5 best game launcher software for Windows PC

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things surrounding it. He is passionate about... Read more
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  • Game launchers are all in one software that help you organize everything related to gaming.
  • You can stay in touch with your peers, keep informed about news in the industry, download new games, and more.
  • Below are recommended game launchers with various features such as performance optimization or customizable categories and filters.
best game launcher software
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Those with extensive Windows game libraries can’t always organize them effectively. Steam, GOG, and Origin are a few of the digital game distributors with client software you need to launch before opening games.

Thus, you’ll usually have to start multiple game clients separately to launch the games. As such, some software developers have now developed game launchers with which you can organize your Windows games within a single library more efficiently.

Game launcher software enables you to organize all your games from separate digital distributors and Windows folders within a single package.

Then you can quickly open all your games straight from the game launcher software without shuffling through countless subfolders.

Game launchers are a gaming equivalent of Google Picasa, which imports and organizes images on your HDD so that you can quickly find and edit them within a single program.

The programs usually have customizable interfaces, search tools and some also include extra options and settings with which to optimize your gaming system.

What are the top 5 game launchers for Windows PC?

Steam

Steam is without a doubt the most popular game launcher on the market. It offers thousands of different types of games, being a good fit for all kinds of game enthusiasts.

The UI is modern and easy to navigate. You can access the store and the game library easily by clicking their corresponding tabs at the top.

As previously mentioned, the Game Store comes with a wide variety of games. Finding a game is easy as the catalog is conveniently organized. You can browse game categories, game genres, and even see the games that have been recommended to you either by your friends or curators.

Similarly, the game library is also organized in such ways that you can easily find the games you’re looking for. You can see your most recent games, order them alphabetically, and more. 

Steam also makes it easy to connect with fellow gamers. You can add other users as friends and connect with them via instant messaging. Not only does this make you part of a community, but it can also help with finding peers for team-based games.

Other key features of Steam include:

  • Controller and VR support
  • Support for game developers and publishers
  • Informative game hubs
  • Steam Workshop
  • Integrated live-stream 

It may come as no surprise that it makes the top of our list, but keep in mind that the main criteria for this pick are the features and user experience. Market share is just a bonus that validates the quality of the software. Steam is a completely free service. Your only expenses will be games that require purchase.

Get Steam

GOG Galaxy

GOG Galaxy 2.0 is a comprehensive, unified game launcher. Its core strength is that it can be used for games across all platforms, including non-GOG titles. 

Users of GOG Galaxy can import all their PC and console games in one library with many different sorting features for good accessibility. 

Users of GOG Galaxy can import all their PC and console games in one library with many different sorting features for good accessibility. Keep in mind that in order to be able to use other gaming platforms’ specific features, you have to keep that platform installed on your PC along with GOG Galaxy.

The user interface is easy to navigate. You can organize your game collection in many flexible ways, according to your preferences. You can also use certain filters that help display only certain types of games.

GOG Galaxy also has a Friendlist where you can chat with your gaming friends. It also comes with an Activity Feed where you can check what your friends are playing and with Leaderboards for more accessible teamplay and competitions.

Other key features of GOG Galaxy include:

  • Sync between devices
  • Custom views 
  • Cloud Storage
  • Multiplayer & Matchmaking
  • Restore games to older versions

The privacy of the users is greatly valued. GOG guarantees no data spying or sharing, all information is completely private to the user of the app. 

GOG Galaxy is completely free. The only potential costs are the paid games.

Get GOG Galaxy

Photon Game Manager

Photon Game Manager has an eye-popping UI design with which to show off your game collection. The V4 version is compatible with Windows (XP and up) and Linux platforms.

This isn’t exactly freeware software, but you can try out the demo with a database of five games by pressing the Download for Windows button on this web page.

For larger game libraries, you’ll need to pay for a license key. However, the earlier V2 and V3 versions of the program are freely available with no restrictions.

The best thing about Photon Game Manager is a UI design comparable to media center software. It has customizable full-screen and windowed interfaces to show off games with.

The program has built-in support for online databases so that you can include box art, banners, and extra game details in your Photon gaming library.

The software supports emulators so you can also launch retro games straight from Photon. Using this tool, you can browse your game libraries by applying sort and filter options.

In addition, you can use the software with controllers, joysticks, keyboards, and touchscreen input devices.

Get Photon Game Manager

LaunchBox

LaunchBox was originally a frontend for DOSbox but the developer expanded the software to support PC games and a variety of emulators.

This software is compatible with Windows platforms from Vista on, and the publisher hints there might also be future Mac and Linux versions. LaunchBox has a freeware and Premium version with extra customization options and a Big Box Mode.

LaunchBox is comparable to Photon Game Manager as it enables users to set up visually appealing game databases.

The software is partnered with EmuMovies so that you can quickly add associated box art, fan art, logos, screenshots, and videos to your game database. LaunchBox will also find all associated metadata of title, genre, release, platform, etc.

In the Premium version, users can customize window color themes and fonts and set up custom fields and filters. It also includes Big Box Mode that provides a home-theater view of your database with game videos included.

The software has a free version and a paid Premium version.

⇒ Get LaunchBox

Razer Cortex

Razer is primarily a hardware company making a splash in software with Razer Cortex. This is an all-in-one package with which you can organize and launch games, optimize them, record video backup saved games and more.

Although the software boasts various options and tools, it’s still freeware you can add to Windows 10, 8.1, 8 or 7.

Razer Cortex will automatically scan for supported games, including those from digital distributors. You can also manually add titles as well. This software does include box cover art and extra details for the games.

The program has a Game Boosting mode that temporarily switches off background processes for a game when you press an Activate boosting hotkey.

Users can select more system optimization options with the Tweak utility and defrag game folders with a Defrag tool. You can also back up saved games, mods, and add-ons to cloud storage with the Save Game Manager.

Plus, the software boasts video recording and screenshot tools for games with which to show off game footage or high scores. So, Razer Cortex has quite a few extra tools and options that aren’t included in alternative game launcher software.

⇒ Get Razer Cortex

Conclusion

Those are the 5 programs you can organize, optimize and launch games with.

At the very least, they’ll give you a quick launchpad to open all your games with. Some of the game launchers also include extra system options and tools with which you can optimize games.

If you need extra help to optimize your PC for gaming, use game booster software!

Visit our Gaming Software hub to check out more cool guides!

If you have any more questions, feel free to reach for the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Razer Cortex has a Game Boosting mode to improve your computer’s performance while gaming. But most game launchers are strictly designed to organize a game library, show information, and launch games. Check out our tips to improve Windows 10 performance while you’re playing games.

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