If you're a PC gamer, you've almost definitely heard of Steam and Epic Games Store. Both platforms offer a vast selection of games and have become the go-to destinations for PC gamers looking to buy games digitally. Other platforms do also exist, however these two have come out on top as the largest marketplaces for PC games. Even if we’re just choosing between these two, it can be challenging to decide which platform is best for you. Especially when it comes with the concept of creating a long-term games catalogue, including everything like trading cards and achievements!
In this article, we'll compare Steam and Epic Games Store and help you decide where you should buy your PC games. First, we’ll have a quick look at both platforms, then we’ll compare each of the key features to see who comes out on top.
What is Steam?Developed by Valve Corporation, Steam was launched in 2003 and quickly became the leading platform for PC gaming. Steam offers a vast selection of both commercial and indie games, including many platform exclusives—particularly from Valve themselves.
At face value: one of the most significant advantages of Steam is its user-friendly interface, which makes it easy to browse games and find new titles. Steam also offers a robust community, which includes discussion forums, user reviews, and game guides. Steam is also known for its great game sales and its liberal refund policy.
What’s the Epic Games Store?Much younger than steam Epic Games Store is developed by Epic Games (duh), the company behind the popular game Fortnite. The store was launched in 2018 and has quickly gained popularity among PC gamers due to a number of exclusive early releases and its attractive free monthly games.
Now that we've looked at the two platforms individually let's compare them side by side.
Steam Vs Epic Games
Game SelectionThis is perhaps the most important feature when it comes to a games marketplace. After all, you want to buy games that you are going to enjoy!
Steam offers a vastly superior selection of games, including popular AAA titles, indie games, and everything in between. Steam has over 30,000 games in its library, and it's unlikely that you won't find what you're looking for on the platform, unless it has exclusive status elsewhere. Steam is also a go-to for indie game developers as it has become relatively easy for developers to list their game on the Steam store. That said, because their catalogue is so large, Steam is also home to many poor quality titles you wouldn’t want to touch with a stick—often called shovelware.
Epic Games Store, on the other hand, offers a more curated selection of games, so you know you’ll be getting quality. While the platform doesn't have as many games as Steam, it does offer some highly anticipated exclusives and timed exclusives, meaning that PC gamers may well need to use the Epic Games Store to get specific titles.
However, for overall selection of games, Steam is a clear winner here.
User InterfaceSteam's user interface is clean, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. The platform's search function is intuitive, making it easy to find new games. Steam also has a robust community, which includes discussion forums, user reviews, and game guides. That said, due to the vast amount of features and tabs available within the Steam client, it can be easy to get lost if you aren’t used to it.
Epic Games Store's user interface is similar to Steam's, but it feels a bit more streamlined mainly due to fewer features (but this can be a good thing). The platform's search function works well, and it's easy to find new games. Epic Games Store also offers a news section, which keeps users up to date with the latest game announcements and updates.
If you’re looking for an extensive gaming community, Steam is your go-to. But Epic Games’ buying experience is slightly quicker and easier meaning the UI will really come down to your personal preference and use case.
FeaturesBoth platforms offer a range of features, including cloud saves, achievements, and a refund policy. However, Steam's feature set is more extensive than Epic Games Store. Steam also offers a trading card system and a marketplace where you can trade in-game items and Steam collectibles with other players, either for other items or for store credit.
If you’re looking for specific items in the Steam marketplace, you can also buy Steam accounts containing rare or old items.
As Steam simply has more features and a larger community, it takes this one.
Exclusive GamesWhile Steam has a vast selection of games, Valve doesn’t spend their money acquiring exclusive rights to distribute games on the platform. Thus, there are technically very few Steam exclusives, even though there are plenty of indie games which you might only be able to purchase on steam.
On the other hand, Epic Games Store dedicates a big budget to secure exclusive rights to highly anticipated titles, many of which can only otherwise be purchased on consoles. And that’s not even mentioning that one of the world’s biggest games—Fortnite—is pretty much only available through the Epic Games Store.
If you want to get some of the Epic Games Store exclusives at a discount, why not buy an epic games account with it already purchased!
Winner: Epic Games Store
PriceBoth platforms offer new games at similar prices, but Steam is known for having very frequent sales and discounts, especially for older games. Steam's sales often include deep discounts on popular titles, making it an excellent choice for bargain hunters. Epic Games Store also offers discounts on games, but they're far less frequent and less extensive than Steam’s offerings.
So, which platform should you choose?From our categories, Steam comes out on top as the winner—at least for now!
However, it ultimately comes down to what gaming experience you’re looking for. If you're looking for a vast selection of games, a robust community, and an extensive set of features, Steam is the clear winner. However, if you're interested in the specific exclusive games that Epic Games Store has to offer, you will want (or need) to go there to play them.
It’s also worth putting into perspective their ages. Steam was launched in 2003, while Epic Games Store was launched in 2018. If Epic Games Store continues to grow at the rate it currently is, it may well come to overtake Steam as the primary PC gaming platform in the years to come.
That said, I have accounts for both. And I store some games on Steam and some on Epic Games. Yes, it can be a little inconvenient at times, but it has also saved me a lot of money while simultaneously giving me access to the games on both platforms.
Thus, I would suggest not necessarily being a loyalist, and simply purchasing games in the store which offers it at a greater discount.
In conclusion, both Steam and Epic Games Store are excellent choices for PC gamers. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which platform is the best fit for your gaming needs; but, at the end of the day, why not use both?