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Wednesday, Jan 01, 2014 Happy New Year!

  

GOG.com Drops Fallout Games

GOG.com announces that Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics are no longer for sale on their DRM-free marketplace, apologetically, but vaguely citing "circumstances beyond [their] control." Here's the explanation of how this impacts people who have already purchased one or more of the seminal RPGs:

All those who acquired Fallout, Fallout 2, or Fallout Tactics on GOG.com prior to the date of removal (that is before Tuesday, December 31st 2013, at 3:59PM GMT), will still be able to download the games' install files (as well as the bonus content) via the "My Games" section of their user accounts. Gift-codes for these three games acquired in our recent giveaway are no longer valid. However, if you own a gift-code for any or all of them that was purchased outside of the said giveaway, you'll still be able to redeem it in the foreseeable future.

Batman: Arkham Origins DLC Freeze Tease

The Batman Arkham Facebook page reveals plans for all-new story DLC coming to Batman: Arkham Origins this year. They offer a cool image of a Wayne Foundation Humanitarian of the Year trophy suggesting this will feature Mr. Freeze. Thanks GameInformer.

Deadpool Game Disappearance

A thread on NeoGAF notes that the Deadpool game released earlier this year to mediocre reviews is no longer being offered for sale on consoles or Steam, something easily verified by a Steam search. There is speculation that this means the license to use the Marvel superhero may have expired with the new year, and GameInformer says they have yet to receive a reply from Activision to their inquiries about this. In the meantime, the NeoGAF thread also notes places where keys for the game are still available on a couple of other marketplaces for those who seek them.

World of Warcraft Pricing Survey

A survey being sent to "past and current" World of Warcraft subscribers probes for interest in a new annual pass program to accompany the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion for the MMORPG. They survey also looks for answers to questions like how much the expansion is worth and the possibility of selling level 90 upgrades. Thanks Polygon.

GOG.com on DRM and Money-Back Guarantees

Speaking of GOG.com (story above), there's an interview on Ars Technica where GOG.com's managing director Guillaume Rambourg discusses the success they've had selling games with no digital rights management. Here's his example of their experience, which also touches on the success of their recently implemented money-back guarantee:

There is an even more recent research under way that seems to prove that dropping DRM in the music industry resulted in an up to 41 percent increase in sales. GOG.com's DRM-free, day-one release of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, a AAA+ game by any standards, is a great case study. At release, the version widely available on torrent sites was not the DRM-free GOG version but the one that posed any sort of challenge to the hackers, the one that included DRM.

The game was downloaded illegally roughly 4.5 million times, but to use the industry-wide practice and treat those entirely as "lost sales" is a massive misunderstanding. Most pirates never had any intent to buy the game in the first place; some surely became paying customers after trying it out or when the title became available at a discounted price. To drive the point home, CDP Red won't be using any DRM for their upcoming release of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. As Marcin Iwinski recently put it: "Will it be more pirated than if we put DRM on it? I definitely don't think so. [...] With a DRM-free release, we're hoping to build more trust between us and gamers."

Finally, in our own experience we've found that trusting users to treat us well pays off and that our DRM-free approach is certainly not costing us business. Two of the many examples that come to mind: we see an average number of downloads per game that's somewhere below two—which means that users aren't taking advantage of DRM-free gaming to share accounts around.

Another great example comes from our recent launch of our 30-day, money-back guarantee where, if a game bought on GOG.com ends up not working despite what we can do to help you, we'll refund you your money. While we've seen an uptick in customer support requests, it's in the realm of a 200 percent or 300 percent increase in queries that seem legitimate for the most part, not a titanic flood of people who want to try to find a way to scam GOG.com out of a free game. I believe that people, by and large, try to be good; treating them that way for five years at GOG.com seems to bear out our hypothesis.

Gatherings & Competitions

New Year's Interviews

New Year's Consolidation

New Year's Mobilization

New Year's Metaverse

New Year's Tech Bits

New Year's Safety Dance

New Year's Legal Briefs

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Out of the Blue

Happy New Year! Here's hoping your hangovers are under control, you can remember everything you said last night, and you know, you didn't marry a stripper or anything. We had a quiet New Year's Eve, so none of those are issues here today, but the new year is still young, so there's still time for some debauchery. Here's to a great 2014.

New Year's Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Where Is 2014?
Links: How to Cure a Hangover. Thanks Digg.
Where Aren't They Now? 16 Overlooked Deaths from 2013.
Obama Reveals His Must-Watch TV Series.
Stories: Wow this is doge. Thanks nin.
Antarctic crew build ice helipad to help rescuers. Thanks Scott.
Exit 6 Pub receives cease and desist letter from Starbucks over Frappachino' beverage.
Science: Your Complete Guide to the Science of Hangovers. Thanks Digg.
Vapor 'nanobubbles' detect malaria through skin.
Media: Auld Lang Syne - Julien Neel.



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