Games Store Vs Steam

There’s nothing like going into your local game shop and spending time sifting through all the new releases, reading the back of the boxes ...

There’s nothing like going into your local game shop and spending time sifting through all the new releases, reading the back of the boxes and worrying you made a terrible mistake. When you get home you add the box into your ‘Game’ collection. An epic display of all your greatest achievements; How you saved the princess. When you became a one man army and took down the bad guy. That time you was up till 3am character grinding, when you had to be up for work at 5am, only to still be defeated by Sephiroth.. The prick.

So does this experience still exist? Is the local game shop dying?

Living in Australia the games market is ruled by EB Games, previously named ‘Electronics Boutique’. It started in America back In 1977 and slowly took over the globe. It has gone through many different names and current retails in the UK under the name ‘Game’.

It has a 380 stores Australia wide and every time I go into my local I have a good chat with the employee’s and a fair look around. The biggest problem I have with store is the prices. The games stay very expensive to cover its overheads, even during their ‘Sale’. I went in a store dressed like this…


…and found this ‘Great’ bargain.


Then we have Steam.

Steam really has changed the way we buy games. You don’t have to leave the house to have access to all the latest releases. If you have the app you can buy a game at work, set it to download and play it when you get home, all with the push of a few buttons.

It was first released for download in January 2003 and since then has become a mecca for gamers around the world. A place you can share your gaming experience with the masses. How can the game store compete with this..


There are clearly Pros and Cons for each. i won’t outline all of them, but here’s a few:

Games Store:

Pros    - You get a carbon copy of the game to keep and ‘Share’ with your friends and It’s the whole experience of talking to an employee and making a choice based on the box art.
Cons   - Expensive games due to massive overheads. Not to mention that smell of geek that comes from the guy in the corner, who is having an argument with the owner about why they sell walkthroughs, as games used to be harder and kids these days need to stay off his favorite ‘Call of Duty’ server.


Pros     - The summer sale, a solid reason to save you cash. A chance for indie game developers to get a name for themselves

Cons    - Our ‘Game’ collections cannot be shown off to our mates and  you can’t ‘Borrow’ a game from  to ‘try-before-you-buy’.

Steam really is ruling the PC online market where as PSN and XBOX Live are slowly taking out the console market. So where does this leave the humble game shop? At the moment they are heavily reliant on parents and grandparents buying games for their kids who don’t have their consoles connected to the internet.

In a couple of years I see my kid not owning a single hardcopy of any game. He will not know the gamble of saving all your money to buy a game that turns out crap (but you complete anyway to prove a point - Thanks Spy Fiction)

Our ‘Game’ collections will only exist in the cloud.

- Loz

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