Founded in 2007, DotEmu is a Paris-based video games developer and publisher. They’ve developed and published fifteen titles on consoles, PC, and mobile platforms. One of their core focuses was the preservation of older games in a DRM-free ecosystem. Their store contained hundreds of DRM-free titles from niche series as well as more well-known series such as Tropico, Postal, and Red Faction.
The company stated on their website that the main reasons they are shutting down are fierce competition in the digital distribution market as well as a shift in focus towards developing and publishing games rather than distributing them. As of March 1, 2017, customers are not able to purchase any new titles on the store. The store is still currently online and available to browse – customers can even add items to their cart – but it is no longer possible to check out and complete your transaction. Existing customers can still access their accounts, and they will have until June 1, 2017 to access and download their previously purchased titles before the store shuts down in its entirety. Although the company is closing down their retail arm, their statement affirms their commitment to retro gaming, hinting at “current and future awesome retrogaming projects”.
DotEmu isn’t the only online games retailer to close this year. The digital distribution service GamesRepublic announced that they were shutting down in December of 2016, and they closed out access for existing customers to download their games at the end of January 2017.
Always sad to see another store close. Competition in the digital games market is tough, but it’s hard to fight against something like Steam unless you’re able to build your own platform from scratch as Blizzard and EA have done with Battle.net and Origin, respectively. It’s a real concern that retro games will be difficult (if not outright impossible to find in the future, and every time we lose an outlet like this we risk losing a piece of gaming history.
What do you think of DotEmu closing down its store? Do you think you will be able to save all of your purchased titles before the June 1, 2017 cutoff date? How do you think this will impact the availability of DRM-free versions of older games? Let us know in the comments below!