Aggregators and The Launcher Wars

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Gundato

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#1  Edited By Gundato

Recently got into the GoG Galaxy 2.0 beta (also apparently applied for it at some point).

For those unaware, Galaxy is GoG's launcher. Yeah... nobody used it. Galaxy 2.0 is a revamp of it that is supposed to aggregate all other stores and launchers. So the idea is that you would chat with your xbox friends while you play a Steam game and you can both decide to quit what you are playing and boot up a uPlay game. All without ever launching another dreadful launcher and... I dunno, putting some load on your system that is a drop in the bucket compared to a Chrome tab or two.

Jokes aside, it is an interesting concept. For folk who love Ubi games it can be a bit annoying to either have a pointless hop between launching in Steam and playing in uPlay or needing to maintain two friend lists. And I know that I like being able to see if I own a game as part of gamepass or a humble bundle from years ago or even just something I synced with GoG at some point. Similarly, it is nice to only (really) have one window open and be able to launch Battle Brothers, Satisfactory, or Trials without needing to alt-tab (hitting alt-tab is like driving a nail into your genitals. Clearly)

Obviously, it being GoG, it only really delivers on maybe a tenth of the promise. You can get suggestions to add people to your friends list in GoG (ha ha ha) and it still doesn't pick up Void Bastards from the Windows store. And you probably still want all those launchers running in the background because games update frequently and I know I don't have the patience to wait for an ONI patch to install after double clicking the entry.

But still. With certain high profile launchers missing many basic features (let's call them "Shmepic") and others being bloated with anime titties and influencer spam (let's call them "Feam"), I kind of really like the idea of not dealing with either. I can look at the games I have installed with no commentary or judgement at all. And I can do a quick grep for a game I am suddenly in the mood for without having to see the last time it was on sale or a link to a blog post about the sequel.

And, as a consumer, I like the idea of not having my save games or social networking tied to any one store front (it being run by GoG/CD Projekt kind of negating a lot of that...). And in that context, why do, or even should, store fronts provide those capabilities? I never would have asked EB or Best Buy to hold my memory card or 8 MB USB stick (I was a high roller) for me. Yet we have become trained to expect the people we bought the game from to do so (and, to be fair, it is awesome. Still kind of annoyed I forgot to back up my factory when I reformatted to fix the Windows Store).

Optimally this would be provided by a third party. In practice I trust CD Projekt with a cookie to various accounts I have 2FA set up on a lot more than whoever owns xfire these days. And when they are all going to just shove it on a discounted bit of amazon's cloud storage anyway?

Similarly, it is pretty obvious GoG are never going to be able to provide seamless chatting between PSN and Origin players for obvious reasons. But I think this is a pretty big step in the right direction and is something people clamor for every few years when another chat client becomes popular (I was the guy who wanted PS3 support for jabber...). Most of Steam's momentum and vitriolic defense these days is simply because people don't want to deal with having friends on different platforms or balancing purchases on multiple accounts. If a third party service let me know who I gave money to for Mechanicus and synced my saves between a GoG and Steam version of Max Payne 2 (who would be dumb enough to buy that game five times...)? Then we could hopefully actually focus on the real problems like shitty regional pricing and whether we are pro or anti 8000 Year Old Vampires.

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Luchalma

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I've gone in on exclusively using GoG 2.0. I've not been happy with Steam lately and I'm putting my money where my mouth is. It's been pretty good so far.

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BladeOfCreation

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As someone who has purchased games on GOG, I have to say this feels like it's trying to solve a problem that has largely been solved by Discord already.

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Gundato

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I think "in a perfect world" we would "just" have open chat standards. So people who like Discord can use that. People who like Steam-chat or xbox live can use that. And so forth.

Again, its one of the many things that will not happen (emotes are profitable and you can bet your bottom dollar they are running basic analytics on the text you type). But I guess that, as time goes on, I REALLY want some variety.

These days? I think I might hate Steam. They are still the cheapest place to buy (really redeem) games and they have some really nice return policies. But I have reached the point that I actively don't look at the store outside of adding a game I hear about elsewhere to a wishlist or seeing just how expensive the remaining DLC for a game is (and figuring out what DLC is available is a shitshow that involves making sure I go to the store page and not the DLC page). It sounds like Valve is making some improvements to not just say "We'll show you what is popular. We are smart" but it also sounds like they are actively fucking over indie devs yet again.

But, to go back to the original point: I actively dislike Gamestop. I think they abuse naive (generally poor) people with their business model and I have many memories of having to listen to a five minute schpiel on why I should buy this game instead of the one I want and why I needed a protection plan on my copy of Half-Life 2. But they recently had a great deal where I only paid something like 50 bucks plus tax to switch my Switch to a New Switch. I made my transaction and I got the fuck out. It was wonderful.

And I guess I look forward to a day when that might be true on PC. Funny enough, Steam already gives a lot of that by letting devs sell keys elsewhere. But it still involves coming back to an increasingly archaic client that is modernizing like your uncle going through a midlife crisis.

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MonkeyKing1969

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I'm so far out of the loop. I have used GoG in the far past. I used Steam a bit about three tears ago...

Let's be honest I think PC gaming a fucking mess, and is just getting worse. Everyone want to have their own launcher, because every one want to have their own stats to prove they "OWN" your eyeballs & systemusage so they can "sell" your use to advertisers. There will be a breaking point to that system where people get fed up about being so obvious inconvenience to make a 'nickel' for a multinational conglomerate, and when that happens nobody will have jackshit.

What happened to game makers simple selling games and not needing to sell the games, the DLC, and then putting a dollop of shitty advertising on top? Do they really need ALL the money in teh world, why can't they just be happe with some of the money?


That why I like the consoles.I will gladly give up 4K at 144 fps to just leave the bullshit of signing in & out of into fifteen accounts to play games...or having oane launcher launch another launcher to just play!!!!

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hermes

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I have been messing around with Playnite. Its a open source launcher that supports most of the PC store launchers out there. It has a lot of customization and extension options... It even supports quite a few emulators like mame and snes9x, so you can have a single library with all your roms if that is your thing.

Loading Video...

The only drawback is that, being open source, it doesn't have the same level of support a company like Valve or GoG could give to their launchers, so some much desired features promised by Galaxy 2 are out of their reach, and they don't have the leverage to force the other stores to support it.

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fisk0

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#7  Edited By fisk0  Moderator
@monkeyking1969 said:

That why I like the consoles.I will gladly give up 4K at 144 fps to just leave the bullshit of signing in & out of into fifteen accounts to play games...or having oane launcher launch another launcher to just play!!!!

Isn't that what console gaming has been since last gen too? After you though you had downloaded Destiny, it turned out you had just downloaded a launcher that launched the actual download, and every time you start that launcher it looks for patches and downloads them instead of using the built-in system level update method. Bethesda's recent games on Switch infamously require you to sign up to BethesdaNet to play them, and boot you back to the main menu whenever your internet connection drops or when one of all those layers of accounts times out.

To me, console gaming has all the negatives of PC gaming, except you don't have the convenience of the keyboard to type in your login details. Or you know, not having any options for consoles out there like GOG, which lets you own and play the games you've purchased without any DRM.

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Gundato

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@hermes: Heard about playnite. Checked it out. I think ten or fifteen years ago I would have loved that thing

Now? I am lazy and busy. I just want stuff to work. I want to spend my time learning why you want to put a 1 tile lip in front of your water supply in ONI and not why half my games disappeared or whatever.

I hope they do improve it and I think getting bought out would be great for them (maybe not Discord though). Like I said, I don't really like CD Projekt being behind all of this. But as it stands now, I think Galaxy is the most "seamless" product. And while I don't care much for achievements, it is nice to be able to see my progress on non-Nintendo consoles as well.

@fisk0: Yeah... I was tempted to mention how Ubi and WB tie-in so heavily to your other accounts and how games like Destiny and CoD also have their own account systems on top of PSN/Live but figured I would just ignore another "Eww, DLC is ruining everything" post

And yeah, the "it just works" era is long since gone. Even ignoring that MS change their frigging dashboard every time I want to play Forza, we have so many firmware updates these days that I never actually can just launch a game on my console. I always need to wait for the mandatory firmware update to run and then grab whatever patches it refused to grab because I was two minor revisions out of date. I get that that would be less of a factor if I used the platform more regularly, but that has always been the argument with ridonkulous numbers of PC game updates and the like.

Compared to the shitshow that was stuff like Dawn of War patches (Relic did NOT like cumulative patches...) it is nothing. But my consoles are just nice form factor PCs these days for better or for worse.

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BladeOfCreation

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@monkeyking1969: I get that we all have personal preferences, but it seems like you're overstating the complexity of using a launcher on a PC. You double-click the icon and you're signed in. That's it. It's not any more complex than putting a disc in a console. Even single player console games have the "checking for downloadable content" message during loading these days.

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MonkeyKing1969

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@monkeyking1969: I get that we all have personal preferences, but it seems like you're overstating the complexity of using a launcher on a PC. You double-click the icon and you're signed in. That's it. It's not any more complex than putting a disc in a console. Even single player console games have the "checking for downloadable content" message during loading these days.

Hey, going off what people say above and making perhaps the wrong inferences. ...But if you say, the people above "doth protest a bit much", well so be it. But they doth protest forsooth, so maybe THAT is what PC gaming needs to clean up. ;-)

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Sweep

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#11  Edited By Sweep  Moderator

Blargh, yeah it's a mess out there. I use discord but not for launching games, though in hindsight I probably should do? My loyalties and motivations about which stores I prefer to support and why, managing friends lists is pretty much obsolete these days as everything goes through discord, even when using other clients.

To be honest I'm not so fussed about having to load the launchers (I assume you still need all those other launchers running in the background in order for the games to launch and update anyway?), my main issue is that not having all my games listed in one place often means I forget what I even own. Between Steam, Epic, Xbox, uPlay, Origins and Battle-Net it's all just too scattered. If I could just have a single launcher (that's handling all those other launchers under the hood) with a nice UI and decent friends list integration then that's perfect.

EDIT:

I just watched the gamespot review of the GOG 2.0 beta and this looks like exactly what I wanted. Downloading this asap!

Loading Video...

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deckard

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I don’t have all of these launchers at the same time because I don’t try to play 5-10 games at once. If Ubisoft as a game I want to play, I install UPlay. If I want to play Overwatch I install Battle.net. I don’t like having a million different accounts that can get hacked, but the actual usage of multiple launchers day-to-day is not that bad.

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PRSolutions

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#14  Edited By PRSolutions

I personally have been dissuaded from purchasing ubisoft titles for this reason. When I purchased For Honor, I could not play it because of a launcher error. Steam counted the launching of uplay as me “playing the game”. After struggling to launch for over two hours I try to get a refund just to be told that I’ve “played too long” for that to happen. Never launched the damn game since. Will never buy another Rockstar game either, because it stole my PC version and locked it behind the ps4 account. These launchers will end up making me save money in the long run so I say let this poorly thought out business decision take its ugly course much like microtrasnsactions. You’ve lost a customer for good.