Now that physical Networking is phased out, and many PC games buy occur on among a couple of enormous game launchers. However, even if you leave the partitions of those launchers, you are probably purchasing a ‘key,’ which may be redeemed one of them. That is where buying PC games makes somewhat murky.
Publishers create keys to package with Physical unique versions, or even to market through Humble Bundles, or also to electronic market copies to Amazon and other merchants. Additionally, there are key stores like G2A (not to be mistaken with retailers) where anybody that has a key could record it on the market. A developer/publisher made that key sooner or later, but then, it could have changed hands a few times before making its way for you.
Distribution Platforms: Steam, GOG, Epic
These will be the core PC game retailers that Supply games from publishers. They are also where we download games. The broader game key market would not exist without them.
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The largest of them, Steam sells virtually any kind of game it is possible to imagine, and many game keys distributed online at other stores are redeemed via Steam.
Epic Games Store:
Launched as a launcher to get Epic’s Fortnite, then became a complete store that’s been nipping at Steam leadership position with exclusivity deals.
Other Significant Providers:
GOG, that exclusively sells DRM-free games, along with itch.io, which is focused on indie games and will be the only one among them which enables game publishers to establish their earnings sharing portion.
Several game Publishers also provide platforms that are, for the most part, the only places to buy their games on PC. EA has Origin, Ubisoft has Uplay (although it also sells on Steam and the Epic Store), Activision Blizzard contains Battle.net, Bethesda gets the Bethesda Launcher, along with Microsoft have the Windows Store (however are selling more games available on Steam nowadays ).
Launchers such as Origin are primarily built to serve one writer’s games, while Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store have been built to encourage the entire business.