While Valve and Epic battle over storefront supremacy, there’s one other battle quietly looming. As complaints mount towards the proliferation of storefronts, there’s an opportunity for somebody to make the ur-storefront. I’m speaking in fact in regards to the launcher that may unify all the opposite launchers, the one launcher to rule all of them and—within the darkness of your arduous drive—bind them.
And GOG’s taken an early shot at it. Building off its Galaxy launcher, which was as soon as a mere repository and auto-updater to your GOG library, it’s now begun rolling out “Galaxy 2.0” to a choose few, together with us. I’ve spent the final week or so testing its capabilities to see if I’m able to condense my launcher loadout.
The verdict? It’s early days but, and there are kinks GOG must work out—some area of interest, some broader—however Galaxy 2.0 makes an fascinating and engaging bid.
Getting began is simpler than I anticipated, as effectively. GOG’s not the one launcher to permit video games from different providers, however normally the implementation is unwieldy. Steam’s “Add a Non-Steam Game” perform, as an illustration, scans each single program in your arduous drive and does little besides make a Steam-specific shortcut inside your sport library. Useful, often, however not an important long-term resolution.
Galaxy 2.0 is a extra automated course of. Initially you’ll solely see your GOG library, assuming you’ve gotten one. It works the identical as the unique Galaxy launcher in that regard.
But you’re prompted to “Add Games and Friends” as effectively. Some of those potential third-party connections are official, created and supported by GOG, although in the meanwhile that checklist solely consists of Xbox Live, and even that doesn’t really assist you to entry your Xbox Play Anywhere video games but.
The bulk of Galaxy 2.0’s connections have been constructed by the group utilizing GOG’s SDK to implement the suitable hooks, and already there’s a thriving plugin aftermarket, introduced inside Galaxy 2.0 as “Community Integrations – Popular.” Steam, Battle.web, Epic Games Store, Uplay, Origin, and extra could be added by means of these pseudo-official channels. It’s all the pieces you’d need, or a minimum of all the pieces you’re “forced” to make use of when you may’t use Steam. Yes, I see you.
Login takes seconds, every supplier asking to your credentials individually. Once Galaxy 2.0 is allowed you’ll see a observe on the backside that claims your library is “Importing,” although even with a Steam library within the 1000’s this took a minute or two at most. And you then’re finished, free to peruse any and your whole video games by means of GOG, to kind them alphabetically in a single lengthy checklist or break up them up by storefront, and simply launch the one you need.
They’re greater than mere shortcuts. That’s what impresses me most about Galaxy 2.0 to this point. Games you’ve bought from different providers aren’t handled like second-class residents, because the aforementioned “Non-Steam Games” are.
No, Galaxy 2.0 pulls in your historical past with these video games—Steam’s “Hours Played” metric, achievement knowledge, and so forth. It’s a wealthy useful resource in that regard, preserving vital information even for those who choose to make use of Galaxy 2.0 as your main launcher.
It additionally shines a light-weight on a few of Steam’s shortcomings, for my part. Steam is beneficial. Steam has numerous nice performance. Steam can also be pretty dated, and will use a full-scale redesign. One’s seemingly within the works, positive, however that’s been the case for years now, with no indication when it’ll launch.
Along comes Galaxy 2.0, which does stuff with my Steam library that appears apparent on reflection, however genius within the second. For occasion, permitting me to kind by achievement proportion—in fact!—and by time performed. Valve’s monitoring these metrics, however even for those who use the extra detailed (and fewer practical) checklist view in Steam you may’t kind by these. It’s nifty.
And I’m quick turning into a fan of Galaxy 2.0’s star rankings as effectively. They each function a option to rapidly discover my favourite video games and mark which of them I’ve completed. Best of all, they stand up to transferring from PC to PC. I’ve put in Galaxy 2.0 on two completely different computer systems, gone by means of the setup on every, and may verify star rankings for the Epic Games Store persevered throughout each. In truth, your whole cumulative, launcher-spanning library is ceaselessly connected to your GOG account, despite the fact that it’s a must to reauthorize your third-party credentials on subsequent PCs.
That mentioned, there’s extra to be finished. With GOG largely counting on the group to develop its Integrations to this point, help for any and all options could be a bit spotty. For occasion, my Steam library show time performed however (a minimum of after I examined) all achievement knowledge is listed at zero p.c.
You also can add tags inside GOG, however it gained’t pull tags instantly from Steam—a ache for me, given my meticulously cataloged and sorted Steam library. That alone has made me much less more likely to transfer over, as I don’t need to duplicate greater than a decade’s value of tedious submitting work multi functional go.
There’s additionally a minor irritation, in that Galaxy 2.0 can name up different launchers as wanted( you continue to want Uplay operating to play Uplay video games, as an illustration) however it gained’t shut them after it’s finished but. This function’s listed within the settings menu with a “Coming soon” tooltip, and for apparent causes. Galaxy 2.0 desires to be a seamless atmosphere, and having to shut out different launchers manually breaks that phantasm.
But worst of all, for me a minimum of—and I admit this could be area of interest—is that Galaxy 2.0 doesn’t help Steam’s Family Sharing function but, nor are you able to add multiple account from the identical service. It gained’t checklist Family Share video games even when they’re put in, which is doubly irritating. As I mentioned it’s almost definitely a distinct segment case, however I make intensive use of Steam’s Family Sharing options and this alone is stopping it from being my go-to, on condition that my video games are very a lot not multi functional place.
For its half, GOG reiterates that this can be a closed beta, little greater than a proof-of-concept that’s evolving by the day, and that’s true. Since I began testing, there’s already been an up to date launch with some bug fixes and different minor enhancements. I’m sympathetic, and am keen to miss its flaws for probably the most half and deal with the larger image.
And greater image? I believe it’s a neat concept. I don’t essentially know if GOG’s going to be the one to return out on prime on this upcoming battle, however Galaxy 2.0 is one potential resolution to a rising downside and I’ll be curious whether or not others attempt to comply with swimsuit—or whether or not we maintain juggling an ever-increasing variety of launchers on our personal and attempt to make do. Either appears potential.