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Hands on GOG’s Galaxy (and why you should give it a try)

Good Old Games, the online store that specializes on old-school games, indies and DRM-free gaming just launched a new gaming service that aims to compete with Steam. Their new client is called Galaxy and since last earlier this week, it also supports the Mac.

To take on Steam would be foolish for most companies, but not for GOG. Their brad-new Galaxy client already fixes many of Steam’s problems (like no DRM nor online requirements) and they’re just getting started.

Our friends over at MacNN took the Mac version of Galaxy for a ride:

With Galaxy – a new online, client-centric service – GOG promises to solve these problems by marrying the benefits of Steam’s online services, with the DRM-free principles that lay at the heart of GOG’s original fame. As in any relationship of course, there’s always an awkward initial period, where both sides try to figure out how to work together to achieve a sense of mutual happiness and satisfaction. A beta phase, if you will. Welcome to the Public Beta of GOG Galaxy.

MacNN’s hands on goes deep, pointing out some hitches, unfinished features, but also all the potential that can be already seen. After all, remember that this is a beta…

Gog Galaxy Mac

Should you get into Galaxy’s wagon? Even if you’re already committed to Steam or other platforms? I sure think so, and I fully agree with MacNN’s conclusion:

In the end, anyone would be tempted to say that Galaxy is really little more than a Site-Specific Browser for GOG. However, the allure of Galaxy lies not in what it is now, but what it promises to be in the future. Exciting times are surely ahead for GOG, Galaxy, and their users, but we also need to remember that nothing is certain in the land of Public Betas.

For now though, we can still see this as a glimpse of what the future holds in store for GOG and its staunch principles on DRM, in a market increasingly focused on online connectivity and social networking. With luck, the marriage of an online client with GOG’s DRM-free principles will be one that will provide big dividends for all gamers.

You can download it and try it for yourself here.

  • mikelyons

    I have been testing the beta since it recently launched and I’m very pleased with the shape it is in so far. I have found and reported on a number of issues but all of them are relatively minor and do not interfere with downloading, installing, updating and of course launching one’s games. So the important stuff is in very good shape. It’s a stretch to call it a beta where it isn’t feature complete which a beta should be but they needed to get it out in a hurry to coincide with the release of The Witcher 3 as that game will depend on Galaxy for updates I believe.

    • Good overview Mike. How has it moved forward since your last comment (regarding new features I mean)?

      • mikelyons

        It hasn’t. My view has changed over time as well. It is no better off that I can tell than it was two months ago and I am now of the view that it never should have been released nor should supporting changes to the site have been made before it was ready for prime time. My interest in GOG has declined to about zero until and if they get their act together and fix both the site and get their client to a 1.0 release status with all features implemented and relatively bug free. See you next year (maybe) for all of that.

  • Ron F

    I always welcome more competition. As a matter of fact, I am kind of sick of Steam’s DRM policy among other issues and I decided a couple months ago to prioritize my purchases in other platforms.

    • DRM wise, GOG can’t be beaten. However their catalog is pretty limited compared to Steam, which is what makes Steam king anyhow… (I prefer GOG too).

  • ironhorse40

    I had some great time playing, a old classic game from my childhood days “Beneath a Steel Sky”. So if you looking to play a cool game, look for it on GOG Galaxy. I remember while working at Toys R’ Us, underage at the age thirteen ( illegal), I save up enough money to buy a commodore Amiga 1200 and the game “Beneath a Steel Sky” those good old gaming days:)

    • Chris Tallant

      This ^^ Needs more attention. That’s my main adoration for GOG is the memories. The Ultima series alone takes up its own shelf.

    • Cool thing is that you don’t really have to use Galaxy if you don’t want to, you can just download the games on GOG’s website too.

  • Chris Tallant

    OMG I just loaded this on an older MBA (2011) and wanted to see if it would install Fallout… which took me by surprise and asked if wanted to download the Wine wrapper for me and install it. Yes please!

    • Didn’t even know that it would install Wine wrappers automatically! Does it do it on games that “officially” support the Mac on their website or others?

      • Chris Tallant

        So far, it’s been anything I’ve loaded. There are two really old titles I have (one of them being Master of Orion 1) that has a notice saying “This title is currently unsupported, however we are working to fix this issue.” So I’m really enjoying the older favorites (Dungeon Keeper Gold, anyone?) on OSX.. it really feels like cheating – like putting a Raspberry Pi2 on a MAME box and loading all your favorite arcade titles… But looking more into it, I think they just have really dedicated fans who know their way around DOSBox and the like to help with the amazing simplicity for the world. It’s quite a noble accomplishment. More people should know of this.

  • Chris Tallant

    Also keep in mind, that many times GoG has sales and price-match-style goodness with Amazon and Steam. The biggest problem I have (well, one of them,) is I’m not sure I want ANOTHER system to fill full of games. Granted, I only have about 50 or so in Galaxy right now, but if you look at my Steam library of 1,000+ titles, I have a tendency to become, how does one say…obsessed?

    • BTW, how long is your “pile of shame” of games to play?? 😉

      • Chris Tallant

        Well, given that I usually play whatever I’m reviewing, then go back to Blizzard games… pretty high..

        • LOL and I’m certainly not helping you with that right now 😉