I remember when Steam was first released, and everyone screamed "spyware" and "bloatware"! Now at the time, it probably had more annoyances than value. But the real issue with all the editorials and forum posts at the time was that almost NOBODY GOT IT.
Looking at the details everyone seems to be focused on, this feels like more of the same.
Many seem to be missing the point.
Valve is trying to blur the lines between what we currently know as standard roles like the community (players or content creators), developers, publishers, etc. They want to create an ecosystem where middlemen are dissolved or have low impact and anyone that adds perceived value can be immediately compensated for it and perhaps make a living out of it without jumping through hoops created by a massively broken publisher driven system that, in the end, all revolves around investment money and guys that don't give two $h!75 about games.
They are trying to breed good behavior and think the community is better at sorting out the value than publishers or even they are (which is why they are also letting the community curate that content).
So on the content side, they need a hierarchical system of sorts because of IP/ownership. This is the beginning of that. But it has to start with the most basic of steps: allow people who create content (that may not be standalone content) to make some money. It's hilarious to me that everyone immediately looks at %s and starts screaming "unfair". What's unfair is the state of things for the last 15 years. What's unfair is that if I learn how to use a game's tool set and create a massively awesome piece of work, that I can't be compensated in some fashion because it's tied to an IP or an engine license. So how am I supposed to find a way to devote any significant amount of time to it at all? Not only are there a ton of legalities involved that block my way towards any fiscal benefit, but it's not like someone has paved the way with an infrastructure that makes it easy to distribute/collect. My only option right now seems to be donations. Ask modders or other content creators how that's working out for them.
You know what that means for us in the community? There's a TON of talent out there among us that never flourishes because the gap between our current state of potential and the concept of being able to spend a decent amount of bandwidth to do something with it and not starve to death is too large. So besides a concept like Kickstarter, who else has tackled this very large structural problem?
I wonder if, 12 months from now, the guy who has been spending his days working as a cashier and his nights slaving away at that new map in his mom's basement will see it that way. I wonder if, 12 months from now, when a casual gamer who never saw this creator's work before at insertmodsitehere.com downloads a new, fully fledged version of that map for 99 cents that was only possible because the cashier quit his stupid cashier job to devote more time to his creative craft will see it that way.
But perhaps the biggest missed point of them all:
If developers can realize financial benefits by CATERING to this new model by ensuring the creative scene is supported by having the right tool sets and an open model (as well as an open mind with their own IPs), do you think they will? Shifting dev time and resources towards this common goal will be more than compensated by the outcome if executed well. So if I'm a sweet dev team but totally reliant on big brother Publisher to remain in existence, I can look over at this whole PC platform thing and start toying around with a future that doesn't involve big brother anymore. I've finally got another option. Maybe we CAN leave EA and survive. Maybe we can leave Activision and survive. Maybe we don't have to be Xbox One exclusive anymore. Maybe we don't NEED these guys anymore, and can rely on a new structure that connects us and our community and we can all help each other survive. This snowballs and the revolution begins.
This isn't creating a new closed system where the Microsofts squeeze everything out of everyone and each subsequent CEO makes bad decisions that impact fans and artists around the world. This is about creating an OPEN system and rewarding behavior on both sides that work towards that co-supportive goal that isn't reliant on a man in a suit.
This isn't just about crowd-sourcing content creation and making money off the blood, sweat, and tears of others. It's about creating new opportunities that have never existed before and rewarding the parts of the emerging model that work... a partially self correcting system that succeeds and becomes a new norm.
Like every new direction Valve takes, the entire system will prove it needs some major polish. They don't seem to be shy about completely changing or even shutting down ideas that don't work well though, whether you look at their game development or their platform development. I surmise that in a few years though, everyone will be looking back on this and realizing just how wrong they were, and how happy they are to have been so.
This comment was edited on Apr 27, 2015, 09:56.