How successful is the Steam game platform

The best alternatives to Steam

Panagiotis Kolokythas

Steam is certainly the best known, but by no means the only shop on the web for buying digital PC games - and often not the cheapest either. We provide information about the most popular digital key retailers, game stores and Steam alternatives.

Originally started as a distribution platform for Valve's Halflife 2, Steam has dominated the online PC games market since its launch in 2003. For many gamers, it's the only place to buy their games. No surprise, because almost all of the major PC game releases can be found here and also smaller and still completely unknown developers sell here.

But that doesn't mean Steam is the only digital PC game store. In fact, Steam has a lot of competition - from AAA rivals like Origin to DRM-free alternatives like GOG, pure key shops like Gamesplanet to subscription models like Humble Monthly.

All of these shops differ in terms of the games they have on offer, how they sell and distribute them, and where the money goes. That doesn't always make it easy to find the right shop. We have therefore compiled the best and most famous alternatives and show you what makes them special.

So whether you want to get away from Steam's DRM (Digital Rights Management), are looking for more niche or indie titles or just want to see if there is a better offer elsewhere, you will find the Steam alternative you are looking for in this list.

GOG

GOG (formerly: Good Old Games) is the PC game platform from the Polish developer CD-Projekt, which you probably know from the Witcher games.

GOG started as a platform on which one could buy DRM-free versions of classic PC titles (hence the original name "Good old Games"). There is now a large selection of the latest games here. What has remained the same, however, is that the games and software that you purchase here are still free from DRM software or its restrictions.
This means that you can install purchased games on other devices and play them offline (as long as the game allows this). So you don't have to be actively connected to the servers if you want to play a round in single player.
It goes without saying that not all game publishers support this and so only a few of the well-known AAA titles appear on GOG. Many of the major publishers refuse to publish PC games without anti-piracy or DRM software. However, there is a huge selection of great indie titles available on GOG.

In terms of functionality, similar to Steam, there is also a downloadable client - GOG Galaxy - which you can use to manage your library, buy and update games, save memory points in the cloud and chat with friends. In contrast to Steam, GOG Galaxy is completely optional and is not required. The games can also be downloaded and started without the client.

GOG also has weekly sales and there is a large selection of games for Mac and Linux.

Go to GOG.com

Epic Games Store

EnlargeTake a look at the Epic Games Store - there are free games regularly

The Epic Games Store is the latest in a digital computer game distribution platform. The service started on December 6, 2018 and aims to become a real alternative to Steam. Games for PC, Linux and Mac are on offer. Epic Games Store promises fairer dealings with game developers. They receive 88 percent of the income and thus significantly more than the 70 percent that Valve passes on to the developers for Steam purchases. If you use Epic's own Unreal Engine to develop your games, you even get a little more.

The first two major exclusive titles in the Epic Games Store include the PC versions of Metro Exodus and The Division 2. Every two weeks there is also a new, well-known game for free. This is intended to encourage more and more gamers to install the launcher.

Go to Epic Game Store

Green Man Gaming

Green Man Gaming is a digital games store headquartered in London. The company has been on the market in England since 2010 and is well known and successful there. In the last few years the website has been localized and expanded and you can now find your way around the shop in German. In 2014, the company also started its own game publishing and brought out some smaller titles on the platform.

In contrast to GOG, you can find many of the big AAA titles on Green Man Gaming, which is mainly due to the fact that game keys from various platforms - especially Steam - are sold here. So in most cases you still have to use the provider's appropriate client to play what you buy here.

So why buy from Green Man Gaming and not directly from Steam? In many cases you can get the games a bit cheaper all year round and don't have to wait until the next Steam sale. So it is worthwhile to compare the prices and to briefly check whether there is perhaps a better offer here.

In addition to keys for PC and Mac, Green Man Gaming also offers a selection of console games for PlayStation or Nintendo.

Do you want to break out of the Steam ecosystem? Then Green Man Gaming is probably not the right choice for you. But if you just want to save a few euros, it is definitely worth checking the prices here.

To Green Man Gaming

Gamesplanet

Gamesplanet is an authorized key dealer with headquarters in France and a branch in Düsseldorf. The website offers a very well localized version in German as well as German support. Here you will find games from all major publishers and pretty much all known AAA titles including the various pre-order versions. The shop offers keys from Steam, Uplay, Origin, the Rockstar Social Club, etc. depending on availability or publisher. In addition to games for the PC, there is also a separate section for Mac and Linux.

In addition to descriptions, screenshots and videos of the games, the individual game pages also show user ratings, metacritics and a comment function so that you can get a good impression.

Every day there is a sale on Gamesplanet and everything is permanently on sale. In many cases, the price is a bit cheaper than on Steam or the publisher directly. It is worth comparing here and pretty much all payment methods common on the market are offered.

To Gamesplanet

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