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Steam Hardware Plans?

A post on The Verge follows up on recent comments by Valve's Gabe Newell about the possibility of Steam hardware by saying this is exactly what Valve is working on, and a reveal may come as early as next week at San Francisco's Game Developer's Conference (thanks Kotaku).

The article cites unnamed "sources" who say Valve is working with various hardware vendors on a "Steam Box," which sounds more exotic than "Windows PC," which is what this seems like, as word is: "Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up." They note a couple of possibilities that may make this more distinctive than a hardware specification, speculating it may include a proprietary controller, a biometric feedback device, and could take better advantage of Steam's "big picture mode."

This all still speculation at this point, as Valve has not responded to their request for comment.

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139 Replies. 7 pages. Viewing page 3.
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99. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 14:03 Beamer
 
Fibrocyte wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 11:45:
CJ_Parker wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 01:18:
Are you crazy? Where did that make any sense? Are people going to start playing PC games on the couch with keyboard and mouse? Yeah? Really?

I do it right now, you oaf.

If done right, the SteamBox will sell well and increase Valve's profits substantially. I'd be surprised if they didn't do this right.

You're one in a billion. There's a reason why so many companies have desperately tried to make some kind of mouse/keyboard combo for couches - what we have now does not work. The keyboard can be ok, but the mouse? I used to do some work on the couch, and it fucks your wrist up very, very quickly. You can buy a couch desk to rectify that, but who wants to bother?

Many on this board are convinced that console users want the luxury of having a mouse and keyboard you pick specifically, that they want to be able to tweak performance of both their games and their hardware, and that they want all that a PC offers.
Many on this board are wrong. These things that matter to us aren't interesting to most gamers, which is why they're on consoles and not PCs.
 
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Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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98. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 11:45 Fibrocyte
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 01:18:
Are you crazy? Where did that make any sense? Are people going to start playing PC games on the couch with keyboard and mouse? Yeah? Really?

I do it right now, you oaf.

If done right, the SteamBox will sell well and increase Valve's profits substantially. I'd be surprised if they didn't do this right.
 
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97. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 10:20 Muscular Beaver
 
Well, the 1000W+ PSUs and idiotic dual GPU cards need to be sold to someone I guess. One of the best choices to sell it to Steam users, since they have often proved that they swallow anything.  
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96. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 08:21 Bhruic
 
As PC gamers I'm willing to bet most of us here have rigs that are as powerful, if not more-so, than the proposed Steambox specs.

Than the completely generic, non-specific specs that are listed? Other than the 8GB of RAM, there's nothing there to compare against. i7? Ok, what clockrate? An NVidia GPU? Which one?

Assuming that whoever is doing this is going after hardcore gamers (the ones who have "powerful rigs") is rather silly when we know so little about it.
 
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95. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 07:09 theyarecomingforyou
 
There has been no indication as to what role the controller would be. It could be required, which would make this project little more than a glorified console but it could always be optional, simply requiring that it be an option for those that want it. I use a controller for more casual games (Assassin's Creed, Prince Of Persia, Tomb Raider, etc) yet that doesn't mean for a second I'd even consider trying to play first-person shooters or strategy games on one.

eunichron wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 04:51:
I think the point is that there is no point to it. If it isn't a proprietary system then it is entirely redundant, and it negates the biggest advantage that PC gaming has over consoles; the ability to upgrade our hardware whenever we want, however we want. Without that, with the proposed standardized specs, 5 years from now we're stuck in the same stagnation as we are now
Unless the specification is regularly updated, say every two or three years. That way it won't constrain development but will provide reassurance to those less familiar with PC gaming.
 
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94. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 04:51 eunichron
 
Jivaro wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 03:59:
Are you crazy? Where did that make any sense? Are people going to start playing PC games on the couch with keyboard and mouse? Yeah? Really?
Of course not. This is not a question of "done right". It's a question of no matter how they do it, it will still end up being just another console. Which means that it might be the last "salvo" in the battle to render the PC completely irrelevant.

I think the point is that there is no point to it. If it isn't a proprietary system then it is entirely redundant, and it negates the biggest advantage that PC gaming has over consoles; the ability to upgrade our hardware whenever we want, however we want. Without that, with the proposed standardized specs, 5 years from now we're stuck in the same stagnation as we are now; PC titles held back because of standardized hardware and inferior interface devices. As PC gamers I'm willing to bet most of us here have rigs that are as powerful, if not more-so, than the proposed Steambox specs. Valve isn't going to win anyone over with this, console players are going to stick to their Playstation and Xbox, and PC gamers are going to stay with their current machines. If its main advantage is digital delivery, well if the rumors of Xbox 720 and PS4 are true, they're going to have fairly robust digital delivery systems in place anyway (Xbox Live and PSN already have pretty decent digital delivery systems in place, including, as you mentioned, Netflix and Hulu, plus extras).

Shit, I'd also venture to guess that most of us here own multiple platforms. I myself have a desktop (that although is aging, can still run every modern title at a satisfactory level), a laptop and smartphone that are capable mobile platforms, an Xbox 360, and a PS3. There is no way that I would consider getting rid of my desktop if I am forced to sacrifice the ability the change the hardware and software as I see fit.
 
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93. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 03:59 Jivaro
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 01:18:
Jivaro wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 23:49:
^Drag0n^ wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 20:18:
I actually think this is brilliant, in a way: for practically ZERO investment, you can drop a huge library of *PC* games on the TV.

For what an xBox costs right now, you could have a more than compitent mid-grade PC hooked up to a TV.

Honestly? Done right, this could be the second salvo in the battle to keep the PC relevant.

Not a bad thing at all.

^D^

I knew somewhere in all these posts would be one "positive" post that made sense. +1, totally agree. Not that it couldn't go wrong...of course it could, but I don't see what is wrong with Valve testing the waters. Done wrong, its forgotten like the Nintendo Power Glove and Atari Jaguar, done right....it could be pretty damn cool.


Are you crazy? Where did that make any sense? Are people going to start playing PC games on the couch with keyboard and mouse? Yeah? Really?
Of course not. This is not a question of "done right". It's a question of no matter how they do it, it will still end up being just another console. Which means that it might be the last "salvo" in the battle to render the PC completely irrelevant.

Though I have no idea in general where y'all are getting the crazy idea from that Valve are the keepers and saviors of the PC. Starting with HL2 Orange Box their own games have become ever more consolized and Steam is PC-exclusive only because it has to be. I bet Valve would offer console games or services on Steam in a heartbeat if MS and Sony wanted to cooperate with Valve on that level.
Anyway, if they really enter the console market with a SteamBox the PC will suffer more greatly than you can possibly imagine. Bwwwahahahahaaaa

Way too many assumptions in any of that for me to take it seriously, sorry. If you can't picture a world of computers in livings rooms..it isn't me having trouble imagining anything. I have been doing that for years, as have many others. Hell, my PS3 has a keyboard and a mouse...let alone my TV-connected computer. If it were to be a closed platform, and thus a true console, that would defeat the purpose entirely, so I really doubt that is where Valve is going with this. I mean, what if a Steam box also ran things like Netflix and Hulu+? A huge library of games and multimedia on day one of release? I am just not seeing the problem....for anyone.

If all you got besides skepticism based on wild assertions all I can say is the same thing I said....if it sinks, so what....and if it sails, great. PC gaming isn't going anywhere unless PCs somehow die off, so I really don't factor something like this contributing to that one way or the other.

As for all the arguments about Valve's worth to PC gaming....well...If you think they have helped the PC gaming industry, people get all uppity and if you think they have been detrimental you get the same response. Whatever. Gamers just like to bitch is my opinion.
 
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92. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 03:42 El Pit
 
HorrorScope wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 02:37:
I am not a fan of making a controller a center piece at all. I'm ok with it for some games, but I largely play on the PC because of K/M.

This! EXACTLY THIS!
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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91. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 02:37 HorrorScope
 
I am not a fan of making a controller a center piece at all. I'm ok with it for some games, but I largely play on the PC because of K/M.  
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90. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 02:20 [VG]Reagle
 
And you guys call me a friggen troll.....  
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I am MUCH better now.
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89. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 02:14 RollinThundr
 
Dev wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 01:00:
RollinThundr wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 00:08:
Dev wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 16:32:
Steam has been a HUGE benefit for PC gamers, and in the last few years has been a big contributor to a welcome resurgence in indie gaming.
Valve: oh we're going to do 3 episodes for HL! It will ensure a quick turn around in dev time!
Yeah where's episode 3 again?

TF: Hey buy our hats and other virtual items so we can make even more money off our loyal suckers, er we mean fans.

Valve: How dare publishers have a front end for DLC in their games! WE REQUIRE OUR CUT

The truth of the matter while Steam doesn't suck quite as bad as it did for it's first couple years, anyone who thinks they're not in it for the money and actually give a shit about their fans (again where's the conclusion to half life?) is kidding themselves.

Sure they may have not have made as many slimebag moves as EA or Activision but really they're not much different than any other publisher in the industry.
Ever notice I've criticized valve before for things like the hl3 thing? In fact, I think I did it TWICE or more in THIS thread lol.
Ironically in this thread, steam haters basically accuse me of being a steam fanboi, and I've been accused by steam fans of being a steam hater. ZOMG, might I actually be neither?

The hats, valve started out doing them for fun, now valve would be stupid not to offer them as long as people keep buying them. And most of them are cosmetic, no one is forcing people to buy them. The game isn't pay to win like a lot of others are. In fact unlike a lot of other F2P games, the items in TF2 don't last for only a week and make you rebuy them. Valve has a huge conversion rate of 30% (compared to the industry standard of 2-5% for a F2P game) of people who buy something in TF2. And when they combine exclusive hats with pre-ordering other games, that's brilliant from a business standpoint.

The DLC thing, valve's position was basically: "we have no problem with you selling DLC however you like through your store, as long as you ALSO let our customers have a way to buy it through steam"
I agree with them. Its a real pain to have to create a bunch of accounts and buy DLC from a bunch of places. If I want to buy DLC, I want it all through steam. Ever notice how you STILL cannot buy the 2 different mass effect 1 DLC through steam? Thats annoying. If EA would let steam sell it, I would rebuy that DLC again through steam just so I wouldn't have to deal with manually integrating the EA downloaded DLC into the steam version of ME1. Plus having no limitations on something like that means that F2P games could easily cut valve out altogether and basically get free hosting.

Valve DOES care about its fans, its just that they care more about its employees. They have no management, so no one is telling them to stick to a project until its done. They mostly work on things interesting to them. Incidentally this explains their erratic patch process where they sometimes leave bugs in for years, or have super obvious bugs that one would find in 5 minutes of playtime. The patching and especially testing isn't very interesting to them. It explains a lot of odd valve behavior in fact. Right now, the interesting things to valve are DOTA 2, mobile steam, and perhaps hardware. Valve has a secure income stream from steam for the foreseeable future and can do WTF ever they want, and would hardly miss the income if they never ever again developed a single game.

I don't think I called you a valve fan boy at all. But calling them customer centric is a stretch imo. Justifying shit not getting finished by them because their employees aren't interested in it? Why should anyone justify that? Or think that it's ok? For the sole reason they're not a publicly traded company?

Oh gods that makes them so much more holier than EA or Take Two or any other publisher.

DRM laden DD service? Check
Dishonesty about time lines for product dev cycles? Check
Greedy in regards to wanting a chunk of DLC sales? Check
Lack of timely post release support for their self developed titles? Check!

I don't blame EA for wanting to do things their own way with DLC, they fund it, it's their IP, but oh shit EA's evil because oh nos they won't put it on the precious Steam! Please.

They care about their fans, yet have erratic patching and half the time don't fix issues for years or at all. Yep that's real customer care right there! Yes indeedy! Headscratch
 
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88. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 02:08 Sepharo
 
Apparently there's some more leaked details and photos:

http://kotaku.com/5890275/is-this-a-photo-of-valves-rumored-console

Likely not even a "prototype". They're probably building a bunch of these since they're "interested" in small PCs right now.

This comment was edited on Mar 4, 2012, 02:13.
 
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87. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 01:33 Dev
 
CJ_Parker wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 01:18:
Which means that it might be the last "salvo" in the battle to render the PC completely irrelevant.
[...]
Steam is PC-exclusive only because it has to be. I bet Valve would offer console games or services on Steam in a heartbeat if MS and Sony wanted to cooperate with Valve on that level.
Anyway, if they really enter the console market with a SteamBox the PC will suffer more greatly than you can possibly imagine. Bwwwahahahahaaaa
LOL, I wonder why you frequent a PC centric news site if the PC is irrelevant. Its also telling you still haven't responded to my point by point rebuttal of your post.

Also, steam isn't PC exclusive, they have some steam access through PS3 through portal 2. And of course they just released the first iteration of mobile steam. They said they were entering the mobile market, and I mentioned it a few times (along with them saying they are entering the MMO and social markets), and sure enough, they did a mobile version of steam.

MS lost $4 billion entering the console market (thats the combined sales and losses of xbox 1, including all the profit from xbox 1 licenses, etc, the total is negative $4 bills). Now to a company like MS, thats maybe just a quarter's cash profit. Valve has a pile of money, but I don't think its quite that big enough to just lose $4 billion on a random project to enter the console market. Much more likely they will sell a steam branded PC box that is guaranteed to run any steam game and preloaded with a bunch. If the hardware specs are i7 with 8gb ram and a decent video card, I don't see how that will make PC gaming suffer. If anything it would help it (even if only by a small amount). That would be a better gaming system than the average PC gamer has.

This comment was edited on Mar 4, 2012, 01:42.
 
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86. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 01:18 CJ_Parker
 
Jivaro wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 23:49:
^Drag0n^ wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 20:18:
I actually think this is brilliant, in a way: for practically ZERO investment, you can drop a huge library of *PC* games on the TV.

For what an xBox costs right now, you could have a more than compitent mid-grade PC hooked up to a TV.

Honestly? Done right, this could be the second salvo in the battle to keep the PC relevant.

Not a bad thing at all.

^D^

I knew somewhere in all these posts would be one "positive" post that made sense. +1, totally agree. Not that it couldn't go wrong...of course it could, but I don't see what is wrong with Valve testing the waters. Done wrong, its forgotten like the Nintendo Power Glove and Atari Jaguar, done right....it could be pretty damn cool.


Are you crazy? Where did that make any sense? Are people going to start playing PC games on the couch with keyboard and mouse? Yeah? Really?
Of course not. This is not a question of "done right". It's a question of no matter how they do it, it will still end up being just another console. Which means that it might be the last "salvo" in the battle to render the PC completely irrelevant.

Though I have no idea in general where y'all are getting the crazy idea from that Valve are the keepers and saviors of the PC. Starting with HL2 Orange Box their own games have become ever more consolized and Steam is PC-exclusive only because it has to be. I bet Valve would offer console games or services on Steam in a heartbeat if MS and Sony wanted to cooperate with Valve on that level.
Anyway, if they really enter the console market with a SteamBox the PC will suffer more greatly than you can possibly imagine. Bwwwahahahahaaaa
 
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85. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 01:00 Dev
 
RollinThundr wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 00:08:
Dev wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 16:32:
Steam has been a HUGE benefit for PC gamers, and in the last few years has been a big contributor to a welcome resurgence in indie gaming.
Valve: oh we're going to do 3 episodes for HL! It will ensure a quick turn around in dev time!
Yeah where's episode 3 again?

TF: Hey buy our hats and other virtual items so we can make even more money off our loyal suckers, er we mean fans.

Valve: How dare publishers have a front end for DLC in their games! WE REQUIRE OUR CUT

The truth of the matter while Steam doesn't suck quite as bad as it did for it's first couple years, anyone who thinks they're not in it for the money and actually give a shit about their fans (again where's the conclusion to half life?) is kidding themselves.

Sure they may have not have made as many slimebag moves as EA or Activision but really they're not much different than any other publisher in the industry.
Ever notice I've criticized valve before for things like the hl3 thing? In fact, I think I did it TWICE or more in THIS thread lol.
Ironically in this thread, steam haters basically accuse me of being a steam fanboi, and I've been accused by steam fans of being a steam hater. ZOMG, might I actually be neither?

The hats, valve started out doing them for fun, now valve would be stupid not to offer them as long as people keep buying them. And most of them are cosmetic, no one is forcing people to buy them. The game isn't pay to win like a lot of others are. In fact unlike a lot of other F2P games, the items in TF2 don't last for only a week and make you rebuy them. Valve has a huge conversion rate of 30% (compared to the industry standard of 2-5% for a F2P game) of people who buy something in TF2. And when they combine exclusive hats with pre-ordering other games, that's brilliant from a business standpoint.

The DLC thing, valve's position was basically: "we have no problem with you selling DLC however you like through your store, as long as you ALSO let our customers have a way to buy it through steam"
I agree with them. Its a real pain to have to create a bunch of accounts and buy DLC from a bunch of places. If I want to buy DLC, I want it all through steam. Ever notice how you STILL cannot buy the 2 different mass effect 1 DLC through steam? Thats annoying. If EA would let steam sell it, I would rebuy that DLC again through steam just so I wouldn't have to deal with manually integrating the EA downloaded DLC into the steam version of ME1. Plus having no limitations on something like that means that F2P games could easily cut valve out altogether and basically get free hosting.

Valve DOES care about its fans, its just that they care more about its employees. They have no management, so no one is telling them to stick to a project until its done. They mostly work on things interesting to them. Incidentally this explains their erratic patch process where they sometimes leave bugs in for years, or have super obvious bugs that one would find in 5 minutes of playtime. The patching and especially testing isn't very interesting to them. It explains a lot of odd valve behavior in fact. Right now, the interesting things to valve are DOTA 2, mobile steam, and perhaps hardware. Valve has a secure income stream from steam for the foreseeable future and can do WTF ever they want, and would hardly miss the income if they never ever again developed a single game.

This comment was edited on Mar 4, 2012, 01:17.
 
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84. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 00:45 Dev
 
eunichron wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 23:49:
Dev wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 22:11:
2) No, more like I'm referring to those class action lawsuits from EA employees vs EA. Those ones that cost EA over $30 million. I have no idea what letter you are talking about.
You realize that was back in 2004, right? EA has since gotten a new CEO, and word is (even from the employees involved in the lawsuit) that things have improved immensely. Their game support may suck, but those aren't usually games I play anyway. What's more, most of the claims of permanent bans (especially the ones surrounding DA2, SW:TOR) are hoaxes.

Also, EA may ban people (for 72 hours) for acting like jackasses, but Valve only bans you for being generous: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/01/thought-do-we-own-our-steam-games/
So? Its still part of EA's history, and its still a counter point to the post I was responding to. He was implying that EA never screwed over its employees like that.

And I never claimed valve was a paragon of virtue. Their steam support kinda sucks. Every story I've seen about it generally confirms that opinion. I don't recall ever having seen a story of someone who said "yeah, man I contacted steam and they fixed everything instantly and dang do they have good steam ticket customer support"

That story btw, was put on bluesnews, and I believed I responded in that thread too. Also, the guy was russian and that happened right around the time of the fraud with bots doing the 1 cent humble bundle purchases to rape steam of the free gifts (and then sell them). IMHO, its not out of the realm of possibility he was mixed up in that stuff and got banned for doing stuff with that.

Also, he openly admitted to violating the steam TOS

I helped some friends get cheaper games from my region (Russia). Some paid me via paypal (Steam doesn't allow this)

This comment was edited on Mar 4, 2012, 01:15.
 
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83. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 00:30 RollinThundr
 
eunichron wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 00:21:
Scheherazade wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 00:11:
eunichron wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 23:49:

[...]

Also, EA may ban people (for 72 hours) for acting like jackasses, but Valve only bans you for being generous: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/01/thought-do-we-own-our-steam-games/

That's not even an example...

1) The guy bought a metric crap ton of stuff all at once on steam.

2) Steam thought the account had been hacked, and suspended it.

3) The account holder verified to valve that the purchases were legitimate, and that it was not a hack.

4) The account was restored.


How is that any different than when my credit card company locks my card after I spend a crap ton of money all at once?

-scheherazade

They locked his account, refused to tell him why, and they wouldn't even engage in dialogue until he hounded them about it every day for a week... at which point they then restored his account, minus his ability to trade and gift. I don't know if you've ever dealt with your credit card company about fraud, but I have, and they are usually very cordial and open about the whole process... and they don't give me my card back with only limited access.

So wait, you mean to tell me the guy spent a ton of money on Steam, and Valve actually got pissy at the guy for doing so, locked his account and refused to provide support. Then after he continued to press they didn't give him full access back to his account?

Oh yeah Valve's such a bastion of customer service. lol! How pathetic.
 
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82. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 00:21 eunichron
 
Scheherazade wrote on Mar 4, 2012, 00:11:
eunichron wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 23:49:

[...]

Also, EA may ban people (for 72 hours) for acting like jackasses, but Valve only bans you for being generous: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/01/thought-do-we-own-our-steam-games/

That's not even an example...

1) The guy bought a metric crap ton of stuff all at once on steam.

2) Steam thought the account had been hacked, and suspended it.

3) The account holder verified to valve that the purchases were legitimate, and that it was not a hack.

4) The account was restored.


How is that any different than when my credit card company locks my card after I spend a crap ton of money all at once?

-scheherazade

They locked his account, refused to tell him why, and they wouldn't even engage in dialogue until he hounded them about it every day for a week... at which point they then restored his account, minus his ability to trade and gift. I don't know if you've ever dealt with your credit card company about fraud, but I have, and they are usually very cordial and open about the whole process... and they don't give me my card back with only limited access.
 
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81. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 00:11 Scheherazade
 
eunichron wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 23:49:

[...]

Also, EA may ban people (for 72 hours) for acting like jackasses, but Valve only bans you for being generous: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/01/thought-do-we-own-our-steam-games/

That's not even an example...

1) The guy bought a metric crap ton of stuff all at once on steam.

2) Steam thought the account had been hacked, and suspended it.

3) The account holder verified to valve that the purchases were legitimate, and that it was not a hack.

4) The account was restored.


How is that any different than when my credit card company locks my card after I spend a crap ton of money all at once?

-scheherazade
 
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80. Re: Steam Hardware Plans? Mar 4, 2012, 00:08 RollinThundr
 
Dev wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 16:32:
eunichron wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 15:59:
Dev wrote on Mar 3, 2012, 15:47:
You are confusing valve with MS/EA/actiblizz/sony.

And how exactly is Valve different than MS/EA/Actiblizz/Sony?

Oh, right, they aren't.

Actually, Valve has better PR. That's about the only difference I can see.
LOL, have you ever bothered to see what those companies do that's different? How EA has screwed over gamers (PC gamers especially) and its own employees, and studios it buys out for a very long time?

The biggest difference someone should see instantly even with no idea of the history or the products is that all those others have stockholders. Valve isn't publicly traded. And if someone has bothered to read even a single valve interview, its also the only company in that list that has a flat management (aka none) structure.

Steam has been a HUGE benefit for PC gamers, and in the last few years has been a big contributor to a welcome resurgence in indie gaming.

Valve: oh we're going to do 3 episodes for HL! It will ensure a quick turn around in dev time!
Yeah where's episode 3 again?

TF: Hey buy our hats and other virtual items so we can make even more money off our loyal suckers, er we mean fans.

Valve: How dare publishers have a front end for DLC in their games! WE REQUIRE OUR CUT

The truth of the matter while Steam doesn't suck quite as bad as it did for it's first couple years, anyone who thinks they're not in it for the money and actually give a shit about their fans (again where's the conclusion to half life?) is kidding themselves.

Sure they may have not have made as many slimebag moves as EA or Activision but really they're not much different than any other publisher in the industry.
 
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