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acidtestportfolio
11-11-2011, 06:12 AM
okay, i actually want to try some debate type stuff (even though i am shit at debating)

so let's have a slapfight over steam.

1: i love steam. i love the way they go out of their way to make things just work. most of the time it does. i do understand there's shortcomings with the service (although i am spoiled by always-on broadband), but i love it like a brother from another mother. i also love how it made the indie market more accessible to gamers by acting as sort of a console platform. i would have definitely missed out on a lot of cool games. also, steam adds these little touches like recommendations where i can make mini reviews of video games to convince my friends that you should or should not buy. i also like steam because i can easily seperate my games from the rest of my computer rather than having a bunch of them in my hard drive like the ground full of dens of small desert animals.

2: i also appreciate the games that valve makes. i don't really like all of them, but i like them. tf2 is still fun for me despite all the goddamn shit that is now available to slap on your characters. i've played left 4 dead 2 to death. i can't sit through half-life now because it feels so outdated. i can't play those, but i appreciate them for what they've introduced to gaming. i like valve because for me, they make me feel like i am some sort of person looking in on what a mad scientist has created.

of course, i'd rather have it the bad old way, because i used to walk six miles every morning to school in the snow, but this is the service that actually made me like drm. all others, i am convinced, are spinning their wheels in the dirt. steam is the court jester in the fucking mess that is the video game market.

p.s.: the mistress i am seeing while i am away from valve is good old games, because they basically do what steam does but does not tie me to a service. however, it's such a limited selection. i am willing to pay money, but i am also willing to put up the attention and patience for a romp around home of the underdogs as well.

Hensler
11-11-2011, 06:32 AM
This RPS. Half the people here are Valve fanboys. This thread would be way more entertaining on the Origin forums.

Anyways, I like Steam too, but I do want to see a big competitor rise up, leading to more sales and more competition.

Mohorovicic
11-11-2011, 06:33 AM
Steam and Valve has faults but I don't care 'cuz I'm a fanboy

What are we supposed to discuss again?

acidtestportfolio
11-11-2011, 06:34 AM
What are we supposed to discuss again?

i dunno, this isn't the my little pony: friendship is magic forums

Mohorovicic
11-11-2011, 06:36 AM
1. You called yourself a fanboy in the thread title
2. Both your "points" basically come down to "This has faults, but I don't care" without even doing as little as giving a reason why you don't care.

So let me ask again, what are we supposed to be discussing? Oh sorry. "Debating".

acidtestportfolio
11-11-2011, 06:39 AM
1. You called yourself a fanboy in the thread title
2. Both your "points" basically come down to "This has faults, but I don't care" without even doing as little as giving a reason why you don't care.

So let me ask again, what are we supposed to be discussing? Oh sorry. "Debating".

1: i am curious. quit being so pedantic, it's not good for you.

2: i said why i care. yeah, i understand that steam is essentially DRM and it's basically control over what you can and can't do with a product in the guise of a 'entertainment center' style program, but i like it because it's more convenient than piracy. it also gives indie developers more of an opportunity to market themselves. and most of all, because it works.

Juan Carlo
11-11-2011, 06:43 AM
I actually suspect that steam owes much of its success to the fact that it's tapped into the obsessive collector in people. Why else would people buy games and never play them? Or refuse to buy games anywhere but steam? I know tons of people who just buy stuff on steam so they can have it in their games list then never touch the games (just browse your friends list and I'm betting most will have a good number of games with less than an hour on them).

They are basically just commodifying the achievements mind set, or tapping into the same sort of OCD, must have impulse, that achievements tickle in our brains--only in this case its collecting a list of must have games (even if you never play them) rather than collecting a list of digital medals. Of course, I do think the sales factor into this (i.e. I doubt people would have as many unplayed games if all games were 50 dollars), but the question still remains as to why people would buy games that they will never play at all--regardless of if those games are 5 dollars or 50 dollars.

Which I only bring up because I think that's the real reason why what you call "steam fanboys" defend Valve so much. It's mostly just because they've pumped so much money into paying for what are basically just subscriptions to play games and building up their monstrous digital collections that they instinctively lash out at any competitors just because they have a fear that Valve will go out of business and all their money will have been wasted.

Which all isn't to knock Valve necessarily. I think they are a fine company, and while I really, really, hate offline mode (which never works), I don't generally have a problem with steam. Steam has probably single handedly kept the PC gaming industry alive over the past 5 years, made indies profitable, and allowed access to tons of cheap games which most people would never have had.

But still, I do think the fanboyism is a bit silly at times--especially against Origin. I have no special love for EA, but PC Gamers should be delighted that a huge company like EA even believes that the PC Gaming market is profitable enough to want to start a steam like store. 5 years ago they would have never done that as all the big publishers were leaving the PC for dead. That's the only reason why steam was successful in the first place--most big publishers weren't even paying attention to the PC market which allowed Valve to jump in an take advantage of the situation without any other companies really paying much attention to what they were doing. Of course, now that Valve is making insane amounts of money, everyone will want a piece--and I don't think that's such a bad thing for PC gaming over all.

Nalano
11-11-2011, 07:15 AM
But still, I do think the fanboyism is a bit silly at times--especially against Origin.

I dunno.

I see a substantive difference between Steam/Origin fanboyism (tho I don't believe Origin fanboys yet exist) and, say, the Xbox/PS3/Wii console wars.

Namely, if you're going to convince your parents to spend a ridiculous amount of money on a console and discover that the games for it suck - or there aren't that many games for it - you're probably not going to convince them to buy you another console. As such, to save face you have to convince your friends that the console you have isn't The Suck while you envy their choices.

Meanwhile, Steam/Origin/Impulse/GamersGate/GoodOldGames/whatever don't have gateway fees, as the platform isn't tied to one company. It really is nothing but personal preference. After all, a lot of folks here base their purchasing decisions solely on whomever has the cheapest deal of the moment.

As for yours truly, Steam > Origin because Origin wants to be another Steam, and not only do I already have Steam, but the Steam I have is better.

hamster
11-11-2011, 09:14 AM
Not a fan of Steam because the thing takes a bit of time to load and forces me to go online in order to play. I'm not connected all the time (on my laptop for instance).

Also i harbor a bit of resentment for CS:S.

Althea
11-11-2011, 09:16 AM
Not a fan of Steam because the thing takes a bit of time to load and forces me to go online in order to play. I'm not connected all the time (on my laptop for instance).
Offline mode.

The JG Man
11-11-2011, 09:26 AM
but this is the service that actually made me like drm.

See this I take issue with. Regardless of what anyone else does in the system, regardless of what quality Valve produces (and it is fair to say likely to be above average at the least) Steam is still a form of DRM. An accepted one, but that just makes it all the worse. As it is accepted, it won't be removed and others can go "...well, it worked for Valve, why not us?" I feel this makes the ownership issue lean towards the producers when, for me, it should ultimately always be with the consumer. I don't think anyone should ever say they can, or come to, like DRM.

Honestly, this is the only issue I have with Steam as a platform. Its actual existence, what it does, what it enables is fundamentally fantastic.

As for all your other points, pretty much agree, like I've said. Steam is otherwise great and Valve products are equally so. They are a developer that will likely be revered for some time to come and I'm thankful they still seem to acknowledge more traditional ways of playing games, ie. not hand holding absolutely.

soldant
11-11-2011, 10:16 AM
okay, i actually want to try some debate type stuff (even though i am shit at debating)
Um, why would we want to argue with a fanboy?

Apart from that:

1: Steam does what it does quite well. That doesn't mean it'll always work quite well, nor does it mean that it's not just another form of DRM, but over the years it certainly has developed into one of the best digital distribution platforms. But being Australian (and I assume you are too, judging from your location entry) you should know that Steam is often abused by publishers when it comes to pricing in our region. Remember CoD4 when it first came out on Steam? This was back when our dollar was like 70c = 1 USD. It was originally at the US price, until Activision went "Oh wait, they're getting it cheaper!" and they put it up to like $100 or something, to match the retail price. Except it was actually in USD, and ended up being $120 AUD or something, which was $20 more expensive than the boxed copy!

So yeah, Steam has a lot of great features and when it's used properly (i.e. by Valve) it's fine. But then idiot publishers screw around with it and end up charging the same as for a boxed copy (or more!).


2: Valve's games != Steam. I love Valve's games. Liking Valve games shouldn't automatically equate to loving Steam, that's illogical. Liking the games does not mean we have to like the distribution system... frequently, we don't.


3: GOG is great but one thing to remember over HOTU is that they specialise in getting some of the other games (particularly Win95 titles) to work on modern systems without fuss. Yes, many of them are as simple as running DosBOX, but the earlier Windows titles (95/98) can be a lot more challenging. GOG's selection is limited because it relies on publisher cooperation, and a lot of them don't care enough about a series to do anything with it, but care enough that they won't release them for GOG to sell.

Kind of confused about the GOG praise though... you like it because it doesn't tie you to a DRM service, yet you praise Steam for being a DRM service with a storefront attached. So... yeah, why is Steam the superior method again? What I'm saying is, if GOG had the same catalogue as Steam, would you still use Steam?

Kadayi
11-11-2011, 12:36 PM
It's disingenuous to compare GoG Vs Steam tbh. Bar the CDProjeckt titles the rest of what they sell are old titles, and the developers who made those games aren't reliant on those sales to stay in business (many of them are no longer going concerns), where as by on large the same is not true of most of the games on Steam.

Shane
11-11-2011, 12:39 PM
I dislike the fact that you don't actually own the games you buy on Steam, you can only access those games as long as Steam allows you to.

The prices are the same as the boxed versions, it's interesting to note that while Australian/Brazilian gamers are made to pay the same ridiculously high prices on Steam as they do at retail, Steam doesn't lower its prices in regions where the boxed games are cheaper (Russia/China).

Then there's the DRM.

Althea
11-11-2011, 12:46 PM
The prices are the same as the boxed versions, it's interesting to note that while Australian/Brazilian gamers are made to pay the same ridiculously high prices on Steam as they do at retail, Steam doesn't lower its prices in regions where the boxed games are cheaper (Russia/China).
Or the UK. I remember one of the Bethesda sales this year had bring for 22.50. I think retail copies were shipping for about 14 at the time, and now you can easily pick it up for sub-10. I think it's still 30 on Steam. As far as I know, it's more to do with the publishers, but Valve could pressure them more to drop their prices more frequently in order to be more competitive.

Shane
11-11-2011, 01:17 PM
As far as I know, it's more to do with the publishers...

Methinks that's a misconception, I remember a dev once saying something along the lines of Valve being the one which recommended prices to publishers, which they were then obligated to follow.

BillButNotBen
11-11-2011, 01:20 PM
I actually suspect that steam owes much of its success to the fact that it's tapped into the obsessive collector in people. Why else would people buy games and never play them? Or refuse to buy games anywhere but steam? I know tons of people who just buy stuff on steam so they can have it in their games list then never touch the games (just browse your friends list and I'm betting most will have a good number of games with less than an hour on them).

They are basically just commodifying the achievements mind set, or tapping into the same sort of OCD, must have impulse, that achievements tickle in our brains--only in this case its collecting a list of must have games (even if you never play them) rather than collecting a list of digital medals. Of course, I do think the sales factor into this (i.e. I doubt people would have as many unplayed games if all games were 50 dollars), but the question still remains as to why people would buy games that they will never play at all--regardless of if those games are 5 dollars or 50 dollars.

Which I only bring up because I think that's the real reason why what you call "steam fanboys" defend Valve so much. It's mostly just because they've pumped so much money into paying for what are basically just subscriptions to play games and building up their monstrous digital collections that they instinctively lash out at any competitors just because they have a fear that Valve will go out of business and all their money will have been wasted.

Which all isn't to knock Valve necessarily. I think they are a fine company, and while I really, really, hate offline mode (which never works), I don't generally have a problem with steam. Steam has probably single handedly kept the PC gaming industry alive over the past 5 years, made indies profitable, and allowed access to tons of cheap games which most people would never have had.

But still, I do think the fanboyism is a bit silly at times--especially against Origin. I have no special love for EA, but PC Gamers should be delighted that a huge company like EA even believes that the PC Gaming market is profitable enough to want to start a steam like store. 5 years ago they would have never done that as all the big publishers were leaving the PC for dead. That's the only reason why steam was successful in the first place--most big publishers weren't even paying attention to the PC market which allowed Valve to jump in an take advantage of the situation without any other companies really paying much attention to what they were doing. Of course, now that Valve is making insane amounts of money, everyone will want a piece--and I don't think that's such a bad thing for PC gaming over all.

I think you have totally nailed it. Steam achievements = buying lots of games.
I know it applies to me. (it's also tapping into the same thing that leads to people pirating more games than they could ever play).

Except, I disagree on Origin. I see NO redeeming factors for Origin... I hope it fails hard. That has nothing to do with my like of steam, it's because if it succeeds then it'll be bad for me and many many gamers.

Althea
11-11-2011, 01:22 PM
Methinks that's a misconception, I remember a dev once saying something along the lines of that it was Valve which recommended prices to publishers, which they were then obliged to follow.
Hm, it's a shame many devs/publishers won't be frank about it, though.

Subatomic
11-11-2011, 03:10 PM
Hm, it's a shame many devs/publishers won't be frank about it, though.

I don't really care where the money goes, as long as games from major publishers are actually more expensive on Steam then importing a good old physical copy from the UK, I'll only use Steam for indie games or sales of older games. For example, Skyrim is 49,99 in the German Steam shop, 47 at amazon.de and 29.98 + 5.93 shipping (= 43,30) at amazon.co.uk. I not only save about 6 on every AAA title I don't buy on Steam, I actually get a physical copy... where exactly is the advantage of digital distribution again here?

Berzee
11-11-2011, 03:41 PM
(some stuff)

WRONG, sir.

Kadayi
11-11-2011, 03:52 PM
Methinks that's a misconception, I remember a dev once saying something along the lines of Valve being the one which recommended prices to publishers, which they were then obligated to follow.

In short no.

Kaira-
11-11-2011, 04:43 PM
Not related to Valve, but: why don't you ever use capital/upper-case letters, and only lower-case letters? Annoys me a lot.

deano2099
11-11-2011, 08:40 PM
Except, I disagree on Origin. I see NO redeeming factors for Origin... I hope it fails hard. That has nothing to do with my like of steam, it's because if it succeeds then it'll be bad for me and many many gamers.

Did Steam have any redeeming features when it first launched? Or was that just DRM too? Certainly didn't have the huge sales, not sure if it even had the overlay or chat but I could be wrong.

As for pricing, publishers can decide on the price, but doing price changes, sales etc. is a lot harder on Steam. You have to fit around their sales schedule, not your own. Equally for smaller companies, the price you want to sell at can be a reason that Steam rejects your game.

Althea
11-11-2011, 08:47 PM
As for pricing, publishers can decide on the price, but doing price changes, sales etc. is a lot harder on Steam. You have to fit around their sales schedule, not your own. Equally for smaller companies, the price you want to sell at can be a reason that Steam rejects your game.
So, basically, Steam is both aiding and crippling the sale of games.

pmh
11-11-2011, 10:42 PM
Did Steam have any redeeming features when it first launched? Or was that just DRM too? Certainly didn't have the huge sales, not sure if it even had the overlay or chat but I could be wrong.


No redeeming qualities whatsoever. The server browser frequently broke (losing favorites or history), there was no overlay, offline mode was even more of a crap-shoot, the friends list worked off and on for several months and then not at all for several years, and at that time the client had a relatively large memory (and to a lesser extent, CPU) footprint.

Kadayi
12-11-2011, 01:04 AM
Equally for smaller companies, the price you want to sell at can be a reason that Steam rejects your game.

Do you have anything to back that up? First I've ever heard of it.

soldant
12-11-2011, 01:58 AM
No redeeming qualities whatsoever. The server browser frequently broke (losing favorites or history), there was no overlay, offline mode was even more of a crap-shoot, the friends list worked off and on for several months and then not at all for several years, and at that time the client had a relatively large memory (and to a lesser extent, CPU) footprint.
Pretty much how I remember it when I first saw it. Frequently failed to launch itself, frequently wouldn't update games, content servers were randomly unreachable and it'd pick something in the middle of nowhere, guzzled resources, broke compatibility with quite a few mods, none of the social options on first launch (at least none that I can remember)... basically as a games management client it was abysmal, and pretty much everyone hated it.

The store in its early days didn't get much attention, but it was small and didn't have much in the way of additional publisher support. Most people I knew still bought Half Life 2 in a box. Really I don't think the Steam Store started getting good until around about 2007. Given that Steam came out proper in... what, 2003 or something, that's a long period of time before acceptance. The near-religious fervor surrounding Steam is something only recent though, it had a long progression of minimal tolerance until only just recently.

deano2099
12-11-2011, 03:34 AM
Do you have anything to back that up? First I've ever heard of it.

Definitely read a quote from an indie talking about Steam rejection recently (past month or so) where they said they thought the proposed price was a factor. Can't for the life of me find it now though. I thought it was either Vogel or Cryptic Comet but doesn't seem to be.

It does follow though, Steam ask for your proposed price as part of the application process, so they're not entirely agnostic to it.

BillButNotBen
12-11-2011, 07:35 AM
Did Steam have any redeeming features when it first launched? ..

Not really. But I wasn't talking about the software quality or the features, I was talking about it's existence. Even if Origin becomes the best most feature-packed and user friendly software ever, I can't see it doing anything but harm to the PC games I love. Infact, I hope it never becomes good because that would speed the problem.

----

For prices, I think people are a bit hard on Steam. They tend to compare steam to ALL retail, and then complain that steam is more expensive because 1 store sells the game cheaper. Then next game they compare steam to all retail and complain because steam is more expensive than another store that has a very low price. They essentially expect steam to be cheaper than EVERY retail store for every game.

The pricing structure on steam is clearly more controlled than retail - because it appears to be coordinated between Steam and the Developer/Publisher. Whereas in retail it is basically the choice of the store... so each store can have a different price and they can change often and quickly.

Skalpadda
12-11-2011, 08:03 AM
Methinks that's a misconception, I remember a dev once saying something along the lines of Valve being the one which recommended prices to publishers, which they were then obligated to follow.

http://www.gog.com/en/forum/general/steam_1_usd_1_eur/post39
http://www.gog.com/en/forum/general/steam_1_usd_1_eur/post44

Seems like Steam will suggest a price, which the publisher/developer are then free to approve or change. I would guess that contracts vary between different publishers, but seeing as CD Project are hardly big fish I can't imagine that bigger publishers wouldn't have at least the same opportunity to affect their prices.

edit: Regarding setting up sales for your games, I seem to remember (though I can't remember where I read it now) that Paradox and some other publishers have pitched sales of their own through Steam. I'm not surprised they'd want to have control over sales though since they are after all a privately owned store and not a public market place where anyone can set up a stall.

DigitalSignalX
12-11-2011, 08:08 AM
I try to take the long view on steam. It's a nice tool, but shouldn't be the only one. I use steam, but I also buy from GoG, Amazon, Newegg and sometimes the game developer site itself. In the recent steam hacked comments/threads, it's curious when people suddenly become aware of the degree to which they've invested - often with values more then their personal banking accounts, with no where near the equivalent degree of security consciousness involved.

Althea
12-11-2011, 09:01 AM
For prices, I think people are a bit hard on Steam. They tend to compare steam to ALL retail, and then complain that steam is more expensive because 1 store sells the game cheaper. Then next game they compare steam to all retail and complain because steam is more expensive than another store that has a very low price. They essentially expect steam to be cheaper than EVERY retail store for every game.

The pricing structure on steam is clearly more controlled than retail - because it appears to be coordinated between Steam and the Developer/Publisher. Whereas in retail it is basically the choice of the store... so each store can have a different price and they can change often and quickly.
See, I think the problem is not that Steam isn't cheaper, it's that Steam isn't competitive. Games are coming out for 35, or staying at 30 for months. I mean I know it serves those Steam-or-no-buy twits right, but for the rest of us? I think it's ridiculous, because we have to either wait half a year for the chance for it to be in a sale or just buy retail and take the minimal chance of not getting it at all (hey, we've all had packages that haven't arrived).

GamersGate is - in my opinion - much more competitive. More frequent sales, and whilst they might not be as cheap for the most part, they're a good store with good customer support.

BillButNotBen
12-11-2011, 10:51 AM
See, I think the problem is not that Steam isn't cheaper, it's that Steam isn't competitive. Games are coming out for 35, or staying at 30 for months. I mean I know it serves those Steam-or-no-buy twits right, but for the rest of us? I think it's ridiculous, because we have to either wait half a year for the chance for it to be in a sale or just buy retail and take the minimal chance of not getting it at all (hey, we've all had packages that haven't arrived)..

I think what happens is that games tend to sell at RRP on Steam, because of the influence of publishers... whereas in the UK games tend to be heavily discounted below RRP even on release. That is weird, if you think about it... and it also doesn't happen in the USA or many other territories. One of the drawbacks of steam being an international service is that it's hard for it to be tailored to each individual market - definitely not in the way that local stores are.

People like gamersgate are much much smaller (less than 10% of steam according to the witcher sales) so they have to cut costs as their only way to compete is on price... steam doesn't really have to do that.

While there are issues with regional pricing and things, I think in general steam offers a lot of well priced deals...

soldant
12-11-2011, 01:16 PM
For prices, I think people are a bit hard on Steam. They tend to compare steam to ALL retail, and then complain that steam is more expensive because 1 store sells the game cheaper. Then next game they compare steam to all retail and complain because steam is more expensive than another store that has a very low price. They essentially expect steam to be cheaper than EVERY retail store for every game.
When I talk about Australian prices I'm comparing it to retail outlets like EB Games. RRP for new PC releases hovers between $89.95 and $100 (up to $120 for collector's editions and stuff). I'm not comparing Steam to outlets that have a low price... but there is a major retailer who often does have $10 less off the RRP for many new releases.

But this is exactly my point: why does a digital distribution version of the game cost the same as a boxed copy? They don't have to package it in a box and physically ship the product to me, they don't have to print a manual, press the CD, and so on. They give it to Steam and it gets distributed to the content servers (many of which are operated by 3rd parties, so it's not like there's a gigantic bandwidth or hardware cost for every title). And yet the price is the same as RRP for a boxed copy! To get a heavily discounted version I'd need to order from the UK.

The worst part is that all the prices on the Australian Steam store are in USD, so if the dollar goes down (like it was around 2007 and pretty much any time before 2009) games end up being even more expensive than RRP. You can claim I'm being hard all you like, but I can't see any excuse for a digitally distributed game to cost the same as (or more!) than a boxed copy.

Mistabashi
12-11-2011, 01:29 PM
See, I think the problem is not that Steam isn't cheaper, it's that Steam isn't competitive. Games are coming out for 35, or staying at 30 for months. I mean I know it serves those Steam-or-no-buy twits right, but for the rest of us? I think it's ridiculous, because we have to either wait half a year for the chance for it to be in a sale or just buy retail and take the minimal chance of not getting it at all (hey, we've all had packages that haven't arrived).

GamersGate is - in my opinion - much more competitive. More frequent sales, and whilst they might not be as cheap for the most part, they're a good store with good customer support.

Is 30-35 considered expensive for a brand new game now?

Althea
12-11-2011, 02:27 PM
Is 30-35 considered expensive for a brand new game now?
35, yes. But really, 30 is expensive when you can - generally - pick up the title for between 20 and 30.

Subatomic
12-11-2011, 03:20 PM
Speaking of expensive, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is 59.99€ on Steam right now, a mind boggling 10€ more than a boxed copy and right in console game territory. That's just absurd.

Althea
12-11-2011, 05:28 PM
But this is exactly my point: why does a digital distribution version of the game cost the same as a boxed copy?
I can semi-half-attempt to explain this. Would have done so earlier, Soldant, but I didn't really see your point. Firstly, there are still costs involved. There's - especially with Steam - creating a package that can be sent to and then distributed by the vendor of choice. Secondly, there's post-release support that needs to be factored in. Thirdly, there are still bandwidth costs, especially for the retailer. Fourthly, there's often some form of online component that needs financial support. Of course, there's also marketing that needs to be paid for.

However, the biggest reason is so that you don't undercut your own sales. I really don't know how to explain it without sounding stupid.

acidtestportfolio
12-11-2011, 06:44 PM
first of all: thanks for being so pedantic/complaining about how i never use uppercase letters.

juan carlo wrote a bunch of stuff that i am never going to quote, but i found to have good points anyway, so i am going to respond to it:

that's not entirely true. i'm not much of a collector (though the collection of games i have bought says something not entirely wholesome about my habits), but if i do see a collection of games on steam for sale that have one or two games in it that i really want, i'm going to go for it. and check out the other titles as well. but it's really easy to buy things, because they are convenient, and if you wait long enough, cheap too.

i refuse to buy games anywhere except for digital distribution because:

1: i don't own a car and i don't want to go ten miles to best buy so i can get gawked at by drones in blue shirts or pleaded with to pre-order "super turd smearer 3" at gamestop while being overcharged by five or ten dollars
2: i have a stable internet connection that is fast
3: i want it NOWWWWWW

but i am not really all that fanboyish about steam. sure, by buying the games, i know what i am getting into. digital distribution may not be all that great for long term preservation of computer games, but then again, computer games are largely coded and designed for systems and modern attitudes without regard to the past or how they will run or play in the future. they are sort of a 'now' thing.

i am also delighted at the advancements in digital distribution, but i think origin is insidious despite the presence of real competition. mainly because i don't like the way EA does things. i think they are a bunch of numbskulls. but i am glad that they are seeing what steam has done to make PC gaming a profitable market again. however, developers in some ways are still passively-aggressively treating the PC base like shit.

the JG man wrote:


See this I take issue with. Regardless of what anyone else does in the system, regardless of what quality Valve produces (and it is fair to say likely to be above average at the least) Steam is still a form of DRM. An accepted one, but that just makes it all the worse. As it is accepted, it won't be removed and others can go "...well, it worked for Valve, why not us?" I feel this makes the ownership issue lean towards the producers when, for me, it should ultimately always be with the consumer. I don't think anyone should ever say they can, or come to, like DRM.

the thing is, i like what steam does. they are a small private company, which means they are not beholden to their fucking shareholders (like others). they also have so much cash that they can effectively offer good games while being mad scientist types experimenting on their customer base. furthermore, they have actual intelligence behind their work - they are smart enough to anticipate backlash or put enough forethought into what goes behind that backlash.
i love them because they are ballsy and willing enough to take educated risks. and even when something goes wrong, they admit to their fuckup and get it fixed (well, sometimes). they are even willing to damage their own product to see if another method works. it's something you don't see all that often in the industry.

i have not personally tried desura, and impulsedriven left me feeling limp. but if people are going to go into digital distribution to try and beat valve at their own game, they should definitely be studying and not merely copying what they are doing in terms of attracting customers and building up goodwill (i'm looking at you, EA/origin).

some dumb bore wrote:


Um, why would we want to argue with a fanboy?

because you have nothing better to do than fuck around on a gaming forum

kadayi wrote:


It's disingenuous to compare GoG Vs Steam tbh. Bar the CDProjeckt titles the rest of what they sell are old titles, and the developers who made those games aren't reliant on those sales to stay in business (many of them are no longer going concerns), where as by on large the same is not true of most of the games on Steam.

true. old games are kind of getting to be a niche market, though i am gladly going to pay money if they get jagged alliance to work properly on my netbook.

shane wrote:


I dislike the fact that you don't actually own the games you buy on Steam, you can only access those games as long as Steam allows you to.

that's the way it's always been. you never bought the game, you were buying the data and the license to run it. (i almost wrote that as licenze, because i am american.)


The prices are the same as the boxed versions, it's interesting to note that while Australian/Brazilian gamers are made to pay the same ridiculously high prices on Steam as they do at retail, Steam doesn't lower its prices in regions where the boxed games are cheaper (Russia/China).

i've seen that. and frankly, that's where steam is horrible. unravthreads answered why, though. i'm responding to these posts as i go down the thread.


Then there's the DRM.

yeah, but it's not drm that constantly annoys me. i understand developers are scared of piracy, but most of the methods employed don't work. i dislike securom, activation limitations, and the like, but i am willing to tolerate them if i get something substantial as an extra.

berzee wrote:


WRONG, sir.

hhhhhhhh no you are wrong!!!!!!! (asthma inhaler)

Subatomic
12-11-2011, 06:53 PM
that's the way it's always been. you never bought the game, you were buying the data and the license to run it. (i almost wrote that as licenze, because i am american.)


How is that "the way it's always been"? The whole "you only buy a license"-deal is a fairly recent development, and by the way one that probably wouldn't stand if someone went to court over it, at least in the EU.

Mohorovicic
12-11-2011, 06:55 PM
I try to take the long view on steam. It's a nice tool, but shouldn't be the only one.

The problem with many online distribution services is then you need to instally many online distribution services. And that's a bitch.

acidtestportfolio
12-11-2011, 07:13 PM
bunny from bunny and dog wrote:


Not related to Valve, but: why don't you ever use capital/upper-case letters, and only lower-case letters? Annoys me a lot.

you have to purchase the uppercase DLC for $15


Did Steam have any redeeming features when it first launched? Or was that just DRM too? Certainly didn't have the huge sales, not sure if it even had the overlay or chat but I could be wrong.

well, the idea was that WON's authentication servers were going away, so steam moved to build their own gaming network to take its place. they also touted that it would allow them to directly update their game through the network while also adding better anti-piracy and anti-cheat measures. it was a bit excessive at the time, and i remember thinking "oh, valve are nazis, people will never stand for this". but i got used to it.

that's the thing - people get used to things. i even stopped calling them nazis. this was when i was small and my nazi accusation quota needed to be filled so i could pass tenth grade.

pmh wrote:


No redeeming qualities whatsoever. The server browser frequently broke (losing favorites or history), there was no overlay, offline mode was even more of a crap-shoot, the friends list worked off and on for several months and then not at all for several years, and at that time the client had a relatively large memory (and to a lesser extent, CPU) footprint.

i didn't actually try steam during the bad old days. in 2004 i did with the release of half-life 2. i didn't like it. it was like putting on a motocross helmet to play pretend. also more nazis.

shit, maybe origin will get better. they'd better not take four years (like someone said earlier in the thread) to get better at what they do, though. also to quit being jerks.

unravthreads said:


See, I think the problem is not that Steam isn't cheaper, it's that Steam isn't competitive. Games are coming out for 35, or staying at 30 for months. I mean I know it serves those Steam-or-no-buy twits right, but for the rest of us? I think it's ridiculous, because we have to either wait half a year for the chance for it to be in a sale or just buy retail and take the minimal chance of not getting it at all (hey, we've all had packages that haven't arrived).

GamersGate is - in my opinion - much more competitive. More frequent sales, and whilst they might not be as cheap for the most part, they're a good store with good customer support.

i have not tried gamersgate (burn the heretic!), but frankly, i dislike where AAA titles are going, and (despite my actions to the contrary) i have pledged not to buy AAA titles for the simple reason that:

1: tf2 crap is attached to it
2: pre-order garbage bullshit that ruins the difficulty curve of the game
3: the game might on the off-chance be a total turd
4: $60

this is why i like greenmangaming. i bought saints row the third (yeah, i'm keeping my promises all right) for $34. that's dirt cheap. i would have never bought the game at all for full price because i know it's going to get saturated with (if volition's history of previous DLC is an indicator of quality) crap DLC. i pretty much know buying an AAA title is a crapshoot these days and i am incredibly greatful to greenmangaming for providing an alternative way of pre-ordering that i am actually interested in. not this stupid fucking 'super mcgubbins pack' crap. plus i got the men of war games from them for free.

thumbs up for greenmangaming (http://www.greenmangaming.com/).

BONUS ROUND:

subatomic writes:


How is that "the way it's always been"? The whole "you only buy a license"-deal is a fairly recent development, and by the way one that probably wouldn't stand if someone went to court over it, at least in the EU.

you aren't really buying the data as much as you are buying the license to use the data. companies don't sell you data, as it can be easily copied and distributed. licenses are there so they allow you to use the data without threat of litigation via copyright infringement. more modern licenses restrict you to steam or origin or wherever you buy the game.

deano2099
12-11-2011, 07:26 PM
well, the idea was that WON's authentication servers were going away, so steam moved to build their own gaming network to take its place. they also touted that it would allow them to directly update their game through the network while also adding better anti-piracy and anti-cheat measures. it was a bit excessive at the time, and i remember thinking "oh, valve are nazis, people will never stand for this". but i got used to it.

I don't think that's the case necessarily. I like having Steam on my PC as it points me towards great deals on games and keeps all my games up-to-date. If it didn't do those two things, if it were just DRM, I'd still resent having to use it.

Subatomic
12-11-2011, 07:31 PM
bunny from bunny and dog wrote:
you aren't really buying the data as much as you are buying the license to use the data. companies don't sell you data, as it can be easily copied and distributed. licenses are there so they allow you to use the data without threat of litigation via copyright infringement. more modern licenses restrict you to steam or origin or wherever you buy the game.

That's just what publishers put into their EULAs, that doesn't necessarily make it true in the legal sense. At least in the EU, most of the EULAs wouldn't hold up if someone went to court over them, and as far as I know, ther has been no final say over ownership rights regarding software products in any higher court.

zookeeper
12-11-2011, 07:42 PM
The problem with many online distribution services is then you need to instally many online distribution services. And that's a bitch.

That's only if the DD requires the installation of a client. Currently steam is the only DD service I buy from that requires this.

Bhazor
13-11-2011, 01:01 AM
Not really. But I wasn't talking about the software quality or the features, I was talking about it's existence. Even if Origin becomes the best most feature-packed and user friendly software ever, I can't see it doing anything but harm to the PC games I love. Infact, I hope it never becomes good because that would speed the problem.


...how? How does increasing the number of viable competitors ruin the industry? Certainly wouldn't want Steam to be the only DD service. Not after some of their recent escapades.
Day 1 DLC, the Potato Sack nonsense, hackers stealing details that Valve never needed to have (why do they need a mailing adress or to keep a customers credit card number?)

soldant
13-11-2011, 01:33 AM
Wow, the OP pretty much wrecked his own thread. Good thing there are other people posting who make sense.


I can semi-half-attempt to explain this.
Interesting points. Allow me to respond to them:

The Packaging: It probably costs the same as the initial gold master. It can't cost extra to encrypt it for distribution to the content servers.

Post-Release Support/Marketing: Fair point but these factors are common to both products and unaffected by distribution. The real savings for digital distribution is in the actual distribution, not the peripheral factors. I'm not expecting digital distribution to be 50% cheaper or something, but I don't see why it should be the same as a boxed copy (except for "more money plz").

Bandwidth costs: There are bandwidth costs for the retailer, but with Steam as I said many of the content servers are hosted by 3rd parties who end up footing the bill. In Australia a lot of them are hosted by ISPs who then provide unmetered traffic to their customers to use the content servers, and since traffic within their own network isn't as expensive as external traffic (or overseas traffic!) the bandwidth cost argument falls down a bit with Steam. I'm not saying the bandwidth cost for Steam is trivial but due to its decentralised distribution system it's not as expensive as a distributor hosting all of the content on their own servers. Compared with having to press CDs, print boxes and manuals, put the product in the boxes, and then physically ship the product across oceans, the costs per unit are probably lower. Also the transport costs alone are probably going to become more of an issue with rising fossil fuel costs. It's sort of remarkable (or possibly damning, if you assume prices are over-inflated already) that PC game costs haven't changed much for physical boxed copies over the last 20 or so years (at least as much as I can remember in Australia... maybe the last 10 years is more realistic).

Other online components: Probably true, but still shouldn't be as bad as for physical shipping.


However, the biggest reason is so that you don't undercut your own sales. I really don't know how to explain it without sounding stupid.
Haha, yes of course! I wish they'd just come out and say it though. Something along the lines of "MONEY FOR THE MONEY GOD".

deano2099
13-11-2011, 01:59 AM
(why do they need a mailing adress or to keep a customers credit card number?)

Because you need an address to verify the credit card transaction, and the credit card details are kept to make it quicker to buy things, and is entirely optional.

Tams80
13-11-2011, 06:45 AM
you aren't really buying the data as much as you are buying the license to use the data. companies don't sell you data, as it can be easily copied and distributed. licenses are there so they allow you to use the data without threat of litigation via copyright infringement. more modern licenses restrict you to steam or origin or wherever you buy the game.

I don't see that as giving them the right to deny you access to said game though. I don't feel confident that most publishers have anything in place for downloaded content from services like Steam have something in place should the source of such content cease to be.

As for DD vs. Retail. If DD can't offer me more for the same price, then retail it shall be. For me, having a box and DVD(s) (which I can backup) is worth more to me than getting the game sooner (at the expense of my broadband cap) and being able to download from a server.

Personally, for all forms of media, I would like to get a free digital copy if I buy a physical copy (only when new, to be reasonable). Hell, I'd even be willing to pay a nominal fee to a non-profit entity that would share out the cost of maintaining servers based on my usage. I don't see that happening much though.

Skalpadda
13-11-2011, 02:07 PM
The real savings for digital distribution is in the actual distribution, not the peripheral factors. I'm not expecting digital distribution to be 50% cheaper or something, but I don't see why it should be the same as a boxed copy (except for "more money plz").

For a developer/publisher I'm pretty sure that the real "saving" they make with digital distribution is that they get to keep a significantly larger portion of the sale price compared to retail.

kyrieee
13-11-2011, 02:21 PM
Not enough controversy in here so let me throw some in.
I think Half-Life is still easily Valve's best game and Portal 2 was not a good game. It was to puzzle games what Modern Warfare is to shooters. A puzzle game without puzzles, it might as well have been a radio play.

Flint
13-11-2011, 02:41 PM
I'd agree that the original Half-Life is still Valve's greatest moment, but I do love Portal 2 and in fact prefer it to the first one. I never really got the grand majesty of the first one to the extent that everyone else did; it was a fun little puzzle game but nothing more really, and I've never gone back to it afterwards just like I rarely go back to any puzzle game after I've finished it as the joy of figuring out the puzzles has now been removed. Portal 2 on the other hand added a (great) narrative around the whole thing and as a result still has replay value for me: even though I know the puzzles, there's the narrative to enjoy time and time again. It's definitely more restricted in a certain sense than the first game with its more defined puzzles, but I do not think it particularly lost any impact because of it. I dare say P2 feels much more like a full game than the first one ever did: a dinner as opposed to a snack.

Mohorovicic
13-11-2011, 03:01 PM
I think Half-Life is still easily Valve's best game and Portal 2 was not a good game. It was to puzzle games what Modern Warfare is to shooters. A puzzle game without puzzles, it might as well have been a radio play.

This analogy doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

soldant
14-11-2011, 06:50 AM
For a developer/publisher I'm pretty sure that the real "saving" they make with digital distribution is that they get to keep a significantly larger portion of the sale price compared to retail.
Of course, though it's natural from a consumer's perspective to expect the saving is passed on to us. Initially it was (at least here in Australia where they kept on blaming the cost of freight for higher prices) but after it became popular it quickly changed. I always figured that digital distribution would remain cheaper only while it was less popular. Wish I wasn't right.


Not enough controversy in here so let me throw some in.
I think Half-Life is still easily Valve's best game and Portal 2 was not a good game. It was to puzzle games what Modern Warfare is to shooters. A puzzle game without puzzles, it might as well have been a radio play.
I think HL2 tops HL in many ways, namely by benefiting from better technology. But Valve's story-telling revolves around "Oooh, there's a BIG MYSTERY, stay tuned to find out!" which I call the LOST Plan. Namely, answer every question with another question, or with an inconsequential half-answer which answers nothing at all. HL2 tossed us into a world without any idea of what was going on and no indication of why we should care. The backstory pretty much came out as "Suddenly... Combine. Fight them." and we had to tease the rest out of Valve or tiny snippets in the game world. It's getting progressively worse with the Episode 3 taking FOREVER to be completed and no real indication that the story is going anywhere.

Portal 2's biggest problem was that it was an expanded Portal. Which is fine, because Portal was less game and more proof of concept with a sinister Valve storyline which explained very little of what was going on. It was just Portal++ which is fine because there aren't too many places to take Portal.

acidtestportfolio
14-11-2011, 09:17 PM
hi, i'm talking again


Not enough controversy in here so let me throw some in.
I think Half-Life is still easily Valve's best game and Portal 2 was not a good game. It was to puzzle games what Modern Warfare is to shooters. A puzzle game without puzzles, it might as well have been a radio play.

i think both half life games are equal in terms of quality, though i can't sit through half life because admittedly it looks ancient. half-life 2 also has an MP7, my favorite personal defense weapon. it is the preferred gun for running through cyberpunk dystopias.
(shame about the 4.7mm bullet, though.)

and on portal 2: you're MAD. they were puzzle-y enough to give me that little glimmer of satisfaction for working out a particularly difficult puzzle. i like experimenting with props and puzzles and getting that little glimmer of self-satisfaction for working out the solution.

kyrieee
14-11-2011, 09:52 PM
I think HL2 tops HL in many ways, namely by benefiting from better technology.

I prefer HL mostly for the combat. The highlight of HL was fighting the grunts. Their AI isn't as good as people like to pretend it is, but they're expressive enemies, the fights you have with them are very dynamic. In HL2 the combine just rush you, it's not as fun. I also think the arsenal in HL is great, you get so many neat weapons, satchel charges, tripmines, Snarks etc. HL2 feels like the birth of the modern shooter, a game that's more interested in showing you cool stuff than focusing on really good core gameplay. Of course it wasn't as brain dead as today's FPSes, but it still relied on one time tricks more than solid core gameplay. It's not a fun game to replay, but they did take some steps in the right direction with EP2 which has much better encounter design.

soldant
15-11-2011, 12:47 AM
I prefer HL mostly for the combat. The highlight of HL was fighting the grunts. Their AI isn't as good as people like to pretend it is, but they're expressive enemies, the fights you have with them are very dynamic. In HL2 the combine just rush you, it's not as fun.
The Combine are pretty much an evolution of the GruntAI though, they work the same way provided the hint nodes are set up properly in the map. The Grunts were awesome in HL though, I'll give you that, though they did spend a lot of time just kneeling and shooting.


I also think the arsenal in HL is great, you get so many neat weapons, satchel charges, tripmines, Snarks etc.
True, but let's be honest, most of the time we used a few core weapons. I don't think we really lost too much moving to HL2. Snarks were fun though! It's interesting to look at the HL2 Beta and see how many weapons were originally supposed to appear... I'm guessing Valve figured there were way too many.


HL2 feels like the birth of the modern shooter, a game that's more interested in showing you cool stuff than focusing on really good core gameplay. Of course it wasn't as brain dead as today's FPSes, but it still relied on one time tricks more than solid core gameplay. It's not a fun game to replay, but they did take some steps in the right direction with EP2 which has much better encounter design.
I actually agree with you in some ways. I know people like to laud the "non-linear shooter" (where non-linear seems to mean "lots and lots of backtracking") but Half Life was quite linear and HL2 is even more so, making use of plenty of set-pieces that people absolutely hate today for some reason. I think the core gameplay is quite solid, and the characters are pretty well done, but I agree that it's nowhere near as dynamic as people would like to believe. I still think the greatest appeal is the story, which is never, ever going to be explained.

Heister
15-11-2011, 01:11 AM
I still think the greatest appeal is the story, which is never, ever going to be explained.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ3T59tTYUA

soldant
15-11-2011, 02:01 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZ3T59tTYUA

Meanwhile, at Valve?

Heister
15-11-2011, 02:10 AM
Meanwhile, at Valve?

Well I like to think that Valve are helping the Black Mesa developers. After that Half-Life 3. No episodes. They've left it too long for that. So we'll know more when HL3 hits. Maybe?

I also think the PS3 will get L4D's with cross-platform play next year. Along with CSGO which has been confirmed to have cross-platform play.