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Op Ed

Polygon - Valve is not your friend, and Steam is not healthy for gaming.
"It seems increasingly unlikely that Good Guy Valve ever existed. Good Guy Valve is a clever marketing conceit, a machine operating on a massive scale and one that can only do so because it is powered by the one thing Valve would later come to exploit above all: the free labor of adoring users and consumer goodwill that often feels both unearned and bottomless.

Valve controls an unprecedented slice of the PC gaming industry, and there can be no doubt that the power behind the throne is, and always has been, us. Good Guy Valve worked hard to make us believe that willingly installing surveillance and control software onto our computers was a morally benevolent, perhaps even righteous act — and we swallowed it hook, line and sinker."

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37. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 20:59 Prez
 
Beamer wrote on May 17, 2017, 20:13:
Prez wrote on May 17, 2017, 18:13:
...Yes, it's bad to have a monopoly, which Steam outright is....

Hmm. Is it though? I mean, with GOG and Origin (and I guess Uplay, but that sucks) there are places where people can buy games on a digital download service without ever touching Steam. Sure, Steam is currently holding a huge percentage of that particular market share, but there ARE alternatives.

Legally, a monopoly is near domination, not being the only option. Steam, by any view, is near domination.

Fair enough, but there are other definitions other than legal, and frankly I have no interest in "legal" definitions on this issue. That's for regulators to bandy about.

From Merriam Webster:

Definition of monopoly
plural monopolies
1: exclusive ownership through legal privilege, command of supply, or concerted action
2: exclusive possession or control
no country has a monopoly on morality or truth — Helen M. Lynd
3: a commodity controlled by one party
had a monopoly on flint from their quarries — Barbara A. Leitch
4: one that has a monopoly The government passed laws intended to break up monopolies.


From Businessdictionary.com:

Definition

Market situation where one producer (or a group of producers acting in concert) controls supply of a good or service, and where the entry of new producers is prevented or highly restricted. Monopolist firms (in their attempt to maximize profits) keep the price high and restrict the output, and show little or no responsiveness to the needs of their customers. Most governments therefore try to control monopolies by (1) imposing price controls, (2) taking over their ownership (called 'nationalization'), or (3) by breaking them up into two or more competing firms. Sometimes governments facilitate the creation of monopolies for reasons of national security, to realize economies of scale for competing internationally, or where two or more producers would be wasteful or pointless (as in the case of utilities).


Even the US Legal website has a different legal definition of monopoly from what you stated:

Monopoly Law and Legal Definition


Monopoly is a control or advantage obtained by one entity over the commercial market in a specific area. Monopolization is an offense under federal anti trust law. The two elements of monopolization are (1) the power to fix prices and exclude competitors within the relevant market. (2) the willful acquisition or maintenance of that power as distinguished from growth or development as a consequence of a superior product, business acumen or historical accident.

When I think of a monopoly I think of my choice of internet service providers. Many people in many areas have no choice at all.
 
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36. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 20:27 Flatline
 
Beamer wrote on May 17, 2017, 20:13:
Prez wrote on May 17, 2017, 18:13:
...Yes, it's bad to have a monopoly, which Steam outright is....

Hmm. Is it though? I mean, with GOG and Origin (and I guess Uplay, but that sucks) there are places where people can buy games on a digital download service without ever touching Steam. Sure, Steam is currently holding a huge percentage of that particular market share, but there ARE alternatives.

Legally, a monopoly is near domination, not being the only option. Steam, by any view, is near domination.

The issue is mainly how the monopoly reacts to competition. Valve isn't behaving in the traditional monopoly sense. It didn't try to push UPlay out, or Origin, or subsidize competing games as loss leaders to compete with big titles that come out of EA & Ubisoft. It could have waged a war on GOG, always undercutting them, demanding exclusivity on the platform, etc, but it's not doing any of that as far as I'm aware.

At the most you could accuse it of a natural monopoly simply because of superior technology/infrastructure and the willingness to invest in the field for years before it became obvious that it was the next big thing. But in theory a competing product could com and eat Steam's lunch. GOG is growing strongly and probably represents a distant #2 threat, maybe not in sales, but in offering legitimate competition that Origin & Uplay don't offer (they may offer AAA games, but the platforms are part of a vertical monopoly of digital distribution and really will never see much of an expansion beyond their respective publishers and thus probably shouldn't be considered competition.)
 
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35. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 20:13 Beamer
 
Prez wrote on May 17, 2017, 18:13:
...Yes, it's bad to have a monopoly, which Steam outright is....

Hmm. Is it though? I mean, with GOG and Origin (and I guess Uplay, but that sucks) there are places where people can buy games on a digital download service without ever touching Steam. Sure, Steam is currently holding a huge percentage of that particular market share, but there ARE alternatives.

Legally, a monopoly is near domination, not being the only option. Steam, by any view, is near domination.
 
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http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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34. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 18:13 Prez
 
...Yes, it's bad to have a monopoly, which Steam outright is....

Hmm. Is it though? I mean, with GOG and Origin (and I guess Uplay, but that sucks) there are places where people can buy games on a digital download service without ever touching Steam. Sure, Steam is currently holding a huge percentage of that particular market share, but there ARE alternatives.
 
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33. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 17:45 Flatline
 
Prez wrote on May 17, 2017, 00:10:
I agree that Valve is not your friend, but not healthy for gaming? Gaming on the PC is stronger than ever due in large part to Steam.

I completely stopped pirating games right around when Steam became a big thing. I do a lot of business through GOG and other platforms now, but I don't know anyone who pirates any more. Part of that is being an adult with a paying job, but part of that is that the prices are generally lower/in line with what I am willing to part with if I wait for a sale, and the convenience is there.
 
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32. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 14:22 HorrorScope
 
The thing that fostered pc gaming more than any other is thee threat to pc gaming as we know it. So who do I follow? Obviously not MS. Who else is ready to lead? And if they lead, will they promise to be Utopian for all and surrender their own business interests, because that is reasonable to ask, right? Steam has been a resounding success for PC's, people not pc'ers know about Steam, get PC, get Steam and become overwhelmingly positive towards the experience. That kind of bad thing.  
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31. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 13:29 Porn-O-Matic
 
Ugh, that article was way too long winded to read the entire thing, but I got the gist. Polygon has it in for Valve because someone at Polygon got butthurt over something personal. Whoopty fucking doo. I have over 220 games in my Steam library, which is small compared to a lot of gamers I know, so what exactly is it they want me (and other Steam users) to do? Abandon them for some other service? Go to Hell, Polygon, unless you're going to pay me the original purchase price for each and every game. Ultimately, I personally don't see the problem because I'm able to buy games through Steam, I get to play them, and I'm satisfied with that arrangement.

Okay, so, Valve has some issues to work out behind the scenes, and some people aren't happy about it... fine, whatever. So long as it doesn't stop me from buying new games or accessing/playing the games I have, I don't really care.

Just for the record, years ago, before Steam was a thing, I protested the idea of going to digital delivery for games when the gaming press first started reporting on the concept because I hated the idea of NOT having my own personal copy of a game on physical media, like a CD or DVD, nor did it sound like a good idea to allow the digital provider total control over access to my games. But hey, everyone was like, "No man, digital delivery is the future!" Hmmm... looks like I was right after all.
 
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30. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 12:11 Beamer
 
NKD wrote on May 17, 2017, 08:22:
jin wrote on May 16, 2017, 20:41:
i trust valve a HELL of a lot more than i trust polygon.

i suspect polygon is just not cool with having an entity that they and their ilk can't bully into censoring content they don't like.

f polygon.

This doesn't even make any sense. You aren't paying money to Polygon or entrusting your entire game library to them. Who gives a fuck if you "trust" them? I think Polygon is a shitty site, but it's just an opinion piece. They aren't reporting anything new that requires us to trust their legitimacy. Hell even their opinion here is hardly a controversial one: Everyone knows its a bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket, but the convenience factor for both users and developers has so far outweighed that.

A lot of people hate Polygon because they don't bother reading Polygon. They just react to what people say about them online. I never go to Polygon on my own, but whenever a group of gamers are outraged over them, I'll go read the review, and it's never saying what they claim it is. Ever. It's always either an opinion piece, or it's a review with a tiny, 6 sentence sidebar (or maybe two sentences in a full review) that they oddly think is 100% the review when it's clearly not even factored into the final score.

I don't agree with much of this op/ed. I get the point, and I've argued both sides of Steam here. Yes, it's bad to have a monopoly, which Steam outright is. But I don't buy into the surveillance argument, and the thing about software is a monopoly is often more convenient for the consumer. Remember back in the early 90s, when Apple actually gave Microsoft a run for their money, and games you wanted to play, but couldn't play, came out often? Different stores is nowhere near that, but it would be inconvenient to not have all my games in one space.

Would be nice, perhaps, if 3rd party companies made Store Wrappers, where you could see everything you own, and see all the trophies/stats/achievements, but...
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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29. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 11:18 chickenboo
 
I've had some minor success having the second computer sharing my account have Steam go into Offline Mode before booting up any games from either machine. That enabled my GF and I to play separate games from my account simultaneously. It doesn't always work though.  
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28. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 10:26 HoSpanky
 
The only part of the article that paints Valve in a light any worse than ANY other distributor is the royalties on user-created content. Seems stupid that Valve takes a HUGE portion of earnings on something someone else made. Why is it any more than the 30% they take on games?

The one-game-at-a-time thing is to keep people from all chipping in on ONE account and then they all play different things from it. I currently have family sharing going with the only friend who also bought a VR headset. Since most VR "games" are short and single player, the sharing lets each game get twice the use out of it, making the cost of each more tolerable. Yeah, we can't play the same game (unless we both bought it: Valkyrie), but at least we CAN share them. It's not like Steam had ANY obligation to do so.
 
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27. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 10:11 warmbluelasers
 
Creston wrote on May 17, 2017, 09:28:
Kajetan wrote on May 17, 2017, 08:03:
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on May 17, 2017, 07:53:
... pricing model(30% fee on sales) ...
This i dont get.

30% may seem much, but Steam offers a developer exposure to a GIANT, WORLDWIDE customer base, which is only achievable with a marketing budget even the majors can afford often. If ever.

Not just that, but they provide you with multiplayer functionality, DRM (if you so choose), infinite bandwidth and seamless update functionality.

All of that costs money. Bandwidth alone is a pretty significant chunk at the absurd prices the US Mafia ISPs charge for it.

I'm sure that's less than Gamestop would take, if Gamestop even let indies in the front door.
 
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26. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 09:28 Creston
 
Kajetan wrote on May 17, 2017, 08:03:
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on May 17, 2017, 07:53:
... pricing model(30% fee on sales) ...
This i dont get.

30% may seem much, but Steam offers a developer exposure to a GIANT, WORLDWIDE customer base, which is only achievable with a marketing budget even the majors can afford often. If ever.

Not just that, but they provide you with multiplayer functionality, DRM (if you so choose), infinite bandwidth and seamless update functionality.

All of that costs money. Bandwidth alone is a pretty significant chunk at the absurd prices the US Mafia ISPs charge for it.
 
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25. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 09:21 wallace321
 
Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 02:04 Simon Says

Ever since they took over the market and I couldn't get my hands on a game ( even boxed ) without having to install the dictatorial bloatware ( install that day 1 multi gig update or go fuck yourself, a few weeks later... update the game or go fuck yourself ), I hated the Steamy pile of shit. I still do. I couldn't buy games anymore and manually patch them when I damn well pleased and/or gamed without having to always be online ( because I couldn't ), so I didn't.

Sounds like you're in a pretty shitty situation with your internet, but maybe you don't remember starforce and securom and safedisc. DRM and online activations and 3rd party logins were becoming such a shitshow and I know many of those issues still exist, but steam at least eliminated SOME issues, namely the stupid disc not being readable. "Sorry, I'm not compatible with YOUR drive lol also, i don't like that burning software you have so I'm not going to work. Byes!" That was my primary issue.

Oh you shelf the disc? Doesn't that become unmanageable when you can't find but you want to play some specific old game? "Now where did I put Quake 4....". Have you ever moved?

It's not perfect but it's WAAY better, in my opinion. You're entitled to your opinion, of course, and i'm glad you found something that works for you.
 
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24. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 08:22 NKD
 
jin wrote on May 16, 2017, 20:41:
i trust valve a HELL of a lot more than i trust polygon.

i suspect polygon is just not cool with having an entity that they and their ilk can't bully into censoring content they don't like.

f polygon.

This doesn't even make any sense. You aren't paying money to Polygon or entrusting your entire game library to them. Who gives a fuck if you "trust" them? I think Polygon is a shitty site, but it's just an opinion piece. They aren't reporting anything new that requires us to trust their legitimacy. Hell even their opinion here is hardly a controversial one: Everyone knows its a bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket, but the convenience factor for both users and developers has so far outweighed that.
 
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You are being watched.
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23. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 08:03 Kajetan
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on May 17, 2017, 07:53:
... pricing model(30% fee on sales) ...
This i dont get.

30% may seem much, but Steam offers a developer exposure to a GIANT, WORLDWIDE customer base, which is only achievable with a marketing budget even the majors can afford often. If ever.

And considering the (g)olden days, where dev's got only a fixed sum and all revenue after release went straight to the publisher, 30% from the revenue, when selling digital "goods" with generation costs around effin zero, is nothing. NOTHING!
 
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22. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 07:53 MoreLuckThanSkill
 
I'm surprised there's so much rage at Polygon, this article is entirely valid.

It could certainly do without "Good Guy" meme references and such, but their points about royalties cuts to third party game-item makers is a major issue, as is their language translation exploiting, pricing model(30% fee on sales), their 1 game running at a time per account nonsense, no real ownership of games, etc. etc.

To use Steam is to trade in quite a few rights you still have at GoG for example, in exchange for a little convenience. Humanity makes that rationale all the time though.

Disclaimer: I have bought quite a bit on Steam of course, but I'm mostly buying on GoG these days, especially for anything single player.

*EDIT* Grammar. "makes"

This comment was edited on May 17, 2017, 09:15.
 
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21. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 07:22 Jonjonz
 
Who gives a dam what some third rate close to failing website op ed has to say? Polygon looks to me like all they do is publish straight to web any game PR sent thier way.

Steam is not perfect, but...

It allows me to own a large growing collection of games, that I can install and play anytime, without having to devote a walkin closet to storing the roach house retail boxes.

When I choose a game to play from my collection, Steam patches it with the latest version without annoying me.

It also offers me access to a community that includes Steam Workshops where I can contribute user generated game content (mods, skins, maps etc.) and get the user generated content created by other fans.

They have the same problems any large successful enterprise has these days, but at least 99% it works, it has the games I want, and it often sells them to me at a great price.
 
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20. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 06:15 Beamer
 
jin wrote on May 16, 2017, 20:41:
i trust valve a HELL of a lot more than i trust polygon.

i suspect polygon is just not cool with having an entity that they and their ilk can't bully into censoring content they don't like.

f polygon.

An example of them censoring?

Right, you have none, just a handful of reviews in which they have a separate box, not even part of the review or score, in which they discuss things their audience finds interesting and you personally do not. So your overblow it and call it censorship, because you can't handle a different opinion.
 
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http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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19. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 03:30 saluk
 
Family sharing was intended to meet a specific use case. Timmy bought Prison Architect on his account. Johnny comes to the computer and logs onto his steam. Johnny can also play Prison Architect, without having to log into Timmy's account or buy a second copy for himself.

It can also be somewhat exploited, in that Johnny and Timmy don't have to be in the same family; and Prison Architect need not only be installed on one computer. You can play a shared game as long as your friend is not playing the shared game. But it's painful enough to use that it's not used as a piracy method.

In fact, it's painful enough I've only used it once or twice. My friend bought Jackbox on his account while he was over so we could all play it. I tried to play it the other day when he was at work - but he had to be logged on to steam in order to enable family sharing for the game.

I had to buy a second copy even though we could have used family sharing just because we hadn't enabled it beforehand.

Article is clickbait, and relevant bits we all know already. Bottom line though, don't love corporations. They are not people, and they are trying to make money. Always be conscious of what your money is going towards and what you are getting for it.

At the end of the day, most games I do not care that I don't own it perpetually. I could irrevocably lose access to half of my steam account and would maybe only shed a single tear. Depending on which half (As long as most of my to-play backlog is still there) I've spent probably somewhere in the 5k range over the lifetime of the account. Yeah it would suck to lose 5k, but I've also gotten most of the value out of it by now.

My kids aren't going to want to play any of this crap.
 
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18. Re: Op Ed May 17, 2017, 03:00 eRe4s3r
 
Orogogus wrote on May 17, 2017, 02:56:
eRe4s3r wrote on May 17, 2017, 02:19:
So there is no real benefit to even enable family sharing....

It lets you share games in your library without giving the other person full access to your account, especially if you saved your payment information.

Ah... yeah that would the primary reason to use it. But it doesn't exactly give you any more freedom with your library. You still stuck to -1- played game on your account at any one time ;/
 
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