4 alternatives to Steam to get away from the “mainstream”

Steam It was for a long time and with a great difference compared to the rest, the largest giant in the digital distribution of video games. Despite the fact that Valve was heavily criticized when it launched its platform next to the release of half life 2the passage of time ended up proving him right and not only that, but there are many who point out that Steam was ultimately the salvation of a PC Gaming that seemed eaten away by piracy and the powerful competition exerted by PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, two consoles that represented a significant leap on a technical level compared to the previous generation.

For a long time, the PC video game industry has run mainly through digital platforms, and the fact is that the distribution in physical format has remained something niche, more oriented towards collectors and people who still prefer to have the material in a physical support. But the possibility of receiving patches, PC games that are increasingly unfinished on the market, DLC and comfort have ended up tipping the balance in favor of digital distribution.

Valve, thanks to the push of half life 2he was ahead of all or almost all the rivals he had in his beginnings, among which we can highlight a Desura that no one remembers anymore. A curious fact can be extracted from the competition between Steam and Desura, and that is that the second was faster than the first when it came to offering multiplatform support through Windows, macOS (then OS X) and Linux. However, at the level of sales and the number of users, it was obvious that Valve’s platform ended up crushing its rival.

In short, Valve was left with fairly clear ground, although that did not make the company opt for an anti-consumer policy, quite the opposite. The company founded by Gabe Newell has tended to implement quite user-friendly policies and has transformed Steam into much more than just a digital video game distribution platform with forums and other features that, from certain perspectives, are more like a network. social.

Another story that derives from Steam’s expansion on PC is removing many of the barriers that were present in the physical distribution. This has paved the way for the emergence of the sector indiewhich has been escalating over the years to establish itself not only as an alternative to the mainstream scene, but has for a long time put forward proposals that compete with big-budget productions.

More than just appealing to the nostalgia of the most veterans, the scene indie It has contributed to the return of the essences and mechanics of the old school to our times, to make video games finally become what they really are: playable challenges. During the course of the second decade of the 21st century, the saga Dark Souls It was more of a resistance in a mainstream scene dominated by cinematic experiences and increasingly simple playable mechanics in the face of the abuse of elements such as QTE.

Possibly the appearance of Doom 2016 (only Doom officially) which began to change, even a little, the panorama of high-budget video games towards an experience more in keeping with the essence of the past. Here we cannot pass up the large number of remakes that have appeared and are yet to come, which are helping to bring playable experiences from the past to our times, but updating the relevant aspects, including the control system, to adapt the games to the new generations and avoid backbreaksand it is that today there are many veteran players (including this server) who find themselves unable to adapt, for example, to the tank-type controls and the more classic fixed cameras of resident Evilto name an example.

As far as the digital video game distribution market is concerned, the situation has changed a lot in recent years. From the very strong dominance of Steam we have gone to a scenario in which there are various options, but in which the competition of the Valve platform with the Epic Games Store take the cake, so we are going to take the opportunity to mention some not so media or known as Epic Games Store and Steam, although I will start with one that is well known.

Good Old Games (GOG)

We start with a platform or store that is well known among the public, by far the most popular among those featured in this article, but that deserves to be mentioned for some very specific reasons.

Good Old Games is the platform owned by CD PROJEKT REDthe company responsible for the videogames of The Witcher and cyberpunk 2077. From here we can extract one of the main reasons to use GOG, and it is the fact that it is a platform that is based in Poland, so, at least initially, it is not subject to US law. In other words, it is the main European representative and not the United States in a market in which the United States exercises a clear dominant position, as with many other things in the technological world.

The other reason to use GOG is that the contents do not have DRMTherefore, its software distribution policy ends up being very favorable to users, who can download and install its contents without limitations. The only negative point is that its cross-platform support is not as consistent as Steam’s, since its official client, GOG Galaxy, is not available for Linux, so users of that system have to resort to Heroic Games Launcher as an alternative.

Good Old Games (GOG)

Here we begin to delve into more undergroundand it is that has a very particular approach and strongly geared towards the indie video game scenewhich, despite the fact that it has gained a lot of prominence over the course of the last ten years, is no less true that it is full of titles that often go unnoticed, especially due to the large number of titles that appear on the big platforms. was born in 2013 with a “pay what you want” model, but many titles have a minimum price that the buyer has to pay. Despite this, it is possible to find free titles that work only through a web browser. It offers support for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS and there is an official application for the first three operating systems, but that does not mean that all games are available for all systems.

Game Jolt

Another platform very oriented to the independent scene, with many free games, multiplatform support and a pay-what-you-want model, although many titles have a minimum price. Compared to the other options mentioned in this article, Game Jolt stands out for Focus on developers and communitiesso it offers a more attractive framework for those who are interested in a more collaborative work.

The focus on communities means that one can find oneself on Game Jolt not only video games, but also other types of related content. The official app supports Windows, Linux, Android and iOS and another interesting feature of Game Jolt is Game APIan API that allows you to customize games by adding sessions, leaderboards, and trophies.

Although it is possible to find content for Windows, Linux, macOS and for web browsers built with HTML5, Flash and Unity, where Game Jolt has achieved the most success is in the mobile sector.

Game Jolt


And another option strongly oriented to the panorama indie, but this time we find more limited support that only covers Windows and macOS. Kartridge is a fairly young platform compared to most that have managed to become at least relatively popular, since it was launched in 2018.

Kartridge makes a notable number of games available for free, but there are also paid ones with prices generally under $30, and yes, it is possible to find titles that sell for less than $10, if anyone asks. Users can also earn free games and coupons, experience and badge while playing. Other features are private group chats and community updates.

In case Kartridge’s profile is too underground for the user, an alternative is the parent platform, Kongregate, which has more than 100,000 games in its catalog.



As we can see, there are a handful of interesting options beyond the two giants that currently monopolize the majority of users (Steam and the Epic Games Store), and seeing the open nature of the PC, there is nothing that prevents a person from being a user. from multiple platforms at the same time.

Alternative platforms, on many occasions, try to give visibility to a panorama indie which does not always receive the attention it deserves, especially if we see that they have to compete with some triple A titles that tend to take center stage on the most popular platforms and that are behind companies that can invest a lot in advertising.

Despite the excessive prominence of triple A titles, it would not be fair to charge indiscriminately against them, especially if we see that many of them belong to very veteran sagas that have earned their popularity and prestige over the years and a good know how

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