No World Of Goo For Europeans?

from the digital-borders-are-meaningless dept

The whole concept of staggered regional releases of digital products makes less and less sense in an internet age, but it does create some bizarre situations. Reader SteveD alerts us to the launch last week of a puzzle game called World of Goo that was apparently selling quite well (despite the developers’ decision to offer it without DRM — showing, once again, that you don’t need DRM to sell a video game). However, two days after being released, the game disappeared from Steam, the popular video game distribution system, for European users. Apparently, the European publishers of the game wanted to delay the digital release of the game until the physical version was ready sometime next year. This seems backwards and bound to fail. Now any European player who wants the game is more likely to pirate it rather than buy it. It appears the game’s developers aren’t too happy about it either:

“As part of our European agreement, we are restricted from selling the game on Steam in Europe. I’m thinking this was a clause that was accidentally left in, since I can’t imagine this kind of restriction is good for anyone. We’re going to try to reverse it. We live in the future. We shouldn’t even have countries and regions. Just one big Internet where everyone is equal.”

It will be interesting to see what happens, as it’s nice to think that this was an “accident,” but we’ve seen too many company execs somehow think that artificial scarcity is a reasonable business model, and thus limiting the digital release for a while might make sense in their minds.

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Comments on “No World Of Goo For Europeans?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I found a small oversight, but Steam is a popular video game distribution system company based stateside, and most games are available for US users as well as those in the Eurozone.

That aside, it would make sense to use Steam as a distribution channel, especially if there’s no overhead for the publisher. But alas, some companies have distribution capabilities and decide to maintain those high operational costs.

Phil says:

Shameless Plug

It’s a great game. If anyone wants to try the demo you can download it from:

World of Goo Demo

Full Disclosure: I work for the US Distributor for World of Goo. There is a link in the demo that you can use to purchase the PC version of the game from most anywhere in the world.

I bought the game for myself after playing the demo before we acquired the rights. It really is a great game.

matt says:

Re: Bad Link

what’s of equal interest is that the company having to deal with the game is actually watching techdirt and saying something,which we all applaud.

Maybe all the bad publicity will wake the euro publishers up real soon ๐Ÿ™‚

Also: since when is a US host affected by an EU publisher’s rules?

ECA (profile) says:


Interesting and stupid.
Simple distribution to over 60% of computers, and they DONT want to use it??
Distrib over the net is QUICk FAST and CHEAP, and you can get to over 60% of the computers.
No Store sales,
NO Packaging,
NO handling or freight charges..
ANd very little Advertising needed.

What are they trying to do? Shoot themselves in the foot?
Only reason I goto a store, is for the CHEAP programs, that have been MARKED down over the past 6 months.

Justin Mason (user link) says:

not on Wii

I can confirm it’s not on Wii either for EU residents (or at least, residents of Ireland).

I’ve been looking forward to this game since the US release, and have logged onto WiiWare a couple of times to check it out — and of course, it was never there. Now I know why ๐Ÿ™

This is ridiculous. By the time it comes out on physical media, there’s a good chance I’ll have forgotten all about it… they’ll have missed the boat on its good PR entirely.

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