Since its launch in 2003, Steam has grown from a simple software client to a video game digital distribution service.
It’s widely known as a platform where you can buy games, but more interestingly, Steam has a desktop application for playing PC games.
The Steam desktop application houses more than 30,000 games. You get an intense gaming experience with controllers, VR technologies, and a community of over 100 gamers.
However, Steam isn’t the only available software for PC gaming. If you’re a gaming enthusiast, you’ll want to try out other platforms. Perhaps just for the experience.
In that case, check out the best Steam alternatives for PC gaming below.
1. GOG Galaxy
GOG (Good Old Games) is a popular game distribution platform. With the Galaxy desktop application, you can access several interesting games from one location.
Like Steam, GOG Galaxy is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. Notably, you need at least Windows 8 to install the app on a PC.
With GOG Galaxy, you can install and launch any game on your PC, irrespective of the game’s provider. It features an extensive library, which allows you to import and organize games from various consoles.
You can create custom libraries for better management. The software lets you filter, sort, and add tags to games, and you can edit their covers and backgrounds.
GOG Galaxy is one of the best Steam alternatives for PC gaming if you’re interested in monitoring how much you play. The software’s stats dashboard displays your hours played, games owned, and major achievements across different platforms.
You can add and manage friends and check their updates via an activity feed. Notably, the cross-platform chat facilitates communication with other gamers. It is one of Steam’s best features available on GOG Galaxy.
Furthermore, GOG Galaxy supports open-source integrations from third-party platforms.
On the Itch.io marketplace, you’ll find relatively cheap games. Many games are available for free, while others cost below $5. Most of the games on the platform are indie games, which is also what you get on Steam.
After purchasing and downloading games, you can play them using the Itch.io app. The app automatically curates games that you download from Itch.io into a library, no matter where they’re stored on your PC.
With the Steam desktop app, you get automatic updates; you get the same with the Itch.io app. Not only the games but the app itself will automatically update.
Some games use contemporary command line tools and will only download the new changes rather than the entire game.
One of the best features of the Itch.io app is offline support. The app lets you sync browser-based games and play them without internet access. Your progress automatically updates when you’re back online.
With the online community, you can stay in touch with other gamers, get feedback, and share feature requests. Notably, Itch.io is open-source, which makes it an ideal Steam alternative for programmers.
The primary difference between Humble Bundle and Steam is that the latter is free while the former is paid. Nevertheless, both platforms are compatible.
Conversely, most of the PC games you download will play directly after downloading, without any additional software. However, others will need a game client, and you can use a platform like Steam.
As a paid software, Humble Bundle features more PC games than Steam. You’ll find RPG, strategy, simulation, action, adventure, indie, racing, and VR games, among other genres.
The games are available at relatively low prices. They usually come in bundles, and one bundle can sell for $10, $15, $25, $30, $35, or $40.
In addition to Windows PC games, Humble Bundle also features Mac, Linux, and Nintendo Switch games. Notably, you can download Windows mixed reality games.
If you are a programmer, you can send in your game to be published on Humble Bundle. After submission, you get feedback within five to seven days, and your commission is ample.
4. Epic Games
Epic Games was launched in 1991, and the platform is most famous for its free-to-play Battle Royale game, Fortnite. Therefore, if you’re a Fortnite fan, it’s one of the best alternatives to Steam to use.
Epic Games is a fast platform with some of the best PC games and mods. It features a game store, similar to the Steam store, where you can download free and paid games.
As a new user, you can purchase games on Epic Games for as low as $0.40. There are action, fighting, adventure, racing, RPG, shooter, and survival games, to name a few.
Epic Games features a launcher for Windows and Mac, which you can use to play games you download. The launcher is available for free, and you need Windows 7 or macOS 10.11 or higher to install it.
It’s easy to install and set up Epic Games. Also, it has a built-in library for downloading and managing games.
Like Steam, Epic Games features an online community. With over 100 million players, the community is a relatively busy one. It’s perfect if you’re looking for gaming partners.
Playnite aims to provide you with a unified interface for all your games. It’s a free and open-source video game library manager.
Playnite is exclusive to Windows PC. Unlike Steam, it doesn’t support Mac or Linux. Plus, it does not have a web emulator. You can download and install the PC software on Windows 7 or a newer version.
The software lets you import games from multiple third-party libraries. You can import games from Epic Games, Origin, Battle.net, GOG, Ubisoft Connect, and, notably, Steam.
With Playnite, you can play games with a wide variety of console emulators. It’s a fully customizable library manager with options to switch themes and design layouts.
Your gameplay isn’t limited to the software’s native feature. You can install plugins and script extensions for more functionality.
Notably, Playnite integrates with igdb.com – a website that lets you download game metadata, covers, descriptions, and other info. In addition, the playtime counter provides insights into your game statistics.
Playnite is one of the best Steam alternatives to consider if you are particular about online security while gaming. The platform doesn’t store your data on any server. Everything is stored locally on your PC.
Ubisoft Connect is a PC gaming platform you’ll want to use if you’re a gamer that likes competition. It lets you connect with players across different gaming platforms.
From time to time, there are community challenges you can partake in and win access to some premium games. The platform features over 100 PC games, most of which are new titles.
You can download the Ubisoft desktop app on your PC for free. However, to access some games, you’ll need a subscription. The subscription starts at €14.99 (around $15) per month.
Unlike Steam, Ubisoft doesn’t feature many indie games. The native developers produce most games on the platform. Nevertheless, you get the opportunity to play Ubisoft’s upcoming releases.
Ubisoft is the developer of some renowned games like Assassin’s Creed, Ghost Recon, Anno, FarCry, and The Settlers. As a result, there are always mind-blowing games to play. The games automatically update so that you won’t miss any important releases.
With Ubisoft Connect, you can keep track of the games and platforms others are playing. There’s a lot to win when you partake in challenges – over 1000 free rewards.
In addition to getting access to premium games, you can use the rewards to unlock outfits, weapons, and other in-game items.
Also Read: Best Browser Games To Play When Bored
7. Game Jolt
Steam boasts many indie games. However, most indie games are created on Game Jolt before being featured on Steam. More than 150 million people play games from Game Jolt.
Game Jolt is all about gaming communities. It’s an ideal platform to use if you’re a content creator and want to collaborate with other content creators.
For example, you’ll find Pokemon and Minecraft gaming communities on Game Jolt. In these community pages, you’ll find posts, builds, arts, and other content related to the game.
If a user publishes a new build, you can download and play it on your PC. Everything you download on Game Jolt communities is free.
However, Game Jolt also features a store that’s similar to Steam. Nevertheless, the majority of games in the store are free as well. Premium games are open to negotiations, and you can name a starting price.
One of the best things about Game Jolt is the Game API. With the API, you can customize games to add sessions, leaderboards, and trophies. In the long run, this makes gaming via Game Jolt more exciting.
Although it’s dependable for PC gaming, Game Jolt is more popular among mobile gamers. The platform has mobile apps for iOS and Android users.
Battle.net features a PC gaming desktop app known as Blizzard. The app can run all the thousands of games available in the Battle.net library.
You’ll get almost all the popular games on Steam and more with Battle.net. Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, StarCraft, and Call of Duty are only a few.
You can create an account and start playing some Battle.net games for free. However, most of the games are premium. Furthermore, although some games are as cheap as $1.99, others cost at least $40.
With Battle.net, you’re guaranteed top-notch gaming quality with the ingenious “Blizzard polish” technology. In addition, you can access the game store and user forums within the desktop app.
Battle.net and Steam have a chat feature, but you’ll find the Battle.net chat more interesting. It supports not only texts but also group and voice chats.
The chat is featured on the right tab within the Blizzard app. It’s intuitive, and you can quickly identify the players online. Aside from the desktop app, you can also chat on the web or with the Battle.net mobile app.
Pegasus is described as a cross-platform application for launching and managing games. Its open-source nature makes it a flexible alternative to Steam.
The application codes are available on GitHub, so you can easily contribute to its development if you’re a developer.
In terms of gameplay, Pegasus makes the experience a lot easier. It features what the developers call a “modern retro-gaming setup.”
The setup lets you launch different games with one emulator. However, its best feature is that you can customize the games to your preference. You can add artwork, video previews, and metadata.
Furthermore, you can edit menu screens or change the UI elements. It’s worth noting that you don’t get this customizability with Steam.
You need Windows 7 or higher to use Pegasus. It’s a portable application, so you don’t have to install it. Simply download, extract, and run the file.
Notably, the website doesn’t feature a game store like Steam. You’ll have to download the games from other platforms and then run them with the Pegasus emulator.
Pegasus is a 100 percent free PC gaming application. However, you can voluntarily donate to support the developers.
Also Read: What Does RNG Mean In Video Games?
Launched by Kongregate in 2018, Kartridge is a simple PC games platform. Like Steam, it features many indie games, including old and new.
While you can download and install the Kartridge application for free, you must pay to access the games. Most games cost $14.99, but the most challenging ones cost up to $29.
Nevertheless, you can earn free games and coupons as you play. In addition, as you play, you earn XP and badges, which improves gameplay in the long run.
Some games on Kartridge include Pine, FlotSam, Mightier Than The Sword, Anodyne 2, and Swords & Souls. You may not know them as they are not very popular, but they are interesting games.
If you’d like to access more popular games, you can use the parent platform, Kongregate. It features more than 100,000 games.
Kartridge is an ideal Steam alternative if you need a PC gaming platform that’s not congested.
Although there are not many users compared to Steam, Kartridge has a vibrant community. You can chat privately, or in groups, and post updates in the Kartridge community.
11. Xbox App
If you regularly play games on Xbox consoles, the Xbox app is one of the best Steam alternatives for PC gaming you can use.
You can download the app free from the Microsoft Store or the Xbox store. It features relatively new games, and you can sync your game performance on a console, PC, and even mobile device with cloud gaming.
While the Steam desktop app requires at least Windows 7, the Xbox app requires at least Windows 10 to work. In other words, you can only use the Xbox app on a Windows 10 or 11 PC, which implies that it is geared towards modern PCs.
Xbox requires a monthly subscription to access the over 100 games on the platform, including indie games. After you subscribe, you can access many free games, but some games still need to be purchased.
Nevertheless, you get a free EA Play membership with an Xbox app subscription.
The Xbox app is relatively easy to use. The interface is ultra-friendly, which is expected for an app that only supports the latest Windows versions.
You can connect, chat with friends, and share voice notes, GIFs, game clips, and screenshots.
12. Microsoft Store
You can enjoy games on your Windows PC without Steam or any other PC gaming application. The Microsoft Store features many games you can access with Windows 8 or higher.
Like Steam, you’ll find free and paid games in the store. Notably, the Microsoft Store makes it easy for you to find the right game.
You’ll find games grouped in different categories on the app’s game page. The categories include best-selling games, new & notable PC games, puzzle games, top paid games, free games, and collections.
Since it’s a contemporary store, you won’t find many retro games on Microsoft Store. After downloading and installing, you can play the games directly.
Interestingly, you can install games on up to 10 Windows devices from one device. You simply need to sign into your Microsoft account while installing.
The Microsoft Store doesn’t feature just games, but it also features integrated apps for gamers. This includes apps like Dolby Access, Discord, and OBS Studio, to name a few.
Windows users from all over the world use the Microsoft Store. Hence, you can easily decipher the most exciting games from the user ratings and reviews.
Unlike Steam, Fanatical does not facilitate launching games, instead, it’s one of the best repositories on the internet for PC games. You can access VR games, new games, and even upcoming games.
The website sells games in bundles. You can purchase a three-game bundle for $9.99, a five-game bundle for $14.99, and a seven-game bundle for $19.99. It’s far cheaper than the prices on Steam.
Nevertheless, Fanatical still features single games that cost up to $59.99. You have many payment options, including PayPal, credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Ali Pay.
Notably, almost every game on Fanatical is compatible with Steam. Hence, after purchase and download, you can play them with the Steam desktop application at no extra cost.
You can sort games on Fanatical by OS, among other filters. It makes it easy to find games compatible with Windows PC. You can further sort the game list by release date, top sellers, price, and deals.
Explore: Best Steam Link Alternatives
Origin is a PC game store with access to EA Play. It’s an ideal Steam alternative for gamers that need EA Sports games like FIFA and Need For Speed.
In total, Origin features games from more than 100 studios. You can download and play these games with the Windows app, which you can download for free. There’s also an app for Mac.
Some game categories include Battlefield, The Sims, Apex Legends, FIFA, Star Wars, Need For Speed, and Plants vs. Zombies.
Most games on Origin require at least Windows 10 to work. In addition, you can purchase games individually or access select games with an EA Play subscription.
As a new user, you enjoy up to a 10 percent discount on both purchases and subscriptions. However, not all games in the Origin store are premium; a few are free.
In addition to the Origin desktop app, you can download and play games using the beta version of the EA App. The EA App allows you to play and communicate with friends.
FreetoGame, like its name implies, is all about free games. There are no premium games on the website, which is a huge difference from Steam.
The website aims to integrate all the best free-to-play games into one platform for easy access. You’ll find MMORPG, shooter, anime, Battle Royale, strategy, sci-fi, and racing games on FreetoGame. In total, there are over 350 free-to-play games.
As you play, you receive rewards, including in-game currencies, packs, and other premium content. You can also win access to upcoming games before other gamers.
Notably, you don’t have to create an account to download the free games on FreetoGame. However, you need an account to earn rewards and to drop reviews and ratings. An account also lets you create a personal game library.
If you need a Steam alternative for PC browser games, you can use FreetoGame. The website features 77 free-to-play browser games.
As you can see from the list above, there are many platforms like Steam where you can purchase, download, and play PC games.
Steam doesn’t have every PC game available, so you may want to check the alternatives for more game options.
Scott L. Macarthur is a marketing consultant and an online author. He is mostly engaged in providing his expertise to startups and SMBs. He is also an author on TheNextWeb.