GOG faked their own death. Nobody terribly surprised.

GOG have just released this statement:

“First of all we’d like to apologize to everyone who felt deceived or harmed in any way by the closedown of GOG.com. As a small company we don’t have a huge marketing budget and this why we could not miss a chance to generate some buzz around an event as big as launching a brand new version of our website and even more important, bringing back Baldur’s Gate to life!

We believe this title was extremely expected by all our users and PC gamers in general. It would have made no sense to announce it in a typical plain corporate way. Our aim at GOG is to promote the greatest DRM-free PC classics ever in a creative way and allow people to escape from the usual boring mainstream marketing. We are also gamers and this is why we played a bit with this announcement.

Once again, we apologize for any harm we might have caused and we do hope people will keep the essence of our message in mind: GOG is doing things differently than elsewhere and yes, Baldur’s Gate is finally back (with more great releases to come)! We are working hard to provide users with much fun, so do expect some great surprises until Christmas.”

Firstly, what do they mean about bringing Baldur’s Gate back to life? Baldur’s Gate, and Baldur’s Gate 2 are alive and well, with a thriving community of modders. They still work just fine on modern computers. If this was the only reason for GOG’s silly antics then they’ve wasted all that effort on nowt.

If you’re interested in the world of the Baldur’s Gate Trilogy, you can’t do any better than to check out the Big World project, which automates the mod-installing process. It has the Ark seal of approval!

Secondly, I would truly love to have been in the meeting where they decided this was a good idea. Lying to your customers is always a bad move ethically, but doing it for such flimsy reasons, then admitting it, is just idiocy. The greatest concern with it was that GOG’s paying customers were unable to access the files they had paid for, nor support forums, for the duration of the hoax. Sure, they’ve managed to get some column inches devoted to them as a result, but most of the articles over the last week already suggested it was likely to be a scam, and reports of today’s “big reveal” will further undermine trust. You can’t just shut down your services on a jolly whim and expect people to not consider you to be flakey.

Brendan Behan once said “There is no such thing as bad publicity”. He was wrong. (though he was also probably joking. The full quote is “There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.”)

Ben Franklin once said ““It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it”. He was right.