Launchers, Accounts, & Games… Oh My!


Now that Nico has moved home for a bit, our household includes the following:

  • 3 gaming desktop computers
  • 1 Xbox One
  • 1 Xbox One X
  • 1 Playstation 4
  • 1 Playstation 4 Pro
  • 1 Playstation VR
  • 3 Nintendo Switches
  • 2 Nintendo 3DS’s
  • 1 Nintendo 2DS
  • 2 Playstation Vitas
  • 1 Nintendo WiiU
  • 1 Playstation 3
  • 2 SNES Mini
  • 1 3DO
  • 1 Playstation Portable
  • 1 HTC Vive

And that’s just gaming specific hardware! (Not to mention, I’m probably missing something…) The three of us also have game-capable smartphones which we definitely game on every day. (Disney Heroes and Pokemon Go FTW!)

But wait, there’s more!!!

For the consoles, we’ve got PS Plus, Xbox Live Gold, and Nintendo Switch Online (Family Plan). For the PC gaming, it starts getting messy. Since we like to play MMO’s, we each have our own accounts for games like World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV Online, MapleStory 2, etc. And since World of Warcraft is a Blizzard game, we each have a Blizzard account and have the Battlenet-Blizzard-whatever-the-hell-it’s-called Launcher installed on our computers. Through this Launcher, we can play World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Overwatch, Starcraft 1 & 2, the latest Call of Duty, and/or Destiny 2, provided we’ve bought the games. For Final Fantasy XIV Online and MapleStory 2, those games have their own launchers (which need to be installed in order to run), as well as the ability to install them via Steam.

Speaking of Steam, we each have a Steam account and the Steam desktop app installed. We’ve enabled family sharing so that we can play each other’s games. Steam revolutionized PC gaming when it established itself as a one-stop digital distribution platform for PC gaming back in 2003. It quickly became the primary place for people to buy/install games and if you had a Steam account, that was enough. Today, however, that is far from the case. created a DRM-free digital distribution platform that focused on older, classic games while some video game publishers decided to create their own distribution platforms and restricted their games to their own platform. So in addition to Steam, we’ve got uPlay for Ubisoft games, Origin for EA games, GOG Galaxy, and for Bethesda games (Fallout 76) installed. OMG I almost forgot about Epic Games for Fortnite…

And I’m not even done yet!

If you have Amazon Prime, you can connect your Twitch account and have access to Twitch Prime, which gives you free games every month. Guess what you need to install in order to access your games… Yep! The Twitch desktop app! And let’s not even talk about the fact that because of how Amazon and Twitch connect my husband and I each have our OWN Amazon Prime accounts even though we live IN THE SAME FREAKING HOUSE!

Discord recently entered the arena, as well. You know, the chat app that gaming communities use to stay connected to each other. They have a storefront now and if you pay for THEIR subscription (called Nitro), you get a bunch of “free” games. In order to launch THOSE games, you have to have their app installed. Of course, if you’re already using Discord’s app for chatting, then this isn’t a major problem, but it’s still ANOTHER installed app. Discord’s app can also scan your system and launch games on other platforms for you. So if you wanted to play Mass Effect 3, it will launch Origin and the game for you. How nice. As of right now, no one in our household is paying for Discord Nitro, although I’m considering it. The list of games that comes with the subscription is pretty nice. Not to mention, you get other chat perks and the knowledge that you’re supporting their platform.

Oh, how could I forget the other company that recently entered the fray? Yep, the Fornite giant, Epic Games. It offers a free game every couple of weeks or so and a storefront for games. They don’t have a whole lot there yet, but I expect it will grow fairly quickly.

So let’s put all that in a list so we can have a visual comparison with the gaming hardware:

  • 3 Blizzard
  • 3 Final Fantasy XIV Online
  • 2 Nexon
  • 2 GOG Galaxy
  • 3 Steam
  • 1 uPlay
  • 3 Origin
  • 3
  • 2 Twitch Prime
  • 3 Discord
  • 2 Epic Games

So where was I going with this…? Oh right…


I know, I know… I could always choose to stick to one console or one digital distribution platform, but as I’ve mentioned many times before, I want to play all the games. And to be fair, over the past decade or so, things relating to accounts and DRM have improved quite a bit!

Still, I feel like there’s got to be some kind of solution to this problem. On the other hand, as long as video games are created by for profit companies, there will never be any meaningful incentive to standardize how we consume games. Nico tells me that he’s always trying out new games that have their own launchers, etc. and that at a certain point, he just stopped thinking about it because this is just how it is. All I know is that I regularly look at “This PC” in Windows Explorer and my C: drive is often red because it’s full. I’ll admit, it’s a smaller drive (only 465 GB). Hey, SSD’s were stupid expensive when I got this machine! XD I’ve gotten into the habit of installing games that don’t require a lot of speed and/or power on my secondary drive since there’s 2 TB of space on that one.