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Retail

GOG.com launches Galaxy, online activation not required

GOG.com launches Galaxy, online activation not required

Fri 06 Jun 2014 8:10am GMT / 4:10am EDT / 1:10am PDT
RetailPublishing

New gaming service will allow gamers to play together regardless of where they made their purchases

The online storefront GOG.com has taken its DRM-free remit one step further with Galaxy, a new service for gamers that offers true, "freedom of choice."

GOG.com, which is operated by the Polish developer CD Projekt Red, has built its reputation on selling games without the DRM measures that have become so common in the age of digital commerce. Now, with Galaxy, GOG.com is seeking to extend that philosophy beyond the consumer experience and into the play experience.

"These days you might not feel you own the games you buy," the company stated in a video released yesterday. "You are often forced to create third party accounts and install client apps to prove that you're allowed to launch and play your games.

"In some cases you even have to stay online to play a single-player game. And if you're not connected, you can get locked out of your games. We believe gamers deserve a better experience."

With GOG Galaxy, games do not require online activation, allowing players to use launch them with total freedom and without supervision. As a service with online and social components - game updates, for example, or sharing achievements - certain aspects of Galaxy will require an internet connection or a registered account to use, but everything will be entirely optional.

Last, and perhaps most impressive, is a feature called "Cross Play", which lets gamers play together regardless of where they purchased their game.

While GOG.com did not mention a single competitor by name, this suite of services offers a greater degree of choice and freedom than pretty much any of the major players in the space, including Valve's Steam, EA's Origin and Ubisoft's Uplay.

9 Comments

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

340 291 0.9
This XKCD comic immediately sprang to mind: http://xkcd.com/927/

It sounds interesting though, I guess if it's promoting greater consumer choice that's only a good thing.

Posted:4 months ago

#1

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,582 1,436 0.9
Mmmm... The optionality of it is great. EA or Ubisoft can spout numbers of Origin/Uplay installs all they want, but forcing consumers to install something doesn't prove it's good, and nor does it drive competition (not really). The way to compete against Steam is to create something that is better than it, and ensure that it's a choice - it's less antagonistic, and means that when people use it, you know they're using it because they want to.

Unfortunately, I think it's too late. Had this occured when GOG launched in 2008, it could've proved a real competitor to Steam. But I don't think people will choose an optional client when there's so many that insist upon install - it's a chore to the consumer already, with 4 clients requiring installation to play everything out there. To add another client to the pile? Meh.

But I do hope I'm wrong... Certainly the consumer base is slightly different to the other clients out there, so GOG have that going for them. :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 6th June 2014 1:58pm

Posted:4 months ago

#2

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments

302 383 1.3
AFAIK the same is actually true of steam - IE, titles can use steamworks but not the steam store.

Posted:4 months ago

#3

Julian Beck HR Consultant

39 45 1.2
hmmm, I wonder why some people attach that new client to "emerging competition to Steam"??? Some press texts also do it.

Have you checked the available games on GOG??? - I do that say ONCE a year the past years and the result has always been the same: new titles (read: no re-releases of 10 year old back catalogue) are rare and mid-budget or full price titles are like 5% of those available in the Steam store. Even some more known and successful indie titles are sometimes not on it. Which means to me it's no competition for Steam at all, even when there's a client now- I just don't care about that store like I've done since I know it.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Julian Beck on 6th June 2014 3:59pm

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,582 1,436 0.9
They are branching out into newer titles, but it's... Odd. It's like they're trying to compete with Steam without competing with Steam. The Witcher games are one thing, but Age of Wonders 3 had same-day release on GOG and Steam. I'd say it's a confusing road-map that they're following, to a consumer's eye, but I don't care much for GOG either, so it may be I'm missing something obvious?

Posted:4 months ago

#5

John Bye Senior Game Designer, Future Games of London

480 451 0.9
Popular Comment
Julian, that's kind of the whole point of GOG - the initials originally stood for Good OLD Games. It's a great place to pick up classic 80s, 90s and (less) 00s games DRM-free and guaranteed to work on Windows for a couple of dollars a pop. It's not really trying to compete with Steam, it's carved out its own little niche.

Yes, they do sell more recent (and even a few brand new) games as well, but that's never really been the focus of the site, and the ones they do stock are still DRM free and therefore far more likely to be indie titles than big budget blockbusters. Which is why I (and many other people out there) love it so much.

Morville - Age of Wonders 3 is the (very belated) sequel to cult games from the late 90's / early 00's, so I guess it makes a certain amount of sense to add it at launch on GOG. They have been blurring the lines a bit recently though, yes.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Bye on 6th June 2014 5:05pm

Posted:4 months ago

#6

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,582 1,436 0.9
Which is why I (and many other people out there) love it so much.
*nods* Without wishing to generalise, GOG fans are about the only group who can give Steam fans a run for their money in the amount that they love "their" company. Which makes it doubly sad this has come so late - I doubt publishers would've jumped on a DRM-free optional client in the same way they've embraced Steam, but it would've been interesting to see them both compete at the same time. On the plus-side, it does mean that both clients/companies should co-exist fairly amicably. :)

Posted:4 months ago

#7

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,193 1,170 0.5
Well, just reading the gog.com forums show a HUGE amount of love for DRM-free content. I have Steam, Desura and gog.com on my computers here and all three provide what I desire, warts and all.

I like gog.com the best because of those oldies I used to play and fact that they've gotten some nice old gems back I thought I'd never see again. I also love that they're doing all they can to keep pricing fair for all no matter what territory they're in. Now, gog DOESN'T need to to that (hey, America doesn't set the Euro rate or vice versa), but enough people bitched about the price discrepancy that they've gone and done a few things to smooth things over in regards to that.

Posted:4 months ago

#8

Julian Beck HR Consultant

39 45 1.2
Julian, that's kind of the whole point of GOG - the initials originally stood for Good OLD Games.
I know that that's the meaning of GOG. My point is it's more a co-existence to Steam than a direct competitor like some press articles and people describe it.

Believe it or not, the latest competitor to Steam content-wise is...the Humble Store! No kidding, when they started some months ago they already offered the latest indie and mid-price games. Now, you want Watch Dogs, Company of Heroes 2, Hitman:Absolution, Rust and other Early Access games...head to the Humble Store, I first couldn't believe my eyes. But the Humble Store offers more and more high priced titles even AAA.
Good thing, because of competition, they also already made a big sale, and 10% go to charity.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Julian Beck on 7th June 2014 7:34am

Posted:4 months ago

#9

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