Legal Alternatives to Steam for PC Digital Games
As you may know steam owns the majority of the PC digital game market.
When you have a really big company, you have the luxury of offering prices that are not super competitive and still get a lot of sales, uninformed customers will often buy from your website assuming it's the best price available.
Fortunately for you, I'm on a mission to help you get the best possible deal on your next game purchase.
So here is a list we compiled of legal alternatives to the Steam Store.
But first, what is a Legal Distributor?
Legal means that the company has distribution contracts for all of the games listed on their website.
Having a distribution contract assures you that the developer of the game will be compensated for the sale of the game. This is a really important part of the Ecosystem! More funding = More Games
Why should I buy from another store than Steam?
The main reasons you would buy your games on an alternative store are better prices, supporting your country, helping a particular developer or purchasing your games in bundles.
What if I want to help a particular developer?
Purchasing directly from the publishers website will give them more than their usual share of the purchasing price.
If this is what you want to do, we recommend you take a look on their websites, most developers offer their own games as steam keys, as DRM free or as a Download on their own platform. GOG (CD Projekt), Origin (EA), Uplay (Ubisoft), Square Enix and Paradox are the best examples.
There is also Itch.io who helps small indie developers get their games on the web.
What if I want to support my country?
It's possible to buy from different countries around the world, while it sometimes may add sales taxes to your purchase, being able to contact someone if you need support is priceless.
- UK: GreenManGaming, GamesPlanet
- Canada: ImperialGames
- USA: Amazon, WinGameStore, Direct2Drive
- France: DLGAMER, GamesPlanet
- Spain: SilaGames
- Brazil: Nuuvem
- Germany: GamesPlanet
- Sweden: GamersGate
What if I want to find the best price?
The best way to compare the pricing between the stores is to use websites like IsThereAnyDeal or CheapShark.
Their only goal is to compare the prices between the websites and accurately let you know where and when the best deal is available.
Disclaimer: if you decide to use one of those sites, the owners might get a commission on your purchase.
What about bundles?
Humble Bundle, Indie Gala, and Bundle Stars are companies known for their bundles but they also offer individual games on their stores.
Bundles are a way to get games cheaply, however you might end up with a ton of games you will never play. A majority of the games are created by small developers, but this doesn't mean they aren't fun!
What is the difference between DRM free, Steam Keys and Other Download Platforms?
Before you purchase a game, make sure to carefully read the listing. There are multiple ways to activate games.
- Steam: Steam Keys are distributed by most retailers. The key can be activated on Steam fairly easily.
- DRM free: DRM (Digital Rights Management) free games are freely available for download, you will not have to install any additional software on your computer. There is also no copy protection on the games, so they can be installed infinite times.
- Origin: Origin is the download platform for EA, publishers of games like Battlefield, Titanfall, and Star Wars Battlefront. If you buy any EA games on a 3rd-party website you will receive a Origin Key.
- Uplay: Uplay is the download platform for Ubisoft, publishers and developers of games like Watch Dogs, The Crew, and The Division. All Ubisoft games are also available on the Steam store (Uplay is still required to play), however, if you purchase on a 3rd-party website you will most likely receive a Uplay Key.
- RockStar Social Club: This is for GTA V (and likely Red Dead Redemption 2 also), since this is a really popular game I added it to the list. If you purchase the game at a 3rd-party website you will have to activate the game on the Rockstar website.
We hope this article will help you save a few dollars of your next purchase or even better give more money to the developers in need!
Let us know in the comments below if we missed any stores!