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Retailers Versus Steam?


TheHarlequin

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From bluesnews;

 

A story on MCV with a quote in the headline (which isn't in the article itself) stating "Valve monopoly is killing PC market," reports they understand "that at least two big-name digital retailers are facing financial difficulties as they struggle to compete" with Steam. "I've fought hard for my customer, and never before have I had to give my customers away. Steam is killing the PC market and it is no wonder digital retailers are failing," says the director of a Steam rival. "Steam is locking down the market." In a separate report they also discuss retailer dissatisfaction with Steam's dominance of the marketplace, which insiders tell them amounts to 80% of PC downloadable games. Since this competes with online sales initiatives by retailers, they say at least two major U.K. merchants will demand that publishers remove Steam integration from their games or they will refuse to sell them. With PC game sales at retail stores in steady decline, it seems an odd moment for these stores to flex their atrophying muscle, but they quote the head of sales at a big-name digital service provider saying: "At the moment the big digital distributors need to stock games with Steam. But the power resides with bricks and mortar retailers, they can refuse to stock these titles. Publishers are hesitant, but retail must put pressure on them."

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IMO I do dislike the steam requirement. I dislike myself some games locking themselves into steam and forcing you to register/have a account. A game shouldn't force you to a subscription to a service. And before the harl haters jump on me for every little thing I say I also will preface this comment with I dislike the MS LIVE client requirement in games like GTA 4 (Which they just removed in a recent patch). My dislike isn't for steam specifically, but any service requirement to play a game. Should it be a option to link the game with my stream or other service account? Sure. But forced to make said account? No.

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I posted about it in the news thread.

 

Most retailers are thriving on secondary market sales. This is part of what's "killing" PC gaming. These retailers can't second hand PC games quite the same way, so they minimize PC exposure to promote console games. At least in the US. Go to a Gamestop, find the PC section. It's a rack at the back of the store. While the console games are plastered all over the walls. Steam is thriving in spite of this behavior by retailers. A few retailers, these two in particular in the UK, have now decided that they want in on this, they want to start have their own DD service but they're way behind in market saturation. And they don't like not being top dog anymore.

 

Both Impulse and Direct 2 Drive are doing okay as far as I've heard, though not as well as Steam. And Stardock's Impulse uses similar pack-in to Valve. Or at least it did back when I purchased Gal Civ 2.

 

 

So I guess this inspires my question. Are retailers as bad about PC games in the UK as they are in the US? When you walk into the store are the PC boxes given equal exposure to the console cases?

Edited by Tale
"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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The store retailers are definitely the reason I can't buy hard copy PC games half the time anymore. Unless they're super-duper AAAAAA titles, they won't stock them, whatever the reasoning. So it's either online or DD. Based on my recent re-trying of Steam, I would not mind having to use them for the game-check so much IF they got rid of the must auto-patch feature, that still happens even if you have the 'don't auto-update' option checked. :p

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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At least in France, store retailers offer a lot less choice with respect to PC games. I'd rather buy a box with CDs or DVDs than have to download a game but you sometimes have no choice if you are not interested in the top sellers.

For DD, I'd rather use GamrsGate than Steam. Much more freedom : you just have to download the game as in GoG and there are often different patched versions so you are not limited to the last version of the game. Also GamersGate has a good selection of strategy games and indie games.

Plus it's Swedish, thus all the Paradox games are easily found and well supported.

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I've used D2D a couple of times, as well as GoG, but I'm really taken by STEAM. I'm not casting doubt on the problems other folks have reported, but I have used it very well. I have uninstalled games and downloaded them again later. I"ve put the games on different computers. I think STEAM is awesome. Once you get over the idea that you don't have a physical disk, it's actually quite convenient in many ways. On the other hand, you still have to download the content, so if you uninstall and reinstall later it's not quite as fast.

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I've used D2D a couple of times, as well as GoG, but I'm really taken by STEAM. I'm not casting doubt on the problems other folks have reported, but I have used it very well. I have uninstalled games and downloaded them again later. I"ve put the games on different computers. I think STEAM is awesome. Once you get over the idea that you don't have a physical disk, it's actually quite convenient in many ways. On the other hand, you still have to download the content, so if you uninstall and reinstall later it's not quite as fast.

 

I agree with this statement. I'll also add that the backup option is very good.

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forcing you to register/have a account.

This...

 

I almost didn't get Mass Effect 2 installed the last time, because I couldn't remember the stupid "social network" account login (which of course isn't the same as I used for Dragon Age) and I've made a note of not buying more games that requires me to create new accounts. The main reason I never even considered buying FO:NV and a reason not to bother with Dragon Age 2 (since I don't remember my DA account info anymore).

 

Yeah I know, customer support can probably help me out since I have all the registration codes/activation codes etc. but I can't be bothered, for it shouldn't be necessary to play an effin game.

 

Talk about trying to gain complete access to your behavior profile and targeted spamming.

 

Edit: As for retailers, I prefer to buy my box in a store whenever possible, resorting to Gamersgate (no additional drm other than what the game already has) when not.

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Whether you like Steam or not, this was always in the cards and was coming a mile away.

 

Steam has a very clearly defined and very blatantly pursued growth strategy of conquering this new and emerging market. It got many gamers on its side by avoiding more controversial or obstrusive features in its early years and offering lots of sales, and then gradually began to make stronger moves, into exclusives, Steamworks, etc.

 

OP is unclear because it seems to talk about "retailers" as direct download services, as opposed to brick and mortars? Which is it talking about? In any case, the latter are fast becoming irrelevant for anyone who really likes games. They are slow, they are often not friendly, their selection is almost idiotically poor and their pricing is uncompetitive. The real question now is whether, no matter whether you like Steam or not, you are happy with Steam steamrolling (haha) its competition aside in the near future and becoming the one and only stop-shop for PC gaming. Because that's what it's trying to do.

 

I can think of one instance where Steam is preferable, by the way, even though you all know I hate it - when the developers make their in-house solutions even more annoying (Bioware is getting close). But seriously, if you look at it with any kind of medium/long-term view, DD places like Gamersgate are infinitely more worthwhile to preserve than Steam. People are fine with Steam for now because it seems convenient (unless your gaming habits don't coincide with the exact templates that Steam has laid out for you...) and gets you good sales. i.e. it's pretty much buying your goodwill to shoot down its competition. And as it gets stronger, it's getting happier to make more and more restrictions to the way we buy and play games.

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Impulse is nicer than Steam, but it's a niche product.

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When I buy through digital download, as I don't get a physical disc, I want to be sure that I'll be able to download again in the future if I want. For that reason, I tend to prefer Steam as a big established site unlikely to go bust. That doesn't stop me using another site if the game is not on Steam, but I'll go for Steam first if it's available. Perhaps I'm worrying overmuch about this - if other sites have survived the current economic situation, it's likely they're not going to collapse any time soon, but still the instinct is there.

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I never buy games in a store, I always order online or purchase on steam. The latter option is hideously expensive though, since Steam counts prices by $1 =

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"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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I never buy games...

WE KNOW

 

 

LIES.

 

 

post-4899-1289571276_thumb.jpg

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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That's a photoshop. It says 18, 16, and 15. Everyone knows the ESRB rating was M. That's just making stuff up!

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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I use steam because it has an architecture surrounding it which makes the games playable socially. In turn, it is smart about publicisiikng which games your friends are playing, and encourages you to buy same. Combine that with plenty of sales and the odd massive special offer and of course you win.

 

They behave like a market leader, and surprise surprise they market lead. It's not sinister. It's basic degree level management theory. And unless the competition wish to get swallowed then they'd better come up with a better offerring, supported by marketing yadda yadda.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

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Can swedes order there aswell? :thumbsup:

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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