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 10, 2012 4:36:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
To summarize somewhat, it seems from the poll that about 1/4 of posters don't want Steam, and that the rest wants it or is fine with it. Now it's a business decision most likely, and the rest of input will be from factors not related to us, stuff like what Frogboy described in his post (payment schedules, negotiation with publisher, etc). I remain hopeful that the fact 25% of potential market (extrapolating heavily from one small sampled poll) is against Steam will lead to keeping alternative purchase models available. Hell, I am willing to pay a reasonable premium in price to avoid Steam. Just to be clear, the actual premium in price would depend on a game but I'd say that paying 10% more on the average to not have Steam would be acceptable to me.
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June 10, 2012 7:31:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like Steam. I've been with them since the beginning and they have never done me wrong. As others have said I buy games from them all. I almost never buy retail; the last thing I want is a cd/dvd that gets lost. IMO Steam and the other digital distributions services have been god-send for pc gaming.

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June 11, 2012 2:53:28 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I discovered STEAM in 2007 I believe, and have over the years accumulated many games on several family STEAM accounts.  Those games have at some point been downloaded/redownloaded and played in on and offline mode(s).  I or my family/friends have yet to experience even one tiny hiccup with STEAM.  Of course this doesn't mean that it won't happen or that others haven't.  It just means that no one I know personally who also has STEAM has had any issues. 

Do I care that potential exists for problems/issues with STEAM?  Maybe or maybe not.......these days I'm just "the asshole who loves STEAM" and just like I don't expect others to care that I do......I don't care that they don't. 

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June 11, 2012 8:34:04 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Lonemessiah,



Quoting LORD-ORION,
reply 137
-
They are no better then Facebook or Linked-in for compiling pieces of personal information and selling it. You should be affraid that a potential employer will one day be able to put the pieces of the jig saw puzzle through the personal info traders and see your logged hours in a game service and not hire you.



 

So now it will be Steam's fault that you don't get a job, is there anything that Steam can't be blamed for?

Yes.  Steam stole my puppy.

 

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June 11, 2012 8:53:59 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Lonemessiah,
And now Steam corrupts your system!

So a round up of why Steam is evil:-

It corrupts perfectly good systems

It will stop you from getting a job

It will start to take photos of you to check it is you that is playing

It forces you to play Lord of the rings Online... Online

It will steal all of your games without any warning

It will attach electrodes to your gonads (ok this one hasn't been mentioned yet, but I am sure it soon will be)

You forgot to add--  Steam touches me in my private places. 

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June 11, 2012 10:43:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Steam is generally a turn off for me. The concept is great, but the execution is poor. It annoys the hell out of me that I have to boot Steam and wait for it to check in (which it fails at now and then) just to run Skyrim even though I purchased it retail. I always check Impulse first for DD games, and I'd rather get a retail version from Amazon than a Steam version if available.

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June 11, 2012 11:31:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think you should make it available for purchase on Steam, Stardock, and GOG that way everyone is happy

On a side note if it was released on steam I would probably buy a copy even though I got it for free just to show you my support and because I like having my games on steam.

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June 11, 2012 12:30:22 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting askjosh,
I think you should make it available for purchase on Steam, Stardock, and GOG that way everyone is happy

On a side note if it was released on steam I would probably buy a copy even though I got it for free just to show you my support and because I like having my games on steam.

You do know that you can register your game with Steam without having to buy it again.

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June 11, 2012 1:33:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I use Steam and prefer to only use Steam.  If every game I wanted came out through Steam I would be a happy camper (Darn you Blizzard!).  I was overjoyed to see GalCiv on Steam and look forward to getting Fallen Enchantress through it also. 

Steam has it's quirks, but the benefits far outweigh them in my opinion.

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June 11, 2012 4:10:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Zerli,
To summarize somewhat, it seems from the poll that about 1/4 of posters don't want Steam, and that the rest wants it or is fine with it. Now it's a business decision most likely, and the rest of input will be from factors not related to us, stuff like what Frogboy described in his post (payment schedules, negotiation with publisher, etc). I remain hopeful that the fact 25% of potential market (extrapolating heavily from one small sampled poll) is against Steam will lead to keeping alternative purchase models available. Hell, I am willing to pay a reasonable premium in price to avoid Steam. Just to be clear, the actual premium in price would depend on a game but I'd say that paying 10% more on the average to not have Steam would be acceptable to me.

Pretty much this. I'm one of the 25%.....to that poll at the top, I'm even in that slim 7%.

I won't buy this game if it needs steam/impulse. Simple.

I will buy this game if there is an alternative:
1) Able to hack the game so it does not require steam to run
2) Can purchase a version that does not require steam to run (even if that version costs more)

I don't even want to buy the preorder right now because it could end up with steam/impulse...if I could be garenteed that steam/impulse would not enter into the equation, Stardock would already have my money.

I've listed in a previous post as to why I don't like depending on these downloading consoles. I have installed both steam and impulse to see what they were like and how they operated. Both imediately grated on me and both were uninstalled in very short order! Even the uninstall was a pain in the butt as the clients kept placing spyware and other malicious files on my computer to try to get me to reinstall in the future. The tool showers advertisements on you and completely annoys you right away as they attempt to badger as much money as they can out of you.

If I want something, I'll buy it. I don't need to be pressured into it.

Anyways, this one was a little more 'ranty' than my last post. I apoligize if it's too offensive to some.

I sympathize with FE and there shipping/payment problems they've had, but imo, it's worth the hassle over pissing off your customer base.

 

 

 

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June 11, 2012 5:32:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Bellack,
Quoting Mortenart, reply 110Steam is the bane of my gaming life.  I have a corrupt dll on my system, which means that I cannot load Steam, and therefore cannot play any of my games that require it - Mount & Blade, Civilisation..  And now it seems that Lord of the Rings Online have associated themselves with Steam, I can't play that either, and have had to cancel my subscription.  Why should we be forced to play the games that we have bought through a third party client, requiring internet connection?  It's an outrage.  Please, please do not go the same way...

 

Did you try deleting Steam then reinstalling it. A currupted DDL is not Steams fault. Remember any program can get corrupted and it does not mean that program is bad.

 

Yes, I have reinstalled several times, with no joy.  I'm not saying that a corrupted DDL is Steam's fault - I'm saying that why should a game that I have bought require a third party application which can have complications like the one I have.  If I pay the money for a game, I should be able to play it without any interference from companies such as Steam.

 

 

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June 11, 2012 7:38:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love Steam for its service. The ease of purchasing, updating, and organizing games is awesome. I really like when games offer an optional steam-key so I can enjoy the service.

I hate steam for keeping my games hostage. I have no guarantee that the products I have payed for will be available to me in the future. If bad things happen with a game purchase, I cannot exercise my rights as a consumer. Any complaints through legal authorities or my local bank is likely to end in a blocked account, and hundreds of dollars worth of games being lost. This is, of course, completely opposite to a healthy consumer-company relation.

In the end, I will keep using steam for its convenience and awesome service. And every time I buy a game for Steam, I silently pray that the day will never come when I lose access to my library.

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June 11, 2012 9:30:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't know if this has been pointed out or not (sorry I'm kind of in a hurry), but it's not steam's fault that there are region restrictions, or $ = euro prices. Only the developers have control over that, so when you see a $40 game for 40 euros on stream, it's actually the developer who's to blame. Same for all price or region related problems.

Their support isn't great at all, but again you have to consider that they might have to talk to the developers about some issues, and it might be them who aren't willing to respond. For example, when you want to cancel a preorder, it's usually the developer who isn't willing to give your money back, not steam.

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June 11, 2012 11:53:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love steam. It totally changed the way I`m able to enjoy and play games. Living in Brazil it is more often then not very difficult to buy games at retail stores, not only the stores themselves are a dime a dozen but many titles face localization and distribution problems in South America, that is when they are available at all. For many years the only way to buy a game that I enjoy (which are usually not sold here) was by asking someone abroad to send to me, buying while traveling or simply download it through other means.

 

GalCiv was the first ever game I bought through digital download, when i saw it was possible i jumped on the bandwagon, ever since then I`ve been an avid consumer of games through Steam, Gamersgate, Impulse and GoG.

 

I will never buy a retail game again.

 

In short, love Steam.

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June 12, 2012 1:10:39 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting vesa2,
I hate the fact European Steam users have to pay more for the exactly same digital copy than American.

While I'm here, that's another myth.  SOME games European users pay more.  Some games are cheaper for European users.

http://steamreview.org/posts/localisedprices/

Mind you that was in 2008.  I doubt I could find a more recent example.

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June 12, 2012 6:35:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Europeans pay more becus of taxes. Steam can't be blamed for your govements impossing 17% VAT tax

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June 12, 2012 7:09:09 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Steam is nice, and i'm a long time regular user. However it does have it questions and problems. Like earlier in the thread was questioned, what happens when Steam disappears? Also there are cases of billing disputes resulting in Valve banning the user's account, and him losing all games he had on it. And as a more everyday problem, today Sins Rebllion will be released, but a Skyrim Update was published yesterday that will break the mods i'm using with it. Due to Steam's "do not update this game automatically" function not usually functioning, i have to choose do i want ot keep Skyrim playable or update Rebellion to release version.

It's handy, but caution should be exercised in it's usage.

Quoting FrostyThundertrod,

Europeans pay more becus of taxes. Steam can't be blamed for your govements impossing 17% VAT tax

It isn't because of taxes, but because Valve thinks $1=1€. And in Finland that's 23% 

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June 12, 2012 8:30:27 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

if steam is so wonderful, WHY did it take 12 hours to download and install rebellion beta on a new computer (btw I have a 8mbit connection) the download speed averaged at 25 Kb/s on a 8Mbit connection, and can routinely dwnload at 800kBYTE/sec when downloading a single file, and the PEAK sped was 48kb/s as reported by steam. if a slow web browser like IE can hit 800KByte/sec WHY CAN'T STEAM????

harpo

 

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June 12, 2012 9:15:48 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting harpo99999,
if steam is so wonderful, WHY did it take 12 hours to download and install rebellion beta on a new computer (btw I have a 8mbit connection) the download speed averaged at 25 Kb/s on a 8Mbit connection, and can routinely dwnload at 800kBYTE/sec when downloading a single file, and the PEAK sped was 48kb/s as reported by steam. if a slow web browser like IE can hit 800KByte/sec WHY CAN'T STEAM????

harpo

 

Not sure. I have never had this problem with Steam.  The longest game down load I have had on steam was Shogun 2 with all the DLC and expansions was 45 minutes.  but usally the downloads are between 5 and 20 minutes depending on my internet speed.

Not sure why your downloads are so slow. My PC is decent but not top of the line. I suspect that Steam is not to blame for your issue. Because if it was then we all would have that issue.

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June 12, 2012 11:20:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The idea behind steam is great, but from an Australians perspective it pretty much a rippoff, I know it's not only steam that does this, but they are the biggest.

For some reason us in Oz are required to pay up to 4 times as much as a resident in the US, no transport costs, no packaging or disk, no booklet/manual, even a free trade agreement, I've debated this on the Civ forums a few times and nobody can give me a good realistic reason.

It's now come to the attention of our government and an inquiry is underway to find out why we are being discriminated against, I won't be suprised if they find it is the Publishers themselves, I just hope they can do something about it, as once you find out your being scammed, it makes you reluctant to purchase anything at all.

 http://www.steamprices.com/au/topripoffs

This site will give you an idea of the difference in price if you are at all interested, we also pay in USD and the exchange rate makes no difference at all.

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June 12, 2012 11:24:56 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

With rare exception, if it's not on Steam, I probably won't buy it. 

Considering the state of my most recent exceptions (Diablo III and The Old Republic), I imagine them becoming even rarer in the future.

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June 12, 2012 1:22:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sakhari,
With rare exception, if it's not on Steam, I probably won't buy it. 

Considering the state of my most recent exceptions (Diablo III and The Old Republic), I imagine them becoming even rarer in the future.

I regret buying diablo 3 and being locked out, wish steam was there to tell me my cd key

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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June 12, 2012 1:31:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like Steam, and DD services in general. I have three that I use regularly: Steam, Gamestop (which I liked better when you owned it) and Gamefly. My only problem with Steam is its threat to become The One Service to Rule Them All. Between the Steam fanboys who won't buy anything if it isn't on Steam, the fact that Steamworks games REQUIRE Steam to run and are becoming more common, and the fact that Valve won't let you sell DLC off Steam if you sell on Steam it is really threatening to become the one and only way to sell games.

That I don't want to see. It is never good when a single company controls everything.

So I want to see DD flourish, I just want to see more than one company in it.

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June 12, 2012 2:07:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sycraft,

That I don't want to see. It is never good when a single company controls everything.

So I want to see DD flourish, I just want to see more than one company in it.

This doesn't work.

For a company to flourish, it has to offer most games to it's customer base. In effect, that forms a monopoly because these sites will contract non-interferance clauses.

In the end you have either 1 monopoly that charges through the roof....or you have many small companies that can't provide solid service that customers want.

 

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June 12, 2012 2:15:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


For those who still blame steam for it's unfair regional prices please read this part of their wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_(software)#Regional_restrictions_and_pricing

And if you're still not convinced read Vandal's (Witcher dev's) comment on the matter (blue text):

http://www.gog.com/en/forum/general/steam_1_usd_1_eur/page3/

Steam isn't perfect, but you're blaming the wrong guy here.

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