Steam has dominated the world of PC gaming for close to two decades. This digital storefront continues to rack up its catalog of games, making every kind of title available for grabs. The success of Steam can be attributed to its dual nature of being both a store and a service. Not only can people buy games, but they can also form communities, play with their friends, create content add-ons to existing titles, and many more. Recently, Steam released its Points Shop, where people earn points from interacting with the community or purchasing games. They can then use these points to get animated avatars, profile backgrounds, and other items customizing their experience with the platform.
However, Steam also has its shortcomings that may turn off some people. One of its biggest flaws is taking a 30 percent cut from a game’s sales, which most developers find unfair given the lack of services they’re getting in return. Another is the lack of storefront curation, shifting that burden to players and creators. It comes to no surprise that many gamers are on the lookout for other alternatives for their gaming needs.
Here are three platforms worth checking out:
Publisher-developed platforms: EA’s Origin and Ubisoft’s Uplay
Giant publishing companies like Electronic Arts (EA) and Ubisoft developed their own storefronts — Origin for EA and Uplay for Ubisoft — housing homegrown titles. The move was an effort to escape paying expensive fees for shelf space in other platforms like Steam. They knew that people will still buy their Triple-A games due to franchise loyalty and popularity.
Both Origin and Uplay also offer community features like friends list, cloud saves, and forums. But what makes them shine are their affordable subscription plans. For a monthly or yearly fee, gamers can access more than 100 games, which include the classics, new releases, downloadable content, and premium editions. That is an excellent offer if you’re the type who doesn’t replay games. EA Access members also get a 10 percent discount on purchases, with a free monthly game for keeps.
Home of indie games: Itch.io
Indie games can sometimes fall to the wayside with popular titles occupying prime space in most digital storefronts. Developers of these games can turn to Itch.io for more exposure under the limelight. They can also use the platform to get feedback from users before they launch commercially.
There are thousands of games to choose from, encompassing a lot of genres. You’ll guarantee to find one you’ll like whether you’re a probate attorney looking for a short game before diving in on work or a student on summer break with lots of time to spare. The best thing is that Itch.io runs a ‘pay what you want’ model, where people can try out exciting titles for the asking price of nothing or as much as you want to support the developers. Most indie titles available on Steam came from the humble beginnings of Itch.io.
Freedom from copyright rules: GOG Galaxy
The selling point of GOG Galaxy is its no Digital Rights Management (DRM) policy. The platform allows players to download the game’s executable file directly with no restrictions. You can copy and transfer the game as much as you want, sharing it to whoever, and are always accessible offline. Most storefronts like Steam, Origin, and Uplay only allows players access to the game through their client, requiring online authentication. They also have regular sales with crazy discounts, sometimes offering DRM-free versions of games you bought at Steam for free.
With more competitors vying for a piece of the PC gaming market, Steam might be dislodged out of its throne if it remains complacent. Though whatever happens, the battle for the top will result in better services, deals, and experience for gamers.