Digital Downloads: Team Steam or Team Origin?
The ability to download PC games directly from the internet isn’t all that new a concept for gamers or even for any type of program for computers, but this year download clients such as Steam and Origin have exploded in popularity with gamers. With that in mind, let’s see which one is considered the best right now, in popular opinion as well as your favorite download client.
Steam is pretty much the oldest download client out there right now. Released from Valve in 2002, Steam was originally intended to be used as a simpler way to update and patch PC games. By 2007 Steam became huge as it offered full games to download without the use of CD’s.
Nowadays, Steam is pretty much the biggest download client out there. It offers tons of games, both old and new, from major developers to independent developers. That is one of three reasons Steam is so awesome. Someone just looking for a random game can search and find all kinds of games from any developer, which helps those developers get noticed better than anywhere else.
Another of Steam’s graces is the constant deals that are going on. Steam offers discounts for games all the time, from midweek deals to seasonal deals. I was able to get Dead Island from Steam during the Halloween promotions, not at a huge discount, but enough that I was enticed to finally buy the game. This is another way for indie developers to get noticed is to offer all of their games in a bundle deal. No one could really say buying 5 or more games for $10 or $20 isn’t worth the price.
The third thing that makes Steam this popular is its multiplayer and user-friendly capabilities. Any game that has multiplayer capabilities can get you into a game with other players from anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. You don’t have to leave the game to do so either. I have had many instances while playing Dead Island where others have joined my game randomly and have helped me along with my campaign.
Steam is not the only download client out there, but in my opinion, it is by far the best. It is very user friendly and has a HUGE library of games for any type of gamer.
While Valve has Steam, Electronic Arts has Origin as its download client to try and counter them. EA does not have as much experience with download services as Valve does because Origin was only released this year. Origin is not wholly new though. EA Download Manager was their original client. Though it was not used as much, it was definitely used by any who owned EA games.
While Origin’s design is pretty straightforward, it lacks the flare that Steam is able to provide. It has multiplayer capabilities, but they are not as easy to use as Steam. Another negative that Origin has is its relatively small library. EA doesn’t have indie games at all on their service. They only sell games from developers that EA owns. Though that is still a sizeable number of games, it is nowhere near as extensive as Steam or even Good Old Games (see below).
I was turned onto digital download by Origin when a game’s expansion pack was only available digitally. You shouldn’t be without Origin if you enjoy PC games, but Origin has a long way to go if it can ever match the abilities and popularity of Steam.
Impulse is one of the newest digital distributers out there. This download client was created by Stardock and was later sold to GameStop. Presumably, GameStop bought the Impulse client in order to enter the digital market. While Impulse has an extensive library that can closely compete with Steam and overtake Origin, it is a very new system, and a very clunky interface has deterred some gamers so far.
Impulse has most of the amenities that GameStop offers at their physical stores, such as deals that can cut about half the price off some games, as well as preorder bonuses. Impulse could become a very large competitor in the digital market, but at the moment, it has a long way to go before it gets more attention from gamers.
GOG.com offers exclusively older games from 5 years ago all the way back to the beginning of PC gaming in the early 1990’s. GOG.com uses emulator systems to convert all of these old games so that they can work for the newer operating systems. If you enjoy the old classics more than you enjoy the newer games of today, GOG.com is where you want to go. Perhaps the only problem with GOG.com is the fact that there are few new titles available. Many publishers aren’t comfortable with GOG.com’s DRM-free policy, which keeps the numbers of new games low. Notable exceptions are games like The Witcher and The Witcher 2. The best element of GOG.com is the fact that it is DRM-free, so players without the Internet can continue to play their favorite games of old forever. Most games also come with freebies such as wallpapers and sometimes original soundtracks.
These are some of the top download clients you can use to vastly expand your own gaming library. Now I want your vote. Tell me which of these clients you use the most and why you like them compared to others. Also, if there are other services that were not discussed here, leave a comment below, and I’ll check those out. I will try to bring more on Steam and Origin as we watch digital distribution continue to grow in the gaming industry.