Store Wars: GOG Launching Its Own Steam-Like Service

GOG’s been slowly moving from strength to strength for years, but now it looks like CD Projekt’s DRM-free baby is ready to step into the big leagues. GOG Galaxy is set to be a client-based service with friends, achievements, automatic updates, and the like ala Steam, only it’s entirely optional. No online game activations required, no sign-ins needed to play. You can play with friends using other platforms (like Steam) too. Trailer – yes, for a store/service – below.

As of now, that’s really about all there is to it. If you go to Galaxy’s sparkly new website, you’ll find no further information – just a little sign that says, “More news in 2014.” So that’s all for now, I guess.

It’s very good news, though. This sounds like it could potentially be the first viable Steam alternative, er, ever, and it plays nice with Steam and other services to boot. A competitor and a complement. Interesting. Regardless, options are rarely bad, especially when a company with a track record as historically good (and/or old) as GOG’s is at the helm.

Also, just to be certain I checked with GOG, and yes, Galaxy will be focused on curated games. No Steam Greenlight-style floodgate-opening shenanigans. So in some ways, Galaxy sounds like it will be akin to the Steam Of Yore while Steam itself evolves into… whatever Steam is currently evolving into.

I have no idea how this will all shake out, but I’m expecting interesting times ahead. I am, however, sad that they didn’t name it GOGGLES, but I just sat here trying to acronym that for five whole minutes and I’ve got nothing.


  1. db1331 says:

    It’s great that they aren’t forcing people into this by tying up The Witcher 3 with it (Like Origin and BF3/4 and Mass Effect 3). I don’t see it as something I want or need though. I like Steam, although I rarely use any of the social features for it. I don’t even sign into friends unless I’m playing a MP or co-op game, as I don’t like people distracting me in SP games. Still, I wish gog the best of luck in this endeavor. They seem like wonderful people, and I enjoy their games (The Witcher) immensely.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      Whereas I really really luv being distracted while playing single player games; which is why I always make sure to have my message settings check-boxes “Display Notification” and “Play Sound” ticked and ready!

    • LionsPhil says:

      Given one of the key defining points of GOG from the stat has been “no DRM”, they don’t really have a choice unless they want the Internet to be very upset.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Or Steam and HL2.

      Oh, I like Steam, but they did do the same as others by making the client too involved in the game it’s self.

      • soldant says:

        Exactly! Valve are guilty of what EA did with Origin, except they did it first. People forget that WON was shut down with the launch of Steam, and it was powering some of the most popular MP games/mods of the day (CS, DOD, TFC). With that the MP community had to migrate to Steam, or play on an ad-hoc network of private servers.

        Do that today and you’re an enemy of gaming. And even worse, Steam was terribly unreliable on release.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      It’s great that it’s optional, because it means I can completely ignore it without losing out on anything. I like Steam, but I like even more that GoG games don’t need third-party programs to start before I can play a game. This GoG Galaxy thing really doesn’t have anything I want. I only play SP games and I don’t find that social features or achievements are worth a damn. I have two friends on Steam and we infrequently talk about games, where they reply the next day because they’re in Canada and I’m in Sweden. That’s enough social interaction for me.

      • sinister agent says:


        Also I rather suspect that if gog were to make it mandatory, they’d be kissing goodbye to a huge chunk of their customer base. Frankly I am uncomfortable that this is coming out even as an option.

  2. who_me says:

    From their description, it sounds nothing like Steam since it’s going to be *optional*.

    • Lemming says:

      Being ‘optional’ is the only thing that differentiates it from Steam, actually. And it’s also a fairly pointless difference. I wish GoG all the best, but it irks me that they set themselves up as some kind of socialist force, when they are prone to the same issues any digital media service is.

      • Kefren says:

        “they are prone to the same issues any digital media service is”
        Apart from one issue, DRM – which is the main reason GOG is my favourite store, followed by GamersGate and then Steam.

      • jezcentral says:

        Oh great, someone who gets their meaning of the word “socialist” from a Tea Party prat on Fox News.

  3. Juan Carlo says:

    I’ve wanted them to do this for years and it’s a smart business decision.

    Oddly enough, owning digital games has become a forma of collecting. It’s collecting nothing more than a title in your list of games, true, but its collecting nonetheless. Valve recognizes this in steam and facilitates it, but GOG’s always lagged behind on this front.

    Hopefully they will take their store in-app too ala steam. Makes it more convenient than having to log into a website to buy games.

    Plus, if this gets any form of market share, it could force Valve to become less draconian with Steam in certain ways. I doubt the bigger publishers would want to, but I could see them doing something similar with indie titles. Some already do not need steam to run at all (The Winter Voices devs make a point of telling people that their game is DRM free in that you could copy it to another folder after downloading it from steam and play it entirely without steam), but it’d be neat if there were a bigger push to do this and advertise it a bit more.

    • suibhne says:

      I basically like Steam quite a bit – meaning that it adequately meets most of my needs as a gamer and game buyer – but I’d love to see stiffer competition for Valve. This can only be great for the whole market.

      • Cantisque says:

        It’s an interesting entry to the competition. The only other real competition is Desura, I don’t count Origin or Uplay because these exist primarily to lock customers into their own published titles rather than serve as a useful piece of software.

        My main issue with Steam is that it has so many advanced and useful features, yet keeps generating errors when navigating community pages, trading etc. It feels clunky, like they just keep piling things on top of a crumbling foundation.

    • ahac says:

      I wonder if Galaxy will work with pirated games….

      • The Random One says:

        I bet it’ll synch with your GoG account, so it won’t work with pirated games or games you bought elsewhere.

        • jrodman says:

          If the download and run features are separate, it will.

          In that sense, steam does work with pirated games. Although steam does not offer multiplayer features for pirated games written with steamworks.

  4. balinor says:

    Good Old Games Gives Ladies Extra Starch…

    Hey I didn’t say I would have something good….

    • Koozer says:

      Good Old Games Growing Long Expected Service?

      • Renzatic says:

        Good Old Games Galaxy Lets Everyone Stream! YEEEAAHHH! :mad:

        • bonus_85 says:

          Good Old Games Gets Lost Entering Space? Dammit internet! I’m no good at this :/

          • TheParthenon says:

            Good Old Games. Gallantly Leaping Ever Skyward.

            Best I could manage on short notice.

            Edit: Good Old Games’ Giant Library, Electronically Streaming.

            Better. Still not great.

    • gnodab says:

      Good Old Games Galaxy Live Entertainment Service

  5. Cantisque says:

    This would be very useful for people with big GOG libraries who have trouble keeping their games up to date. It’d be nice if Steam did take this move as the start of a war and offer direct DRM-free downloads from their site (with the publishers consent, of course).

    But yeah, most of my games on GOG are well… Old… I doubt they need a dedicated client to keep them up to date.

    • Brinx says:

      Sometimes I’m surprised to see some very old games in my GOG-library marked with an updated sign. I don’t know what exactly they are still doing with those games, but I remember King of Dragon Pass having some issues with Windows 7 that they fixed.

      E: Right now I’m seeing Master of Orion 1+2 marked as updated.

      • Cantisque says:

        Not sure but I would guess they update the DOSBOX software or configuration files every so often.

      • Frank says:

        Bah. You got my hopes up. King of Dragon Pass is still very broken on Windows 7. I play it in a separate Windows account because it demands a stupid font size at the OS level. Or at least that was the old problem. Now, it just opens a command prompt and sets my screen res to 640×480.

        • Nenjin says:

          Huh. I have not had this issue with KoDP and Win 7.

        • SuddenSight says:

          This is the best part of GOG. I am a joyful user of alternate operating systems. GOG has taken what used to be ask solid day of looking up mods and DLLs to get games working under wine into basically a one-click install.

          My only complaint used to be the fact that I had to manage my installs myself. (Though direct control is nice sometimes, I am also extremely lazy and sometimes I forget what stuff I have installed)

          Looking forward to this.

          Whoops. Meant to reply to LionsPhil, below.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Sometimes they dig up extra bonus bits, or add Mac support or something.

  6. MkMax says:

    as long as they keep with the no drm stand and dont force us to run the client to play the games im all up to it, i often used the downloader to get them anyway, i hope they dont remove the installation pack option tho

    i dont actually mind having a client as long as you dont force me to use it. hear that EA and ubisoft ?

  7. Drake Sigar says:

    So you might say ‘The GOGGLES, they do nothing!’

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:


      • AyeBraine says:

        I don’t have any idea why, but the GOGGLES joke in the article and your comment seem like the funniest thing in the world right now, for some reason.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Nothing I’m interested in, at any rate. But hey it’s optional, so nothing bad will happen if I decide not to download it.

  8. Crafter says:

    Very good ! Steam has a ton of enormous UX issues that have gone unsolved for years.
    Now that some real competitor is looming at the horizon, they might be forced to get serious about their client.

  9. Somerled says:

    Finally, a Steam competitor with a better business plan than “be like Steam, but more restrictive.”

    • desolation0 says:

      Thank you, totally got a chuckle out of this.

      As far as updates go, it’s actually part of the reason the GOG system is so heavily curated. The GOG team end up engininjaing the games that go on their system to work with the newer operating system platforms and also removing the archaic DRM systems many of these games had at their original release. If a game isn’t working they take it as part of their responsibility, as the folks offering the game to the audience, to fix the problem in tandem with the developers. That’s not to say all games available are entirely properly functioning, but those faults are often legacy problems with the game itself carried over from the original platform, while the backend is actually working well.

      If you run into a problem with a game on GOG let the support team know about it. Fixes will likely be incoming eventually. Just remember it takes time to support a whole library of older titles, and not all problems can get a quick and easy code fix. If you manage to find a workaround for a glitch, let the support staff know that as well, as it could point to a solution they can package for the rest of the users.

      • MartinWisse says:

        Also if a game really has problems on your system, they do have a 30 days money back guarantee.

  10. Mittens89 says:

    As much as I dislike Steam, I cant really see myself downloading yet another client. Steam is fine for me, most of my games are there and they work. I dont care for the community aspects, so I just dont use them.

    Steam is ok.

  11. Brinx says:

    I don’T really see myself using this, but this is a chance as good as any to say how much I love this company. The service they provide is just awesome.
    (And the time I had a problem with the client, they responded to my e-mail within five minutes.)

    • jezcentral says:

      Yeah, I know the “Old” bit on their name is now gone. But how many off their games need multiplayer? This is the real selling point of the social side of Steam. I’m not sure if any of my GOG games library would necessitate a friend list. And Steam is already up and running on my PC.

      Whatever. More options = no worse than before, and probably better.

  12. Kollega says:

    I gotta say, if GOG attempt to provide a service leveraging their fairness and honesty, they might need to find a voiceover guy who sounds less like… uh… one Slim Cognito from a certain console game series.

  13. Synesthesia says:

    Sounds pretty cool. Also, plexus is awesome.

  14. sabasNL says:

    GOG Galaxy

    Let the games begin.

    • ahac says:

      Don’t forget (probably used by a lot more people than desura)!

      Also, there is the “Nexon launcher” which is necessary for Dirty Bomb beta and that one is really basic but takes really long to open…

    • hap says:

      I guess there’s a bunch of proprietary stuff preventing it but it would be nice if we had a client that merged everything into one program.

      Like Pidgin for instant messaging.

    • Stardreamer says:

      You forgot the Gamestop app that used to be Stardock’s…

      …oh, wait, never mind. EVERYBODY forgot that, and quite rightly so.

      • ZephyrSB says:

        I cry a little when I want to play a game and release my only version is tied to that….thing.

  15. leeder krenon says:


  16. Zulthar says:

    This is great, I hope Valve and EA takes a hint.

  17. Frank says:

    Who’s that voice guy in the video? Sounds familiar.

  18. DanMan says:

    I hate to say it, but Steam is so far ahead (Big Picture, Streaming, …), it’d take anyone a long time and lots of effort to replicate it, let alone surpass it at this point. That doesn’t mean that nobody should try. Competition is always needed, otherwise monopolies form, as we all know.

    Now, if this was OpenSource and/or had a plugin system, we might be onto something. Otherwise… good luck.

  19. Entitled says:

    Just like with GOG vanilla itself, the whole DRM-free thing will secure them a solid niche, but I don’t see how they could compete for the general audience with Steam, if they only have a smaller, curated lineup.

    If people want to buy Don’t Starve or Banished, they are available on many platforms, anti-DRM folks will get them on GOG, everyone else on the platform with the biggest popular inertia, that is Steam.

    If people want to buy Rust or The Forest, it’s Steam only for them, because GOG is too busy protecting buyers from themselves.

    If people want to buy Air Control or Earth 2066…. Well, no one wants to buy those games other than a handful of critics post-scandal, so it’s not like there is a market to be lost or proteced in either direction there.

    • Frank says:

      And there’s the fact that you can buy Don’t Starve for Steam and DRM-free with a single purchase from the Humble Store: link to

      So, no, I haven’t bought new-ish games on GOG except when super cheap, and that’s usually long after I have it on Steam. I like GOG and am glad that they’re successful enough to do this client stuff, but eh, Steam integration (Humble Store, IndieGameStand) wins, I guess.

  20. Creeping Death says:


    If it is entirely optional, and being entirely optional is its biggest selling point, then… isn’t this whole thing kinda pointless?

    They’ve essentially said “Here’s this client that we know you don’t want because you come to GoG for drm free games, and as we know you don’t want it we made it entirely optional so you don’t have to use it!” O.o

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s presumably useful in the same way that GOG Downloader was useful: “I have all these DRM-free games, actually download them to my external drive so I really can keep playing them long after your servers have shut down”.

      Only now with watching your account and downloading updated versions etc. automatically, I assume.

      And social gubbins that…well, I guess it may make sense for some of the newer games they sell. I can’t really seem them getting a Steamworks-like experience into MoO2 or Descent…

    • The Random One says:

      No, no. The community stuff is the spoonful of sugar Steam gives you to stop you from complaining about the bitter pill of DRM. They’re now going to let you eat the sugar by itself if you want.

      • pepperfez says:


    • Hasslmaster says:

      If it is entirely optional, and being entirely optional is its biggest selling point, then… isn’t this whole thing kinda pointless?

      If that is the amount of your capability of logic thinking, then you are the first person I know of that would be better off relinquishing all logic thinking immediately.

  21. aurious says:

    I don’t know what it is exactly… but something about GOG marketing always just rubs me the wrong way. So while, rationally, GOG Galaxy seems to be a Good thing and certainly more competition is great and I’ll still buy games from them… I struggle to resist the urge to pettily point out that using an account to control who can download the games and updates is a form of DRM and that I still don’t own any of the games I’ve bought from GOG.. just a license to install and play. But that would be petty, unfair and unreasonable pedantry, so I’ll resist.

    I do wonder though… with the ‘freedom of choice’ and ‘cross-play’ .. if I buy The Witcher 3 from Gog Galaxy.. will they give out Steam keys (and vice versa)? (or indeed other services.. but I don’t know if origin/uply/desura/others let the devs give out free keys like Steam and GOG do). Seperating the license I buy and the service I use to manage my library would be a Good Thing.

    Good Online Games, Gathered Lovingly, Entertain Spectacularly

    • frightlever says:

      For me Desura is virtually little more than a waiting room where I keep the games from bundles before they get a Steam key. When Desura installs a game you can usually link a shortcut straight to the executable but by default the Desura made shortcut launches their service before starting the game, and Desura is a shoddy pile of crap.

    • jrodman says:

      The GOG service does prevent you from resale of the game in the eyes of the service, that’s true, and I agree with your sentiment.

      However, it is *NOT* DRM which are technical measures that control how you can interact with a game.
      You certainly could simply send someone the game download and accept money for it and declare that you sold the game to someone and never download it again. There are no technical measures in the downloaded package that will attempt to restrict this. This isn’t really different in what you can provide from the old days of selling a box and CD, though GOG may not fully agree there are no countermeasures.

  22. harcalion says:

    Nathan, you have forgotten about the text box to register and test the platform along with The Witcher: Adventure Game beta. You have to scroll down a bit to see it, though.

  23. novagoon says:

    I told Peter it was that way.

  24. Fumarole says:

    GOGGLES – Good Old Games Give Losers Everywhere Smiles

  25. Einhaender says:

    Nathan trying his hardest to not throw out his usual negative bias towards Steam. I can almost hear the backspace key.

  26. Tei says:

    I have a chest in my home full of C64 games. I have not played with any of them in 20 years. If I feel nostalgic, I would probably download a .d64 file and run the game with a emulator. Easier than running it on the native hardware.

    So all these games I have bough? shit. It just wasted space.

    This make me think that games are not something you “collect”, are “use and forget” experiences.

    So I am ok with downloading a game once, playing until the end, and deleting or forgeting it exist. My only requirement is that at release day, the game is available and work. I will probably be angry if I try to redownload a game and it don’t download it again, but I don’t do that often.

    Uplay is horrend, and at release day blocked my initial attemps to play Watch-dogs, but I can live with it any other day.

    • Superpat says:

      Really depends on the game, I boot Ck2 every few weeks since release, but most triple A games I’ve played were forgotten after one playtrough

  27. Big Murray says:

    Good Old Games Get Less Expensive Son!

  28. Superpat says:

    The auto-updating is what interests me, for some reason, I have a lot of trouble using their downloader to install my games, it only works for one of two games.

  29. Shooop says:

    At last, an actual challenger to Steam appears.

    This is something that I would recommend using because some GoG games get updates at an alarming rate. The fact that it’s an optional app instead of a DRM disguised as a service makes it a no-brainer for me.

  30. Barclay says:

    GOG has pulled off a major PR coup and a triumph of newspeak with this one, given that GOG Galaxy is essentially a new DRM multiplayer service marketed as “DRM Free” and people seem to be buying it. If you read the press release, it’s clear that GOG Galaxy games will have DRM free Single player but the “Optional” multiplayer will be DRM’d to hell and tied to your account. It sounds a lot like, oh, all other digital distribution platforms.

    Does anyone agree with GOG that multiplayer is just an “optional” component? My view is that a game with DRM’d multiplayer is a DRM’d game, period. We already have that option with every other store, ever — and it’s not why people shop at GOG.

    Seeing GOG of all people having to promise that offline single player will remain available is chilling.

    • jrodman says:

      A fair point.

    • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      This is what I came here to say, too. When I read it I was surprised at how GOG simply tried to brush past how they very clearly state single-player will remain DRM- and Galaxy-free, and don’t say anything about multiplayer. The logical deduction is multiplayer will require Galaxy.

      • jezcentral says:

        I don’t know how you made that leap of “logic”. All they’ve said it that you can play all your games off-line, unless they are on-line multiplayer games.

        • Philotic Symmetrist says:

          I am also very confused by these assertions that the multiplayer will be subject to DRM. They say you need a profile to share your achievements, which is unavoidably true (whether that profile must be connected to the account through which the games were actually purchased is a slightly different question), and that you need to be ‘connected’ to play online which is obviously always true. They didn’t say you even need to have a profile to play online…

          • Barclay says:

            It is perfectly possible (though less and less common these days) to play many games online without having to verify your identity and your right to play the game, and without being tied to a single point of failure server farm run by a single company. For example, games that support LAN and/or user run dedicated servers typically avoid those pitfalls. The clear implication of the GOG press release, with its ambiguous references to “offline single player” remaining available, is that multiplayer may be restricted in that way for GOG Galaxy games. Such an authentication scheme is the very definition of DRM. Calling it optional doesn’t help. Saying it is unavoidable for online multiplayer games is both innacurate and beside the point, because if such games truly do require DRM, then by the principles that GOG has previously declared, such games simply shouldn’t be on GOG. It’s not like there aren’t any other stores out there. GOG has created something special and I rather think it should keep it true to itself, rather than becoming all things to all people.

            If the inference we are taking turns out to be inaccurate, I’ll be the first to celebrate and buy lots of GOG games. I also won’t be bothered at all if it really does turn out to just be a few extra sprinkles like achievements, etc, as long as the fundamental multiplayer features in all GOG games remain DRM free. But the weasel words of the press release make me very worried, indeed.

          • jezcentral says:

            I still think you are reaching, Barclay. They were just pointing out multiplayer will be online. The only people who seem to think you can play multiplayer games with the servers closed down are EA.

    • The Random One says:

      While your caution is not unwarranted, it is also possible that any multiplayer game will work with either whatever multiplayer system it presently uses, or GoGGalaxy.

    • irongamer says:

      “‘Optional’ multiplayer will be DRM’d to hell and tied to your account. ”

      True, individual companies will still control their multiplayer game. However, given what people are exposed to these days, I suspect people will want the convenience of a central location to manage server lists, friends list, stats, achievements, etc. Many people today no longer want to mess around with multiple friend lists, futzing with IP addresses, and want legit stats/achievements.

      What GOG might offer is an API to allow developers to have these centralized features without restrictive DRM terms. It does feel like a loosing battle, but steam needs a real knock on the head. Will GOG Galaxy do that? I don’t know, but it might be a start.

      • aiusepsi says:

        The thing is, Steamworks isn’t DRM. Just ask well know porter-to-Linux extraordinaire, Icculus: link to

        The problem is games killing themselves rather than just turning off Steam features when Steam isn’t available.

        • irongamer says:

          I’d argue that is a culture of steam games and steam may promote that behavior. Almost like an unspoken preference. Can lazy coding explain all those titles being breaking while offline line? I could see some of it related to being lazy, but I have a feeling it is more a culture that steam has fostered.

          Disclosure: I’ve been coding for over 8 years and currently developing my own game.

      • malkav11 says:

        Steam already offers that. But by and large the DRM gets implemented voluntarily by the developer or forced by the publisher.

        • irongamer says:

          Which is my point. Here is a company offering similar features of steam that can be plugged into their game and the company has a stance of no DRM to start with… I know there are others. Does GOG hold a place in the market that could make any difference in the long run?

          GOG might nudge developers away from drm… at least small developers. I know many already offer non-drm versions. The giant corporations that build games… well I don’t have any hope they will ever change until they die out like the dinosaurs… grasping that last cash cow in their jaw to the very end.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Erm, I haven’t read the press release, but unless the rules of programming changed when I wasn’t looking, developers are free to implement their multiplayer functionality any way they wish, which includes NOT tying their games to any particular service.

      My assumption is that GOG are providing a new service, and if developers choose to integrate their game with that service, then gamers using the service will need an account there. That’s nothing new. Developers could also host their own multiplayer servers. Or provide the software for other people to host independent servers. Or implement peer-to-peer networking. Or provide direct IP address connections. etc, etc.

      Am I missing something here?

  31. tomeoftom says:

    I can get on board with this

  32. sinister agent says:

    Good Old Games Get Licensing Experts Salivating

  33. Continuity says:


  34. racccoon says:

    STEAM is the most stupidest tool ever made! it forces us to have to use it.
    It makes no sense to even launch the piece of crap when we already had a good system which was called Installation, we had normal game updates as we pleased. we had Chat rooms by oh yeah.. chat rooms.
    If this GOG tool can get anywhere next to kicking STEAMS arse I’ll be in it. Anyone who wants a MONOPOLY in gaming is just a greedy pig, STEAM fits this bill.
    So if GOG can get through Steams onslaught of barrages and tripwires it’ll set upon GOG, I’ll use it just to PISS STEAM OFF!

    • Distec says:

      Calm, bro.

    • Eery Petrol says:

      Two sides to the coin man. If you don’t like its services for players, appreciate it for its services towards developers. Using the Steam platform can take a lot of work out of their hands.

  35. NimRast says:

    I’m installing this optional client as soon as it comes out. This is great news.

  36. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    Sounds as something like Xfire. Just a layer to list your installed games regardless of service, tie it together with community fluff and tracking friends’ multiplayer games.

    I used Xfire for a long time because of the ease to join friends’ games and their Ventrilo servers, in the pre-Steam days of exchanging IP addresses over MSN.
    I’ve not had to use it in a long time because every multiplayer game I buy these days are on Steam, and the Xfire client kind of turned to shit over time.

  37. Eery Petrol says:

    I find this comparison with Steam misleading.

    Steam allows, not forces, developers to launch their games with DLC. Any developer can opt to make their game DRM free on Steam, allowing you to download it through the Steam download client, but afterwards also to move your game files and launch them without ever using Steam. Check out this list of DRM free Steam games (such as ARMA 2, Far Cry 2 and many indies):

    link to

    This has an important implication: from the content of this article, it would mean that GOG will restrict the freedom of developers with respect to Steam on a very important issue, which I think would massively impact any game canon they might hope to build.