Reminder: Not All Worthwhile PC Games Are On Steam

Reminder: Not All Worthwhile PC Games Are On Steam

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!


    "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."
    That's not true at all, I haven't played like half of the games I own on Steam.

      A common problem. Of my 180+ steam games I think Ive played to completion.........10?

        Thankfully they made user-made categories a thing, so now I can say with certainity I have "finished" (usually end of game, 100% or some other measurable form of satisfaction) 19? out of 146 games. Over 8 or so years.

          Ha! By careful count, I've finished 31 of my games (for values of "Finished" - you can never really finish Civ V, for example.)

          So, 684 to go. (I'm a Steam Sale tragic.)

          Personally I also keep a close eye on GOG, although.

          The main problem with Indie games is so many of them are platformers and I can't STAND platformers.

          The main problem with Steam is that you can only play one of any game in your collection on one computer at any time. So even though I have paid for both games independently, I can't *play* them independently.

          IMO Steam need to introduce a scheme where developers can submit their games for publishing and have Valve publish if it's of acceptable quality. Developer pays $1000. Two gamers play it each for a day to a day and a half. If both upcheck it, it goes on Steam. The issue with Greenlight is it depends on unpaid volunteers to evaluate a game purely based on description. If the developers lie or make misleading statements, a bad game (cough, The WarZ) can be published.

          $1000 is a lot of money for an independent developer, but if you can't convince a couple of hundred people out of an audience of four million to buy your game, it has no business being on Steam.

            Seriously, what is with the deluge of platformers and minecraft clones???

              Cheap and easy, aping success with their own 'unique' (ie: only already thought of by a few dozen other indie devs working on the same thing concurrently) spin on the idea. Just like all the mobile games.

            Put one of your PCs in offline mode so you can play games independently. Obviously wont work with all games. Did that when me and the wife both wanted to play Bookworm Adventures at the same time.

      You're reading it backwards. It isn't that people play all their Steam games, it is that (for some people) all the games they play are on Steam.

      Exactly. When I read this:

      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...

      First thought: Jesus. If there are too many for you to talk about, how the fuck am I going to get around to playing them when I can't even play the ones I own that ARE on Steam?

    A big preface needed for the title of this piece is INDIE. And if you're heavily into indie games, this might be something to look into. On the other hand, Pat's had a thing against Steam for a while now, and given that she's said she prefers consoles to PCs in several other articles/blog posts, etc, this is just flogging a dead horse now.

      Whoa, are you saying that Hernandez is the type of person to beat a topic or subject to death?

        Please don't use the word 'beat', its clearly reinforcing rape culture.

          The worst mental image I get from beat is a man hitting his wife or something, where's Rape?

            His comment was a jab about how the author of this article makes posts about sexism and feminism very often

              Oh. I've read a few articles by patricia where I've been mad myself, but I've also seen a lot of decent well made ones where she's getting bashed even when she's stopped doing the things people hated. I mean they wanted her to stop this shit, she did, and she still gets crap for it.

      Well, it's an interesting new site and worth checking out, but the editorial comment was heavy and slanted in a fairly predictable way (which I personally don't agree with, but I don't write the articles - I'd have to set up my own site if I want to champion my view. Or just post in the comments).

    Valve isn't stupid. They know there's a bottleneck in getting games on Steam.

    It wouldn't surprise me with the release of an OS, that they've come up with a way for developers to more easily add their games.

    Agree with the above sentiment, I'm happy with a little bit of curation - my love of indie only extends so far.

      Agreed. I find I reach the point of diminishing returns all too quickly with a lot of indie games. Yeah, there are some novel games, but the trend of going for that top down 2D, platformer (SO over platforms since the mid-90s) or overly pixelated 'retro' styled games with a one or two unique game elements is so common, that it all just blurs together for me. Not for me. But hey, if these devs succeed at it or make some coin, more power too 'em!

    I actually don't like Steam, almost entirely because it's purely used as a form of DRM when playing boxed copies of games. I should not have to install Steam when buying a boxed game, but more and more games require it now. And if it's not Steam, then it's something else like GFWL, UPlay or whatever.

    I'm sure I'd like Steam more if I wasn't forced to install it when all I want to do is play a game I bought on a physical disc. It remains on my PC only as a means to play these games, I don't use it for anything else.

      For me those things are more of a deterrent. If any of them are required, then the box stays on the shelf.

        The problem is just about every PC game uses one of these services now. Steam, GFWL, Origin, UPlay, (although that's integrated into the game rather than being a separate thing). If the alternative is not to play new games on my PC then I'll put up with it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

      Just a little suggestion to put things into perspective:

      A CD key is DRM. And if you remember the 90s at all, you might realize that it's actually easier and faster and more convenient to one-time activate a CD key on Steam than to repeatedly type it into the installer every time you install the game off a CD and hope it's firmly attached to whatever you're storing the CD in and that you won't lose it or have it damaged.

      I tend not to have to hunt around for CD keys when installing Steam games now.

    No One Lives Forever 1 and 2 + Tron 2.0 - if those end up on Steam I'd be very happy!

    I'm a heavy Steam user, but I'm well aware not every PC game lives through Steam, great example is the Hearts of Iron series. But it's also good to see some of the old classics popping up on it. Was only a few days ago Gorky 17 was added, a game from my youth I used to play to death.

      Hearts of Iron is on steam, from how I read that you're saying it isn't?

        Right you are @f4ction. I was clearly thinking of the wrong game, I was thinking of Blitzkrieg but had HOI in my head.

      I've been wishing that Neverwinter Nights 2 and it's expansions might come (back) to steam one day, among some other games that I can't remember right now. I don't understand why they got removed.

        That's weird. I didn't think Atari had any spat with valve like the EA product pull. Very curious.

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