Hitman launches on DRM-free store with online-only features, and fans are not happy

Written by Neil Soutter on Mon, Sep 27, 2021 12:58 PM
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CD Projekt launched the GOG store in 2008 with the aim of bringing DRM-free copies of video games into the hands of gamers. Since then, the store has stuck with the DRM-free mantra, but a recent release has seemingly struck a nerve with some fans when it was revealed to not be entirely DRM-free.

Although GOG is home to some older Hitman titles, the most recent ones aren’t being sold on the store. That is, until Hitman (2016) launched on GOG this week, but is being review bombed for still incorporating online-only elements despite not having any official form of anti-piracy DRM and labelling itself as “DRM-free. No activation or online connection required to play.

Although that is technically true, the reason Hitman needs an online connection is in order to play online-related activities like leaderboards, user-created contracts, and the regular elusive targets. Most importantly though, it is needed to advance your Mastery progression, which is required in order to unlock new weapons and gear, or different starting locations or pickup points when you replay missions.

Though, the case can be made that requiring an online connection to play a game is a form of DRM any way you look at it, but fans are not at all happy. Currently, it sits at a rating of 1.4/5 stars on GOG, which is the lowest rated Hitman on GOG by far. Most reviews are criticizing GOG and the publisher (IO Interactive) for releasing the game without coming up with a way to play Hitman offline with the same features.

GOG has taken a stance by saying they will be “looking into it and will be updating you in the coming weeks” and urged unsatisfied customers to seek a refund. However, they will not tolerate review bombing and will remove posts that “do not follow our review guidelines,” though that does not mean they will be removing all negative reviews.

What do you think? Are the fans right? Should the publisher have come up with a way to enable Mastery progression offline before selling it on GOG? Does this hurt GOG’s integrity? How often do you buy games on GOG? Let us know!

How often do you buy games on GOG?

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13:37 Sep-28-2021

GOG is a DRM free store and as such should remove the game. I buy almost everything on there and will always support it. When i buy it, i own it. If i have to be online to play it, it's like a limited time renting until the servers are down.

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13:42 Sep-28-2021

Would like to add that i can make an offline backup installer for every game i own on GOG, so yes. I own it forever.

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06:43 Sep-28-2021

Saw it on GOG few days ago i was quite happy since i really enjoyed the "old" hitman games... but when i found out it was online i could not freaking believe it. GOG should not have even allowed this in the 1st place. IO Interactive deserves 0/10 for doing this mostly. Make it offline or GTFO! It's that simple.

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23:22 Sep-27-2021

I don't think GOG should have ever allowed Hitman(2016) on their store. Sure, online requirement isn't for DRM purposes. But it still is online requirement. And it will still make it impossible to play it when servers shut down. And whole point of GOG is to have games on independent store, DRM free, always available and playable regardless if servers or anything at all gets shut down. If you store installer, whole internet can go to hell and you can still install and play it. So it feels like GOG isn't even sure what they want to be now. Considering they let this slip. Plus any negative review for requiring online connection is well justified, since the whole point of reviews is to inform you about the game and this isn't off-topic, like review bombs where they bomb game for what publisher did for example. It is straight up pointing that this game doesn't fit into reason you go to GOG in the first place. And if that changes, I might as well stop using GOG, then there is very little difference between them and Steam.

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16:37 Sep-27-2021

This kind of online feature raises a question: How will we play Hitman the day the servers close? Will it still be possible to play the game after that? I buy a lot of games on GOG because they are DRM free so this kind of thing? It's a no buy for me.

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17:23 Sep-27-2021

You might be able to download the game trough utorrent or any other platform

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12:12 Sep-28-2021

I guess what Eazymandias means to say is: "When online-only features can't be accessed when servers are down for Hitman, can we still progress through the game?". This means you're paying for a service that might go down unconditionally, making you "a not so smart consumer", and gamers most of all people, hate to be treated like they're some goat consumers who'd chew on everything u give them.

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16:35 Sep-27-2021

As much as i love Hitman, i have to agree, the "offline" part, the missions, should be totally offline, if you want, you may upload your stats or records later or on specific agreement, and shouldn't be "required"

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13:05 Sep-27-2021

I saw the release and I have to agree - needing online access to progress through the game is nonsensical. I guess you can LAUNCH the game without any DRM, but if you want ANY unlocks - gear, stashes, starting locations, etc - you must be online. Take a wild guess what happens when IO close the servers.... It's a joke and deserves the crap rating...

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14:12 Sep-27-2021

Totally agree, the online stuff could have been patched to work offline

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