‘It’s Not You, It’s Me!’
TheEnigmaticT, a representative in some capacity for GOG, made a very interesting comment in the Linux as a Feature thread in the GOG community pages. Why so interesting? Many of you already know that GOG is set to announce support for an all new platform on October 18th. All signs thus far have been pointing directly at Linux. And with all of the Steam hub-bub running amok on the Internet — and it’s imminent reality — who could blame anyone for speculating in this direction?
That’s what makes the comment so intriguing, and confusing. While most of the concerned Internet has been absolutely certain of GOG debuting as a service around the same time as Steam, this happened:
We’ve seen a lot more of you guys voting on this wish recently and I thought it was only fair for me to update you. Linux is a great platform, and we love how much passion you guys are showing for it here on our wishlist. We definitely know that it’s one of the top things our community wants from us, but it’s also really difficult to bring the GOG.com level of support and ease-of-use to the wide variety of distros that are commonly used by Linux users. If we’re able to bring GOG.com games to Linux–and we’re constantly evaluating ways that we can do this–we want to make sure that we’re doing it the GOG.com way: simple, easy, and it “just works.” I’m not telling you guys to give up hope–we know how much you want this–but what I am saying is that this is harder to support than it might seem initially, and we’re not ready to move to support Linux officially just yet.
None of what has been said here lacks any credibility whatsoever, and is completely reasonable in every respect. What TheEnigmaticT has done here is point out the great divide between gigantic open source software repositories and giant closed source back catalogs. The two are not completely compatible with one another.
It would have been easy for them to just take the Steam approach and target the largest platform, because the real trouble here is delivery. GOG cannot be expected to build packages of games for several different distributions. It would be much better for them to just build .debs for Ubuntu and be done with it. I’m not saying that is the right thing to do, but I can see how that would make sense from a business standpoint.
The comedy here is how this all reads like teenage rejection. It seems like GOG is passive-aggressively turning down Linux, but not going as far as to say “You’ll find someone else.”…
What is yet to be seen is how Steam will deliver games to Ubuntu. Will they use a commercial PPA for each game? This seems to be the route that Canonical is taking with the Ubuntu Software Center, and if you have a lot of Humble Bundle games redeemed in Ubuntu, you’ll notice that your sources list is getting a little out of control already. Or, will they offer games packaged in a different way that is agnostic to what Linux distribution you are using?
Steam’s success on Ubuntu — which has yet to be seen — and the way they manage software delivery to users, may provide the inspiration GOG needs to finally deliver what customers really want. Humble has already proven that we are willing to pay.