In what seems like a timely response to their recent regional price and censorship issues
with The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, online games retailer GOG.com (Good Old Games) have announced
that they have now removed geo IP detection from the site, trusting customers to provide their own location data.
Essentially, this means that there is no longer need for any proxy or VPN trickery if -- for example -- an Australian gamer wanted to pretend they were a North American customer in order to avoid regionalised price hiking.
“GOG.com has always been about trusting the user,” said Guillaume Rambourg, Managing Director of GOG.com. “We’ve come to the conclusion that there are a number of issues with using a customer’s IP address to determine what offer they are being presented with from GOG.com. A good number of users can find themselves negatively impacted by a policy of using geo IP to set their region.
“For example, customers may be travelling when they want to purchase or download a game from GOG.com. In this case, automatic IP address capture might change the price or the content of the game they’re ordering (such as the default language of the installer). Further, geo IP data collection is not always right. IP addresses are not a perfect or unique identifier of location, and can report the incorrect region of users, particularly ones who are not using standard Internet connections. Finally, we’re always very sensitive of our users’ privacy. Effective privacy protections for our users means that any data that we don’t need to collect, we shouldn’t. We only need to know the country that you’re making this purchase from, so although we originally planned to use geo-IP to determine user’s location, we’ve decided to trust our users and let them inform us as to the correct region for their purchase.”
Users who are finding problems with their country’s location (and the offer they are presented with) in their settings. They can update this by going to ”My Account” and clicking on “Account & Settings.”
The change is now live on GOG.com for all current purchases and preorders.
While they don't explicitly say as much, it seems rather obvious that this is a pro-consumer gesture to undermine regionalised price-gouging, a practice that our European brother and sisters are also often on the receiving end of, if not always to the same extreme as Australians.
Other online digital retail outlets such as Steam, Xbox Live and PlayStation Network have gone in the opposite direction in recent years, making it more and more difficult for customers to masquerade their location in order to get a better deal. This is a significant move from GOG to the contrary and we can only hope that it doesn't strain their relationship with publishing partners, so that they can continue to release more great classic titles for us.
Additionally, all games sold on GOG are still free of any form of DRM copy protection. So this is just yet another reason why we should offer them our support.