Gaming-related digital storefronts have been popping up left and right lately to meet the ever-increasing demand for more PC games. Steam has been a staple in the PC-gaming community for many years, but new contenders are cropping up with exclusives to draw gamers into their fold.
While there have been plenty of complaints regarding exclusives and library fragmentation, many welcome the competition to Steam’s near-monopolizing grip on digital sales. Competition not only begets innovation, but it also brings better discounts and features for the gamer. Having more options is never a bad thing, and sticking to one platform means missing out on great games and deals on others.
For those who don’t mind a little bit of variety in their life, here are five other digital stores that aren’t Steam.
1. The Epic Games Store
Short on the heels of launching the global phenomenon that is Fortnite, Epic Games decided to launch its own digital storefront in direct contention with Steam. After launching in December 2018, the store quickly rose to infamy after securing multiple high-profile games. It even managed to nab a PlayStation exclusive (Journey) for PC, which is fairly unprecedented.
Whether through Epic Games’ veteran influence in the industry, or the higher sales cut for developers, the store is attracting a lot of attention. It isn’t quite there in terms of delivery yet. Some key features are missing, like an advanced search bar, friends chat system, and proper player profiles. However, the platform is hard to ignore thanks to its exclusives and weekly free game.
2. GOG Galaxy
Initially set up by CD Projekt Red as a way to revive old games for PC, GOG has been around for a while. One of the most appealing aspects of this store is its DRM-free policy – on every game that features on the store. Anyone who buys a game on GOG is assured that the game is truly theirs to do with as they please. Forever.
GOG also allows users to link their Steam account to get DRM-free copies of the games they own for free. Like Steam, it offers cloud saves and other nifty features like a chat system, forums, and wishlists.
It may be EA’s very own digital store, but Origin is still a decent alternative to Steam. With an elegant storefront, cloud saves, online forums, chat system, and offline playing – there’s a lot to appreciate.
The store mostly consists of EA-published games (some of which are found nowhere else) that are heavily peddled by EA front and center. But there are also plenty of non-EA games up for grabs too, including big hitters like the Witcher and the Assassin’s Creed series.
What makes Origin really compelling, though, is its subscription service, Origin Access. People can get the basic version for $5 a month or $30 a year, which includes access to most of EA’s 200+ titles on Origin. Or they can get the premier version for $15 a month or $100 a year. The premier version includes some of EA’s biggest IPs, including Battlefield V, Anthem, and the latest FIFA.
Either way, those who subscribe, get a 10% discount on the store, early access to new EA titles, and can download upcoming releases before the release date.
4. The Microsoft Store
Microsoft has set its sights on becoming a premier gaming publisher/distributor for a long while now. Yet, their store initially failed at providing an elegant and legitimately useful option for PC gamers when it released back in 2012. The store has since evolved into a noteworthy digital platform in its own right.
Two of the Microsoft Store’s biggest selling points are Xbox Play Anywhere and the Xbox Game Pass. Play Anywhere lets users play Xbox games on PC and vice versa, and the Game Pass is similar to Origin’s subscription service. With the Game Pass, both the Xbox and now PC players get access to 100+ games at $10 a month. There’s also the Ultimate pass at $15 a month that gives PC players access to Xbox games as well.
5. The Discord Store
While it’s only been around for a short time, the Discord Store is already rising in the ranks with brilliant exclusives and a few “First On Discord” games. Discord is also in the process of adding its own publishing platform that will net developers a whopping 90% of sales profits. The store doesn’t have a lot of titles in its pocket yet, but it is slowly building a fantastic library. There’s also their Nitro Subscription service that nets players access to 60+ games at $10 a month.
There are a few more noteworthy digital stores out there, like Itch.io, Gamersgate, and Uplay. But the five listed above are some of the biggest currently out there and should keep gamers busy for a long time.
Gamers who are accessing any of these stores from countries like Israel, China, and India should get a VPN for a better experience. It will open up region-locked content and allow players to play together regardless of where they live. VPNs also offer gamers other great advantages, like better online security and counteracting ISP packet loss, so they’re a great investment overall.