Alternative game stores and why you should use them

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Alternative game stores and why you should use them

Unread post by K4sum1 »

With Steam dropping Windows 7/8 support, it's probably a good idea to suggest an alternative, the main alternative being GOG.

GOG has some pretty massive advantages over Steam. One of them is that you don't need any client, or to deal with any DRM to play a game you own. As long as you have your game safely stored, no one can take it from you. Unlike Steam where they're dropping support for Windows 7/8 and games which would otherwise run on Windows 7/8 may become unplayable by official means. Even if you're running a supported OS, this still shows that you really don't own any games on Steam. Steam can take your games away, for any reason, at any point.

Another big advantage of GOG is that it doesn't force updates on you, and often allows you to get the previous few game versions too. If you have an older copy of a game modded, and a newer version breaks a feature, or prevents you from playing for any reason, you can keep the older version or redownload it if you already updated. Unlike Steam where you have to backup the old version and replace it each time Steam forces you to update the game. If you only notice until after the game is updated, you'll have to find a copy of the older version somewhere online, hope the developer quickly patches the game again, or hope the dev uses the betas feature to distribute an older version.

To add onto the above point, take for example Skyrim (Special Edition). There's currently 3 commonly used update points, 1.5.97, 1.6.323, and 1.6.640/659. Each has their own mods that work with only one version or another. If you want to go from the latest to an older version, there's no official method. All that really exists is a unofficial patcher that patches/replaces the newer files with the older files. And of course the patcher doesn't work on Windows 7 so you'd need to be on 8, have a VM, or find the files elsewhere online. There is no betas feature or any official method to downgrade the game. There is another update rumoured to come soon, and if it comes you'll either need to get the GOG version (which is only 1.6.659 because it's too new for the older versions), back up the current Steam version before it gets replaced, or just hope your mods will quickly support the new version.

Also with GOG you don't need to deal with the Steamworks Common Redistributables making most of your games unplayable for basically no reason until it finishes updating. I've had a bad internet connection ruin a night because it had to very slowly download a few hundred megabytes for no reason. Also Valve is the only one incapable of keeping its digital distribution service running during weekly maintenance. This has existed before I even began using Steam, and maybe even before I existed. They have more than enough money to fix it. Why does nobody care about this?

I did leave the title open, suggesting another store, and this pains me, but the Epic Games Store could be an option if a game isn't on GOG. Don't get your pitchforks out, let me explain. We can bypass the bloated launcher with the Legendary launcher, which after one small fix, works well on Windows 7/8. I've used this to play a free copy of GTA V I got ages ago, and it still works to this day. The main use case of Legendary is for Linux, but it works on Windows and can be used to play plenty of games. As far as I know, nothing like this exists for Steam. It could be our only option at some point for games not on GOG. My recommendation will flip if anything like this is made for Steam, and doesn't get shut down by Valve or get you banned.

If you're willing to put ethics above compatibility and modern game selection, GOG has never done any paid exclusives. In fact in house games (Witcher, Cyberpunk, etc) are on Steam and Epic as well. However even though GOG predates Epic Games Store by over a decade, many gamers have still never heard of it and Epic Games Store still has more modern games. Outside of retro tech/games YouTubers nobody really that big talks about GOG. This shows that unless you have exclusives, few people will care. Epic Games Store is widely known because bad press is still press.

There also is technically another option, however I won't name it. I will say that it encapsulates the idea of if they don't support you don't support them.
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Alternative game stores and why you should use them

Unread post by prints »

imagine using Steam in any capacity

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