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Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam

Develop has Gabe Newell's take on some EA games not being sold on Steam, like the recently removed Crysis 2 and the upcoming Battlefield 3. In spite of the indications from EA that this is a result of Steam policy, Valve's managing director seems to indicate this decision is EA's as he takes an upbeat approach to the underlying conflict being a matter of showing "EA itís a smart decision to have EA games on Steam." Here are a few quotes from an upcoming interview that cover the topic:

"Companies have to earn the right to install content on their customers' PCs on a regular basis," he began.

"The same thing is true of Steam. We have to prove we are creating value on an ongoing basis, whether itís to EA or Ubisoft or whoever.

"We really want to show thereís a lot of value having EA titles on Steam. We want EAís games on Steam and we have to show them thatís a smart thing to do," he said.

"I think at the end of the day weíre going to prove to Electronic Arts they have happier customers, a higher quality service, and will make more money if they have their titles on Steam. Itís our duty to demonstrate that to them. We donít have a natural right to publish their games."

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72. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 10:48 Verno
 
You're obviously the only person allowed to discuss things on the Internet, our mistake.  
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71. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 10:44 ochentay4
 
Silicon Avatar wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 10:28:
commonperson wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 08:28:
Cutter wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 00:01:
.
Unless you have some magic ball to stare in to the hearts of game companies it's all hearsay.

There's no need for a magic 8 ball to see the dark heart of EA. All you have to do is look at all the things they've bought over the decades and then killed with ineptitude.

They're a horrible company. They buy decent companies, make them perform to unrealistic expectations, and then start interjecting their own crap ideas just to get that extra 1% profit. It'll happen to Bioware too. The signs are already there.

EA's a husk that makes more husks. That's all they do and that's all they've ever done. The sooner they go the way of Interplay the better everyone will be.

Yes, EA is eviiiiil! Let me take out my magic ball, lets see what will next days/months/years...

FIFA12! MADDEN12!! BF3!!! MASS EFFECT3!!!! Love them all!!! Caching! Bought'em.

Stop whinning and vote with your dollar.

Hyprocrits.
 
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70. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 10:34 ^Drag0n^
 
nin---

CableGuy?



^D^
 
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"Never start a fight, but always finish it."
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69. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 10:32 ^Drag0n^
 
MattyC wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 09:28:
[This is because B&M stores exist and have expenses. They can't compete with20-30% off online. If you say "yeah we are going to sell this for 30% less digital" the B&M stores say they can't compete with that so they won't carry your game. Developers hear this and don't want to lose having their game in Walmart and Gamestop so they set the same prices. Steam then counters with its regular sales.


It isn't all cloak and dagger to suck the poor clueless customer dry... it is more like normal business.

From past experience, I can say that this is EXACTLY how B&M retail negotiations go. It's less about how much your product should cost, and more about the B&M retailers demands for not losing the impulse POS purchase.

While online sales are big, retail is still king. Note that this also includes Amazon in B&M, as they sell boxes.

^D^
 
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"Never start a fight, but always finish it."
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68. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 10:28 Silicon Avatar
 
commonperson wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 08:28:
Cutter wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 00:01:
.
Unless you have some magic ball to stare in to the hearts of game companies it's all hearsay.

There's no need for a magic 8 ball to see the dark heart of EA. All you have to do is look at all the things they've bought over the decades and then killed with ineptitude.

They're a horrible company. They buy decent companies, make them perform to unrealistic expectations, and then start interjecting their own crap ideas just to get that extra 1% profit. It'll happen to Bioware too. The signs are already there.

EA's a husk that makes more husks. That's all they do and that's all they've ever done. The sooner they go the way of Interplay the better everyone will be.
 
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67. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 10:27 nin
 
Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa...

We've gone over 60 posts and singingvelvet hasn't been in there to defend EA yet???

WTF kids???? Someone take out his internet connection?

 
http://store.nin.com/index.php?cPath=10
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66. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 10:20 Rockn-Roll
 
Those of us who are not EA or Valve can't be 100% sure of what is happening. But, I am 99% sure EA is the bad guy in this. I am basing this on past experience and EA's own publicity:

1. EA has historically made decisions that hurt customers and their computers, as well as their developer studios. Some of the evidence is posted on wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_Arts#Criticism. What I find most telling is when EA claims that the NFL wanted EA to have exclusive rights...which means that either money was exchanging hands under the table or EA is just a big fat liar because the NFL, and any business for that matter, would want to be able to sell licenses to other game companies. So, EA has a history of blaming their business partners for problems that EA is responsible for...something that it is currently doing.

2. Steam has historically been been good to their developers and customers. Steam has never charged us for it's service...at least I've never gotten a bill from Steam or paid them any money for their service. Their product and support has been great. The only time I've been dissapointed is when a game doesn't install and run properly and Steam support tries to blame it on me and my computer, but at the same time the developer also refuses to support the game...claiming that it is a Steam problem and they only support games purchased in a retail box. So, 3rd party game support problems aren't limited to Steam...the developer is also a part of the problem. However, in those times that a game won't run properly Steam has refunded my money (albeit after a painful lot of complaining) and I went and purchased the retail box and it installed and ran flawlessly...which either means that Steam has serious flaws in it's installation software (but other 3rd party games install correctly) or the developer provided Steam with faulty game code...and I don't have any clues as to which of these causes existed, but it was Steam which solved the problem...eventually...by taking itself out of the loop...something that it did with the current status of particular EA games.

So, notice that EA is currently blaming Steam...they are being very clear that Valve is the one causing the problem even if they are being vague about the details: http://www.bluesnews.com/s/122753/ea-didn-t-pull-crysis-2-from-steam. The "download service" which violates the Steam contract? EA's own Origin service of course. And, this is something that EA is known to do...blame the other company for things that are their responsibility. Notice that Valve isn't providing details because they say they don't know and the things they believe are the problems have been dismissed by EA when an attempt has been made to fix them...all they are doing is removing themselves from the loop in order to prevent us customers from being subjected to whatever EA crap is going on.

We all have to make up our own minds of course. But, I highly recommend that everyone do some research before making a decision. You don't need to go to wiki either...Bluesnews has covered the entire current EA campaign. Everyone that has been following bluesnews for the past few years knows that EA is trying to market their Origin service to displace Steam as the #1 download service. I would never want to have Steam replaced by a company that is pulling the kind of crap that EA is pulling now.

I mean...EA says that if you don't use your Origin account then they will delete all your content? What? Don't believe it? Read it here on bluesnews http://www.bluesnews.com/s/124188/ea-origin-accounts-may-be-cancelled-for-non-use Can you imagine the hate that would happen if Steam did that? Don't use Steam for 2 years and lose every game you purchased through Steam? Do you really want EA to own all your games?
 
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65. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:37 Verno
 
It's for many reasons but unless you have to play something on release day then chances are you will get it cheaper on the PC. I'm fine with release prices being what they are across the board, we get tons of crazy sales on various DD services so it's only really gouging the impatient.  
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64. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:28 MattyC
 
InBlack wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 03:42:
I hate to say it but Zef has a point....

Digital distribution is so much cheaper than retail its unbelievable that games sell in the same price range.

Think about it for a second.

First of all you remove the production costs for CDs, DVDs, whatever. In bulk they are not great but it does cut costs.

Next, you remove the middle man i.e. retail. Here is where the biggest costs can be cut, the mark up price at retail is quite a bit. (Assuming that Steam is the publisher of said game)

So basicaly what Zef is saying is true. Instead of games being 20-30% cheaper in digital, they are priced at the same range and all that extra cash goes right to the publisher and/or Valve.

This is because B&M stores exist and have expenses. They can't compete with20-30% off online. If you say "yeah we are going to sell this for 30% less digital" the B&M stores say they can't compete with that so they won't carry your game. Developers hear this and don't want to lose having their game in Walmart and Gamestop so they set the same prices. Steam then counters with its regular sales.


It isn't all cloak and dagger to suck the poor clueless customer dry... it is more like normal business.
 
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63. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:25 Verno
 
The current metro interface and app store me-too mock themselves Beamer.  
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62. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:24 007Bistromath
 
SHHH! If we keep ignoring it, maybe it won't happen.  
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61. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:23 Beamer
 
Also, has the Windows 8 app store been mentioned here yet?  
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60. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:19 007Bistromath
 
Verno wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 09:16:
If you're going to do the whole "Gabe is fat LOL" thing at least make it funny
I don't think this board has image tags, so I can't post a picture of him. Sorry. :V

Beamer wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 09:18:
Haven't we been over why digital costs the same as retail about a thousand times on this board since Steam launched back in 04?

Maybe even a hundred thousand times?

But still some of you bring it up.
Lightweight. They do this like four times a day on the Steam forums.
 
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59. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:18 Beamer
 
Haven't we been over why digital costs the same as retail about a thousand times on this board since Steam launched back in 04?

Maybe even a hundred thousand times?



But still some of you bring it up.
 
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58. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:16 Verno
 
If you're going to do the whole "Gabe is fat LOL" thing at least make it funny  
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57. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:10 007Bistromath
 
I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I like Steam, and I don't like Origin, and I am so annoyed about this nonsense that I'm probably going to miss BF3, which I was really excited about. Depending on how much they screw with Bioware's existing systems, (which are already pretty annoying) I may even miss ME3, which I have been hungry for.

On the other hand, everytime Gabe Newell talks these days, he sounds more like he's trying to inherit Steve Jobs' reality distortion field. Take this advice from another heavy guy: it's not going to work, Gabe. You're too fat.
 
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56. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 09:08 gilly775
 
Lesaonar wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 02:05:
After my last customer service nightmare with Valve, Steam won't be installed on a single system in our house. In fact the site is completely filtered so none of the systems that connect to the router, yes even friends that come over for LAN parties, will be able to even reach it. Could care less about all the games that are still on my account, it'll remain unused. Valve can get bent...

So what digital distribution service will you move on to next? I hate to say it, but it seems society is moving in that direction....
 
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55. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 08:45 kanniballl
 
InBlack wrote on Aug 18, 2011, 03:42:
I hate to say it but Zef has a point....

Digital distribution is so much cheaper than retail its unbelievable that games sell in the same price range.

Think about it for a second.

First of all you remove the production costs for CDs, DVDs, whatever. In bulk they are not great but it does cut costs.

Next, you remove the middle man i.e. retail. Here is where the biggest costs can be cut, the mark up price at retail is quite a bit. ...

True

But not everything is clear cut. The analogy below isn't meant to be 1-to-1 but it's just an example of maybe there are other reasons besides the obvious. Plus DC is going full-digital in September.

Plus Greed is probably the main motivator anyway... we're willing to pay the price so they make it that price.

-------------------

For example: comics.

Both DC and Marvel Comics have been releasing their comics digitally for a while now. But with few exceptions each, they do not release the current comics online... they're usually 1+ years behind... sometimes MANY years.

Why not? The price is the same, it should be a no-brainer. No printing cost, no shipping cost, no comic shops jacking up the price. Just digitalization prices and I guess the fees on comixology.com. They already know it works, and have SOME real-time releases so they know the logistics

Ahhh.... wait, no comic shops???

They make a good number of sales from comic shops... kids fork over their allowance, they browse, they see stuff they might like, etc.

Go fully digital and you hurt the comic shops, to the point that they close down. And for a lot of people, only 1 shop is even semi-close to home.

Fewer comic shops mean fewer physical sales. Not everyone will be able to buy online or even WANT to.

So in the comic case, for a while it was probably not wanting to destroy their symbiotic relationship with the comic shops.

What's changed since with DC? I have no idea. Maybe they've looked at the numbers and said that they can take the hit. But Marvel still isn't doing it.

This comment was edited on Aug 18, 2011, 08:56.
 
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54. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 08:45 Verno
 
While EA's credibility is questionable, the fact that almost nobody doubts Valve one iota around here scares the piss out of me.

It's like the equivalent of Steve Jobs fanboys in this thread.

Unlike Steve Jobs, Valve has done very little to earn the ire of its consumers. They've consistently made their business decisions also benefit consumers over the years instead of taking the short term approach which is more akin to what EA has done over the same time period. It's no mystery why consumers take them at face value, people like being treated well. Steam also has no natural competition as a platform, Origin itself is a shallow imitation at best. The industry needs to do better if it wants to compete.

I can make a long list of properties and companies EA has treated poorly over the years, hell we've gone through them exhaustively in previous threads. Saying it's all hearsay is nonsense, there is a distinct pattern with EA and its properties being mishandled that they have even copped to several times.

We aren't owed an explination that's exactly the point. People are going on about how EVIL EA is (because it's cool to hate them again it seems) and they line up for the "Valve are saints" koolaid at the drop of a hat. What I'm saying is people who are calling EA liars and evil don't know enough to make that call and if you look at their record over the last 10 years it's been one of steadily improving relationships with their developers and trying to service fans. I just get tired of the hyperbole train that gamers seem to like riding.

First off, I decide what people who want my money are entitled to or not. Who is using those words? Evil, really? You seem a little too invested in EAs appearance here. You saying they've improved something is not the same as them actually doing that. It has nothing to do with koolaid either, most people react based on how they're treated. It's pretty much that simple. If Steam was a shitty platform that treated people poorly then "fans" would converge on them like a pack of jackals.
 
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53. Re: Gabe Newell on EA vs. Steam Aug 18, 2011, 08:44 LittleMe
 
killer_roach wrote on Aug 17, 2011, 22:30:
Cutter wrote on Aug 17, 2011, 22:17:
If EA et al. want to cut out the middleman than why doesn't that reflect in the price of their games?

Games are priced on a monopolistic competition model

What monopoly is this? I've not seen a monopoly in the games market. That's because there isn't any. EA not selling BF3 on STEAM does not qualify as a monopoly.

killer_roach wrote on Aug 17, 2011, 22:30:
- to wit, to maximize profits, you're best off just staying in line with what most other similar titles (in terms of size and age) are going for. The name of the game is to charge what the market will bear, capture as much of the consumer's willingness to pay as possible, then lower the price as demand starts to tail off. Nothing about lowering overhead would result in their charging a lower price

We are experiencing monetary inflation around the world so if games this year are the same price as last year then the actual cost is indeed lowering. Lowering overhead can certainly lower lower prices. In fact, new development software is constantly reducing overhead costs for developing games. Imagine trying to develop Skyrim or BF3 in 1980. It would cost many hundreds of millions of dollars or more. It couldn't be done then and even break even.


killer_roach wrote on Aug 17, 2011, 22:30:
, since you're not angling to be the customer's one purchase (as would be the case for a big-ticket item like a car or a house), you're simply trying to be the next purchase.

The reduction of overhead on the part of the producer doesn't affect consumer purchasing decisions on the margins, although it may rankle some people who pay close attention to those sorts of things.

If a competitor can offer a better value then the customer will go there. Reducing overhead is very important to businesses as a way to stay price-competitive. That reduction in overhead does indeed pass down to the consumer. Not every time, but it does very often.

sigh. I see these Carl Marx University graduates too often.
 
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