GOG Galaxy has finally gone into the open beta stage, and promises to provide a DRM-free online gaming platform. Unlike Valve’s Steam platform, GOG Galaxy is completely optional and users can still play games bought from GOG.com without the client.
GOG.com is run by CD Projekt, the company behind the critically acclaimed Witcher Series. Unlike the other game developer turned online game retailer, the Polish company has taken a much looser approach to selling games and does so without the use of DRM. It looks like GOG Galaxy will take the same approach, and even throw in a few extras for gamers who are growing more and more distrustful of Steam.
At its core, GOG Galaxy functions in the same way that Steam and Origin do. Users are able to use it to buy any game in the GOG.com catalogue, and also launch their own third party games from the client. However, there are a couple of additional features that might make it worth looking into. For one, all of the games are DRM free and work offline. This means that users are able to download the game and play it without an internet connection; however, it also means that games that require an always on internet connection are not present on GOG.
Another fascinating feature is the cross-platform play included with GOG Galaxy. User are able to play multiplayer titles with others who prefer to use Steam instead. CD Projekt does not say how this works, only that it does. It’s a nifty feature that prevents GOG from being just another niche gaming platform, and is interesting in the sense that people who choose to use GOG Galaxy are still able to play games with their friends on Steam. There is no word on whether this cross-platform play will be expanded to other platforms, although CD Projekt had previously promised to include Origin in the feature.
Privacy minded gamers may also appreciate the fact that GOG Galaxy does not track users. At most, the client will collect debug data about crashes, but that is all that the developers says it does. Users will be able to toggle their settings to allow CD Projekt to access their system information, but the feature is completely optional.
Mainstream gamers may not get as much use out of GOG’s catalogue as the company has generally focused on selling old games (hence the name) and indie titles. That being said, GOG Galaxy feels very much like the rest of CD Projekt’s products; namely, they are ready to provide an experience that gamers want. Whether that is enough to get people to use their new platform is a completely different story.
Interested gamers can signup for the beta test now, and GOG will send them an invite to the test over the next few days.