By Alec Meer on December 8th, 2010 at 9:42 pm.
I can’t tell you how often we hear the same plea: “Dear RPS, please can you fix it for me to be even more bewildered than I already am by the vast array of different ways to digitally purchase PC games?” Your prayers have been answered. Added to your DirectToGoodOldSteamGetGates today is Chrome Web Store – Google’s browser-based plan to muscle in on PC gaming (and apps too, but let’s face it: games).
Snark aside, it’s a markedly different prospect to the existing stores.
For a start, everything on it works within a browser, and a browser only – but only Google’s own Chrome, for now at least (someone’ll probably hack it). I quite like Chrome so I’m okay, but I guess someone’s going to say something pissed-off about Opera support below, as usual.
For a second, its remit is strictly on the casual side for now. Lofty plans are in motion for fancy-pants HTML5 and Unity-powered games, but for now relatively lo-fi stuff is all you’re getting. Plants vs Zombies is nominally the highlight, but at present it’s just the demo version, and when prompted to buy the full one it just directs you to download the traditional version for $20, which is super-sucky (the better-looking HD version on iPad is only $10, for cocks’ sakes).
Still, early days – and certainly, installing and running stuff via Chrome is ludicrously simple. Could blossom into something very interesting. It isn’t one yet, I have to say, and it looks far too austere in its current form to boot. It doesn’t inspire exploration and adoption, but as Google is the beta-lovin’ company I don’t doubt that will change.
Clearly, it’s Google attempting to do an Apple on PC. I don’t doubt we’ll see Microsoft attempt similar in the not too distant, and indeed a rush of people trying to capitalise on minimal-click purchase’n'play. Will these be interesting times for PC gaming – or dark ones? Most likely, this’ll simply exist alongside what we already know. If anything, it’s more about Google’s impending Chrome OS than just the browser, I suspect.
Go explore – any gems in there?