This week Good Old Games, CD Projekt RED's digital distribution website which specialises in remastered classics whilst also offering more recent games, are finally pushing their Galaxy desktop client into the public's hands with a new Beta program. Signing up is easy: simply click their Join Galaxy Beta button, enter your e-mail address, and await a beta key.
Galaxy is GOG's attempt to bring their digital storefront up to modern standards, and will offer automatic game updates, one-stop download functionality, and more comprehensive online game support. Where Galaxy differs from other well established clients is in GOG's commitment to DRM-free distribution. Origin and Steam (Galaxy's entrenched competitors) typically laden both games and the client with obtrusive DRM, to the extent that oftentimes you won't even be able to play single-player titles without being online; GOG has stated baldly that this would only be required where an internet connection is integral to that game mode. Furthermore, it's purely optional:
GOG Galaxy is fully optional because you don’t need it to play games on GOG.com. If you want to, you can simply download your game via your browser, install it manually, and launch it offline, just like we've always done it on GOG.com. If you decide to use GOG Galaxy for some aspects of the convenience, you can still switch to offline mode at whim and play your games. Optional also means that all features in GOG Galaxy can be turned off. Not a fan of achievements or auto-updates? No problem, they're extras.
Like most desktop distribution clients Galaxy also offers social features including friends list and chat. A standalone client will also allow GOG to build in extra functionality as and when it becomes appropriate. Although it will offer all the functionality of the main GOG.com website (including game purchases and account management) it won't replace the website; however the older GOG downloader will be gradually phased out after Galaxy's launch.
Galaxy is compatible with Windows PCs, Macs with Mac OS X 10.8 or later, and will also be released for Linux. For more information visit http://www.gog.com/galaxy?publicbeta