GOG heads dress up as monks, apologize to users
Some things are just too strange to be fiction. Following an online conference earlier in the day in which the two heads of GoG.com, managing director Guillaume Rambourg and co-founder Marcin Iwinski, dressed up as monks and heralded the return of GOG (and the addition of Baldur’s Gate to its product list), the two posted a YouTube video that was, essentially, a giant (if rather odd) apology to the whole user base for causing it to freak out in horror at GOG’s supposed closing. It seems that they were shocked and amazed that no one else got the ‘joke’ or ‘game’ that they were trying to pull; that people took the whole affair ‘for reals’. And while it may not be the dumbest PR stunt ever (EA still holds that title), they must have known that separating customers from the games they legally purchased and saying “that’s it, we’re done” was far from a smart move.
Along with the YouTube video, the administrators of GoG.com have replaced all the “end is nigh” messages on the front page with an entry dedicated to letting the cat out of the bag. As you can see in the image below, there is now a clock counting down to the relaunch of the site (a little over 13 hours from now), the original farewell (hoax) video that showed up shortly after the “closure”, the aforementioned apology video, and a written apology that states three more videos chronicling GOG’s 2 year beta period will be posted prior to GOG’s relaunch.
Here’s one thing I’ll say about what some are now calling “Baldur-gate” (which is just…*shakes head*): while I get the whole “remember when people could do wacky crap in the games industry” argument…I’m not sure that, at a time when the world is in an economic crunch and companies are closing down left and right, pretending to go out of business is such a well conceived “funny”. It’s like Data pushing Dr. Crusher off of the deck of the sea-fairing Enterprise in Star Trek: Generations after she tries to explain the concept of “humor” to him. “You gotta live in the moment, do something unexpected.” I’m paraphrasing, a bit. But my point still stands. A joke is all about timing, among other things. For a lot of GoG users, all “Baldurs-gate” did was create tension and uncertainty. Even for the people who ‘got it’…it just wasn’t funny.
We’ll probably all be willing to forgive and forget eventually and go back to enjoying what GoG does best: connecting us to classic games that we love. But GoG-guys are right, they did sin: they keyed people in to a gigantic issue of the download-only world we’re heading into: that what we buy doesn’t exist anywhere except the place we bought it from. And there’s no guarantee we’ll be able to access it forever, in perpetuity, when a site really does close down. That, by itself, is seriously…unfunny.
At least, in so far as this joke is concerned, the payoff is far better than the setup.