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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Re: Retailers Versus Steam?
Nov 12, 2010, 09:16
Verno
 
Re: Retailers Versus Steam? Nov 12, 2010, 09:16
Nov 12, 2010, 09:16
 Verno
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Nov 12, 2010, 07:36:
The fact is that PC gaming has always been an open platform anyone can develop for and find
success on.

Minecraft would like a word with you. The former is still possible and the latter is highly subjective. "Find success on" is a ridiculously vague and meaningless statement. For the most part a game will be successful on it's own merits, the method of distribution has little to do with it beyond exposure and impulse purchases. If people want your game they will seek it out. If people just want to be on Steam to get a lot of impulse purchases from consumers who barely even know what they're buying then I have trouble sympathizing with those developers.

People want all of the benefits of Steam without having any restrictions. It's a centrally run service, it's not owned by a group or commission. There are rules to prevent it from becoming the bargain bin shelves at Wal-mart and to enforce standards. The rules must be incredibly lax by the way considering the sheer size of the catalog which ranges from the poorest indies to AAA publishing powerhouses. People basically want Valve to do everything for them, do it free and oh by the way no restrictions whatsoever. People want the digital market to be exactly the same as retail was. As a centrally run service by a single entity, those goals don't jive with its setup and operation.

What I am attacking is the act of making PC games more closed off, less free for user choice. Auto-patching is great until you want to not use a patch, which I have done 100 times or more in my life. Account-based ownership is great until you want to pass the game on, sell the game or lose your account. Steam as a platform is great until you want to not use it and you aren\'t Blizzard and then your game dies on the vine because Steam is a defacto platform controller.

You can disable auto-patching on a per game basis AFAIK. Account based ownership is a give and take thing and I'd like people to note how few games can be resold period these days, it seems to be an industry trend, not just a Steam one. Oh and again, Minecraft. From nowhere to overnight success without Steam. If people want your game, they will seek it out. "But for every Minecraft there are 100 failures!" Yes but that's always been the case on just about every platform.

Why is it that no one can speak of Steam\'s downsides?

People have been doing that all topic long. It's no ones fault that you did a hit and run then came back later and ignored discussion context. In fact most of the people posting positive things about Steam usually note a few negatives as well. Most people have been fairly reasonable. Some people have weighed the positives and negatives of Steam and still use it. Disagreeing with your opinion != "dozens of rabid fans".

q[Still, I understand the core point of "they have no real competition." I get that. I'm just saying the current heading is a bad one, I'm not saying there is a real solution at the moment. Maybe... and I hate myself for saying this, but... maybe when GFWL re-launches it will actually be good and give Steam a run for its money. Microsoft could certainly do that if they wanted to.
GFWL is the same thing, if anything it's even more closed and imposes fees on people wanting to use it which shuts out indies unlike Steam. I don't know why you are deriding one closed platform then suggesting that the only hope for the industry is...another closed platform.

People seem to want someone else to run an open platform where they assert no control but assume 100% of its operation and responsibilities. I'm sorry but that's not realistic. Feel free to establish the WikiPCGames Foundation yourself and give it a run. I suspect the industry itself will simply ignore you until you work within their confines which will compromise 90% of your mission statement. But hey like I said, I'll be your first customer.

This comment was edited on Nov 12, 2010, 09:25.
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