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Steam keeps on winning (www.pcgamer.com)
submitted 5 months ago by Carighan to c/games

From the opinion piece:

Last year, I pointed out how many big publishers came crawlin' back to Steam after trying their own things: EA, Activision, Microsoft. This year, for the first time ever, two Blizzard games released on Steam: Overwatch and Diablo 4.

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[-] echo64 292 points 5 months ago

I know everyone loves Valve, but it feels super weird to be celebrating a monopoly so much and so ferociously. (I know Steam isn't a technical monopoly. We don't need to have that discussion)

Gaben is old, and he's gonna retire. It'll likely be a lot sooner than anyone here is comfortable with. When Valve gets sold, or even when gaben isn't in total control anymore, things are going to start changing, and there isn't going to be a healthy, diverse marketplace to soften that.

There is a very good chance that the PC platform will be a really horrible place because of the lack of consumer choice in which they can purchase and play games.

[-] [email protected] 142 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

This genuinely doesn't get talked about enough. Steam is a private company and Gabe Newell seems to be the de facto "head" of the company, despite its famously "flat" management structure. There is no guarantee a new leader will have the same values or lead the same way. There is ripe opportunity for Steam to become a steaming pile of shit. I don't know about the exact ownership structure beyond Newell, but unless the employees are far more empowered through things like ownership stake in the company, new leadership could effectively destroy how things currently work at Valve to be replaced by any number of terrible business decisions.

Gabe is old as hell. It's coming.

[-] Viking_Hippie 110 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Dude, he's 61. You guys are making it sound like he's as old as a presidential candidate..

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[-] [email protected] 24 points 5 months ago

Hopefully they have some sort of transition plan for who will take over when Gabe retires. As long as they hand the reigns over to someone with similar ideas and not some business type they could be fine given they are privately owned.

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[-] [email protected] 16 points 5 months ago

Gabe is only 61. But based on his size he will probably go from health issues from that sooner than old age will get a skinnier Gabs.

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[-] [email protected] 68 points 5 months ago

It's not Steam's fault if their competitors can't make a good product. Steam is still the only one with Linux support.

[-] [email protected] 18 points 5 months ago

There is nothing exclusive to steam with respect to Linux support. All of the things required for games to run on Linux which valve support are fully open source and even existed before valve got involved. They just threw money at the efforts and turbo charged it (which is great).

[-] woelkchen 46 points 5 months ago

All of the things required for games to run on Linux which valve support are fully open source and even existed before valve got involved.

Yes, which makes it even more puzzling that the competitors don't even try to capitalize on the success of Steam Deck and publish their own store on Flathub, utilizing the very same FOSS technologies to make the games run.

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[-] [email protected] 64 points 5 months ago

In an ideal world, if Gaben was a real saint, he would turn Steam into a foundation or steward-owned purpose organization before he retires, that can't be sold.

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[-] [email protected] 57 points 5 months ago

I'm just glad GOG is surviving. It's even closer to an ideal of DRM-free games you own. I try to buy from there whenever I can.

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[-] [email protected] 27 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

Steams biggest competition isn't another launcher, it's piracy. Gabe is wise enough to know that, if the next guy to take over is a chode they'll learn the hard way.

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[-] Potatos_are_not_friends 23 points 5 months ago

It's absolutely weird and unhealthy to celebrate it.

Gaben is old, and he's gonna retire. It'll likely be a lot sooner than anyone here is comfortable with. When Valve gets sold, or even when gaben isn't in total control anymore, things are going to start changing, and there isn't going to be a healthy, diverse marketplace to soften that.

This is it. Look at history and every major company in the past 200 years. Once the shift happens, it all goes to hell. And yet people are still shouting about some "Steam Victory" like wtf?

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[-] [email protected] 162 points 5 months ago

Epic bought rocket league and promptly tanked it in favor of their stupid fortniteverse. Maybe steam keeps winning because they're not actively screwing over their customers.

[-] [email protected] 19 points 5 months ago

Or Pheonix Point, where Epic bought an kickstarter game that was funded under the promise of releasing on Steam, GOG and potentially other stores and promptly made it exclusive - and this was in the early days when their launcher/store was in a much worse state too.

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[-] mesamunefire 126 points 5 months ago

I'm glad steam and gog exist. Both provide an amazing service.

[-] YoorWeb 86 points 5 months ago

Especially GOG being DRM free but they really need a Linux client.

[-] dustyData 29 points 5 months ago

Hard ask for a Linux client when the Windows client is barely functional.

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[-] luci_tired 22 points 5 months ago

Heroic is currently the best option imo, it at least has cloud saves and updates.

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[-] [email protected] 17 points 5 months ago

I'm fine with them existing, but if there are clauses preventing publishers from proposing their games both on steam and elsewhere while they can't make it cheaper elsewhere, I would like these clauses to stop. I read somewhere there are such clauses and these kind of clauses seem very uncompetitive to me and I wonder why they are legal (if they are).

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[-] qooqie 119 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

This isn’t really that hot of a take. Steam does keep winning and it’s because of convenience for consumers. Valve also is probably the best of those companies when it comes to not violating rights. I really hope when Gaben passes the torch for valve ownership that it’s someone with his vision and priorities

[-] Buffalox 78 points 5 months ago

Steam does keep winning and it’s because of convenience for consumers.

As a Linux user, nothing else comes even close. I can read on ProtonDB if I can expect a Windows game to just work, and more often than not, it does.
GOG is also a great concept, and somewhat Linux friendly, but it doesn't have the Steam "click and play" convenience.
Epic Game Store however, has been decidedly Linux hostile for some reason??? As I see it, Steam and GOG are for gamers, Epic Game Store is for business. It would be a dark day for gamers, if Epic ever became dominant.

[-] [email protected] 60 points 5 months ago

The contributions Valve has made to Linux really, really can't be understated.

It's been 20 years of the joke "It's finally the year of the Linux Desktop" and Valve took the desktop for a miss and made 2023 "the year of the Linux Portable PC Gaming Handheld."

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[-] dual_sport_dork 35 points 5 months ago

Valve is also a privately held company, unlike most (all?) of the other big players. Therefore they don't have the ever present drive and threat of "the line must always go up" to contend with. Valve can do whatever the fuck they feel like, however the fuck they feel like, and as long as they're bringing in enough revenue to keep the lights on and keep Gabe Newell in Acapulco shirts and Cheetos, or whatever his jam is, there's nothing anybody can do about it.

They can gamble and release a VR headset or two, and if it's not a huge success, who cares? There are no shareholders breathing down their necks. They can support the Linux community and if it pisses of Microsoft, or whoever, so what? They want to wait 16+ years before getting around to releasing the sequel to their flagship franchise? There is no boardroom pushing them to slap it together and shove it out the door before Christmas, so they can just do that. Etc.

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[-] [email protected] 20 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

GOG is also good for consumers, too (in some ways, moreso than Steam, like DRM-free games with install files) but it doesn't get the same love. I understand why, Steam was already the market leader, has a way more polished product, and GOG really still focused on "what's in the name" of Good Old Games. Most of their catalogue seems to be focused on older titles, which definitely makes it seemingly more catered to an older, classic gaming audience.

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[-] MeanEYE 75 points 5 months ago

This is pretty much what I said would happen in some other threads. EGS came and portrayed itself as a savior or developers, but the cost of solution comes from consumers. They didn't try to compete in quality of service or features, but spent hundreds of millions on exclusive deals. Who in their right mind would switch from something like Steam where sole focus is the consumer.

Yes, Steam takes a huge percentage but it's not like anyone is forcing developers to go there. Developers go there because that's where the people are. And people are there because they get many more benefits for the same or lower price. Steam offers so many conveniences and features it's hard to list them all. From cloud saves to Proton, chat, family sharing and so on.

[-] punseye 44 points 5 months ago

Steam Input is another underrated feature, makes use of any controller plug and play.

What's funny though is that a game was exclusive to the Epic Games Store, the devs of the game recommended to launch the game launcher via steam to use steam input as EGS or game had some controller detection issues lol

But like seriously, it's 2024, all games should support all controllers natively, without the need for steam input/rewasd/ds4windows etc

While some games do support dualsense and dualshock natively, but they don't support switch controller?!

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[-] Carighan 35 points 5 months ago

If Epic had required developers to, say, sell games 15% cheaper (they only take a 12% cut instead of 30%, so the devs would still win out!) then they could have had a really cool argument on their hands. "Look how much Steam costs you as the consumer just from them enriching themselves!". Then the dearth of features would have been excusable, sure the shop is shit and does ˜nothing but hey, 10% cheaper in return!

Instead, as you say, they wanted to completely brute-force consumers onto the platform by putting their big fortnite money dick on the table, and it backfires and they spent a ton of money on a fat load of nothing.

Plus they've nicely trained their consumers that all the EGS client is for is launching it once on Thursdays to get your free game. Not the thing you want customers to associate with your supposedly money-making scheme.

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[-] Smoogs 29 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

And you can properly UNINSTALL games on steam. Epic is a joke when it comes to this. Have to right click and delete folder contents like it’s a 90s version of hacking a game illegally downloaded. They just need a little key generator with an 80s game sound you can’t mute. I thoroughly hate my experience with epic. Archaic POS.

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[-] Shadywack 62 points 5 months ago

It's funny that back in 2009 Gabe Newell was talking about the focus on the customer, and making the DRM be above all useful and do things that benefit customers instead of just benefitting the developer/publisher.....and here we are today where people really don't give a shit about the revenue split, but the fact that Steam is an extremely convenient and useful platform that does a lot of legwork for the end users that people don't even think about anymore.

Epic is trying to wave a banner of revolution, where we the end users just want our shit to work and run nicely. Obligatory mention of Linux here as well, where it seems Valve is truly trying to foster an ecosystem that benefits customers as opposed to fucking them over. That's in lieu of the Polygon hit-piece https://www.polygon.com/2017/5/16/15622366/valve-gabe-newell-sales-origin-destructive where they point out the scummy things Valve has done.....but if you take Valve away you're left with a barren landscape of shitty publishers that actively treat customers awful with none of the good things Valve does.

[-] Buddahriffic 20 points 5 months ago

Such a weak article. One of the arguments is that valve is awful because... people talk about steam sales, thus giving them free marketing.

Personally, I just don't want to have to use 6 different game stores/launchers and I'm happy with steam. Just having game pass also is enough to illustrate how much of a pain it would be, since I've bought a bunch of games and have later noticed I could have tried them for free on the Xbox app.

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[-] [email protected] 57 points 5 months ago

This article didn't research the VR bits...Gabe has said multiple times, even recently, that they are working steadily on VR and it's hardware. Their next headset even has a codename, Deckard.

Also, I don't think most people realize Valve doesn't have much of an internal structure. It more resembles a community of people working together because they want to.

[-] [email protected] 21 points 5 months ago

Oh god, I just realized... Imagine if they brought Portal back, but in VR like they did Half-Life.

We'd get so many videos of people falling over in their living room

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[-] [email protected] 36 points 5 months ago

Last year, I pointed out how many big publishers came crawlin' back to Steam after trying their own things: EA, Activision, Microsoft. This year, for the first time ever, two Blizzard games released on Steam: Overwatch and Diablo 4.

Why is it so hard for companies to build a game launcher that doesn't suck? Is it just a lowest bidder situation?

[-] echo64 40 points 5 months ago

Steam sucked, really bad. For 8 years, maybe? Maybe more? It takes time to build something, but consumers demand everything immediately.

[-] [email protected] 38 points 5 months ago
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[-] [email protected] 20 points 5 months ago

I think it's just priorities, those other companies weren't interested in making a launcher, they were interested in tying their customers into their eco system.

Steam started out like that in appearance at least, nobody really wanted it and it was kind of forced on you if you wanted to play HL2 but since Valve seemed to understand the value in a platform like steam and actually work at making it good it became pretty good.

At this point it's actually kind of hard to fully appreciate how much work has gone into steam. Not just the basic stuff like chat and forums and a store with a functioning search, or the banal stuff like inventories and trading cards and points I still don't understand, but also the stuff most people don't see like all the stuff for developers launching a game on steam and managing sales and keys and betas. Not to mention all the experiments they've done along the way to try and figure out what the best way forward is.

Steam is kind of a huge undertaking and unless a company is really invested in competing with it they're simply not going to be able to.

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[-] ieightpi 32 points 5 months ago

It's rare that I wholeheartedly back a billion dollar company, but I do with Valve. Until Gabe is no longer CEO and their business model changes to something more nefarious, I will stick with them for years to come. No battle.net, No epic, just Steam.

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[-] shadoh 26 points 5 months ago

Maybe there's a disproportionately high amount of linux users on lemmy, cause I keep seeing it come up in the comments. But I would use Epic if they had linux support. Heck some games like satisfactory I have access to on both cause I paid for it twice lol

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[-] FlashMobOfOne 18 points 5 months ago* (last edited 5 months ago)

They won me over permanently when they instituted a refund policy.

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this post was submitted on 27 Dec 2023
634 points (95.3% liked)

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