Game Distribution Platforms

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This article was written in June 2015. Given the volatile nature of this topic, expect that the content of this article is outdated after about two years time.

I am aware of the following online videogame distribution platforms.

These platforms allow you to create an account, buy a game, and keep track of it in your account. You can download it later, even after a few years, by logging in to your account. As such, they are different from an online-store, where you can only download it at the time you buy it, but not later.

Note that many platforms provide keys to download bought games on other platforms as well. In particular, many platforms provide Steam keys.

Name Platforms Number of OS X titles DRM of own platform Distribution
Apple App Store OS X Commercial and individual developers. 7000 titles DRM Direct download
Steam Windows, OS X, Linux Most commercial games. 2000 titles DRM Direct download
Desura Windows, OS X, Linux Individual developers. 1200 titles (1100 DRM-free) DRM-free Direct-download or Steam
Gamersgate Windows, OS X, Linux, Android 1200 titles (500 DRM-free) DRM-free Steam, Uplay, Origin or direct-download
Humble Bundle Windows, OS X, Android Mostly Indie. 1100 titles (500 DRM-free) DRM-free Steam or direct-download
Gog Windows, OS X, Linux Old and Indie. 500 titles (all DRM-free) DRM-free Direct download
GamesRocket Windows, OS X, Linux 350 titles (10 DRM-free) DRM-free Steam, Origin, direct-download
Shinyloot Windows, OS X Mostly Indie. 150 titles (120 DRM-free) DRM-free Direct-download, Steam or Desura
Green Man Gaming Windows, OS X 60 titles N/A? Steam
Origin Windows, OS X EA games only. 30 titles DRM Direct-download
Uplay Windows, Console, iOS Ubisoft games only DRM Direct-download
GameFly Digital Console N/A DRM Monthly subscription fee
GameStop Windows, Console N/A Unknown Direct-download
OUYA Own OUYA console N/A DRM-free Direct-download

Number of titles is measured at June 2015, by counting the number of Mac games, excluding downloadable content (DLC).

Most distribution platforms take about 30% of the cost. Humble Bundle only keeps about 10%, although that excludes about 6% for transaction fees, and another 10% for charity. For a slightly more recent overview, Mana marketing blog posted a 15+ indie-friendly platforms guide. Apple is most expensive with 30% (15% for subscriptions after the first year) and $99/year. Steam requests a $100 up-front fee to prevent fake games submissions, which is re-imbursed after the game sells $1000 or more. Gog offers an option to pay royalties in advance to developers, in exchange for a fee of 40% instead of 30% (until the royalties have been paid of).

The prices of all platforms are usually the same, although in particular Steam often has deep discounts (up to 80%) during summer and Christmas season. Humble Bundle has weekly bundles which are 'pay what you want'.

Defunct Platforms

merged into GameStop
merged into GameFly Digital
merged into Green Man Gaming
Games for Windows Marketplace
merged into Xbox Live

Other Stores

Regular stores, like may also offer direct downloads.

Many publishers, like Telltale or Auran, offer their own digital download solutions. offers a marketplace, seemingly for second hand games (though I'm not clear how this works, it's not always possible to transfer the usages rights between accounts on game distribution platforms).