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GOG com Now Officially Support Linux Games

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Today marks a big day for Linux and DRM free gaming. GOG.com are now officially supporting Linux on their store, and so that's pretty much all major online stores supporting Linux. The only other store I can think of that doesn't support us is Origin, and who really wants that anyway? Oh, and there's Uplay...

This turnaround of GOG now supporting Linux is amazing, as we spoke to them in September last year where they confirmed to us that they were not going to support Linux. Then, in March this year, they confirmed that they are indeed going to support Linux.

GOG for Linux launches today with over 50 Linux titles in their store. Among the games are a number of titles that have never been officially available to Linux gamers before, including Pirates!, Sid Meier's Colonization, FlatOut, 3D Realms hits like Blake Stone and Rise of the Triad, and more.

I had a chance to get a few questions answered by GOG themselves again, and the bit I emphasised in the first paragraph made me smile!

What changed within GOG to go from no support to actually having games for Linux in the space of just over a year? The original point was that there were too many distributions and GOG didn't want to support just one or two, so what changed?

We were thinking about it a lot and the feedback from the Linux community was vital. We basically revisited the whole idea and decided to make it one of our main goals in 2014, with a "whatever it takes" kind of approach. Our main Linux guy even happens to have been one of the GamingOnLinux faithfuls! After many internal discussions we decided that it will simply be better to support the two most popular distributions, Ubuntu and Mint, rather than not do it at all. Currently, GOG.com is the only digital distribution platform that will provide extensive support for specific Linux distros, instead of not taking any responsibility for the quality and compatibility of the content we have on offer. For all the Linux gamers using other distros, the least we could do was to give them .deb and .tar.gz files to work with.

Still, it all takes some time. GOG.com users are already used to a certain attention to detail and quality of service on our part. We wanted to deliver the best possible experience to Linux users by making sure we test the games properly, and by launching Linux on GOG.com with a solid lineup of games with many more titles in the pipeline. Keep in mind that releasing a classic game that up to that point was never available for Linux means additional contracts with rights holders and a certain amount of work from our test lab.

When is GOG planning to have Galaxy available for Linux? Will it be with the Windows release, or a delayed release? If a delayed release, why is that?

We'd rather stick to the here and now instead of talking about the future plans. We have not announced details for the launch of the Galaxy client for any single platform yet. With the project still going at full speed there is plenty of work ahead. We have made our first major step into Linux territory and we promise it's not the last one. We'll tell you more when we have details; for now, enjoy the fresh Linux compatible games.

Have GOG thought about open sourcing the Galaxy client? There have been calls for this already.

We don't want to delve into theory crafting, so the only way we can answer this right now is that we do find the idea of having our client app open source at some point in the future interesting and we're well aware of your feedback.

If you are using Wine for some games, what are your thoughts on the possible backlash of what some may feel isn't a Linux version, but merely a Wine wrapped Windows game?

This is the train of thought we followed: by using Wine, we can offer you support for some games that would otherwise never be officially available on Linux. Most of those are pretty old titles and their source code was lost ages ago, so this is basically the only way to bring them to you. It's exactly the same situation with DOS games.

We are quite aware that a certain part of the Linux crowd is less than thrilled to see games brought to Linux through a back door, so to speak. That's why all Linux versions that are using Wine wrappers have that information explicitly included in the "game requirements" field on their gamecard.

Typically on a service like Steam, if you want a refund you really have to fight for it, and given that Linux is new territory for GOG, how will you go about refunds for games that users cannot get to work?

It's simple, really. We’ve got our Money Back Guarantee for Windows and OS X users and there is no reason why it should be any different for Linux. We have officially announced that we will provide support for the two most commonly used distros: Mint and Ubuntu. If someone that fulfils that requirement is experiencing technical issues with a game and if our support can't make it work, we'll give them their money back.

I would like to thank the GOG team for answering those few question as I know they are very busy.

It will be interesting to see the reaction to games on GOG that use Wine which we knew was going to be the case anyway due to the job description including dealing with Wine. Personally, I have no issue with properly supported (support itself & refundwise) Wine wrapped, old games. If they work then that's all that matters, and it counts as a Linux sale for GOG to look at sales numbers from Linux.

I hope that a lot of developers can push games to GOG easier now that GOG is crossplatform for Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. It sure would make things easier for them. The great thing about GOG is it seems to have some level of curation as opposed to places like Desura and Steam that now seem to let tons of crapware (and that's putting it lightly) onto their stores.

The main reason we are so excited to have GOG in bed with Linux is their stance on things like refunds and DRM. They dislike DRM and they are pretty good with refunds, and those are two things Steam isn't exactly good with.

This is an important milestone for Linux gaming, so... bring it on, GOG! Now where's my cake and hat?

There is a big sale on now too, so be sure to grab some cheap games.

Final funny note: I personally asked about Linux support 4 years ago. My, how things change!

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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68 comments
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FutureSuture 26 Jul, 2014
How difficult would it be for GOG to get the Linux rights for Warsow? It's available in practically every distribution's package manager.
stan 26 Jul, 2014
  • Supporter
Quoting: CheesenessIMO, if they're offering Linux users support (in the form of their money back guarantee and assistance in resolving issues), then that's Linux support, and that's what matters.
But they are not offering Linux support…

And DOSbox is far from perfect unfortunately :(. I bought Pinball Gold Pack and there are many problems with their package.

FlatOut on the other hand works very well.
Cheeseness 26 Jul, 2014
Quoting: stanBut they are not offering Linux support…

They are (at least for Ubuntu and Mint).

Quoting: stanAnd DOSbox is far from perfect unfortunately :(. I bought Pinball Gold Pack and there are many problems with their package.

Have you reported this? If so, I'd be keen to hear how your support experience was.
stan 26 Jul, 2014
  • Supporter
Quoting: CheesenessThey are (at least for Ubuntu and Mint).
My point exactly. They are providing Ubuntu 14.04 and Mint 17 support, not Linux support.
Quoting: CheesenessHave you reported this? If so, I'd be keen to hear how your support experience was.
Reporting the problems I had on Arch Linux would be a waste of time since they don’t support Linux…

Edit: reported -> reporting…
Samsai 26 Jul, 2014
Quoting: stan
Quoting: CheesenessThey are (at least for Ubuntu and Mint).
My point exactly. They are providing Ubuntu 14.04 and Mint 17 support, not Linux support.
Quoting: CheesenessHave you reported this? If so, I'd be keen to hear how your support experience was.
Reported the problems I had on Arch Linux would be a waste of time since they don’t support Linux…
Most of the Linux games on Steam also support Ubuntu/SteamOS only, so it's not exactly new and surprising that GOG also limited themselves to Ubuntu and Mint. However, it's still worth reporting your problems even if you are not running Mint or Ubuntu, because they might fix those bugs regardless.
stan 26 Jul, 2014
  • Supporter
Quoting: SamsaiMost of the Linux games on Steam also support Ubuntu/SteamOS only, so it's not exactly new and surprising that GOG also limited themselves to Ubuntu and Mint. However, it's still worth reporting your problems even if you are not running Mint or Ubuntu, because they might fix those bugs regardless.
True*… Although they went the extra mile to explicitely state “we won't be able to offer refunds, or support, for technical issues on a Linux distribution other than Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or Mint 17 LTS.”
(source: http://www.gog.com/support/pinball_gold_pack/bgeneral_troubleshooting_faq_linux_ubuntu_mint_gamesb )

*Or maybe not, I haven’t made statistics on that.
Cheeseness 26 Jul, 2014
Quoting: stan
Quoting: CheesenessThey are (at least for Ubuntu and Mint).
My point exactly. They are providing Ubuntu 14.04 and Mint 17 support, not Linux support.

So far as the way the rest of the PC industry works, it is. Things that support Windows only support a subset of machines running Windows running particular hardware and software combinations. Same goes for developers who claim to support Mac. Sure this is a pretty darn narrow definition of "Linux", but it's still in line with how things work on other platforms, and that's what we're asking for right? To be treated the same as other platforms.

Quoting: stanTrue*… Although they went the extra mile to explicitely state “we won't be able to offer refunds, or support, for technical issues on a Linux distribution other than Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or Mint 17 LTS.”

Of course, there's nothing (aside from bandwidth, disc space and a few minutes) stopping you from installing Ubuntu (or running it in a VM) to test/compare issues and get your refund from that experience.

Quoting: stanReporting the problems I had on Arch Linux would be a waste of time since they don’t support Linux…

Aww, that's a little defeatist. Try them :)
DrMcCoy 26 Jul, 2014
Quoting: Cheeseness[Wine, ScummVM, DOSBox]

One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn't belong...
Cheeseness 26 Jul, 2014
Quoting: DrMcCoy
Quoting: Cheeseness[Wine, ScummVM, DOSBox]
One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn't belong...

In most of the ways that matter in this context, they're the same sort of thing IMO. Third party (community) developed replacements for runtimes/engines without the support (or approval) of vendors to allow stuff to run on platforms that weren't originally intended. They offer the same challenges from a support perspective and all contain lots of game/app specific cruft (DOSBox perhaps less so? I'm less familiar with that).

An argument for performance could be made, but I'm not so sure that's so relevant given the legacy nature of the bulk of GOG's catalogue (I'd love to see some benchmark comparisons of say, S&M: HTR across all three of those though).
Hamish 26 Jul, 2014
Is the 30 day money back guarantee invalid if you are using other distributions? Or is it just for refunds after that? I would have assumed the 30 day guarantee would apply for any reason...

Quoting: CheesenessIn most of the ways that matter in this context, they're the same sort of thing IMO. Third party (community) developed replacements for runtimes/engines without the support (or approval) of vendors to allow stuff to run on platforms that weren't originally intended.

There are still some big differences though - only one of them is trying to support a moving, actively developing target, let alone the whole other element of potentially endorsing development for another currently viable platform as opposed to your own.

EDIT: So the 30 day money back guarantee does only apply to support issues rather than as a more general policy, which I do find disappointing.
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