It's a simple question: is Steam or Epic Games the better choice when it comes to choosing your PC gaming platform?
Steam is the longstanding leader of the pack, but Epic Games offers a wide selection of games to choose from. So which one should you be giving your hard-earned cash to?
We'll look at some of the key attributes of each of these game stores, to give you all the information you need to make the best decision for you.
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Possibly the best known of the PC game stores, Steam has been around since 2003, making it a veteran. Steam was created by Valve, famous for hit games such as Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, Dota2, and Counter-Strike, as well as creating the Source game engine.
Alongside being a storefront, it also acts as a social gaming hub, provides game streaming software, the Steam workshop for the community to create content, among other things.
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The Epic Games Store is a PC storefront run by Epic Games. Epic is perhaps best known for creating the incredibly popular Fortnite, and Unreal Engine. The store first launched in December 2018.
As well as offering titles from Epic Games, they also offer a selection of time-limited exclusives, often indie titles, with a few AAA games thrown in as well. In terms of additional functionality, it includes a games library, a news feed, friends lists, and chat.
Those are the basics of the two storefronts. Let's take a look at some of the key aspects of each.
Steam vs Epic's Games
Let's start with the single most important thing in this conversation: the games.
Having been around for almost two decades, Steam has unquestionably the larger library to choose from, with over 30000 titles. This ranges from major titles to indie gems, and there will almost be something to suit every player's tastes. The drawback is that quantity does not always equal quality, and Steam certainly has a number of low-quality/almost unplayable games. The sheer volume of games can also make it difficult for the gems to get noticed.
In contrast, Epic Games, at just over two years old, inevitably has a much smaller selection to choose from. And where we said that Steam has quantity, Epic Games leans much more toward the quality side, with far fewer broken or unfinished titles.
Epic also makes a number of exclusivity deals with other developers. This has undoubtedly had a big impact n their revenues, which you can read about here.
So on this front, if you want the widest possible selection of games, then Steam has the edge. But if you are happy with a smaller, more carefully curated selection, then you'll probably be nudging towards Epic.
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Steam vs Epic User Interface
Next, let's take a look at how these storefronts are layed out. Both storefronts have a relatively clean UI. But Steam has a lot more elements to it, in terms of the menu options, newsfeed and other elements which combine to make it feel much busier. In contrast, the Epic storefront is much simpler, and launching a game just requires you to click on the icon and hitting 'Launch'
Ultimately, which UI you prefer will come down to personal preference. But if we are assessing their merits based on which one is easier to use, then the simpler interface of Epic Games probably has the edge.
Steam vs Epic Store Features
Both of these storefronts have some added perks to offer to their users. Epic Games offers a selection of games each month for free and has included some really big titles, such as GTA V, Alan Wake, and the Batman Arkham collection. They also emphasize exclusive timed releases, and you will sometimes find PC games released via Epic Games before any other platform.
Meanwhile Steam has the benefit of close to twenty years to hone their offering. It has a well-polished user recommendation algorithm, which helps players find the sort of games they want to play. It also offers in-game collectibles, mini-games, and a shop for in-game items. It also has a very popular review system, which enables you to share feedback with developers and players. This review system then creates a rating for each game. One problem with this is that it is vulnerable to review bombing, where users will bombard a game with negative scores, which can be misleading.
Overall though, Steam certainly has the advantage of its experience, and this shows in terms of making better recommendations, trading in-game extras, and taking advantage of sales.
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Steam vs Epic Games Social
This category is a slam dunk for Steam. While Epic Games offers a friend's list and chat functionality, Steam offers this, and a plethora of additional features. With Steam, you get a profile tab, where you can write posts, share media, and get recommendations based on what your friends are up to.
In addition, you get game invites, community discussions, text and voice chat, and cross-platform support, so you can communicate with friends even if they are on a different platform.
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Steam vs Epic Prices and Revenue Split
While price might be a key factor for a lot of players, how many of us think about the money that gets given back to the game developers?
We'll start with prices. On this, it's something of a draw, as each store uses a slightly different pricing model Steam has more local currencies to choose from, so prices tend to be reflective of the local market. Epic uses a more standardised conversion rate, which can sometimes be cheaper as a result. But it is by no means universal.
In terms of revenue splits, Steam offers a split of 30/70-20/80 (Steam/Developer) depending on sales. Epic meanwhile, offers a much more generous 12/88 ratio, meaning more money going back to the developers, to hopefully spend it on making more content. So if you are passionate about supporting developers, this might be something worth considering.
So which is better - Epic vs Steam?
Trying to answer this question might be a bit like trying to decide which is your favourite child. There are definitely things to love about both. Ultimately, it is down to you, to decide which of these different factors are most important to you. Hopefully, we've helped to provide you with some clarity. Of course, you could always just use both.
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