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GOG Galaxy client beta opens, is it a Steam beater?

by Mark Tyson on 6 May 2015, 12:06

Tags: Good Old Games, Valve

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GOG has launched a public beta of the GOG Galaxy platform. This "truly gamer friendly, DRM-free online gaming platform," offers a raft of optional features that covers much of what makes Valve's Steam convenient and compelling but without any form of DRM. The GOG Galaxy program was first revealed around a year ago.

The reason behind the creation of GOG Galaxy is explained as an initiative to bring modernity to GOG's digital distribution and bring with it a plethora of desirable new features for gamers. The firm is moving to support every game in its library through Galaxy as soon as possible. While every game will support core Galaxy features such as installing, updating, game time tracking in-game and social features will vary between games.

GOG Galaxy features the following key aspects for end users:


As mentioned above you can install, optionally auto update and track game time in the library. Simple One-Click install from the store is available and GOG facilitates DRM-free backups and offline support from this part of the Galaxy UI. Soon it will be implementing an update roll-back feature so you can go back to a previous game install version if you experience problems with an update. One further feature on the way is a notification system so you are alerted when a wish-listed game is discounted, or when a new friend, game or chat invite is received.

In-game and online features, Crossplay with Steam users

This part of the Galaxy client facilitates multiplayer and matchmaking and the recording achievements and game stats. A potentially important feature is 'Crossplay' which enables online play between GOG and Steam. Steam users you play with don't have to be GOG Galaxy users. GOG says that another feature coming soon is Game Overlay with notifications for new messages, requests or achievements in-game.

Community features

Currently GOG Galaxy beta supports friends lists, where you can see what your pals are playing, invite them to play games and chat. Real-time chat extends beyond the client to the GOG website. Coming soon a feature will allow inviting and joining Galaxy-powered multiplayer games from the client.

Configurability, privacy

GOG Galaxy features can be turned on or off as you choose. Just as the client itself is optinal so are parts of its construction like achievements, chat and so on. "Turn off the ones you don’t care about, leaving only what’s important to you," suggests the official website. The optimised and lightweight client is made to be unobtrusive and use meagre system resources. Privacy is important to GOG and personal data isn't tracked, with features that require any user data being optional anyway.

Currently GOG Galaxy beta is available for PC and Mac with a Linux version planned "eventually". The GOG downloader program will be phased out in the long run as it is essentially replaced by GOG Galaxy.

The first new big game coming to GOG and GOG Galaxy will be The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which will offer automatic updates, achievements and stats in the client. More AAA titles will arrive in the future, we are told. Of course availability of the games people want to play will be key to the scale of GOG Galaxy's success.

HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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I should really post a comment about there being yet another game content management system….but the DRM-free nature of this one makes me want to hold back.

Hell, saracen may actually install this one ;)
It's not a Steam beater for me, but it may become one “eventually”. I'm finding myself gaming under Linux more and more frequently now, the only thing really holding me back is Blizzard. Once GoG release the Linux version of Galaxy I'll definitely try it out.
If I can logon using my current email address then Steam and all it's other BS are dead to me.
I should really post a comment about there being yet another game content management system….but the DRM-free nature of this one makes me want to hold back.

Hell, saracen may actually install this one ;)
Very doubtful. Very doubtful indeed.

Why? I can't see what it offers me that I want. Things that will appear to others, sure. But, so far, not to me.

I mean, I've only looked, quickly, at the HEXUS article and, first glance at least, it's FAR less objectionable (to me) than Steam, which is absolutely and utterly a non-starter for me.

But, there's two aspects to the install decision :-

1) Anything offered I need/want, and
2) Anything inherent that precludes using it even if there are things I want?

Steam fails on the second. Galaxy, it appears, on the first. I can't see what it offers that I want.

HOWEVER …. the article confused me a little. In one place, it says Galaxy will be “optional”. Fine. So far, I opt not to use it. Then, it says longer term the current downloader will be replaced. If true, how do you download from GOG if you don't opt in to Galaxy?

That might put paid to me using GOG.

There seems to be an implication that Galaxy is a platform, under which GOG games run, and that it handles downloads, updates, etc. Ummm …. no thanks. The machine I use to download is NOT the one I use to game, and my gaming machine is not internet facing. That's one reason I won't use Steam. Inherent, clearly, in that is zero interest in online gaming, multiplayer (in the current sense) gaming, inter-operability with Steam, etc. I do sometimes run multi-player (up to four) but entirely LAN-based, with the LAN not having a net connection, and I haven't even done that in quite a while.

Providing I can carry on as I currently do, downloading, and then on a separate machine installing and running, from an executable, I'm happy. If I'm required to use Galaxy, at some future point, it may well be the end of GOG for me.
I am surprised by Blizzard dragging their heals on Linux support, although I do feel they will cave soon. They were probably the first to reliably support both Windows and Mac OS and seem to have continued that support through all their titles…..they have also branched out to PS4 which like Mac OS X is derived from BSD, you would think porting would be minimal.

My only concern would be graphics though. I multi-boot Mac OS X on my main gaming rig for nothing but educational purposes and have tried running some games on Mac OS to compare them to their Windows counterparts running on the exact same hardware……the Blizzard titles all looked considerably worse running on Mac OS then they did on Windows…….I can't say I noticed the same when comparing Windows to Linux on steam titles.