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  1. #1
    Moderator alms's Avatar
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    Engineering the Steam alternative that everybody wants

    o/ Can you pick a hivemind? let's try.

    Ok, you know how gamers at this stage are saying STEAM IS A DISASTER while being serious and nobody laughs, and there wasn't even a need for Trump to go on Twitter or TV to announce that STEAM IS A DISASTER?

    It would seem the winter of Steam discontent is frozen solid by now, and anyone who came around with a viable alternative could just sit and watch the money truck roll in.

    I mean seriously: we have GOG which is -frankly- a joke: yes, I know you're thinking I'm being unfair to CD Projekt again, but honestly? NO: new games are often available on GOG with a massive delay, IF they ever come to it in the first place! the size of their catalog is minuscule, don't make me laugh. Patches and updates are also quite often released with a delay, so you're a second class citizen who's paying for the privilege of ziggin' when everybody else is zaggin'.

    GOG is not an alternative, sorry. They're not even trying! they're just content with whatever they make from people who buy from them to make a statement. Point is, nobody is listening, so enjoy your being a second class citizen.

    Then you've got uPlay or "that useless thing I must go through while launching my Ubisoft games from Steam".

    And Origin "but it has awesome customer support". Seriously guys, nobody picks where to buy games from based on customer support. Most people don't even ever have contacted Valve's customers support once. Yeah, I can see the joke coming, but the truth is ..most people never have that need in the first place.

    FWIW I always had relevant and timely responses from Valve's support and you can be sure there's a few towns worth of people out there who could say the same, but they just don't, because a) with all the negativity it's pointless, and b) everybody knows that whiners have a much lower activation threshold than satisfied customers.

    The truth is half the people who are on Origin are there for the on the house offers.

    So everyone wants a Steam alternative right? yes, even I who have said time and again that Valve is one of the most benevolent dictator the history has seen, not just the history of gaming. Me of the "be careful what you wish for" credence, who said that gamers actually deserve the gaming equivalent of the Trump administration.

    Valve's just a firm, it can be sold, stuff can go wrong, so basically we're all relying on the health of a morbidly obese (sorry GabeN) 54 year old to allow him avoid making bad decisions, putting the wrong people in the wrong place, and to stay level-headed enough to always keep things this way. Of course Valve is not just GabeN, but you get my point there.

    I don't know what you think about GabeN, maybe you hate him because you're still sore over Half-Life 3, but the truth is, you don't get many CEOs that go on Reddit and actually sound human, or answer emails by customers themselves. Make no mistake: I'd make copies of GabeN any day and put him in charge of Bethesda, Ubisoft, and EA without even thinking about it twice if I could.

    You see one of the biggest problem with the world is greed. Stockholders are greedy, and CEOs are greedy, and mostly everyone else is greedy. FUCK, I KNOW GREED MYSELF. Repeat with me and come out of your greed closet. But GabeN apparently has his head screwed on right and he's not going out of his way to screw you or mess with your mind so that you pay premium for ARTISANAL, HAND-MADE GAMES or some such marketing shit.

    Of course Steam makes tons of money, but if you think making tons has ever stopped your average CEO and their minions from trying to extract more value from you, esteemed customer, I mean, you disgusting, mindless gerbil whose life's only purpose is for us to milk more money out of you, then gimme your la-la-land address so I can send you a wake up call.

    GabeN seemingly has a work ethic. Believe it.

    So basically. Why people use Steam:

    1) all of your games in one contained place.

    2) almost all the games you may ever want to play.

    3) buy from Valve or bring your hard-earned cash elsewhere, they don't care.

    4) almost all of your friends who play games are on Steam.

    (except the ones who refuse to use it, if you truly exist, BTW, what you're achieving is simply pissing off your friends who would like you to just join them.)

    5) a crapton of features mostly not available elsewhere, but importantly putting your friends inside your games seamlessly, see bullet point #4.

    Did I forget anything there?

    So: what's Steam weak point. No, not customer support, scroll up and actually read that post, FFS. How do you get gamers. You tell me now.
    Last edited by alms; 30-07-2017 at 03:07 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    So: what's Steam weak point. No, not customer support, scroll up and actually read that post, FFS. How do you get gamers. You tell me now.
    Your request has two major flaws.

    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    It would seem the winter of Steam discontent is frozen solid by now, and anyone who came around with a viable alternative could just sit and watch the money truck roll in.
    First, this part isn't true. Yes, there are people who aren't happy with Steam. There are now few vocal defenders of Valve. That does not mean that the majority of Steam users are discontent with Steam, nor does it mean that a "viable alternative" could take Steam's spot.

    If you go just by the number of people who are vocally discontent and the number who will vocally defend something, then a game like Call of Duty would have been replaced many years ago. Microsoft would have seen Windows reduced to a minor player over a decade ago. Google would have collapsed as its markets turned against it.

    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    1) all of your games in one contained place.

    2) almost all the games you may ever want to play.
    Second, Steam is at a size where the possibility of achieving a viable alternative is still highly questionable. SteamDB says that Steam currently lists 23000 items. Because of Steam's existing dominance, new titles will continue to see Steam releases for the forseeable future even if Steam itself started to tank. Even Win10 store exclusives are seeing Steam releases, because too many gamers won't even look outside of Steam. Further, an increasing number of games now rely directly on Steam services to function, making Steam an essential element for such titles. It would be very difficult to match Steam's library to a degree where people will view Steam as their secondary choice.

    Market dominance is still Valve's game to lose, not someone else's game to win.

    The one possible exception I can see is the same thing that is happening in some other areas, Chinese domination. China has the government interference factor that can give massive boosts to its home industries over foreign factors, and the population that any company that gains market dominance there would automatically at least be a contender worldwide. Though it would remain questionable just how accommodating the rest of the world would be to a Chinese alternative to Steam.

  3. #3
    I don't think Origin's only advantage is customer support. IMO their origin vault and game trials are also great ideas, Iirc they also did returns before steam, which you could definitely put in the customer service section, but it's worth mentioning IMO.

    It is still behind steam in other ways like the catalog obviously and hugely (by far their biggest weak point) , in home streaming, in game overlay and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few more.

    I would agree steam doesn't have a real viable competitor though, as you mentioned gog is pretty lackluster, and while I think in a lot of ways origin has caught up, it's still very far behind in the most important category, which is game selection. As it is now it's worth having in addition to Steam, but it could never replace it because of all the games you'd miss out on.

    Overall if the same game was available on steam and origin, I'd still pick steam, but it's not the slam dunk it once was. This doesn't mean I think steam sucks or anything, it's still pretty awesome IMO, but I won't go full blind fanboy either way. If a true competitor offered a significantly better service, I'd switch.

    Also, is there really that much "steam is a disaster" talk? I thought the gaming community still had a massive nerdrection for everything valve?

    Finally, and this is a somewhat theoretical or philosophical or something else I can't think if right now, but maybe this kind of explains itself " Valve is one of the most benevolent dictator the history has seen, not just the history of gaming." Isn't it possible that because they've been so benevolent, they have no serious competition? If you don't piss people off, why would they switch to a competitor? Why try to compete with a company that has a strong foothold and doesn't really give you any openings? In a way they're ensuring their own "dictatorship" by being so benevolent, right?

    This of course falls apart if people really are bitching about steam in large numbers since it would open the door to a competitor, and it would seem they are indeed pissing people off (not being so benevolent). I'm not disputing it, I just haven't really seen it. I'm relatively new to the forum though, and don't really do much else social media wise, so if it's all happening on there I wouldn't know.
    Last edited by MantisTobogganM.D.4; 30-07-2017 at 07:28 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Origin is pretty close to solidly superior to Steam at this point, not just in customer service, but the comparative library sizes mean that it's just never going to exceed Steam or become that major.

    Anyway Baines is right on the "Steam's game to lose" front, just as it's been "WoW's game to lose" in the MMO market. This is also, non-coincidentally, why people are getting more vocally angry and more frustrated with Steam. This is the inevitable consequence of borderline-monopoly-level market dominance. Because people really don't have a choice - the alternatives being insufficient and their friends all being on Steam, as alms and Baines have illustrated, the only hope for a better service is to convince Valve to offer one.

    But Valve's flat structure and "collection of absent-minded professors doing their thing"-style of hiring and management is absolutely NOT conducive to continual service improvements, listening to customers or - and this is the biggest sin - making decisions in a way that actually benefits customers.

    I mean, I know I complained about it before, but the whole "can't gift products to people where the price is more than 10% different" is the perfect example of this, and for British people, that problem is about to get a whole lot worse. Any other company would either have not done it (GoG, for example, or Humble), or would have done it in a circumspect, consumer-considering way (Origin). But instead we get "absent-minded professor" shit, in that the system half-arsedly solves a "problem", that was only a problem for Valve, and gives zero fucks about consumers because absent-minded professors don't give a fuck about end users. There were tons of easy solutions to the problem, the most simple being "pay more if it would cost more at the other end" (it's a no-brainer, literally, it immediately occurs to any normal human - but Valve employees, like Blizzard employees in the 2006-2014 era, do not work on a "normal human" basis), but instead of implementing that, we just get degradation in service.

    Another example of absent-minded professor-style fuckups would be the paid mods debacle. Fundamentally a decent idea (modders do deserve to get paid if they want to be) ruined by not even 1/4-arsed implementation and ZERO fucks given about how it would work in the real world or the optics of the money-split (that's even ignoring ethics/morality).

    Now, on the upside, let's be fair to Valve - absent-minded professors do produce some good things - for example, family/friends library-sharing is a barely-publicised feature which is excellent, and which no-one else has done (though I believe Microsoft, of all people, wanted a similar feature for the Xbox One). There are other, similar "good value to niche crowd" features tucked away in Steam.

    But in the end, Baines is right. This is on Steam/Valve. They decide whether to give us better service, and to actually consider customers. They decide whether to fuck this all up by pissing all their development time and budget on pie-in-the-sky stuff or whether they just go hell for leather and beat all the other people on service quality. I have zero doubt they could do it if they wanted to. Might take two-three years to rev up but they could do.

    Other issues:

    One issue is the MS Store. Valve/Steam have won the early battles, but will they win the war? My feeling is that will be 90% down to whether consumers really prefer Steam. Not in a partisan "I'm boycotting the Windows store!" footstomping way. In entirely a lazy "Ugh I can't be bothered with the Windows store..." way. If they can keep people basically happy and make the Windows store seem like a chore, then they win, and any attempts from MS to take "aggressive action" will backfire on MS.

    Another issue is a farther-out one. In 10-15 years, people who grew up using Steam may well be being elected to mid-high political office. If Steam is any closer to being a true monopoly at that point, it risks being broken up in some way, or being limited or otherwise stressed, especially in Europe. Baines' China point is kind of similar too. So we may see Steam become more fragmented or otherwise lower-value. Of course in 10-15 years we may mostly be hooked into our AR/VR neuro-detection headsets, playing TES7 with our minds so this kind of prognostication may be a tad silly! :)

    TLDR: Baines is right, this is Steam's game to lose, and the reason people are increasingly annoyed and increasingly vocal about Steam's issues is that it is no longer perceived as an "option" for the reasons explained by Baines and alms.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LexW View Post
    Now, on the upside, let's be fair to Valve - absent-minded professors do produce some good things - for example, family/friends library-sharing is a barely-publicised feature which is excellent, and which no-one else has done (though I believe Microsoft, of all people, wanted a similar feature for the Xbox One). There are other, similar "good value to niche crowd" features tucked away in Steam.
    Microsoft did indeed plan to offer a game sharing program as a major feature of the Xbox One. By PC gaming standards of the time, it was a rather generous offer. The only big catch, an obvious concession to unnamed publishers, was that publishers could choose to opt-out of the sharing program. In several ways the original Microsoft plan bested what Valve would offer.

    The problem that Microsoft faced was that the Xbox One was still considered a console, not a PC. While the Xbox One plan would have been a major step forward for consumer rights in the PC world, it was viewed as a major removal of consumer rights in the console world. Console gamers did not accept ideas such as locking physical purchases to a single user account, or requiring an internet connection to play your games.

    (Mind, Microsoft proceeded to make everything worse with some really short-sighted comments made when trying to defend the online requirements. Don Mattrick managed to alienate both the military and people who lived in areas with questionable internet service with the double whammy of his nuclear sub story and his suggestion that people instead buy an Xbox 360. Mattrick was too high level for Microsoft to fire, though, unlike the lower level Microsoft employee whose Twitter defense of an always online connection prompted a similar backlash.)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by alms View Post
    snip
    The only way I see of seriously denting Steam and thus achieving a viable market share to compete is if an actual platform developer, such as Unity, created their own market platform that seemlessly integrated its various games across a single engine, which would potentially open up some interesting methods and things to put in games, and then used its market share to open its own digital marketplace, while simultaneously pulling Unity based games off the steam market.

    One of those things would a be a "Follow your friends" type deal, where if your friends are playing a game, you could join them in that game if it isn't in your catalog for a small fee, almost a fractional rental. That, however, might require some hefty planning in terms of finances, and there are regulatory concerns (Not big ones - the same ones that apply to kids using their parents credit cards for in-app purchases).

    Example: One of my friends is playing a not-quite new FPS game that I've seen before, but didn't think was for me. We can setup to where he's playing, and for say, $2 I can join him for 30 to and hour minutes. When he leaves, it'll shut it down, and there's a cap on how much I can do this, so I can't just freeload my friends catalogs endlessly. This would do two things: Open up cross-over appeals, and more fully utilize the social aspects of gaming to move units.

    "But that's what demos used to do!"

    Yes, yes it is. And in the hessian days of gaming, everyone worth their salt built a demo.

    Not so much anymore.

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    I can't see many devs agreeing to having their unity games pulled from Steam and put on a new, untried platform.

    (P.S. halcyon)

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus GameCat's Avatar
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    Example: One of my friends is playing a not-quite new FPS game that I've seen before, but didn't think was for me. We can setup to where he's playing, and for say, $2 I can join him for 30 to and hour minutes. When he leaves, it'll shut it down, and there's a cap on how much I can do this, so I can't just freeload my friends catalogs endlessly. This would do two things: Open up cross-over appeals, and more fully utilize the social aspects of gaming to move units.
    Just give us regular FREE demo versions and that's all we need.

  9. #9
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    I think the problem is wider than that, closer to super srs things like human condition and class struggle - namely, modern digital monopolies. Valve is just like Google and Facebook, digital market is just uniquely suited to create and maintain dominant positions, reinforced by the fact that it is simply bloody practical, logical and convenient. I greatly doubt it will go away on its own and any chances for the better will be probably random and/or iterative.

    I think it just needs to be regulated by governments for anything to meaningfully change. For example, mandate interoperability between platforms, so you can have, say, GOG, Origin and Steam games in one third-party client. (or one of these, if you prefer them). Corps will never make it easier for us by themselves.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by mouton View Post
    I think the problem is wider than that, closer to super srs things like human condition and class struggle - namely, modern digital monopolies. Valve is just like Google and Facebook, digital market is just uniquely suited to create and maintain dominant positions, reinforced by the fact that it is simply bloody practical, logical and convenient. I greatly doubt it will go away on its own and any chances for the better will be probably random and/or iterative.

    I think it just needs to be regulated by governments for anything to meaningfully change. For example, mandate interoperability between platforms, so you can have, say, GOG, Origin and Steam games in one third-party client. (or one of these, if you prefer them). Corps will never make it easier for us by themselves.
    Isn't Facebook already seeing a lot of competition in Instagram an Twitter? At least where I work (high school) plenty of kids just use those two and either don't bother with Facebook or don't use it as much.

    I don't think you need to regulate competition, if steam ever gets to the point where they're screwing over gamers, a competitor will come along because people will want to switch, there will be money to be made. Right now even if there's a small vocal group that's complaining, people for the most part are very happy with steam I think, so there's just not much of an opening for a competitor to jump in. If people weren't happy weren't (or when they aren't) you'll see that legit competitor IMO. Then again I lean heavily toward keeping the government out of the economy, and don't want to derail this thread with political crap so I'll just stop this train of thought.

    As I said before the biggest hurdle I think a potential competitor faces is the catalog, steam just has so many damn games. You'd probably also have to either find a way for people to still play their steam games on your service, or make your system work in tandem. Even if a different service came along that was just amazing, and I bought every game from here on out from them instead I steam, it's not like I could ditch steam then. I have so many games I still want to play on there.
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  11. #11
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    I loved this article from Lars Doucet about stores :
    http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LarsD...Publishers.php

    His point basically was :

    1. Origin/Blizzard/Uplay care first and foremost about AAA and publishers.
    2. GOG cares first and foremost about customers.
    3. itch cares first and foremost about developers.
    4. Steam tries to keep each group's interests in relative balance.

    All of these come with trade-offs.
    So it's hard to "replace" Steam because it's not just one thing that could be fixed, it's an exercice in balance.

    Also, Steam was first / the first successful. That's hard to replace.

  12. #12
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    I want a competitor for GoG.
    I am once again writing a blog, vaguely about playing games the wrong way
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MantisTobogganM.D.4 View Post
    Isn't Facebook already seeing a lot of competition in Instagram an Twitter? At least where I work (high school) plenty of kids just use those two and either don't bother with Facebook or don't use it as much.

    I don't think you need to regulate competition, if steam ever gets to the point where they're screwing over gamers, a competitor will come along because people will want to switch, there will be money to be made.
    I don't think Facebook is a good comparison to Steam, though it does indicate a possible future for Steam.

    Facebook wasn't surpassed by identical-but-better alternatives, the way that Facebook itself eclipsed MySpace. Twitter and Instagram are different services than Facebook. Facebook lost its dominance when an increasing number of users realized that they didn't actually want/need the services that Facebook provided.

    For a comparison to Steam, it wouldn't be like consumers deciding that they don't want to deal with Valve or deciding that GOG really was better. It would be more like consumers deciding that they don't want to download PC games at all. It would be like people switching to a streaming service (Playstation Now, or OnLive, or whatever that other failed streaming service was) or people switched almost entirely to mobile games (giving the power to Apple or Google or similar.)

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Baines View Post
    I don't think Facebook is a good comparison to Steam, though it does indicate a possible future for Steam.

    Facebook wasn't surpassed by identical-but-better alternatives, the way that Facebook itself eclipsed MySpace. Twitter and Instagram are different services than Facebook. Facebook lost its dominance when an increasing number of users realized that they didn't actually want/need the services that Facebook provided.

    For a comparison to Steam, it wouldn't be like consumers deciding that they don't want to deal with Valve or deciding that GOG really was better. It would be more like consumers deciding that they don't want to download PC games at all. It would be like people switching to a streaming service (Playstation Now, or OnLive, or whatever that other failed streaming service was) or people switched almost entirely to mobile games (giving the power to Apple or Google or similar.)
    True, and that's exactly what could replace steam. Something similar to origin access with a much broader catalog, or something streaming like Playstation now. It would also be similar because even though they're not direct identical services they still fill that same need, just in a different way.
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  15. #15
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    Steam has spent over a decade rooting itself into PC gaming, people are invested in it now. Even if an objectively better service comes along, it might not be able to put a dent in Steam's popularity anyway.

    Remember all the WoW-killer MMOs that came out? The developers behind those all found out that the people they were selling to weren't actually MMO fans, they were WoW fans. The played WoW, they liked WoW, and they were invested in WoW. Competing games were just brief distractions before they went back to WoW again.

    Unless Steam actually does something bad, will people really be bothered to go to a better alternative? I wouldn't. I like Steam, my Steam library recently passed the 400 mark, and Steam is simply what I'm used to. So I'm really just not interested in "the Steam alternative that everybody wants".

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    Quote Originally Posted by AshEnke View Post
    I loved this article from Lars Doucet about stores :
    http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LarsD...Publishers.php

    So it's hard to "replace" Steam because it's not just one thing that could be fixed, it's an exercice in balance.

    Also, Steam was first / the first successful. That's hard to replace.
    Reading the full article, he totally fails to support that sort of TLDR that you've quoted though, and in fact pretty much ignores his own thesis from the beginning of the article. If it was being graded, it'd be a C-, if not a D.

    In his thesis he identifies four groups as having competing interests.

    1. Customers
    2. Developers
    3. Publishers
    4. The store platforms themselves
    He then goes through and frankly, forgets he said that, goes on a lot about indie devs as separate from AAA devs, which he didn't separate out above, and generally completely fails to make the case that Steam is, in fact, a balance. Most of the article is just from about the interests of developers, specifically (unsurprising on Gamasutra, but unhelpful given his thesis and claims).

    Steam is absolutely clearly a case of the platform prioritizing itself. There's no question about it. It's the clearest example possible. Because he's forgotten his own identification of interest, he just lazily tries to claim it's a balance without any actual evidence, not the even the slightest shred of evidence.

    He also smooshes together three platforms with different histories and operating methods. I mean, I would be much more productive to use his OWN methodology properly (instead of forgetting it!) and analyze different platforms.

    Origin is clearly 1st Publisher (EA), 2nd Customers (as clearly shown by having customer-friendly initiatives since long before other platforms), 3rd The Store (Origin - they don't really market the store itself much), 4th Developers - small developers do get a look-in but only in a curated fashion that doesn't seem to be designed to benefit them.

    Steam is clearly Platform/Store first (and I think we can include Valve here), Developers/Publishers interests are kind of balanced (a long story and the article does kind of cover this sorta), and customers (and modders) are clearly fourth, because as we've seen on multiple occasions, Steam are totally willing to burn a proportion of their customers if they think they can make money on it, or publishers are whinging about them. They have a couple of customer-friendly initiatives, but when they're no more friendly than stuff MS has come up with, and often happen after other companies do them, they're clearly low-priority (pretty sure friends/family game sharing survives solely on it's extremely low profile, for example).

    GoG can fairly be said to be Customer first, Platform/Store second (they market themselves pretty heavily), Developers third, Publishers last.

    And we can go on. But this doesn't match the lazy hand-wave Lars did, after setting up a reasonable framework. It's not even like his article is lazy - in many ways it isn't. It's just the thesis and conclusion TOTALLY do not match the body of the essay, which again, guaranteed C- to D... if not an F.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baines View Post
    For a comparison to Steam, it wouldn't be like consumers deciding that they don't want to deal with Valve or deciding that GOG really was better. It would be more like consumers deciding that they don't want to download PC games at all. It would be like people switching to a streaming service (Playstation Now, or OnLive, or whatever that other failed streaming service was) or people switched almost entirely to mobile games (giving the power to Apple or Google or similar.)
    Yeah, but even if it changed due to major technological shift, it doesn't mean the Valve's replacement will be any better, long term. It will likely be more convenient, but might have similar problems otherwise.

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    You have to look at home first really. I mean each of us make the choices that make Steam what it is, so choose 'different' if that is a problem for you. So how much of this is about 'gamers entitlement', or our own 'issues' over simply saying 'Steam is bad, GOG is good' etc?

    Like with EVERYTHING in life it is down to each of us and the decisions we make; it's why we got Trump, it's why Climate Change is as big a danger as it is, it's why air pollution in cities is a ticking time bomb, it's why Steam is what it is. So make your choices 'better' if you want change.

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    I hate steam for introducing, forcefully (via their own products), online DRM and allowing this non-ownership, non-control corporate scheme to gain a foothold in this industry, and for forcefully cross-selling their games via steam and steam via their games. As with a lot of other bigger companies around the world, they cheated their way to success through immoral behaviour. Nothing new, this market rewards uncompetitive, manipulative entrepreneurs.

    Oh, and of course quasi-illegal gambling, for minors on top of it all.

    I'm proud to be able to say I've never bought a single game there.

    I don't really care about the store I buy from (GoG with its forced galaxy downloads started going down the slippery drain as well), what I do care about is the DRM-freedom on my products and above all, I'd prefer the developers to get the maximum out of my money instead of the storefront. The popular 30% cut is audacious. Give the storefront just enough to be able to continue working or better yet, indies out there with a bit of money, get together and start a new store that doesn't screw you over.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZakG View Post
    You have to look at home first really. I mean each of us make the choices that make Steam what it is, so choose 'different' if that is a problem for you. So how much of this is about 'gamers entitlement', or our own 'issues' over simply saying 'Steam is bad, GOG is good' etc?

    Like with EVERYTHING in life it is down to each of us and the decisions we make; it's why we got Trump, it's why Climate Change is as big a danger as it is, it's why air pollution in cities is a ticking time bomb, it's why Steam is what it is. So make your choices 'better' if you want change.
    That works in a situation which isn't a virtual monopoly.

    Unfortunately as alms and Baines illustrated at length, Steam is virtual monopoly. It's early-starter advantage is so huge, bolstered massively by the early, generous Steam sales (since scaled back, as they no longer need the momentum) when threats emerged, that no-one can catch it and no-one is even really trying.

    I mean, one of your example is similarly bollocks - air pollution in cities. You're a Brit, aren't you? So you should know perfectly well, that in the UK at least, the vast majority of air pollution is down to businesses, not individuals driving cars or the like. You can't choose not to have businesses use lorries etc. for deliveries. Indeed, they often don't have much choice, either.

    All you can do, which is what has been done, and which is what is helping, is ask GOVERNMENT to make LAWS which help the situation. In London, the congestion charge has done infinitely more to lower pollution and to get businesses to consider different transport strategies, or to invest in lower-emissions vehicles than individuals ever did.

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