Second, I have NEVER seen another company prevent a paying customer from using his purchase after the fact due to his language in dealing with customer service.That's because most people don't talk like complete twats to people trying to help them. Phone up Microsoft next time you want to do an activation and say "Oi motherfucker activate my f..." (you get the point) and see how far you get. Next time your cable tv stops working phone up and say something similar. If you act like a 9 year old, you can hardly expect much sympathy from the person on the other end of the phone. On email you're even less likely to get a response. m00zilla's emails are probably going straight to Junk because they class them with the "Find people in your area to fuck tonight" sort of mails
There is nothing specious about my comparisonYes there is. Microsoft is an enormous company with sufficient resources to have 24 hour helplines. No games company (and I've checked) has 24 hour help. No other digital distributor even has a telephone helpline - the whole point is that they try to keep things digital.
it was YOU who brought up Microsoft's activation in comparison with SteamYes, but not in the context of what sort of support they should provide. My point was that a problem with Windows Activation puts people SOL until it's sorted. A problem with McAffee's validation thing puts people SOL until it's sorted. A problem with Steam puts people SOL until it's sorted. That's a valid comparison in my opinion. As mentioned above, I'm not so sure comparing what MS and Valve should offer in terms of phone support is a fair comparison. You may disagree, you're welcome to do so.
Why would it guarantee error-free operationI don't expect a guarantee of error-free operation. That is unrealistic. However, customers do deserve some kind of guarantee of operation so that they can play their games whenever they choose in virtual perpetuity regardless of the existence or whims of Valve. Traditional retail games delivered on physical media do have such a virtual guarantee. So long as the customer possesses the media and keeps it in operating condition, he can play his game whenever he chooses in virtual perpetuity. Right now the only thing Valve guarantees is that it can terminate customers' ability to play their games at any time for any reason. And, in mOOzilla's case and others, it has done just that.
And think about where the company makes its money. It certainly doesn't make it off of subscriptions, except from Cybercafe's perhaps.That is no small exception. According to the financial figures released by the hacker in question, Valve had collected nine million dollars from such fees at the time the hacker accessed the records. That was probably a quarterly or monthly accumulation, but even if it were for a longer period, that is still no trivial amount of revenue.
With that in mind, who pays for the servers you play on?Fellow users. Valve does NOT run most if any of the game servers which host its games. They are paid and run by users who purchased its games.
Would you rather have to pay more for a game just so you can talk to someone on the phoneI don't pay more now when I buy games from other publishers who do have telephone contact for their customer support. Valve is simply being cheap and skimping on servicing and supporting its customers.
Email and the web interface seems to service them well enoughThey don't serve customers well enough, and that should be the goal NOT the company's bottom line.
Gamers are one of the most fickleNo, they aren't on a large scale. They are sheep and lemmings. That is why they still play Valve's same old games online after all of these years despite Steam, despite the outages, and now despite the addition of in-game advertising.
Lol, and you thought mine was a specious comparisonThere is nothing specious about my comparison. It was YOU who brought up Microsoft's activation in comparison with Steam. My point is that Microsoft's customer service is MUCH more available and responsive than Valve's AND Microsoft's activation is much less burdensome because of it. When Steam fails (even on a large scale as has happened numerous times in the history of Steam), the user is shit out of luck and when service is finally restored if he is luckly, he gets the perfunctory apology from Valve after the fact. With Microsoft's activation I have gotten back up and running withing minutes regardless of the time of day.
Moozilla's problem is that he's an ass.Yes, mOOzilla is an ass, BUT he is still a paying customer. Your problem is that you are a Valve apologist. Valve has no moral right to prevent mOOzilla from playing the games for which he paid his hard-earned money. At most Valve could refuse to handle his customer service requests (which even then isn't really justified regardless of his language or demeanor), but there is absolutely no justification for preventing mOOzilla from being able to play the games for which he paid. Valve's games are presented at retail as products like other video games NOT as tenuous subscription-based services. Valve should NOT be able to terminate a customer's ability to play a game he has purchased from it.
And if you think that such horrible service isn't common, you need to get out more.First, no horrible service is justified regardless of how common it may be. Second, I have NEVER seen another company prevent a paying customer from using his purchase after the fact due to his language in dealing with customer service. Imagine if Dell could disable a customer's PC because he cursed at its customer support department. Valve has done the equivalent here.
And if you look around the net, you'll find a lot of gaming sites that follow the same type of rulesAgain the huge difference here is that Valve's retail games are overtly presented to the customer as a product NOT a tenuous service which can be terminated at any time. Sure subscription-based games usually have restrictive terms of service because those games are a service and the customer is fully made aware of their tenous nature prior to paying for the subscription. With Valve's retail games, the Steam subscriber agreement is never presented to the customer prior to opening the box and installing the software. So the customer cannot return the product if he does not assent to the agreement. And even then, the Steam agreement is cryptic and flies in the face of the consumers' normal expectation of a retail video game as a product not a tenuous service.
That is a specious comparison.Ok - a lot of gamers feel 3D Realms have 'fucked them over' with DNF. Ion Storm pissed off a lot of gamers with their attitude before they even released a product. Gamers are one of the most fickle and immature fanbases (as a whole, and unfortunately it's the whole that counts) and wouldn't hesitate to turn to Valve bashers if they quit supporting their games.
I have telephoned Microsoft at 2:00 a.m. before and received an activation within minutes.Lol, and you thought mine was a specious comparison.
Moozilla's problem is that he's an ass.
Look at the PS3's lack of success vs the PS2, which had an equally rabid (and 100x larger) fanbase.That is a specious comparison. If the PS3 had games that the fans really wanted, it would have their business. The high price doesn't help, but if the games were there, the fans would still be buying it.
But I bet it happens to Microsoft's Windows activation thingWhile I am no fan of MIcrosoft's activation, it is much more liberal and accessible than Valve when it comes to granting activations. I have telephoned Microsoft at 2:00 a.m. before and received an activation within minutes. Valve doesn't even have a customer service number at all, and its customer service is MUCH less responsive, and as mOOzilla demonstrated, it can do you more harm than good.
Databases screw up sometimes. There's no excuse for not getting mOOzilla et al back on track ASAP, but it's hardly unique to Valve, and it's hardly common.mOOzilla's problem is no database screwup. It's Valve's screwed up customer service policy. And no, such horrible service is NOT common (except from Valve). I have never heard of a company terminating a customer's ability to use the products he bought from it simply because it didn't like the language he used when he complained. That is pure unadulterated hubris, and there is no excuse for such poor treatment of customers.
It wouldn't be commercial suicide for a company with a huge, rabid following like ValveEr, yes it would. Anyone who is of low enough IQ to be a rabid fanboy is equally dumb to change his allegiance depending on what he reads on Kotaku. Look at the PS3's lack of success vs the PS2, which had an equally rabid (and 100x larger) fanbase.
You are also conveniently overlooking the fact that even if Valve doesn't cutoff everyone from a game doesn't mean that it won't cutoff YOUYes, that happens, and when it does it's unfortunate. It's a problem with Steam which shouldn't happen. But I bet it happens to Microsoft's Windows activation thing, and to McAffee's register of who owns their software, and to WoW on occasions. Databases screw up sometimes. There's no excuse for not getting mOOzilla et al back on track ASAP, but it's hardly unique to Valve, and it's hardly common.
For all your willingness to point the 'sky is falling' stick at other people, you seem to conveniently overlook the commercial suicide such a move would inevitably entail.It wouldn't be commercial suicide for a company with a huge, rabid following like Valve. Just look at the numerous bans which have occured for supposedly cheating WOW players. Most will simply pay again to keep playing. Plus there are plenty more fish in the sea to churn even if those didn't.
Yes, seriously enough to spend a lot of money on video games from a company that can terminate its customers' ability to play those games for any reason including because it doesn't like their verbiage.For all your willingness to point the 'sky is falling' stick at other people, you seem to conveniently overlook the commercial suicide such a move would inevitably entail. Valve (I imagine) have big plans for Steam, plans which would be doomed if they make a wrong move so early in the lifecycle of digital distribution. Given the enormous benefits Valve stand to gain by their platform being the most popular (NB I'm not saying the best) I'm not overly worried about the (admitted) possibility that they could turn off the taps at some point, whatever their EULA says.