It was announced today that those who purchase The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition from the online streaming service will receive a free download copy of the game from GOG. The deal is only valid for the Full PlayPass, which runs $19.99, and not the monthly PlayPack Bundle.
While at first glance it’s interesting way to sell games on the service, as it ensures purchasers that they will always have a copy available to play regardless of an internet connection, it begs the question of the point of buying it on OnLive if your computer can run the downloadable version of it. After all, the main purpose of OnLive is the ability to play technically-advanced PC games on low end rigs or Macs, so giving a downloadable code as incentive is a pointless promotion. Anybody who’d want it would have the means to play the game outside of OnLive, which honestly, is a much better experience. Those who don’t would find it no incentive as they’d need to play it on OnLive. It’s like offering a free gallon of gas with the purchase of a Nissan Leaf.
Of course, this isn’t a new business model for OnLive. Anybody who purchases the game anywhere will receive a free copy of the game for GOG. Buy a retail copy, get it on GOG. Buy it on Steam, get a copy on GOG. Buy it on Direct2Drive, get it on GOG. Developers CD Projekt Red own GOG and ensured that GOG will be involved with the game no matter where it’s purchased from.
So this all amounts to OnLive trying to pass off a standard deal as a special incentive to purchase the game through their service. And by doing it, they’re wrongheadedly promoting the appeal of a downloadable version of the game as incentive for their streaming service.