Uses a launcher type startup application, often with various configuration, help, and other features easily available before player has chance to start the actual game. Login too is commonly part of the launcher if such is needed.
The first video game about Launcher was released in 1999.
Occasionally these are only visible on first-run and don't appear again unless the game detects a problem in previous run, specifically invoked by the user (via command-line option), or other automated feature (e.g. automatic patching). The launcher is not necessarily a separate application, but fairly commonly is.
* Game news, changelog/patch notes, game specific ads, etc.
* Auto-update/update checker
* Access to game's website, forums, and support
* Server status display
* Self-heal/repair (via checksum scanning or other methods)