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GOG announce DRM-free, online gaming platform

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GOG.com, in a joint conference with CD Projekt RED, have announced their foray into the online gaming space with GOG Galaxy. Galaxy is promising gamers an optional client which will, when it eventually launches, provide DRM-free games that require zero online activation and optional online connectivity.

The client will provide automatic updating for GOG’s existing library, but their traditional manual method will still be available for those that prefer it. Users who opt for creating a profile and utilising the client will be able to track achievements and other statistics against their titles, which is currently missing from GOG’s existing offering. Galaxy will also provide cross-play with any of its titles on competing platforms — such as Steam — ensuring that you can play with friends regardless of where they bought their version of the game.

The first title to be launching on Galaxy is The Witcher Adventure Game, a turn-based digital board-game set in the Witcher universe, which will release sometime in 2014. Readers can sign up for the closed beta at the GOG Galaxy website, or get beta codes by pre-ordering The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt‘s digital edition at GOG.com.

While some sites are billing this as a Steam rival, I’m not sure that’s the case, or even what the business proposition is for Galaxy. Cross-play with other platforms (such as consoles) could potentially be huge, and if Galaxy aids in facilitating multiplayer with its classic catalogue, that would be fantastic. But I don’t see publishers flocking to it — what with its consumer-friendly approach and all — which means Steam’s exclusivity on most mainstream titles will remain intact.

Source: GOG live stream

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  • Delano

    I can’t say I’m too excited about this. I love GOG and I’m sure it’ll work well and have lots of good titles available, but I honestly don’t see the need for yet *another* gaming client platform. We already have Steam, Uplay, Origin, Desura, etc. It’s a bit superfluous to say the least.

    • Alex Rowley

      If it’s anything like GoG then it just makes it easier to get the games and not have to worry about DRM. Cause lets face facts here Steam is DRM and having to activate a retail game online has always felt shitty to me. This service does distinguish its self from the others in my opinion

      • Delano

        The issue of DRM is complex and controversial, so I’ll save that debate for another day. Desura already allows DRM-free downloads and installations, and has a particular focus on indie and mods – two fields I’m keenly interested in. The point I’m making is that I’m just not too keen on having to install and run yet another app to manage my game collection. All these clients simply amount to Apple-styled app stores, and, in my opinion, there’s far too many of them. If the client is optional and serves as a front-end for managing and cataloguing your games, well, then I suppose that’s not too bad. If, however, running the client is gonna be mandatory for anything you buy from GOG, then I can foresee many issues.

        • Squirly

          It’s not mandatory, that’s the whole point. If you want to handle your GOG library like you did before it’s completely acceptable. This is just a matter of convenience for those people who want it – and like CDPR said in the announcement, as soon as you force people to use it, or to go online, it’s not convenient anymore.

          Which is why they’re not doing that. :)

          • Delano

            Ah. Then I stand corrected. Cool, I may check it out after all!

      • Rick de Klerk

        Possibly, but I’m not sure what the point is, except for improving GOG’s existing offering to their current market (which is admirable in of itself). Don’t get me wrong, I love GOG and I wish them only the best; but I’m not sure how this is going to grow their market, which is what they’re desperately trying to do.

        A couple of sites are saying this is a rival to Steam, but I just don’t see it; it’s not playing in the same space, and I’m not sure what value it’s offering developers or publishers to come on board. Steam works because it’s been around for ages, auto-updates titles, provides a social platform and – most importantly – is a lock-in client that provides publishers both the DRM they crave and an integrated storefront to push their wares.

        Galaxy might attract a very small minority that enjoys the social side of platforms like Steam, and would by a GOG version of a game if it gave them that option as well as the ability to remain connected to their existing social network with cross-play.

        Then again, I might eat my words as more details are revealed. I hope that’s the case.

        • Alex Rowley

          I think the only thing holding it back to being better than steam is the publishers supporting it. If it manages to get the same pedigree of games then I would definitely use it a lot more than Steam, as of now it looks like it’s an improvement of GoG.com and I think for now it’s enough as they have a pretty dedicated following and if this makes lives easier for existing customers then i think it’s worth it.

          It is a shame though that practices like this are not rewarded nearly enough as it should be simply due to the fact that we are used to the other shittier practices already. I’m hoping that The Witcther 3 will give these guys enough clout to be an actual challenger to the other distribution systems.

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