Common Gamer ID systems?



  • Which popular game distribution platforms (e.g. Steam, Windows Live etc) handle user authentication and other related matters instead of the game developer, and which do not?
    What is the current trend: to provide a platform that has a unified ID for every user, available to all games on that platform that he plays, or platforms that require to create a separate account for every game involved?



  • The consoles tend to each have a unified platform: Xbox Live for the Xbox 360, PSN for the PSP and PS3. Nintendo's Wii and DSi also have a platform, but it doesn't really have an authentication system; it is only used for game purchases and matchmaking (to a limited extent).

    PC and Mac, on the other hand, have fractured into several different platforms:

    • Steam (Windows and Mac) - Required by Steamworks games, which include all Valve games plus games like Modern Warfare 2 and Civilization 5. It is optional for some games purchased through the Steam store, but there is no easy way to check which ones prior to purchase. Can also launch non-Steam games with the Steam overlay.
    • Windows Live (Windows) - Required by specific games, such as Bioshock 2 and GTA4.
    • Battle.Net 2.0 (Windows and Mac) - Required for World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2. No other games use this service.
    • Impulse (Windows) - Optional for all games purchased through Impulse
    • Turbine (Windows) - Required for all Turbine MMOs.
    • NCSoft (Windows only?) - Required for all NCSoft MMOs, including Guild Wars (which is sometimes classified as a non-MMO)

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