Five of the Best PC Gaming Sites for 2021
The development of video gaming over the past twenty years or so has brought about some major transformations in the way we play games and the tech needed in order to do it. 21st century video games require a whole host of processing power, but that power can come at a price. With next-gen consoles starting at around $500 and PC gaming rigs costing thousands of dollars, video gaming can be an expensive pursuit.
There are, however, alternative ways to play and access games that don’t require state of the art hardware. Game streaming and subscription platforms give you access to huge libraries of games without clogging up your hard drive. These gaming platforms enable you to play the latest titles on the most modest gaming PC or laptop by taking advantage of cloud-hosting technology.
They’re cost-effective, streamlined and widely available on the Windows 10 operating system, either as a downloadable app or via a web browser. Some services even enable smartphone gaming, giving you access to the games you would play on your desktop via your Android or iOS phone.
Here’s our shortlist of the top five PC gaming services to check out in 2021
First on our list are two cloud gaming subscription services, for which you pay a monthly membership fee to access different levels of content.
Sony PlayStation Now (PC version)
The latest edition of PlayStation Now may be a console service, but it’s also available for PC users (provided you have your own DualShock 4 controller). The platform’s vast streaming library of games doesn’t extend to individual purchases, but you can access hundreds of PlayStation games that span the full console’s lifetime.
Monthly membership starts at $9.99 per month, while an annual subscription works out a few dollars cheaper per month at $59.99. For that fee, you’ll be able to access over 650 PS4, PS3, and PS2 games, such as the God of War, Resident Evil, and Red Dead Redemption franchises.
Amazon’s take on subscription-based cloud gaming, Luna, may still be in the early access stage (currently only available to Amazon Fire users), but it is nevertheless a worthy addition to this list. Expected to become widely available by autumn 2021, Amazon Luna is one to watch.
In its present early access stage, Luna is only accessible to US gamers; however, current subscription rates aren’t expected to differ too much during its mainstream worldwide release. The basic monthly subscription for the Luna+ channel comes in at $5.99 per month, while that increases to $14.99 per month for the Ubisoft+ channel.
Like PlayStation Now, Luna operates like Netflix for games. Since you won’t be downloading the games, you can switch between as many as you like in an all-you-can-game session. The basic subscription gives gamers access to several HD titles, including classics like Control and Metro Exodus, and a sufficient amount of Xbox One and PS4 games.
The Ubisoft+ subscription, on the other hand, will deliver you an extra 24 games per month from the French software developer’s collection, including Far Cry 6 and Valhalla.
iGaming platforms are strictly adults-only and bring the excitement of real money casino gaming direct to your PC or smartphone. There are several different types of gaming platforms that make up the market, from sports betting apps to poker gaming platforms; however, online casinos will give you a wider selection of games and experiences to choose from.
A global name in the field of casino gaming, PokerStars’ online casino platform remains one of the best iGaming websites around in 2021. Unlike subscription services, the PokerStars platform is completely free to join and has no membership fee. There’s no obligation to deposit either when you take advantage of one of the numerous no-deposit bonuses offered to new users.
As far as games go, the PokerStars platform is extensive and features several variants of blackjack, roulette and poker, live dealer games, casino races, and hundreds of online slot games including Megaways™ and Progressive Jackpots.
On the surface, older cloud-based game distribution services may not seem any different to the newer subscription services on release. There is one crucial difference, however: distribution services allow gamers to download their games of choice onto their PCs or laptops.
Valve’s Steam may be one of the early pioneers of digital gaming, but it’s still going strong today. Being such an established name in the industry, Valve is able to offer up thousands of games via its sprawling library, covering everything from retro arcade stylers (Pac-Man) to AAA games (Monster Hunter World) and niche games (Football Manager, etc). It’s also home to games you won’t be able to purchase in other stores, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Half-Life: Alyx in Virtual Reality.
Steam’s offering doesn’t just end at game purchases either. It’s also a platform for the creation of games, hosts a massive global community of gamers and developers, and even offers movie and music streaming too.
As an alternative to Valve’s ubiquitous platform, you may want to check out Epic Games’ digital store. Imaginatively named the Epic Games Store, it’s possible to find quite a few exclusives on the platform depending on the distribution deals the software house snags.
Currently, Death Stranding and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Orde are two games you won’t find on the PC anywhere else whilst, of course, you’ll also have access to Epic’s full catalogue (indulging Fortnite, Unreal Tournament, and Shadow Complex)