It was one of the major competitors to Valve's Steam digital storefront and has been described as "the other major purveyor of digital distribution". A non-scientific survey run by gaming news site Kotaku in 2010 indicated that of around 30,000 respondents, 8% had purchased a game from Direct2Drive. While Steam customers can browse the storefront via the downloadable client or the website, the D2D store was only available on the website. D2D did not offer a full fledged client, however, the service did have a free download manager. Additionally, many of the services features, including downloading, were available from former sister site GameSpy's software Comrade.
Launched in 2004, IGN has claimed "exponential growth in sales" since that time. It offered over 3,000 titles through relationships with more than 300 game publishers. Direct2Drive sponsored a $10,000 award at the Independent Games Festival called the D2D Vision Award, which "celebrates independent developers exemplifying innovation in design coupled with excellence in game-play". In 2009, the site made headlines by refusing to sell Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 due to that game's integration with Valve's Steamworks service. Users buying Modern Warfare 2 from a reseller such as Direct2Drive would be forced to also download and install the Steam client.