GOG used to stand for “good old games.” Now, that name really doesn’t work since it has begun selling games that are so new they aren’t even out yet.
The digital-distribution portal for PC games is getting into “early access,” a term developers and gamers have started using for games that are still in development but are still up for sale before they’re finished. This is something Valve does with its Steam service, but GOG is doing things differently than its competitor. For starters, every GOG game that is still in development comes with a 14-day, no-questions-asked return policy. Additionally, every game is free of digital-rights management software, and you can use the GOG Galaxy client to roll back to previous versions of a game if an update breaks it.
“As an added bonus, rollback actually stores historical snapshots throughout a game’s development,” GOG managing director Piotr Karwowski said in a canned statement. “That means you can always revisit any point in the game’s history with a single click.”
All of these extra features were important to GOG as the company was looking to give customers the option to buy games still in development in a way that it considers responsible.
“We want all gamers on GOG.com to have access to what these titles have to offer, but we want to get it right,” said Karwowski. “[Which is why we are] carefully evaluating each and every game, offering a 14-day refund policy, and providing GOG Galaxy support with update rollback and more.”
Early access is an idea we first saw with games like the megapopular Minecraft starting in 2009, before it was finally “released” in 2011. Steam officially adopted the concept in March 2013, and it has led to a number of unfinished games reaching hit status. Those especially include survival games like Rust and DayZ.