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 4.
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85.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 17:13
85.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 17:13
Nov 11, 2010, 17:13
 
I don't give a shit about retailers. The last several years retailers were shitting all over PC gaming anyway. PC games were treated like adult magazines at a corner store; hidden away and mostly generic shit.

At least with Steam, you see that "indie" category? You think that would ever occur at some corporate retail chain, hell no. Steam is helping PC gaming and gaming in general by supporting the little guys who would have a much more difficult time finding funding, marketing, or distributing; that alone justifies Steam over retailers in my mind. The Braid's, World of Goo's, Amnesia's that are helping to innovate a somewhat stagnant market.

Though, I must say that it pisses me off to have to be connected to the internet to play a single-player game that I paid for.

Anyway, good luck to retailers trying to muscle developers against Steam. I can see it now, walking into the PC section of a Gamestop with one PC game in stock "Muppet Babies: Learn the ABCs".
84.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 17:11
84.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 17:11
Nov 11, 2010, 17:11
 
space captain wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 16:40:
DrEvil wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 16:05:
You talk about Steam as if the service was responsible for setting the prices. It's not. The publishers set the prices; not Steam.

You speak as if they have zero input on the matter - and thats ludicrous

Steam is a multi-billion corp, they've got plenty of swing with the pubs

You give them too much credit. Maybe in another one or two years as more and more retail sales get pushed onto Steam they might have that clout, but even then, revenue from console games dwarfs the PC.

If Valve tried to push EA for example, EA would probably just say, "Hey, we already have our own digital distribution service, bye!".

Even then, should Valve have that kind of power? That's the sort of behaviour you expect from monopolists.

Ultimately, I don't want Valve to control pricing. I want the free market to.
83.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 17:05
83.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 17:05
Nov 11, 2010, 17:05
 
Eh, I use D2D, GG and Impulse, too. Granted, I don't use them as often as Steam (as in, the majority of my purchases are on Steam), but sometimes there are some cool games and prices on non-steam DD services.

The truth is other digital distributors aren't trying. Yes, Steam is the best, but if you want to make a successful digital store, then you have to make it BETTER than Steam. Achievements, community features, in-game overlay, game tracking and so on. If you don't have these, then you'll always be #2 to Steam. Prices help out a lot, too. Sell every game at $1 less than Steam and see how that works for you.
"If you like it, they will stop making it" - Herblock's Law
82.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:56
Dev
82.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:56
Nov 11, 2010, 16:56
Dev
 
Nxs:
I see from the reply coding when I tried a reply you lost the open quote there, you have the close but not open
I tried posting it here in a bluesnews "code" option, but it interprets it inside that too.

space captain wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 16:40:
DrEvil wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 16:05:
You talk about Steam as if the service was responsible for setting the prices. It's not. The publishers set the prices; not Steam.

You speak as if they have zero input on the matter - and thats ludicrous

Steam is a multi-billion corp, they've got plenty of swing with the pubs
Yeah and steam is probably pushing for the prices to go down for things like sales or even initial release. Remember, valve has been experimenting with prices and sales. Notice how most of those indie titles come out fairly low on steam with a 10% discount on top of that initially? Thats when publishers aren't afraid to cannibalize retail sales (and of course they are at a lower price point anyway than top tier titles, but many of these games could probably sell even at $10 instead of $5)
Heck, valve would LOVE it if they let them discount it on release day, they'd take away a lot of retail sales which they don't generally see a penny of.
81.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:49
81.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:49
Nov 11, 2010, 16:49
 
The trending aside, it's interesting to note the lack of names of these people and where they stand in the food chain...
It could be some low level schmuck spouting off.

That being said, I'm not seeing any problem with the digital system competition, a few choices away, D2D, Impulse, Steam, EADM and GFW:L ?
Doesn't seem like any more of a monopoly than usual in this business...

I do enjoy that last line (in the headline) B&M stores, they could give a coiling fart about the PC market...as I watch the PC section in EB shrink year after year...
Oh...and why am I paying the same price for a Box / DVD as for a download lacking shipping and packaging???
80.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:41
Nxs
80.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:41
Nov 11, 2010, 16:41
Nxs
 

Nxs wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 12:22:
Wrong! What is really driving people to steam? You can't play a damn PC game without it! IN other words, you have no choice but to play almost any PC game on steam no matter where you bought it.
Almost any game? What? Nonsense, plenty of games don't use steam. You are talking full steamworks games which are a minority, not a majority. Just because you can buy it on steam and use it on steam, doesn't mean steam is required if you buy a retail copy.

Now steamworks games are becoming a bigger percentage, I think MW2 showed that valve can handle a big AAA title that was steamworks, so others are using it. But for instance Dragon Age wasn't steamworks. All those windows live games? They aren't full steamworks games.
Alrighty, I may have exaggerated for effect a little bit there. It was just to get my point across though.

For example, I do not like to play any FPS game on a console. I play FPS games much better with a mouse and keyboard, could be that I am old. I wanted to play Civ 5. I didn't though. Why? You had to have steam to play. I wanted to give Black Ops a shot as it has been a long time since I have played a CoD title. Again, it required steam. Plus it was Activision. That's another thing though. So, the only way I could play Black Ops was rent it for the 360.

Steam/steamworks. Eh. To me it is all crap. Make no mistake though, I do not like any game that requires me to have a third party app installed to play or be connected to the internet to install or play the SP part of it.

Even though I hate steam with a fiery passion from hell, I do not wish it gone because people do like it. Even though I still say that is basically a forced thing. I just want a version that does not require steam. I don't think that is too much to ask
79.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:40
79.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:40
Nov 11, 2010, 16:40
 
DrEvil wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 16:05:
You talk about Steam as if the service was responsible for setting the prices. It's not. The publishers set the prices; not Steam.

You speak as if they have zero input on the matter - and thats ludicrous

Steam is a multi-billion corp, they've got plenty of swing with the pubs
78.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:24
78.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:24
Nov 11, 2010, 16:24
 
People like instant gratification Dev, also just edit the list out and link to it dude
Avatar 51617
77.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:12
Dev
77.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:12
Nov 11, 2010, 16:12
Dev
 
Creston wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 15:52:
StingingVelvet wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 14:16:
What's up with so many people saying they use Steam because you can't find boxed versions? If you're on the internet for Steam perhaps you heard of something called amazon?

Have you ever heard that there are gamers in other countries than the US? And that Amazon doesn't ship to said countries? There's several people making that exact argument in this thread.

Creston
I just finished the whole thread (at least skimming) and I didn't see that. Maybe I missed it. I saw a lot of people saying they couldn't find something at GAMESTOP though because of their pitiful or non existent PC selection, and that being a reason they shop at steam.

Most of those countries have an amazon they can shop at, even if its not amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, etc.
They may not have as good of prices for the goods or charge more for shipping, but they generally exist.
I've actually purchased from other amazon sites and shipped to USA before on the rare occasion (such as when amazon.de has a german board game thats cheaper to buy from them and pay international shipping than other alternatives).

In fact, look at the bottom of this page where you can click regions:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=596184

The ONLY country I saw (I checked each regions list which is at the bottom of the region page), that they specifically say they won't ship to is Russia (and on double checking, they actually still ship to them, just they require priority shipping for some reason when you ship there). And they listed 100-200 countries all told.

Edit:
In fact, I'll just copy paste all the regions countries. I'm not going to bother cleaning it up for posting, too much work.

Edit moar:
Due to excessive length, someone requested I remove the list so I did
I did a line # count on the list and it was 226. Isn't that every country in the world? Of course maybe there are dupes on the list, but I'm not going to take the time to figure out how many there are.

Note that if there are region restrictions on specific titles/items, that's not generally amazon's fault. Its generally either the publisher's fault (like when you can't get some stuff on d2d or steam in certain countries), or its the fault of the individual country for banning that title.

This comment was edited on Nov 11, 2010, 16:39.
76.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:08
76.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:08
Nov 11, 2010, 16:08
 
Please provide a link to a better alternative. I'm interested in Impulse but its nice having all my games in Steam and I'm willing to spend a few extra bucks.

I'd say gog.com is my personal next best alternative (strictly speaking experience wise).

However, I don't think gog.com's current model would work well for games that need to be updated frequently as they don't have an easy update program or the like.

I use Steam as well, but I wish Steam was more like GOG.

In particular, I find it really heinous that Valve allows publishers to add their own DRM on top of the DRM that Steam already provides. (e.g. games that use SecuROM in addition to Steam) That's something Valve could require publishers not do, but they'd rather have the money
75.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:05
75.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:05
Nov 11, 2010, 16:05
 
space captain wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 15:19:
Steam is bullshit for charging full retail prices on games when you receive no actual physical merchandise.. as there is a significant amount of developmental money that goes into art/packaging/advertising, which is recouped in the purchase price - and im not just talking about the component cost, which is negligible. Since steam doesnt deliver any physical materials, the resulting retail price should be lower by a noticeable margin.

You talk about Steam as if the service was responsible for setting the prices. It's not. The publishers set the prices; not Steam.

Even then though, you're being a bit unfair given that you can practically guarantee that at multiple points during the year, publishers choose to sell their games on Steam for far below the amount you'd ever find them at retail.
74.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 16:03
Dev
74.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 16:03
Nov 11, 2010, 16:03
Dev
 
Verno wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 15:59:
Retailers is basically the ONLY reason why valve charges crazy prices for new releases

Valve doesn't set prices for games on its service, that is up to the individual publishers/developers. Also I find it hard to believe that the industry would drop the prices on newer releases, at least those at the AAA level. Generally speaking if they can charge more, they will and only lower the price when forced to. Valve doesn't have that kind of clout either, Steam is very successful but the console markets dwarf it several times over.
I did mention publishers in my reply I can't remember if I edited that in or not, but its there.

Nxs wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 12:22:
Wrong! What is really driving people to steam? You can't play a damn PC game without it! IN other words, you have no choice but to play almost any PC game on steam no matter where you bought it.
Almost any game? What? Nonsense, plenty of games don't use steam. You are talking full steamworks games which are a minority, not a majority. Just because you can buy it on steam and use it on steam, doesn't mean steam is required if you buy a retail copy.

Now steamworks games are becoming a bigger percentage, I think MW2 showed that valve can handle a big AAA title that was steamworks, so others are using it. But for instance Dragon Age wasn't steamworks. All those windows live games? They aren't full steamworks games.
73.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 15:59
73.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 15:59
Nov 11, 2010, 15:59
 
Retailers is basically the ONLY reason why valve charges crazy prices for new releases

Valve doesn't set prices for games on its service, that is up to the individual publishers/developers. Also I find it hard to believe that the industry would drop the prices on newer releases, at least those at the AAA level. Generally speaking if they can charge more, they will and only lower the price when forced to. Valve doesn't have that kind of clout either, Steam is very successful but the console markets dwarf it several times over.
Avatar 51617
72.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 15:53
Dev
72.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 15:53
Nov 11, 2010, 15:53
Dev
 
LOL.
A fight with retailers sounds good to me. Retailers is basically the ONLY reason why valve charges crazy prices for new releases, because they (and the publishers) don't want to cannibalize retail sales. If retail doesn't matter anymore, we might see better prices on steam for new releases, instead of same price except without a box.

necrosis wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 10:43:
The only thing so far that pisses me off about Steam are the games that have Steam DRM & some other form with limited activations.
Thats not steam's fault, thats the publishers fault, valve always tells them its not needed and the publisher insists. Often they have the same crap protection on the retail as well as steam
71.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 15:52
71.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 15:52
Nov 11, 2010, 15:52
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 14:16:
What's up with so many people saying they use Steam because you can't find boxed versions? If you're on the internet for Steam perhaps you heard of something called amazon?

Have you ever heard that there are gamers in other countries than the US? And that Amazon doesn't ship to said countries? There's several people making that exact argument in this thread.

Creston

This comment was edited on Nov 11, 2010, 16:00.
Avatar 15604
70.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 15:50
DG
70.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 15:50
Nov 11, 2010, 15:50
DG
 
OK, I'll buy the argument that retailers do not want to be stocking a game that requires the Steam client. Only obvious solution I see to that is
a) both Steam and non-steam versions of games are released. Good for some gamers who don't like steam but a significant nuisance and costly for developers who now have to maintain two SKUs. In the long run probably best option as makes it more likely a decent Steam competitor could enter the market.
b) when Steam is being installed from a disk it could default to a "Lite" version that only shows the Library. No benefit for the gamers who don't like Steam and only partially appeasing retailers but no extra hassle for developers and should be fairly minimal for Valve.

But in general, what a bunch of babies. Steam is hugely popular because it is good. OK so some issues, but for most they are vastly over compensated for. Excellent service, great features, highly convenient, vastly bigger range than B&M...

On the whole the prices are pretty good. I often find games a little cheaper at an e-tailer, but then there's the sales. Notice though that when games are on Steam at full RRP while stores are discounting, it's the same publishers. This is because they have agreements with distributors - the price is higher on Steam to appease retail.

Also, if you're a big retailer you should not be anonymously criticising Steam (or anything else). If you're not willing to put your name to what you say then why the fuck are you saying it? How lame is that?

This comment was edited on Nov 11, 2010, 15:56.
Avatar 14793
69.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 15:44
69.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 15:44
Nov 11, 2010, 15:44
 
Anyways, yeah, until Valve decides to let me sell shit tied to I'll never buy anything I don't ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO (like Orange box). That's a huge fucking deal breaker from my point of view, as always. But it isn't just Steam doing that nowadays, unfortunately.

Agreed. Hell, I have a ton of stuff I never play that I'd love to gift to friends but I can't even do that.
Avatar 51617
68.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 15:43
68.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 15:43
Nov 11, 2010, 15:43
 
space captain wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 15:19:
Steam is bullshit for charging full retail prices on games when you receive no actual physical merchandise.. as there is a significant amount of developmental money that goes into art/packaging/advertising, which is recouped in the purchase price - and im not just talking about the component cost, which is negligible. Since steam doesnt deliver any physical materials, the resulting retail price should be lower by a noticeable margin.

Thats not to mention the incredibly invasive client you are required to have up online and running.

Steam isnt the devil, but its no angel either.

To be fair Steam does run awesome specials. I got Dragon Age at a pretty good discount.
67.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 15:42
PHJF
 
67.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 15:42
Nov 11, 2010, 15:42
 PHJF
 
I don't mind having to do on-line activation/registration, but yeah, I have to agree. I really dislike the, you must log-in to Steam (or Battle.Net or whatever) to play the game, even in single player mode. It annoys the ever living hell out of me.

In cases where your computer is always online (read: most all the time), there's no reason not to have Steam set to start up with Windows. Put ALL your games (including nonsteam) into your Steam library and you have a nice, uncluttered place from which to access all your games.

Anyways, yeah, until Valve decides to let me sell shit tied to I'll never buy anything I don't ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO (like Orange box). That's a huge fucking deal breaker from my point of view, as always. But it isn't just Steam doing that nowadays, unfortunately.
Steam + PSN: PHJF
Avatar 17251
66.
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 11, 2010, 15:41
66.
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 11, 2010, 15:41
Nov 11, 2010, 15:41
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 14:44:
Verno wrote on Nov 11, 2010, 14:39:
Like what? I have yet to find anything that offers a comprehensive client and library management app on par of the quality of Steam. Show me the same feature parity and quality without platform lock-in and I'll be the first person there.

You seem to think everyone shares your opinion on value which is false. Some people only care about price, others only care about individual product features and other people don't care about anything except ease of use. If people only cared about price then sure they would order from Amazon but some people just value convenience and theres nothing wrong with that. Put bluntly, some people just want to play games and don't care about the politics of gaming like you and I do.

Yes, I know... giving up the freedom and independence of PC gaming for convenience and simplicity, just like a console. That was pretty much my entire point. No, I cannot name a service that spoon-feeds better than Steam does, that does not mean there is no "better" alternative.

Please provide a link to a better alternative. I'm interested in Impulse but its nice having all my games in Steam and I'm willing to spend a few extra bucks.

For me I like Steam because its easy for me to get my games on a new machine or after I've paved a machine. I've actually purchased second copies of games for this convenience.

I really like when they have specials. I've gotten entire catalogs of games for crazy cheap.

Things I don't like, having to be logged in for some games. Not all require this if I remember correctly.

DRM is not an issue for me with Steam, DRM from the company selling the game is though. BTW some DRM provide a worse hassle with a physical CD then through Steam. (vice versa as well)

As for freedom and independence of PC gaming I'd say, if anything, Steam helps. I've picked up several games I would not have normally, advertising and specials on Steam works. I've also gifted several games, heck I got my father-in-law railroad games. He can barely point and click but he loves those things. That's money that I expect goes to keeping PC gaming alive. Lets not forget the independent games that are available on Steam as well.
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