TIME Video Games

Video Games Come of Age as Spectator Sport

TEC-Twitch-Video Games As Spectator Sport
This frame grab taken from Twitch.tv shows two gamers competing and a streaming chat, at right, as visitors to the online network watch the two gamers go head to head Twitch.tv—AP

Fans watch for the same reasons ancient Romans flocked to the Colosseum: to witness extraordinary displays of agility and skill

(NEW YORK) — Video games have been a spectator sport since teenagers crowded around arcade machines to watch friends play “Pac-Man.” And for decades, kids have gathered in living rooms to marvel at how others master games like “Street Fighter II” and “Super Mario Bros.”

But today there’s Twitch, the online network that attracts millions of visitors, most of whom watch live and recorded footage of other people playing video games —in much the same way that football fans tune in to ESPN.

Twitch’s 55 million monthly users viewed over 15 billion minutes of content on the service in July, making Twitch.tv one of the world’s biggest sources of Internet traffic. According to network services company Sandvine, Twitch generates more traffic in the U.S. than HBO Go, the streaming service that’s home to popular shows such as “Game of Thrones” and “Girls.”

Fans watch for the same reasons ancient Romans flocked to the Colosseum: to witness extraordinary displays of agility and skill.

Jacob Malinowski, a 16-year-old Twitch fan who lives outside of Milwaukee, admits that some may question the entertainment value of Twitch’s content.

“(But) I think it’s interesting because you get to watch someone who’s probably better at the game than you are,” he says. “You can see what they do and copy what they do and get better.”

Amazon’s commitment to purchase Twitch for nearly $1 billion this week is an acknowledgement that the service’s loyal fan base and revenue streams from ads and channel subscriptions present enormous opportunity.

Most Twitch viewers are gamers themselves who not only see the live and recorded video sessions as a way to sharpen their abilities, but also as a way to interact with star players in chatrooms or simply be entertained.

Sorah Devlin, a 31-year-old mother of two from Geneva, New York, says she watches Twitch with her 7-year-old son and 4 year-old daughter and enjoys it more than children’s television programming. Their game of choice is “Minecraft,” which lets players build —or break— things out of cubes and explore a blocky 3-D world around them. Devlin and her kids watch popular “Minecraft” players who go by names such as iBallisticSquid and SuperChache show their skills. The players, she says, have a sense of humor and are good at keeping the content “at most PG” so she is comfortable watching them with the kids.

“He likes being able to ask questions and it made him open up more,” she says of her son. As for Amazon’s purchase, Devlin says she was “kind of surprised, but I think they are starting to realize that gamers are much more of an enterprise than they thought.”

Indeed, Twitch fans are the stuff of advertisers’ dreams. They are mostly male and between the ages of 18 and 49, an important demographic for advertisers. Twitch’s so-called user engagement is high. Nearly half of visitors spend 20 or more hours a week watching Twitch video, according to the company.

“You’ve got a hyper-growth platform with a niche audience,” says Nathaniel Perez, global head of social media at advertising firm SapientNitro. “It’s basically the best you can get, from an advertisers’ perspective.”

As a result, Twitch commands premium prices from advertisers. The company’s cost per thousand views, or the amount an advertiser pays to run one video ad 1,000 times, is $16.84 in the U.S., according to video ad-buying software company TubeMogul. That’s well above the average $9.11 per thousand advertisers typically pay for video ads placed on other sites.

“Their users are relevant to so many advertisers,” says Alex Debelov, CEO and co-founder of Virool, a video advertising platform company.

Twitch can be lucrative for talented gamers too. The site allows some gamers who set up channels —what the company calls “broadcasters”— to charge $5 monthly subscription fees to viewers. Plus Twitch gives a portion of all ad revenue to broadcasters.

Twitch didn’t start out as a video game-focused company. The company, based in San Francisco, spun out of Justin.tv, a quirky service that revolved around a video feed tracking the daily activities of co-founder Justin Kan. The focus shifted to live video for gamers in 2011.

Brett Butz, 26, who works as a compliance officer outside of Boston, says he’s spent $20 to $25 to watch content on Twitch, which is “more than I ever paid for YouTube,” which also broadcasts games. While YouTube is popular with gamers, Butz says he prefers Twitch as a place to view games.

Amazon is promising to let its newest acquisition operate independently. But for some gamers, the deal brands Twitch with a corporate stamp.

“I’m curious to see if, in a year, it’ll still have cache,” says Patrick Markey, psychology professor at Villanova University who focuses on video games. “It’s definitely considered a gamer platform but now that Amazon is buying it, is it becoming mainstream … is it going to lose its coolness?”

TIME Companies

Apple Fails Again to Ban Sales of Samsung Phones

Apple Samsung Patent
A Samsung and Apple smartphone are displayed in London on Aug. 6, 2014 Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images

The latest in the Apple-Samsung patent war

A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected Apple’s bid to permanently ban sales of some Samsung phones that had recently been found to infringe Apple patents.

What Apple pitched as a “narrowly tailed ban” on some older Samsung models was denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, Calif., who had rejected Apple’s previous request to ban some U.S. Samsung sales in August of 2012, according to Bloomberg.

In its bid, Apple specifically identified certain features on nine of Samsung’s patent-infringing smartphones in order to give the South Korean firm a “sunset period” to alter those features, according to court documents.

But Apple’s latest court denial is perhaps its last as both parties have toned down their multiyear patent war. In late July, Apple dropped its appeal of the 2012 case while also announcing that its quarterly profits and smartphone sales had jumped up from the previous year’s, a suggestion that its iPhone sales went largely unaffected by any Samsung patent infringements. Most recently, both Apple and Samsung agreed earlier this month to drop patent disputes against each other outside the U.S.

TIME Gadgets

You Can Now Buy a GoPro Camera Harness For Your Dog

GoPro's new Fetch Dog Mount. GoPro Inc

The video camera maker has launched a new product for pet lovers

Now you can feel even closer to your dog by seeing the world from a more canine point of view.

GoPro, which makes tiny cameras popular with adventurers and travelers, has launched a new camera mount for dogs called Fetch. The dog harness is adjustable to accommodate dogs of all sizes, and GoPro cameras can be attached in two different locations: on the dog’s back and underneath its chest. With Fetch, you can watch your dog chew its bone close-up or frolic through a dog park.

GoPro's new Fetch Dog Mount in action.
GoPro’s new Fetch Dog Mount in action. GoPro Inc

The harness is washable and includes a tether to make sure the camera stays in place. The harness is by no means cheap, costing $60 (camera not included), and as of Wednesday afternoon, the product was already out of stock. You can check it out here.

The other dogs at the dog park will be so jealous.

TIME Video Games

Kinect for Xbox One by Itself Will Set You Back $150

Microsoft

It'll cost a little more than many probably hoped, but it comes with a pack-in game and it's less expensive than the Windows version.

When Microsoft launched its Xbox One games console in November 2013, it cost $500: $100 more than Sony’s PlayStation 4, and $150 to $200 more than Nintendo’s Wii U.

That steep price tag arguably cost Microsoft launch sales as well as momentum heading into 2014. Sony now claims over 10 million PlayStation 4 units sold worldwide, a record for any games console in a similar period, whereas at last check (in April, the last time we saw a formal number), Microsoft said its Xbox One had shipped to stores (distinct from sold to consumers) some 5 million units.

Surely because of that lack of momentum, Microsoft dropped the Xbox One’s price from $500 to $400 in early June, but at the expense of removing its Kinect motion-control sensor from the system.

Since June, you’ve been able to buy the Xbox One without Kinect, but if you wanted to buy the Kinect sensor separately, you couldn’t because here wasn’t a standalone Kinect SKU.

Microsoft never intended to sell Kinect as a standalone SKU, because Kinect was supposed to inextricable from the Xbox One experience. It’s removal was the boldest sea change in a series of philosophical reversals the company’s made since the system debuted.

The standalone Xbox One Kinect SKU finally has a price tag and a launch date: Microsoft announced it’ll cost $149, and you can buy it on October 7. That $149 includes a copy of Dance Central Spotlight, an upcoming music video game in the Dance Central series due out on September 2.

Yes, the math seems wonky at first blush. I suspect most assume that if the Xbox One was $500 with Kinect and $400 without, Kinect by itself ought to be $100. But there’s packaging to consider, plus intangibles like the development value of being able to depend on Kinect’s presence in a given home. And of course there’s Microsoft’s right to jack up the price any way it likes. This is a company that, for years, managed to sell a proprietary Wi-Fi USB dongle for the Xbox 360 at two to three times the asking price for similar PC parts, after all.

Microsoft says, “Kinect remains an important part of the Xbox One experience.” Never mind that claim: how important is going to come down to evidence in the coming years. Either the company’s going to release groundbreaking games and media center features or it won’t. If it doesn’t, Kinect becomes like any other secondary peripheral in the annals of console-dom: somewhat interesting, occasionally amusing, and utterly niche.

Note that Microsoft currently sells a Windows version of Kinect as well, a part that launched in July for $200 without a pack-in game. So at least from a PC gamer’s standpoint, you could argue console gamers are getting a pretty good deal.

TIME apps

The Top 25 Smartphone Apps, Revealed

Digital analytics firm comScore recently released a list of the top 25 mobile apps in the United States, each based on the number of unique users over a one-month period this June. Did your favorites make the list?

According to the report, the top app in the United States is Facebook by far – 115.4 million people over the age of 18 used the social networking app in June. YouTube comes in second with 83.4 million unique users, followed by Google Play, Google Search and streaming music app Pandora. The full top 25 list is as follows:

1. Facebook (115.4 million)

Check out Comprehensive Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings as well as the 5 Biggest Facebook Mistakes and How to Fix Them.

2. YouTube (83.4 million)

Find out How to Discover What’s Hot on YouTube, 6 Great YouTube Channels for the Latest News, 8 World-Class College Courses Free on YouTube, and more about YouTube’s new music subscription service.

3. Google Play (72.2 million)

This is the Android app store that comes preinstalled on every Android phone.

4. Google Search (70.2 million)

Get the most out of search with 11 Google Search Tips Everyone Should Know and How to Use Your Smartphone Camera to Search.

5. Pandora (69 million)

While Pandora is the most popular music stream app, there are many others with different features you should consider.

6. Google Maps (64.5 million)

The indisputable king of online mapping apps, Google Maps is constantly being updated. Just in this year, it added functionality that allows you to save maps for offline use, hail an Uber ride and measure aerial distances..

7. Gmail (60.3 million)

If you check your smartphone all the time for important emails, check out How To Never Miss an Important Email as well as 5 Tips for Getting More out of Gmail.

8. Instagram (46.6 million)

This image sharing app has the bells and whistles that keeps social photographers clicking away. Now you can even post video.

9. Apple Maps (42.1 million)

This comes standard on iPhones now, but is still far inferior to Google Maps.

10. Yahoo Stocks (42.1 million)

Again, standard on many phones.

11. iTunes Radio/iCloud (40.5 million)

Standard.

12. Facebook Messenger (39.2 million)

This one is now required to use Facebook chat, but on the upside, you can make free voice calls with it.

13. Yahoo Weather Widget (36.1 million)

Standard app for many Android phones. Consider these top-rated competitors.

14. Twitter (34.7 million)

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced user, you can’t be a part of today’s social media scene without Twitter.

15. The Weather Channel (30 million)

See #13.

16. Google+ (28.8 million)

Google’s attempt at a social media service hasn’t done very well, but it still comes standard on many phones.

17. Netflix (27.6 million)

Great for streaming a full season of Orange Is the New Black, but be careful only to watch when connected to Wi-Fi otherwise you’ll eat through your data plan in no time.

18. Snapchat (26.5 million)

This photo sharing app that destroys the image shortly after sending has become an enormous hit among teens.

19. Amazon Mobile (26.5 million)

Many people don’t know the best feature of this app: You can order a product simply by taking a snapshot of it with your phone.

20. Pinterest (24.6 million)

This moodboarding service is a great way to find inspiration, recipes and more.

21. eBay (22.2 million)

While eBay is a great way to unload your used goods, remember to change your password.

22. Skype (18.8 million)

The popular video chat service is always improving. Group video calls are now free and real-time speech translation is coming by the end of the year. It’s also a great way to get free messaging.

23. Shazam (18.4 million)

A popular music recognition service. Check out #5 for listening and discovery options.

24. Yahoo Mail (17.6 million)

Standard for many phones; #7 has more resources for you.

25. Kik Messenger (17.2 million)

A popular messaging app that younger users have flocked to.

As you can see, there are a large number of Google apps on the list, thanks in part to so many of them being built in to Android phones by default. Social networking is big, too – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ all make the list.

Obviously, because the above list is constructed based on user numbers, there are a ton of great apps worth downloading that aren’t in the top 25. You can take a look at picks for the best mobile apps by checking out Techlicious’ top 10 free Android apps and top 10 free iPhone apps.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Technology & Media

Time Warner Cable Outage Raises Questions About Comcast Merger

National Cable and Telecommunications Association Cable Show
The Time Warner Cable Inc. logo is seen on the exhibit floor during the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Cable Show in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, June 11, 2013. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's a redundancy issue

Updated 1:05 p.m.

Thousands of Time Warner Cable customers woke up Wednesday morning, took a shower, poured their morning coffee, opened up their computers, and… nothing.

A massive outage that TWC later said was the result of an infrastructure problem triggered during routine maintenance affected subscribers from the East Coast to Los Angeles, as shown by a map in which wide swaths of the country glowed a bright, troublesome red—a color that probably matched the faces of customers who tried calling customer service hotlines only to be met with a busy signal.

Thankfully for TWC customers, the outage struck in the wee hours of the morning, when big maintenance projects are typically undertaken exactly because there’s a lighter load and fewer folks who stand to be affected if something goes wrong. The issue was also fixed relatively quickly, considering the number of people it touched. But Wednesday’s glitch could cause headaches later on for TWC—and even more so for Comcast, the cable and content behemoth that’s looking to merge with TWC in a landmark deal that, if allowed, would create the single largest Internet provider in the country.

Comcast can’t go right ahead and buy Time Warner Cable like you can buy a magazine at a newsstand. A deal this big—worth about $45 billion—and one raising significant antitrust and public interest concerns needs to get the government’s go-ahead before it can be completed. Two federal agencies have the power to put the kibosh on the whole shebang: the Department of Justice, which will evaluate antitrust issues, and the Federal Communications Commission, which could block the merger on broadly-defined public interest grounds.

In preliminary hearings and statements about their proposed merger, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have argued the deal should go ahead as proposed because it wouldn’t significantly change the cable industry’s competitive makeup: Comcast and TWC, the companies accurately say, don’t currently compete in specific geographic territories, so individual customers won’t really be losing an option for getting cable (or fiber) to their home.

But as the anti-merger crowd says, a merged Comcast-TWC would have unprecedented size and scale both in content delivery and creation, especially when considering its recent purchase of NBCUniversal. That size and vertical integration, anti-merger advocates say, would mean Comcast could really turn the screws on the few cable or fiber companies with which it would compete in various regions, like Verizon, Charter and Cablevision. If a post-merger Comcast chose to engage in anti-competitive practices or if its regional rivals just couldn’t keep up, those advocates say, it will eventually be the consumers who lose out.

However, Wednesday’s outage brings up a point that hasn’t been talked about much in this debate: Physical infrastructure redundancy.

If TWC’s Internet infrastructure—the routers, switches and other physical stuff which help get Internet traffic into and out of your home—is added to Comcast’s, that would result in a pretty giant network. Therein lies a potential redundancy issue: If millions of post-merger subscribers are on the Comcast network and a catastrophic failure like Wednesday’s happens, millions more people would potentially be affected than would otherwise be the case. And in a post-merger world, those customers could wind up with fewer options for leaving Comcast if they got fed up with network issues, putting less competitive pressure on the company to address any network issues that arise.

Comcast’s network engineers are undoubtedly already thinking about this, but as the debate over the Comcast-TWC merger continues to heat up, expect this map to show up again — and sure enough, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday afternoon he’s ordered an investigation of the Time Warner Cable outage as part of a merger review.

“Dependable Internet service is a vital link in our daily lives and telecommunications companies have a responsibility to deliver reliable service to their customers,” Cuomo said.

TIME apps

Here’s How to Embed Your Hyperlapse Videos on Twitter

It's a YouTube-based workaround

Instagram’s new app Hyperlapse is pretty nifty for creating silky-smooth timelapse videos with your iPhone. Sharing your favorite Hyperlapse videos on Instagram and Facebook is super-easy right from the app, but what if you want to tweet them as an embedded video? That’s a bit harder, as Instagram disabled Twitter embeds back in 2012—not long after Facebook bought Instagram in a $1-billion deal.

But embedding Hyperlapse videos in your tweets is possible, with this workaround.

After you’ve made your Hyperlapse video, it’s automatically saved to your iPhone’s Camera Roll as a normal .MOV file. To get that bad boy on Twitter as an embedded video, simply upload the .MOV to YouTube (preferably over Wi-Fi, as big .MOV files can really eat into your data plan). You can do this either automatically through your iPhone, if it’s linked to your YouTube account, or by emailing the .MOV file to yourself and uploading it on your desktop.

Once your Hyperlapse is up on YouTube, simply tweet out the YouTube link and your video will appear embedded in the tweet:

Done and done.

TIME Media

Patton Oswalt: Why I Quit Twitter—And Will Again

Maybe the next fashionable rebellion is to become “unlinked"—only reachable face-to-face

On June 1 of this year I resolved to take a break from all social media. No Twitter, no Facebook. No visiting click-bait video sites, news aggregators, or any link with the words “… you won’t BELIEVE …” in the title. I logged off on June 1st and planned my return for Tuesday, September 2.

In the first week alone I dropped 15 pounds, re-watched Krzysztof Kieslowski’s The Decalogue, built a sustainable small-yield garden for my daughter, and learned knife throwing. By the second week I’d read all three volumes of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle, completed a triathlon, and cooked the first half of Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit cookbook. By week three I had melded my consciousness with the sphere-bleed of galactic central point’s sentient Time Shell and hiked the Andes.

Actually, I spent the first week silently lurking on Twitter, checking my “@” mentions, visiting the feeds of people I both love and despise. I did the usual Google searches of my name and played game after game of GemCraft: Chasing Shadows. I gained weight. I started but still haven’t finished Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, and Howard Cruse’s Stuck Rubber Baby. I still clicked on videos. Visited my usual news aggregate haunts. Wasted time.

The second and third week weren’t much different, but … they weren’t the same. A couple of times, in line at a grocery store or coffee shop, instead of taking out my phone to stiff-arm the creeping ennui, I’d look around instead. At the world. At the people around me. Most of them looking at their phones. We now inhabit a planet where the majority of the population is constantly staring downwards, entranced, twiddling like carpenter ants. Do pickpockets know they’re living in a second renaissance?

Sometimes I’d catch the gaze of a holdout like me. A freak without a phone. Adrift in this gallery of bowed heads. A teenager, whose phone had probably died. Or a slightly older “millennial,” probably waiting for a video to load. But they were unique and far between. It was, mostly, people my age, and older—stooped, staring statues, peeping at windows in their palms.

Once I’d gotten past the first month, though, I noticed an interesting pattern. By this point I rarely looked at my phone. The only times I’d use Twitter was to re-Tweet a link to a project I was involved in, or help promote a friend’s documentary, or fund­raising effort, or album release. My phone only came out of my pocket if I needed to call someone or, more often, text someone. More and more, my eyes met the world. At eye level.

Those holdout freaks I talked about? The teen whose phone battery I assumed had died? Or the older millennial I assumed was downloading a video? They were the ones not using their phones. They had the strongest immunity to the devices’ pull. It was the older people, the over-40s like me, and those way older, who couldn’t escape the tiny gravity of connection constantly yanking us out of existence.

Maybe it’s because this younger generation doesn’t have the demarcation we have—of a world before cell phones and then after. It was always there for them. So it’s not a novelty. And thus has less power. They don’t remember the endorphin rush of sudden connectivity, like when people my age first logged onto dial-up Internet and, after 10 minutes, sheepishly searched for their own name. Or the first time we received an email. And when those things happened on our phones? It was like the apes touching the monolith at the beginning of 2001.

I really enjoyed these three months away. Slowly weaning myself off of social media has, ironically, made me feel younger. At least, I have the habits of a much younger person now. I used social media—at least for these past 90 days—at the frequency of a 20 year old. Occasionally, like it wasn’t some exotic novelty, and didn’t need to be consumed like a wine whose supply was finite.

Here’s a thought—what if the next fashionable rebellion, from whatever generation rears its head after the millennials, is to become “unlinked.” Only reachable face-to-face. Hmm.

I think I’m going to do this every summer. June 1 to post–Labor Day. Eyes up, logged off. Remember how, in The Matrix, mankind had become batteries, so the machines could feed off of us? Well, it’s happening now, just 140 words at a time. It’s too late to go back, but you can carve out three hot months to recharge.

Oswalt is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor.

TIME Home entertainment

GOG.com Is Getting Into the DRM-Free Movie and TV Business

GOG.com, nee "Good Old Games," is throwing its hat in the DRM-free video ring, hoping to eventually persuade the big studios to liberate all movies and TV shows.

GOG.com–the encyclopedically stocked go-to site for older versions of PC games refurbished to play on existing Windows, Mac and Linux computers–is getting into the DRM-free movie business, or it’s trying to anyway. The company just announced that it’s going to pull the trigger on a slew of film and TV content that it’ll let buyers download or stream at leisure.

Movies and television shows would be completely new territory for GOG.com, media content and distribution mechanisms it’s had no experience with to date…save for one crucial component: the DRM-free part.

Today, say you want to watch movies at home, you have any number of options: stream from a service like Netflix or Hulu, buy and download from an e-tailer like iTunes or Amazon, or if you’re old-school (or like my wife’s parents who live at the ends of the earth in rural Iowa, stuck in an Internet black hole) you rent something on a physical disc from your local grocery store or Redbox vending machine.

But grabbing any of the above without digital rights management is essentially verboten. The content isn’t yours: It’s either borrowed or earmarked for use with a proprietary distribution mechanism. Short of poking around websites that catalog video in the public domain, attempting to decouple physical discs you’ve purchased and want to rip for backup or playback purposes from their copy protection bulwarks, or flat-out turning to piracy, DRM-free video isn’t an option in today’s world.

GOG.com’s position on DRM is, you could argue, its primary PR cachet. The site’s mantra is “you buy it, you own it,” period. No copy protection, no download or reinstallation or backup limits. Nada. That philosophy’s allowed the site to carve out significant space in the currently Steam-dominant downloadable PC gaming scene, and it’s apparently driving a sustainable business model.

In that light, wading into film and television with a DRM-free angle makes a certain amount of sense. It’s by no means clear the company’s going to succeed, of course. The deal starts with “over 200 partners in the gaming industry,” so publishers like EA, Square Enix and Ubisoft alongside various indie studios. That means documentaries, largely, at first, though much of it will start off unique to the site. GOG.com says the service will include world premieres like Gamer Age, The King of Arcades and Pixel Poetry, as well as award-winners off the festival circuit like Indie Game: The Movie.

But I’d wager most people see the phrase “movie and TV” used in a sentence with DRM and want to know when they’re going to be able to download a DRM-free copy of the first season of shows like Breaking Bad or True Detective. (That’s what I’d want to know, anyway.)

“Our initial idea was to start with the big guys, but the process is not easy,” says Guillaume Rambourg, GOG.com VP for North America. “In our first round of talks, the response was largely, ‘We love your ideas, but we do not want to be the first ones. We will gladly follow, but until somebody else does it first, we do not want to take the risk.’”

Rambourg claims most studio officials agree with GOG.com that DRM is “pointless,” but says they wind up punting to conservative legal departments, which of course have no intention of lowering their respective DRM drawbridges. GOG.com says it decided to regroup and prove the concept first, thus it’s launching its DRM-free film section “with documentaries catering directly to its existing community: gamers and geeks.”

GOG.com says these films, which can be streamed or fully downloaded as preferred, will include additional content, and that two of the launch titles–Art of Playing and TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard–will be available free of charge. Buy a video on GOG.com and you’ll get a file, says the company, which you can play whenever and wherever you want. New movies should arrive thereafter at a rate of at least once a week, and it sounds like the company’s starting with a flat price model: $5.99 a piece.

So no, not the place to go if you want to own shows like Treme or Fargo free and clear, but it’s a start, and who else is offering even that much? GOG.com says it’s “aiming high,” of course, and that its goal is to free “all movies and TV series from DRM.” It’s hard to imagine any of the major studios cozying up, but then the idea that you’d be able to buy hundreds of legacy PC games for peanuts, play them on modern machines and outright own them, DRM-free, after decades of code-wheels and pass-phrases and all sorts of other copy protection shenanigans, was just a pipe dream until GOG.com came along six years ago and proved it could be done.

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