A Plethora of Storefronts

I’m getting into PC gaming and have requested recommendations here. One thing I’m not super enthusiastic about is having to make accounts on at least 2 new stores (origin and microsoft) to get some of the games. I’ve accepted that it’s necessary to play things like Mass Effect and Forza, but I’m wondering if anyone else has misgivings or confusion around the number of game stores, exclusives, or related topics. Has anyone started using the new Discord or Epic stores heavily? What are your experiences?

I currently have . . . 6 storefronts-and-loaders installed on my machine? Steam, GOG, Twitch, Epic, Uplay, Origin, Battle.net, not to mention the launchers that are not storefronts. Welcome to PC gaming!

Better this than Valve having a monopoly on everything.

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Pinning these stores to your taskbar seriously makes this feel like less of a deal…

Think about all the menus you have to go through on a console to get to Gamepass, your disk games, or Netflix. Trust me, having a ton of launchers really isn’t that taxing. You’ll be fine. :slight_smile:

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The thing I never get about people complaining about multiple storefronts/launchers is that is what makes PC gaming what it is. For all it’s annoyances and faults, the one thing PC offers is choice. Choice of specs, choice input method, and yes, choice of storefronts. To ask for a Steam only world is to ask for yet another console in my mind. Not that consoles are bad, but if you are willing to trade off choice for convenience, the Xbox, Switch, and PS4 have you covered.

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I recently got back into PC gaming after not having the means to do so for a while and all the talk of the new storefronts making moves on Valve’s monopoly made it seem like it’d be such a big deal but… it really isn’t?

At least, not for me anyway. I’ve got a few installed (Discord, Origin, Epic, BattleNet) but the only one that I use the most is Discord but it’s definitely not because they’ve got a store. I only got the Epic Launcher because they’re currently giving out free games every few weeks (most of which I already own on Steam) and I’ve only used BattleNet and Origin for playing Overwatch, which I already owned, and Apex Legends.

The game subscriptions offered by Origin and Discord are tempting but I haven’t given them a shot yet. I also tend to buy most of my games through stores like Humble when I can and those primarily activate on Steam. I also don’t have any of these launchers set to run on startup except for Discord but even then the store isn’t pushed all that much.

It’s definitely better that there is a range of choice in where you choose to buy games but the exclusivity windows hasn’t been a huge issue for me.

I currently use Steam, Epic Games Store, Discord, itch[dot]io, Windows Store, Origin, and U Play. Sure, I have too many launchers open at once, but I’d rather that than one platform that has total control of the market. Having a storefront other than steam is good for finding games I wouldn’t normally see in the spotlight. In particular, I have found itch to be a great resource for finding a wide variety of unique games that you wouldn’t see on a more mainstream storefront.

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I mean I’ve only ever had Nintendo handhelds, a Vita, and now a Switch. I’m used to easy access to my games, and singular storefronts that either have a game or don’t. Pinning sounds helpful, I think I’ll make a folder with all the store launchers in it and pin that.

I’m not asking for convenience from the storefronts themselves necessarily, I’m just unfamiliar with tracking games across multiple storefronts on one system and want to know if people have strategies for making it less confusing. I’m used to going to a storefront and knowing I’ll see most of the games available on that system.

Yeah that works.

I believe the Discord app tracks all your games, and you can launch from there, can’t you?

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Oh, I completely forgot about itch! I’m so excited to get into it more.

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Fair point. Note that you can launch games outside of your preferred launcher with that launcher provided it supports such a feature. Discord, Steam, Xbox App, and others all allow you to consolidate your library to varying extents.

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I honestly don’t know, as a current MacBook owner my laptop gaming has been limited to “trying to make steam function”. That would be a very useful function indeed.

For those not a fan of juggling launchers let me introduce you to playnite

https://playnite.link

Discord can also do the same thing

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So it sounds like buying across multiple storefronts and consolidating the library is the way to go. Thanks!

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I’m trying to find info on how to do it with discord and not coming up with much, but I’ll keep looking.

This might help

The TLDR, top left of discord click the logo. You should now see “Games”.

You may need to go into settings and opt in.

I have a Google spreadsheet to keep track of my games library. The PC games table has a column to keep track of the storefront or physical media type. Things purchased from places like Humble that let you redeem in Steam are underlined. The Sony table lists all Playstation platforms so I can keep track of crossbuy games and the file sizes for the downloads on each platform. Games received from Playstation Plus are coloured purple do differentiate them from owned games. If a disc is missing or lent out to someone the text is faded. I update it every couple of months and this keeps track of 490+ games.

that is what makes PC gaming what it is.

Honestly, despite complaints I’ve had about new launchers messing up my setup, this really true. PC gaming is 40% playing games, 60*% tinkering and trying to cobble together something just organized and functional enough to meet whatever needs you have.

If you are like me there’s some idealized experience you are trying to get to, that will always be just out of reach, because there’s always some thing that doesn’t work with the other thing.

The launcher explosion (assuming the trend continues) is just the next thing in a long line of things PC gamers are going to have to wrangle.

*tinkering percentage highly exaggerated for effect.

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I’m a little old school about it, and just keep a .txt file with all of the games I have across multiple platforms. Helps since a lot of services like PS+ and Twitch Prime just throw out free games every month, and I’m prone to forget what I have. Not to mention all of the Humble Bundles.

I’m fine with it, though mainly because I have a burning hatred for Valve as a company and will get a game anywhere else but steam if at all possible. I’m very iffy on Epic because I want a better idea of how their ridiculous “influencers” system works because it seems like the sort of thing that screws over indie devs. I’m also trying to avoid GoG outside any old game exclusives they have since the management there seems very…alt-righty (see the firing of their twitter guy controversy tldr: he was a gater).

I would suggest Epic for bigger releases, though. They’re probably going to get a lot of Valve’s business in the coming years by making Steam exclusive AAA games no longer Steam exclusive. The Humble Store is also a bit limited, but does have a selection of games you’d see on steam without the worry of giving your money to a garbage company that just recently removed a game off their store because a bunch of Chinese nationalists mass reported it for supposedly having anti-Chinese propaganda in it (aka a winnie the pooh picture, look it up (and that’s not even getting into the gay game purge that utterly fumbled in their back peddle after it came out a right wing hate group organized it)). There are sites that sell keys for Steam that seem to not be scum fests like G4A or whatever it was called is, and while you still have to use Steam, less money goes into Valve’s pocket for transaction.

https://www.fanatical.com/
https://uk.gamesplanet.com/
https://www.gamersgate.com/

As for indie games, check to see if they sell on itchio first. Devs get way bigger revenue cuts on there, which is important for small developers.

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