There are lots of places to online pick up great PC games, whether you're looking for something just-released or a classic treasure. Here are five of the best, based on your nominations.
Note that we're concentrating on downloads here, rather than boxed copies -- that's a separate issue we'll revisit another time.
GOG, formerly Good Old Games, started off as a repository for digital sales and downloads of classic games that you may remember and love, updated to run on modern computers and operating systems (especially great even if you know how to make them work yourself.) It's still very much that -- if you have a classic game you remember playing back in the day, or that you've heard of from a long time ago, GOG probably has it available, tweaked so it will run on your current PC. GOG has evolved with the times, though. The site also hosts new games for sale and download in addition to classic titles, often at impressive discounts. One of GOG's most notable features is that the titles it sells are DRM-free, meaning your games aren't locked to the PC you're on now, they're not stuck to some cloud account that can get hacked or banned, and you don't have to be online or authenticated to another service to play them. That's a welcome change.
What started out as a tool Valve created to digitally deliver its own games to buyers and as a bit of a social network for people who play Valve games quickly evolved and grew into the dominant method of digital game delivery available today, and arguably one of the first real "app stores". Available for Windows, Mac and Linux, Steam boasts a ridiculously extensive catalogue of games large and small, big budget and independent, expensive and free-to-play. It's also backed by a massive community of PC gamers who can voice chat with one another, see what their friends are playing, join in, trade and gift games and in-game items and build wishlistsmore. We could write a whole article on Steam's features, like Big Picture mode, controller support, the upcoming Steam Machines and the SteamOS beta, and all of those wonderful Steam sales that drain our wallet every few months, but odds are you're already familiar with them all.
The Humble Bundle, like many "bundle" sales, packs together a bunch of titles into a collection available at one low price that, ideally, is far less than the regular price of each item added up. That's what makes so many of them irresistible, and the Humble Bundle excels at it. The team behind the service started off offering gamers a way to get a lot of great games, DRM-free, at an amazing price, and also encouraging them to donate a portion of their purchase to charities like Child's Play, a worthwhile cause that gets a portion of the proceeds of each Humble Bundle sale. You choose how much you want to pay (within reason, of course), and the more you pay, the more games or other bonuses you get with the bundle. It's a simple model, but it's remarkably effective, and when there's a really great bundle available, odds are you'll hear about it from every corner of the internet.
If you're looking for a game store that really goes out of its way to give Steam a run for its money, Green Man Gaming is worth a look. The service consistently undercuts Steam, offers discounts and promo codes on Twitter and Facebook, and offers great pricing even on pre-order or newly released titles. GMG's library is absolutely massive, and the discounts are usually pretty deep. There are frequent sales offering attractive prices on popular games, and you can keep track of all of them and your keys and downloads through PlayFire, which nets you achievements and rewards as you play.
Alright, strictly speaking, OzBargain isn't a store. However, if you're looking to find current, active specials on anything, including games, it's the first place you should check. As well as regularly linking to deals on the other sites listed here, the amazing OzBargain community also highlights details in local brick and mortar stores. There's a specific category for Gaming so it's easy to keep track of current offers.
Where else do you enjoy shopping for PC games? Share your favourites and tell us why you like them in the comments.