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GOG Introduces Early Access with Consumer-Friendly Return Policy

Good Old Games (GOG) is dipping into Early Access, and they’re doing it in the most consumer-friendly manner possible.

GOG.com is well known among gamers, having made their mark on the industry with a strict DRM-free approach to selling games. They’re a digital distribution arm of CDProjekt, the developer behind the universally acclaimed Witcher franchise and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077.

The GOG.com approach to Early Access is typical of everything they’ve done so far: that is, exceptionally above board and focused on giving the consumer the same level of consideration as the developers whose games are being sold.

In contrast to Steam, whose refunds are offered so long as you haven’t owned a game longer than two weeks and played it for more than two hours, Good Old Games will give you two weeks of unlimited playtime to decide whether you really want to support the development of the title in question. What’s more, if you don’t like the way the game is coming along after that, you can roll back to the version you previously enjoyed through GOG’s “Galaxy” client.

As if the approach wasn’t already consumer-focused enough, consider that GOG has also promised to curate the in-development titles that it’s making available:

First and foremost: we’re hand-picking only the games we can truly stand behind. Offering a selection of the most promising titles, and those most highly requested on the Community Wishlist, is our way of avoiding bloat and ensuring that every game will be worth your time. [emphasis original]

As always, any game that is sold through Good Old Games will be entirely free of Digital Rights Management. For the uninitiated, that means you can do things like burn it to a CD, install it easily on any PC, and avoid the use of a client barrier like Steam’s altogether.

Developers got a bit salty about Steam’s conservative refund policy when it was announced, especially those whose games only provided around two hours of gameplay to begin with. GOG’s policy means that anyone participating is going to need to provide an experience that is compelling in the long term.

It’s hard to argue with an Early Access program that protects and serves its customers and holds developers to a higher standard of production and professional accountability. Once again, CDProjekt’s Good Old Games online marketplace is putting its money where its mouth is and showing a level of respect for gamers that hasn’t been characteristic of the industry at large.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.

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