The state of Steam in 2012

By on June 5, 2012 6:47:22 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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steamLet me get this out of the way: I like Steam. I like Valve.

We have a poll up right now that asks whether you use Steam. Let us know please.

I’ve been in digital distribution since before digital distribution was a thing.  The very first computer game that was launched at retail and digitally distributed was Galactic Civilizations back in February 2003.

For us, digital distribution was a matter of life or death. Consider this, how many other independent (or heck, just non-publicly traded) game studios have been around 20 years? Go ahead. Count them up. Not many eh?

I incorporated Stardock back in 1993 from my college dorm room. And I can tell you, if it weren’t for digital distribution, we would have stopped making games a long time ago.  That’s because the more people that are between you and your customer, the more opportunities there are for theft. Not by players but by retailers, publishers, distributors, etc. 

One of the reasons why the whole “piracy” bellowing from publishers irritated me was because the biggest obstacle to getting paid for my work wasn’t from pirates. It was from the middle men.

In 1994, we released our first game. Galactic Civilizations for OS/2.  It was published by a company called Advanced Idea Machines.  The game was a huge hit. So I heard anyway. We didn’t get paid. And being a poor college student at the time, I couldn’t afford a lawyer.

So in 1996, we released Galactic Civilizations 2 for OS/2.  This time we released it ourselves. But our retail distributor, Micro Central, went bankrupt and didn’t pay us and our mail order distributor, Blue Orchards went out of business as well and didn’t pay us.

So then we moved to Windows and we released Galactic Civilizations for Windows, published by Strategy First….and again, didn’t get paid.

Do you see a pattern here?

What saved us was digital distribution.  With it, we could sell directly to customers, cutting out the middle man.

As you can imagine, when Steam came out we started to get a little nervous. Not because of the competition but because we feared the idea that we would one day need to sell our software through a third party and hence risk not getting paid…again.

As it had turned out, our fears have been unwarranted.  Impulse, now owned by Gamestop, pays like clock work and so does Steam.  By contrast, with a retail distributor you were lucky to get paid merely 90 days late. And that’s not counting the obnoxious and expensive RMA games they play. I like the service Steam provides. They’re easy to work with, they’re honest, and they’re passionate about what they do.  And most importantly, they let me, as a game developer, focus on what matters: making games.

Anyway, the point here being, what are your feelings on Steam these days?

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June 24, 2012 1:01:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I can tell you right now I will not purchase this game if it only comes out on Steam. I can never get Steam to work. If you release it directly or with some other digital distributor like GOG.com then I would buy it.

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June 25, 2012 2:47:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I buy all of my games and software digitally when possible and I can't even remember the last time it wasn't possible.

 

I don't like Steam.

 

I use it because there is no choice sometimes.

 

I was sad when Stardock ditched Impulse because I used to always say I would rather buy from Impulse, Direct2Drive, or any digital source over Steam.  (D2D has changed hands too).  Sad because Stardock has always had a good way of dealing with DRM and treating paying customers propoerly and Steam is the opposite.

 

You can do Steam offline but the fact that Steam wants to login and keep running while you play games is the main reason why I despise it.  I buy my games.  I do not like being treated like a criminal with intrusive DRM.

 

This is why I've always prefered something like Impulse or D2D - buy, unlock, done, nothing running in the background.  No clunky extra crap.

 

IMO, if Stardock was to start going heavily with Steam over their own former Impulse, for ex, it would go against what the company has stood for over the years since they'd be going with intrusive instead of player friendly.  It would be a dark and crappy day.

 

I think a lot of people blindly love Steam when it's nothing that special compared to other digital distribution systems, they just don't know any better.

 

What I want from my digitial distributor is:

- games

- content for games (patches, dlc, preloading)

- download speed

 

Anything else is garbage I'm not interested in or features done up in a way I don't want them done up.  I don't need a friends list, chat, social network, or anything else - I just want game data.  I don't want achievements or other crap laced in with my game distribution system, because that blurs the lines and adds dependencies that I don't want.  I don't want forced online anything, be it DRM, game data storage, or a complete beatdown on players like Diablo 3 or the upcoming SimCity 5 (both of which I will never buy and that is sad since they're two series I've played forever).

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June 26, 2012 1:49:09 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Voqar,
I think a lot of people blindly love Steam when it's nothing that special compared to other digital distribution systems, they just don't know any better.

 

If you want to maintain that people that use Steam do so out of ignorance, that's your prerogative, but I'd personally say that says more about you than those people. A lot of us are plenty informed about the alternatives thank you.

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June 26, 2012 9:31:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I use Steam and I like it. It's nice not having a box of CD-ROM that I have to go back to when I want to reinstall a game.  ..bruce..

 

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June 27, 2012 1:21:49 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

i can name one othe DDS that i have used.

Desura.

very similar, but they do mods too.

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June 27, 2012 7:02:37 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I hate Steam and will not buy any game that requires it.

 

Over the years, there have been many games that I would have bought in a heartbeat but didn't because of their requirement to use obnoxious systems/DRM/etc. I didn't mind Impulse, but don't trust them since they sell games that require third party DRM/systems like Steam.

 

Today, I buy almost all my games from GOG.com. Sometimes from retail or Impulse once I've researched their requirements to death.

 

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June 30, 2012 9:46:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hey Steam fanboys I'm running into another issue with Steam in that it won't let me run any installed mods for Civ 5 now. The original system was very good but now we have Steam workshop and I can't even get a simple clock utility to run. Of course you can't simply phone them up and sort it out because they have no contact numbers so you're forced to email or forum post them and hope they get back sometime in the following 6 hours.

 

edit: fortunately I solved my original problem, no thanks to Steam - I emailed them days ago and recieved no response - their customer service is pretty much non-existent, I hate having to deal with them

 

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June 30, 2012 10:21:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh, and to all the fanboys who cite Steam forums as a source of support, have you seen how many threads that forum has running and how unclear and inaccessable it is? Seriously, you people are blinkered

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June 30, 2012 10:45:16 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

I hate Steam. The first and the last game I bought there - Empire Total War. I will never buy there any, even the most desired game. I like Matrix Games - there you will get no DRM except serial number. There is no need to activate your games via online service, no regional policies. You can install your games in any folder you want ( in Steam - only in SteamApps). You will never be banned and loose all your bought games. It's very poor that a lot of interesting strategies will be released only in Steam or require it as DRM: Warlock MoA, Endless Space, SoaSE Rebellion etc.

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June 30, 2012 2:55:29 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting DGB246,
Oh, and to all the fanboys who cite Steam forums as a source of support, have you seen how many threads that forum has running and how unclear and inaccessable it is? Seriously, you people are blinkered

 

Yeah, forums sorted by alphabet and by game are really unclear and inaccessible...

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June 30, 2012 3:54:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Pheace,



Quoting DGB246,
reply 259
Oh, and to all the fanboys who cite Steam forums as a source of support, have you seen how many threads that forum has running and how unclear and inaccessable it is? Seriously, you people are blinkered

Yeah, forums sorted by alphabet and by game are really unclear and inaccessible...

That alphabet can be a real pain.

Pheace, I see you are a major proponent for Steam, steam-run games, and game accessability with steam. I can respect that. There can be a lot of good with a downloadable gaming engine. Problem is Steam just ISN"T that engine.

Impulse was close. Too much advertising still, which was QUITE invasive, though despite that it had ALOT going for it....but then they sold. Steam is 100x worse, attempting to over-complicate a process that shouldn't be complicated. Many people don't mind these complications, quite honestly because they don't know any better, but there is a very large market of users that DO know better, as shown by the comments here, that refuse to use Steam because of these unneccessary complications.

If Steam is the eventual future, then I'll be finding another pass-time and other people/companies will get my money instead of gaming companies. I also have a large compilation of games on my shelf that can give me years of entertainment, so it's not like I NEED new games to play. Sure, it means that 64-bit is out of the question for many of them, but Microsoft will get the idea (and I think have been) with making they're 64-bit platforms as backwards compatable as possible. I even heard that win8 is going to have a 32-bit version now....just because so many people don't want to touch 64-bit as it denys them all the vintage software.

In the end, Steam will fix or Steam will fail.

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June 30, 2012 4:11:57 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I own many games at steam, but i can honestly say i hate the muck out of steam. It's not understand english for one. Do not update my mucking game how hard is that for a program to understand.

Secondly i was reading through all of these post of how people support and would sleep with it like it was lindsey lohans second coming. Well here is what i think of that, when someone finally sues steam and they go out of business which almost happened after that credit card incident we are going to loose all our investments.

Thirdly i mod for sins, that's the best f'ing part about playing sins; with that said i'm sick of the updates. I know there trying to fix bugs and what not, i get that. But everytime they update they break the mod, it's annoying because the simple solution would be not to update.

After selling impulse to gamestop, star dock appeared in wikipedia as EPIC FAIL. Impulse was reliable, if you purchased a game you could log out and play that game while not being on the internet. Hell it almost felt like you actually owned the product you spent 59.00's for.

I hope this message is received.

P.S. If Steam was a person, it would be the spliting image of Justin bieber.

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June 30, 2012 5:41:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@Pheace

Firstly Civ 5 is not found under C it's actually found under S.

Secondly, they have merged all the Civ games into one forum when actually they should be separate due to different tech issues for each game

Thirdly, there are 200 pages within that forum and I'm looking for a specific issue which I'm not even sure has been covered in there - do they seriously expect people to trawl through all that?

Fourthly, there is no search function within the forum and the filters are extremely limited

Fifthly, they have merged tech support posts with all the other general posts to make it even harder to find things there.

 

So yeah you can be sarcastic but the fact is it IS inaccessable. You probably glanced at the first page, saw it was alphabetical and thought it was easy to use based on that; you weren't actually looking for something - but you thought you'd act clever and post something sarcastic anyway - how about you check your facts first?

 

To be fair to Valve they have stickied a troubleshooting thread at the top, however it doesnt cover the issue I'm having i.e. mods not working since Steam Workshop

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June 30, 2012 6:22:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting DGB246,
@Pheace

Firstly Civ 5 is not found under C it's actually found under S.

Secondly, they have merged all the Civ games into one forum when actually they should be separate due to different tech issues for each game

Thirdly, there are 200 pages within that forum and I'm looking for a specific issue which I'm not even sure has been covered in there - do they seriously expect people to trawl through all that?

Fourthly, there is no search function within the forum and the filters are extremely limited

Fifthly, they have merged tech support posts with all the other general posts to make it even harder to find things there.

 

So yeah you can be sarcastic but the fact is it IS inaccessable. You probably glanced at the first page, saw it was alphabetical and thought it was easy to use based on that; you weren't actually looking for something - but you thought you'd act clever and post something sarcastic anyway - how about you check your facts first?

 

To be fair to Valve they have stickied a troubleshooting thread at the top, however it doesnt cover the issue I'm having i.e. mods not working since Steam Workshop

 

-Sid Meier's Civilization V .... yes it is under S.

-There *is* a search function within the forum, it's aptly named 'Search this forum'

I've been using SPUF for years, and obviously if anyone needs to get their facts right it's you.


Perhaps use the search next time to find your problem, whatever it was. I downloaded Mods for CIV 5 last week and it worked fine so maybe it's something new. There's also Google which can be useful for troubleshooting. Often these things are user specific/game specific/OS specific, it's hard to pin them down.

 

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June 30, 2012 6:37:29 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,


Pheace, I see you are a major proponent for Steam, steam-run games, and game accessability with steam. I can respect that. There can be a lot of good with a downloadable gaming engine. Problem is Steam just ISN"T that engine.

I've been using Steam for years with little to no complications and a huge amount of convenience in return, so in that sense I'm certainly a proponent yes. It's not ideal, that's obvious. There's still some issues with the offline mode, it can be annoying if for some reason you do *not* want to have your game update. Support as well is apparently quite slow. I say apparently because I haven't had to contact them in the time I've been using Steam either and that's with 400+ games.

Many people don't mind these complications, quite honestly because they don't know any better, but there is a very large market of users that DO know better, as shown by the comments here, that refuse to use Steam because of these unneccessary complications.

I'm perfectly fine with people arguing they don't like, or don't want to use Steam when using reasonable arguments like some of the ones mention in the thread and the ones I mentioned above. It's the ones that seem to be based on hearsay and general anti steam sentiment rather than fact that I take issue with ^^

In the end, Steam will fix or Steam will fail.

I have no doubt that Steam won't be cream of the crop for decades to come. Just like any company it will fall one day or another, and some other company will replace it. I do think it will be a rough facsimile of the same thing however. I know GOG has been gaining steam(lol) lately however I don't think no-DRM will be replacing the main AAA market any time soon. Origin, if it gains success is trying to be near what Steam is so that certainly won't bring much change. Gamersgate perhaps if it stays afloat longterm, although it certainly has it's share of annoying 3rd party DRM. Many cases in which i'd prefer the Steam version where Securom etc has been dropped for just Steam.

 

 

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June 30, 2012 7:22:16 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Lexarkg,
I hate Steam and don't buy any game which needs it.

Reason is simple: no one may have more rights on my computer than me.

Steam can do whatever it wishes with your games without your approval.

No way! 

 

+1 Sir, could not agreed more.  I'm looking at a summer of no games, because they are all steamworks titles.  I suppose I can take my hundreds of dollars and spend them on hookers and black jack.

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June 30, 2012 8:40:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Used to be anti-Steam until about 9 months ago when I tried it, decided to give it a go after Impulse got sold to Satan... er Game Stop.  Now I love Steam, I don't use the social functions much just the store and game library.  Don't see what the big deal for some people is, Steam isn't better than sliced bread but it isn't a Steam-ing (pun-y!) pile either.

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July 1, 2012 1:03:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@Pheace

I did find the search button after you mentioned it - doesn't exactly stand out does it? Still can't find a solution to the issue. Will try phoning 2K support instead as they actually have a contact number so I might be able to sort out the issue in 30 minutes as opposed to dealing with Valve.

 

To be honest I can't be bothered to debate this further with you and your sort - I think their customer service is abysmal, you are clearly willing to put up with poor service, good for you - I guess we'll have to agree to disagree

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July 1, 2012 2:01:55 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting DGB246,
@Pheace

I did find the search button after you mentioned it - doesn't exactly stand out does it? Still can't find a solution to the issue. Will try phoning 2K support instead as they actually have a contact number so I might be able to sort out the issue in 30 minutes as opposed to dealing with Valve.

To be honest I can't be bothered to debate this further with you and your sort - I think their customer service is abysmal, you are clearly willing to put up with poor service, good for you - I guess we'll have to agree to disagree

 

It's ok. I never really regret someone who refers to people as 'you and your sort' ignoring me. Can't say I'm shocked you'll find game related CS much faster with the developers of the game than a Store stocking 1000's of games.

I've already said CS is 'poor' as you mentioned it. Or well rather, it's slow. Generally though CS is pretty helpful when you manage to contact them from what I've heard. But yeah, since I've not had to *use* CS in the years I've been using it, I really don't mind bad CS. I vastly prefer that to great CS I have to contact regularly. And if I ever need to use it, I'll probably be fine with a slow CS considering how little I need it.

I personally found the Search this forum button just fine but I guess it could be more obvious for those that have trouble finding it. Seems like a minor complaint though.

Good luck with your problem.

 

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July 1, 2012 6:34:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A lot of anti-Steam hogwash being tossed around here, but the results of Brads poll linked above are pretty clear.  Out of almost 600 forum goers, 73% currently use Steam and like it.  I think the complainers are just louder.

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July 1, 2012 11:42:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Still, the people who don't use Steam are a significant enough amount that it would make sense for all Elemental strategy games and RPGs to be Steam-optional, especially since they are mostly single player focused.

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July 2, 2012 1:52:11 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting StevenAus,
Still, the people who don't use Steam are a significant enough amount that it would make sense for all Elemental strategy games and RPGs to be Steam-optional, especially since they are mostly single player focused.

 

That depends. As Brad lined out in his posts before, there are significant advantages for his Team and the development of the game in using Steamworks. For the 7% of people here who really will absolutely not pick up the game if it needs Steam, there's probably easily an equivalent amount of people who will buy it because it does activate on Steam.

 

I do agree ideally it's best to leave options open for all sides though. But you can't really blame them for opting for Steamworks when it offers so many benefits. If there was an equal alternative he'd probably have considered it.

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July 2, 2012 4:50:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Why haven't they made the most of Steam's multiplayer options for Rebellion then?  If they are not going to majorly make use of Steam's extra options for Rebellion, then there is no case for making Elemental games Steam only (especially since, unlike Rebellion, they are not MP focused).

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July 2, 2012 12:11:49 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting StevenAus,
Why haven't they made the most of Steam's multiplayer options for Rebellion then?  If they are not going to majorly make use of Steam's extra options for Rebellion, then there is no case for making Elemental games Steam only (especially since, unlike Rebellion, they are not MP focused).

 

Beats me, ask Frogboy I imagine. The Single nature part of it may be why he veto'd it for Elemental. Either way it seems the techs behind him would still love to have it Steamworks to save themselves trouble. (according to his previous posts here)

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July 3, 2012 1:43:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Something to keep in mind is the earlier ruling in the EU that digital copies must be resellable. Knowing the parliament right they will wind up with it being the sellers responsibility to provide such a feature (and maybe not all that silly to keep the revenue-stream, either, perchance)

http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/07/03/eu-court-you-should-be-able-to-resell-digital-software

 

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