Five Best Resources for PC Games
There are plenty of places to pick up great PC games, whether you're looking for something just-released or a classic treasure. Still, some are better than others, either thanks to their deals, selection, approach to DRM, or support for indie games. Here are five of the best, based on your nominations.
Earlier in the week we asked you for your favorite resources for PC video games
GOG, formerly Good Old Games, started off as a repository for digital sales and downloads of old, classic games that you may remember and love, just updated to run on modern computers and operating systems (especially great even if you know how to make them work yourself
Those of you who nominated GOG made special note of the fact that downloads from the service are DRM-free, and that the site's selection of titles, especially classic games, is unparalleled. Many of you heralded their great prices and frequent discounts, but the one universal thing all of the comments mentioned was the fact that GOG has an exceptional community of gamers who truly love games, love classic titles, and get along well with each other. Part of that has to do with GOG's approach to its customers-seeing them more as friends and fellow gamers rather than just people who give them money. Don't take my word for it though, read more in its nomination thread
What started out as a tool Valve created to digitally deliver its own games to buyers and as a bit of a social network for people who play Valve games quickly evolved and grew into perhaps the dominant method of digital game delivery available today, and arguably one of the first real "app stores." Available for Windows, OS X, and Linux, Steam boasts a ridiculously large catalog of games large and small, big budget and independent, expensive and free-to-play. It's also backed by a massive community of PC gamers who can voice chat with one another, see what their friends are playing, join in, trade and gift games and in-game items, build wishlists, and more. We could write a whole article on Steam's features, like Big Picture mode, controller support, the upcoming Steam Machines and the SteamOS beta, and all of those wonderful Steam sales that drain our wallet
In the nominations thread, most of you praised Steam not necessarily because of its software or its platform, but because of its incredibly large game selection (and software selection too-let's not forget that Steam also sells non-game programs too) and frequent deep, deep discounts. We all love a good Steam sale, and it's pretty difficult to keep your credit card in your pocket when a game that was $60 when it was launched is $5 during a Steam sale. Some of you also noted that Steam's mobile app is a great way to keep up with friends and catch deals, and pointed to other tools like Enhanced Steam to help you make the most of it. Read more in the nominations thread here
Amazon may not be the first service that comes to mind when you think of video games, but their game store-both digital and physical-are fairly underrated. They frequently list discounts on popular titles that are really hard to beat, and have a massive selection of titles that isn't hindered by corporate loyalties or alliances (that means it's a one-stop for games using Steam, Origin, UPlay, and just about everything else-including many DRM-free titles.) Amazon also earns points for being willing to price match anyone currently undercutting them on the same game, so you can always make sure you're getting the best possible deal if you check with them first. Plus, even though we're discussing PC titles here (and they do have downloadable and physical copies of games for Windows and OS X), they also have a thriving digital delivery store for PlayStation Network, and of course, Android devices.
Those of you who nominated Amazon specifically praised their selection and their rock bottom pricing, and Shane-who regularly curates our Kotaku Deals segment-notes that in his day to day, checking all of these stores for bargains, he turns up some of the best prices on Amazon every single day. They also offer great deals on pre-order titles, and have specific stores for indie games and free-to-play titles that you can download any time you like-and all of your keys are stored in your Amazon account for future retrieval if you ever need them. Read more in the nomination thread here
The Humble Bundle, like many "bundle" sales, packs together a bunch of titles into a collection available at one low price that, ideally, is far less than the regular price of each item added up. That's what makes so many of them irresistible, and the Humble Bundle excels at it. The team behind the service started off offering gamers a way to get a ton of great games, DRM-free, at an amazing price, and also encouraging them to donate a portion of their purchase to charities like Child's Play, a worthwhile cause that gets a portion of the proceeds of each Humble Bundle sale. You choose how much you want to pay (within reason, of course), and the more you pay, the more games or other bonuses you get with the bundle. It's a simple model, but it's remarkably effective, and when there's a really great bundle available, odds are you'll hear about it from every corner of the internet.
Those of you who praised the Humble Bundle pointed to it being a great way to try out smaller titles at a great price, and the fact that it's an amazing outlet for independent and mobile games in addition to PC titles. The pay-what-you-want model for the bundle is a huge boost as well, and while many of the bundles go under the radar because there aren't huge titles in it, that doesn't mean they're no good or not worth your money. Plus, the fact that many-although not all and not consistently-downloads are DRM-free earned a few favors in the nominations thread. You can read more about the Humble Bundle in its nomination thread here
If you're looking for a game store that really goes out of its way to give Steam a run for its money, Green Man Gaming is worth a look. The service consistently undercuts Steam, offers discounts and promo codes on Twitter and Facebook, and offers great pricing even on pre-order or newly released titles. GMG's library is absolutely massive, and their discounts are usually pretty deep. They often host their own seasonal and holiday sales on their entire catalog, offering attractive prices on popular games, and you can keep track of all of them and your keys and downloads through PlayFire, which nets you achievements and rewards as you play. They may be lesser known, but there's no reason for them to be-they're definitely worth checking before you spend money at another store.
GMG earned praise in the nominations round for its liberally-distributed coupon codes and store credits, which can often mean you get some pricey new games for surprisingly little cash if you save them up. The service is based in the UK, which can lead to some overseas payment processing issues for those of us in the US, but it's nothing you can't get around by using Paypal, for example. Beyond that however, GMG's library and pricing earned it praise, especially from bargain hunters who find themselves surprised from time to time that the best deals are over here. Read more in the nomination thread here
There you have it! Now that you've seen the top five, it's time to put them to an all-out vote to determine the crowd favorite:
This week's honorable mentions go out to Half-Price Books, and other brick-and-mortar discount stores, where there are often surprising deals to be found at rock bottom prices. While it's a regional chain, odds are you have a similar low-price discount store in your area that sells videogames, and even if you don't, make sure to check your local Goodwill or Salvation Army-I've found incredible deals on boxed games there-especially single-player titles where the serials and discs were still intact and working.
We also got a number of nominations for deal sites that help you get the best possible price on deals from some of the above stores-great entries, so if you're looking for the best possible prices, make sure you head back to the call for contenders to check them out.
Want to make the case for your personal favorite, even if it wasn't included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most popular nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week
The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn't get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it's a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!