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Thread: GOG Galaxy 2.0 - One Launcher to rule them all?

  1. #1
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen

    GOG Galaxy 2.0 - One Launcher to rule them all?

    Should I post this in the existing thread... nah, here goes!

    Most of you have probably at least heard of GOG's upcoming launcher, GOG Galaxy 2.0. Some of you might have even tried it already! The closed beta started a week or two ago, my name's on the waiting list for the invitations, and for some strange reason I'm quite excited about it. Excited about a game launcher. What's wrong with me?

    For way too many years Steam has been the most convenient way to launch and play games, and even though I think that their service has become really good, somewhere deep inside I feel a bit guilty about feeding their almost monopoly status. Steam might not even be the best launcher - I mean I really like GOG Galaxy nowadays, but most of my games collection is already on Steam, that's where my achievements and all the statistics are, so if Steam and GOG are selling the same game for the same price, I must admit that I'd still probably choose Steam. I know, shame on me.

    But now things might finally change! GOG Galaxy 2.0 promises to merge the most popular launchers, so that you can arrange your whole game collection and launch whatever game you want to play from one place. Of course you'll still need to have your Steams and Origins and Epics and Uplays (etc etc) installed, and some might say that that makes GOG Galaxy 2.0 totally pointless, but I think this is as good as it'll ever be. Yeah, it sucks when you've bought some Ubisoft game on Steam for example; you try launching it on GOG Galaxy 2.0, it actually launches Steam that in turn launches Uplay, and only then you'll actually get to play the game. Might take a few extra seconds, but if I get to organise and view my whole game collection in one place, that's a small price to pay.

    I would imagine that they'll somehow merge the friends lists and chat as well, and hopefully the game statistics and achievements will be there too. Oh, and automatic updates also, please. As for trading cards and "experience levels" and stuff, I really couldn't give a crap about them - in fact I'd just be pleased if they didn't exist! Does anyone really collect those cards?

    But even though I'm excited about Galaxy 2.0, I'm not so optimistic about the whole integration process. It sounds like such a huge job. It'll probably take forever to get everything to work flawlessly. And if this turns out to be a great success and people fall in love with GOG too much, what's there to stop Steam from making a dick move and "hiding" all their games from GOG, making the whole launcher practically useless?

    It'll be interesting for sure to see how this turns out. Meanwhile, I'll continue sitting here and waiting patiently for my closed beta invitation.

  2. #2
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Have to say that I'm quite excited about this one. Having everything under one roof gets my vote.

  3. #3
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    What Icemann said. It looks snazzy, and I'd like having everything in one place. Plus, it's a nice upgrade for the current GOG client, which does its job well enough, but doesn't really stand stand out in any way.

    I'm hoping I get into the closed beta soon enough. I was in the original GOG beta way back, when it was mostly a collection of Interplay games. Maybe that'll help me get bumped up in the queue.

  4. #4
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    So, there was a huge amount of DRAMA over the Epic Games Store, and outside of the completely crazy "no Steam, no buy" people, one of the biggest complaints is that the Epic Store is really lacking in features and is barely functional.

    I agree with that (their store is awful), but everyone kept dragging in "missing features" like achievements, cloud saves, in-game overlay, controller support, Wine Proton, etc. - when those are launcher features and not store features.

    There are actually three separate functions that Steam provide - a shop, an installer, and a launcher/in-game utility. There is no reason why those three things should have to be the same, it's just that Steam have carefully forced everyone into their ecosystem by combining these things and blurring the lines.

    Steam's launcher features are cool, but there's absolutely no reason why those features couldn't apply to any game, regardless of where it was purchased. Play-time tracking, achievements, cloud saves, in-game overlays, all that stuff has nothing to do with the store, even though Steam integrates the two.
    The reason people don't want to buy from Epic (or, from any other non-Steam store) is because Steam intentionally doesn't allow those non-Steam purchases to properly integrate with their launcher - you can run them through Steam and get the overlay, but you won't get anything else. Not because Steam couldn't offer those services to their users when playing non-Steam games, but because they choose not to in order to force people into the Steam ecosystem.

    So, I got to thinking that the solution to the problem of split libraries and under-developed launchers would be to separate the functionality. Almost no one would care if they had to buy a game through Epic, or Origin, or GOG, or Microsoft Store, or whatever, if they still got to install and launch it the same way as their other games once they owned it.

    I was hoping someone would do something like this, though I expected it to be some third-party (e.g. similar to like Playnite.)
    I'm very interested to see that CD Project Red had the same idea. They're big and experienced enough that they can actually do a proper job at this, and to negotiate the deals with the other storefronts to make it happen.

    What we need next is for the smaller stores, including Epic, to provide integrations for their stores which don't require running their full launcher. The thing is, I can see that happening, because it's in their interest to help break Steam's monopoly - especially for Epic, who have received a huge amount of flak for their exclusives, and whose stated goal is to break the 30% standard cut.

    By all working together to allow common launchers like GOG Galaxy 2.0, they could greatly improve their reputation and turn it around so that Steam (assuming they refuse to integrate properly) become seen as the bad guys.

    That got a bit longer than it probably should have. In short, yes, I'm excited to see CDPR working on GOG Galaxy 2.0, and I hope to see it succeed.
    I also signed up for the beta as soon as it was announced, but haven't received an invite yet.

  5. #5
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    I had two problems with Galaxy.

    1) When updating files in games, Galaxy would download the full changed file. Even if the file was 10GB, and only 1 byte changed, Galaxy would download the full 10GB. Steam doesn't do this, it just download the changes, and applies those to the existing file. You might think this is not a big deal. But when you're on a 6Mbps adsl line, and you want to play The Witcher 3, it isn't fun when you first have to download (several) multi-gigabyte files. Especially when that happens once a week or more. Rockstar's updater for GTA5 has the same problem. (I made the mistake of not buying the Steam-version). Always downloading huge files. Ridiculous. Is Galaxy2 smarter ? Does it only download the diffs ? Or still full files ?

    2) When Galaxy was downloading the (huge) files, it would store the temporary files in the directory "C:\GOG Games". And there is (was) no way to change that location. Now I run my windows the way I want to run it. (I'm a stubborn asshole. And sanctimonious too, although I have no idea what that means). So I have a relatively small C:-partition. There's only windows on it. My \Users folder, my games, even my page-file are somewhere else. So I only ever needed only a few GB of free diskspace. Galaxy would fuck this up, use 10 GB or more (updating The Witcher 3), and mess up my C:-partition. Has this been fixed ? Can we now specify the download-location ? I want "GOG Games" out of my C:.

  6. #6
    Registered: Aug 2004
    How would we fund a third party launcher, if it's not fundamentally connected to an underlying game store? Or, another way, what would be in it for Valve to make all of Steamworks available to non-Steam games?

    Personally, I've always found Steam to be almost bafflingly generous in allowing third party key sales without getting a cut. In that sense, you can sell a game outside of Steam, get all of Steamworks, without giving Valve a dime beyond the $100 "Direct" fee. They only require that the game is also available on the Steam store.

  7. #7
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Quote Originally Posted by Gryzemuis View Post
    Rockstar's updater for GTA5 has the same problem. (I made the mistake of not buying the Steam-version).
    I made the same mistake and have been regretting it ever since. :|

  8. #8
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Another similar part of Steam that I like is version control. You can easily revert back to past or special versions, and like you say, it's often a matter of just a few dozen MBs differential download.

    Like Caves of Cud updates a lot, maybe once a month, and it always breaks the save games every time. But you can just lock it into one version, your save games are good until you're done with a game; and then you can just jump right to the latest version.

    And Celeste had a bug that crashes the game on my video card, but they put out a special version just for that card that fixes it.

    Edit: Large mods which are basically fan-made versions are also easy to manage through Workshop.

    And you always know about these things because they'll be explained in Steam's own forum for that game.

    Things like that are why I like Steam.
    But I'm willing to give GOG v.2 a run.
    It would be nice to have some system that can consolidate all my games from all systems at least into one list. I sometimes get paranoid when I'm looking at a game I want to buy wondering whether or not I've already bought it.

  9. #9
    Registered: May 2004
    I have a huge spreadsheet just to keep track of my games. Serves me right for not sticking to Steam only and giving chances to indie games.

  10. #10
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    How would we fund a third party launcher, if it's not fundamentally connected to an underlying game store?
    It could be FOSS, like Playnite.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Or, another way, what would be in it for Valve to make all of Steamworks available to non-Steam games?
    Nothing, that's the problem. Not allowing it keeps people locked into their ecosystem, obviously a company seeking to make money would want that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pyrian View Post
    Personally, I've always found Steam to be almost bafflingly generous in allowing third party key sales without getting a cut. In that sense, you can sell a game outside of Steam, get all of Steamworks, without giving Valve a dime beyond the $100 "Direct" fee. They only require that the game is also available on the Steam store.
    Also available on Steam for the same price.
    Because they know most people will choose the storefront they already know and trust, plus it forces more people into their ecosystem.

  11. #11
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    It could be FOSS, like Playnite.
    It really can't. Software can be free, but servers cost.

  12. #12
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Or like the old adage goes, if you're getting something online for free, you're not the customer; you're the product.

  13. #13
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    It could be FOSS.
    You don't want another launcher.
    Even if is is Open Source or free or independent.

    What we need is an initiative from the gaming industry, to develop open APIs and open protocols for installing and managing games. So people can write launchers that can deal with other company's games. Or game-studio's can develop games that can launch and be maintained via other company's software. A consumer then could use launcher X from company A, buy games from companies B, C and D, let their games be maintained/patched/updated by company E, and use the stores of companies F, G and H.

    Unlikely to happen, because when some companies think their current market-share gives them an advantage, they will do anything to block such an initiative. Too bad.
    Last edited by Gryzemuis; 29th Jun 2019 at 17:35.

  14. #14
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I don't disagree with anything you just said, and it fact you're basically saying the same thing that I was saying.

    I suggested that the combined launcher would be FOSS, but that comes later - for any combined launcher to work, it needs to have some at least partially open APIs that it can use. That's the baseline before anything will work.

    My thinking was that it's in the best interests of all the smaller, non-Steam stores to open their APIs to such a launcher, because it makes people more likely to buy on stores that work with the launcher.

    Suppose someone has games on Steam and GOG. They rail against also buying on Epic because then they need a third launcher, and then if they buy from Origin, MS, etc., they need four, five, six launchers.

    If each of those extra shops had one common launcher, then no one would care where they bought the games. The dislike of buying games on a new store and splitting their library even further would be gone, because the games bought in that new store would be in the same launcher as the old store.

    If all of the extra launchers work together to come up with some kind of open standards, it helps all of them - and might even, eventually, force Steam to follow suit because everyone else supports it.

  15. #15
    Registered: Sep 2004
    I actually would be interested in seeing the market shares, googled a bit but didn't find anything useful. just looking at things, steam seems to be the leader, with the rest just fighting over leftovers.

  16. #16
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    I got into the beta yesterday.

    I think it's still a bit early to give it a fair review, quite a few things seem to be unfinished.

    It still has that same huge GOG Galaxy problem where clicking on its tray icon only lets you open the launcher (clicking on the Steam icon is my most-commonly-used method for launching games), but they've said they plan to address that.

    The main UI looks fancy, but is a bit unwieldy. The left panel has filter lists / bookmarks (e.g. games sorted by platform), while the main panel shows the games list. Clicking on a game will open the description of that game in the main panel, which I find really annoying. You can't view the list of games and the info on a game at the same time, because they both occupy the same space. You have to go back to your list after looking at each game.

    It's also annoyingly hard to actually start the games. You have to select the game in the list to open its game page, then click the "play" button which is kind of hidden at the very top of the screen.
    At least letting you start games by double-clicking on them would help a lot here.

    The integrations don't seem to work particularly well yet.
    The Epic Games integration doesn't work at all for me, apparently a bug that happens if you installed their launcher back when it was still the Unreal Engine launcher, and so isn't in the expected location. They're looking into that one as well, but it means I can't test the Epic integration.

    The Steam integration does work, but of course it just launches the games through Steam. You get the Steam overlay instead of the GOG one. For a proper multi-launcher, I'd expect to see the GOG overlay take over all games launched through it, though it really needs to be improved a lot first, since an overlay without a built-in web browser is useless in my book.

    It's supposed to have some kind of friends list integration, but that doesn't work at all. I only see my one GOG friend. None of my Steam friends appear.
    It does have common pages for achievements, which list Steam achievements for Steam games.

    The UPlay integration also doesn't work, it thinks I have no games. That might be because I never actually installed UPlay, I just made an account to collect some free games at some point.
    Last edited by Nameless Voice; 12th Jul 2019 at 18:52.

  17. #17
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Early days. I'm sure with time more will work as expected.

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