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Op Ed

Rock, Paper, Shotgun -- Steam Could Be Easily Fixed, If Only They Used Humans.
"Yet Valve haven’t shown any sign that they’d consider that approach, or that they see it as a possibility. It’s a task that could be completed by a team of ten. Game is submitted to the store. Human plays game, finds it doesn’t work. Human emails developer and says, “This game doesn’t work, fix and resubmit.” Done. Even here, developers could benefit as well as people buying from the store. In some cases, they might avoid that first flurry of negative reviews, sparked by poor first impressions. Curation might not be the the greatest job in the world, but it isn’t carrying rebar or cleaning prison toilets. Hell, it’s a way into Valve. (And no, I have no time for the nonsense about no job titles – even if it were true, they damn well need some.)

Every solution they mention is always outward focused, about getting the community to “crowdsource” the fix, about shifting the responsibility further away from them in the guise of “opening it up to the users” or whatever ridiculous phrasing might be used. This isn’t a beautiful democracy, this is one of the richest corporations in the industry outsourcing their responsibilities to their customers. We don’t know why it is this way, whether it’s due to errant policy or dysfunction, but so far there doesn’t appear to be any plan to change that aspect of the store."

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29 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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29. Re: Op Ed Feb 21, 2017, 11:06 Verno
 
I like Steam, I think its pretty decent software. It's worst sin is the UI but fitting all of that functionality without some UI hodgepodge is difficult at best. I use nearly every aspect of Steam save for the video streaming.  
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28. Re: Op Ed Feb 15, 2017, 14:01 Slick
 
panbient wrote on Feb 15, 2017, 12:43:
Slick wrote on Feb 15, 2017, 04:23:
This would be OUTRAGEOUS in any other industry. They're taking your money in exchange for garbage software while giving the barest of fucks about what it is they're selling you. Does the candy we're selling have arsenic in it? Who cares, they're selling like hotcakes! Push that shit out the door!


Arsenic? No. But lots of candy IS still coated in shellac. They call it E904 now so people don't connect the dots between the shininess of their candy and the shininess of their varnished furniture but... there's a very good reason why certain things only melt in your mouth and not in your hand.

The behaviour isn't new. It's just a new market / store front. People still buy candy essentially coated in shiny bug shit, so yes, it stands to basic reason that people will still keep buying half finished digital goods too.

Well, I'm never eating candy again But I assume that the candy companies at least SAMPLE their own product before putting it in the hands of children. They didn't just throw a bunch of half-lethal compounds into their candy and say: "we should probably try this first, but eh, i don't have time, I want to work on something else, PUSH IT OUT THE DOOR". And I did know that about the shellac, but it's not as big a deal as "cars bursting into flames the moment they roll off the assembly line".

People buying broken games en masse is a fairly new phenomenon. Buggy games sure, buggy games (also called "games") have always existed, in fact I doubt you could find a game that has squashed all bugs ever?

You can't compare a greenlight title that just crashes immediately to desktop for all users to something like Skyrim, which is still a very buggy game, but it's a massive game that has a shit ton of work and polish put into it.
 
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27. Re: Op Ed Feb 15, 2017, 12:43 panbient
 
Slick wrote on Feb 15, 2017, 04:23:
This would be OUTRAGEOUS in any other industry. They're taking your money in exchange for garbage software while giving the barest of fucks about what it is they're selling you. Does the candy we're selling have arsenic in it? Who cares, they're selling like hotcakes! Push that shit out the door!


Arsenic? No. But lots of candy IS still coated in shellac. They call it E904 now so people don't connect the dots between the shininess of their candy and the shininess of their varnished furniture but... there's a very good reason why certain things only melt in your mouth and not in your hand.

The behaviour isn't new. It's just a new market / store front. People still buy candy essentially coated in shiny bug shit, so yes, it stands to basic reason that people will still keep buying half finished digital goods too.
 
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26. Re: Op Ed Feb 15, 2017, 04:30 Slick
 
jdreyer wrote on Feb 15, 2017, 02:38:
Dev wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 21:51:
Beamer wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 19:14:
Every time I see topics like this, I wonder if you guys actually believe that someone can be hired for $15 an hour to be a customer service rep at Valve, but decide they'd rather be the lead designer on HL3 and just ignore the phones to start doing game design...
That's not how valve works. Read about the hiring practices.
They hire the top of the industry (I doubt for less than $50 an hour). People like that aren't going to want to work on helldesk.

Sure they SHOULD hire a pile of temp workers or something, but they don't seem to want to.

Because then one of those top hires would have to go and manage the call center, or the helldesk, or Greenlight players, and we all know that managing a large team is major boring shit.

You guys know that there are a metric shit ton of 3rd party phone and chat support services that they can hire right? MOST companies don't own and operate their own phone/chat support services, and they're not all in India either, I've worked for a few, and the industry is alive and well in North America and Europe.

Valve could easily contract out this work to make their customers happy, and it would cost them very little overhead. Again, MOST companies do this, and it's not perfect as some call center operators are fucking brain dead, but I'd rather have a live human to at least TRY to fix a problem than wait 1-2 weeks for an e-mail response from Valve.

The fact that they don't even think it's worth their time to entertain this option is %100 greed on their part, they only have about 200 employees, rarely make games, and have zero interest in offering real support to the tens of millions of their customers, as they haven't been forced to do it yet.

Remember ye well oh PC gamer zealots, that it wasn't until Valve was taken to court and lost that they "decided" to introduce their 2 hour money-back guarantee on faulty products. People had been asking for it for YEARS, and they didn't budge until the law told them they had to. So in short, don't hold your breath for them to ever offer support options worthy of a multi-billion dollar corporation unless it becomes the law to do so. They already have your money, you have no bargaining chips that they're interested in.
 
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25. Re: Op Ed Feb 15, 2017, 04:23 Slick
 
NKD wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 16:31:
I'm not a fan of a single centralized curation of products offered, primarily because I don't trust it to not eventually mutate into outright censorship, or worse, collusion to promote or bury certain games.

The discussion isn't around what types of games or experiences make the cut, but that titles that get listed should at the bare minimum operate as a functional video game, ie. should be able to launch, control, progress etc. There's no reason for anything to be on any storefront if it crashes on launch, is riddled with game-breaking and progress-halting bugs, missing features, and generally a big hot mess. This isn't the taste-police, it's the actual police. You can drive a pink and yellow polka-dot minivan down the highway as long as you stay within the lines. If your car however immediately crashes into a ditch anytime the accelerator is pressed, it shouldn't be on the road.

I understand the temptation for small developer studios to go greenlight when their money is about to dry up, but there are other ways to go about funding... such as every way before crowdfunding was a thing.

You'd think that it would have destroyed the credibility of the Steam platform to have all of these non-functioning titles for sale on their storefront... but alas, Valve can do no harm. It's the developer's fault for making half-baked products when Valve is fine swindling Steam customers to buy this tripe as long as they get their cut. It's apparently too much to ask that a human from Valve actually tries to launch a piece of software they're selling before selling it. This would be OUTRAGEOUS in any other industry. They're taking your money in exchange for garbage software while giving the barest of fucks about what it is they're selling you. Does the candy we're selling have arsenic in it? Who cares, they're selling like hotcakes! Push that shit out the door!

I honestly don't understand how games I've bought from Origin that are pushed out the door before they're fully cooked (still far further along the development process than many greenlight titles, to say the least) will earn EA the title of "worst company in America" two years in a row... But Valve with MOUNTAINS of shite for sale on their platform, no chat, phone or any live sales or tech support whatsoever... only hear the deafening choir of people singing their praises.

Gamer zealots are definitely a special breed of stupid.

This comment was edited on Feb 15, 2017, 04:37.
 
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24. Re: Op Ed Feb 15, 2017, 02:38 jdreyer
 
Dev wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 21:51:
Beamer wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 19:14:
Every time I see topics like this, I wonder if you guys actually believe that someone can be hired for $15 an hour to be a customer service rep at Valve, but decide they'd rather be the lead designer on HL3 and just ignore the phones to start doing game design...
That's not how valve works. Read about the hiring practices.
They hire the top of the industry (I doubt for less than $50 an hour). People like that aren't going to want to work on helldesk.

Sure they SHOULD hire a pile of temp workers or something, but they don't seem to want to.

Because then one of those top hires would have to go and manage the call center, or the helldesk, or Greenlight players, and we all know that managing a large team is major boring shit.
 
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23. Re: Op Ed Feb 15, 2017, 02:36 jdreyer
 
Agent-Zero wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 19:03:
most things everywhere could be fixed - if the love of money didnt control anything and everything at all times

but since it does - enjoy the results

Hey, hey, hey. C'mon now, we all know that GabeN doesn't work for money.

He works for doughnuts.
 
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22. Re: Op Ed Feb 15, 2017, 02:34 jdreyer
 
Spektr wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 13:05:
what could avoid negative reviews is game studios hiring game testers?

But that costs money!
 
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21. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 21:51 Dev
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 19:14:
Every time I see topics like this, I wonder if you guys actually believe that someone can be hired for $15 an hour to be a customer service rep at Valve, but decide they'd rather be the lead designer on HL3 and just ignore the phones to start doing game design...
That's not how valve works. Read about the hiring practices.
They hire the top of the industry (I doubt for less than $50 an hour). People like that aren't going to want to work on helldesk.

Sure they SHOULD hire a pile of temp workers or something, but they don't seem to want to.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 19:52 RedEye9
 
Beamer wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 19:14:
Every time I see topics like this, I wonder if you guys actually believe that someone can be hired for $15 an hour to be a customer service rep at Valve, but decide they'd rather be the lead designer on HL3 and just ignore the phones to start doing game design...
wait... what, HL3 confirmed
 
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19. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 19:14 Beamer
 
Every time I see topics like this, I wonder if you guys actually believe that someone can be hired for $15 an hour to be a customer service rep at Valve, but decide they'd rather be the lead designer on HL3 and just ignore the phones to start doing game design...  
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18. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 19:03 Agent-Zero
 
most things everywhere could be fixed - if the love of money didnt control anything and everything at all times

but since it does - enjoy the results
 
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17. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 18:39 Squirmer
 
Creston wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 13:58:
We don’t know why it is this way

Because nobody at Valve gives a shit.
Yep. Or they only care about themselves, so they won't do anything to fix problems facing customers or clients.

Considering the utter contempt with which Valve treats Half-Life fans, we shouldn't expect any serious attempt to fix any problems with Steam. Not until the problems start to affect their finances anyway. If that ever happens, you can sure they'll pull out all the stops.
 
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16. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 16:52 eRe4s3r
 
Dev wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 09:33:
Dude obviously doesn't read Valve's interviews or even press releases... where they describe how they went away from using humans in this process BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO DO THE GRUNT WORK.

Valve KNOWS that that would fix it, they did it that way before greenlight. They just choose not to, because no one wants to wheel there desks over. It becomes playing games for a job then, not for fun.
You know all the crazy hats in TF2? That makes the game fun for the devs. So they do it.

This guy is also in denial about the flat management structure, he specifically references it in the story.

Nearly every crazy thing about valve can be explained by these factors, and it all becomes quite logical.


There is nothing logical about anything at Valve. They don't run a billion $ company there, they run a daycare for children. And seriously, that is exactly how daycare is run nowadays, let the children decide what they wanna do, no pressure, no assignments, bit of oversight and little adult guidance.

For me, this sounds downright insane >BUT< it really does explain everything.
 
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15. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 16:31 NKD
 
I'm not a fan of a single centralized curation of products offered, primarily because I don't trust it to not eventually mutate into outright censorship, or worse, collusion to promote or bury certain games. It would, by Valve's very nature, be an opaque process.

I have 500+ games in my Steam catalog and only a small portion turned out to be shitty. And actually a good number of those weren't conscious purchase choices but gifts from friends who wanted someone to play multiplayer with them in a game I otherwise wouldn't have in my library.

Yes, there's a ludicrous amount of garbage on Steam. There's a ludicrous amount of shit-not-worth-buying in just about every store. The only place you can avoid it is brick & mortar and that's not because of curation, it's because of limited physical space.

If they want to check that a game actually launches and plays either to its conclusion or a couple hours in without serious issues? That's fine. But anything other than an assessment of the technical state of and basic facts about the game is a judgement call that I'd rather make myself, or use aggregrate user reviews, or better yet, a YouTuber that has the same taste in games as me.

Yes, there are times Steam reviews don't give you the full story if you just look at the "Positive" or "Negative". But if you actually go and read the reviews, you can get a sense of whether the game actually deserves the rating its getting or if it's just an Internet hivemind bombing the reviews up or down.
 
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14. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 15:51 Quboid
 
Dev wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 09:33:
Dude obviously doesn't read Valve's interviews or even press releases... where they describe how they went away from using humans in this process BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T WANT TO DO THE GRUNT WORK.

Valve KNOWS that that would fix it, they did it that way before greenlight. They just choose not to, because no one wants to wheel there desks over. It becomes playing games for a job then, not for fun.
You know all the crazy hats in TF2? That makes the game fun for the devs. So they do it.

This guy is also in denial about the flat management structure, he specifically references it in the story.

Nearly every crazy thing about valve can be explained by these factors, and it all becomes quite logical.

The column does reference Valve's weird structure by saying they "damn well need [job titles]". This seems like a logical solution to me, go back to what worked and get people to look after the store by hiring people to look after the store. Valve can afford it and I think it's in their benefit in the long term.
 
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13. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 15:16 RedEye9
 

Humans...pfft. /jk

 
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12. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 14:46 Prez
 
The article isn't wrong (other than denying the flat structure that Valve has confirmed themselves that they use) but Jim Sterling has been making this point time and time again on his very popular channel in multiple video videos. Valve just isn't interested.  
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11. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 13:59 Creston
 
Spektr wrote on Feb 14, 2017, 13:05:
what could avoid negative reviews is game studios hiring game testers?

They already do that. They're called customers. Well, except the game testers pay the studio for the honor of doing the testing.
 
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10. Re: Op Ed Feb 14, 2017, 13:58 Creston
 
We don’t know why it is this way

Because nobody at Valve gives a shit.
 
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