Digital Distribution: The Other Guys

Shamus Young

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Digital Distribution: The Other Guys

There are more (and better) options than just Steam and Origin.

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Kae

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Mr. Shamus, I believe that GOG.com recently announced that they have plans to enter the triple A race, I believe they said it was going to be somewhere around this year (I believe it's sort of implied here http://www.gog.com/en/news/gog_coms_plan_for_the_future_gets_some_news but I can't find where they actually said that), so yeah we have that to look forward too.
 

CapitalistPig

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For what its worth ive done direct to drive and its a good service. In fact somehow, somewhere it plucked my gamer tag from DOW so i have the rights to download it from them. so yeah my two cents.
 

HobbesMkii

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I use GamersGate, the only major trouble I have with it not being a client is that it just becomes one of a thousand different accounts I have and another website I have to visit. Steam is a program, I can just pull it up and see the deals.

It also doesn't seem to has sales quite as regularly. Steam always has three going every week: the Daily Deal, the Midweek Madness, and the Weekend Deal. And sometimes it's running two Weekend Deals at once. It's hard to compete with that kind of saving.

That said, it's literally the only place to pre-order a digital copy of anything Paradox Interactive makes, so I've always been a loyal GamersGate customer.
 

Albino Boo

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Kaleion said:
Mr. Shamus, I believe that GOG.com recently announced that they have plans to enter the triple A race, I believe they said it was going to be somewhere around this year (I believe it's sort of implied here http://www.gog.com/en/news/gog_coms_plan_for_the_future_gets_some_news but I can't find where they actually said that), so yeah we have that to look forward too.


They aren't getting into the AAA market they want to try to get into the indie market. The no DRM policy means that they are not the most attractive to mainstream publishers. Especially since they are involved in legal action with Namco BANDAI over removal of DRM from the witcher 2 and breaking a distribution agreement.
 

Dev Null

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"I could dedicate an entire column to cataloging the comprehensive failures of GFWL."

Oh wait; you already did.

You could do it again though; its that terrible.
 

omicron1

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The other relatively big player (and honestly one of the more interesting ones right now) is Direct2Drive, recently rebranded/taken over by "Gamefly."

Nothing much seems to have changed this time around, aside from the fact that all prior owners of D2D games were told to download them off the service now, because continued offerings were not guaranteed.
In other words, a digital shop changed hands, and customer's goods may disappear.

Currently, the relaunch has happened, and ~65% of my D2D library is no longer available. (the rest requiring a separate downloadable digital storefront to be running)

This is a nightmarish vision of the future of unsuccessful business ventures in this realm: If the store you buy things from goes under, your things vanish. If any of the big players go under, hundreds of thousands to millions may lose the things they bought. Which is as good an argument as I've ever heard for limiting the number of players in this particular field.

(Also, what about OnLive?)
 

LilithSlave

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Ah, good to see someone mention Gamers Gate for a change.

I love Gamers Gate and it doesn't get near enough love.

Someone looking for console digital distribution stuff and uses google, and finds this will be disappointed since nothing around is specifying that one is talking about PC digital distribution.
 

Kae

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albino boo said:
Kaleion said:


They aren't getting into the AAA market they want to try to get into the indie market. The no DRM policy means that they are not the most attractive to mainstream publishers. Especially since they are involved in legal action with Namco BANDAI over removal of DRM from the witcher 2 and breaking a distribution agreement.
Oh, thanks for pointing that out, I knew I got something wrong, oh well.
 

Baresark

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Steam and GoG baby, enough said.

I get so angry when I realize I have purchased a game that uses GFWL. Worst service ever. And they can't even bring themselves to proficiently program the service software, it's so clunky. AND to beat it all, there is not even the illusion that the games are protected from piracy. If a game uses GFWL, you don't even need a crack to play an illegally downloaded version. I can't wait till companies are smart enough to stop using them. THQ abandoned it, Capcom abandoned it, every company that has ever used it eventually gets rid of it. I feel Rocksteady was duped into using it for Arkham City.
 

Mr Companion

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"I could dedicate an entire column to cataloging the comprehensive failures of GFWL. Every single aspect of the system is horrible and infuriating. GFWL is a plague on PC gaming. It doesn't need to improve, it needs to die. And then Microsoft needs to apologize to everyone inconvenienced by it."

I don't pawn words off without merit, but even with that in mind, I love you Shamus. That perfectly encapsulated everybodies thoughts on the matter.
 

Casimir_Effect

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Sorry but it feels a little disingenuous for you to have made an article like this and missed out:
Direct2Drive / Gamefly
Green Man Gaming
Get Games
Amazon digital download (which seems to be trying to make Steam look bad at the moment).

Surely it wouldn't have taken much research to factor these companies into the equation, although I'll admit revenue figures for digital distribution are hard to come by. Get Games in particular is a small company but right now had Deus Ex: HR for £9 and Serious Sam 3 for £10.
 

Shamus Young

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Casimir_Effect said:
Sorry but it feels a little disingenuous for you to have made an article like this and missed out:
Direct2Drive / Gamefly
Green Man Gaming
Get Games
Amazon digital download (which seems to be trying to make Steam look bad at the moment).

Surely it wouldn't have taken much research to factor these companies into the equation, although I'll admit revenue figures for digital distribution are hard to come by. Get Games in particular is a small company but right now had Deus Ex: HR for £9 and Serious Sam 3 for £10.
"disingenuous" implies that I was being dishonest. I said very clearly at the top of the post that I haven't used D2D. Moreover, yes, with "some research" I could have found out about those other service, but knowing they exist is not the same as using them. It would have taken more than a "little" research to buy games and evaluate them all.

This isn't a comprehensive study. It's my own analysis of the major players.
 

octafish

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I'd like to point out that in my experience only GOG, Steam, and Gamers Gate are available to Australian customers (and Origin and GFWL of course). Gamers Gate offers UK prices to Australians so very often have cheaper new releases than Steam which indulges in regional pricing.
 

Waaghpowa

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Shamus Young said:
Digital Distribution: The Other Guys

There are more (and better) options than just Steam and Origin.

Read Full Article
As some have stated, Direct2drive has been rebranded as Gamefly, which in my opinion is a bad thing. Not necessarily because I don't like Gamefly, but because their pricing is no longer good. I used to occasionally buy games from D2D for the expensive titles I was interested in. Most recent ones are Battlefield 3 and Syndicate, for 52 dollar prepurchase, because I refuse to pay 60 dollars for a PC game. Now that they're Gamefly, those prices seem to have disappeared :(
 

Errickfoxy

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My experience with Origin, I could indeed register my Mass Effect 2 and most of my Spore addons stuff, but oddly enough it won't take my "Galactic Edition" key for Spore itself, which is kind of confusing. Maybe I should try again and see if it'll work this time.
 

coldfrog

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Gamers Gate has been kind of on my radar for a little bit, but I've got that good old brand name familiarity that's been keeping me with Steam, as well as the fact that Gamers Gate, as stated, REALLY doesn't get brought up a lot. From what you said, that sounds like a real shame, and I may give it a shot and start pushing it on my friends if it's as good as it sounds!

Also: Glad to see more articles from you, Shamus... I really kind of missed your writing.
 

Owyn_Merrilin

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I can't agree more about Impulse. I got an account with them because I got a couple of hard copy StarDock games a little over a year ago, and I absolutely loved their method of digital distribution: no DRM, no special install paths, no need to even have Impulse running unless you were trying to update an old game or download a new one. Unfortunately, I didn't buy a single other game until almost a year after I got the two hard copy games, because Stardock didn't have the clout to get deals that were in any way competitive with Steam. Gamestop does, and it shows. My Impulse library went from two games to nine over the course of a month, and it never would have happened if Gamestop hadn't bought them out. Despite the fact that Gamestop owns it, I can't recommend the service enough.

One nitpick, though: they didn't just announce the buyout early in the year; they did it on April Fools Day. Nobody believed the press release at first because of it XD