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Geek Girl Report: Turning Your Computer Into a Gaming Console – The Best Gaming Services on the Internet

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

One of the things I love about PCs is that you can use them for just about anything, from running your office to running the latest video game. And with the rise of PC game download services such as Steam and Gamefly, there’s no need to even buy a disc anymore. In recent years, computers have become just as viable a console as the Xbox or the PS3. And if you’re looking to get into PC gaming, here’s a couple of gaming sites to get you started.

Steam

By and large, Steam is the top gaming service you’ll find for PCs. With an easy to navigate user interface, beautifully integrated chat and social features, reasonable prices and huge library of nearly 4,000 games to choose from, it’s pretty easy to see why Steam continues to remain the most well-known and popular gaming service. However, one gripe I have with the system is its inconsistent download times. If you try and download a game the day it’s launched, or on the day a patch is released for it, you’re going to be in for quite a wait.

Origin

Origin is probably the closest thing Steam has to a competitor. And admittedly, it had quite a bit going for it. A nicely-design interface; fast, consistent download speeds, and generally cheaper prices make it a pretty decent competitor to Steam. However, the site only offers titles made by EA Games, so if you’re looking to play, say Assassin’s Creed or Borderlands, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Gamefly

Formerly known as Direct2Drive, Gamefly not only lets you rent console video games and mails them to your home, it also offers an impressive range of PC games you can buy. In addition, Gamefly also offers several “Unlimited PC Play” titles, which lets you download select big-name titles, like Bioshock and Assassin’s Creed, completely free of charge. The catch? You have to be a Gamefly member in order to use them, which will run you about $10 or $15 a month depending on which program you choose.

Good Old Games

If you’re more of an old-school or casual gamer, you might want to check out Good Old Games. You probably won’t find the latest PC hit game here, but you will find retro PC classics, such as Neverwinter Nights and Fallout. And best of all, the games are quick to download and quite cheap: most of the games cost under $10. However, it’s library of just over 500 games is quite small compared to other services.

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