Steam was initially released in the year 2003 by its developer Valve as a standalone software client. It is a digital distribution service of video games that offers installation of games, automatic updates, matchmaking servers, digital rights management or DRM, social networking services, video streaming and community features that include chat, in-game voice, cloud saving and friends list and groups.
The Proprietary Software License is available in twenty-eight languages and is compatible with several operating systems like Windows Phone, Android, iOS, Linux, macOS and Windows.
The Steam platform is the undisputed leader in the digital distribution industry for PC gaming. It offers API called Steamworks, which is used by developers to integrate several of the Steam’s function into their products for instance matchmaking, microtransactions and in-game achievements.
By the year 2013 Steam was occupying 75% of the total market space and by the year 2019, it had ninety-five million active users in its fold every month and more than thirty-four thousand games attached with its portal. By March 2020, Steam posted a concurrent player count of twenty-three million, which is simply awesome.
If you think that PC gaming is all about Steam then you are missing out on some important deals that are worth looking for. There are numerous players in the industry offering lucrative options and incentives to lure in customers, for instance, monthly free games, DRM free games and even exclusive releases.
It is imperative to keep an eye on Steam competitors to know about the best available deals in the industry.
1. Epic Games
Epic Games is a private company of American origin that was founded in the year 1991 by its founder Tom Sweeney. The company operates from its headquarters base at Cary, North Carolina in the United States.
It acts as a subsidiary of its owners Tim Sweeney with less than 50% share and Tencent with 40% share. By the year 2018, the high-profile company was valued at 15 billion US Dollars.
Epic Games is a software developer as well as a publisher of video games. The company specializes in game development, cross-platform integration, real-time technology, publishing, game engine and game development. Its first video game to be released commercially was ZZT in the year 1991 and since then it has been involved in many other popular games.
The company develops a game engine called Unreal Engine, which was declared as the most successful video game engine in 2014 by Guinness World Records. The powerful tool is used to power video games like Infinity Blade Series, Shadow Complex, Battle Breakers, Unreal, Gears of War and Fortnite.
In the year 2017, Epic Games released Fortnite Battle Royale that has increased its market share as well as popularity in the PC gaming industry. The company is considered the topmost Steam competitor in the world and has been able to expand its offerings in recent times.
Epic Games Store was opened in December 2018 and as per the revenue share agreement, it will take only 12% instead of the 30% that Steam takes from other parties.
Origin was initially released in the year 2011 by its developer Electronic Arts. It is available in nineteen languages and is compatible with several operating systems like Facebook Platform, Android, iOS, macOS and Windows.
Origin has a clean interface and it is a blessing for online gamers as it provides a smooth ride. The most common games played on this platform are The Sims, Battlefield, FIFA, Assassin’s Creed Series, The Batman Series, The Witcher 3, SimCity 2000 and Theme Hospital.
Origin is a digital distribution, social networking and digital rights management platform that is related to playing and buying of video games. The software is available for mobile platforms and personal computer and includes social features like chatting and networking with friends, profile management, direct game joining, game library sharing and streaming with help of Twitch.
The platform encourages community integration with sites like Nintendo Network, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and Facebook.
Origin is considered a strong Steam competitor in the industry because of its special features like cross-platform releases, auto-patching and addition of cloud game saves. The pricing plan includes Basic version at 4.99 US dollars / 6.88 AUS dollars / 3.99 Pound for a month.
The user has access to one hundred and seventy EA games. The Premier version includes 99.99 US dollars / 129.99 AUS dollars / 89.99 Pound for a year. Besides the privileges of the basic plan, the user can play FIFA 19, Battlefield V, latest EA games and Anthem.
3. Itch. io
Itch.io was released in the year 2013 by its developer and owner Leaf Corcoran. It is a commercial platform with optional registration and is available in the English language. At the end of the calendar year 2015, the company announced the release of a desktop application that would install games as well as other content and automatically update existing games and content.
It was supported by the operating systems of Linux, macOS and Windows. By the year 2018, the website was playing host to an estimated one lakh games and competing with Steam for market space.
Itch.io is a platform to download, sell and host indie video games. The user can host game jams on this platform but the downside is that the time is limited to three days. Some prime examples of game jams are Game Maker’s Toolkit Game Jam and Game Off.
Itch.io has incorporated a pay-what-you-want pricing model and as it states the user has to pay only for what he wants. Many games are even free at the onset before going commercial and some charge a nominal amount. Users can pay more to support the creators.
The Steam competitor charges a 10% cut from each sale compared to 30% charged by Steam. The clean and smooth interface encourages strong community focus with lots of discussions and game jams.
4. GOG Galaxy
GOG.com acts as a subsidiary company of its parent company CD Project. It was founded in the year 2008 and operates from its headquarters base at Warsaw, Poland. It is a digital distribution site with compulsory registration and is available in several languages like English, Polish, French and German etc. The site is compatible with operating systems of Linux, macOS and Microsoft Windows.
GOG.com offers video games through its digital platform GOG Galaxy. The platform allows players to purchase and play games from GOG.com and share it with their friends. It is possible to integrate multiple libraries into a single platform and connect with all the friends across all gaming platforms.
If you are looking for a consistent Steam competitor then look no further than GOG Galaxy. The content on this platform is DRM free and everything the user buys is his to do what he wants. There are several DRM-free versions of games on this platform like Divinity: Original Sin 2 and The Witcher 3.
Important features of GOG Galaxy include a single library, tracking of game stats, full customization, activity feed, cross-platform chat, no spying or data sharing, integration of community platform, sync between devices, auto-updates and multiplayer.
GOG has announced its plans to launch Galaxy 2.0, which will be a unified game launcher for GOG titles and services like Uplay, Origin, Epic Game Store. It will include an open API strong integrated Xbox as well as Xbox Game pass because of its partnership with Microsoft in this project.
Uplay was initially released in the year 2012 by its developer Massive Entertainment. It is a digital distribution service provider of video games that also deals in social networking services, communication services, multiplayer and digital rights management.
The Software is compatible with several platforms like Windows Phone, Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, Widows NT, Facebook Platform, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4 and PlayStation 3.
Ubisoft launched the network Uplay that can be activated through its website or in-game. Gamers can connect on this platform and earn rewards based on their achievements. The system encourages the user to play more games as the more he plays the more rewards he can win. The Steam competitor has managed to increase its market share as its revenues are up 73% from last year. The PC gaming platform represents 40% of the total net bookings of Ubisoft. The compay continued to support its games Rainbow Six: Siege along with Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey with regular updates as they were the highest revenue earners for the platform.
Uplay is an important Steam competitor and is considered functional software with features like a library, cloud saves, friend list and store search functions. The Ubisoft store includes Far Cry, Watch Dogs, Tom Clancy games and Assassin’s Creed.
The company offers best discounts on its games and even offers freebies to new and consistent users. Its pricing plan includes Uplay Plus which is a subscription service supporting 100 titles that have been published by Ubisoft. The user will have to pay a monthly fee of 14.99 dollars for unlimited access to the games database from where he can download and play whenever he likes.
GamersGate is a private company of Swedish origin that was founded in the year 2006. It operates from its headquarters based in Stockholm in Sweden. With 21 million dollars in revenues, GamersGate is one of the top players in the video games industry.
The platform sells its games to an estimated two hundred and fifty developers as well as publishers like Electronic Arts, 2K Games, Ubisoft, Paradox Interactive and to independent developers like Amanita Design and 2D Boy.
It is amongst the first few companies that stepped into the video games industry and offered downloadable content for PC games like Europa Universalis series and Hearts of Iron. There are more than six thousand games on its platform and some of the most popular ones are Far Cry 5, Resident Evil etc.
GamersGate is associated with the digital distribution industry and deals in video games, content delivery and electronic commerce. The platform offers strategy guides as well as games for Linux, macOS and Widows through direct download. It also offers a catalogue of games that are free through its Void System.
GamersGate is a prominent member in the list of Steam competitors. It offers DLC or downloadable content and digital rights management-free or DRM-free games to its users. It is a client-free service where it is not necessary to log-in to play the purchased games. The platform accepts online payments for games that are purchased by cash via Rixty or credit cards.
There has been an ongoing war in the PC gaming industry for a long time. Companies are challenging each other to grab an important market share. Steam is in a strong position and its adversary brands are also gaining a strong foothold and standing firm in these competitive times.