How New PC Gaming Platforms Are Challenging Steam

September 16, 2021

Steam might be the go-to PC gaming platform but it is not the only one out there. From GOG.com and Origin to Epic Games Store and UPlay, gamers have a huge variety of platforms to take notice of, or even use a combination of them if it fits one’s bill. The global games market in 2021 will generate a staggering revenue of approximately $176 billion – of which the PC market itself is worth $36 billion, according to the latest market revenue forecasts by Newzoo. 

Valve Corporation’s trademark Steam service launched in 2003, revolutionizing the games market and going on to become the largest digital distribution platform for PC gaming – serving a volume of about 100 million monthly active users with its monumental library of 50,000. It was one of the first services to allow gamers to browse, buy, review, play, and discuss PC games in one destination. A thriving community has grown through Steam’s presence. Here are few fun facts about the distribution service and the owner company –

  • It covers more than 70% of the digital gaming marketplace.
  • There are more than 150 million Steam accounts.
  • Valve, its parent company, created its own operating system called SteamOS.
  • The company is one of the most profitable in its industry in the USA.
  • A dedicated controller called the Steam Controller was released in order to smoothen playing experience
  • About 5,000-10,000 games are added each year.
  • Steam is so popular that 47% of all game publishers use it to showcase their titles.

However, amid such fascinating facts, that dominance is now dimming – thanks to new players in the market. Also, new trends have come into play - such as brick-and-mortar retailers shelving game cards and codes for usage through digital platforms and the growth of cloud gaming services such as PS Now. Not to forget, next-gen consoles – PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X - are still top dogs in a market that has seen console gaming edge itself year upon year with technological advancements and innovations.-

Evolution from Old Companies

GOG.com, formerly called Good Old Games, was one of the first platforms to try to disrupt Steam’s authority over the PC games market. As the name suggests, it is the go-to destination for older video games and also new releases. And it’s DRM-free (Digital Rights Management – which means the consumers can install the game anywhere and as many times as needed, without being checked twice) outlook has propelled the company to great heights in the game distribution market.

Epic Games, creators of the blockbuster-hit game Fortnite, are new players in the digital distribution market. The Epic Games Store is a work in progress but one cannot deny the potential it has to rival some of the best platforms out there, including Steam. Electronic Arts’ Origin and Ubisoft’s UPlay are dedicated platforms at do not do much other than run the respective publishers’ games, although they have a few other interesting features.

Increase of Crypto Gaming Market

The gaming market has witnessed a tremendous rise in the past two decades and it is bound to grow much faster during these times of the global pandemic when working from home is the ongoing trend. Other than video games, the online gaming industry also includes different areas such as casino gaming, online betting, and gambling – all of which have experienced significant growth. Another growing trend is the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC) for placing bets or gambling online. The crypto gambling market is becoming popular as days pass by due to the accessibility of blockchain technology and crypto literacy. From online slots and live dealer games to sports betting and online table games, the options are varied for one to engage in.

Green Man Gaming, GamersGate, Itch.io, Amazon Gaming, and Blizzard Entertainment are few other platforms that provide access to a huge library of games to play and stream. Features range from exclusive content, personalized customer service, technical support, early access, refund policies, and a host of other perks that might not be found on Steam.

However, as of the moment, one thing is for sure – Steam is here to stay. It is the de facto leader in the PC video games distribution market and it will take substantial effort by the other platforms to seize major control over the marketplace.

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Saurabh Mukhekar
Saurabh Mukhekar is a Professional Tech Blogger. World Traveler. He is also thinker, maker, life long learner, hybrid developer, edupreneur, mover & shaker. He's captain planet of BlogSaays and seemingly best described in rhyme. Follow Him On Facebook

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