PC Download Stores Arguing Over Who Comes After Steam

Illustration for article titled PC Download Stores Arguing Over Who Comes After Steam

Stardock's claim that it holds 10% of the PC digital download market have been shrugged off by two of the company's main competitors, Direct2Drive and GamersGate.

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GamersGate CEO Theodore Bergquist tells Kotaku that "We have daily direct contact with all major publishers out there, we can benchmark most of our numbers with both Steam and Direct2Drive, and we know for sure that Impulse is never up for discussion as being one of the biggest".

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"Unfortunately I can't give you any specific numbers on titles", he adds, "though in many, many cases we know that GamersGate sell as many units as Steam for the mid-size segment of titles. For AAA's we sell anything between half to a quarter. With a few exceptions they sell more than that. This is information we get from publishers direct from the source – their digital distribution teams."

Meanwhile, Direct2Drive's Sutton Trout told Gamasutra "Stardock's recent assessment of its service [that Impulse holds a clear number two position in the digital distribution space] is misinformation at best. An NPD report from earlier this year refutes Stardock's claim outright and clearly identifies Direct2Drive as a top-performer."

So, now that three of Steam's main competitors have sounded off, what do we now know about the PC download market that we didn't before?

Well, aside from the fact Impulse won't be getting many Christmas cards from Direct2Drive and GamersGate this year, we know that for at least one of these companies (GamersGate), the reason they don't release sales figures is down to NDAs signed with their publishers. So if you want hard numbers, you know who to blame.

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Oh, and we also know that none of this bickering involves serious competing with Steam, leading us to believe that the PC scene's pecking order is Steam first, daylight second, and these guys jostling over the last spot on the podium.

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DISCUSSION

A lot of "old" PC gamers have Steam on their system because of things like Half Life 2 and CS:S and the old Half Life / CS / TF package. I know the first time I installed Steam on my system was when I bought a new graphics card and it came with a free copy of Half Life 2 back in 04. It's been there ever since.

It didn't evolve into a major store front for non-Valve games until a bit later, when they started to add independent games (Darwinian comes to mind), then moved on to working with other companies to sell their games on Steam.

And because it's "their" launcher and "their" store front, they put a lot of hard work into it, and it shows. Unlike say D2D who just sell games, Steam actually has a lot of love put into it, and I think that's a direct result of Valve being the developers who use it for their own games. The service behind Steam just seems so much better than D2D as well, I've had nothing but issues dealing with D2D.