The Argument for Multiple Game Distribution Services

Gamers on PC are spoiled for choice like never before. With a library of titles dating back to the beginning of video games, and tools for indie developers improving by the year, there’s something for everyone. To some of us, however, the increased choice can come with a kind of double-edged sword – the inconvenience of multiple distribution services.

At one point, Steam was all a player needed, but today, the conversation isn’t quite this simple. Bear with us and we’ll explain that, while it can be a pain, adopting multiple services can still be the best approach.

Steam and Beyond

First released in September of 2003, Valve’s game distribution system, Steam, was the brainchild of co-founder and CEO, Gabe Newell. Adopting a name that makes it a real pain to search up its history, Valve’s Steam was not universally acclaimed on release. As it became tied into Counter-Strike, the first iteration of which was already a huge hit, players made the jump nonetheless.

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Over time, the advantages of Steam became too great to ignore. Owning games on Steam meant that you never had to worry about losing or breaking an installed CD, and prices were much lower than those of many physical stores. For a time, the gaming world was enamored. Operating as an essential monopoly with the decline of physical stores would then, inevitably, lead to imitators.

The Advantages of a Competitive Market

Though Steam was the first big name in digital gaming distribution, it often coasted by on momentum. The program was and is flawed, both for users and developers. It has bugs, it’s not especially user-friendly, and it operates on a 70/30 profit split for developers and Valve.

Eventually, systems like the Epic Games Store would appear which, offering an 88/12 split and free AAA games, became a much better choice for developers, with advantages for players too. Some, however, were not so convinced. Many of them had spent over a decade on Steam, and they didn’t want to have to start any new accounts.

Epic公佈自家遊戲商城 STEAM” (Public Domain) by steamXO

From an outside perspective, the reluctance to move to a new distribution platform didn’t make a lot of sense. The online casino industry, for example, has operated through a diverse range of choices for decades. As with video gaming, an important part of the variety within the online casino market is tied to providing different features. In casinos, this often comes in the form of offers like free spins and deposit matches. More specifically, this industry has even evolved to a point where the comparison websites have become region-specific in places like China, owing to the complexities of international gambling regulations.

Streamlined Solutions

While people still argue that having to juggle different accounts can be a pain, for the sake of free entertainment and improved competition, we’d say the ends still justify the means. Plus, thanks to automated logins, staying updated is no longer the issue it once was. There are even newer platforms, like GOG Galaxy 2.0, that can centralize your games and friends lists, to mitigate or eliminate many complaints.

Expanding into multiple services can take a little setting up, but once over the hump, there are more than enough reasons that getting involved is a good thing. Whether pushing for lower prices, claiming free games, or supporting developers, competition in distribution services has the benefits outweigh the costs.

Even if just for a trial, consider jumping in, and you might kick yourself for not broadening your reach earlier.

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