No matter how many subscribers Steam has, most people are losing sight of the fact that *not* all those subs are buying games on Steam. Most are actually subs who had no choice but to adopt Steam since they needed it in order to play Valve games.
First off, you don't subscribe to Steam, there are no subscription fees or anything like Xbox Live. You download it and install it. If you want to purchase a game, you can do so, no one forces anyone to do anything. I only have 2 Valve games on Steam, I've purchased over 20 non-Valve games. It has a decent user interface, auto-patching, painless buying procedure, game gifting and so on. It's not feature complete by any means but people use it because it's the standard right now and nothing else comes close while also offering high quality games.
If anything, the best sites (in terms of hosting, royalties, marketing, exposure etc) are - bar none, Direct2Drive and Gamers Gate.
Direct2Drive versions of games are notorious for having patches lag behind retail versions and problems with DRM, so I'm not sure why you would choose that as a good example comparison to Steam which auto-patches and has a relatively seamless DRM integration.
So, I'm not in the least surprised that the likes of Capcom (!) couldn't reach an agreement with Valve.
Valve is very protective of their baby and their customers. Most of the disputes with publishers have been due to pricing, not royalties according most of the devs who have posted about it. It's Valve service, if they don't want people polluting it with crappy games that cost too much money, I'm ok with that. Do you also hate XBLA for having even more stringent requirements? Developers grumble about that too but they still use it. Steam had a very rocky start and I doubt they want to rock the boat by letting hoards of publishers unleash overpriced crud. In the case of Bionic Commando Rearmed, supposedly they wanted to price the PC version higher than the console version and didn't really give Valve a good reason for doing so. So Valve said "ok thanks anyways, good luck". If devs are truly so fed up then we'll see a true competitor emerge but until a credible one appears I'm sticking to Steam and purchasing my games solely on it.
As to the DRM issue, people are screaming about EA and the Mass Effect DRM, Take 2 and the BioShock DRM etc, when in fact Steam is NO BETTER imo. In fact, with Steam - you need to be authenticated more often than desired. And you try playing your games offline one day and see how far you get. Most times, you can't - and for whatever reason.
With Steam you sign in and you can access your entire game library, not sure what you're getting at there. I have offline play enabled when I travel from time to time and I've had no problems with any games thus far.
Steam isn't perfect, there are a number of features I'd like to see in the future but competing products don't possess them either. I like having all of my games in one place, I like having them patched for me and I like being able to purchase a game quickly if I want it. Steam delivers all of those things well and no one else comes close in my experience.
I'm done downloading and installing third party apps from every publisher under the sun and signing up for a hundred different online accounts and so on, they can put it on Steam or not get my money. One damned place for my games, it was bad enough organizing my collection of game discs let alone having crap all over the computer and keeping track of so many different accounts.This comment was edited on Aug 15, 18:20.
Playing: Xenoblade Chronicles DE, Ys IX, God of War
Watching: Lupin, You me and the Apocalypse, Days of Thunder