Steam alternatives – price comparison

Steam train

Steam, with over 40 million registered accounts, is the locomotive of the games industry train. But is it the best choice for gamers? (© Charles&Clint)

Steam is a wonderful creation. You buy a game, download it without leaving your room and play it. After a while, you delete it and get a new one instead. But you’ve still got it, somewhere in the cloud.

For me, this is the whole point! Freedom! I travel a lot (for the past couple of years I move between different countries at least 3 times a year), and the games are always with me. I love Civilization IV, bought a DVD shortly after release. But at some point I have lost it, and bought another one on Steam. No more worries, it’s always there, whenever I have access to half-decent internet. Sure, there are lots of drawbacks – long downloads, not being able to re-sell games or borrow them to a friend. But let’s not dwell on this.

The question I am asking today is: Are steam prices competitive? How do they compare to other similar platforms (yes, Steam is not the only one of its kind!) and to, say, amazon? You still get it without leaving home – and mind you, that Amazon also has downloadable versions of many games.

I have started with choosing our “basket” of games. I tried to choose fairly popular titles, but including a couple of our favourites and a couple older (a bit) titles as well. Next, I have checked the prices on similar platforms and amazon.co.uk. Prices are in GBP. I also give you the maximum and minimum prices for each game. The total cost of the basket was calculated. Since only one of our contestants had all the games (amazon.co.uk), for each title not available I have included the maximum price in the total price calculation.

Here are the results:

Minamazon.co.ukGametapGreenman gamingGameStopOriginSteamMax
Skyrim29,9829,98NA30,9739,99NA34,9939,99
Call of Duty: MW333,9934,1834,6NA33,99NA39,9939,99
Battlefield 327,9927,99NA33,97NA39,99NA39,99
Star Wars: The Old Republic36,9936,99NANANA44,99NA44,99
Mass Effect 327,9927,99NA34,99NA34,99NA34,99
Batman: Arkham City16,0524,4824,6923,7916,0524,9939,9939,99
Anno 207028,1828,9928,1831,3734,99NA34,9934,99
The Witcher 221,7726,9921,7724,7929,99NA25,9929,99
Mount and Blade: Warband9,059,0519,219,9524,99NA19,9924,99
Civilization V13,4813,4814,7219,95NANA19,9919,99
Total245,47260,12303,12304,76319,96334,9335,9349,9
Games available:1068647Out of 10

Amazon shipping charges are not included, since in the UK you get a free shipping on all of these through Amazon Prime. Actually, even including the shipping charges, you can get these games cheaper from other sellers on Amazon market – of course brand new and boxed!

It is worth mentioning, that in case of Greenman gaming you can re-sell the digital copies of your games. Obviously you can also re-sell DVD versions. I could go into details now, but it’s pointless – you see the data. So I will simply allow myself to summarize it from my personal perspective:

The most reasonable choice is Amazon. It is the cheapest of all (on Steam you pay 7 GBP more per game on average!) and it has the widest choice of games. But personally I will keep using Steam as well. Why? Because I am not a frequent game buyer. Usually I buy games, that are at least one year old – after they are well patched and bug-free. By then, I can usually buy a new, boxed game on eBay for a fraction of RRP, or during one of daily steam sales (they are great by the way!) – I mean the 75% off type. Plus, we get review copies through Steam as well.

But if you really want downloadable copy, and are not otherwise tied to Steam, you have cheaper options! For example Greenman Gaming, not the cheapest, but much cheaper than Steam. It also had more of the games we were looking for in stock. This way you can “vote” with your money for Steam to be more price-competitive.

Adam “Fanatyk” Wojciechowski

P.S. To answer all the community-loving people out there – you can add all your games to  Steam’s library – even Microsoft Word – enabling most of the social features. I think my most-played game would be Microsoft Word, if I cared enough to add it…

About The Author

Adam "Fanatyk" Wojciechowski
Other posts by

I am a co-founder, admin and manager of this site. From time to time I also write articles here. In real life, I am doing my Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering with Management at the University of Edinburgh. Besides gaming I am an avid cyclist, fountain pen enthusiast and windsurfer.

4 Responses to Steam alternatives – price comparison

  1. Shoe says:

    Steam sales are much better than Amazon’s.

    • Fanatyk says:

      You are correct! This is the main reason steam is decent after all. But that depends if you have time to scout for sales, or you just want to get games as soon as released and whenever you want it.

      Cheers,
      Adam

  2. asdasd says:

    batman arkham city goty – 5,59€ in steam

    • Fanatyk says:

      Thanks for your comment. However, please note, that this article was written almost a year ago ;-) I’m thinking of writing 2013 edition of the article, maybe sometime in January.

      Cheers,
      Adam

Leave a Reply