DRM – or Digital Rights Management – belongs to a pantheon of acronyms that start with D which, to certain crowds, are quite distasteful. Be it DMV or DMCA, the letter D just can’t get a break. DRM in particular strikes apprehension into the hearts of some PC gamers due to its associations with restriction and control. It’s generally defined along these lines:
A class of technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders, and individuals with the intent to control the use of digital content and devices after sale.
DRM platforms, like Valve’s generally respected Steam or Ubisoft’s generally reviled Uplay, specialize in protecting content (like games) from being copied or distributed illegally. This typically comes at the cost of either requiring the player or the DRM server to be online to play said games, not to mention a slew of ethical debates that are best left to discussion in another article. Cloudtweaks has a succinct article that briefly discusses various aspects of DRM as it pertains to gaming, if you’re interested in learning more about the topic.
Naturally, when there’s something that restricts gamers, other gamers are wont to circumvent those restrictions. Cyprus-based digital distribution service GOG Ltd aims to deliver games without the need for a DRM client. Put simply, GOG allows players to purchase games and then play them without any copy protection roadblocks.
GOG took an additional step in that direction yesterday by introducing a new program called GOG Connect, which allows Steam users to connect their Steam and GOG accounts, then add a select list of eligible games to their GOG library. Provided they already own the games on Steam, of course.
GOG Connect is the result of a collaboration between GOG and several developers, including “Deep Silver, Harebrained Schemes, Jonathan Blow’s Number None, [and] TaleWorlds.” As such, the Connect page already boasts an impressive library of supported titles by the above developers and more. FTL: Advanced Edition, Shadowrun Returns, Mount and Blade, The Witcher: Enhanced Edition, and VVVVVV are just some of the titles that Steam users can transfer to their GOG accounts.
Curiously, no mention of GOG collaborating with Valve can be found on Connect’s page, provided such an event did transpire.
It should be noted that GOG plans to rotate the list of available games, as these are “limited-time offers made possible by participating developers and publishers.” If you’re interested in playing these Steam titles through GOG, now’s your chance!
As an added bonus, GOG is also hosting a sale for their favorite titles. This sale will last until June 6, 12:59 PM UTC.
Considering how players must purchase the game they wish to play before adding it to their GOG library, and how developers must opt into the program to validate their games for the service, GOG Connect seems like a fair deal for both players and developers. If or how Valve comments on GOG Connect remains to be seen.