GOG Launches a DRM-Free Steam Competitor, GOG Galaxy

Joining the existing GOG.com is GOG Galaxy, a new, optional platform that can update your games and more.

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During its annual conference today, CD Projekt Red announced a new, Steam-esque platform for its digital game distributor, GOG.com. Known as GOG Galaxy, CD Projekt Red is positioning this as a gamer-friendly alternative by making it completely optional and DRM-free.

GOG Galaxy will replicate some of the features offered through Steam, like the ability to automatically update games, chat with friends, and compare achievements. While certain functionality--like playing online or talking to other people--will of course require an Internet connection, GOG customers who opt to make use of Galaxy will be free to play all of their games offline without any online activations required.

The video above offers some sense of what GOG is striving for with Galaxy, which is perhaps best described as a piece of software that expands the DRM-free service already offered through GOG.com. A narrator talks about the complaints many have raised about modern PC gaming, where it can feel like you don't actually own the games you've bought. "We believe gamers deserve a better experience," the video states.

"Regardless of which digital store you buy your games from, we don't think you should be locked into it," it continues. "We strongly believe that you should be free to play together with all your friends without any third-party client apps or accounts required."

GOG started out as Good Old Games, a service focused on offering classic PC games, before shifting to become a more generalized PC games distributor. This new client continues to put GOG in competition with services like Steam, Origin, and Uplay, although it should be noted that Galaxy (at least as of yet) doesn't plan to do everything Steam does. Valve's service has expanded to offer mods, a way to listen to music while playing, digital trading cards, and a marketplace for users to sell items for games like Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, and more. However, it's been criticized by some for being a requirement in order to play many games, an issue that GOG is obviously hoping to capitalize on.

A launch date for GOG Galaxy was not announced, nor were any of the details on how cross-play with other services will work. The official website says only that more news is to come at some point in 2014.

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