Ever since our original Kickstarter campaign, many of you have told us that you would prefer to get Predestination on a 100% DRM-free platform and that your platform of choice would be GOG.com. When GOG recently launched its new In Development section (similar to Steam’s Early Access), we received a number of emails and messages with renewed interest asking if we had heard of this development and whether we would be releasing on it. Troy from 4X community site eXplorminate even wrote an article last year titled “Devs, Want More Money?” in which he expressed bafflement that indies aren’t queueing up to get on GOG:
“What I’m talking about is the tendency of small developers to fixate on Steam while ignoring other perfectly viable downloading services like GOG (formerly known as GoodOldGames.com). I cannot, for the life of me, understand why so many devs ignore this outlet for their games.” — eXplorminate
The reality is that this decision isn’t up to us. Like most indie developers we do want release on platforms like GOG even if they only represent 5-10% of the market, but GOG has a much stricter selection process than Steam. I am writing this post to let our community know that we applied to get Predestination on GOG.com and our application was unfortunately rejected. The main reasons given were that Predestination is “just too small” for GOG and that they already have plenty of bigger titles to push such as the AAA-funded Master of Orion remake.
To be clear, this was our expected outcome and we aren’t annoyed at GOG for it. We understand that GOG can only manage a certain number of new game releases each month as they promise each game extras like time on the front page and marketing that are limited quantities. Obviously it makes good business sense to fill their release schedule with the games that will make the most money, and they now have some AAA-funded games and publishers lining up at the door. Indie games will need to already be critical commercial successes on Steam or other platforms to secure a place, and that doesn’t describe us yet. If anything changes in this regard, we’ll make an announcement to let you know.
What does this mean for our DRM-free release?
Steam still has by far the largest share of the digital distribution market, so this isn’t a big hit to us financially, but this does close off a potential DRM-free distribution method. Another alternative DRM-free distributor, Desura, also went into bankruptcy last year. It looks like our options for a no-hassle fully DRM-free release are looking very limited, especially if you want a version of the game that can update itself to the latest version the way Steam does.
The Steam version of the game currently doesn’t use any DRM (even the standard Steam DRM is turned off) so it can be copied and launched perfectly fine without using Steam once the game and its prerequisites are installed, but some people don’t want to have to use Steam to download it. Writing our own online patcher isn’t feasible right now but might be something we could do after launch. We could also host the latest version of the game online ourselves and provide manual download links for those who don’t like Steam, and there are of course still other online distributors out there to talk to.
We’re currently looking into all of our options so if you have any preferences or suggestions please let us know in the comments or by email to email@example.com and we’ll look into them. Thanks to everyone who has asked us about this recently and a big thanks to everyone who continues to support us throughout development!
— Brendan, Lead Developer