Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Good Old Games drop IP checks; Australia rejoices

For a long time now, Australian gamers have lived under a cloud. Their government's insane game regulation laws means that no game can be released in Australia that would be rated more than a 15 locally, meaning that game companies either have to heavily re-localise games to edit out the more adult content (which is expensive and, given the relative size of Australia's population, not always cost-effective) or Australian gamers have to order in titles especially from overseas.

So, the news that the increasingly impressive Good Old Games website has dropped IP checks from its software will be extremely interesting to Australians or anyone else living in a country with extremely harsh game-censorship laws (Germany also comes to mind, though seem to be chilling out a little recently). GoG have said that they got tired of complaints from gamers travelling overseas who'd have to pay a different price to their home country or would have difficulties downloading legally-purchased games every time they crossed borders, so GoG have simply dropped the thing altogether. The fact that is just before the release of their heavily-trailed new RPG, The Witcher 2, (which had some minor edits for its Australian release) is almost certainly coincidental.

Exactly how this works - if Australians and others can actually buy games straight from the site or have to jump through some hoops - remains to be seen. But it's an interesting move from a company who seem to be making their business to make things as fair as possible for all their customers.


jamie said...

OUt of interest Adam, what was your final verdict on the original Witcher PC game? I'm interested in the sequel, but I haven't really gotten into the first one. I suppose I could just try and rush through it in a week to make a decision, or is it worth it taking it more slowly?

Also: Fuck yeah! No restrictions on purchasing this game in Australia? I love you GOG, and CD Projekt, you're my heroes.

Justin said...

God I love the internet. Between self-publishing and thumbing the nose at IP restrictions, we can really stick it to the man now.

Adam Whitehead said...

I liked THE WITCHER but it didn't have enough hooks to keep me going. I got a good way through it in 2009, but I had to constantly 'force' myself to keep loading it up, and even then couldn't make it to the end. The storyline wasn't particularly interesting and the combat was really bad, though the characters were well-done.

For comparison purposes, whilst I struggled with THE WITCHER I then went and replayed start-to-finish KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC 1 and 2 and JADE EMPIRE afterwards, and was kept engaged and entertained throughout.

However, early reviews suggest that the second WITCHER is much better. And I will at some point finish off the first one :-)