sell those great classics.


10. Please recommend 5 Good games & the reason why.

These are my personal types so please don't treat it like official GOG.com statement :).

My 5 most favourite Good Old Games would be:

Sam & Max: Hit the road
- the game is hilarious and in my opinion Max is one of the best game characters ever created :)

Maniac Mansion
- I played it on Commodore 64 and it was one of my first point'n'click adventure game.

Secret of Monkey Island series
- these games doesn't need recommendation :)

The Settlers
 - one of those games that never get bored. If you start playing it, you just can't stop, you want to build another house, another mine, another windmill, etc., etc.

Syndicate
- the dark and brutal science-fiction climate makes this game so enjoying even nowadays.

I could go on, but it would be boring.


11. Did you try some Korean games, or even heard or experienced about them? If so, please share your thoughts about that.

For me the Korean gaming market associates with MMO games. I know NCsoft and played some of their games like "Guild Wars", "City of Heroes" and "City of Villains". I also know that cyber sport is really popular in Korea and you have lots of talented professional players.


12. Please leave some message for Pig-Min readers.

Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity of introducing our project to the Korean audience. We hope you like our initiative and you'll find at GOG.com the games that will bring back memories form the past. As soon as GOG.com will launch to the public, which will happen very soon, we'll inform Pig-Min editors, so be sure to check for more news on our service. 


Korean version of this Interview
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