By Brandon Rose / July 17th, 2019
Perhaps I’m just behind the times, but I’m one of those gamers that likes their library of games to be sorted and organized so I can quickly find what I want to play. This is easy to do with physical media. If I feel like playing, for instance, Octopath Traveler, I can go to the Switch section of my shelf, go to the O’s, and pop that game into my console. It’s an easy process as long as I have a game in physical format. But that’s where gaming as a whole is leaving me behind. Many developers are moving towards a digital format, and for some games it’s their only choice for distribution. Okay, fine, I can understand that. I’ll just fire up my console or my PC and scroll through my folders. No problem on a console, and easily done on PC. Or, at least, it was. For a while, Steam was the main way I got my PC game fix. Whether checking out what was on sale or redeeming keys from Humble Bundle, Steam was the go-to for PC for both gamers and developers alike. Later on, I found out about GOG, which allowed me the option to download and install games directly from their website. In addition to the free extras they offered, I had a new PC distributor that I’d frequent regularly.
Fast forward, and companies like EA and Ubisoft decide to splinter off of Steam and create their own launchers in the form of Origin and Uplay. And then Epic Games gets into the mix with their own storefront, quickly becoming a dominant force in the PC marketplace. And then Bethesda started selling its newest games on its own website instead of using Steam or anything else, and… I’m sure you see where this is going, right?
The long and short of it is, if you want to play a specific game from a specific publisher on PC, you’ll then need their specific launcher to go with it. Thus, the convenience of having your entire library in one place goes right out the window. It’s like taking your silverware drawer, emptying it out, and giving each type of utensil its own drawer. It’s organized, sure, but it’s inconvenient having to pull out each drawer just so you can get a spoon, fork, and knife. And sure enough, CD Projekt Red and GOG took notice of PC gaming’s ever growing silverware isolation problem, and announced their solution.
Enter Galaxy 2.0, an all-in-one launcher and digital library management application. The first iteration of Galaxy was basically Steam except for the GOG storefront. I hardly used it since I don’t really play online multiplayer, and just stuck with ordering directly from their website. However, the pitch of Galaxy 2.0 just being able to have your entire collection in one place had my attention from the start. So I jumped at the chance to sign up for the closed beta just so I could see it in action. So far, it’s making a good first impression.
Syncing your various accounts is easy enough. There’s the expected options to add your Steam, Origin, etc. You can also console options in the form of Xbox One and PlayStation 4. For obvious reasons, you can’t launch any games you have just for those on your PC. However, Galaxy 2.0 will still let you categorize them along with the rest of your library, and will even sync your stats from those platforms.
And though I’ve yet to figure out how, it seems that some users were savvy enough to add games like Super Mario Maker 2 and even Pokémon GO to their libraries.
As far as managing your library goes, they give you the obvious categories for where you bought the game. Beyond that, you’re also able to create your own custom tags for each game. Want to see just your Steam releases? You can do that. Want to see your RPG collection across all platforms? You can do that, too. Looking for an online multiplayer fix and want to see what your choices at a glance are? You better believe you can do that. Don’t want to see a particular game you regret buying during the last Steam summer sale? You can hide it from your list entirely.
As for launching games, it works like a charm. I tested this out with Loom, a game from my Steam library. All I had to do was click Play, and it did just that. No redundancies caused by opening my Steam at the same time. It just reestablished my Steam connection and fired up Loom, no problem whatsoever. I tried this again with Portal. While it did bring up the Steam overlay, there wasn’t evidence of Steam being open when I exited the game.
Now while it sounds like I’m singing Galaxy 2.0’s praises (which I am), I do have some critiques as well. For instance, I’m unable to change my display name like with Steam. Say someone from my PlayStation friends wants to find me on Galaxy, only to think I’m not on there because usernames don’t match? Or maybe I just want to change my display name for the occasion I do play online? Additionally, some cover artwork uses a mismatched version, such as using the PS3 cover for a game you have on PC. In some cases, artwork is missing entirely. I understand GOG is likely pulling from stock files for games that aren’t on its own store. This could be fixed by allowing users the ability to submit covers or to just add it locally.
In the grand scheme, however, my critiques are minor things. I’m sure that the more avid PC gaming enthusiasts have already provided extensive feedback to GOG directly. All things being said, if there’s one PC marketplace I trust to listen to its user-base, it’s GOG. If there’s enough support for a feature or enough feedback on an issue, I have a feeling they’ll take it seriously.
So, to cut to the chase, I’m impressed. Galaxy 2.0 is doing exactly what it setting out to do, and seems to be doing so without any major issue. It’s far from perfect, but what I’ve seen for now is promising. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to organizing my library while deciding what to play next.
Note: The redactions in the screenshots provided were done by myself for the sake of privacy
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