GOG Profiles launch at the worst possible time

GOG, which originally stood for Good Old Games, has slowly been trying to expand its original scope while still staying true to its mission of delivering DRM-free games. It has long started offering recent or even new titles and has made a Steam-like GOG Galaxy software. While those have mostly been received warmly, its latest new feature might ruffle a few feathers. GOG has just announced the addition of User Profiles, offering social features at a time when social networks have come under intense scrutiny over privacy issues.

Contrary to stereotypes, gamers are just as social as any other human on earth. At the very least, they love showing off their collection of games, trophies, and achievements to like-minded people. While not as extensive as social networks like Facebook, this time of social activity is common on many gaming platforms, from Steam to Xbox Live to PlayStation Network.

So it's not really surprising that GOG would follow suit, but perhaps it could have timed it better. While it is arguably more trustworthy than some of those other companies, GOG's user profiles could still be open to abuse. That is partly why Valve made a change to its privacy policy that basically prevented third parties like Steam Spy from seeing users' list of games, much to the consternation of some Steam users themselves.

GOG Profiles hold a similar treasury of information about your gaming activities, from your latest achievement to the time you spent on your games. It also has a friends list that lets you take a peek into their activities and vice versa. Pretty normal. Part of the problem seems to be in the implementation.

All GOG users immediately get their Profile without lifting a finger and, unfortunately, the settings default to making those pieces of information public by default. You have to switch them to private yourself and some users report that not everything can be turned off. Given how fresh it is, GOG will likely make some adjustments along the way. Hopefully not after receiving some heavy backlash.