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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aeligos
athelasloraiel
July 25, 2012 8:55:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've always been leery of steam because I don't like having my hand held. I tend to figure I pay full price for a product (which isn't always true with steam, some of the best deals in the industry) and should be capable of using that product without entertaining a third party. I don't like having to run steam, sign in, etc. It's not work, it's like three seconds, but I resent it anyway. Also had enormous trouble in the early days trying to shoehorn even simple mods in.

Maybe the reason I don't like steam is that it's a convenient scapegoat for the almost-death of physical copies, manuals, maps, et all. I buy boxed copies of games only to find that the CD inside is actually a steam installer. Many of the products distributed that way literally offer no alternative to steam. That's annoying.

Also, don't know what it is, but I rarely meet a steam fan that can hide his disdain for someone that does not like steam. I don't hate it, I'd just be happier without it. If that makes me an idiot, I am.

 

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July 25, 2012 10:47:24 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Guys I have some bad news.   Last night Steam touched me in my private place. Now I feel all dirty.

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July 25, 2012 11:13:53 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Bellack,
Guys I have some bad news.   Last night Steam touched me in my private place. Now I feel all dirty.

 

I'm not alone! We should plan a class action lawsuit.

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July 27, 2012 2:51:36 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I can't stand Steam. I was given Empire: Total War as a Christmas gift, and I have only played it twice. Because of Steam.

Why do I have to be logged onto the internet to play a game I paid for?

This is the same reason I will NOT be buying Diablo III. Forcing me to be online to play a game that I bought to play on my computer is not acceptable.
If I want to be online, I'll buy an online game.

I love Stardock; I've enjoyed every game I've bought from them.

But I refuse to be forced to have internet access to play a game; there aren't any I want that badly. Too often I would want to be able to play it where I either do not have internet access or the online connection is not secure.

So no, an absolute NO vote for Steam here.

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July 29, 2012 6:26:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting tancred1425,
I can't stand Steam. I was given Empire: Total War as a Christmas gift, and I have only played it twice. Because of Steam.

Why do I have to be logged onto the internet to play a game I paid for?

This is the same reason I will NOT be buying Diablo III. Forcing me to be online to play a game that I bought to play on my computer is not acceptable.
If I want to be online, I'll buy an online game.

I love Stardock; I've enjoyed every game I've bought from them.

But I refuse to be forced to have internet access to play a game; there aren't any I want that badly. Too often I would want to be able to play it where I either do not have internet access or the online connection is not secure.

So no, an absolute NO vote for Steam here.

 

To paraphrase this entire thread.... Have you tried switching to offline mode?

Did you actually read any of this thread?

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August 3, 2012 10:26:53 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

OH MY GOD!!!!  I cannot believe that I have to power on my PC in order to run a game through Steam this is just outragous.  I'm writting my congressman about this.  

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August 3, 2012 11:05:31 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Lonemessiah,

Quoting tancred1425, reply 305I can't stand Steam. I was given Empire: Total War as a Christmas gift, and I have only played it twice. Because of Steam.

Why do I have to be logged onto the internet to play a game I paid for?

This is the same reason I will NOT be buying Diablo III. Forcing me to be online to play a game that I bought to play on my computer is not acceptable.
If I want to be online, I'll buy an online game.

I love Stardock; I've enjoyed every game I've bought from them.

But I refuse to be forced to have internet access to play a game; there aren't any I want that badly. Too often I would want to be able to play it where I either do not have internet access or the online connection is not secure.

So no, an absolute NO vote for Steam here.

 

To paraphrase this entire thread.... Have you tried switching to offline mode?

Did you actually read any of this thread?

 

No, I just decided to rage without any evidence to back me up.

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August 3, 2012 11:17:49 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Why do I have to be logged onto the internet to play a game I paid for?

To those who say you have to be online to go into offline mode... you are wrong. I disconnected my network while steam wasn't running. Started up steam and it says it couldn't connect and asks if I want to try again or go into offline mode. I select offline mode. Steam starts up.

There is offline mode you can turn on. That way you don't need internet to play a game. You can also disable automatic updates. Only problem I can see is when you're online and for some reason your internet goes off and you can't then turn Steam into offline, but these are rare cases and I mostly have Steam turned online. If you set Steam offline and then you'll have your internet cut off there should be no problem with playing offline as Steam took note of you wishing to play offline mode before that.

There are games I bought via Steam that I couldn't obtain in my country (they had to translate it and all) or were simply outdated for retail stores. All things considered I an in-between; while I don't hate Steam I also don't love. It's simply very convenient in use.

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August 3, 2012 11:36:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just located this topic and got really excited.

I stopped playing any games from Stardock many years ago after I had a disastrous incident with Stardock/Impulse and lost the ability to play a few games I own. (That and I really didn't like how Impulse worked - but this is a moot point now)

If this is released on Steam I will purchase it immediately. I have transferred my entire gaming collection to Steam and have 437 games there now, I don't think I will buy Games from another platform anymore just because it becomes impossible to keep track of them all. It is worth noting I re-purchased some of your games (Sins, GalCiv 2) when they finally appeared on Steam.

As an additional point - Steam is used by so many people now that whether or not people from *this* community will buy it is really not the question you should be asking. It doesn't matter, most people here will buy the game regardless. (Especially if you offer a boxed separate copy as well)

Much more important is the fact that Steam will give the game an enormous amount of exposure, especially if it sells well, since it will hit the front page on the Steam Store and lead to a lot of impulse purchases. The only sticking point is the price, it's quite a steep fee for games these days.

I'd like to refer to Paradox Interactive for an example of a company who market their games in a very clever manner:

1. Their games can be purchases in non-Steam, seperate boxed AND digital format. (Usually Games Gate)

2. Their games are on Steam. (any recent ones are anyway)

3. They tend to ask a very reasonable price for their games.

Releasing this on Steam is a win-win, and allows you to use their platform for future multiplayer as well - which is a proven, stable platform.

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August 3, 2012 9:34:22 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting ManaPool,
If this is released on Steam I will purchase it immediately. I have transferred my entire gaming collection to Steam and have 437 games there now, I don't think I will buy Games from another platform anymore just because it becomes impossible to keep track of them all. It is worth noting I re-purchased some of your games (Sins, GalCiv 2) when they finally appeared on Steam.

You don't have those games, they are just associated with your account.

When steam finally goes under you will lose every single one of them.

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August 4, 2012 10:15:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DGB246,
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

 

 

^^ This has been my recent experience with Steam and I loathe them for it.  I dislike Firaxis for even putting it on Steam.  Damn you Sid! 

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August 5, 2012 4:34:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I can't wait for FE to come to steam, insta buying - as well as 4 pack for my friends for Christmas gifts.

 

If you dont like steam, dont use it  - the games are available otherwise...

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August 5, 2012 4:46:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

except for the STEAM ONLY games eg sins rebellion.

harpo

 

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August 6, 2012 12:18:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting taltamir,

Quoting ManaPool, reply 309If this is released on Steam I will purchase it immediately. I have transferred my entire gaming collection to Steam and have 437 games there now, I don't think I will buy Games from another platform anymore just because it becomes impossible to keep track of them all. It is worth noting I re-purchased some of your games (Sins, GalCiv 2) when they finally appeared on Steam.

You don't have those games, they are just associated with your account.

When steam finally goes under you will lose every single one of them.

10 years from now we'll welcome you to the age of cloud computing when you're finally ready for it.

In the meantime, enjoy your PC Gaming experiences as you're missing out on a lot of good games due to your completely misguided hatred for digital distribution. If you're going to hate on something, at least start with something more understandable, like uplay, Origin or battle.net which only serve the purpose of 1 publisher.

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August 6, 2012 1:23:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ManaPool,



Quoting taltamir,
reply 311

Quoting ManaPool, reply 309If this is released on Steam I will purchase it immediately. I have transferred my entire gaming collection to Steam and have 437 games there now, I don't think I will buy Games from another platform anymore just because it becomes impossible to keep track of them all. It is worth noting I re-purchased some of your games (Sins, GalCiv 2) when they finally appeared on Steam.

You don't have those games, they are just associated with your account.

When steam finally goes under you will lose every single one of them.


10 years from now we'll welcome you to the age of cloud computing when you're finally ready for it.

In the meantime, enjoy your PC Gaming experiences as you're missing out on a lot of good games due to your completely misguided hatred for digital distribution. If you're going to hate on something, at least start with something more understandable, like uplay, Origin or battle.net which only serve the purpose of 1 publisher.

I'd rather individual publisher based DCM than a single DCM. Ever heard of the phrase "all your eggs in one basket". Nothing good can come of steam. I'm very glad FE isn't using it as it's sole distributor.

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August 7, 2012 12:55:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Me too.  I'd rather individual publisher control than one distributor controlling everything.  Effectively, you don't have uninterruptable usage rights of the games you supposedly "purchase rights to use" - even if most report usage hardly gets cut off by Steam, it still happens, applies to all games in an account and is a point of great power (and future potential abuse of power) that Steam has over the contents of every single Steam account.  The individual developer/publisher is not in control of whether you can still play their games in the future - Steam is.

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August 7, 2012 7:05:45 AM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting ManaPool,
10 years from now we'll welcome you to the age of cloud computing when you're finally ready for it.

In the meantime, enjoy your PC Gaming experiences as you're missing out on a lot of good games due to your completely misguided hatred for digital distribution. If you're going to hate on something, at least start with something more understandable, like uplay, Origin or battle.net which only serve the purpose of 1 publisher.

I love digital distribution. I hate DRM.

This is how digital distribution should be done: http://www.gog.com/

If they go under, I still have all my games and can reinstall them in perpetuity without having to activate crap on servers online.

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August 7, 2012 10:47:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gog, Desura, Gamersgate, even Impulse are still fine services.

 

My issue is Steam's policies and its ability to enforce them in a draconian fashion at will in a way the other services can't.   I just really hope Stardock doesn't go Steam mandatory.

 

I really want to see Valve broken up by antitrust now.  The CFPB needs antitrust power.

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August 7, 2012 11:03:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting taltamir,



Quoting ManaPool,
reply 314
10 years from now we'll welcome you to the age of cloud computing when you're finally ready for it.

In the meantime, enjoy your PC Gaming experiences as you're missing out on a lot of good games due to your completely misguided hatred for digital distribution. If you're going to hate on something, at least start with something more understandable, like uplay, Origin or battle.net which only serve the purpose of 1 publisher.


I love digital distribution. I hate DRM.

This is how digital distribution should be done: http://www.gog.com/

If they go under, I still have all my games and can reinstall them in perpetuity without having to activate crap on servers online.

While I prefer having the disk, I would agree that gog is probably the best way to obtain digital distribution of games.

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August 7, 2012 11:03:42 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Alstein,
I really want to see Valve broken up by antitrust now.  The CFPB needs antitrust power.

You can't be serious.

 

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August 7, 2012 12:54:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Island Dog,

Quoting Alstein, reply 319I really want to see Valve broken up by antitrust now.  The CFPB needs antitrust power.



You can't be serious.

Sshhh, its a trap!

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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August 7, 2012 2:56:57 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Kongdej,

Quoting Island Dog, reply 321
Quoting Alstein, reply 319I really want to see Valve broken up by antitrust now.  The CFPB needs antitrust power.



You can't be serious.

Sshhh, its a trap!

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

 

Are you a Romulan?

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August 7, 2012 4:19:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting OddskiBoddski,



Quoting Kongdej,
reply 322

Quoting Island Dog, reply 321
Quoting Alstein, reply 319I really want to see Valve broken up by antitrust now.  The CFPB needs antitrust power.



You can't be serious.

Sshhh, its a trap!

Sincerely
~ Kongdej


 

Are you a Romulan?

He's an 'ackbarian'

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August 7, 2012 6:04:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting taltamir,



You don't have those games, they are just associated with your account.

When steam finally goes under you will lose every single one of them.

 

You do realise if your house was damaged by fire, flood or another natural disaster and you lost all your cd's you would be screwed, however if they were on Steam you'd be ok? Which would you say is the more likely thing to happen to to the countless people on Steam in the next 10 years?

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August 7, 2012 6:34:15 PM from Stardock.net (Stardock Games) Stardock.net (Stardock Games)

Well if you buy a Stardock game on Steam, you're fine as long as either Stardock OR Steam are around.  

Of course, if Stardock were ever to fold (not bloody likely) we'd just put our stuff out into the public domain.

 

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