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  1. #1
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    Steam too-many-games-apocalypse: Non enough narrative for all!

    I think theres a problem with how Steam is working now.

    Before Greenlight, Steam used to release titles slowly, the titles where well know enough. You had information about gems, and opinions from people, maybe lets play and maybe even a article here in RPS.

    But now every month theres like 100 new games released, most of them obscure indie titles.

    Take this title:
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/249590/

    It looks crafty, even pretty. Is fun or not? who knows, I don't know and I have not heard anybody talk a word about it. I don't think anybody is going to buy a game based on a few screenshots alone, from a unknown indie dev. I generally need a "narrative", whats going on about the game.... I may not like what the narrative say, but I am more likely to buy a bad game that I know what I am buying (maybe I like one thing of it, and buy it for that one thing) than a possible good game that I don't know anything.

    This is bad, because I like to buy fun small games (10 is like a drink, so my budget can support maybe buying 1 game every weekend. I could even buy 2 games!), that shit is fun to me, I really enjoy these tiny cheap indie games. I make me feel good to help artist continue doing his craft. But I am not buying any of this greenlight titles, because I don't know anything about them. That feels bad, because theres some talented guy that have made a small gem, with a lot of hard work, and is going to waste.

    I follow this youtube channel from a SomethingAwnfull goon, this dude review every few days 10 titles released on Steam, It says some words about every titles, his opinion, and is generally informative, but is not enough.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ShotGami...?feature=watch


    Maybe I should grown a thick skin? maybe this is not really a problem, and the problem will solve itself, or something. Maybe I am a weird guy for wanting to know if some of these games are good.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    Nothing is too many. If you have a Japanese version Playstation 2 you may be witnessing the same phenomenon too. That golden age of video gaming we once had.

    I know some may not welcome this comment, but piracy once contributed a lot to that prosperity, and I dare to say that Sony understood that, which is why it tolerated piracy for that long (com'n, you seriously think it could not have outsmarted those hackers if it wanted to?). We tried out as many games as we could by downloading and then burnt our own discs. Once we find games we liked we went out to buy legit. One of my colleague even had a HDD installed to play pirated, and I lent some from my library (mine were legit copies) to him for copying, too.

    Now we have Youtube, I bet you definitely have no problem in searching and watching gameplay demo for any title on there. You probably don't need to subscribe from any specific channel, though it's always nice to find one credible.

    But is there a recent report from RPS that Google is not happy Youtube is used as advertising channel for video gaming without any revenue generated for Google, and therefore is taking serious steps on that? This development is not surprising for me, and Google has perfect right to do so.

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirrel View Post
    I know some may not welcome this comment, but piracy once contributed a lot to that prosperity, and I dare to say that Sony understood that, which is why it tolerated piracy for that long (com'n, you seriously think it could not have outsmarted those hackers if it wanted to?).
    Yes, yes I do think that. As has been demonstrated time and time again, all developers/publishers can do is hope that they'll delay people from overcoming their DRM (which often means that a pirated version is available at launch day) or choose always-online "solutions" which have proven to backfire time and time again (see Ubisoft DRM debacles). Developing and implementing DRM also takes time and money. While piracy certainly has contributed to creating a wider audience for certain titles, there aren't any numbers to back up the claim of increased sales, as is true for the argument of net lost sales.

    On topic: So what we need is more demos is what you are implying.
    Last edited by Squiz; 14-12-2013 at 12:57 PM.

  4. #4
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    There are Steam reviews on each store page now which helps. I've started going through a lot of the more obscure games in my collection and adding, mostly first impression, reviews.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirrelfanatic View Post
    On topic: So what we need is more demos is what you are implying.
    Amen to that.

    I have a few sources for reviews and if they haven't covered the game and it's an unknown quantity then I might take a punt, but odds are I wont. But if you've done enough to pique my interest and you have a demo then I will definitely give it a go.

    Of course depending on the genre of game demos can be tough to get right and it's not a catch all solution, but in many cases I can't see what harm it can do (unless the game is actually terrible!).

  6. #6
    I definitely don't disagree. And from what I've seen a large number of greenlit games are complete garbage, mobile phone ports that for some mysterious reason cost three times as much on PC than on a phone, and innumerable clones of popular game A, B and C, and even ugly-ass near unplayable amateur garbage that has no place getting charged money for.

    What we need is a garbage/spam filter for greenlight, and trial periods or demos.

  7. #7
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    Strike Suit Zero is featured on Steam atm, for $5 which I'm gonna buy later. To other people it might be crap, heck to me it might be crap, but gonna give it a shot anyways. Luckily that game has a few dozen reviews, however I must admit I've seen quite a significant amount of newer Steam games which haven't really been featured with no or next to none reviews or for that matter any interest (called hype).

    The industry is reaching a point where it's no longer easy to follow the mainstream hypetrain because of the sheer number of gamers split among games with various tastes and expectations. It's reaching that point where everyone is gonna have to think for themselves and experiment for themselves for once. That's a good thing to be honest.

    In the past Steam was basically spoon feeding people games which they should play.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus neema_t's Avatar
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    I don't know, while I can see your point, I also fail to see the problem. Like any other game you can just not buy it on day one, wait for reviews, peer opinions, videos or whatever it is you need to make up your mind, many Greenlight games I've seen come with demos (Real World Racing, Papers Please, Running With Rifles for example) too. As shitty as many of them are, Steam forums are usually at hand for asking questions (such as 'is Gimbal anything like Escape Velocity?'), and basically you're far from blind when buying these things. I do wonder how many awesome games I'm missing just because the thumbnail and title puts me off, but I have so much to play and not enough time as it is, so whatever. Also I find with reputation comes a higher cost of entry, it's rare to find a Greenlight game with no buzz selling at a price that would put me off trying it out, though I have yet to find one that appeals to me enough through the store page alone to warrant a purchase.

    Early Access is the bigger problem, Nuclear Throne aside I'm already bored of hearing about those games. There'll be no hype, interest or intrigue left for when they're finished.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Skalpadda's Avatar
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    Perhaps it's because I'm getting old, but I've just stopped trying to keep up with everything. I trust that the truly great stuff will filter into my conciousness, through RPS or forums or friend recommendations. I'll likely miss some good stuff but at this point available time is the limiting factor in my gaming, not access to or knowledge about good games.

    Steam really does seem to have given up on any idea of curation, but then they started down that line when they allowed publishers to put up anything they wanted. Can't really blame them for bringing in more indies and customers aren't forced to buy things just because they're there.

  10. #10
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    Also note, the sales on an alternative platform like Desura is not enough for indies to survive on, were talking about a few hundred sales if lucky. Being on Steam gives an Indie game at least some "level of acceptance and presence". People only buy from Steam these days.

    Even though the sales might be few still, it's better than the sales being non existent.

  11. #11
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    I am checking the Steam users reviews, and is a good idea. Some are flawed, but seems to give light where is none on these obscure games.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    I am checking the Steam users reviews, and is a good idea. Some are flawed, but seems to give light where is none on these obscure games.
    I find the Steam user reviews much better than Metacritic since it actually shows how long a person have played that game.

  13. #13
    Lesser Hivemind Node L_No's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skalpadda View Post
    Perhaps it's because I'm getting old, but I've just stopped trying to keep up with everything. I trust that the truly great stuff will filter into my conciousness, through RPS or forums or friend recommendations. I'll likely miss some good stuff but at this point available time is the limiting factor in my gaming, not access to or knowledge about good games.
    Same here. I rely on RPS, other websites and friends to point me in the direction of interesting titles - I don't need Steam to do that for me. I simply don't have the time or the energy to try out games I haven't heard anything about, so I'll wait for some form of recommendation or coverage before I think about buying a new title.
    Want to add me on Steam? Steam name: Mr. Gert

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadManiac View Post
    What we need is a garbage/spam filter for greenlight, and trial periods or demos.
    What is garbage though? A lot of the time all we have to go on is a bit of marketing speak and that's it. Even demos don't always tell the full story - they usually end well before you've got the full idea of how a game pans out. That said, I actually agree with you - a lot of the games on Greenlight clearly lack polish and technical capability and are little more than clones or dime-a-dozen style games... but that's situation normal, innovation in the indie scene may be more common than in AAA gaming but it's still uncommon, living in a sea of rubbish.

    Quote Originally Posted by hideinlight View Post
    I find the Steam user reviews much better than Metacritic since it actually shows how long a person have played that game.
    The problem with user reviews is that a load of them are ridiculously polarising and knee-jerk reactions. Mass Effect 3's Metacritic user score was in the red before release simply because of the Prothean DLC announcement. User reviews can be helpful but more often than not they subscribe to the "Anything less than 9 is shit" review method, and exacerbate flaws purely because they have an ax to grind.
    Nalano's Law - As an online gaming discussion regarding restrictions grows longer, the probability of a post likening the topic to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea approaches one.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    What is garbage though? A lot of the time all we have to go on is a bit of marketing speak and that's it. Even demos don't always tell the full story - they usually end well before you've got the full idea of how a game pans out. That said, I actually agree with you - a lot of the games on Greenlight clearly lack polish and technical capability and are little more than clones or dime-a-dozen style games... but that's situation normal, innovation in the indie scene may be more common than in AAA gaming but it's still uncommon, living in a sea of rubbish.


    The problem with user reviews is that a load of them are ridiculously polarising and knee-jerk reactions. Mass Effect 3's Metacritic user score was in the red before release simply because of the Prothean DLC announcement. User reviews can be helpful but more often than not they subscribe to the "Anything less than 9 is shit" review method, and exacerbate flaws purely because they have an ax to grind.
    The problem with meta-critic is the mass sheep knee jerk reaction, people will go rate the game even though they never really played it just out of principle. Seeing someone complain about the ending with like 10 minutes of gameplay would make that user think twice about following the horde.

    Metacritic has tons of fake players.

  16. #16
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    At the moment I'd say the biggest problem with Steam's user reviews is that people are clicking "helpful" on any review they agree with. Just to pick one game at random, here's the fourth review for Terraria:
    For me, one of the best games I ever played. On sale it is €2.49, that money for 324 hours of gameplay and still not tired of it. One of a kind. Just buy it and get to know it.

    293 of 334 people (88%) found this review helpful
    It's a difficult problem for Valve to solve, but it would probably help to randomize the sorting order a bit so people aren't just voting on the top few reviews all the time.

  17. #17
    Network Hub Henke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tei View Post
    It looks crafty, even pretty. Is fun or not? who knows, I don't know and I have not heard anybody talk a word about it.
    I think a lot of these smaller devs don't send out review copies before release, so you typically have to wait a few days until after release to read some reviews/feedback about titles. Teslagrad already has 3 reviews on Metacritic and a whole bunch of user reviews on YouTube. There's more than enough people out there eager to review stuff, so I don't think the abundance of new titles on Steam is a big issue.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nasarius View Post
    It's a difficult problem for Valve to solve, but it would probably help to randomize the sorting order a bit so people aren't just voting on the top few reviews all the time.
    But most people want helpful reviews rather than randomly picked ones. Maybe something like Amazon, where you get the three top-rated reviews first and then a bunch of randoms after that.
    - If the sound of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings" makes you think of Kharak burning instead of the Vietnamese jungle, most of your youth happened during the 90s. -

  19. #19
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    Like any store Steam needs to have a good rotating feature page and recommendation. Other than the Main Banner, the smaller banner and Recent Release/Top Seller, Steam still lacks some good e-commerce features. You have the front page or the social aspects to easily discover games.

    While Valve is raking in the money, they could support smaller titles more by having a good "Based On" recommendation system like Amazon and Netflix have. Played 100 hours of King's Bounty? Based on that you may like Expedition: Conquistador.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moraven View Post
    Like any store Steam needs to have a good rotating feature page and recommendation. Other than the Main Banner, the smaller banner and Recent Release/Top Seller, Steam still lacks some good e-commerce features. You have the front page or the social aspects to easily discover games.

    While Valve is raking in the money, they could support smaller titles more by having a good "Based On" recommendation system like Amazon and Netflix have. Played 100 hours of King's Bounty? Based on that you may like Expedition: Conquistador.
    I strongly disagree with the emphasis on the featured page and what not. Because that will just return us to the "slots" of retail, which in turn will result in even more "Release now or four months from now" rather than "Release when we are done and Dark Souls 2 didn't just launch"

    Personally, I think Valve need to implement some form of system to weight some "this is a good review" recommendations over others (I am sure they can find a way to turn it into a game that people will become obsessed with). So the people who just say "I like this because I agree" won't have much value, but the people who actually thumbs up the good reviews will get a heavily weighted vote. And Valve needs to implement a similar system to prioritize reviewers who tend to write good reviews.
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