PC gaming service GOG.com wants your help in trying out the multiplayer chops of Galaxy, its upcoming Steam-like gaming client, and it's enticing sign-ups by offering free copies of Alien Versus Predator Classic to testers.
The giveaway makes sense on all sorts of levels. Not only will it lure in gamers who may have overlooked the registration window otherwise, it also ensures all Galaxy testers have at least one multiplayer game in common. Plus, Alien Versus Predator Classic is exactly the sort of game GOG specializes in: classic titles that still just plain rock.
GOG promises that Galaxy and Steam will offer cross-platform multiplayer capabilities, allowing buddies to play the same game together even if they bought them from different e-stores. Yay! It's unknown if the beta test will enable that feature, however. GOG Galaxy will also include a friends list with in-client chat capabilities, achievements, and the option to keep games automatically updated. In other words, Galaxy will fix some of GOG's major failings as a platform.
If you're interested in helping out--or just in snagging a free copy of an excellent older game--head to the GOG Galaxy page and sign up for the beta test. You'll have to act fast, though--the giveaway ends at a 5 A.M. Eastern on Friday. Don't expect instant gratification; after registering GOG will inform you that "Your free key for Aliens vs Predator Classic 2000 will be sent to you within the next few days."
Beta keys for the Galaxy testing itself will be sent out in batches depending on service availability, so if you don't get in straight away, just be patient.
The story behind the story: While competing PC gaming services like Steam and Origin require you to use their client software (and the associated DRM), GOG's reputation was built on the back of its DRM-free games and devotion to player choice. To that end, the Galaxy client is an optional feature for GOG gamers, not a mandate, and it won't inflict arduous DRM protections on your games, either. It's a refreshing take in the gaming world--and I'm intrigued to see just how nicely Galaxy's multiplayer capabilities will intermingle with Steam's.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.