There’s a boatload of different ways you can buy/rent PC games these days. This guide is a quick rundown of the different places you can get games from and how to score yourself a good deal too!
I cover Games Launchers, Stores and subscription services. Please feel free to leave a comment if you think I’ve missed something!
Also: Everything should be up to date as of December 1st 2019 and any pricing listed is in Australian Dollars.
Game Launchers and Stores
Every man and his dog has a different game launcher, each with its own built in store.
Steam is the biggest, most well known and one of the oldest online game stores. It has a LOT of games and is really good for checking on game reviews. They also have sales often throughout the year. If you only get one game launcher, Steam is the one to get.
Well known games: Counterstrike, DOTA, Team Fortress 2, Portal, a LOT of indie games
The Epic Games launcher has copped a lot of flack for securing exclusive games that you can only get through them. It’s also lacking in features such as game reviews.
They do however have some very solid exclusive games (eg. Borderlands 3) and offer free games every week.
Well known games: Borderlands 3, Metro Exodus, Detroit: Become Human, The Outer Worlds
The Microsoft Games Store is, in a word, terrible. However, if you have the XBox Game Pass, then there’s a LOT of free games. See below for game subscription services.
The fact that the “Best Selling Games” are mostly gambling/casino related says a lot about whether to take this one seriously…
Well known games: Halo, The Outer Worlds
The Humble Bundle store has 3 good things going for it: The prices are generally a little cheaper than the alternatives, they do awesome bundle deals (not just games either, software and books too) and they have the Humble Monthly Bundle, getting you a stack of games each month (more on subscription services below). They also support charities!
GoG pride themselves on DRM-free games and have a pretty decent selection.
Well known games: The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077
Yet another games store! This one focused on EA Games. Main reason for getting this launcher is just so you can run the exclusive games.
It also has a subscription service (see below)
Well known games: Battlefield V, Need for Speed, The Sims, Anthem, Titanfall, Apex Legends
Ubisoft’s game launcher. Main reason for getting this is for running exclusive games.
Also includes a subscription service (see below)
Well known games: The Division, Ghost Recon, Farcry, Watch Dogs, Assassins Creed
Bethesda’s game launcher. Main reason for getting this is for running exclusive games.
Well known games: Doom, Rage, Wolfenstein, Fallout, Quake
Blizzard’s game launcher (now including Activision). Main reason for getting this is for running exclusive games.
Well known games: Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, Heroes of the Storm, Call of Duty (Black Ops 4 and Modern Warfare)
Brick and Mortar Stores (eg. JBHifi, EBGames etc)
Sometimes it’s easier and cheaper to buy a physical copy of a game from a store like EBGames or JBHifi. If you’re trying to find the best price on a particular game, don’t forget to check on local retailers as well!
Game Subscription Services
These are services that give you access to a whole stack of games for the cost of a monthly subscription.
Many of these will give you brand new games, on release with all the deluxe DLC as well.
Whilst being normally averse to subscription services, if there’s multiple games coming out that you’re likely to buy at launch, it may be significantly cheaper to go with a subscription service, play the games then cancel the subscription. You won’t own the game and will usually lose access to it once the subscription ends, but it might just be worth it!
Cost: $4.95/month (first month $1)
Microsoft are merging a lot of their XBox Console and PC gaming services together, hence the “Xbox” in the title even though it’s for PC Games.
Notable Games: Halo Master Chief Collection, Gears of War 5, The Outer Worlds, Shadow of War, Metro Exodus
Full Games List
The Humble Bundle gives you access to a set of games you can keep forever each month (when you cancel your subscription, you keep everything you’ve unlocked so far). It’s generally 8-10 games each month including some big AAA titles and lots of indie games. You also get discounted pricing on everything else on the Humble Store and access to the “trove”, 90+ indie games.
Notable Games: Call of Duty: WW2, My Time at Portia, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4
Cost (Basic): $6.99/month ($39.99/year)
Cost (Premier): $19.99/month ($129.99/year)
Origin Access gives you access to most of the games on the Origin store, the main difference between the Basic and Premier options is that with Basic, you only get a 10 hour free trial of the brand new games, once the games have been out for a few months they will get moved to the Vault where they’re free.
Notable Games: Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (Premier), Battlefield V, Need for Speed Heat, FIFA20, Mass Effect
Full list of games
uPlay+ Gets you access to 100+ games on the uPlay store, including all the DLC.
Notable Games: Ghost Recon, The Division 2, Rainbow 6 Siege, Assassins Creed Odyssey/Origins, Far Cry New Dawn, Watch Dogs 2
Full list of games
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