3DR retains the rights to sell direct. In both Shadow Warrior's and Max Payne's case, we had a simple $5 discount for buyng direct. In both cases retailers like EB, CompUSA and more, called the publisher and said "They should not be selling the game cheaper than us. Fix it, or we're removing the games from shelves". So at least at launch, there is a pretty good reason the game can't be cheaper. The retailers.
Also, there is nothing wrong with developers making more money. Most get a very small piece of the royalty pie, and in fact lots of developers never even make any money on a game and live game to game. The system is very skewed in favor publishers making money from sale #1 (their cut), while developers have to recoup costs 100% from their cut. Ok, a game costs $8m to make. Why can't the costs be split 50/50 with a publisher and shared? Why must a developer pay back 100% of that money from their already small royalty cut?
Oh yeah...the publisher takes on so much risk. Well, it's really not that much risk most of the time.
"Both the “left” and the “right” pretend they have the answer, but they are mere flippers on the same thalidomide baby, and the truth is that neither side has a clue."
- Jim Goad
Actually I still use ASE to play all my steam games, infact it searched and located them automatically.