Today, CD Projekt Red, the developers behind the much anticipated, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (due for release later this month), released their beta alternative to Valve’s Steam. Named GOG Galaxy it plans to offer PC gamers an alternative platform to purchase games, and best yet, they are all DRM-free. PC gaming is monopolised by Steam, with EA’s Origin and Ubisoft’s uPlay offering little competition over the years, Projekt Red hope to break that monopoly and offer a viable alternative to PC gamers.
A press release from GOG outlined their plans for the client and their DRM-free aspirations: “GOG Galaxy features one-click installation and auto-updates for its library of over 1000 titles, but it also stays true to GOG.com values: it’s all optional. Automatic updating can be disabled for any game; but if you leave it on and a patch breaks something, GOG Galaxy will offer its rollback feature to restore a previous version of the game. Gamers can also download a standalone, DRM-free backup copy of every game, so keeping purchases safe is easier than ever.”
DRM has been an ongoing issue in the gaming world over the last few years, with Microsoft receiving huge backlash with their original plans to introduce DRM with the Xbox One, only for them to quickly backtrack and remove that feature. Many believe it was Sony’s stance on DRM and not making it compulsory that propelled them into the lead in the current console war. Could we see a similar thing happen with GOG Galaxy and Steam? Steam do have certain DRM-free titles, but they leave it down to the developers to make the decision. Projeckt Red are taking a stance from the outset that they will only publish games through their client if they are DRM-free.
The interface of GOG Galaxy looks slick and smooth and seems easy to navigate. Obviously with this currently being in beta there will likely be teething problems, but with Projekt Red’s history any issues should be resolved quickly and make the experience even better for gamers. GOG Galaxy will also offer the social and multiplayer features associated with Steam as well,
“With this an entirely optional platform, players can dive into online multiplayer portions of their favorite games, while enjoying single-player anytime they please without needing an internet connection. GOG Galaxy is designed to be a platform-agnostic online solution, allowing GOG.com and Steam players – with more platforms to be added in the future – to game together.”
While GOG currently does not have the same back catalogue as their rival, a surge in users will likely see more developers want to release their game on the new client. GOG offer sales similar to Valve’s famous Steam sales, so they are currently matching them blow for blow. If more developers agree to release their games in a DRM-free state that is a huge positives for PC gamers and potentially console gamers in the future.
With the negativity surrounding Steam currently after their mis-timed and misunderstood approach for charging for game mods through their Steam Workshop, the beta release of GOG Galaxy could have come at the perfect time and offer the first real competition to Valve and their stranglehold on PC gaming. Projekt Red clearly put the consumers needs first and I expect they will receive huge backing in their new venture from the gaming community.
GOG Galaxy released today in beta form and can be downloaded from the official GOG website.