1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

GOG Galaxy 2.0: Breaking down CD Projekt's universal game launcher

By Polycount ยท 22 replies
Jul 10, 2019
Post New Reply
  1. With all of these layers of DRM and launchers in mind, it's not hard to see why many gamers find the whole situation frustrating -- it's one of the main reasons the Epic Games Store, which controversially snagged several highly-anticipated games as timed exclusives, has been under so much fire as of late.

    So, what's the solution to the launcher dilemma? Obviously, users could simply not buy games that need extra storefronts and stick to their main platform of choice (likely Steam), but that's not ideal.

    Fortunately, CD Projekt, the company behind The Witcher 3 and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, has come up with a better fix: GOG Galaxy 2.0.

    First, a bit of context: Good Old Games is CD Projekt's DRM-free online game storefront. All titles purchased there can be added to your personal library with no strings attached. Download the setup .exes and bring them with you wherever you please.

    If you want, you can even snag multiple copies of a game and distribute them across all of your computers (though we don't, of course, advocate for piracy). The choice, GOG promises, is yours.

    Best of all, there are no online checks or requirements: you can play every single GOG game offline for as long as you like. GOG Galaxy, on the other hand, has everything GOG has but in software form -- think of it as a DRM-free Steam, with a smaller (but more curated) selection of games. It gives you an easier and more convenient way of accessing and downloading your GOG games and all their extras.

    GOG Galaxy 2.0 is the next evolution of this software and it brings some hefty cosmetic and feature upgrades to the normal Galaxy client. Most notably, the new "Universal Library" functionality.

    The Universal Library aims to address the launcher juggling issues mentioned before by letting you link your other gaming platform accounts to Galaxy 2.0. The current roster of supported (community-created) third-party launchers includes the Epic Games Store, Origin, Steam, Battle.net, and Uplay. Upon integrating your launchers, you'll be able to see all of your games in one place.

    You can install, organize, search, and manage them however you please; all from within Galaxy 2.0. For the customization fanatics out there, you're able to create custom backgrounds, categories, icons, banner art, tags, and more for each game. You're able to sort your games by platform (Origin, GOG, Steam, etc.), tag, or installation status, which makes finding specific games a breeze. Alternatively, you can use the Search tool just as you would in the old Galaxy.

    In the future, the Galaxy team hopes to add Friends list and chat integration to 2.0, but those features are not available in the software's current Closed Beta state. However, when it arrives, you'll be able to see you and your friends' game activity across all platforms.

    So -- a Universal Library. Sounds perfect, right? Well, not quite. Although playing and installing games via Galaxy 2.0 is relatively seamless, there are a few issues. For starters, the software does not bypass existing platform requirements: it will still need to open up Origin in order for you to play or install the Sims 4, for example.

    Further, and this more of a minor nitpick, Galaxy 2.0 could also benefit from a toggle that may allow it to automatically close any open "extra" clients once you've exited their attached games. Using Sims 4 as an example again, if you close the game, it'd be nice if Galaxy 2.0 could automatically shut down Origin.

    The final issue of note with 2.0 in its current state could perhaps be considered an unintended feature for some players.

    For games that require two launchers to run (Such as Far Cry 5), you'll find that Galaxy 2.0 will show two entries for the titles in your universal library: one for its native client (in Far Cry 5's case, Uplay) and one for the secondary storefront (Steam). There is a currently-inaccessible toggle that will let you remove games from your library view, but it's unclear when that feature will actually arrive. Update: This feature is now available.

    The good news is, many of Galaxy 2.0's shortcomings could be fixed by the community in the future because the software's integrations are completely open-source. Is there another, lesser-known launcher that you'd like support for? The community can add it. Is there a specific feature you wish 2.0 had? The answer is the same, GOG claims.

    Unfortunately, the main problem with 2.0 -- the launcher requirements -- is probably not something the community or even GOG itself could easily fix; for reasons both legal and technical (Ubisoft probably wouldn't be too pleased if GOG found a way to bypass Uplay).

    Still, from a pure convenience standpoint, it's hard to deny that Galaxy 2.0 is probably going to be pretty appealing to a wide variety of users. In the future, the software may eliminate the need for you to ever sift through another non-Galaxy game library again; unless you want to buy a new title or tweak platform-specific settings. It also doesn't hurt that Galaxy 2.0 brings a pretty major visual overhaul to the platform, making it look just a bit more modern.

    We don't know when Galaxy 2.0 will launch to the public, but we'll let you know if CD Projekt or the GOG team announce any release dates. If you have any questions about 2.0 in the meantime, feel free to sign up for the Closed Beta now, or leave any questions you may have in the comments below and we'll answer as soon as we can.

    Update 7/13/2019: An earlier version of this article mistakenly referred to GOG as "Good Old Games" and "GoG." While these were the company's previous names, they have since simply rebranded to "GOG." We also incorrectly implied that the current third-party client integrations were official (they are community created). We've edited the piece to reflect this information.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  2. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,543   +918

    I have no reason to complain about using multiple launchers. One platform would be nice, but that would stifle innovation. This one from GoG looks nice, but it doesn't have or do anything I need right now.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,715   +2,514

    Companies requiring you to still run their stupid launchers even when you bought a game off Steam or GoG isn't innovation - its a pointless annoyance, a waste of system resources and a security risk. They don't even give you the ability to transfer your Steam or GoG-based licenses to their proprietary platforms so they have no reason to exist other than to hoard their exclusives and avoid the "Steam tax".
  4. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 681   +660

    How does this work with updates? I'm assuming that games won't updated until their specific launcher tells them to?
  5. XtremeHammond

    XtremeHammond TS Booster Posts: 74   +51

    So, Epic Games Store haters can now stop hating because they can use GOG instead to launch their EGS games?
    lexster likes this.
  6. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 731   +563

    Ah, to remember a point in time where you just clicked the shortcut and you were playing...

    Now you need 15 different launchers. Which also require personal information on each - email addresses, passwords, remember which games on which launchers, which email address for which launcher, how and where games install themselves for each launcher, etc etc. The gaming industry is enjoying and cashing in on the conundrum they have dug us into.
  7. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Guru Posts: 414   +416

    Some people wouldn't know a good thing even if it smacked them right in the face.

    I can't believe some people will actually defend having multiple independent launchers with a fragmented games library over this solution.
    It boggles the mind.

    You'd still have each launcher running in the background but with this GoG launcher you've atleast got your entire library in one place.
  8. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,543   +918

    LOL. I don't play dozens of games at a time like others that apparently have nothing better to do than play games all day and night, and still not be able to keep track of them.

    I don't complain that I have multiple bills from different companies, so why would I expect a single source for my games? I have way more sense than that.

    What you should do is sell your PC and buy a console!
  9. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 731   +563

    So, you have only one game to keep track of? Congrats. Some of us like to go back to older games we have already bought - possibly years after purchase. I do. See my post above why it's ridiculous the way the industry is going. The industry wants you to forget so you have to buy multiple copies of the same software.

    Multiple bills from different companies not a problem? Great, you are a much easier target to add anonymous bills to. Ever hear of identity theft? I have some bills to send your way if you don't think its a problem. What you should do is pay for our game accounts since you don't mind more bills!
    ForgottenLegion likes this.
  10. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 607   +1,222

    95% of games on Steam require Steam to be running (so it's just as much a "compulsory proprietary launcher" too). People have simply become habituated in the platform's market dominance since 2004, that they stop wanting to see it. Nor does GOG require any launcher to play GOG games. Some of us have hundreds of games on GOG yet have never installed Galaxy once. The offline client-less DRM-Free installers are their real Unique Selling Point, more than Galaxy.

    I think people are so up in arms over Epic they've lost track of the fact that "don't force me to use a client" really does boil down to DRM than Steam vs Epic. Only now that coerced multiple clients are becoming a thing with Epic are people finally seeing the DRM they often claimed "didn't affect me" actually affects everyone who dislikes multiple clients. It's simply been invisible for Steam-only gamers up until now all the time every game they wanted was available on their one "favored store of choice"...

    What you're describing would be nice but that's up to publishers to agree to give out 2nd, 3rd, 4th copies of games bought once, and sadly not many do which is why games on GOG Connect (a mechanism that provides a free GOG copy if you own the Steam version and have the accounts linked) are rare - the store-fronts (including GOG, Epic, Origin, etc) can't just "gift" copies of 3rd party games without payment without every single publisher involved agreeing to it. And as we've seen with barren GOG Connect, it's a noble idea but many publishers would rather you buy the same game twice and refuse to be on there...
    ShagnWagn likes this.
  11. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,543   +918

    lol The assumptions were a funny read. Thank you! Clearly you're the gamer with way too much time to waste I spoke of.
  12. Waikano

    Waikano TS Rookie

    Doesn't adding a non-steam game link in your Steam library already do the same thing? Or am I missing something? I've been using it for years that way, and I have GoG, Origins, and Battle.net already added. I guess the down side is it doesn't show the games (I have in those other clients) in my Steam Library only the launchers. Alternatively I added a couple like Diablo III and it launches Battle.net anyway so I don't have to do that separately.
  13. fluffydestroyer

    fluffydestroyer TS Booster Posts: 81   +41

    I wish all store fronts would simply authenticate my account then give me the ability to shut off the launcher. I can't see why this is not possible. I'm already in the launcher so I'm already authenticated so I don't see how this is not possible to do.
  14. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 731   +563

    Your assumption is a funny read. Thank you! Actually, more like a facepalm. Clearly you're the noob that thinks you know someone's life through a couple sentences, and that you somehow have a "life" and nobody else does. Have fun checking all of your bank statements. You may get a bill from someone and not even know it.
  15. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Evangelist Posts: 426   +135

    For the last several months I have been using Playnite as my universal launcher. I am interested in seeing how GOG Galaxy 2.0 does. Playnite does everything this article describes, plus lets you add games that don't even require a launcher. Yes, they used to exist! :)
    MCC321 likes this.
  16. lexster

    lexster TS Maniac Posts: 466   +233

    I wonder how it handles Epic's(or anyone else's) DRM packaging? I have a Steam account, time to try it out and see how it works...
  17. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 406   +124

    You might need to re-read the article.
  18. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 406   +124

    Seems like a solution looking for a problem.
  19. etempest

    etempest TS Rookie

    Gog Launcher is optional, except for having to be used in a handful of games to allow muti-player, like No Man's Sky. You can download an offline copy of any game in GOG manually or via there optional GOG Downloaders.
  20. lexster

    lexster TS Maniac Posts: 466   +233

    No, he got it right.
  21. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Evangelist Posts: 426   +135

    Not really, at least for some people. Proprietary launchers are just the way of the world now, so it is nice to see all installed games in one place. With several hundred games spread across five launchers, plus locally installed games, sometimes I would forget what I had, or if I was in the mood for a particular game I had not played in a while I would have to open multiple launchers until I found the game.
  22. mrtraver

    mrtraver TS Evangelist Posts: 426   +135

    You still have to have all appropriate launchers installed. GOG will likely open the necessary one in the background.
  23. lexster

    lexster TS Maniac Posts: 466   +233

    No for everyone. Some of us refuse to play nice with this business model.

    Couple of good points there.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...