Is PC gaming heading toward its own version of the Great Console Wars from the 80s and 90s? With competition between Valve’s Steam and Epic’s Epic Store heating up, CD Projekt has announced major changes to its own platform, GOG (formerly Good Old Games), designed to compete for your gaming attention.
The changes to GOG are expansive. They start with expanding the capabilities of GOG Galaxy, the launcher for games bought on GOG. Once version 2.0 launches, users will be able to link all their games to it, which doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize this includes non-PC games.
Galaxy 2.0 will support installing, launching, and organizing all games in all platforms according to its beta signup page. Specific details are scarce at this moment, but one might wonder if that would include mobile games as well. If it does, Nate might finally get to play Ascendancy on his PC again!
In addition, GOG 2.0 promises to track your purchases and achievements across platforms. Your hours played will also be displayed. And for those who are into customizing their visual experience, the new Galaxy launcher will allow players to personalize the UI and add their own images for backgrounds and covers. All customizations are saved to the cloud and will appear across all devices used to launch GOG 2.0.
All the current features of GOG Galaxy are staying. All games purchased on GOG will remain DRM-free. You can roll back patches on any GOG game to older versions. The new Galaxy will still help you find friends for multiplayer games played offered on GOG. So all the things people love about GOG are staying.
One of the things Nate and I have discussed ad nauseam on the Weekly eXchange is how hard it is to find good, new games on Steam. That difficulty is the whole reason we added the “What Is?” section to our show and added the Curator page on our Steam group. Galaxy 2.0 promises to help in this department by creating browsing categories for games across platforms as well as building lists of games you might be interested in based on what your friends play.
Yes, I said friends. The new GOG Galaxy will be adding in more social media features which is something the Epic Store sorely lacks. You’ll be able to build a friends list that crosses all platforms. Users will be able to check out what their friends’ most recent achievements are and compete on leaderboards hosted by GOG for various games.
Most interestingly, you’ll be able to chat with people on your friends list regardless of platform! So in this way, Galaxy 2.0 will be competing with Discord as well. It will be fascinating to see what other social media features, including Voice Over Internet Protocol, GOG might add in the future. If CD Projekt really wants to take aim at the status quo, I think this is an area where they can make some headway. The social media features for all current PC game launchers are antiquated, to say the least.
Naturally, one’s mind turns to privacy and data security when it comes to linking all these platforms together. That’s a lot of personal information to be traveling across the ‘net, so protection must be a key feature.
GOG promises no spying whatsoever. So that means, they won’t be adding anything like Red Shell to your games (GOG is not responsible for any spyware the companies that make these games installed on your computer, though). GOG will also not share any data it collects with 3rd parties, and it promises to make deleting all data you shared with GOG simple to remove from its servers.
You can sign up for the Beta version of GOG Galaxy 2.0 here.