The distribution of games is heading towards complete digitalization. Less and less often we decide to buy them in box form.
Even if we do, we often do not find the disc in the package, but a link to download the title and we are redirected to the appropriate launcher. In this way, the publisher saves on pressing media, and the recipients get a structured library to which they have access from anywhere in the world.
Some distributors have their own platforms through which they offer their brand’s games. Most such applications are only available on PCs, as consoles have internal stores.
For many years the undisputed king of digital distribution and there is nothing to suggest that anyone will dethrone him. Only last year over 10,000 games(!) were made available on Steam and the number of active users was over 120 million.
The platform was founded by Valve Corporation in 2003 as an information service about games and offered their demos. Later titles, considered today as classics, appeared there: Half-Life, Half-Life 2 or Counter-Strike. A store function was added and Steam grew into a powerful platform for games.
Today we can not only buy and download games, but also add and chat with friends, earn achievements, trade items from our inventory, and install game modifications.
Epic Games Store
Its launch was in 2018, and the developer immediately went to open war with Steam, announcing that Epic would break its monopoly. The lure for new users was to be at least one free game given away every week. So far you could add to your account at least: GTA V, Metro 2033 or A Plague Tale: Innocence.
The tactic proved to be quite effective, because today the creators can boast of more than 30 million daily active players. However, it is hard to say what percentage of users stayed with the platform for longer after picking up the free game. The stats may be boosted by players of the popular Fortnite, a title for which Epic is the exclusive distributor.
However, it should be openly said that it is still a little short of being called a competitor for Steam. We will not find there such (seemingly basic) functions as: a shopping cart, statistics or group chat. Nevertheless, it is worth having this application, if only for the free games.
Created in 2008 as Good Old Games by the Polish company CDP Investment, it initially offered old, classic games from the last century, optimized for modern systems. Soon after, the launcher was incorporated into the CD Projekt holding and expanded to include new items.
In addition to CD Projekt RED’s original productions, namely The Witcher series and Cyberpunk 2077, games from publishers such as Activision, JoWood Entertainment and Square Enix are also available. Currently, you can find over 2700 games, and every now and then GOG gives away selected titles for free. A great platform for fans of classic productions, whose price is usually a few zlotys.
One to rule them all
Some publishers have their own platforms on which they make their games available: Ubisoft has Ubisoft Connect, Electronic Arts has Origin, Bethesda has its Bethesda Launcher, and Blizzard uses Battle.net. None of them stand out as anything special other than their individual design. However, they are indispensable if we want to play selected titles from a given manufacturer
At the moment, unfortunately, there is no one universal application that would gather all the games and unify all launchers. A few years ago there was an attempt to create such a client under the name “Project Ascension”. However, it remains only a curiosity, as it is not known whether the initiative is further developed.
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