Valve has been the dominant market force in terms of being the online distribution platform for games for the past several years, with Origin and Uplay not really holding the same variety of games and exposure that Steam has had. Even with other purchasing sites, such as the Humble Bundle Store, for example, the majority of the games for purchase usually has been for Steam keys themselves. However, one organization has stood out in terms of being different from its competition: GOG.com. Now they have thrown their hat into the gaming platform ring with an announcement of a beta for their new platform, Galaxy.
Now you’re probably sitting here going: wait, isn’t one of the strengths of GOG.com the lack of DRM, which a platform like Steam currently is using? You’d be correct, and that’s still the case with the new Galaxy platform, as the use of the platform is entirely optional to begin with, and the set of features it brings compared to Steam may raise an eyebrow or two. Have you never been an achievement hunter of sorts, and find that it’s more annoying than anything else? The new client allows you to turn that off, as the option of user choice seems to be a focus on the new client in question. Andof course, it has a basic set of features that you’d expect from a gaming platform: the ability to chat and make friends with other users is one example.
But there’s a couple of other standout features that may give Steam a run for its money in the long run. First of all is the fact that there’s cross-platform capabilities for multiplayer games, in terms of being able to play games with users who are playing on Steam. This may make things easier for people to adopt the platform in question without feeling like they are necessarily isolating themselves in terms of the community in question. What’s also nice is the fact that updates don’t have to be automatic and rollbacks of software can be performed by the player in question. Obviously for games with multi-player servers, you may not be able to play on them appropriately, but the ability to rollback a bug ridden version of a new release is very appealing, especially with some of the issues of QA that we’ve seen in a variety of games now a days.
Now note, the full suite of features are not done, such as inviting friends in game or the aforementioned rollback feature, and GOG is releasing the client to batches of interested individuals on a request basis to maintain the amount of data and control on the client in question. There is no timetable regarding the release of the client to the public in a non-beta state. However, considering the lack of options regarding gaming platforms for PC gamers at this point, the introduction of one with new and interesting feature sets is a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by one platform. One other note: while the GOG downloader won’t be going away on day one of the roll out of this service, there will no longer be active support of it when this service comes out from what is said in the FAQ section of the Galaxy page.
Are you excited for the new regarding Galaxy, or is it too little too late for the service given Steam’s stranglehold on the market? Will the non-DRM driven company be able to succeed given some of the problems with customer service that Valve has experienced lately? Or will it be another case of another client that falls to the wayside?