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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Digital Platform Trend

With the success of Steam, other companies have stepped up and try to get a slice of the digital platform cake. Big boys like EA with Origin and Ubisoft with uPlay and Blizzard with Battle.Net Launcher or even MMO companies like Perfect World with Arc, Aeria Games with Ignite and Trion Worlds with Glyph. They are all now competing with each other, trying to get ahead of Steam who already had an enormous lead.

What does this all mean for us? The consumers? Well, as starters it means that we will have to download several different platforms to be able to play games from these various companies, which is rather annoying. While I respect the value of DRM-Free games, I like having my games within one easily accessed library of games(a.k.a Steam).

Another way we can see this is that all these platform will compete with each other and each will try to provide the best service they can give to us, the consumer. In the end, that is the best that could happen, even if we have to face the minor annoyance of having to use several digital gaming platforms at once. Competition is good, it will make all these companies to give their best and only good things will come from this for the consumers.

Most of these platform offers games from each of these publishers which tells us that their main reason probably isn’t really that they wanted Steam’s position but more towards “we don’t want to pay Steam for something we can do ourselves”. But of course there are some platform that offers games from outside their own company, and this is of course probably the ones that are trying to take on Steam.

There are also platforms like Desura that’s trying to promote more Indie games. Some gamers who like to try out and support Indie games uses Desura while some others use this platform to try out Indie games they got from bundles before they are Greenlit into Steam.

MMO Platforms have also been springing up lately, with Glyph, Arc and Ignite offering quite a selection of online games. What is interesting is that some of these games are also available on Steam. Steam does offer a significant playerbase that could prove really crucial for any MMO to survive and do well. Perhaps these publishers intend to use a few of their games as a lure so that gamers from Steam could learn more about their other games and eventually also use their platform.

But is it really possible? Taking on Steam? I’d say probably not, but in the end it’s a matter of who can give the best service. People who use these digital gaming platform are doing so because of the various benefit they gain from using said platform. Steam offers a lot of benefits and these new platforms will need to do the same and offer even more to be able to compete.

What do you guys think of this trend for publishers/developers to create their own digital platform? Do you think it’s a good thing? Will you use them? And do you think more companies will be doing the same thing in the future? Leave a comment and tell me what you think.

Note: This article is an old article I wrote for another site that is now closed. The content might not be relevant anymore right now. 

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