Anybody who's looked at the About Gawain page may have already seen the main digital game retailers I tend to use to beef up my already impossible backlog. Steam is generally a store of the past for me, with the occasional exception, but it's pretty much used for the same purpose as any other platform now. There are some great authorised third party retailers out there that provide much better deals these days! I'm going to take this time to share which sites I use the most, what I use each site for, and a few thoughts about each of them.
I'm going to start with my favourite of them all, Green Man Gaming (GMG). I first discovered GMG in late 2016 when I saw a joint giveaway between ORIGIN PC and GMG for Dishonored 2. A couple of months later, after casually checking GMG's site, I created my account and made my first purchase. It wasn't really until late 2018 that I started buying from GMG on a more regular basis, with absolutely no regrets.
There's a whole load of reasons why I love GMG, with the most obvious reason being their great prices and regular sales! If they have the game you're looking for in their store, they're likely going to be the cheapest option going. If they're not, chances are they'll have a new deal releasing soon to make it the cheapest option.
The main reason I prefer Green Man Gaming above all other stores is simply due to their community focus. Their forums are a great way to socialise with other gamers from around the world and share your experiences with like-minded individuals. The community has grown and improved a lot over the past couple of years too! At the start of 2019 GMG introduced even more reason for gamers to take up an active role within their online community with theintroduction of their community rewards program/incentive. This was a system where every non-spam post, manually verified by a moderator, on their forum will grant the user one Greenback (this was actually in play well before 2019).
The new aspect, however, was their monthly Wheel of Mystery. If you've been an active member of the community and acquired 100+ greenbacks, you can spin the Wheel of Mystery for your chance to win one of 5 games. Why is it a Wheel of Mystery you ask? Well, the Wheel can go live on any day, at any time, and gives you the oppotunity to win one of five games. These games aren't known until the Wheel is live. You're also guaranteed to get one of the five game on the Wheel, so there's only rewards. If you're like me and enjoy discussing your gaming experiences with others anyway, then being rewarded for doing so is simply awesome! If the Wheel of Mystery isn;t enough, they also have regular giveaways (usually at least one every week), there's occasional forum events too, not to mention the giveaways and activities organised by other members of the community!
It's worth noting that GMG occasionally have bundles of game available, but while they excel in many aspects, bundles aren't usually one of them. Most of their bundles are repeats of the same few games, sometimes with a new game or two available. There are some exceptions though, primarily their GamesAid charity bundles from 2018. There were 5 bundles, each with 10 games in, and each were of great quality and at an amazing price! As a bonus, all profits went to charity!
Fanatical is a site I discovered in early 2016, again, via a giveaway, although they went by Bundle Stars back then (back in my day...). It wasn't until a few months later that I started buying games from them though, and by games, I mean bundles. I have bought many game bundles over the past few years, at incredibly cheap prices. To this day, I don't actually think I've bought an individual game. Not that the prices are bad, they're my go to bundle site. That's just the way our relationship works.
One of the main things I should say is they often (pretty much always) have some form of mystery bundle on the go, be it one of their seasonal mystery bundles, genre based mystery bundles, holiday themed mystery bundles, premium mystery bundles.. You get the point. Many people are opposed to these as they promote gambling. You're putting money into something without knowing what games you're getting in return. I can totally understand why people wouldn't like these. I, however, quite enjoy a mystery bundle. I've got to the point where their standard seasonal type bundles are pretty much pointless as I've already received multiple copies of most of the games available, but I don't mind having a cheeky little purchase of some of the other ones that popup every now and then (I don't have a problem! You have a problem!).
Of course their standard bundles, where you know exactly what you're getting, can be awesome too! They tend to have genre or franchise based bundles, but they've also been doing pick and mix type bundles, where they have a selection of games and you can choose a certain number of games from the larger selection. The larger selection generally gives you more of a discount, but either way they're great value for money most of the time!
Fanatical host occasional giveaways too. From what I recall, they tend to come hand in hand with new mystery bundle releases.
Humble, Humble, Humble... Speak their name three times and a new bundle will appear! Humble Bundle is the site I've been using the longest out of the three. I discovered it on New Year's Day 2016 and signed up straight away! I've only used them in a similar way to Fanatical. I don't think I've ever bought an individual game from them. I have, however, bought a whole load of bundles!
As soon as I'd finished creating my account, I immediately subscribed to Humble Monthly! I mean, 8 games, plus some DLC, for less than £10? Yes, please! I've been subscribed since January 2016 and have never paused or cancelled the sbscription. That should speak volume for the quality of the bundles (or my lack of financial control)! Seriously though, I consider it huge value for what you get! It's changed a bit now Choice has taken over, with there being different subscription levels, and a price increase, but I'd still consider it worth the money. That said, I'm still paying the original price for the max tier, so I'm happy!
Other than their monthly subscription, they also bring out other regular bundles, again, often themed. The first one I bought (just after subscribing) was the Humble Square Enix Bundle 3, and it was an absolute steal! I've bought a tonne of other bundles since then too! They don't just do game bundles though! They also have book (e-book/pdf), comic, and software bundles too, with a variety of different themes. I've bought a several of the book bundles, mainly ones based around programming. I'd like to say I've made good use of them, but truth be told, they've mainly just been sitting there, collecting virtual dust.
One of the bonuses to buying from Humble is that you're also supporting charities. Humble feature different charities each month, but they also allow you to choose your own. Bundles often have tiers, where there's a minimum amount you need to pay to get the games from each tier, but Humble also lets you pay more should you wish to. For example, if they're supporting a charity that's close to heart. Not only that, but you get to choose where your money goes. You can split it between the publishers, the different charities, and Humble. If there's some form of disaster happening around the world, chances are you'll see a bundle dedicated to it's cause pop up at some point. The most recent ones would be the COVID-19 and the Australian Fire Relief bundles, both of which were huge bundles at an incredible price, and obviously were for causes that have a big impact on so many people (and animals)!
You'll often find Humble giving away free copies of games on their store too. No competition entry. As long as you have an account and you're subscribed to their news letter, you can keep claim their free games.
Simply put, I use all three stores, on a regular basis, but for different things! I go to Humble Bundle for their monthly subscription along with any other bundles they release that I take fancy to. Fanatical is used solely for bundles I like the look of, and the occasional mystery bundle. That leaves Green Man Gaming who are there for the inidivdual games, occasional bundle, and the community!
Posted on 21-04-2020
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