First came gamers, then digital games, and finally, digital game platforms. These platforms were created out of necessity. When updates to virtual games or new games enter the market, they need a convenient place to go. These platforms are a one-stop shop to view, buy, or update online games.
Digital game platforms are also constantly upgrading. One of the most popular elements of digital games is the ability to play online with multiple people in real-time. Internet speeds continuously increase to allow for less lag time, which is especially important for gaming. We may see significant improvements with 5G connections going forward.
Updates to gaming might involve more than just downloading the newest version. Virtual and augmented reality is being incorporated into games more and more. This pushes developers to create gadgets such as headsets, wrist bands, and other wearables to add to gameplay.
Games are changing quickly, and there’s a vast amount to choose from. Just as more titles emerge, so do more game platforms. Many have popped up in the past decade with slightly different offerings. Read on to discover the pros and cons of these top 5 best digital game platforms.
Steam is the top platform used in online gaming. The game company Valve created it to streamline updates. Other gaming companies joined in by adding their games to the market. It has since blown up in popularity with over 1 million active users monthly at one point.
Steam has the most extensive library of games online. You can find virtually any game, including Scythe, a video game adapted from the popular board game.
There are often sales, and the games are account-based, so you don’t need to worry about switching to a new computer. A bonus with Steam is that it offers unlockable achievements. You can work towards these achievements on top of playing the actual games.
The Steam platform does more than just sell games. It has online forums and communities to help players connect and bring a social element to their gaming.
With any company this big, there’s bound to be some cons. In this case, the company’s sheer size might make it challenging to regulate. Players have complained of disreputable game developers coming up with bogus games to make a quick buck. This goes both ways sometimes. With such a big playing audience, ratings don’t always reflect the quality of a game.
GOG stands for Good Old Games. This makes sense since this is an excellent platform to discover a large amount of older, harder-to-find games though they do have a nice selection of newer ones as well.
GOG is known for being DRM (Direct Rights Management) free. Rather than purchasing a license to play a game, the game is yours to keep. You can download and play as you please regardless of what happens on the platform in the future.
It has some pros internationally as well. GOG does not use regional pricing or restrictions. Depending on your location, some platforms will charge different prices or restrict you from purchasing games altogether. GOG is known for offering the same services and pricing regardless of your country.
However, GOG has its cons due to its smaller size. With less selection to choose from, you might not be able to find what you’re looking for.
Green Man Gaming
Green Man Gaming offers mainstream as well as some lesser-known games. While they have something for everyone, so does Steam but with a much larger collection.
So why choose Green Man Gaming? According to PC Mag, the answer is the deals. Games are often discounted, and if not, you might be able to find a discount code online. So while it might not have a particular niche or wide selection, you might be able to get that desired game for less.
A Green Man Gaming account also easily connects you to Playfire. Playfire is a social gaming network to meet, discuss, and play with other gamers.
Humble Bundle is more than just a gaming platform. It also offers comics, books, editing software, and tutorials. Humble does have a large library of games with both mainstream and indie titles. However, most are for PC users.
Charity is the name of their game. Staying true to the Humble title, the company donates a portion of the price to charitable organizations. If you have a preference, you can choose where you’d like the donation to go.
You can find a good deal through discount bundles to unlock titles. However, you cannot play it directly on Humble but will be directed to another platform such as Steam or GOG to play.
Itch.io is the indie choice of online gaming platforms. This site definitely caters to a more niche audience. If you want to try something off the beaten path, browse the Itch.io collection of curious and kooky independent games.
The indie scene is also growing rapidly. When indie titles gain popularity, they often make it to the more mainstream platforms. However, if you want to get ahead of the game and discover it first, this is the site for you.
Keeping true to indie-form, Itch.io is inclusive and takes care of its clients. The search engine is simple to use and allows for many filters. Finding that super specific, quirky game has never been so easy.
Itch.io might not have the big games we all know, but what they do, they do well.
Online gaming has exploded in the past decade and continues to grow. As it does, we will see more and more changes and additions. Some platforms may have the better deals or selection, while others hone in on one particular niche.
Steam has led the way in numbers and popularity for a long time. But with growing demand comes options for other platforms to expand. Whatever tickles your fancy, you’re in luck. There is undoubtedly a platform for you, and if there isn’t, there may be one soon enough. It’s game on!