With their US parent company starting to sell more digital goods, it was only a matter of time before EB Games followed suit. So it’s no surprise to see EB Games PC’s section expanded lately with “Digital Content”.
The list of digital downloads, which you can find here, is a small selection of 34 games right now. It’s mostly stocked with older titles from publishers that have a local presence: there’s a lot of Bethesda games in there, some stuff from SEGA’s back catalogue (including Dawn of War 2: Master Collection), Metro: Exodus, Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, and more. It follows a similar move by EB earlier this year to offer digital codes for PlayStation, Switch and Xbox games as well.
According to the fine print, all the codes redeem on Steam. But that immediately puts EB Games at a disadvantage. Take XCOM: Chimera Squad above, for instance. If you’re going to pay $19 for a digital code, why not pay $13.47 instead when it’s redeeming through the same storefront? RAGE 2 is $29 on EB, but $25 on Green Man Gaming. Sudden Strike 4? $39 at EB, but $11.58 at Fanatical — and even if it wasn’t discounted, Fanatical’s RRP is still a $10 saving on EB’s price.
(Perhaps the most egregious one is Age of Empires: Definitive Edition — sure, you could redeem it through Steam, but you could also get Xbox Game Pass on PC for $1, giving you access to the AOE 2 and AOE 3 remasters at the same time. And even at full price for the second month, that’s still cheaper than paying $22.95 for AOE: DE individually.)
But most offerings are generally pretty threadbare when they start out, so I’m not surprised that EB’s digital codes aren’t that tantalising to begin with. What’ll be interesting to see is how EB discounts them going forward, and whether they get the same kind of aggressive competition that physical games (console in particular) do. And there is a bonus here in that if you do want to support a local retailer (which is owned by an American parent company), then you can at least give money to EB, rather than just sending all of the cash through to Steam/Epic etc. overseas.
I’m also curious to know what competitors like JB Hi-Fi, Kogan and others think of the strategy — if you happen to have any idea how those conversations are panning out, please do get in touch. I’d love to know.
You can browse EB’s digital PC offerings right here.