GOG.com has been the go-to place for DRM-free PC games for many customers over the past 10 years. But it would appear that things are not going swimmingly in CD Projekt's game storefront.
Yesterday's article by Kotaku's Jason Schreier triggered a lot of worried reactions from fans, as it reported an apparent layoff of at least a dozen GOG staff members, citing communications with one of the fired people who claimed it was a financial decision. However, a representative of the company stated in the same article that they have "welcomed nearly twice as many new team members, and currently hold 20 open positions." Linked is the listing of job openings, which may be even more telling than that representative believed - while some openings have been there for a while, like software engineering for their SDK, the very top of the list shows that the position of the Head of Software Engineering for GOG Galaxy (GOG's optional client with limited success) is vacant.
Not even a full day later, GOG themselves announced the ending of their Fair Price Package program which offset the differences in regional pricing out of their own pockets in the form of GOG Wallet money that could be spent on other games in the GOG catalogue. Their announcement was pretty upfront and sincere about the reasoning, however:
In the past, we were able to cover these extra costs from our cut and still turn a small profit. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. With an increasing share paid to developers, our cut gets smaller. However, we look at it, at the end of the day we are a store and need to make sure we sell games without a loss.
Removing FPP is not a decision we make lightly, but by making this change, we will be able to offer better conditions to game creators, which — in turn — will allow us to offer you more curated classic games and new releases. All DRM-free.
Finally, if we take a look at CD Projekt's financial report for Q3 2018, we can see on page 34 that although the year 2018 up to 30 September was more profitable in total than the same period in 2017, revenue showed a drop in Q3 2018 and especially when compared to Q3 2017. CD Projekt's latest games on the platform, Gwent: A Witcher Card Game and Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, went largely ignored by the wider gaming public despite their best efforts to advertise them, and the latter was eventually brought to Steam even though it was initially supposed to be a GOG exclusive.
As a regular customer of GOG's storefront, I hope that the bad news end here and now, and that there's a bright future for the platform, since DRM has only been proven as detrimental for games in the long run time and time again (hello, SafeDisc and Denuvo, you pieces of junk!) despite publishers believing in fairy tales to the contrary, and GOG's installers let players back up their games however they wish instead of giving glorified permissions to play potentially timebombed games.