Welcome back to A Beginner's Guide to Get Started on Gaming! Over the course of this series, we've tackled a lot of different topics regarding all of the ways you can play games — whether you should go for PC or console, the best consoles, and even which launchers you can play on. Now, however, we're going to assume that you have picked PC and give you a bit of an idea as to where you can buy games.
Of course, it might seem as straightforward as picking your preferred launcher and buying games from there, but truth be told, that is just a perfect way to spend more money than you need. Below, we're giving you all of the recommended ways to buy games to fill your library (mostly Steam, but we'll get to that in a second) and the places we most trust to get games from. But first, let's talk a little bit about…
The Hard Truth — The Launcher Limitations
Throughout this article, we'll discuss retailers, which means buying games from websites other than the mentioned launchers. This is definitely one of your main ways to unlock many games (and how many collectors reach quadruple and quintuple game digits), but there's a caveat: it'll mainly be for Steam.
As we mentioned in the previous entry of this franchise, there is a vast amount of launchers that you can pick from to get your games, but when it comes to retailers, their preferred type of key to send is Steam. While you can still get some codes and games for others (notably, Epic Games and Ubisoft Connect), you will find slim pickings to grow your library. With that out of the way, let's talk about where to get your games!
The first is the one that most people will likely use, as it's the most straightforward option and the one that feels the safest. Throughout specific events of the year, you can get games at ridiculously high discounts, and this is especially true for Steam. With nearly 100,000 titles available for you to pick from, there is always (and yes, I mean always) something on sale.
While you can find games on sale consistently, one thing that's always worth bringing up is that over the course of the year, the launchers — most notably, Steam — will run various major sales that include games at some of their highest discounts available. This is how you can get many games for the price of just one title, and there's even a website that counts down to the next sale, which you can use to track your upcoming expenses.
That said, however, though this is a great way to get games, it tends to not always be the most profitable — and this is what leads us to…
Official Retailers VS Grey Markets
In this section, we're going to talk a bit about the difference between an official retailer and grey markets that provide videogames to the consumer. GameGrin does not support grey market sites, as they do not vet where their keys come from, and it is harmful to the industry as a whole. Every storefront we're going to cover from here onward is official, which means that they work with publishers or key distributors to ensure that the keys are gotten straight from the publishers for the purpose of redistribution within that website.
For this purpose, I will not be covering (or mentioning) any sites that do not get their keys from official means. With that out of the way, we'll start with:
Outside of getting games from the launchers, you can find a slew of videogame retailers that will provide keys for various launchers. This is where the most profitable deals come consumer-side, and our top pick for sites to get your games from is Fanatical.
Notably, this is the most focused storefront featuring all sorts of games that you can get. From Fanatical, you can get pre-order titles (packed with pre-order bonuses!), new releases, old games, and even bundles! What's more, unlike the distance between Steam sales being connected to each season, Fanatical often runs monthly sales that can also feature offers, giving you extra goodies for your purchases free of charge.
Though you might face some minor issues with your purchases, I'd say that — for the vast majority of the time — it was an issues-free experience. Even when faced with problems, Fanatical's customer support is exemplary in the field and helps a ton with resolving any issues you might have. You can even check out their TrustPilot score to find nearly 100,000 satisfied customers that back up our claims!
These storefronts tend to have slightly better deals on titles that you can get in comparison to the Steam ones, which can often range from 1–5% higher discounts on products and even up to 15% discounts on pre-order titles. This makes them a better choice for saving money, especially when taking into account the various bundles that they run throughout the month.
These bundles can range from 20 mystery keys you can use to grow your library very quickly to high-grade bundles with some of the best AAA titles out there and easily the best prices. If you do decide to check them out, we recommend picking up their monthly Platinum Collection or finding what's available in their bundle section at the time of your reading. You can also stay tuned to our site, where we make news pieces for some of the best deals that you’ll be able to find in the store!
More recognisable than the aforementioned, Humble is what you would consider a larger company, and they even publish their very own games now! Though this is a great source of getting games, one of the most notable things about Humble is their monthly Choice bundle.
Every month, gamers around the world wait for the release of the Humble Choice, a package of titles that you can pick from and what's often considered one of the best recurring bundles (and easily one of the best ones overall). This is a subscription-based bundle, meaning that not only can you get a deal for purchasing an entire year upfront, but you can also get in-store Membership Rewards in the form of up to 20% Store Discount for 12 months of loyalty.
Notably, Humble is also known for running charities alongside their numerous game bundles. Not only can you choose which charity you want to support with your purchases, but you will also be helping a specific cause for each bundle you get, meaning that at least a bit of your money is going to a greater cause.
Though the store does feature deals for individual titles, it performs better in terms of bundles than anything else. One final note I want to mention is that you can adjust your donation to pick where it goes, even with a Custom Amount that lets you better pick how much you want to go to the publishers, to charity, and even to your chosen affiliate!
That being said, however, Humble faces one major issue that Fanatical never does: its customer support. While we give high praise to Fanatical for their diligent workers and team, Humble does less than admirably in this area. Though you likely won't encounter many issues with them (like I haven't, for instance), those who do have given overwhelmingly negative experiences, with response times in the weeks or months range.
With launchers (Steam and the Epic Games Store), Fanatical, and Humble, most of your gaming needs should be fulfilled, as they all provide a whole experience that feels more complete when amalgamated rather than individual. That being said, however, there are many, many more storefronts that you can peruse and purchase from that are official, but it would simply make this article too long to mention them all.
A resource you can use for official storefronts only is the r/GameDeals subreddit, where the moderators ensure that all of the deals that get posted there are not by grey markets. Here, you can find anything from the previously mentioned storefronts alongside other, smaller ones like GreenManGaming, GameBillet, and more.
We also recommend using sites like IsThereAnyDeal to browse for any games you want at suitable discounts. It facilitates shopping and ensures that — unlike me when I was first getting started on my videogame journey — you save as much as possible.
There you have it! Among these options, you really can't go wrong with getting your games — saving a bit of money is always a great thing, especially with how expensive PC gaming can become as a hobby. Happy shopping!