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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Filed Under: borders, internet, steam, video games, world of good


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2008 @ 7:42pm

    Well hopefully they can still get the Wii version. Anyone know if it's available for Europe on Wii?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2008 @ 7:49pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mejobloggs, 20 Oct 2008 @ 7:58pm

    You can buy a region free version off the World of Goo website.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Phil, 20 Oct 2008 @ 8:02pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Phil, 20 Oct 2008 @ 8:07pm

    Bad Link

    Sorry, here is the link again minus HTML so it doesn't get eaten.

    http://media.beanstalkgames.com/demos/wog/WorldOfGooDemo_Setup5.exe

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      matt, 20 Oct 2008 @ 8:50pm

      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 :)

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

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Randy, 30 Oct 2008 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re: Bad Link

        Phil,

        I'm in the states, but thanks for the link to the demo!

        I love this game! Way cool graphics, enjoyable music (a major plus) and the gameplay is terrific.

        Viva la Goo!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 20 Oct 2008 @ 8:57pm

    lETS SEE.

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2008 @ 10:58pm

    I think it is safe to say the game dev's did not want this, as others have stated, they are selling a REGION FREE version on their own website: http://2dboy.com/games.php .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Justin Mason, 21 Oct 2008 @ 1:53am

    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 :(

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    madlep, 21 Oct 2008 @ 2:06am

    You can kind of use it on Steam

    According to http://www.1fort.com/blog/world-of-goo-pre-order-key-now-works-on-steam/ you can still buy a regular vanilla version of the game from the World of Goo website, then use the activation key to register it on Steam, and download that way if you're a European player.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Oct 2008 @ 9:38am

    Simultaneous Release

    Often times, retailers will not stock a game if the digital version is released before the boxed version, or if the digital version is sold for less than the MSRP of the boxed version, so the publisher could be holding back the digital version in Europe to preserve their retail contracts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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