Steam versus Gametap: Fight!

I checked Steam’s website today to see if they were going to have another weekend special like last week’s $4.95 Prey offer. I didn’t see any announcement, but I did notice Far Cry is $8.95, and Splinter Cell is $17.95.

Both games are also available on Gametap, if you’ve paid your $60 yearly subscription fee for the Gold Games option.

If you buy both games on Steam, you’re almost halfway to your $60 Gold membership at Gametap. It wouldn’t take too many more Steam purchases to add up to a Gametap Gold membership, which gives you access to a lot of other games. For example, some games available to Gold members on Gametap also for sale on Steam include Civilization 4 ($29.95 on Steam), Commandos 3 ($14.95), Conflict: Denied Ops ($39.95), Sam & Max episodes ($8.95 each on Steam), and there are more overlaps.

Steam lets you order off the menu, while Gametap is more of a buffet. You might end up with more than you can eat on Gametap, or with things that don’t appeal to you. If you’re in the mood for smörgåsbord, though, it’s tough to beat Gametap’s year subscription.

There’s a “however” here, though. Once you buy a game on Steam, you own it. I suspect that with Gametap, you have to keep your subscription current to keep playing. I might be wrong about that, I couldn’t confirm or deny that on the Gametap site. It’s probably obvious, and I’m overlooking it. It just doesn’t seem to make sense for Gametap to allow you access to 800+ games indefinitely for $60.

Both services offer great value to gamers. It’s up to each person to decide which plan is more appealing to the way they play games. And you certainly don’t have to choose one or the other. I’ll probably sign up for a year with Gametap, and still pull other games off Steam if there’s a good deal, or if it’s a game not included in Gametap, or if I want to play the game for more than the year Gametap gives me.

Digital distribution has come a long way since Steam launched. It’s making me exciting about non-mmorpg PC gaming again, and that’s a good thing. I don’t fall prey to the “Gaming on the PC is dead!” BS, but I do enjoy seeing the industry re-inventing itself. It bodes well for the future. Screw bocce, I’m playing video games when I retire.


One Response

  1. […] high quality games for a cheap price and one-time purchase.  After reading a few google results (1, 2), my suspicions were confirmed.  This pretty much sums up the difference (1): Steam lets you […]

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