Sure, there are lots of PC game stores online. But there’s more to PC gaming than buying games—unless you’re playing the metagame of accumulating games in Steam sales and never playing them. Here are five sites every PC gamer should know about that go beyond title shopping.
Getting a rough idea of how much playtime a certain game will have can be important for a few reasons. Some people want an open-world game that will last for more than 150 hours or it’s just not worth the $60. Others are looking for a few dozen hours to kill before they get bored.
Whatever you’re looking for, a good website for getting an idea of how long a game will last is HowLongToBeat. This site takes submissions on game length from community members and then uses all of that data to come up with an estimate. That sounds like it could be ripe for hijinks, but overall, it’s pretty accurate.
Let’s say that you’re interested in buying Death’s Door, but you’re not sure whether it’s long enough to warrant its price tag. Looking at the listing from the regular search results on HowLongToBeat, it says that the main story takes about 7.5 hours, the Main + Extra content (side quests, extra rewards, and so on) takes about 10 hours, and if you try to do everything that the game has to offer, you’re looking at 12.5 hours.
Notice that each category is color-coded as well. HowLongToBeat has a color-coded guide that goes from red to blue, with red being a poor accuracy rating for how long the game should take, and blue meaning that the site has high confidence in the accuracy.
Dropping into a game’s dedicated page, you can see how many users from each platform have submitted estimates. It also shows a variety of information for each completion category, such as the average playtime, median playtime, rushed playtime, and playtime at a leisurely pace.
This site is very helpful, although, if your game is brand new, it might take a few days before the community has uploaded much information about it.
It could take a few years, but eventually, most PC gamers want to try their hand at building their own rig. It’s not as hard as it might seem, and many people liken it to Lego in the sense that you slot things in where they go—and then you have a PC (after connecting the wires, of course). There’s a little more to it than that, but not much.
Even though the process is theoretically simple, when you’re building your own PC, things can still go wrong. That’s why it’s important to save yourself as many headaches as possible, and that’s where PCPartPicker comes in. This site does a compatibility check for you to make sure that all the parts you want will work with each other.
PCPartPicker will also give you an estimate of how much your components will cost and how many watts your system will need. There are also buy links right on the website.
You can save your PC build by opening an account, or you can just quickly put one together without signing up.
Either way, putting together your next build with this website is a very good idea. It makes the rest of the process easier.
Another eternal question for gamers is how much better a prospective upgrade will be. Will that new CPU really run circles around your current one—and what about that shiny new GPU? The site UserBenchmark can help.
The site takes in user-contributed benchmarks for CPUs, GPUs, SSDs, hard drives, and RAM. Then, it puts them all together so that you can do a rough comparison between any two components in the same category.
It’s a very handy site to consult when you’re considering an upgrade to your current PC. Let’s say that you wanted to compare the Intel Core i9-11900K and the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X. You’d search for both of these on the site and hit the “compare” checkbox on each search, and when you were done, it would automatically show you the comparison page.
It shows the basic stats for each part, their release date, various performance metrics on certain games, and then some benchmarks based on the site’s own benchmarking program. If you want to contribute results from your own rig, you can easily do that.
All right, we said that we weren’t going to talk about buying games in this article, but this isn’t so much about buying games as it is about finding a deal. The site IsThereAnyDeal shows you the best prices it can find for a particular game at multiple retailers. It will also show you the current price, the lowest price ever, and the regular price at each gaming storefront. It will also show potential coupon codes for various stores that can reduce your overall cost.
IsThereAnyDeal does a good job of showing potential deals, and if you sign up for an account, you can even put games on a waitlist and get pinged via email when a deal shows up.
OK, most people know about this site already, and while it might seem like a copout, Reddit is a good resource for most games. Most major titles have one or multiple subreddits, where fans can get tips for difficult stages of the game, share fan art, and so on. Each Reddit has its own character, and your experience can vary, but it’s generally a good site to collect general gaming information about your favorite games.
There are many sites out there that can help you get the most out of your gaming experience, but these five are ones that every gamer should have bookmarked.
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