Galaxy 2.0 is the latest evolution of GOG’s game client, available in closed beta. Unlike the publicly available Galaxy 1.2, it intends to unify your game libraries into one place, like how launchers such as Playnite do it. It achieves its goal through a plugin system, made possible through their open-source integration system, written in the scripting language Python. In addition to its primary goal, it brings forth a facelift for the client, as well as features that weren’t present in the original 1.2 version.
As it stands now, the client is obviously in beta and has a long way before it even gets back the Galaxy 1.2 feature set. However, the current set of features for the library is promising. Although arranging by date of purchase is a feature I miss, you have a powerful toolset for filtering games. You could filter by title, platform, system, rating, genres, the tags you assigned and installation status, and you can save these searches as “bookmarks” to access later. I can have bookmarks for my racing titles or simply bookmark the Shadow Warrior series regardless of where I own them.
In addition, the “Recent” view showcases how much you have played games, how many achievements you got and new games added daily, weekly or monthly, either as a summary for the current period or as history for the current and previous periods. Finally, you can change the box art, icon and client background for any given game, as well as rename their titles. You can even make Galaxy see the game as a completely different product, allowing it to download the pictures and metadata for whatever other game you set.
Adding games now is only available through integration plugins. There are a couple of plugins that you can download, both from Galaxy itself and from outside (most are available on this handy list). It is also in a beta state, without sufficient documentation for common issues or an example plugin, so as a developer, I’d suggest you take caution when committing to writing a Galaxy plugin and be prepared to face bugs that are possibly on Galaxy’s end rather than your plugin’s.
What are the downsides?
There wasn’t a coherent download screen where I could find which of my games were auto-updating. The GOG staple of downloading offline installers was missing from Galaxy 2.0. The 2.0 client in its current form is stripped of most of the original bells and whistles, leaving you with launching games, installing games and accessing GOG’s own store. The plugins system isn’t exactly reliable, as often plugins may crash or forget client credentials (it has done so thrice with the Steam integration), which is more noticeable on weak internet connections.
Do note that if you install the 2.0 beta, it will override the stable 1.2 version, so be careful when making that commitment, especially when it comes to the 1.2 features.
What about DRM-free?
Games offered through GOG remain DRM-free, and they still don’t require Galaxy to be used outside of multiplayer, leaderboards and achievements. Although it does support launching games from DRM clients such as Steam or the Epic Games Store, Galaxy 2.0 only does so by issuing launch commands to their respective clients and doesn’t employ any protection of its own.
As GOG Galaxy 2.0 is a beta, with most of the GOG feature set yet to be implemented and existing bugs ironed out, I don’t recommend installing it over the stable 1.2 unless you’re especially interested, or can facilitate running them both. However, for the features it currently boasts, it promises to do the herculean task of tying all your services and game library in one place.