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Valve is not your friend


#1

While I do not agree, this article makes some good points.

Steam is a near-monopoly supported by us because Gabe appears to be such a nice guy. A monopoly that is convenient, works well, innovates and gives back to the community - but a monopoly non the less. I found it interesting that when EA started Origin, which does many of the same functions like tracking their user base = "Origin is controlled by an evil money grubbing corporation and must be shunned!"

True Dat, but Smilin' Gabe does the same thing. He was just the first to do it well and nobody does it better. But what can we do? Go back to buying DVD's at Electronics Boutique?


#2

I hardly buy from Steam because the prices are not that great quite often. To top it off I also don't have a smart phone nor do I want one and thus I get screwed in the market when the big sales come up and I have holds on all my cards and such. Also they have some of the worst customer service ever. Valve can go **** itself. As for EB Games I do good there on promos and do very well in getting collector's editions of games for next to nothing. I have made some darn good money flipping things. EB Games right now is > Valve for me.


#3

I do not think anyone has the illusion that Valve is a good guy or is better than EA in terms of tracking or business practices.
People use steam cause it was the first service that managed work properly and coined the market. People buy stuff from them not because they are good guys but because many times it is the only choice. Many devs publish only on steam. what is a user supposed to do if no option are given by the dev himself?

Devs publish on other stores as well, there is GOG that is much more consumer friendly and some dev even self publish, which are options i personally prefer and solve a major issue of not owning the product you bought. Also the no own-ship issue is the reason i consider piracy for non commercial reasons as a user right, specifically as a protection from this.

As much as i agree with points (not all...Some make no sense) on the article it really misses the point. The good guy persona is long gone. It is not the reason for the market dominance.


#4

Have you ever heard of the Payola scandal of the 1950's?

If you wanted your record to sell, musicians had to pay to get it played on the radio. Record company salesmen would travel to local stations "Okay, if you play 'Johnny B. Goode' 10 times a day, we will pay you $100." That money was coming out of the musicians pockets, not the record companies. If a musician refused to go along, not only would their record sales tank, the record companies made sure it tanked.

Steam is much the same way (without the money up front). If developers publish on GOG or Humble or self-publish, no one will see them. But if they get into bed with Gabe, they will get a lot more traffic and eyeballs on product. Then it creates a rolling snowball into an avalanche effect and everyone has to do it in order to compete on a level playing field.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Payola#PScandal


#5

Yeah but there is no reason not to do all of the above. Publish on GOG, on Steam and self if you can. Thus you can get the exposure and be respectful enough to the audience to give an option of having your product that does not rely on Valve. GOG has even a connect program to move games from steam and it relies solely on the dev/publisher to approve that.

Many devs/publishers do not take that route though cause they like the idea of using Steam as DRM.


#6

Yup, they were the first that worked properly, so were most widely adopted.
I have installed countless other platforms, but all ran along side Steam - so were kinda pointless to a degree, as I had the same people on each generally. Sooo after a while it was just Steam left again.

It annoys me that I still use it, but friction is low so it get used.


#7

GOG needs to get more aggressive when searching for deals with publishers. I understand how hard it is to make publishers go for DRM free, but if a few high profile publishers go for it, the snowball effect starts and steam would have no choice but t also consider DRM free. Same goes for music and series/movies distribution, although it is very easy to find good quality music DRM free nowadays.


#8

Steam is not my friend however just the enjoyment from reading some of the reviews is worth it to me. Plus they have pushed the Linux Gaming paradigm in a way not seen since Id ported Doom to Linux back in the Slackware 0.8xxx days.


#9

I use steam but get my games from HumbleBundle, Green Man Gaming, Good Old Games, etc. I use steam just as a messenger primarily.


#10

I agree with the "Valve is a business and they make lots and lots of money." Part of this, but lets not lie.

I believe Valve is better than EA and that this information may as well be considered fact.

When was the last time EA invested tons of money into open source projects that benefited and pushed gaming forward the way Valve is doing with VR?

They haven't. Ever.

Monopolies are bad, but this type of monopoly is the least bad of the monopoly types.


#11

Valve from my understanding doesn't deal with exclusives or prohibit the sale of developer products elsewhere, MS and EA on the other hand....... So is steam a monopoly? or just a popular choice for many? there is a difference.


#12

No complaints here.

I would only consider steam a monopoly IF that were the only method to publish or distribute games.

Valve does a lot of things right considering its a for profit company.


#13

GOG is a thing so I'd say Steam is not a monopoly.

Agreed.


#14

steam is DRM free. its upto the devs to use steams DRM. there are many games where you can just copy the game out of the steam folder and run it directly.


#15

Dude its polygon.


#16

Author: "Tim Colwill is a trade union officer by day, and the creator of satirical gaming site Point & Clickbait by night. He is, against his better judgement"

Mhmmm


#17

I think I might be one of the few people in the world who has no problems having Uplay, Origin, and Steam at the same time. My roommate just flatout rejects any game on Origin.

The only annoyance I have is that I wish I could cross-fill my Origin and Steam accounts rather than having Dead Space 1 and 2 on Steam and Dead Space 2 and 3 on Origin...


#18

Back in the day, you'd have to drive to the Egghead Software store to buy a game. You had perhaps ten, or twelve games from which to choose. It would come in a cardboard box, typically containing four to eight floppy disks. After feeding the disks to your PC and reading the READ.ME file, you'd spend the next day and a half cooking up a set of customized autoexec.bat and config.sys files before the game would run. You had to determine not only whether the game needed extended, or expanded memory, but also which TSR's (Terminate and Stay Resident programs) needed to be loaded and in what order. Every game that you bought required their own custom autoexec.bat and config.sys files and you had to somehow manage these files to ensure that the correct files were used to boot the PC, for the game that was to be played. Playing a different game required rebooting the PC, with different, customized configuration files. Playing a game on a PC was strictly for computer enthusiasts, mere mortals need not apply.

Windows simplified the situation significantly, but there always seemed to be 25% of my games that inexplicably refused to run. One spent hours scouring the game publisher's bulletin board (remember them?) looking for clues and patches, which had to be manually applied. Sometimes they resolved the problem and sometimes no.

Then Steam appeared on the scene. They had an awesome selection of games. They published awesome games. Does anyone remember how groundbreaking Half-Life was? They had user reviews. They saved your progress, so you wouldn't loose your progress when you reloaded Windows (frequently necessary), or when you purchased a new PC. Most importantly, all of their games ran. All of their games were automatically patched in the background. And, all of those 25% of games that would never run for me? I could activate them on Steam and THEY WORKED!!! Not only that, but you no longer had to sneak into work after hours, in order to play LAN games with friends. You could play "LAN" games over the Internet. How friggin' cool is that?

Steam wasn't merely the first game service that worked. Steam revolutionized the entire friggin' game industry!

In later years, Steam has pressed for an alternative to the near monopoly that Windows has enjoyed on PC gaming, by contributing to the Linux code base, developing a gaming-centric Linux distribution, porting their own hugely popular Valve games to Linux and selling their Linux versions for ... FREE ... to anyone who had already purchased the windows version!

Unlike the cable industry, the government didn't hand Steam a monopoly so that they could go forth and rape and pillage with impunity. Unlike some of the tactics that we've seen come out of Redmond, I'm not aware that Steam has purchased GOG, in order to put them out of business. As far as I know, Gabe never held a gun to anyone's head and demanded that we subscribe, or be prosecuted to the limits of the law. No, Steam earned their customers based on their customer's own assessment that Steam's benefits outweighed the negatives.

So, is Gabe the second coming? F%#K no! He is a businessman. He is a very successful businessman and he is successful precisely because he identified a problem and then developed a solution to that problem that exceeded most everyone's expectations. So long as his customers continue to believe that Steam's pluses outweigh the minuses, Steam will continue to be successful.


#19

Valve hardly has a monopoly. To confirm if a firm has an actual monopoly they would have to be increasing prices and reducing the output. Also they would have to be the only company to offer the good or service. GOG, Greenman gaming, G2A, etc. are evidence enough that Steam is not a monopoly given the fact that publishers are selling keys at large discounts.


#20

Valve is my friend. Without Valve my life would be less rich, possibly.