Well you probably already knew about Origin but since it’s nothing more than an EA outlet store it’s not much of a comparison. Oh yeah, and they’re not having a sale. $69.99 for Battlefield 4…sheesh..
Steam has many of the same selections as its competition but also nurtures budding indie developers many of which come from its very active communities. Community is central to Steam’s business model and one of the reasons a game like Portal could become so popular where it might not have otherwise. It’s one of the reasons why imitators have such a hard time duplicating Steam’s success.
There’s deals to be had anytime of the year but the Holiday and Summer Sales are the best times to buy. Don’t look for any recent triple-A titles from EA or Blizzard though. Seems Activision, 2K and of course Valve are the big publishers on the service not to mention their independent developer program.
So enough about Steam, let’s see what’s up with the competition, if you can call it that. Discounts are fairly uniform across all the portals and most have the same catalog as Steam and then some.
So let’s look at the big deals on Origin…and we’re done.
Nothing to see here, just a few discounts on EA games nobody plays anymore and constant prodding for pre-orders and DLC packs. Recent developments of the Origin client include very Steam-like achievement points (that don’t mean anything) and game updates integrated into the client.
Grade — Meh
Green Man gaming has a very Steam Like front page and the deals are similar. Oh yeah, and since EA isn’t at war with them they have newer EA titles too but the prices aren’t as good as Origin on EA titles. No big sales right now either.
Grade — Me Too
Good Old Games (GOG) is great for scratching that nostalgia itch. Even without a sale most of their wares are under $10 and some have been modified to work with newer versions of Windows. There’s Mac support too. Their client isn’t as intrusive as Steam either. No big sales here though.
Grade — Retro
GamersGate is another very Steam like experience without the bloat. They currently have their own Summer Sale going on with daily deals and rewards programs.
Grade — Me Too 2!
Impulse is GameStop’s digital distribution portal and as such the deals aren’t that great. Most of their prices are full retail on games that have been out for 8 months. They have forums like Steam but it’s more of an Origin Experience than a Steam experience. No big sales going on right now either.
Grade — Meh $$$$$
So there you are, copycats row with some copying the model better than others. Seems like Steam really does have the formula down. Truth be told, Origin wouldn’t rate a mention if they didn’t have a few popular Triple-A titles (Battlefield, Crysis, SimCity.) If you want to play them you’re pretty much stuck plodding through the Origin client. Not that Steam is much better but at least I only have to click another tab to get to my games and not be assaulted with sales pop ups.
By the Way…
Yes, I’m a bit biased against Origin. It’s feature poor, buggy and a resource pig that I’d rather not have to deal with. Every rig I start the client on grinds to a halt when it starts up. All to support a single publisher who also happens to be the 500 pound gorilla in the room.
Ahh, Internet capitalism…