Steam is the leading way to buy computer games. It is made by Valve, the same company that created the game Half-Life, Portal, Team Fortress, and more. Steam is a pretty great program, to be honest. You can find all your games in one place. Not only that but the popularity lends itself to the ratings, and I feel like I can really trust a lot of the ratings for games there. However, it’s not the only way to buy games on your computer. Why might you want to buy games somewhere else? Maybe Steam is down, perhaps the other place has a better deal, maybe because the other store is web-based. I’m sharing with you five alternatives to Steam that offer something a little different. These aren’t site or programs that I think will ultimately replace Steam. They just offer a few different things and can be used instead of Steam in some cases.
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GOG (Good Old Games), or more recently GOG Galaxy. What’s so great about GOG compared to Steam? Let’s see…
It is DRM (digital rights management) free, regularly discounts games, and offers refunds to people whose country has a cost markup. For instance, a game costs $20 in the United States, but $30 in Denmark. GOG will refund the difference in Wallet funds. The site looks great and is lightweight, there are cloud storage options. It has added achievements in games and offers a friends chat.
GOG has a smaller video game library than Steam. That’s because any company that wants a DRM on its game, will not want to sell it on this DRM free program. Another downfall is you can only manage games bought from GOG in GOG.
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Itch.io is all about the indie games. You will not find non-indie games here, no sir!
Free games galore! Most the games on this site are free. The others are really cheap, and a few are a little more. Another pro is you’ll find games here that won’t make it to Steam.
No non-indie games, of course. Also, any game developer can upload their game. That means there are some not great games on the site that you’ll have to muddle through while finding a good one.
#3 Green Man Gaming
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Green Man Gaming is a completely web-based game store. No need to download their program to make purchases! These guys are the number two most popular site for a pc game retailer.
Web-based, extra discounts for “VIP” users (aka, you have a permanent account), frequent sales, offer steam keys (as well as keys to many other gaming store sites) to activate the game on steam. The neatest pro is how you are rewarded for playing games. You can earn store credit from progressing through the game! You can also trade in your game when you are finished with it.
Not as many games as Steam and not all the games have Steam keys.
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Humble! I just talked about Humble Bundle last week in regards to gaming deals. As mentioned previously, this site has a great monthly subscription deal. However, that isn’t the only thing they offer. Humble does indeed have a more standard storefront with a wide selection of games.
DRM-free, 5% of the purchase goes to the charity Child’s Play, another 5% can also be donated to charity or refunded to the purchaser. Lastly, if you are a monthly subscriber then you get 10% off all purchases.
As is the tale with all these options, fewer games than Steam. Hard to get around that.
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Origin is what EA created to compete with Valve’s Steam. This doubles as EA’s chat platform and overall community. There is a $5 monthly subscription that offers previews on new games and access to old games for free.
Origin offers some indie games that are not made by EA. It also offers some older EA games for free. One of the best pros is a 24-hour-no-questions-asked-full-refund or a 7 day (questions posed) refund.
Selection, selection, selection. Origin’s library can’t compare to Steams.
There is my list, but don’t go thinking these are the only options. There are quite a few, and quite a few of those are pretty popular too. There is the Windows Store, Uplay, buying game keys on Amazon, buying directly from the publisher, Direct2Drive, GamersGate, OnePlay, and more. This is a capitalist nation after all. I chose what I chose for my list by popularity and what the site has to offer that Steam doesn’t. Again, I don’t recommend any of these as a full replacement for Steam. They are something to add to Steam.
Steam will always remain my favorite place for buying games. The selection, the tons of gamers leaving reviews, and the organization of the program makes it very easy to use. Honestly, it’s hard for any company to compete with Steam at this point. However, my other favorites from my list are Humble (for its deals and charity donations) and itch.io because it offers something really different than Steam does with the plethora of free indie games.