Wednesday, February 13, 2013

System Shock 2

I started to write about the Space Marine/Warhammer 40K controversy.

Then this article appeared today. 

GOG has FINALLY got the distribution rights to System Shock 2!  Long cited as one of the scariest and most progressive of the FPS genre, it has long been impossible to get unless you keep an old computer and are willing to shell out the money (According to Amazon, it can cost as much as $300 new.)

The reason why it's been so hard to get a hold of (apparently) for a digital or physical rerelease is because of how the rights were divided up.  EA held the gameplay rights while a now defunct company held the name rights.  (The rights were transferred to an insurance company when that happened)  At the very least, that's the short version.  I would love to read the long version. (And I have heard it both ways.  In either way, the rights were split between EA and the now defunct company)

Then, in October of last year, GOG started to work on the digital license.  The process had actually started LONG before then, with GOG and it's related parties tracking down who held which rights. IP, gameplay, the original code...  GOG figured it all out and tracked down each party.  October started the full negotiations and starting tomorrow, the game will be able to be purchased for 9.99.

This is a fantastic coup.  The game is (apparently) the standard to judge the other games, it's given GOG a tremendous power in the digital market, and it's proven they listen to their customers.   While they have kept a list of requested games and features that people can vote on, only some manage to fully make their way out the list.  This is due to a number of reasons, in some cases it is not feasible to release games because ALL the rights holders are defunct.  Other times, the programming used is no longer compatible with current systems and GOG can't preform the necessary upgrades.  Other times, the companies just don't want to give the game up for digital distribution, or the rights for the games have disappeared from the said company.

But for GOG to do this, to pull off System Shock 2 AND make it playable for modern audiences?  It's cemented it's place as a premier digital distributor with games, made it a serious competitor for Steam (as Steam- as of yet- has not stated they are also getting this game.  Meaning you can only buy it on GOG.)  and it can cause people to peruse the other games in it's catalog which can bring in more money, money which GOG deserves because they have several games not available elsewhere, and you don't get the bonuses via Steam. 

So, as someone who adores GOG and has bought several games from them, please go and buy the game when it comes out, and several others that tickle your fancy.

Now, I have a copy of Syberia waiting when I finish plaything through Psychonauts.  I should probably go beat that. 

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