Download games straight to your PC, netbook, or laptop with these services

Download games straight to your PC, netbook, or laptop with these services

We don't need no stinking discs

Are you looking for a way to get games on your netbook, or just want to download games to your PC without worrying about leaving the house or needing a disc in a drive?

There are several options, if you own the game, you can install it via an external CD/DVD drive, or from another machine across the network, but today I'm focusing on various online services offering games via download. The key feature of these services are instantly available, downloadable games, that don't require physical media.

Buy and download games and own them

If you're like me, and play primarily mainstream desktop games on your PC and/or netbook and you like to own them, have a look at these services;

  • GOG (Good Old Games) - I love this site for it's cheap selection of older games, I find many games that run well on my Aspire One netbook here. The selection could be better, but they're a fairly new player, and add games quite often. The best part is all games are DRM free, a huge plus in my book.
  • Direct2Drive - my personal favorite, you download the games via their simple client, install and then it runs like any normal game, aside from the need for a disc in a CD/DVD drive. Some of the games are DRM free. Look in the games under $20 section for some gems.
  • Steam - another good service I use occasionally, probably better history with support than Direct2Drive, but I hate having to open the Steam client just to run a game, but has some added functionality gamers involved in multi-player games might find useful.
  • Try Media - I've only ordered one downloadable game from them, it was a somewhat clunky process, but it worked fine in the end. Though that was back in August of 2008, so they may be better now. Their system is the backend for many of the services, such as Gamestop, Gamespot's Digital Purchase system also uses Try Media.

Subscription services

Most of the games available within subscription-based services are what I call "mini-games", small in both file-size and scope... think "Virtual Villagers" or "Lemonade Tycoon". Typically you lose access to all games once you cancel your subscription, though on some of them they offer a purchase option for some individual games. Though I have played many of the games offered by these services, I do not currently subscribe to any of these services, so I can't fairly comment on them. Here's a couple I know of;

Don't expect manuals

The days of fat useful manuals being included in retail game packages is pretty much over. You're lucky to get a 12 page color "guide" these days, so expect the same with most downloadable content, though usually in PDF format.

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