Valve Is Killing The PC Market, Apparently

According to a report on trade site MCV, two "big-name digital retailers" for the PC market are staring down the barrel of financial ruin, while two major British retailers are reportedly considering a ban on games that include Steam integration.

"Publishers don't give a shit, they don't care what happens to the customer. Which is the crucial point, because Steam do," the director of "a fledgling Steam rival" told the site. A fledgling rival, eh? Direct2Drive, perhaps? GamersGate? Impulse, maybe?

The criticism of Steam - an online multiplayer platform and digital shopfront run by Half-Life developers Valve - doesn't stop there.

"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", the unnamed director continues.

"Steam is locking down the market."

See, here's where these digital competitors have it wrong. Yes, it's hardly an ideal set of circumstances that a single company is effectively taking over the mainstream PC downloadable market. More competition would be good for everyone. But there's a reason Steam is so dominant: it's the only service that's doing things right.

The sooner competing services quit bitching and start putting together comparable platforms where you can shop, play and communicate as easily as you can on Steam, the sooner we'll take their criticisms as something more than just sour grapes.

As for the bricks-and-mortar retailers, there are reportedly fears that selling boxed copies of games that include mandatory Steam integration is only going to encourage customers to not only shop online in the future, but shop with Steam, which is a competitor to these own retailer's digital shopfront ambitions.

As a result of this, "two major retailers" in the UK are threatening publishers that they will cease stocking games that include such a requirement in any form.

Retail threatens Steam ban [MCV]


Comments

    While it isn't the best situation to have one clear 'winner' when it comes to distribution, this is just fucking childish. What do they suggest Valve do to steam - make it suck more? Maybe its just me but that's not exactly constructive criticism.

      I think the idea was to separate the steam multiplayer platform from the retail platform.

        This decade (2000 - 2010) was the birth of online social portals. Thats where everything is headed. They just unhappy that they didnt hit the winning formula as quickly as valve.

        Steam is basically facebook for gamers. Its got all the social interaction and functionality to help you keep in touch with your gaming friends. Thats half the reason its so popular. This is also the reason Battle.net is doing quite well for the blizzard games.

      Why are they fighting this hard?

      I mean according to all the console fanboys out there PC gaming is dead/dying ... this would mean the opposite ... which would mean a Console Fanboi doesn't know what they're talking about O.O My mind just asploded.

    The more and more I read about retailers complaining, the more and more this is starting to resemble the Print VS Web debate.

    Retailers still have consoles their business is not gone, PC's are just no longer a part of their market, they do need to move on.

    You're spot on Luke. Well written.

    As I have said previously the shopfront retailers don't even care about PC gamers anyway. I have bought twice as many games for PC on steam than any where else since Half Life 2 came out, but part of that reason is retail stores either didn't bother to stock half those games or priced themselves out of the sale.
    It really pisses me off when an EB sales rep says oh don't buy that on PC buy it on Xbox and then you can bring it back to trade it in (for $6) when you finish it. You can even buy it second hand on xbox for only $95, that saves you $5!! What a joke. They are killing their own PC sales!!

    If steam wakes up to themselves and stops allowing publishers to regionally price i'll probably never shop retail for a pc game again.

    Steam has proven that providing a service is still one of the most important things to the general consumer.

    Awww. How can any true venture capitalist complain about a better band wagon. Or steam engine in this case.

      HA! Steam engine!

      You deserve a cookie.

        Oh! I get it! I'll chip in a cookie too for that one.

    I'm sure developers would have opinions worth sharing on this subject. I know how I'd prefer my products to be distributed...

    Also, how can anyone be angry at Valve? They've done more for PC gaming than any other developer in the last ten years.

      It's notoriously hard to get your game on Steam, but worth it once it gets on there.

    "As a result of this, “two major retailers” in the UK are threatening publishers that they will cease stocking games that include such a requirement in any form." And the publishers/developers of those games will say "PHEW That's $200 million in production costs we just saved!!" and continue raking it in on Steam.

    Like most here, I agree. Steam has managed to boost a dwindling PC population, with games like Team Fortress 2 and Counter Strike Source. To top it off, the Steam platform is a great way to talk to friends, get instant updates, and the overall features greatly outweigh any vanilla software.

    How can retailers blame Steam, when their own stores don't even stock new PC games properly? Perhaps they should consider cleaning up the PC section too.

    Sure, the PC community is much smaller than the consoles. The PC section in the store doesn't have to be on par with the rest. That's just common sense. But when you go out and start blaming Steam which has only helped the PC market, that just doesn't make sense. That's the kind of greedy thinking that plagues the video game scene today.

    Screw retailers, I'm sick of paying twice what Americans pay for games, I hope they go bankrupt as they drown in their own greed.

    You wanna know why Valve is so successful? Because they still treat PC gamers like CUSTOMERS.

      Instead of pirates. Even though a portion of the steam market may also pirate games, they do not pirate THEIRS. Interesting.

    Seriously? What do they expect.. Steam has great pricing, which clearly rivals retail pricing, especially in Australia. You have your friends, chat, games on the go, easy transferability, backups..

    Seriously its the most convenient package and way to run a distribution system.. There is a reason EVERYONE is here, and more so since it was one of the first, and still, the best..

    People aren't buying enough games from us, so we will combat this... buy stocking less games!!

    Mwahahah! Genius!

      And if that doesn't work then they'll escalate their campaign by holding their breath until they turn blue.

      That is actually sound practice.

      Stores purchase product, then they sell it.
      If I'm not moving product then I make a loss by having it in stock... not just that, but I lose money by not giving that shelf space to games that might sell better. Also, I lose money on depreciation by having it too.

      So, if last month I only sold 2 copies of X product... then I should only stock, say, 3 copies of X product each month.

    So, when the retail market decides "the PC market is dying" and THEN moves to sell less games to us. Now that they figure out Steam is filling the void that they've left they decide to childishly whine about a toy they dropped?
    Hurrrrrr.

    Whining by the loser. Luke got it correct, Valve is doing stuff right. It's not Valve's fault they implemented digital downloads well and others didn't. Here's something competing companies can do - find a way to abolish regional pricing as some countries are currently experiencing from activision, 2k and EA. I'm sure they'll get more customers that way.

    As for physical retailers, I'm actually one of those people who prefer to have the physical copy of the game. Only reason I rely on Steam so much is cuz of our stupid prices. If I lived in the US, I reckon I would actually go out and buy my games

    If Steam keeps gouging us on prices, I can see this problem diminishing somewhat (at least in Australia).

      Publishers are gouging on steam, not steam itself.

      Though in australia thanks to the exhange rate, even the over priced games on steam are still cheaper than the store.

    The PC gaming market is not dying. Its simply the first to adopt digital distribution.

    I don't consider Steam perfect and most of the games I play on PC are not integrated into Steam (I do a lot of console gaming and legacy gaming as well), but it is a useful service.

    That said, I admit I still have a fondness for a boxed product (however I have a grudge against Games For Windows Live; its so unreliable and I often can't sign in... my Bioshock 2 experience put me off GFWL significantly).

    I won't buy Steamworks games unless they're from Valve or are really cheap.

    I don't trust Valve not to disable my account for no reason, and I can't sell them again afterwards.

    Agreed, the retail market has a lot of answering to do for the blatant price-gouging over the decades, but nonetheless steam IS killing the pc game market, through their own greed.
    Why should I have to pay them to install, let alone play, a game i bought on disc, and one which they had no input in in any form, other than convincing the publisher that theirs was the best means to update (which it isn't)?
    Most pc gamers in Australia don't have unlimited bandwidth, a lot still don't have the internet at all (especially since those usb dongles are the modems of choice for most youth these days - have you tried downloading steam updates through one of those?! impossible). And now steam wants to jump to ps3. Most console owners do not have their consoles online. Sure, social gaming is part of the future, but its only one part, and if i want to play a single-player game like civ 5 on my pc i should be able to do that without the internet or steam.
    It really gets me steamed.

    I agree the way things were before steam was great you can buy your game take it home install it play it and not have internet, not worry about your wireless dropping you out not worry about updates that you don't want not worry about your account getting hacked and not load steam then update and then play your game. This is all about choice and being free and it is all taken away same with that crap they call origin.
    But maybe they are doing it on purpose trying to make it such a hassle so annoying that people would go ah stuff this I am getting a console...

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