Steam is a fantastic service -- of that, there's no doubt. It's so good, that many PC gamers use it as a filter of sorts: if it's not on Steam, then it won't be played. Not happily, anyway. Thing is, if you stick exclusively to Steam, you might miss a ton of genuinely worthwhile games.
I'm not just talking about what you mind find on other competitive services, such as Origin or Uplay, either.
As it stands right now, Steam brings games into the fold too slowly. Even Valve seems to admit it -- they want a system that provides no "bottlenecks at all between developers and consumers," and Steam Greenlight, the current voting program games must undergo before they're accepted on Steam, doesn't achieve that vision. Though Steam is adding more games than it ever has before, at a faster pace, it's still not the best system, You have a ton of games waiting for approval, and it's not always because they're not 'good enough' to be on Steam. And given that PC gamers put such weight on Steam, given that they treat it as their filter of what's worth paying attention to, that's a shame.
So what do you do if you want to make sure you don't miss stuff that's worth your time? Good question. Right now, there's a 'Not On Steam' sale of various awesome games that should can check out.
"We love Steam. But there are lots of great games you can't currently find there! Discover some of them here, and support indie development," the main Not On Steam page announces. Of particular note: The Yawhg, I Get This Call Every Day, Richard & Alice and Solaris. All on sale at a discount, to boot.
OK, but that's not all. More long-term picture, I'd highly recommend bookmarking sites like Indie Statik, Free Indie Games, and Forest Embassador -- all of which are absolute goldmines when it comes to writing about cool, experimental and often free PC games that are worth your time. Most of these games are not stuff you'd find on Steam. Maybe that'll change one day, but for now, I highly recommend doing your part to make sure you're exposed to all the great games out there. Why not, especially if they're free?
Sure, we here at Kotaku do our best to tell you about some of the games these other sites highlight, too, but the fact of the matter is that there are just way too many indie games released on PC every day to be able to tell you about all the cool ones, and these are sites that are dedicated to that very specific beat. So you should read em, if you can.
Happy PC gaming!