Steam has really overrun the gaming market lately. Although Origin and Good Old Games do provide rival solutions, they’re very much cut from the same cloth. They’re just software that provides a platform for you to buy games through their marketplace and you can download and play whenever you want. This is mostly fine, but there are plenty of times where I’ve paid for a game, played it for a bit, then realised it’s actually pretty crap and regretted it. Getting a refund for these games is often quite a pain in the bum, and the lack of demos these days really do make it a bit harder to ensure you enjoy what you buy. In the past, not only did we have demos, but we also had places like Blockbuster, where you could go and rent a game for a short period of time before returning it. Now that Blockbuster has folded, there aren’t really many other places to get a good rental game – although Utomik are looking to change this.
It’s surprising, at least to me, that it took so long for a subscription based gaming platform to really come around. Given the amount of people pirating games these days, and the effect on piracy platforms like Spotify and Netflix have had for the music and television industries respectively, it would seem a no brainer to have such a platform for video games. Utomik is really coming to the fore in this regard though, with 600 games available at an incredibly generous price. Comparing them to Netflix may even be a slight insult to Utomik, as unlike the film and television platform, the team behind Utomik have pledged to only ever add to their catalogue. If you find a game you like on their platform, you can play it endlessly, without fear that some day it will be removed. I’ve definitely had it where I’ve been watching a TV series and it got removed off Netflix, I think I’d ragequit if such a thing happened to a video game, so knowing that the game is safe is a huge relief.
I mentioned already that Utomik is currently sitting with 600 different games on it, and you may think because it’s a new platform, it’s solely indie games. While there are a good number of indie titles, there are also some really exciting games that are on there, including some I’ve been keen to try. The Metro series, Telltale Games’ Walking Dead series and a bunch of LEGO games are all present and waiting to be played. With the knowledge that they will always be on the system, and with more top titles coming too, it’s given me the ability to play these games.
It’s not just a platform for gamers though – developers, particularly indie developers, will love Utomik. Through the software, indie developers will be able to get a decent amount of exposure from subscribers to the system. This could enhance the indie studio’s ability to market themselves as they will have an extra outlet to safely showcase their game without it getting nicked.
The actual software itself is pretty clever as well. Instead of downloading the full game, users will download a chunk of the game and then stream the rest of it. When I was told this, I was slightly nervous about it, as I currently have a dreadful internet connection. It turns out, I had no reason to be concerned. You’ll download enough of the game to be able to stream it smoothly, and at no point did I encounter any buffering or lengthy delays, outside of the initial download. Not only does this save hard drive space, but it is also loaded with Utomik’s own DRM to prevent pirates from stealing any game they like, which would be a massive appeal to any developer.
It’s definitely a platform that has potential. Currently it does have a lot of indie games and not too many triple A titles, which may put some gamers off. It is something that could well become amazing, and I’m one hundred percent behind the idea that it will be. For any indie game enthusiasts or patient gamers, it is already an amazing platform that definitely offers something new.