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GoG's Guillaume Rambourg

Good Old Games' MD on the future of the past

Retro PC game download site Good Old Games (aka GoG) is part of Polish developer/publisher CD Projekt, a firm also well know for RPG The Witcher and its work localising and distributing third party games for Eastern Europe. GoG make headlines last week, thanks to a hoax closure - which may have angered many of its customers, but unquestionably created an enormous amount of profile for the relaunched site.

The apparent closure seemed especially puzzling to GamesIndustry.biz at the time, having interviewed current GoG MD Guillaume Rambourg a few weeks previously. He was openly optimistic about the service's present, though perhaps a little less sure about what the years to come may bring...

GamesIndustry.biz What was your background before this role?
Guillaume Rambourg

I'm the new managing director of Good Old Games, since March. But working for CD Projekt for three years, for another company from the group. They have a few other companies, there was one called Porting House I was managing, then I took over GoG five months ago.

GamesIndustry.biz How's GoG going now? Are you where you expected to be at this point?
Guillaume Rambourg

We have made quite some progress since we launched in October 2008. As of today we have over 230 games on GoG, we sign content from major publishers like Activision, Ubisoft, Atari. We launched some Atari games back in May. We had Outcast, Master of Orion, so we are quite satisfied with our trend. The thing is, I believe we are running after roughly 200 good old games, and then I think the PC catalogue will be pretty much packed. There are only so many good old games. 450, 500 and then I think we'll be done. So what can I say...?

GamesIndustry.biz What happens then, where can you go next?
Guillaume Rambourg

It took us two years to get 230 games, so I think it will still take us at least another year, maybe two years to get to 400. We still have much on the plate. Our current strategy is to have one key publisher per quarter, so we had Atari in May, that was the second quarter, right. So I think we will hopefully announce another big publisher before Christmas.

GamesIndustry.biz Although you're the only retro-only service, you do get a lot of older titles cropping up on Steam and Direct2Drive. Have you had problems signing up titles because they're disputed?
Guillaume Rambourg

I don't think we have any kind of strong competition. We have a niche market, we don't want to touch full-price for now, we don't want to touch new releases. We want to fully concentrate on back catalogue titles. We have a niche and we try and go as deep as we can, have some singularity and be different than the competition. I wouldn't call Steam and others our competitors.

GamesIndustry.biz How has the business model changes in the two years you've been running? Have you been able to experiment with sales and new trends?
Guillaume Rambourg

We're learning every day, because digital distribution is evolving all the time. I would say the business model is still the same; we just have a better flair, a better feeling for pitching certain titles, reviving certain brands so we have the right angle and the right approach to make the business model more efficient. But in the end we still have the same roots, the same ideas as in the beginning. We're just building up on a solid foundation.

GamesIndustry.biz Do the crazy sales that have gone well for other channels appeal? Or is it a bit academic when your prices are low anyway?
Guillaume Rambourg

We have only two price points on GoG – we have $5.99 and $9.99. So as such we have already quite a pure message for the users. So of course we run promotions, but we are not so much into it. We believe that the best way to promote the games it not to have promotions all the time, but to put your heart into it. That's why we specialise in reviving the brands by adding some exclusive interviews, talking to the guys who made those games. I think this is the best way, not to dive into endless promotions all the time, and devalue the products.

GamesIndustry.biz How much does your audience engender that – older, more affluent gamers, who already treasure these games rather than consider them a commodity?
Guillaume Rambourg

Yes, this is our approach from the very beginning. That's why we are DRM-free and so on. Nowadays, the users have a huge offering on their plate, they are trawling under a huge offer. So the users that are very knowledgeable about what they want, and which are the best games. So an old game today, we have to play on commercial factors like convenience and being DRM free, and play on emotions as well. We are putting a lot of heart into it, because that's the only way to convince people to put down six bucks or ten bucks. Even though it's not so much, but to spend their money on an old game rather than the latest trendiest thing.

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Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer

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A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.

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