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View Poll Results: Is Steam good or bad for the gaming consumer?
It's good for the consumer 87 64.44%
It's bad for the consumer 11 8.15%
It's both good and bad, I'm not sure which to choose 27 20.00%
I don't really think about it much / don't care 10 7.41%
Voters: 135. You may not vote on this poll

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Is Steam good or bad for the gaming consumer?
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DSparil
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Question Is Steam good or bad for the gaming consumer? - 10-02-2013, 22:19 | posts: 2,907 | Location: Tampa Bay, FL

This is bound to be a controversial topic, but I want to see some Guru's thoughts on this. Some of my friends swear by Steam and think digital distribution is the best thing since cream cheese. Although I see the value and understand the benefits, there are huge downsides to it. I am not sure everyone understands exactly what we're dealing with here. While we have more options, greater convenience, space saving and better pricing, what we no longer have is CONTROL. Control over our own games and over our own purchases. Allow me to give you an example, Nexuiz (the new one on Cryengine 3). I purchased this game from Steam and somewhere along the line, its parent company THQ went bankrupt. Now, the game is not even launchable from Steam. Its completely unplayable. So a game that I paid $$ for is completely unplayable and guess what? I am not entitled to a refund. I have also read of instances where there have been payment conflicts with Steam, and if they go unresolved, they may block your account. Guess what happens then? Your entire inventory of Steam games is unavailable. All of the hundreds of dollars you spent is for naught, and you won't get a dime because "Steam doesn't give refunds".

Like I said, I understand the value of digital distribution. Although a part of me misses the excitement of getting that nice big box game with great artwork, opening it and getting all of the goodies inside, manual, perhaps maps and more. The days when I could install a game from CD or DVD-ROM, play it, uninstall it, mod it, do whatever the hell I wanted with it, whenever I wanted to do it. I miss the days when I had control over my own games. Whether you like to admit it or not, Steam and other distributors like them have control over your games now. Not you.
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 22:32 | posts: 8,878 | Location: The Zone

It's bad because there's currently not much in the way of competition, and your "rights" to your games are questionable at best. It just doesn't seem bad because Gabe is in control. When he dies or moves on, who knows what will happen.
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 22:45 | posts: 7,427 | Location: Canada, Quebec

How can you die when you are a god?
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 22:46 | posts: 3,845 | Location: Cheshire, England

Good because you get access to games with less fuss, I can't even use GTA4 because when I changed my email Microsoft messed something up so I can't use it, Also good because you can download games anytime you want without restrictions or any payments (anyone remember that download insurance EA had)

Bad because the CSR are terrible and don't read tickets, nor does Valve have any mangers which clearly shows and you clearly have barely any rights (I believe American consumers get even less rights)
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 22:56 | posts: 4,388 | Location: Kansas, USA

It's good.

I know the complaints that it's bad because they have been the only for so long... they have no real competition...
But, it's not like Valve and Steam jack up prices because they have no competition. They don't force consumers to go through outrageous steps to use the program or purchase games.
Steam has grown so well in popularity because of how user friendly it is, and how much work they put into improving it and moving it forward. It grows, not just in user base, but in functionality on a regular basis.

And, it's rather odd to think that if something happens to Gabe... Steam would fall apart. If Gabe really is as "on top" of things as people like to believe, then there will be things in place for the future. For after he's gone, for if Steam were to close.

Personally, I love Steam. It's a program I use every day. And, given my location... I live in the middle of nowhere. The only (the one and ONLY) store in my town, is a Wal-Mart. A Wal-Mart that a few years ago removed it's PC software section completely.
Having Steam means I'm able to get new releases when I want. I don't have to order them, pay for shipping and hope they arrive on a certain day. Nor do I have to drive two to three hours to get to a city with a Best Buy or game store so I can buy a new release.
It's on my PC. Right in front of me.

Steam may have it's issues, and there are always going to be those that dislike it. But, for me, it's great. I'm pleased with how it's grown, how it's being run... and almost everything about it.
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 22:58 | posts: 14,702 | Location: Glasgow

A bit of both, as a service it is very handy and the sales can be quite cheap, though most of the time it's cheaper to stick to retail.

It's bad due to the fact they are making so much effort to control every game sold on the PC, if i wanted that i would stick with just consoles.

As mentioned the customer service is atrocious, and download speeds can be abit all over the place.
The software has has also become very bloated over the years, and is still very slow.

I don't hate it, but i do hate the fact Valve get away with far too much when it comes to what they do to consumers, and i fear that by the time people wise up it will be too late.
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 23:01 | posts: 2,907 | Location: Tampa Bay, FL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redemption80 View Post
A bit of both, as a service it is very handy and the sales can be quite cheap, though most of the time it's cheaper to stick to retail.

It's bad due to the fact they are making so much effort to control every game sold on the PC, if i wanted that i would stick with just consoles.

As mentioned the customer service is atrocious, and download speeds can be abit all over the place.
The software has has also become very bloated over the years, and is still very slow.

I don't hate it, but i do hate the fact Valve get away with far too much when it comes to what they do to consumers, and i fear that by the time people wise up it will be too late.
I feel exactly the same way.

Last edited by DSparil; 10-02-2013 at 23:08.
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 23:22 | posts: 5,329 | Location: Belgium

Quote:
Originally Posted by IcE View Post
It's bad because there's currently not much in the way of competition, and your "rights" to your games are questionable at best. It just doesn't seem bad because Gabe is in control. When he dies or moves on, who knows what will happen.
Pretty much, Valve just seems less like the greedy corporate scumbag type of company compared to the likes of EA and some others, but all these clients are still pretty similar.
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 23:33 | posts: 8,878 | Location: The Zone

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damien_Azreal View Post
It's good.

I know the complaints that it's bad because they have been the only for so long... they have no real competition...
But, it's not like Valve and Steam jack up prices because they have no competition. They don't force consumers to go through outrageous steps to use the program or purchase games.
Steam has grown so well in popularity because of how user friendly it is, and how much work they put into improving it and moving it forward. It grows, not just in user base, but in functionality on a regular basis.

And, it's rather odd to think that if something happens to Gabe... Steam would fall apart. If Gabe really is as "on top" of things as people like to believe, then there will be things in place for the future. For after he's gone, for if Steam were to close.

Personally, I love Steam. It's a program I use every day. And, given my location... I live in the middle of nowhere. The only (the one and ONLY) store in my town, is a Wal-Mart. A Wal-Mart that a few years ago removed it's PC software section completely.
Having Steam means I'm able to get new releases when I want. I don't have to order them, pay for shipping and hope they arrive on a certain day. Nor do I have to drive two to three hours to get to a city with a Best Buy or game store so I can buy a new release.
It's on my PC. Right in front of me.

Steam may have it's issues, and there are always going to be those that dislike it. But, for me, it's great. I'm pleased with how it's grown, how it's being run... and almost everything about it.
It's not that Steam would fall apart, it's that the current methods it employs to not abuse its monopoly might be thrown aside in favor of full leverage of its market leadership.
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 23:33 | posts: 12,975 | Location: USA

I don't like it.

How dare Valve provide a service that gives me easy access to the majority of my games with a click of a mouse button. I wish EA would buy Valve honestly. That way I can have all my games on one platform.
   
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Default 10-02-2013, 23:34 | posts: 8,740 | Location: Indiana

It's like you all want cake and to eat it too.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 02:32 | posts: 5,329 | Location: Belgium

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhazeDelta1 View Post
I don't like it.

How dare Valve provide a service that gives me easy access to the majority of my games with a click of a mouse button. I wish EA would buy Valve honestly. That way I can have all my games on one platform.
If one company was to take full monopoly, I'd rather have Valve take it then EA. Monopoly is never a good thing for the consumer but if it would happen in this case... I think most people would agree Valve's "The lesser evil".
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 03:06 | posts: 3,714

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrupt^ View Post
I think most people would agree Valve's "The lesser evil".
Yeah?
I heard the same way about Google just around 2-3 years ago when compared to the likes of Microsoft and/or Apple.

And there's this phase of AMD where they stomped Intel thus they 'had reasons' to price their highest end CPU around $1000, in which I found it funny when people were dissing Intel for pricing theirs around the same when they stomped AMD the years after.

In the end they're just business entities, not hobby shops.
If they can maximize profits, they will.

If you think trading cards, Market, Greenlight, and Early Access are just Valve ways of 'getting the community more involved', well, I sell bridges.




Interested in folding with fellow gurus? Click here to get you started!
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 03:07 | posts: 6,557 | Location: Dubai

I actually like it. Steam and Battle.net are the only DD platforms I use regularly and I trust them as they've been around for nearly a decade. I like Steam primarily due to the low prices on the Steam store (during sales) or the various resellers. It has a great community around it too. Not needing to backup a bazillion ISO's is also a good thing *wink wink*.

Regarding support, I've read plenty of horror stories but the two tickets I've submitted so far have had a good turnaround time of less than 36 hours so I personally have no complaints atm. The steam community seems to be improving too, screenshots don't take forever to load or throw-up errors as often as they did.

As for monopoly, it is debatable. No publisher is forced to use steam and can start its own DD (dis)service which, frankly, involves a lot of work and maintenance which will distract it from making games. Look at Valve and Blizzard's frequency of game releases! Having so many passwords is a chore too .. I go out of my way to avoid games which force to create another account just to play a game (on top of steam).
Uplay of all people is interesting in regards to competition - they sell Uplay enabled games on both Steam and Origin and even go as far as selling keys for both of those on their own store. That is competition - the consumer who prefers Uplay in steam can do so while those who don't really care can opt for Uplay only. Neither are held hostage to any one provider. That is one thing Ubi has done right.

When it comes to unboxing games, only Blizzard has thrilled me with those The artwork and elaborate manuals were awesome and I miss those!!
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 03:25 | posts: 180

You have to remember that without services like Steam, you wouldn't be able to purchase older games. The CD copies of some games are actually hard to find and if you do find one, when there is no digital online counterpart, they are worth a lot and sold for to the extreme sometimes. Yes, it is bad that your games are not physically yours and require you to have a Steam account, but generally, most of the time, Steam tries to accommodate you, take Company of Heroes for example. Steam made a separate version of the game so as owners of it like myself could continue to play it even after THQ died. Yes, Steam can be *******s when it comes to getting refunds, but if you pressure them enough, they will give you one, just don't expect it often.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 04:25 | posts: 4,645 | Location: Logd n jst 2 change avatar

I thinks that steam is not bad for the consumer, definitely convenient without a doubt.

People keep saying that steam has no competition, thats not completely true: Remember, you dont have to buy your games direct from steam. There's plenty of cdkey sites out there that sell titles for way less than what steam does. So in that regards, does that change the topic to 'Is Steam good for Developers?'

EG: Picked up the FEAR bundle (F1 +expansions), for $10, thats $40 dollars less than Steams pricing.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 05:53 | posts: 1,234

Good for now but huge potential for downfall.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 16:36 | posts: 1,973 | Location: UK

It's good. Great sales, Steam is always being improved and your games are always where you left them. I never understood the Steam hate.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 18:19 | posts: 2,270 | Location: Hong Kong

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSparil View Post
This is bound to be a controversial topic, but I want to see some Guru's thoughts on this. Some of my friends swear by Steam and think digital distribution is the best thing since cream cheese. Although I see the value and understand the benefits, there are huge downsides to it. I am not sure everyone understands exactly what we're dealing with here. While we have more options, greater convenience, space saving and better pricing, what we no longer have is CONTROL. Control over our own games and over our own purchases. Allow me to give you an example, Nexuiz (the new one on Cryengine 3). I purchased this game from Steam and somewhere along the line, its parent company THQ went bankrupt. Now, the game is not even launchable from Steam. Its completely unplayable. So a game that I paid $$ for is completely unplayable and guess what? I am not entitled to a refund. I have also read of instances where there have been payment conflicts with Steam, and if they go unresolved, they may block your account. Guess what happens then? Your entire inventory of Steam games is unavailable. All of the hundreds of dollars you spent is for naught, and you won't get a dime because "Steam doesn't give refunds".

Like I said, I understand the value of digital distribution. Although a part of me misses the excitement of getting that nice big box game with great artwork, opening it and getting all of the goodies inside, manual, perhaps maps and more. The days when I could install a game from CD or DVD-ROM, play it, uninstall it, mod it, do whatever the hell I wanted with it, whenever I wanted to do it. I miss the days when I had control over my own games. Whether you like to admit it or not, Steam and other distributors like them have control over your games now. Not you.
First of all, Nexuiz issue is solely on THQ, with or without steam, THQ going bankrupt will render the server useless and thus, inaccessible regardless of steam and no sane retailer would 'refund' your game. That have nothing to do with CONTROL over your game.

Second issue, I heard people talked about it but we have no information regarding the 'payment conflict'.


   
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Default 10-03-2013, 18:39 | posts: 14,702 | Location: Glasgow

As long as Steam is needed to play the game then Valve have control over the game and I do think the shop has to assume responsibility for anything they sell.

In their present forms EA's Origin is alot more consumer friendly than Steam, and alot faster and less bloated.

It's just not "trendy" to like EA though.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 18:42 | posts: 1,921 | Location: Sault Ste. Marie Ont. CA

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrH View Post
It's good. Great sales, Steam is always being improved and your games are always where you left them. I never understood the Steam hate.
I agree. It also updates DLC etc. for you.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 19:09 | posts: 2,270 | Location: Hong Kong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redemption80 View Post
As long as Steam is needed to play the game then Valve have control over the game and I do think the shop has to assume responsibility for anything they sell.

In their present forms EA's Origin is alot more consumer friendly than Steam, and alot faster and less bloated.

It's just not "trendy" to like EA though.
If they sell you the game after the THQ goes bankrupt or server shutdown, then it is their fault, otherwise, they should not be held responsible. Having steamwork means the game utilize steam services only, it does not mean Valve have control over the server or the services of a bankrupted company.


   
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Redemption80
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Default 10-03-2013, 19:23 | posts: 14,702 | Location: Glasgow

I'm not saying Valve are to blame, but when things like this happened they are the only ones left to blame as they also profited from the sale of the game.

Steamworks should guarantee a certain standard and customer service if your forced to use it.

I disagree with taking the cash and credit when things go well, but washing your hands of it when things go wrong.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 19:25 | posts: 2,907 | Location: Tampa Bay, FL

Quote:
Originally Posted by chanw4 View Post
First of all, Nexuiz issue is solely on THQ, with or without steam, THQ going bankrupt will render the server useless and thus, inaccessible regardless of steam and no sane retailer would 'refund' your game. That have nothing to do with CONTROL over your game.

Second issue, I heard people talked about it but we have no information regarding the 'payment conflict'.
You're someone who isn't seeing the big picture. Servers being down has nothing to do with it and is not the point. No servers are required to play bot matches or go LAN, but because of THQ's fallout, the game is not launchable from Steam, period. If this was a game I installed from a DVD-ROM, I could still play it to some extent. Digital distribution has ushered in an era of us no longer having control over our own purchases. I guarantee you if Steam locked your account for whatever reason and you suddenly no longer had access to "your" games, you would feel very differently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redemption80 View Post
I'm not saying Valve are to blame, but when things like this happened they are the only ones left to blame as they also profited from the sale of the game.

Steamworks should guarantee a certain standard and customer service if your forced to use it.

I disagree with taking the cash and credit when things go well, but washing your hands of it when things go wrong.
Yes, exactly! Well said.

Last edited by DSparil; 10-03-2013 at 19:29.
   
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Default 10-03-2013, 21:23 | posts: 4,371 | Location: Romania

Steam is great, runs good, great accesability, good sales, not to mention it's the best DRM out there. I still prefer to get retail version of games if they are cheaper or are collector's edition BUT I do look for them to be steamworks, or at least redeemable on Origin. I like having all my games in one place (well 2, for EA Origin exclusives...).
   
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