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Retailers Versus Steam?

A story on MCV with a quote in the headline (which isn't in the article itself) stating "Valve monopoly is killing PC market," reports they understand "that at least two big-name digital retailers are facing financial difficulties as they struggle to compete" with Steam. "I've fought hard for my customer, and never before have I had to give my customers away. Steam is killing the PC market and it is no wonder digital retailers are failing," says the director of a Steam rival. "Steam is locking down the market." In a separate report they also discuss retailer dissatisfaction with Steam's dominance of the marketplace, which insiders tell them amounts to 80% of PC downloadable games. Since this competes with online sales initiatives by retailers, they say at least two major U.K. merchants will demand that publishers remove Steam integration from their games or they will refuse to sell them. With PC game sales at retail stores in steady decline, it seems an odd moment for these stores to flex their atrophying muscle, but they quote the head of sales at a big-name digital service provider saying: "At the moment the big digital distributors need to stock games with Steam. But the power resides with bricks and mortar retailers, they can refuse to stock these titles. Publishers are hesitant, but retail must put pressure on them."

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145 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 1.
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145. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 16, 2010, 07:41 Dev
 
Eldaron Imotholin wrote on Nov 13, 2010, 21:20:
Jesus christ what an amazing, stunning amount of bullshit going around of late. I'm honestly sad to see Bluesnews has come to this degenerate state.

Not just Blue's and its community's fault though. There really is little interesting PC-gaming news going on.

Well, that Dragon Age 2 trailer was interesting though, though ironically enough not posted on Bluesnews.
*yawn. Hits the sack*
How is it blues fault that some moron is spouting his mouth off? He's reporting on it, not endorsing it.

If you clicked on SUBMIT NEWS and linked to the new trailer, blue might post it, he sometimes does post trailers or at least links to them.
 
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144. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 13, 2010, 21:20 Eldaron Imotholin
 
Jesus christ what an amazing, stunning amount of bullshit going around of late. I'm honestly sad to see Bluesnews has come to this degenerate state.

Not just Blue's and its community's fault though. There really is little interesting PC-gaming news going on.

Well, that Dragon Age 2 trailer was interesting though, though ironically enough not posted on Bluesnews.
*yawn. Hits the sack*
 
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Playing: Skyrim, World of Warcraft.
Future: Dead Space 3.
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143. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 13, 2010, 16:41 MacK
 
Steam is fantastic. The only other website I go to to get digital games is Good Old Games. When it was hinted that the two might join up, I almost came in my pants. When they didn't I was still pretty happy. Noone gives out ridiculous sales like Steam and if you stick with them for long enough before buying a game, chances are you will get a game for super cheap. Also, they pre-load on almost every game that you pre-order which is also fantastic. Every time I have pre-ordered a game only to wonder if it was going to be pre-loaded, I ended up happy that it was and playing the night of the release. Sure, Steam may have a monopoly now but I think that it is only more likely that the monopoly will increase when they start selling digital games for cheaper than retail copies. This is because it costs the publisher and developer absolutely nothing to replicate their games online whereas it costs retail outlets a great deal. In fact, since Steam is doing so much indie assistance now, it is likely that we will start seeing indie games be the number one top sellers if Steam starts doing marketing for the companies. Steam can branch out a lot now and it has a lot of work still to do, but the main thing is that it is awesome because it gets around a lot of antiquated systems for game distribution. Also, Steam is made up of gamers who make and provide us with games, so they know that to fuck us over would be to fuck themselves over as well. This follows from a past announcement by D2D that said that they were looking at giving people a limited time to download their games before they deleted them from the server. I almost spazzed at this because it costs them absolutely nothing to hold on to the statement that I own the games. Steam is great. It could be better, but anyone who uses it and has taken advantage of some of the awesome sales knows that the platform is better than anything the consoles have to offer and any other digital distributor out there, except for maybe GOG, who are on par.  
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142. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 13, 2010, 03:28 Zardoz5
 
Nxs wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 00:05:
In the end, people will eventually wake up and realize that they are being screwed over by steam, battlenet, and alike.

My close to 40 hours of gameplay out of a $2.50 copy of Deus Ex begs to differ with you. Valve, quit screwing me over ffs, making me spend all that time, gaming, for next to nothing.
 
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141. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 19:12 [VG]Reagle
 
God bless Gabe. Steam saved PC gaming. I blow by load every time I open it.  
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I am MUCH better now.
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140. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 16:00 PHJF
 
This thread is pretty large. Has anyone said anything about Hitler yet?

You're all Hitler.
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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139. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 15:00 space captain
 
Cyan wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 13:09:
Is Steam perfect? No. But before you bash Steam, ask yourself if its really doing more harm than good. In my opinion, it has done, and is still doing way more good.

its far from perfect and also the platform isnt quite as old and embedded as windows

they have lots of room to grow.. at the moment steam doesnt tickle my balls like the rest of yous
 
Go forth, and kill!
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138. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 13:09 Cyan
 
This is capitalism. The superior, best product will make the most money in the short term. Steam has done that. Now they are also achieving a form of lock-in, due to the fact that its incredibly convenient to have everything in one place. The bottom line is that if Microsoft had done this first, we would be complaining about them rather than Valve. If you ask me, I am REALLY glad it was valve, rather than Microsoft that figured this out.

Is Steam perfect? No. But before you bash Steam, ask yourself if its really doing more harm than good. In my opinion, it has done, and is still doing way more good.

Why Steam being dominant is the best for the future: The best thing possible for the industry is for one delivery platform to have dominance in the masses, simply for ready access to the consumer. Right now, it enables small developers to have a direct pipeline to the market. This is the ONLY way that developers can break free of the shackles of publishers right now. Wild indie successes will lead to developers being able to self-finance a lot more, which is something that was completely unheard of five years ago. This is only possible if there is a delivery platform for these games that can reach a large segment of the market. Publishers such as EA will lose their iron-clad grip on the PC market, and we will see a lot more blizzards and bungies arise in the next 5-10 years. Which means we will see far more original, well-made games on the PC. Its not fanboism, its economics.
 
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137. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 12:56 Creston
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 07:36:
Why is it that no one can speak of Steam\'s downsides? Why do dozens of rabid fans immediately come out of the woodwork insisting Steam is perfect, or that Steam\'s benefits make mentioning its downsides a bad thing to do? It\'s like loving Xbox Live and refusing to admit it shouldn\'t cost money to use your own bandwith to play games you bought.

You and nxs, or whatever his name is, are building a giant fucking straw man here. There have been plenty of people who have said that Steam isn't perfect, that it could definitely be better, and several others have said that it's a worrisome idea if Steam were to ever become the sole platform on the PC.

However, right now that isn't the case, and right now Steam is, by and large, giving both the publishers AND the customers what they want. Ergo, it's immensely succesful.

B&M stores and Steam's competitors aren't giving customers/publishers what they want, and therefore they don't get a bigger piece of the pie.

So I'd seriously like to know where "no one can speak of Steam's downsides."

Creston
 
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136. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 11:53 Pankin
 
cliffski wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 04:07:
pihx wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 11:17:
I only use Steam and i am proud of it.

what if steam don't stock a game? you just decide they have final say over what you are 'allowed' to buy?

Not all pc games are on steam. And if you want one group of people to decide what games are financially viable on the PC, then that's a pretty scary slippery slope.

Easy there, chim-chim. Not everyone is going to see it the way a developer sees it. The reality is this: compete or die. Mom & Pop stores have a tough time competing with Wal-Mart too. None of us have to like that fact but we do have to live with it. Unless, of course, those who feel strongly enough get together and construct a platform that blows Steam (hehe) out of the water.

All this anti-Steam sentiment reeks of children's plaintiff cry, "It's Not Fair!!"

Well guess what? It's just like how your parents used to reply. Life Is Not Fair and you liking it is not a hurdle we have to jump, capice?
 
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135. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 11:14 Kxmode
 
I don't think this thread has enough passion. It needs moar!  
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134. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 10:53 JohnnyRotten
 
I would love to be there to tell you I told you so but, I have no memory!

Whatever competes with and/or replaces Steam isn't going to be retail. Retail simply can't compete with digital - digital can stock unlimited copies of everything, forever. Retail stores have limited space.

If you don't want to use Steam, fine. But if you're waiting around for those pre-digitial distribution "good olde days", well, that ship has sailed, and it isn't coming back.

Steam/SteamClone II, Steam/SteamClone III, Steam/SteamClone IV, etc. is what you are going to get.

 
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133. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 10:38 nin
 
And if you want one group of people to decide what games are financially viable on the PC, then that's a pretty scary slippery slope.


Way to play the fear card...
 
http://www.nin.com/pub/tension/
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132. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 09:35 Verno
 
Oh and then there was the time Eb wanted to charge me $110 for a secondhand copy of Condemned in a cracked case with no cover.

Hah, just when I think EB Games can't possibly go any lower.
 
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Playing: Divinity Original Sin, Infamous Second Son, Madden
Watching: Spartan, Possible Worlds, The Changeling
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131. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 09:33 Chazix
 
Hmm, The last 2 games I bought retail...
First was a preorder of the Bioshock collectors edition, but on the day "Sorry all the PC copies got smashed and we've sold out of regular editions but we'll have one for you in a week"
And the next was a preorder for the Fallout 3 collectors edition. Only on the day they didn't have enough PC copies and tired to sell me the 360 version instead, they also wanted to bump up the price an extra $40.
Oh and then there was the time Eb wanted to charge me $110 for a secondhand copy of Condemned in a cracked case with no cover.

I think I'll stick with Steam, Gog etc whenever possible.
 
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130. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 09:16 Verno
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 07:36:
The fact is that PC gaming has always been an open platform anyone can develop for and find
success on.

Minecraft would like a word with you. The former is still possible and the latter is highly subjective. "Find success on" is a ridiculously vague and meaningless statement. For the most part a game will be successful on it's own merits, the method of distribution has little to do with it beyond exposure and impulse purchases. If people want your game they will seek it out. If people just want to be on Steam to get a lot of impulse purchases from consumers who barely even know what they're buying then I have trouble sympathizing with those developers.

People want all of the benefits of Steam without having any restrictions. It's a centrally run service, it's not owned by a group or commission. There are rules to prevent it from becoming the bargain bin shelves at Wal-mart and to enforce standards. The rules must be incredibly lax by the way considering the sheer size of the catalog which ranges from the poorest indies to AAA publishing powerhouses. People basically want Valve to do everything for them, do it free and oh by the way no restrictions whatsoever. People want the digital market to be exactly the same as retail was. As a centrally run service by a single entity, those goals don't jive with its setup and operation.

What I am attacking is the act of making PC games more closed off, less free for user choice. Auto-patching is great until you want to not use a patch, which I have done 100 times or more in my life. Account-based ownership is great until you want to pass the game on, sell the game or lose your account. Steam as a platform is great until you want to not use it and you aren\'t Blizzard and then your game dies on the vine because Steam is a defacto platform controller.

You can disable auto-patching on a per game basis AFAIK. Account based ownership is a give and take thing and I'd like people to note how few games can be resold period these days, it seems to be an industry trend, not just a Steam one. Oh and again, Minecraft. From nowhere to overnight success without Steam. If people want your game, they will seek it out. "But for every Minecraft there are 100 failures!" Yes but that's always been the case on just about every platform.

Why is it that no one can speak of Steam\'s downsides?

People have been doing that all topic long. It's no ones fault that you did a hit and run then came back later and ignored discussion context. In fact most of the people posting positive things about Steam usually note a few negatives as well. Most people have been fairly reasonable. Some people have weighed the positives and negatives of Steam and still use it. Disagreeing with your opinion != "dozens of rabid fans".

Still, I understand the core point of "they have no real competition." I get that. I'm just saying the current heading is a bad one, I'm not saying there is a real solution at the moment. Maybe... and I hate myself for saying this, but... maybe when GFWL re-launches it will actually be good and give Steam a run for its money. Microsoft could certainly do that if they wanted to.

GFWL is the same thing, if anything it's even more closed and imposes fees on people wanting to use it which shuts out indies unlike Steam. I don't know why you are deriding one closed platform then suggesting that the only hope for the industry is...another closed platform.

People seem to want someone else to run an open platform where they assert no control but assume 100% of its operation and responsibilities. I'm sorry but that's not realistic. Feel free to establish the WikiPCGames Foundation yourself and give it a run. I suspect the industry itself will simply ignore you until you work within their confines which will compromise 90% of your mission statement. But hey like I said, I'll be your first customer.

This comment was edited on Nov 12, 2010, 09:25.
 
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129. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 08:42 frag.machine
 
Slashman wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 07:34:
It's the same thing as people pointing their fingers at Microsoft for monopolizing the OS market. When Windows 95 was a huge, buggy mess and barely trying to stand on its own, no other company thought that it was worth it to compete in the home desktop market. But then everyone wants to crap all over them years after when(surprise, surprise) they are practically the only viable choice for a PC OS bar Mac and Linux.

*COUGH* OS/2 *COUGH*
 
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128. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 07:36 StingingVelvet
 
The fact is that PC gaming has always been an open platform anyone can develop for and find success on. I don\'t like the trend of people only shopping on Steam, thus giving Valve control to decide what can be a success on the PC and what can\'t. Already there are many examples of Valve refusing to sell a game, which makes that game then have trouble finding any kind of success.

THAT is my issue. I\'m not arguing about DRM anymore, crack if it ever bothers you. I\'m not attacking Valve, they make fucking awesome games I always buy. I\'m not attacking Steamworks even, it\'s a god-send for multiplayer.

What I am attacking is the act of making PC games more closed off, less free for user choice. Auto-patching is great until you want to not use a patch, which I have done 100 times or more in my life. Account-based ownership is great until you want to pass the game on, sell the game or lose your account. Steam as a platform is great until you want to not use it and you aren\'t Blizzard and then your game dies on the vine because Steam is a defacto platform controller.

Why is it that no one can speak of Steam\'s downsides? Why do dozens of rabid fans immediately come out of the woodwork insisting Steam is perfect, or that Steam\'s benefits make mentioning its downsides a bad thing to do? It\'s like loving Xbox Live and refusing to admit it shouldn\'t cost money to use your own bandwith to play games you bought.

Oh wait, people do that too.

Still, I understand the core point of "they have no real competition." I get that. I'm just saying the current heading is a bad one, I'm not saying there is a real solution at the moment. Maybe... and I hate myself for saying this, but... maybe when GFWL re-launches it will actually be good and give Steam a run for its money. Microsoft could certainly do that if they wanted to.
 
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127. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 07:34 Slashman
 
Prez wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 07:22:
It's not gamers' fault that no one could compete well enough.

This is what is all comes down to.

It's the same thing as people pointing their fingers at Microsoft for monopolizing the OS market. When Windows 95 was a huge, buggy mess and barely trying to stand on its own, no other company thought that it was worth it to compete in the home desktop market. But then everyone wants to crap all over them years after when(surprise, surprise) they are practically the only viable choice for a PC OS bar Mac and Linux.

Steam was kinda cruddy when it started out as well, but no one wanted to follow suit and make a better delivery platform. Now people want to point their fingers and talk about how it's ruining gaming.

If it wasn't for Steam, there are a LOT of games I would never play. That's both indie titles as well as AAA titles. Simply because I can't get them in my country by any other means.

D2D is hell bent on telling me that every sale or special they run is not available in my region. Impulse has a limited catalog and so does GOG. Someone tell me what my alternatives are.
 
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126. Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 07:22 Prez
 
cliffski wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 04:07:
pihx wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 11:17:
I only use Steam and i am proud of it.

what if steam don't stock a game? you just decide they have final say over what you are 'allowed' to buy?

Not all pc games are on steam. And if you want one group of people to decide what games are financially viable on the PC, then that's a pretty scary slippery slope.

It's kind of like people who do all of their shopping at Walmart.

Generally, if a game is available in multiple places, including Steam, I get it on Steam. The only exceptions are any game that's also on GOG, where I always opt for the GOG DRM-Free version, or if I find a lower price on another Digital Download service like Impulse or D2D.

For exclusives like Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod, obviously I buy them from Stardock. But Steam basically rules the roost for me. They won with a better catalog, better platform, better features, and better ease of use. It's not gamers' fault that no one could compete well enough.
 
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