There is already a very popular online games download service that more than rivals Steam, it’s called Bittorent… but Alienware has come up with a legal alternative.
The Alienware Download Store is now live and it brings with it an impressive and wide-ranging list of titles covering all areas from FEAR (scary) to Leisure Suit Larry 2 (scarier). Gift certificates up to $100 dollars can be purchased and a patches section keeps gamers up to date will all the latest official bug repairs and feature enhancements. If you’re stuck/pants at any particular title Alienware also has numerous guides available in pdf format.
As for the downloads themselves they are handled by the company’s own download manager which can pause and resume transfers and the site remembers which games you have already purchased in case of a hard disk failure so you simply download them again. Of course, it makes far more sense to simply burn title to DVD on completion, but in-build DRM will limit the number of copies that can be made for obvious not-in-the-spirit-of-bittorent reasons.
Games appear slightly cheaper than their RRP (for example, FEAR is $49.95 as opposed to $59.95) but considering there is no packaging required and no high street overhead it would’ve been nicer to see them a little cheaper. Still, for those of you with a strict moral backbone and a currently free-riding ADSL2+ connection now could just be the time to start putting it through its paces…