Buying games should be the easiest part of playing on PC, but in recent times that has become more complicated as more companies build their own storefronts. Each one offers its own catalog and features, but the one you should buy depends on what you play and how you want to pay for it. Steam is the most popular storefront, and while that's partly because it's more time-consuming, Steam also offers a wide variety of titles along with a feature-packed launcher. From smaller indie games to giant triple AAA releases, Steam covers it all, and the store itself has plenty of sorting options for finding new games.
You can search for games by genre, price and release date and, at the same time, view personalized recommendations based on previous navigation or specific preferences. Sales are also commonplace on Steam, allowing you to buy a lot of great games at low prices. And when it comes to the Steam launcher, things are equally well managed. You can organize games in different folders, download content created by Steam Workshop users (for games that support it), and multiplayer games are simplified with the friends list.
If you only want to play games on PC without worrying about details, Steam is your best option. Steam covers all your PC gaming needs with a wide variety of available titles and a feature-packed launcher. GOG, COM includes a lot of old PC games (many redesigned to work better on modern systems) that you'd have trouble finding elsewhere, along with a lot of modern games as well. However, GOG, COM differs greatly from other stores.
While most only allow you to launch games through their own launcher, GOG, COM gives you the option to purchase games that are separate pieces of software, a launcher is not required. This is because GOG and COM games lack any type of DRM. Publishers use digital rights management software (often called “DRM”) to, in a nutshell, verify legitimate copies and fight piracy. Many players don't like it because it's common for DRM to alter the technical state of the game (making bugs and performance issues more common) and can block games in a single launcher.
Denuvo, an infamous DRM used by many major publishers, is an example of this, as it has been widely criticized for making games work worse. DRM can also hinder the modification of game files, which is commonly done in the PC gaming community. These are the reasons why GOG, COM has made a comfortable place for itself, along with its catalog of quality games. And even if it's not necessary, the GOG launcher, COM, the GOG Galaxy 2.0, is ideal for organizing your digital collection.
It offers a lot of organization and time tracking features, and you can even drag games from other launchers so you can have all your titles in one place. If what worries you most is earning money and you don't want to mess with a subscription, Humble Bundle is your best option. In addition to regular sales at great discounts, Humble Bundle sells, well, bundles of a lot of things including books, software and yes, video games. These packages allow you to choose how much you pay and then receive rewards based on your pay level.
You can easily keep 10 quality titles for the price you would normally pay for one. And these games are delivered as keys that can be redeemed in other launchers or as separate software files. You'll also receive rewards for playing through Ubisoft Connect. As you play, you unlock various in-game rewards (such as items, skins, or gestures) and even “units”, the store's currency that you can use to save a little money on your next purchase.
Whether you're a big fan of Ubisoft or not, the company went the extra mile to ensure that Connect was worth using. With so many storefronts competing for your money, it can be difficult to choose the best one. Fortunately, you don't have to, you'll probably end up using most of them. With how dispersed the titles are and the unique benefits that each storefront brings, you're hurting yourself by buying just one or two.
You can start with the more general options, such as Steam, GOG, COM and the Epic Games Store, but at least one of the more specialized stores will slip into your wallet one way or another. And if you want to avoid having a bunch of games spread across different launchers, then there are a couple of ways to consolidate things. We already mentioned the GOG Galaxy 2.0, which does a good job at this, but another is Playnite, which is open source and a great central hub for all your games. When it comes to buying PC games online, you have quite a few options.
Formerly, Steam was the only game in town, but not anymore. Before buying a game, check all stores to make sure you're getting the best price. You can do this using an online tool (see later in this post). Let's get the obvious out of the way first.
Maybe you're new to games or you've always bought your games offline, in a physical store, so you don't know anything about Steam. If you've never bought a game on Steam before, check out my post How to play a game on Steam. The Epic Games store is a relatively new player in the area of online game stores. Apparently, it offers developers a better percentage of revenue for each sale of their game.
However, some players don't like it because they only want to buy their games at a specific store. Epic has won a lot of exclusives, which means that you can only buy some games in the Epic store. For example, the latest game in The Walking Dead's narrative game series is only available on Epic. GOG started out as Good Old Games.
It specialized in older PC games that might no longer work on modern PCs, unless you wanted to play with DOSBox, a DOS emulator, or with configuration files. In other words, you can't just buy these old games, install them and run them. The developers of GOG received the rights of the original publishers to some older games to facilitate their execution on modern PCs and then sell them. All kinds of great gold classics are available on GOG.
Over time, GOG has changed and now sells all kinds of games. It still sells older games that you can't find anywhere else, but it also offers modern games. An important feature of GOG is that all games are sold DRM-free. Some players prefer to buy their games on GOG for that reason.
They'll only buy a game somewhere else if it's not available on GOG. DRM-free means you don't have to log in to any platform to play and it's not tied to any particular device. Origin is Electronic Arts' gaming platform, but it's not limited to games published by EA. It has also diversified to sell other games, but it still has a limited selection of games.
For years, some games have been available exclusively on Origin, such as BioWare's Mass Effect and Dragon Age series. But recently, EA announced that its games would return to Steam. However, that won't mean the end of Origin, because it also offers a subscription service called Origin Access, a comprehensive monthly subscription that gives you access to the entire Origin game library. Of course, if you play a game with your subscription, you're not actually the owner.
But if you're not the type to repeat games, you won't mind and you'll always have the option to buy the games you like the most, either on Origin or in another online store. I hope Origin will also continue to sell games, but we'll have to see. Humble Bundle has been around for a while. It has a typical store where you can buy games, but it also offers a lot of great packages (hence the name) that you can buy at decent prices.
The other interesting thing about Humble Bundle is that it donates a portion of every game sold to charities. You can buy games and do good at the same time. When you buy a game in Humble Bundle, you'll get a game key that you'll need to activate on one of the gaming platforms. This is usually a Steam key, but recently the Epic Game keys have also been sold.
Humble Bundle has a subscription service called Humble Choice that offers you a bundle of games every month at a greatly reduced price. Green Man Gaming and Fanatical are two key third-party vendors. There's more, but these two and Humble are popular. I included Humble separately because it donates to charities.
When you buy a game from a third-party key vendor, you'll receive a key that you'll need to activate on a platform like Steam. These sellers usually offer big discounts, so check them out before buying a game from the Steam store. If you're not sure how to activate a key, read my post on How to Play on Steam. It also has a store where you can buy Ubisoft games.
However, their selection is rather limited. But regardless of where you buy a Ubisoft game, you must activate it through the UPlay platform. When you buy games directly from the publisher, you'll usually have the option of receiving a Steam key so you can play through Steam and take advantage of features such as achievements. Some publishers have their own gaming platforms.
In this case, you won't receive a Steam key because you'll activate it and play through the publisher's platform. You can usually buy MMO games directly from the publisher. That's the route I usually take, since it eliminates intermediaries. When you buy MMO, you generally don't receive a Steam key because you don't need to log in to a gaming platform for DRM purposes.
You can go ahead and log in to the game directly. Yes, you can buy games on Amazon. Since most shoppers are familiar with Amazon, I'm not going to say much more, except that what you'll normally receive is a key that you can activate on Steam or another platform, even when you receive a physical product. Inside the box there will be a key.
Big Fish Games is the most popular store for hidden objects, HOPA, time management and other types of “casual” games. It has a great selection and a lot of exclusives. Here are HOPA games you won't find anywhere else. Eventually, most of them arrive on Steam, but often months or years after their original release.
Is Steam good for buying in one place? Origin is garbage, but it has Apex Lege, wait, it's on Steam nvm Origin is rubbish. Steam has been the de facto standard for years. There are competitors like GOG or the Epic Games Store. Someone here shared this site and linked me back to Steam to buy, Allkeyshop, eneba, instangaming, cd keys to get cheap Steam keys.
This is a great value in the world of PC gaming and the reason why so many have turned to the Xbox Launcher in recent months. The most recent contender in the battle for PC stores is the aptly named Epic Games Store, owned by Epic Games. COM includes a lot of old PC games (many redesigned to work better on modern systems) that you'd have trouble finding elsewhere, along with a lot of modern games as well. .