GOG's Take On Steam Goes Live Today

GOG's Take On Steam Goes Live Today

Last year, the folks behind GOG announced plans to launch their own PC gaming service, GOG Galaxy, to compete with Steam and Origin. Today, it's finally going public.

GOG Galaxy, which you can download here, is now in open beta. Like Steam, Origin, and other PC gaming clients, it's a stand-alone program with its own achievements, friend lists, and massively restrictive DRM. Just kidding. Anyone who follows the people behind GOG — a subsidiary of Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red — knows they're as anti-DRM as it gets.

Says the GOG press release:

GOG Galaxy features one-click installation and auto-updates for its library of over 1000 titles, but it also stays true to GOG.com values: it's all optional. Automatic updating can be disabled for any game; but if you leave it on and a patch breaks something, GOG Galaxy will offer its rollback feature to restore a previous version of the game. Gamers can also download a standalone, DRM-free backup copy of every game, so keeping purchases safe is easier than ever.

This is exciting news — not just because GOG is amazing (seriously, I've used it to buy way more games than I have time to play) — but because Steam desperately needs some real competition to take down its monopoly over PC gaming. EA's Origin and Ubisoft's uPlay, which are each restricted to their respective publisher's games, never came close.

GOG Galaxy, on the other hand, sounds like the real deal. More from their PR:

GOG Galaxy offers friends list, game time tracking, achievements, and chat. Gamers can now talk to each other, connect with their group of friends, and see what their friends are playing. GOG Galaxy is also an online multiplayer & matchmaking solution that, in select titles, includes cross-play: platform-independent multiplayer between gamers on GOG.com and Steam.

We haven't had a chance to play around with GOG Galaxy yet, but the interface looks pretty sleek. Here are a couple of screenshots:

GOG's Take On Steam Goes Live Today
GOG's Take On Steam Goes Live Today


    Sweet. Finally an easier way to play them than creating shortcuts through Steam. Will they be getting in the big games though on release? Stuff like The Witcher or Pillars of Eternity are great, but I feel they'll need to step it up with newer games if they're to truly compete with Steam. At the moment though, The Witcher 3 is cheaper on Steam. Understandable as GOG overheads will be relatively more expensive compared to Steam, but it might be a worry for those who're not fussed how they play their games.

    One thing to question though, would places like Green Man Gaming start selling GOG codes for cheaper?

      Just had a quick look and GOG have introduced what they call a "Fair Price Package", which means if games they are selling in a different region are cheaper than the price you pay they will refund the difference in store credit to your account. Which I think is pretty cool.

      So while The Witcher 3 might be cheaper on Steam it's even cheaper on the US GOG (I checked, it's $62.49USD), it's 80.99AUD, so you should get $18.50AUD (I think) credited to your account, then if whatever you buy with that is cheaper in the US you would get the difference creditied for that too.

      Last edited 06/05/15 8:45 am

        Oh damn, if Steam only did that :\

        That's brilliant of Gog :O

        Well it would be better if they just made sure that prices were equal across all regions, it's a bit naff that they give you difference in store credit rather than a straight refund, but I guess that's business :P

        Still, it's good to see someone actually acknowledging the price variances around the World and doing something about it

          It's not in the hand of the sellers unfortunately. Publishers dictate prices for different regions.

            I would assume GoG are subsidising based on their cut, as it is the Publisher that sets the price, not GoG. In a couple of cases they may be crediting more than they gain, but in return you will have people buying more things in the future.

        Sorry to burst your bubble but 62.49 USD is around 78.88 AUD - so the likely refund might only be a couple of bux... still I love that they are even doing this.

        I can't find any info on how that thing works.... there's a few complaints on their forums about it though....

        Looks like they credit you the difference in $5.99 and $9.99 game codes to make up the difference but i doubt it would work with the currency conversion... in your example, I'd expect that the difference would be AUD price - US price (converted to AUD) ... not AUD price - US price.

        worldwide pricing isn't about having the same number. It's about having the same number AFTER currency conversions.

        Also both GOG and Steam are showing $53.99 for me at the moment from my current browser at work (which I assume is the US price) but my phone app is showing $71.39USD. I can't seem to swap GOG to AUD in the browser for some reason.

        I'll have to have a look at home tonight.

        I got my copy of Witcher 2 preordered from GoG and I think that was the very first instance they came across of regional pricing. They made a song and dance of blog posting at the time. And their response was providing store credit for the difference.

        There was a big kerfluffle a little while ago where they discussed plans to implement regional pricing as a necessary evil, a compromise they had to make in order to secure a larger library. The blow-back seemed to have been pretty severe, not more than a couple weeks later I got an email advising they'd heard the feedback and reversed the decision.

        ...But I'm guessing those negotiations with publishers never really stopped happening.

        I'm guessing they're just doing this again to boost their catalogue, but calling it something else. The Fair Price Package sounds better than 'Regional pricing + bonus', even if it's the same thing.

        Last edited 06/05/15 11:09 am

          And guess which company it was that was trying to force gog into using regional pricing... thats right 2kgames, the very first company to force region pricing on us on steam and then they did it again to gmg

            Interesting. I never actually found out which publisher was the culprit, I assumed it was a number of them.

      GOG is owned by CD-Projekt Red... the developers of The Witcher.

      I can't imagine why their overheads would be higher than Steam

    God damn thats nice... think ill jump on board

      It's quiet nice. It has a simplified interface and when you list details about a game in question all you see is the details of the game or the extra GoG offer.

      It's basically like what Steam used to be before the hybridised with social media and made the pages for installed games look like Facebook walls.

      My personal favourite part is as well as installing the version of the game for one's OS, all installers for all platforms is available in the extras section one can grab the installer and have it safe on a local server thus not warranting a download from GoG if the original system fails.

      I know one can do that with Steam Backups but over time it has gotten clunkier to the point where I just rsync my SteamApps folder.

      The only problem I'm having right now on Mac is if I install the games to an external disk, disconnect and reattach, Galaxy doesn't think their installed anymore. Fingers crossed it's a bug.

        If I wasn't sold before, I bloody well am now :O

          He's the extra sweetener. If you have some games installed already, you can still scan the directory they are in and Galaxy will add them to the library and (from what I've seen) pull down any updated files (or whole games if one is on Mac).

          However, if the game was installed from some time ago (has an older installer) it may get missed. For me, I have dozens but only a hand full made it through and had to be added one by one.

          The only caveat is the game will be added to Galaxy but it does not appear to have a method to consolidate into the one directory.

          The only bug I'm seeing on the Mac version (can't speak for the Win version) is when something happen it will show a notification in the top corner but the box is white so it looks like a rendering issue.

          But what the heck, it has classic games! :)

          Last edited 06/05/15 10:45 am

            Done and done. I've been looking for a nice companion to Steam. Competition is always a great thing. Origin only does EA games so it's not that sort of good choice. This however looks great.

              I've also found Origin kinda fugly. Like it's trying really, really, really quickly to live out the entire timeline of Steam development in fast-forward, instead of simply jumping ahead to the point of learning that Steam reached.

              ...Minus the huge catalogue and competitive pricing.

                Am I the only one who found Steams redesign around a year or so ago completely anti-productive and ugly as shit?

                  The design is not that bad. But one element that is waining is its stability.

                  And as I pointed out, they just crammed too much on the product page. In Galaxy it's just news and even that disappears when viewing the extras.

                  To be fair though, Steam has done wonders for the PC market despite it still being a form of DRM but sadly it's starting to show its age and some of the politics publishers play with it (albeit the same is happening on GoG) are further driving down the platform.

                  Probably not the only one, but I've found some of their latest UI iterations quite useful for poking through the catalogue of daily updates (THANKS, Greenlight - way to nearly be the new itunes app store *eyeroll*) and seeing the community/discussion/workshop/news article links relevant to the game I look at in the library.

                  Browsing's still a bitch. Always has been, but at least now when you view a game from a list, you can hit 'back' and go back to the page you were up to instead of being directed back to page 1 of your search like in the old days. There's some improvements. Just... soooo sloooow.

    GOG has always been an awesome place to get games, esp older titles. Good to see some competition against the pseudo-monopoly that is steam

    I like the User Interface, I'm going to download it and take a look-...

    Oh Hello, GabeN. I wasn't doing anything wrong, I'm just here sitting on Kotaku while I'm at work-... No, I wasn't thinking of downloading GOG's beta client..I-I-I Swear! I'll keep using Steam, don't p-punish me... Please!
    ...What are you doing GabeN? OH PLEASE NO MORE
    Not another Sale! No GabeN!! PLEASE! NOOOOOOO......

    I've been wanting to get into PC gaming but never liked steam DRM. If GOG start selling new AAA releases I'll definitely get on board.

      I've never really understood people who refused to use Steam because of the DRM.

      Sure your content is locked to the platform but they have a lot of features built into the client that it is a pretty good trade-off, especially when you look at some of the controls that were used in the past to combat piracy that really hurt legitimate gamers.

      2004 Steam was a steaming pile of mess, especially when trying to activate and play HL2 when it came out, but in the last decade it has really gone upwards. Plus before Steam how many games did you find for less than $5 that weren't educational games or board game ports in the local bargain bin.

      Enh. I don't know when you last used Steam, but 'Steam = DRM' hasn't been true for a long time.

      Offline mode had a bad rap for not working properly a long time ago, but it now works for the overwhelming majority of users. AND the gamde data can be backed up to be reinstalled later, either by copying the folder or using the backup tool. The only thing Steam does by way of DRM for most of its games is make sure that you actually OWN a game in your library before you download it from the library.

      Just like Galaxy does.

      A very minimal handful of games require you to have been online at certain intervals with Steam to validate the purchase, but that's not Steam DRM... that's publisher DRM. Steam doesn't insist on that feature, publishers do. Those games are not on Galaxy, so that point is utterly irrelevant.

      Comparing Galaxy to Steam and saying that Steam is DRM and Galaxy isn't is really, really reaching.

        I'm unfortunately one of the minority of users where Offline Mode still doesn't really work for me when I need it to.
        The only time I need Steam in Offline Mode is when my Internet slows to a crawl and I want to start up some game to fill in the time before my Internet speeds back up. Because the Internet is technically up, Steam client seems to need to talk to the Steam server to allow my computer into Offline Mode, but because it takes so long it times out and I have to try again. Vicious cycle ensures, and the only way out is to remove my Internet connection either by unplugging the cable or disabling my Network card.

    I don't really care about the social features but game file management and auto-updates make this a must-have for me. Hopefully they have a better designed interface and storefront than Steam which is still pretty bad despite the improvements.

    I didn't buy anything from GoG until early this year but I wish I hadn't waited that long. It's an awesome service and the fact that I can actually download and install the complete game, DRM free that doesn't require anything to run in the background is a HUGE plus for me. I'm really turned off by Steam especially when you need to have it running on a BOXED copy of a game, because all it's there for in that case is a form of DRM.

    Was fuffing around with it last night. Pretty awesome, except it notices Witcher 2 in my library but won't download it. So I had to download 12 separate files through the website.

    Other than that, seems solid.

    "EA’s Origin and Ubisoft’s uPlay, which are each restricted to their respective publisher’s games"
    not true. go and have a look.

      Anyone who uses uPlay voluntarily is insane. They have Comic Sans on their store page, for fucks sake: http://i.imgur.com/6deVagU.png

    very nice, given how down the toilet steam has been going lately it'd be nice to see some competition, but somehow I don't think we'll be seeing all the big releases anytime soon on GOG... big publishers like their DRM too much

      I don't use Steam often enough probably to notice, what is it about Steam that's going wrong?

        the masses of crap taking over the store mainly... greenlight being a big cause of this... but yeah from someone that has near 2000 games on steam, I find myself browsing it less and less

    I already hate having to bounce between Steam, Origin, and Uplay (and to a lesser extent Rockstar SC) for my games library. I'm really not interested in adding another one to the list.

      I think at least a point of difference here is that it's optional, so you open it to download/install games, but you don't have to use it to play the games. Slightly more convenient than using their website.

      Although I haven't seen the fine print to be able to say 100% whether the galaxy version and the stand alone version of a game are the same download or different downloads...

    I am just glad it has a time played, just love that in gaming these days, though really not sure why

    Last edited 06/05/15 10:49 am

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