It’s surprising how many avid gamers there are in South Africa given the large amount of obstacles we face compared to international gamers.
We’ve become used to downloading new games over a couple of days thanks to slow internet speeds, and playing most multiplayer games with latency that would give professional gamers nightmares.
We’ve also had to deal with various pricing fluctuations for both digital and retail games, making it difficult to keep up with international release schedules.
Thanks to the prevalence of digital sales and bundles however, we still manage to maintain a healthy library of games, with some gamers refusing to spend over R1,000 on a triple-A game at release and instead opting to wait until it is discounted.
However, each digital store has its own advantages and shortfalls. Let’s take a look at four of the biggest digital stores for PC gamers and how they compare across various categories.
Steam games prices are listed in Rand values, and are generally cheaper than direct conversions from ther listed USD value, although this can vary by game and publisher.
Steam also offers regular sales and daily discounted games, allowing gamers to pick up great games for under R100 if they wait for it to go on sale.
Origin also has South African prices for its games, and the few games it has that are also on Steam are priced fairly, sometimes being cheaper than buying from Steam.
The store offers gamers a collection of games via Origin Access for just under R50 per month, which also gives a 10% discount on purchases.
GOG is not priced in South African Rand and instead requires gamers to buy in dollars.
Prices are relatively cheap, although USD pricing does mean it is less stable than the other stores.
The few games on the Windows Store that are also available on Steam or other platforms are priced similarly, but its the exclusive triple-A releases that are more expensive.
Games such as Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon are over R1,100 and are available exclusively on the Windows Store.
Quantum Break also cost over R1,000 at release, although its price has dropped below R500 following its release on other store platforms.
Valve will issue a refund for any reason, if the request is made within fourteen days of purchase and the title has been played for less than two hours.
Gamers can return EA full game downloads (PC or Mac) and participating third party titles purchased on Origin for a full refund.
You may send refund requests within the following timeframes:
- Within 24 hours after you first launch the game
- Within 7 days from your date of purchase
- Within 7 days from the game’s release date if you pre-ordered
GOG offers gamers a full 30-day money back guarantee if they encounter technical problems or if the game doesn’t work on their system.
Microsoft offers a 30-day refund period if gamers encounter technical difficulties.
Steam offers by far the largest amount of games, with thousands of indie games, free games, and triple-A titles available on the online store.
The Steam Store categorises and sorts these titles by review score, release date, and many other factors.
Origin does not have a very large amount of games, but most of them require the service in order to be played.
These Origin-exclusive games include The Sims, Battlefield, FIFA, and the new Star Wars Battlefront.
GOG features a relatively large number of games, although it requires every game it sells to be free of any type of DRM security.
This means that despite listing games games like The Witcher 3 or Divinity: Original Sin 2 appearing on the store, most triple-A titles stay on other platforms like Steam or Origin.
Windows Store has a very small game library, unless you count the vast amount of mobile games available on the platform.
The store is still relatively new, and is attempting to include more third-party games in addition to Play Anywhere titles.
Steam is the leader in community-based game distribution.
With features from an in-game social overlay to a user-based review system, Steam seamlessly integrates social features into all aspects of gaming, making it the most popular choice of online platform.
Origin also includes basic community features, but lacks the massive social integration that Steam has cultivated over the years.
GOG has some unique community features, but it functions mainly as a store and not as a social gaming platform.
Gamers can discuss old PC games on the forums and interact with the company via a Community Wishlist.
The Windows Store links to your Xbox Live account, which is good news if you are a console gamer moving to PC.
Microsoft’s Play Anywhere platform is also integrated with the Windows Store, allowing gamers to enjoy games such as Forza Horizon or Gears of War 4 on either Xbox One or PC using the same account.
Other online stores
Ubisoft’s online gaming platform must be installed in order to access the online functionality of some Ubisoft games.
The Uplay store is priced in euros and features a collection of first-party games.
Thanks to Ubisoft’s Ubi 30 promotion, gamers can claim one free game from Ubisoft every month until the end of the year.
Blizzard’s online platform features the least amount of games out of all other stores on this list, serving mainly as a social gaming network for Blizzard’s numerous online games.
Products listed on the Battle.Net store are priced in either euros or dollars, and are exclusively Blizzard games.
The Humble Bundle store offers gamers great value in discounted monthly game bundles which can be redeemed on Steam.
Gamers can also purchase a wide variety of games on the Humble Store, which lists product prices in dollars.
Which is your favourite digital store for PC games? Let us know in the comments and forum below.Forum discussion