The popularity of digital video game distribution has intensified over the last couple of years–what with the network advancement in bandwidth capabilities, changing dynamics of gaming, and growing demands of consumers in emerging markets. Although this can be perceived as the Waterloo of PC gaming as a retail buying option, especially with the arrival of gaming tablets into the picture, we are wholly aware of the conveniences digital video game distribution has to offer and have a bit of grasp as to why PC gamers are making the fundamental shift. Kick back, grab an energy drink, and take a quick look at the three biggest online gaming clients in the market today.
Steam was developed by Valve Corporation, the company behind the Counter Strike and Team Fortress series. Having over 2,000 games to purchase, download, and play from any computer, and ranging from •action to in die and everything else in between,” Steam is among the largest video game networks available for PC and Mac video game players today. In a way, Steam is like the PC/Mac version of Xbox Live and/or the PlayStation Network, but that’s only limiting the capability of this platform.
What’s cool about Steam, apart from its exclusive deals, automatic game updates, and other great perks, is that it allows users to create and share content. You can gift your friends, trade items, and even create new elements to games in the Steam Workshop, which can be very exciting for those of you who want to further the interests of your favorite games.
As of January 2013, Steam had over 6.6 million existing players with an estimated 50 to 70 per cent share of the digital distribution market for video games.
Formerly known as the EA Store, Origin helps you purchase and manage your games, and stay up to date with the latest video game news and releases. Furthermore, it gives you the ease of being able to access and play your games from almost any computer. It also offers social features like profile management, networking with friends through chat and direct game joining along an in-game overlay, streaming via Twitch TV, sharing of game library, and community integration with networking sites like Facebook, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo Network. With the intention of matching Steam, Origin’s leading competitor, Electronic Arts included cloud game saves, auto-patching, achievements and rewards, and cross-platform releases to give users mobility in keeping up with their in-game progress.
Being part of the Origin community gives you access to exclusive events and offers. Moreover, it guarantees download availability forever after purchase. There is no limit to the number of times you can download a game.
With the release of Assassin’s Creed II 2009, Ubisoft launched the Uplay network. which can be accessed either in-game or via the U play website, to provide an experience similar to the achievements and/or trophies offered by various other game companies.
On a mission to create a place where users can play, share and win together, Uplay allows players to connect with other garners, and to earn rewards based on achievements called ·Actions’: Each Uplay-enabled game has four specific Actions that can be accomplished, earning the player Uplay points that are referred to as •units’: which can then be used to unlock game-related rewards. Units are not bound to the specific games they were earned in, and may be used to purchase rewards from any available game.
Ubi soft CEO Yves Guillemot says, “The more you play, the more free goods you will be able to have;”The minute you become a Uplay member, you start winning units and benefit from enhanced sharing features. Uplay rewards you for playing the games you love with a wide range of other exclusive services.
Whether you’re a core gamer or just an occasional player, using a PC, Mac. Linux, a mobile device, or even your TV, you can enjoy the benefits of digital distribution clients. Downloading is definitely more convenient compared to leaving your house. Plus, you can play anywhere, connect with your friends, and discover new games-all in a unified platform that can be accessed by multiple devices. With the inclusion of social networking to games, achievements, and other minor things, gaming experience Is heightened to a whole new level. With clients such as Steam, Origin, and Uplay, you can take the games you love wherever you go.
First published in Gadgets Magazine, July 2013
Words by Janelle Bautista