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Ex Valve Developer Lashes out about Steam "Steam Killing PC Gaming"

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Apr 9, 2019.

  1. Denial

    Denial Ancient Guru

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    Yeah I agree - there should never be public backlash about anything. Consumers should just take what the industries gives them and love them for it.

    It's insanely silly. You could make the argument that it's not helping as much as it could but an entire indie-game resurgence basically formed off the back of steam and digital storefronts that came in the wake of it.

    As for the 30% cut: https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019...ets-less-than-30-percent-of-steam-game-sales/
     
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  2. Rx4speed

    Rx4speed Active Member

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    You don't see triple A titles turn to Epic? You blind? The Division II, Borderlands 3, Metro Exodus. This is just the start. What has released on Steam lately?
     
  3. bjtag

    bjtag Member

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    I've been with valve and steam since day one and I'm a little pissed they haven't released half Life 3.....lol
     
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  4. rl66

    rl66 Ancient Guru

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    For sure it has to add wood in the fire...
    But sadly for Valve this kind of post come more and more from editors, developers, people employe from the company.
    The recent rise of Epic (that i don't like too much either) show that those arguments are serious problem in Steam's way to do bizness.
     

  5. ezodagrom

    ezodagrom Master Guru

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    It's not blind loyalty, Epic is just not bringing anything positive for customers, they're cattering solely to the publishers. Why should users be happy and accepting of a store that is buying up exclusivity while offering a far worse service?

    - First there's the lack of features, this is rather self explanatory, I don't think it needs to be expanded.
    - Epic's 12% cut is going to result in overall higher prices for users.
    Steam's 30% cut and allowing devs/pubs to freely generate keys to be sold on authorized resellers results in those 3rd party stores being able to use a part of their own stores cut as discount coupons. A 12% cut not only is too small for such discounts to be possible, Epic doesn't even allow for most 3rd party stores to sell EGS games (Humble being the only exception at the moment).
    - The 12% cut is too small to cover payment processing fees for many non-standard payment methods, which are popular in many countries. The users end up having to pay the payment processing fees themselves in those cases.
    - Epic hasn't earned the users trust. Where was Epic when the PC market needed help the most? They were abandoning the PC market for consoles, and now that the PC market is successful, they're trying to brute force their way in. They also have a history of abandoning projects, like Unreal Tournament recently. What happens if their store ends up not being successful? Will it be another Games for Windows Live?
    - This is a more personal issue, but multiple launchers are just an inconvenience. Dealing with multiple friends list, multiple programs having to run in the background if I want to keep everything updated. In the end the great majority of my games are on Steam, I end up only keeping Steam open, the other launchers end up being just unnecessary bloat. In the end, I don't feel like playing games that I have on other launchers because of how inconvenient it is.

    There's more, but for now this will do. At the moment the Epic store doesn't bring anything positive with it for me as a customer, unlike Steam (which has better prices especially thanks to the competition between 3rd party authorized resellers and several useful QoL features that Epic lacks).
     
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  6. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for elaborating, greatly appreciated.

    Yes, such happenings to abondon the persuit of a positive public opinion could be seen as a game changer. But is it a good one? An industry making products which are no longer bound to appeal to it's customers but only to the distribution platform? That sounds quite silly to me to be honest, although it's become the norm. Doesn't mean one's got to like it, or got to support it.

    If the game changer is that those 12% of the cut stay with the dev, I'm actually all positive on the condition that the money is used for game development. And that's what I honestly doubt, every dev that does not use Epic as a publisher but has another publisher in between (isn't this the case with Metro?) will NOT get those 12%. Worst case, they won't see ANY quid of those 12%... and then it's just an extra bonus for the publisher, and those aren't angels either. They force their crap onto devs at every chance they get, and now we want to feed them with more money? I honestly doubt that this is a good idea. And it only catches on to the small publisher / dev situations, since bigger publishers already have their distribution platform... ike with Ubsioft, their going for Epic is pretty boring actually, since the biggest cut ends up with Ubisoft in any way, and I honestly doubt more money lands with the devs, be it if the Division 2 is released on Steam, or not.

    As with console exclusives, m$ is doing the same with Xbox titles like Gears of War, Quantum Break etc. While this is all nice and such, unless we see this happening with more console exclusives in the future (like, next gen console's launch) it's merely a cash grab... I'm not impressed by Playstation titles of PS3 now being available in the Epic store, way to late to be significant for PC gaming, I have to say. On launch, that I agree with, is a good thing, but years afterwards no one cares if Heavy Rain is on PC now, or flower, at least not in my opinion. People don't buy a PC to play last gen's console titles... BUT I have to say, if this trend continues, I'm all with you @cryohellinc

    So... where does Epic have lower prices? You mean for devs / publishers, yes... for a consumer, we couldn't care less (at least on first thought) where that cut goes or how big it is... our games will always cost 60 quid... at least until deals like Metro mean that EVERYBODY gets a price cut. Honestly, doing it for US only is blatantly telling everybody else they're irrelevant (another FU move in the Metro story by Metro's publisher / Epic), and second, how many of the sales can this truely hit? 25% of sales? 30% of sales of Metro in general (see the link below to note, NA gaming market is about ~20%)? That's also not a real cut... it's a US bonus to calm down people, nothing more than a PR stunt. The rest of the world just got a fat finger, figuratively speaking.
    I hope to see Steam lower their cut, I agree with you fully on that, only that this won't be happening. Epic can't keep this up forever, Steam can, they already have that money... Epic / Tencent probably too, but look at this, Tencent launched it's own platform these days. Not sure Epic will be able to keep up with Valve's practice as Valve can keep this up for years and years, while Epic has already said, they won't do such deals forever (I personally think, 12-24 months after they launched EGS, and then it's done, prices the same everywhere, no matter what cut is going to be paid). I just wholeheartedly doubt that anybody is in the position to force Valve / Steam to do anything short to mid term. And long term, Epic will just be like any other store, they take their cut for releases and that's the end of their involvement. Maybe I'm wrong, we will see, but I honestly doubt Epic's "savior" footprint in the gaming industry to form anytime soon.


    Absolutely true. AAA titles do cost a lot more than they used to, they're closer to movie budgets these days, with 200.000.000,- E/€ easily. And like I said above, if 12% more of sales revenue ends up with the developer, I'm actually for it.
    Only that I doubt that this will be the case. Publishers will eat up that cut, and if not, they give devs the leftovers...

    As for pricing... why should prices not rise? I don't see any distribution platform (in that I see EGS) care what number's on there, if the game doesn't cost 60 quid but 65 Steam's cut grows, but Epic's does as well... I'm not sure if I can follow how Epic is keeping the prices low since we already saw, IF there is a cut in sales prices, it does first not apply to everybody (for that alone one should boycot Metro's release, but that's my opinion), and if so, you could have had the same price for the game if buying at a keyseller... not sure this is going to change because Metro's publisher gets 12% more of the revenue did NOT end up in the customer's poket. And I doubt it ended up in Metro's dev's pockets, and if so, I can not see it being more than 2 or 3%, so most of it all probably the publisher still takes, and that doesn't help PC gaming at all.

    It might have helped keep (general) dev costs lower after release, that's true. But after release sales of DLCs and updates etc. are only there because they cut out game content from the main game, for either monetary reasons (and that I don't support either way), or for timely reasons (because they have to release at a certain time).
    If it's for money, they will soon learn that they can release at EGS with a base game for 60€, 3 DLCs for € each, AND take the bigger cut. Nothing right now says that this won't happen. On the contrary, you will see this will be happening very soon.
    If it's for timely reasons, why do they have such preasure? Normally that comes from a game's release to be forced for a certain time and date... and if it's not released by that time, it's a big issue. Does a bigger cut on sales help there? Not sure, since those are costs spent before the game's release. Does it help to pay crunch times? Not sure either since no matter how much you pay, I don't see people suddenly working 112 hours a week for any meaningful time or with the required quality... It would make more sense to postpone a launch if a good product's what one's after (me, as a customer, would rather wait longer for a game than buy a bugridden mess that I have to wait to enjoy anyway).




    As for sales numbers, I found this thing here:
    https://newzoo.com/insights/article...137-9-billion-in-2018-mobile-games-take-half/

    So... it says a few interesting things.
    First, PC gaming is strong (equal to consoles), yet it is ridden by console's influence (release times, technical possibilities PC vs console). But mobile (Tencent...) is the biggest. So if it's money to be made, devs should actually abondon PC gaming, they did when they embraced consoles as the main selling platform, and fortnite on mobile or Diablo Immortal is just the sign that shows that my impression might not be too far off. And soon we shall see that both consoles and PC will be abondoned because games will have to run on the latest iPhone or Samsung's Galaxy (they have the prices of a gaming PCs anyway). So not sure if our little topic here will matter in the future, at all.
    And if somebody wants to make use of their tin foil, be my guest to wonder which publisher will try to keep his store more PC oriented, Steam or Epic (Fortnite mobile, Tencent's money in there)?

    Second, that soon a third of the money spent on gaming will come from China. So it's the single most important market... under Tencent's influence. I wonder what synergies they saw when entering Epic's board of investors... since NetEase for instance does come up second place in China, and they seem to have already partnered with ActiBlizz for the Chinese market. Epic might have been smart seeking Tencent's money for the Chinese market, but I'm not sure that this will end up in Sweeney becoming as filthy richt as Newell, no matter how much he'd like that. Although I personally don't feel sympathy towards either.



    Generally, thanks guys for responding to my post. As well as to anybody else, feel free to prove me wrong, or better even, help me develop a different opinion or point of view on this topic.
    But the way I see it now, Epic is doing nothing to save PC gaming, they're aming to make a better business for themselves. They are not a charity, and what they do to hurt Steam, they do not to give money back to the customers, but only to keep their own business going. That money pushed into those exclusive deals are probably Chinese money to more than 40% anyway, and it's merely a tool to fight a competitor... they don't bring a revolution, they don't bring evolution to PC gaming, they just want to have a bigger cut of the cake for themselves. And that's how I see it.

    And sadly, only time will tell if anybody here is right or wrong, me first and foremost, but everybody else as well. NOTHING does point out that Steam will cut it's pricing (although they have done for smaller games which is a good move), that Steam will go bancrupt, that games will remain at their current pricing, that after sales support for games will improve with EGS, or anything else we're talking about here. The only thing certain is that Epic has created a marketing capital with massive spendings into games and their exclusive deals. Besides that... nothing has changed to a year ago. At least not how I see it.
     
  7. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    No, I don't see it happening, at least not 100% like you make it seem. First, you're talking about three game releases... the Division2 (which is on uplay as well, so it doesn't count as EGS for me personally), and the other two being exclusive (temporarily in Metro's case). So two, or even one of those AAA games is released on EGS exclusively... so should I be impressed by that? Two games? Two games make a game changer for you?

    AAA games released on Steam lately include stuff like RE7 remake, Sekiro, Rage 2, DMC 5, Wolfenstein games, Total War, Assassin's Creed, Tomb Raider, Far Cry games... I'm sure they're worthless and junk, at least under some people's eyes, yes. But the same argument stays for what's released on EGS... I just checked their store and besides those three games you mentioned, and Fortnite, their store is just as boring as anybody else's when it comes to games releases. And as a player that did not care about Division 1, Borderlands 1+2, any Metro title since 2033, and Fortnite, why should I lose any sleep over EGS?

    Honestly... what happens if Steam drops their cut to 18% as well? No reason not to go for Steam then, since devs get the same cut, right? And they could do it at any time they want because we know that Steam's sitting on quite some money... argueably more than Epic. It could be a start, but it could as well be the bag filled with dog poop in front of your door, and when you put out the fire only the stink remains.

    By the way, the Division is available on uPlay as well. So for companies like Ubisoft, or basically every company that does have it's own platform (the big publishers, EA, ActiBlizz, Ubisoft), it's merely a bonus to release on EGS. The cut for ubisoft is 100% on their store... so please help me understand, why should any one of the companies already owning a launcher get into bed with Epic if they wouldn't throw silly amounts of money around? Which Valve could do as well? So why should they release their games on EGS? It's just to try to pull in more funnel revenue... if it's down for the cut and that Steam's is to big, they could have switched onto GOG long ago already.
     
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  8. Kaarme

    Kaarme Ancient Guru

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    If we let history speak for itself, the game prices haven't risen that much, if at all, for years. But yeah, you mentioned DLCs, which I blissfully forgot. While expansions have "always" been a thing (like a couple of decades), it's true that the studios do compensate for the inability to raise prices by selling useless little stuff (microtransactions). Still, it's not universal and largely depends on the customer how much to spend as the game can still be played without or with only the actually decent larger DLCs.

    That's another interesting thing you mentioned that I failed to think about. In other words, because of this, assuming Epic grows strong, Western games themselves might be affected by what can be sold in China. Tencent obviously is in a good position to negotiate and communicate with the communists to see what can fly, and then they will try to make the games in general obey those rules as synergy saves money and boosts efficiency.

    Saving the whole business sounds like populistic politician speech, not really my thing as a rational person. All I tried to think of is the portion of the money going to the developer, instead of the game shop. Steam has undoubtedly been a veritable money printing press for Valve. That can't be denied. Little effort from them (they barely bother to fix annoyances in the UI in years), giant profit in return. I kind of don't like the situation where the reseller makes more money more easily than the developer working hard to create the product.

    Btw, I don't, yet, even have Epic installed. I'd like to postpone that as far as possible.
     
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  9. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    Yes, you are right about that, they sell micro transactions... something I compeltely dispise tbh. Yes, sure you can skip them, but it sets a bad example for what's fly and what's not... back in the day expansions have been a thing, like you said, but in the future you will probably either have to buy a service (with a premium for a few included microtransactions per month), or buy games at full price with having to pay in increments for everything that's beyond a mere minimum.
    But this development, imho, will be completely unconnected to EGS or Steam and their cut... there will be a point where a dev will be at the same point they are now, game dev costs increase and at some point those 12% more again won't be enough anymore... and then even at EGS there will be the same things happening. And nothing keeps companies from doing just the same they do on Steam on EGS right now... so it's not really a thing to say that Epic saves PC gaming, like the guy in the OP said (with you I agree on what you yourself said, @Kaarme ).

    At how Steam makes more money easily off the developer, isn't it the same with EGS? What are they actually doing? Steam created the workshop for people who didn't want to bother checking tutorials online, and I personally found this was a good move, until they wanted to monetize it. They put in-home-streaming into their client, something no other one has. Chats, voice com, they were the first to create yearly sales with discounts (iirc), something which truely saved customers money... So after all, Epic does just the same as Steam without the goodies the user has with Steam, for a smaller cut. But they're doing just the same... so again, against the OP I have to disagree.


    I had the epic launcher installed, until I found out they abondoned UT remake, and lost my account credentials because their database got hacked. Yeah... still not sure how any of the EGS favouring fellow gurus here try to talk me out of this.
     
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  10. nhlkoho

    nhlkoho Ancient Guru

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    Privacy concerns and questionable business practices aside, what negatives does having yet another launcher really have? It's annoying? All these launchers have auto sign in capabilities so it's not like you have to type a password every time. I just don't see all the hate. I guess I'm just too old to care about this nonsense. I just like to play games and don't really care what platform it's on.
     
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  11. Kool64

    Kool64 Master Guru

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    I can't even remember the last time I bought an AAA game let alone cared where I purchased it from. The closest thing to AAA I bought most recently was Elex which I would no count as a AAA game but more of a AA. I've bought from GoG and Origin recently but the games I bought there were many years old. BL3 would have been the only AAA game I would have bought right away but I'm not a huge fan of them jumping ship being as closely related to Valve as they are.
     
  12. ezodagrom

    ezodagrom Master Guru

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    More expensive games for one, since EGS games are not sold on 3rd party stores outside of Humble, there's no store side discounts from stores like GMG, Voidu, Gamesplanet, ...
    Due to the exclusivity, there's no price competition for EGS games.

    You ask what are the negatives? Well, I ask you what are the positives for me as a customer that the EGS brings over Steam?
     
  13. EspHack

    EspHack Ancient Guru

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    as ars points out, it isnt as simple as 30% vs 10% hence X is greedier than Y; https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019...ets-less-than-30-percent-of-steam-game-sales/

    competition is great, but exclusivity should be outlawed, when we go down that route it actually hurts the consumer; you no longer have a free choice, your only choice becomes ALL OF IT because its essentially a bunch of separate monopolies, so hows that different than a single monopoly that asks for 5x the price, at least with the latter you get a single thing to deal with

    only way forward is to ban "exclusives" , so if you want to sell whatever stuff, you must sell to everyone interested, then we can have 10+ stores and be free to take one over the other based on the store experience itself, as it should be
     
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  14. Solfaur

    Solfaur Ancient Guru

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    I don't know how many realized this, but this whole EPIC vs Steam/gamers exclusivity thing sparked flame wars of a magnitude, that I haven't seen since the good old days with nvidia vs ati or intel vs amd etc. If nothing else, they did achieve this much, to polarize PC gamers.

    I really don't get all the Steam hate from gamers though (I can understand developers), in all my years I haven't had a single issue with the platform. Hell, it was Steam that converted me to "legit" gaming. I don't hate EPIC, and I guarantee that there would not be any drama, if their launcher would be even half what Steam is. I never had a problem buying games from Origin/Uplay, because while not Steam quality level, they have decent working features.

    Like others said, it's not even a lower fees thing, it's the literal BRIBING (sometimes the devs don't even get anything, only the publishers) and FORCING adoption on an unfinished platform. I read countless threads with EPIC issues that are so basic, and then the lack of, again, some very, very basic features, that's it's no surprise that people got angry.

    As for this guy, I wish him good luck getting a job at EPIC. At this point it's a PR war, so like in politics, I don't pay too much attention to firecrackers.
     
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  15. Moofachuka

    Moofachuka Member

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    They should just make it available on Steam for higher price but making the same profit margin as ES. This will show consumers how much more money Valve is making off of the developers vs ES, while at the same time gives gamers a choice to which "platform"...
     

  16. Toadstool

    Toadstool Active Member

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    All the recent games I've gotten have been from GoG. Yeah, they don't have a ton of recent titles but I greatly appreciate the lack of DRM.

    Valve/Steam has felt stagnant for a while now. I don't use any of the 'community' type features on steam (other than the mod workshop which was a great idea), and even something simple like reviews has turned into a shitshow where tons of negative reviews are not even about the game itself but bellyaching about the Dev, sometimes even about something the Dev/Publisher is doing with a completely different title. It's also a bit concerning that Valve could say 'frack it' and shut down steam and most of my game library would be flushed with seemingly no recourse (not that I expect that to ever happen).

    I don't know man, I'm no fan of EPic right now but Steam doesn't seem to be doing anything all that great for me other than being an established and stable platform. Sure, it's great that we don't need to have a disk in anymore, but I'm not a fan of being attached to 5+ launchers when all I really need it for is to update and launch the damn game.
     
  17. EspHack

    EspHack Ancient Guru

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    i bet they have enough brains to figure out that people would be willing to pay more for a higher quality product, so coercion is the only way(exclusivity)
     
  18. warezme

    warezme Member Guru

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    All of this. Everyone wanting or having their own portal you have to log in or what not isn't really going to benefit you as a player, only them. Just let me buy your stuff from your site like any normal site and let me download my copy to my computer so I can install and play as I see fit without interference or messing with all kinds of junk. I long for the days I could just click on an icon and my game would just load and I could move my stuff around from drive to drive as I see fit.
     
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  19. The Laughing Ma

    The Laughing Ma Ancient Guru

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    Hopefully no, for all the hate that Epic gets for having 'underhanded' tactics when it comes to securing big name games at least they also have enough self respect to prevent any old sh*te from landing on their store front. I've said it before I'll say it again the way Valve runs Steam would be like Wallmart allowing any one to walk off the street set up a table in one of their stores selling vomit covered dog crap and as long as Wallmart get an up front payment and a cut of the money they won't do a thing to stop it.

    Valve's practice may not hurt the half arse, zero effort 'developers' who just spew out bottom of the market barely functional rubbish or hurt the big name triple AAAs who have the cash to heavily market their games everywhere, the folk that do get hurt are the mid tier indies. The developers that spend time and effort developing good games with an intention to continue developing and supporting their game, the people that may even be putting their lively hood in a games success.

    Imagine being one of these developers who finally makes it on to Steam only for your game to then get buried in a sea of raw effluent that now makes up the majority of Steam's store front.
     
  20. nhlkoho

    nhlkoho Ancient Guru

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    When Steam first launched it was terrible and also had very few discounts on games outside of maybe Valve developed software. With EGS you're also getting a free game every month whether that game appeals to your or not. Give the platform time to mature.

    So Fortnite, World of Warcraft, and Battlefield should all be on Steam? How is that different from console exclusive games? The devs have every right to put their games where they want where they can make the most profit.
    Having everything available in ALL places at the same time will actually eliminate competition in the long run. If everyone had the same product, the company with the deepest pockets could afford to discount the games so much while still making a profit. Doing so would obviously draw the most customers effectively putting the others out of business. It happens all the time in other markets. Look at what Amazon has done to retail stores.
    Don't mistake my comments for me agreeing with what is going on. I have a huge Steam library so yes it's more convenient to have everything in one place, but I can't blame the devs for trying to make as much profit as possible.
     

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