It’s 2019 and PC gamers are up in roar for mostly one reason: Epic Games Launcher. Almost every week another title announces it’s exclusivity, timed or otherwise for the newest launcher on the block and usually the pitchfork-armed mob isn’t far behind.
Why does the Epic Games Launcher get so much hate in comparison to other launchers with exclusivity, like Uplay and Origin?
The answer is not as complicated as you might assume. It’s the unpredictability. For Origin and Uplay, you’ll know that all EA published games will end up on one and all Ubisoft published games will end up on the other. That’s it. Sure there might be some occasions where EA games show up on Steam or Ubisoft games show up on Epic, but for the most part, that’s it.
With Epic, you have games that were announced or kickstarted years ago by independent Developers and Publishers and sometimes within weeks of release, it is revealed that the game will now launch on the Epic Games Launcher instead of Steam, or will be exclusive for at least one year.
And with how many features the Epic Games Launcher still lacks compared to Steam, gamers have a right to be upset, especially if they were promised otherwise.
Enter GOG Galaxy 2.0: The new version of the GOG launcher, a smaller launcher made to organize older games released on Good Old Games (gog.com), was announced with a bold promise: To unite all launchers and become the new central hub for your games collection.
Having been granted access to the closed beta this week and using it for a couple of days now, I have to say: This might be it.
What makes it great
The GOG Galaxy 2.0 launcher (or Galaxy2 as I’ll call it going forward) lets you simply link up all your accounts from Steam, Origin, Uplay, Epic, and even Xbox Live and PlayStation to serve as a central hub for all your games.
Then you can organize them to your hearts content: You can tag games in any way you like, sort them by genre’s, rate them, create filters and save them as shortcuts (to for example only show Action-Adventures from the 2000s) and so on. Galaxy2 even lets you replace game icons, cover-art, and page backgrounds to fully customize everything. There are different views for lists and grids though while I like how it all looks and feels so far, I do hope they will add a skinning option in the future. Supported games also track your playtime, achievements and you can get little news-feeds for milestones like ranks, achievements and how you compare with people on your friend list.
PC games from the common PC launchers can be installed, launched and uninstalled all from within Galaxy2, though it does so by using the related launcher (for example Uplay if you want to install Assassin’s Creed). People might have gripes that they still have to have the other launchers installed, but I think it’s a fair compromise. After all, this will guarantee that the games will work, get patched and updated and it all still goes through “official channels”.
What still needs work
The import of games and statistic can still be buggy at times. Some games show up double or even triple on one occasion for me. And some statistics seem to not carry over: While it was able to track and update my playtime of Uplay games, it shows all achievements for Uplay titles as locked.
While adding my games from the PC stores worked perfectly, when I linked my Playstation and Xbox Live accounts, none of the PS or Xbox games I’ve played or own showed up (yet). I’ve also seen Nintendo Switch games pop up in recent games, though there’s no official way to search and add these to your collection yet, I was able to mark the ones I saw “as owned”.
Some additional features like Screenshot libraries would be nice, and the announced feature of having a unified friend list across stores/platforms is not implemented yet.
What time will tell
Galaxy2 is currently a bit on a cross-road. It’s amazing one-launcher-fits-all approach and public API will, in theory, allow it to be the go-to-app on PC, and maybe even more. If it implements the option to manage your console games library (with the integration of Xbox Live and Playstation) and the Nintendo Switch games that are already popping up, then maybe it’ll allow adding games from some central/independent game data-base.
GOG Galaxy 2 could be the definite way to organize your gaming collection. Not to mention to also unify all your friend lists as well. I’m definitely going to continue to use it and look forward to what the future holds in store.