Amazon Takes Aim at Steam With "Core" Game Downloads

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Amazon Takes Aim at Steam With "Core" Game Downloads

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Amazon now offers digitally distributed games outside of the casual realm.

Online retailer Amazon recently added a lineup of "core" games to its digital distribution offerings that should make them more appealing to the hardcore gamer. Amazon launched a casual gaming download service in early 2009 that included hidden-object titles, puzzle games, and the like, but the new core games are more in the "AAA" realm.

The new lineup includes games from Atari, Ubisoft, EA, 1C, Sega and many other publishers. Some of the titles currently available include Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2, and Dead Space.

Steam is the big player in the digital distribution market right now, but with Amazon's similar propensity for slashing prices it could become a worthy competitor, or at least a new option for those that like to download their games. Currently, Amazon is holding a sale on core games where multiple titles are going for 50% or more off of their normal prices, while another sale on EA titles is taking 33% off. The sales are offering titles like The Witcher for just $6, which is definitely a good start for Amazon.

Amazon's core downloads system doesn't provide the bonus functionality that Steam does, so it won't replace Valve, but it never hurts to have more outlets to find great gaming deals. Amazon will apparently be one of those now, and with the 2010 holiday season coming up it jumped in at the right time.

Source: Amazon, via Joystiq

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Awesome deals is what makes Steam so popular, Amazon will need to match that to be on top.
There is a reason why Impulse and Direct2Drive are not doing so hot right now

Why kind of DRM are they including with the games though, if any? I looked at the various pages and couldn't find an answer.

Has anyone read the descriptions of any of these games on the site? It sounds like every single one of them was written in Engrish, like how Chinese knockoff products are. Quite off-putting.

matrix3509:
Has anyone read the descriptions of any of these games on the site? It sounds like every single one of them was written in Engrish, like how Chinese knockoff products are. Quite off-putting.

With your recommendation, I sure did.

And, they're more than a little weird.

Here's an unedited part of their description of the DA:O bundle:

# Includes The 2009 RPG Of The Year Dragon Age: Origins, The Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Expansion Pack, Plus All Nine Additional Content Packs
# Critically acclaimed winner of more than 50 awards including over 30 "Best Of 2009" awards
# A tremendous $114 value at one low price
# Critically acclaimed winner of more than 50 awards including over 30 "Best of 2009" awards. A tremendous $112 value at one low price.

Erm... Hello? Editor?

OT: Eh. Steam still has all of that other stuff. So, yeah, good try and that The Witcher price is pretty good, but, eh...

So it looks like Amazon is going to............
*put on some sunglasses*
take the steam out of STEAM
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Hooray more digital distribution crap that is mandatory to install/secretly installs itself on my computer, more layers of useless DRM, more passwords and accounts to juggle, more walls around the game cause god forbid we learn anything from games for windows live.
Clearly, this is what we all have been waiting for.

Brave new gaming world.

And if one more publisher is whining that "pc gaming is dying because piracy", kindly shove a list with all DRM schemes and digital distribution services down his throat and curb stomp that b*tch.
Why does *everything* have to try and phone home nowadays?

Meh. You'll still have to download Steam for any game that uses Steamworks, so if anything it will get Steam onto more computers, not less.

US only too :(

steam is drm in it self, just a reminder. :D

The box art says games for windows on it..and i dont want GFWL installed at all...Which is a shame since i want the The Witcher badly.

Grinnbarr:
US only too :(

Awwwww shit. And here I thought I could get a bite out of Amazon's best deals without the stupid shipping fees. I am disappoint.

Welp, my business goes back to D2D then.

FlashHero:
The box art says games for windows on it..and i dont want GFWL installed at all...Which is a shame since i want the The Witcher badly.

Almost every PC game has that on the box, it doesn't mean that it uses GFWL. Hell, that service probably didn't even exist when the Witcher was released!

Yeah, the US only thing just killed it for me, but, if it works I'm sure they'll roll it out worldwide.

I'll probably have bought Witcher in the Steam xmas 2010 sale tho, by then.

LTK_70:

FlashHero:
The box art says games for windows on it..and i dont want GFWL installed at all...Which is a shame since i want the The Witcher badly.

Almost every PC game has that on the box, it doesn't mean that it uses GFWL. Hell, that service probably didn't even exist when the Witcher was released!

Oh so its like the pc/dvd logo then...well i was gonna jump on it but according to various people i know steam usually does a sale for $6 as well on black Friday or Christmas time and i might as well wait for that since it features the directors cut and i already use steam alot. And if not i will just get it for Christmas for $20 bucks anyway.

too bad they aren't doing it on the UK store, It would be handy for people like me who aren't that fond of steam, and have to make a proper trip out of picking up a game from a shop (I don't really live near anywhere, but funnily enough get relatively fast internet for the UK).

As someone who enjoys box art and manuals, I cry a little every time there's news like this. Sure I can't trade my PC games into Gamestop but at least I can look at my shelf and see the games I've played over the years and drift off into Nostalgia land.

Recently, even my local Gamestop got rid of all its boxes and manuals for used PS2 games. I'm sure they're still charging more than new for them.

Competition eh?
Well. At least it'll keep Steam honest in the long run.

Grinnbarr:
US only too :(

FFFFUUUUUUUUUU!!!

Sincere outlaw:
Awesome deals is what makes Steam so popular, Amazon will need to match that to be on top.
There is a reason why Impulse and Direct2Drive are not doing so hot right now

Impulse tends to have better and more frequent sales than Steam. Even knowing this, if something I want is on sale on Impulse, I usually hold out for Steam to have it on sale, I can't go without Steam's benefits.

Steam has the digital distribution thing well in the bag because they do damn near everything right with regards to the customer.

The only place they lose marks is with customer support, and even that is slowly improving... although it would be nice to have a human being to call up and speak to.

No other service offers in one complete package:

Unlimited downloads of your purchased Title
2 special sales a week and massive deals on holidays
A clean, convenient and easy to use marketplace and library management utility
Automatic Updates
Cloud Saves
IM Features
IRC Style Community Chat
Guilds & User Blogs
Easy joining of friends games.
The ability to preload money on your account
The ability to gift games to friends
4 Pack deals
Unobtrusive DRM
Built in Anti-Cheat software
UI Modding support
Game Modding Support
Active User Forums for every game and publisher
Demo's
Free Games
Tabs to easily sort new releases, top sellers, coming soon and special offers
A working search function
Convenient market place browsing
Access to game manuals without having to purchase the game
News related specifically to the games you own
The ability to gift spare copies to friends
The ability to add many retail CD keys
The ability to add non-utility games and programs to the users Library
The ability to review and suggest games for friends
A recommendations feature that suggests games you may enjoy
PC and MAC titles where you buy one version and receive both
Automatic Graphic Driver Updates (For AMD/ATI only)
A listing of all your transactions showing when you purchased a title and how much you personally paid for it.
Offline mode so that once you have activated a game once online you may use it without an internet connection.
Achievements
Tracked User stats such as hours played
Hardware surveys that let you trace adoption trends within PC gamers
Backup features to allow you to burn your games to disc

Steam offers a ton of services to the end users, all of which help in offsetting the lack of physical box, manual and game disc at the time of purchase.

This is why I own 214 games on Steam and only 6 on Impulse and none on Amazon/Best Buy/Gamestop digital download services.

FlashHero:

LTK_70:

FlashHero:
The box art says games for windows on it..and i dont want GFWL installed at all...Which is a shame since i want the The Witcher badly.

Almost every PC game has that on the box, it doesn't mean that it uses GFWL. Hell, that service probably didn't even exist when the Witcher was released!

Oh so its like the pc/dvd logo then...well i was gonna jump on it but according to various people i know steam usually does a sale for $6 as well on black Friday or Christmas time and i might as well wait for that since it features the directors cut and i already use steam alot. And if not i will just get it for Christmas for $20 bucks anyway.

Yeah, The Witcher does not use GFWL, thankfully. Games for Windows (without the Live part...way to make it confusing) is just a sort of half-assed certification that means it'll run on certain versions of Windows and supports at least a certain minimum number of things they require. And The Witcher does seem to go on sale on Steam a bunch, too. It was $6 in the mid-summer sale, which was the first time I saw it go that low. Before that it was usually ~$13, but I assume it'll generally be $6 in the big sales from now on, since the regular price was dropped, too. If they don't put it on sale soon to promote the sequel, I'd be really surprised if you can't find it in the holiday sale. Great game, by the way, and hooray for the Director's Cut finally being a legitimate US release with all the bonus material and none of the censoring.

Grinnbarr:
US only too :(

Whaaaa? Are you sure?

Amazon in the digital distribution market?

How is that going to work? There's so much that goes into the digital distribution that my main concern is in Amazon using the channel the wrong way. I doubt they'll understand the core mechanics of providing a service to gamers, merely looking to promote ads or other things to make money.

It's kinda like Walmart's misguided idea that they'll do video game retailing in their stores.

mindlesspuppet:
Impulse tends to have better and more frequent sales than Steam. Even knowing this, if something I want is on sale on Impulse, I usually hold out for Steam to have it on sale, I can't go without Steam's benefits.

That's weird. I don't know if you're in a different region than I am or something, but I just got the latest Impulse email about the current or upcoming or whenever it is sale, and I was thinking how I hardly ever end up buying stuff on there instead of Steam because their sale prices are usually exactly the same or even better on Steam, at least for stuff I want, although I guess now that I think about it you're probably right about the big sales happening more often (as opposed to small/single-game ones like the mid-week/weekend ones Steam usually has). I really want to like them more (because I prefer some of their policies) and for them to do better so there's more competition, but I can't remember the last time I saw something cheaper on Impulse that I either wanted or didn't already have, except for GalCiv2 for $2 (which was an awesome deal; almost makes me want to pick up the Ultimate Edition of the first game since it's only a dollar right now, even though I probably wouldn't play it)...which you can only get on there anyway.

FlashHero:
The box art says games for windows on it..and i dont want GFWL installed at all...Which is a shame since i want the The Witcher badly.

like you and many others, you are falling for a fake red herring.

"games for windows" only means that its for the Windows Operating system

when it says "games for windows Live" then it's a gfwl (<--no shit) enabled game.

do I need to spell it out now? Does anyone know the difference now? it's not that hard to figure out and not hard to spot the difference.

JourneyThroughHell:
-snip-

That just the start, check out the listing for Necrovision, 7.62 High Caliber, and You Are Empty.

There are extra prepositions just lying around everywhere in those descriptions, just like the pigeon engrish the chinese translators use for their knockoffs. Thats not even the worst of it in those descriptions.

9_6:
Hooray more digital distribution crap that is mandatory to install/secretly installs itself on my computer, more layers of useless DRM, more passwords and accounts to juggle, more walls around the game cause god forbid we learn anything from games for windows live.
Clearly, this is what we all have been waiting for.

Brave new gaming world.

And if one more publisher is whining that "pc gaming is dying because piracy", kindly shove a list with all DRM schemes and digital distribution services down his throat and curb stomp that b*tch.
Why does *everything* have to try and phone home nowadays?

Because you can now click a button and it will magically transfer your money over the internet as a pure fucking magic flow of data and allow the game publisher to send back a copy of the game through a data connection anywhere in the entire planet. No need to stand in line when it's five degrees outside. No shortages. No damaged stupid plastic disk when all you want to do is play your game.
How did people become this jaded? Brave new gaming world indeed, sir, and be god damn glad you're in it.

OT: I think the more competition the better for us consumers. Amazon has always had ludicrous prices when they're having sales, so hurray

Mazty:

Grinnbarr:
US only too :(

Whaaaa? Are you sure?

Well OK, it doesn't work in the UK, and the Witcher link had something about your billing address requiring a US zip code (whatever that is) so I'd say it's a fair assumption.

Well good on Amazon, and though the extra stuff you find on Steam isn't on Amazon right now it doesn't mean it won't be. But one thing Amazon needs to work on is a similar form of DRM they can offer for the games. That will help draw in more publishers and devs alike.

Grinnbarr:

Mazty:

Grinnbarr:
US only too :(

Whaaaa? Are you sure?

Well OK, it doesn't work in the UK, and the Witcher link had something about your billing address requiring a US zip code (whatever that is) so I'd say it's a fair assumption.

Aw man that is so lame =(

"Game Downloads are only available to US customers
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. Please continue shopping on the Amazon.com home page."

So pissed off & so stupid. Like open it up to everyone and increase your customer-base by what, several billion? Companies are retards at times.

Atmos Duality:
Competition eh?
Well. At least it'll keep Steam honest in the long run.

Direct2Drive and even Impulse were already there. Steam is just leaps and bounds better, which is why you never hear of them.

FlashHero:
The box art says games for windows on it..and i dont want GFWL installed at all...Which is a shame since i want the The Witcher badly.

GFW =/= GFWL.

It's just saying "PC Version". That's all.

lacktheknack:

Direct2Drive and even Impulse were already there. Steam is just leaps and bounds better, which is why you never hear of them.

Oh, I've used Direct2Drive before. I just prefer Steam more.
It's easy to gift games via Steam. That's the biggest reason I still use it.

More competition for my dollar is never a bad thing.

Good luck, Amazon.

This isn't going to last long. Amazon is incapable of doing a good job competing with Steam in my opinion. They don't have the drive or initiative to truly bother. The fact that they are restricting this to the United States proves this more than anything.

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