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 making a purchase, it's important to compare prices across different stores to make sure you're getting the best deal. You can easily do this using an online tool (which we'll discuss later in this post).Let's start with the most popular option: Steam.
If you're new to gaming or have always bought your games offline, in a physical store, you may not be familiar with 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 online game store market. It offers developers a better percentage of revenue for each sale of their game.
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 some games are only available on Epic. 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 and 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 and offers both individual purchases and packages (hence the name) at discounted prices.
The other interesting thing about Humble Bundle is that it donates a portion of every game sold to charities - so you can buy games and do good at the same time! When you buy a game from Humble Bundle, you'll get a game key that you'll need to activate on one of the gaming platforms - usually Steam or Epic Games. Green Man Gaming and Fanatical are two popular third-party vendors for buying game keys at discounted prices - there are more out there but these two are well-known and trusted by gamers. If you're not sure how to activate a key, read my post on How to Play on Steam. Ubisoft also has its own gaming platform where you can buy Ubisoft games - however their selection is rather limited. But regardless of where you buy a Ubisoft game from, you must activate it through the UPlay platform. When buying directly from the publisher (e.g., EA), 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 MMOs directly from the publisher - this route eliminates intermediaries. When buying MMOs, generally no Steam key is required since there's no need for DRM purposes - just log in directly into the game. Yes, you can buy games on Amazon too! Since most shoppers are familiar with Amazon already, I won't say much more about it except that what you'll normally receive is a key that you can activate on Steam or another platform - even when receiving physical products inside the box there will be a key. Big Fish Games is another popular store for hidden objects (HOPA), time management and other types of “casual” games - they have an extensive selection and many exclusives too! Here are HOPA games that can only be found here. Eventually most of these titles arrive on Steam too - but often months or years after their original release. Finally there's Is There Any Deal - an online tool which allows gamers to compare prices across different stores so they can get the best deal possible!.