If you’re a PC gamer, one of the most influential factors on your overall gameplay experience will be the kind of distribution platform you opt for. Many distribution platforms have monopolies over entire genres of video games, as well as their own distinct gaming culture and identity.
While nothing is stopping you from switching between multiple PC game digital storefronts and distribution platforms, many gamers tend to choose one and stick to it. If you’re wondering which game distribution platform is right for you, read it to find out what each major market player has to offer.
Best for Cross-Platform Gaming: Steam
With a 75% PC gaming market share, Steam is the platform of choice for most gamers in the world. In equal parts digital storefront, social networking site, and discount retailer, Steam has one of the most comprehensive offerings of games, with 30,000 listed titles as of 2020. While the level of choice is one of the more obvious appeals, Steam’s standout feature is its applicability for cross-platform gaming. The vast majority of Steam’s games are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux download, with the option for users to sync game data across devices with different operating systems. For gaming without limits, Steam is the platform of choice.
Best for Indie Gaming: Itch.io
While Steam has a reputation for being the distribution platform of choice for the developers of big-release, A-list games, Itch.io has it beat when it comes to sheer choice. The platform hosts a staggering 120,000 PC games, far outstripping any of the other platforms on this list. Itch has won praise from the gaming and tech communities for allowing the market for indie PC games to survive and thrive, thanks to its commitment to exclusively hosting indie games from small developers. Its current offerings are extensive, ranging from point-and-click story games to vast open-world RPGs, with the vast majority of titles being available for $10 or less.
Best for Real-Money Gaming: NetBet
If you’re one of the millions of gamers who have joined the sprawling online casino gaming community in recent years, you are probably already aware of the dizzying amount of platforms claiming to offer the best real-money games right now. However, if you’re looking for as large as possible a variety of slots, poker, roulette, blackjack, and live casino games, then online casino NetBet should meet your expectations. The site has hundreds of slot games and many other offerings to suit a variety of niches. NetBet offers an extensive catalog of sign-up offers and casino bonuses, ranging from free spins on a variety of slots to free credit that users can wager on any game of their choosing.
Best for Retro Gaming: GOG Galaxy
The nostalgia factor is increasingly becoming an influential driver of consumer choice within the gaming industry. For this reason, Nintendo’s release of their classic SNES console, complete with all of their most iconic games of yore, was successful. If you’re a hardcore retro gamer, then the user-friendly GOG Galaxy platform might be just what you’re looking for. The platform contains thousands of nostalgia-inducing classic retro games, ranging from The Sims 1 to the first Assassin’s Creed game, and offers exclusive releases for newer, more high-profile games. While not as seamless as Steam, GOG is also big on cross-platform functionality, meaning your OS should be of no concern.
Best for Discount Gaming: Green Man Gaming
If you’re serious about saving every penny when it comes to gaming, you are unlikely to find anything more wallet-friendly than Green Man Gaming. GMG was founded in 2009 and now contains a library of over 5000 PC games available for direct download, often with the biggest price reductions on the market. Users have noted the Green Man somehow manages to consistently undercut bigger players like Steam, offering discounts of up to 75% on games that are only six months old. Green Man has an extensive loyalty program that filters additional discounts to users who have been with the platform for a certain amount of time, meaning that it pays to create a free account sooner rather than later.
These are the top PC game distribution platforms on the market right now. The one you choose will largely depend on the kind of gamer that you are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the merits of all of them.