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    GoG.Com - DRM-Free Steam Competitor's Guide

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    Marie-Ange Demory
    @marie-angedemory

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    Although Steam has been the giant of digital distribution platforms in the field of video games, for some years already GoG (acronym for Good Old Games, dear old games, translated) has carved out its own space, increasing the number of users thanks to some strengths that distinguish it from the competition.
    GoG.Com is managed by the development studio CD Project Red, the same authors of The Witcher trilogy and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077. People who know the videogame environment well.



    The first point in GoG's favor is its being against DRM, or Digital Rights Management, the system by which the digital licenses of video games are checked to avoid cases of piracy. DRM management programs have often caused controversy, partly due to their relative usefulness (the most famous, Denuvo, in fact, is now regularly violated), partly due to the invasiveness and inconvenience that they create in the use of software. DRM software often penalizes those who buy original material with unwanted effects such as CPU overload (a precious resource for anyone who plays on PC in order to obtain optimal performance), or causing unwanted system crashes, ending up hindering the start of a game and hindering the use of a software purchased in a perfectly lawful way and ironically mocking those who he did not want to turn to piracy.

    GoG.Com went against this cumbersome system and bravely proposed an alternative solution, removing any DRM software from its games and focusing on the simple fairness of consumers, enticing them to buy software based on the quality of the service and on the affordability of the price, following the correct policy that Valve itself had. Steam in fact asserted itself, among other things, on the idea that by offering original software at an affordable cost, the user would no longer be so attracted by the practice of digital piracy, which has proved attractive mainly in contrast to the high prices. distribution on disk.
    The anti-DRM philosophy therefore wants those who spend money to be rewarded by receiving better and not worse service. Removing the DRM makes the application that manages the game on PC more fluid, thus avoiding a whole series of inconveniences that in the worst implementation cases led some users who had purchased an original copy on other platforms, even looking for the pirated one, just to being able to play without the hassles derived from DRM.



    GoG also has its own dedicated program, called Galaxy, which offers a user interface through which to manage your games, multiplayer games and more, similar to Steam, but the difference is that its use is optional.. Those who want to play directly can simply download the installation file from the site and start it, without the need to use intermediate platforms to start in turn and which remain active in tandem, in addition to the actual game.
    The advantage of not having to use a platform to install and manage the games is also the convenience in the absence of a connection and the possibility of making a backup. By downloading the simple installation file from the GoG site, your games can be stored on a key, hard disk or DVD and used even if you do not have an easy connection at the moment. It is easy for someone on a site of video game enthusiasts to minimize this convenience with the idea that in 2018 we are all hyper-connected with consoles and PCs at home, however for those who travel a lot for work, for off-site students who do not always have a active connection in their apartment (or a wifi to scrounge), being able to manage this aspect with simplicity and comfort can be a considerable advantage.
    The ability to download a standalone file also eliminates the risk behind Steam, which is that if one day the portal were to close (we assume), users would lose everything and no longer have access to the games they paid for. Or even only in much more common cases, such as a malfunction of the local network or a temporary offline of Steam itself, your library becomes non-existent, not only materially, but also virtually. All cases that with the ability to download the installer from GoG, are not a problem.



    The second reason for choosing GoG is to select titles according to more precise and defined thematic areas. In fact, GoG started as a portal dedicated to retrogaming, and their supply was concentrated on this front. Those who trained from the 90s until today in the PC environment will not be able to help but find many classics.
    Even on the front of indie games, GoG is very active, all the most interesting new releases are easily available on the portal, often with offers and reductions for those who buy within the first week of publication.

    However, there is no lack of weekly discounts, while in conjunction with periods of massive sales (such as during holidays or seasonal changes) free games are even offered, sometimes freely, for anyone, sometimes behind the achievement of spending thresholds (eg reached the threshold of five euros for free for game X, XNUMX euros for free also for game Y).
    Among the triple-A games there are still several important brands missing, partly because some software houses still fear the idea of ​​abandoning the DRM system, which they consider a bulwark against piracy, partly because we are moving towards a progressive fragmentation of the PC market. .
    Now any big software house is trying to push its platform, using its games as an exclusive to increase the number of users. Whatever the reason, in this respect perhaps GoG remains even less supplied than the competition, however the presence of very affordable bundles is an additional incentive to purchase.

    It is also possible to request a refund in the event of technical problems within thirty days, so if your PC configuration has problems holding up or even starting a certain title, you will be able to try it without the very tight limits that Steam places as a condition for refunds. A great advantage, often because many titles create system crashes or problems not necessarily at startup.
    Even if you're not using Galaxy, support is still guaranteed. Each patch is integrated or added to your library and you can download it on the fly from the game menu in your web library.



    Whether used via the web or via Galaxy, GOG's user interface is very comfortable and intuitive. The only flaw is perhaps that it has not yet been translated into Italian, however if you are surfing the net, it is easy that you will still be familiar with the more classic items with which to interface to a website, therefore I do not think the simple one can become an obstacle presence of "log-in" or similar items to manage internal navigation.
    However, we have presented some images to illustrate what GoG looks like to its user and the quick and easy way to manage the library.

     

    If you log in from your browser, your library will look like this. Selecting a game will open the menu from which you can choose installation files, any operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux) and under More there will be updates or patches. Pay attention to the extra voice, which often offers free content including MP3 soundtrack or PDF illustration book.

    Through the More item you can also access the possibility of assigning Tags with which to order your library, contact the CD Project support, the Forum and the game community, the Changelog that indicates what has changed after each update (list of any bugs fixed or changes implemented).

    Even through Galaxy, each item is well sorted and you can call up the list by selecting your profile at the top.
    The other items Store, Library and Community refer respectively to the online store in which to make purchases, to your list of games owned and to the forums available to users. On the right there is an item to search for specific games.

    Inside Galaxy every game has a drop-down menu similar to the one via the web. As you can see, the choice of labels can allow you to give an order to your play list, to help those who have the habit of accumulating digital purchases in a substantial backlog to be disposed of later. At the top right, on the other hand, there are three icons relating to reports (such as invitations you receive to play), the list of friends and the cart in which to deposit your purchases before paying.

     

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