Steam complaints thread

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Steam complaints thread

Postby Xilo The Odd » December 24th, 2014, 1:41 am

was gonna say yay i made an account but guess what.

edit: god i took my hat off and it still feels like im wearing it.
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Re: F#$%in steam.

Postby Alice » December 24th, 2014, 1:45 am

That's Steam for you. It's Tuesday so it's "Steam craps out without warning for who knows how long" day.
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Re: F#$%in steam.

Postby Xilo The Odd » December 24th, 2014, 1:45 am

guess im just in time for it.
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Steam complaints thread

Postby Alice » December 24th, 2014, 1:50 am

Basically, lol.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Sephiko » December 25th, 2014, 6:26 pm

Why isn't everything 99 cents *rabble* *rabble*
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby EarthPhantomTS » December 25th, 2014, 6:41 pm

In all seriousness, they could really use some quality control on the site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWIkNRcS5mM. Despite Valve instituting a $100 fee to publish games after trolls uploaded porn and offensive flash games on the service, it's far too easy to put crap like Earth 2066 on there and censor criticism, as that video shows. At least Valve took down the game and offered refunds :/ (granted, it generally has to be especially bad for them to do that).
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Alice » December 25th, 2014, 7:49 pm

EarthPhantomTS wrote:In all seriousness, they could really use some quality control on the site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWIkNRcS5mM. Despite Valve instituting a $100 fee to publish games after trolls uploaded porn and offensive flash games on the service, it's far too easy to put crap like Earth 2066 on there and censor criticism, as that video shows. At least Valve took down the game and offered refunds :/ (granted, it generally has to be especially bad for them to do that).

The biggest issues are that :
1.) People forget Valve is a corporation and a corporation exists to make money. Spending time and money on things that don't make Valve more money are low priority or not even a priority at all.
2.) Valve's managerial structure actually doesn't work worth a damn for large companies.
3.) Valve is easily one of the worst companies I've ever seen when it comes to communication which is an extremely bad thing in Valve's case because with their position in the industry they need to be one of the more communicative ones.
4.) People constantly write off the issues with stupid excuses that are pretty much always unrelated to the issue at hand.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby EarthPhantomTS » December 25th, 2014, 7:55 pm

Alice wrote:
EarthPhantomTS wrote:In all seriousness, they could really use some quality control on the site: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWIkNRcS5mM. Despite Valve instituting a $100 fee to publish games after trolls uploaded porn and offensive flash games on the service, it's far too easy to put crap like Earth 2066 on there and censor criticism, as that video shows. At least Valve took down the game and offered refunds :/ (granted, it generally has to be especially bad for them to do that).

The biggest issues are that :
1.) People forget Valve is a corporation and a corporation exists to make money. Spending time and money on things that don't make Valve more money are low priority or not even a priority at all.
2.) Valve's managerial structure actually doesn't work worth a damn for large companies.
3.) Valve is easily one of the worst companies I've ever seen when it comes to communication which is an extremely bad thing in Valve's case because with their position in the industry they need to be one of the more communicative ones.
4.) People constantly write off the issues with stupid excuses that are pretty much always unrelated to the issue at hand.


Yeah, pretty much :/. "Caveat Emptor" is as true now as ever, huh?
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Sarusig » December 25th, 2014, 8:22 pm

I think TB sums up the issues with Steam (and Greenlight specifically) pretty damn well.

The biggest issue being that Valve is almost a monopoly at that point, so anything they do has a super-heavy impact.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Frozelar » December 25th, 2014, 10:59 pm

Huh? I thought Valve was good at communication. At least, they're awfully good at listening to the CS:GO community and making wanted changes to the game. I guess that's just a small portion of the grand scheme of things, though.

I also have a lot of respect for Valve because of their constant sales. It seems like they realize when they have money to spare and give back to the community, in that sense. Sort of. This is coming from a guy who knows nothing about business and anything.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Eila » December 26th, 2014, 3:08 am

Frozelar wrote:Huh? I thought Valve was good at communication. At least, they're awfully good at listening to the CS:GO community and making wanted changes to the game. I guess that's just a small portion of the grand scheme of things, though.


They are pathetic at communication and pretty much have always lacked in it. However it's only becoming more noticable now because their userbase has exploded in size and not everyone one in it is just going to roll with it like their smaller and more dedicated userbase did.

I also have a lot of respect for Valve because of their constant sales. It seems like they realize when they have money to spare and give back to the community, in that sense. Sort of. This is coming from a guy who knows nothing about business and anything.


Is having sales a reason to respect a company really? I like sales, I respect good communication and care for customers.

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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Frozelar » December 26th, 2014, 3:20 am

Eila wrote:Is having sales a reason to respect a company really?

I dunno
I'm gullible
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Eila » December 26th, 2014, 3:34 am

Frozelar wrote:
Eila wrote:Is having sales a reason to respect a company really?

I dunno
I'm gullible


I don't think it's a matter of being gullible honestly. They know people like sales, and they aren't giving us sales to try and divert attention from their problems. But the fact most of those problems are directly detrimental to their users and they don't appear to care is why they shouldn't be respected. At least until they get their finger out and do something.

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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Tovarisch Red Yoshi » December 30th, 2014, 11:49 pm

Sarusig wrote:I think TB sums up the issues with Steam (and Greenlight specifically) pretty damn well.

The biggest issue being that Valve is almost a monopoly at that point, so anything they do has a super-heavy impact.

Near monopoly???!? But what about Origin! You could always migrate over to Origin!
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby potato_sniff » December 31st, 2014, 1:26 am

Tovarisch Red Yoshi wrote:
Sarusig wrote:I think TB sums up the issues with Steam (and Greenlight specifically) pretty damn well.

The biggest issue being that Valve is almost a monopoly at that point, so anything they do has a super-heavy impact.

Near monopoly???!? But what about Origin! You could always migrate over to Origin!

or desura, or the one gog has..... you know the other ones everyone can name at the top of there head? ;u

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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Isocitration » December 31st, 2014, 1:30 am

I have the biggest complaint

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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Tovarisch Red Yoshi » December 31st, 2014, 1:37 am

potato_sniff wrote:
Tovarisch Red Yoshi wrote:
Sarusig wrote:I think TB sums up the issues with Steam (and Greenlight specifically) pretty damn well.

The biggest issue being that Valve is almost a monopoly at that point, so anything they do has a super-heavy impact.

Near monopoly???!? But what about Origin! You could always migrate over to Origin!

or desura, or the one gog has..... you know the other ones everyone can name at the top of there head? ;u

I was trying to be funny because everyone hates EA
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby potato_sniff » December 31st, 2014, 1:39 am

I was trying to be funny because everyone hates EA

oh i know, i was just being a jerk c:

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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Alice » December 31st, 2014, 1:54 am

potato_sniff wrote:
Tovarisch Red Yoshi wrote:
Sarusig wrote:I think TB sums up the issues with Steam (and Greenlight specifically) pretty damn well.

The biggest issue being that Valve is almost a monopoly at that point, so anything they do has a super-heavy impact.

Near monopoly???!? But what about Origin! You could always migrate over to Origin!

or desura, or the one gog has..... you know the other ones everyone can name at the top of there head? ;u

Desura is actually fairly small compared to those others. Its biggest advantage is that it's more open to allowing games on the service but actually does some testing before approving them unlike Valve. Though its ownership changing so often is a real issue and has made some developers such as Entanma avoid them for the time being.

Gog is one of the biggest real competitors to Steam but Valve virtually does have a monopoly. That's why they get away with so much. (Or rather they get away with not doing things they need to.) Origin isn't as strong a competitor as it could be due to EA's bad reputation and the lack of exclusives that aren't EA games. (Though I really just wish people would stop with the exclusive bullshit already, I can't even count how many really good games I've passed on because they were Steam exclusive.)
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby potato_sniff » December 31st, 2014, 2:11 am

the gog one is probibly my favorate since its 100% optional and i like that

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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Sarusig » December 31st, 2014, 2:19 am

Alice wrote:
potato_sniff wrote:
Tovarisch Red Yoshi wrote:Near monopoly???!? But what about Origin! You could always migrate over to Origin!

or desura, or the one gog has..... you know the other ones everyone can name at the top of there head? ;u

Desura is actually fairly small compared to those others. Its biggest advantage is that it's more open to allowing games on the service but actually does some testing before approving them unlike Valve. Though its ownership changing so often is a real issue and has made some developers such as Entanma avoid them for the time being.

Gog is one of the biggest real competitors to Steam but Valve virtually does have a monopoly. That's why they get away with so much. (Or rather they get away with not doing things they need to.) Origin isn't as strong a competitor as it could be due to EA's bad reputation and the lack of exclusives that aren't EA games. (Though I really just wish people would stop with the exclusive bullshit already, I can't even count how many really good games I've passed on because they were Steam exclusive.)


Well to be fair Steam is not really one to boast about exclusives. Because they don't behave like an actual distributor. Which is a problem.

GoG I like the original idea, but I'm not sure I like the direction they're going in. they're claiming they have already cornered the market for all games with more than 700 titles (really, you're done, 700 is the whole thing?). One of their main projects is to work on an actual client to be just like Steam.
They are starting to distribute movies.
In other words, they don't seem to believe in games that much.

Ps: Apparently we can only embed 3 levels of quotes. Not a big deal, just pointing it out since I just got the prompt.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Alice » December 31st, 2014, 2:30 am

potato_sniff wrote:the gog one is probibly my favorate since its 100% optional and i like that

The fact it's optional is awesome. Desura's is almost optional as well since after installing a game through it you never have to open Desura again except to update the game.
Sarusig wrote:Well to be fair Steam is not really one to boast about exclusives. Because they don't behave like an actual distributor. Which is a problem.

Whether they boast about it or not isn't really the issue though. It's the fact they're exclusive at all. In the last year alone I've passed on at least a dozen games purely for the fact they're Steam exclusive. I don't buy games through Steam anymore and the rare occasion I get games there it's either through a key reseller such as Gamersgate or as a gift from a friend.
GoG I like the original idea, but I'm not sure I like the direction they're going in. they're claiming they have already cornered the market for all games with more than 700 titles (really, you're done, 700 is the whole thing?). One of their main projects is to work on an actual client to be just like Steam.
They are starting to distribute movies.
In other words, they don't seem to believe in games that much.

Nexus is going to be completely optional just like the current Gog downloader. And unlike Steam it won't need to be running for you to play your games either. I haven't seen them claim they cornered the games market, though I don't frequent their forums. And putting up movies isn't that big a deal. Valve has expanded what they carry as well to non-gaming applications and now music it seems. Gog carries movies but if you go and check them out you'll find that they're all gaming related in some way.
Ps: Apparently we can only embed 3 levels of quotes. Not a big deal, just pointing it out since I just got the prompt.

Yeah, phpBB limits the amount of nested quotes you can have but for whatever reason doesn't automatically remove quotes past that limit unlike other forum software. I could raise the amount but it actually doesn't really seem necessary and raising it too high is exploitable anyways. Without a limit you can basically crash browsers by embedding enough quotes within each other.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Sarusig » December 31st, 2014, 3:08 am

Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:Well to be fair Steam is not really one to boast about exclusives. Because they don't behave like an actual distributor. Which is a problem.

Whether they boast about it or not isn't really the issue though. It's the fact they're exclusive at all. In the last year alone I've passed on at least a dozen games purely for the fact they're Steam exclusive. I don't buy games through Steam anymore and the rare occasion I get games there it's either through a key reseller such as Gamersgate or as a gift from a friend.


You can't blame Steam for Steam having exclusives, when they're not actively hunting for them at all. Microsoft and Sony, yeah sure, they clearly try to undermine competition by getting exclusives, which is silly. Valve doesn't do that - they end up having exclusives for the sake of convenience. And they sure as hell don't have a lot, especially not big sellers - plus there's all the keyretailers you mentioned. Websites like Green Man Gaming are pretty f*cking big.

Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:GoG I like the original idea, but I'm not sure I like the direction they're going in. they're claiming they have already cornered the market for all games with more than 700 titles (really, you're done, 700 is the whole thing?). One of their main projects is to work on an actual client to be just like Steam.
They are starting to distribute movies.
In other words, they don't seem to believe in games that much.

Nexus is going to be completely optional just like the current Gog downloader. And unlike Steam it won't need to be running for you to play your games either. I haven't seen them claim they cornered the games market, though I don't frequent their forums. And putting up movies isn't that big a deal. Valve has expanded what they carry as well to non-gaming applications and now music it seems. Gog carries movies but if you go and check them out you'll find that they're all gaming related in some way.


The problem with Nexus and the rest is not that it's going to be optional or not. It's that they focus all their efforts and budget towards that. These are their current big moves. Regarding claiming the market is already cornered, is a strong point defended by their CEO, the place I remember seeing it in was in an Interview for French channel Nolife (in French), but I have read that on several occasions. I also never understood why people freak out about Steam - it USED to be a problem when it needed a connection, occasionally, maybe. Now that offline mode is a thing, well...
Again putting movies is not an issue, GoG is just showing that they don't believe in games for growth - they're going the way of the agregate platform. Wouldn't be surprised if music was next.
I'm not sure what you're referring to regarding Valve and music. I remember hearing a rumor about a tool allowing you to create your own playlists for your games, but not selling music?

Alice wrote:Yeah, phpBB limits the amount of nested quotes you can have but for whatever reason doesn't automatically remove quotes past that limit unlike other forum software. I could raise the amount but it actually doesn't really seem necessary and raising it too high is exploitable anyways. Without a limit you can basically crash browsers by embedding enough quotes within each other.


Yeah I don't really see the point of having more than 3 levels. I just felt that since I saw the thing, I should tell.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Alice » December 31st, 2014, 3:35 am

Sarusig wrote:You can't blame Steam for Steam having exclusives, when they're not actively hunting for them at all. Microsoft and Sony, yeah sure, they clearly try to undermine competition by getting exclusives, which is silly. Valve doesn't do that - they end up having exclusives for the sake of convenience. And they sure as hell don't have a lot, especially not big sellers - plus there's all the keyretailers you mentioned. Websites like Green Man Gaming are pretty f*cking big.

Steam has a ton of exclusives. And many of them are indeed big name games. Dark Souls I and II, Shadow or Mordor, Wolfenstein: New Order. Those are just the ones that immediately come to mind without having to think about it in-depth. The issue here is that Steam provides Steamworks, that in itself is not a problem but it ties the game to Steam meaning that any game that wants to use Steamworks is tied to Steam. You can't really blame devs for wanting to use Steamworks because it is indeed a useful system for developers to add. Valve could definitely do something to not tie Steam and Steamworks together so tightly though. Though to go further with this, the developers are not required to force their games to only run through Steam either. There's plenty of games such as Starbound or Crusader Kings II which can run after installing them without Steam running so long as you start them from the exe file.
The problem with Nexus and the rest is not that it's going to be optional or not. It's that they focus all their efforts and budget towards that. These are their current big moves.

Its really no different than the Gog downloader just taken to an extreme. It's still completely optional, just like the downloader, but includes more features that you won't have access to without using it. Many of the features aren't going top be a concern to most users. The biggest advantages to using Nexus will be auto-updates for games, which is something that requires a client anyways, and a better way of handling downloads which the downloader already does. And that happens because simple http downloading is more limited than the method the downloader uses. So the features that would actually encourage most people to use the downloader or Nexus when it's released aren't issues that they're avoiding solving for people who don't use the client but problems that could not be solved otherwise.
Regarding claiming the market is already cornered, is a strong point defended by their CEO, the place I remember seeing it in was in an Interview for French channel Nolife (in French), but I have read that on several occasions.

Alright, fair enough then. I didn't read it since I don't speak French and Google translate is pretty awful most of the time but is there any chance that they didn't mean it as literally as you're thinking?
I also never understood why people freak out about Steam - it USED to be a problem when it needed a connection, occasionally, maybe. Now that offline mode is a thing, well...

There's still tons of issues with Steam but Valve is too busy adding new features to go back and fix the problems. And offline mode still does have issues, albeit for a much smaller portion of the userbase. But something to consider there is that even if it's an issue that affects even 1% of Steam users that's still a monstrous amount of people affected by it still. Last I heard Steam had 65,000,000 users. 1% of that is 650,000 people still.
Again putting movies is not an issue, GoG is just showing that they don't believe in games for growth - they're going the way of the agregate platform. Wouldn't be surprised if music was next.

Why does that show they don't believe in games? In my eyes it shows simply that they saw an untapped market that they could tap into. Whether they successfully do so though is another mater altogether.
I'm not sure what you're referring to regarding Valve and music. I remember hearing a rumor about a tool allowing you to create your own playlists for your games, but not selling music?

That playlist function from my understanding is just the first step of what they intend. Just like they expanded to non-gaming applications they're also considering expanding to music as well which they've already somewhat done with game OSTs.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Sarusig » December 31st, 2014, 4:25 am

Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:You can't blame Steam for Steam having exclusives, when they're not actively hunting for them at all. Microsoft and Sony, yeah sure, they clearly try to undermine competition by getting exclusives, which is silly. Valve doesn't do that - they end up having exclusives for the sake of convenience. And they sure as hell don't have a lot, especially not big sellers - plus there's all the keyretailers you mentioned. Websites like Green Man Gaming are pretty f*cking big.

Steam has a ton of exclusives. And many of them are indeed big name games. Dark Souls I and II, Shadow or Mordor, Wolfenstein: New Order. Those are just the ones that immediately come to mind without having to think about it in-depth. The issue here is that Steam provides Steamworks, that in itself is not a problem but it ties the game to Steam meaning that any game that wants to use Steamworks is tied to Steam. You can't really blame devs for wanting to use Steamworks because it is indeed a useful system for developers to add. Valve could definitely do something to not tie Steam and Steamworks together so tightly though. Though to go further with this, the developers are not required to force their games to only run through Steam either. There's plenty of games such as Starbound or Crusader Kings II which can run after installing them without Steam running so long as you start them from the exe file.


Dark Souls would never have come to the West was it not for Steam. Dark Souls II is available on consoles and on PC through retail - the only reason for Steam being "forced" is Steamworks. If it wasn't Steamworks, it would have been another network - actually it USED to be another network for DSI, but Games for Windows Live closed. Shadow of Mordor and Wolfenstein both use the platform, but you can easily get them through retail if you don't wan't Valve to make money (even Wallmart stocks it on CD-DVD) - or not too much, I suppose they probably get something from the devs.
I don't really see what advantage Steam would get from providing Steamworks without tieing Steam in - I mean Steamworks is a free tool for devs. That's really just on devs to see if they're willing to create their own tools or not. It would be like blaming Epic Games for asking for a royalties percentages on games developped using the Unreal Engine, when they sell their licenses dirt cheap ($19 a month). At some points companies have to gain something.


Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:The problem with Nexus and the rest is not that it's going to be optional or not. It's that they focus all their efforts and budget towards that. These are their current big moves.

Its really no different than the Gog downloader just taken to an extreme. It's still completely optional, just like the downloader, but includes more features that you won't have access to without using it. Many of the features aren't going top be a concern to most users. The biggest advantages to using Nexus will be auto-updates for games, which is something that requires a client anyways, and a better way of handling downloads which the downloader already does. And that happens because simple http downloading is more limited than the method the downloader uses. So the features that would actually encourage most people to use the downloader or Nexus when it's released aren't issues that they're avoiding solving for people who don't use the client but problems that could not be solved otherwise.


Again, I'm not concerned about Nexus. They have insisted time and time again that it would be optional - and I'm assuming it's mostly going to be used for more recent games, chances are they're not going to update say, Roller Coster Tycoon or Neverwinter Nights in 2015. My point is that the company ressources and their marketing are geared towards this project that makes them, in substance, the same as Steam. Even if it's optional, they're expecting people to flock to it - why would they even waste development time on it if that wasn't the case?

Alice wrote:Alright, fair enough then. I didn't read it since I don't speak French and Google translate is pretty awful most of the time but is there any chance that they didn't mean it as literally as you're thinking?


I don't think so. The man is not throwing that out there as an aside and he isn't boasting about how big they are - he is actually arguing that they need to focus on others areas because there is no room to grow with old games anymore. Now I suppose it could also mean that some editors refuse to give the rights, or that they think they have cornered the market for games that will actually be net gains for them. But he is clearly saying there are not really any more games to cover.
I should also add, it's actually a video interview, so it's also clear that he isn't being sarcastic or anything of the sort.

Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:I also never understood why people freak out about Steam - it USED to be a problem when it needed a connection, occasionally, maybe. Now that offline mode is a thing, well...

There's still tons of issues with Steam but Valve is too busy adding new features to go back and fix the problems. And offline mode still does have issues, albeit for a much smaller portion of the userbase. But something to consider there is that even if it's an issue that affects even 1% of Steam users that's still a monstrous amount of people affected by it still. Last I heard Steam had 65,000,000 users. 1% of that is 650,000 people still.


Honestly, Steam has problems, a lot of them which reside in the store and its inherent ethics - or lack thereof. But the platform as is, doesn't have more problems than say, Windows. I mean even on the smaller scale of a game, we're still not seeing bug-free releases. Steam has some issues, but they're not that difficult to overcome. Plus, imagine 650,000 customers having an issue. Valve is, what, a team of 150? 200? Facing 65,000,000 users with different issues, and different hardware too. They're not fixing it for everyone, it's never happening, ever.
Now I've never actually read the patch notes for the Steam updates, but upon a rapid inspection, these seem like bug fixes to me.

Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:Again putting movies is not an issue, GoG is just showing that they don't believe in games for growth - they're going the way of the agregate platform. Wouldn't be surprised if music was next.

Why does that show they don't believe in games? In my eyes it shows simply that they saw an untapped market that they could tap into. Whether they successfully do so though is another mater altogether.


Very same reason you blame Steam for. Time allocated to doing one thing is not allocated to doing another. And GoG has been doing anything but games lately.

Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:I'm not sure what you're referring to regarding Valve and music. I remember hearing a rumor about a tool allowing you to create your own playlists for your games, but not selling music?

That playlist function from my understanding is just the first step of what they intend. Just like they expanded to non-gaming applications they're also considering expanding to music as well which they've already somewhat done with game OSTs.


Uh, I never got that, that's quite interesting. Do you have any references on that? The digital music industry and video games online distribution (especially F2P) are two things that I have studied and worked on in the past, and Steam getting into music has been a recurring topic.

Steam doesn't really sell game OSTs though do they? It's more devs and publishers treating them like bonus/dlc materials, and using the existing platform to distribute them. I mean I've seen some shitty MMOs using the Steam DLC functions to basically sell in-game currency, corrupting the DLC system into micro-transactions, but that's not Valve pushing that, that's just devs using the tools they have. Or am I missing something?
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Alice » December 31st, 2014, 4:59 am

Sarusig wrote:Shadow of Mordor and Wolfenstein both use the platform, but you can easily get them through retail if you don't wan't Valve to make money (even Wallmart stocks it on CD-DVD) - or not too much, I suppose they probably get something from the devs.

You are still forced to install those through Steam though. It's not simply a matter of giving Valve money, it's a matter of I shouldn't be forced to have Steam open just to play most of my games.
Again, I'm not concerned about Nexus. They have insisted time and time again that it would be optional - and I'm assuming it's mostly going to be used for more recent games, chances are they're not going to update say, Roller Coster Tycoon or Neverwinter Nights in 2015. My point is that the company ressources and their marketing are geared towards this project that makes them, in substance, the same as Steam. Even if it's optional, they're expecting people to flock to it - why would they even waste development time on it if that wasn't the case?

Not really though. Steam's biggest purpose is antipiracy. That's why so many games don't run at all outside of Steam. Nexus, just like Desura, isn't a drm platform. It is intended to be a platform that has a lot of the strengths of a client like Steam without the downsides.
I don't think so. The man is not throwing that out there as an aside and he isn't boasting about how big they are - he is actually arguing that they need to focus on others areas because there is no room to grow with old games anymore. Now I suppose it could also mean that some editors refuse to give the rights, or that they think they have cornered the market for games that will actually be net gains for them. But he is clearly saying there are not really any more games to cover.

Ah, I see then. That sounds more like they're simply running out of older games they can obtain rights/licenses for which is completely understandable.
Honestly, Steam has problems, a lot of them which reside in the store and its inherent ethics - or lack thereof. But the platform as is, doesn't have more problems than say, Windows. I mean even on the smaller scale of a game, we're still not seeing bug-free releases. Steam has some issues, but they're not that difficult to overcome. Plus, imagine 650,000 customers having an issue. Valve is, what, a team of 150? 200? Facing 65,000,000 users with different issues, and different hardware too. They're not fixing it for everyone, it's never happening, ever.
Now I've never actually read the patch notes for the Steam updates, but upon a rapid inspection, these seem like bug fixes to me.

I strongly agree on the store issues. And they have somewhat picked up the pace with bugfixes in the Steam client but there's still some big flaws with it such as the way their network architecture works. (Which they have the money and manpower to fix, according to Wikipedia Valve has 330 employees as of 2013.) Valves biggest overarching issue though is actually their managerial structure. It takes Google's structure but takes it to an extreme which simply cannot work with such a large company. Google gives their employees an hour per day to work on their own stuff while devoting the rest tot he stuff that needs to be done whereas Valve allows everyone to pick their projects. This often results in things like bugs going far longer without being fixed than they should simply because they don't affect the majority of users (unless it's a bug that prevents people from buying things which almost always gets fixed immediately) or features that are actually requested being ignored in favor of ones the employees want to add instead (see a simple volume slider for store videos taking like 2-3 years to implement). As I said, it does look like they've at least done something to address that situation though, but if they are it hasn't been something they've been doing for terribly long. Also another MASSIVE issue with Valve: Their tech support is easily some of the very worst I've ever seen. EA and Blizzard's tech support both are not only decent but don't take up to two weeks to reply just with a copy+pasted answer from a script that 99% of the time has little to nothing to do with the issue at hand. (If they even reply at all.)
Very same reason you blame Steam for. Time allocated to doing one thing is not allocated to doing another. And GoG has been doing anything but games lately.

Fair enough, though I'm sure Gog would still put more effort into games if there were more available, not that they're exactly neglecting them either though. If anything, in my experience, it seems like Gog is releasing a lot more games than they did when I first made an account there.
Uh, I never got that, that's quite interesting. Do you have any references on that? The digital music industry and video games online distribution (especially F2P) are two things that I have studied and worked on in the past, and Steam getting into music has been a recurring topic.

Steam doesn't really sell game OSTs though do they? It's more devs and publishers treating them like bonus/dlc materials, and using the existing platform to distribute them. I mean I've seen some shitty MMOs using the Steam DLC functions to basically sell in-game currency, corrupting the DLC system into micro-transactions, but that's not Valve pushing that, that's just devs using the tools they have. Or am I missing something?

I can't find the article right now. It was awhile ago before they released the music stuff so it might have just been an inaccurate article.

You can still buy the OSTs separately from the game in the majority of cases though. They do often include them as optional DLC sorts of things or include them in deluxe editions but I meant the ones where it's sold as a separate item. The mmo thing is arguably understandable. One of the main reasons I dislike mmos is for the very reason that they try to pace things to make you pay as much as possible and allowing you to buy things easier is obviously a good business choice there even if preying on people like that is shit. It's really up to Valve there though whether that sort of thing should be allowed. I'd personally not allow it if I were in charge but if you do that, where do you draw the line? Some games have those little bonuses like a few bonus weapons and such but in the long run how is that all that different from selling in-game currency for an mmo when that currency very well could go towards bonus weapons like the non-mmo that aren't obtainable any other way? (Kinda got a little off track there with the mmo thing but oh well, lol.)



Overall I think you can basically boil down my arguments on Steam/Valve (and companies like Google as well in fact) to this: They're so big that they might as well be a monopoly because what competition there is simply can't actually compete. This usually results in a lot of talented employees as well as a lot of manpower and a gigantic income. With those three details in mind there's no valid excuse for leaving issues and acting in any anti-consumer method and criticisms of companies like that should never be ignored with an excuse like "but they did X or Y" or anything like that. They can do far better than they currently do so they should try to do exactly that.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Sarusig » January 1st, 2015, 5:00 pm

Alice wrote:You are still forced to install those through Steam though. It's not simply a matter of giving Valve money, it's a matter of I shouldn't be forced to have Steam open just to play most of my games.


Well that's on the devs, really. Again, Steamworks is actually a free service.

Alice wrote:]Ah, I see then. That sounds more like they're simply running out of older games they can obtain rights/licenses for which is completely understandable.


Considering the sheer amount of abandonware they could have been working on, I don't actually believe that is the case. There are literally thousands avaialble online on various websites. Which by the way, if you're looking for older games, you should always check first: you never know if you could get a free ISO legally, tons of games are in this case.

Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:Honestly, Steam has problems, a lot of them which reside in the store and its inherent ethics - or lack thereof.

I strongly agree on the store issues. And they have somewhat picked up the pace with bugfixes in the Steam client but there's still some big flaws with it such as the way their network architecture works. (Which they have the money and manpower to fix, according to Wikipedia Valve has 330 employees as of 2013.) Valves biggest overarching issue though is actually their managerial structure. It takes Google's structure but takes it to an extreme which simply cannot work with such a large company. Google gives their employees an hour per day to work on their own stuff while devoting the rest tot he stuff that needs to be done whereas Valve allows everyone to pick their projects. This often results in things like bugs going far longer without being fixed than they should simply because they don't affect the majority of users (unless it's a bug that prevents people from buying things which almost always gets fixed immediately) or features that are actually requested being ignored in favor of ones the employees want to add instead (see a simple volume slider for store videos taking like 2-3 years to implement). As I said, it does look like they've at least done something to address that situation though, but if they are it hasn't been something they've been doing for terribly long.


Steam's managerial structure is the reason why we got all these innovations from them though. They single handledely saved the PC game market which was dangerously dwindling (despite the PC being a superior platform - generally these things are about convenience), the same way Nintendo saved consoles back in the 80s. If we have the GoG and Origins and the rest today, that's because Valve tried. The reason we have non-level based FPSs today, it's because Valve tried. The reason mod-support is so important today, Valve. The reason e-sport gets so much money nowadays - Valve pushing the prizes with DOTA and CS. The reason Indie games are trending today, it's because Valve. Honestly all these stupid risks Valve took, with a normal structure, that would have never happened.
Now a Google approach works for Google, because an hour a day multiplied by the tens of thousands of employees they have creates new stuff. Valve is 330 people. That's very small, especially for a studio that still makes games and is working on releasing a console. Compare it to say, DICE for instance, that's 200 people just to release a game a year. 330 people is really not that big considering.

Alice wrote:Also another MASSIVE issue with Valve: Their tech support is easily some of the very worst I've ever seen. EA and Blizzard's tech support both are not only decent but don't take up to two weeks to reply just with a copy+pasted answer from a script that 99% of the time has little to nothing to do with the issue at hand. (If they even reply at all.)


Valve HAS a tech support? I didn't even know they did. I thought the Valve approach was the same as ISPs: give the users a forum, let them work stuff out. Which according to statistics is the most efficient by the way. By a whopping 1600%. But yeah, Valve should have support, problem is, I'm sure most of the time they have no idea what the problems are themselves, because they're not dedicated.

Alice wrote:You can still buy the OSTs separately from the game in the majority of cases though. They do often include them as optional DLC sorts of things or include them in deluxe editions but I meant the ones where it's sold as a separate item. The mmo thing is arguably understandable. One of the main reasons I dislike mmos is for the very reason that they try to pace things to make you pay as much as possible and allowing you to buy things easier is obviously a good business choice there even if preying on people like that is shit. It's really up to Valve there though whether that sort of thing should be allowed. I'd personally not allow it if I were in charge but if you do that, where do you draw the line? Some games have those little bonuses like a few bonus weapons and such but in the long run how is that all that different from selling in-game currency for an mmo when that currency very well could go towards bonus weapons like the non-mmo that aren't obtainable any other way? (Kinda got a little off track there with the mmo thing but oh well, lol.)


Valve has a somewhat laissez-faire attitude, which has pros and cons. One of the pros is that, even after the shitstorm it brought, they will still accept a game like Hatred on their platform. I say it's good, f*ck censors. On the other end, the store has supported publishers sh*tting out terrible games like item finders by the thousand, and put them on the front page. There is no quality control, and actually there are even a quite large number of games that could qualify as scam because promises are not made/greenlit game is never actually released. But then again, websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo do the exact same, so why would Valve bother.
As for MMO, the F2P system can actually work very well if it's properly built. It's not really an MMO (I haven't played one in ages), but it has the same transactions system: TF2 does it right. New weapons are sde-grades, no upgrades. Having a hat does not make you more powerful, it just instills fear in the heart of your ennemies, because your swagger is thought to indicate your skill level (pro-tip: it does not). Transactions are OPTIONAL... and they're still one of the 10 F2P games making the most money in the world. Considering it's a 7-y-old game.

Alice wrote:Overall I think you can basically boil down my arguments on Steam/Valve (and companies like Google as well in fact) to this: They're so big that they might as well be a monopoly because what competition there is simply can't actually compete. This usually results in a lot of talented employees as well as a lot of manpower and a gigantic income. With those three details in mind there's no valid excuse for leaving issues and acting in any anti-consumer method and criticisms of companies like that should never be ignored with an excuse like "but they did X or Y" or anything like that. They can do far better than they currently do so they should try to do exactly that.


Can you actually blame a company for being successful though? That's not really being fair to them.
Since they're an American company, the second the Anti-Trust Act can be brought down on their face, you bet someone will do it too. But right now they can't, because their sector is video games - and consoles and their locked, proprietary shops are still strong contenders (which by the way is an artificial monopoly - by forcing users to chose a console with exclusive, they create a close environment).
They don't have a gigantic manpower. They're 330 and it takes them 7 years to develop a f*cking FPS. Valve is still primarily a game developer if you look at who's working for them.
Also, saying Valve is anti-consumer is really not true if you compare them to their competition. They've rammed prices into the ground and given consumers the power to vote (Greenlight). They've given consumers the power to openly say what games they think are good or bad (voting system) and even more importantly, to actively promote them (curator shops, though I liked Games Republic model better). They're allowing players to mod the sh*t out of games without restrictions and basically do what the hell they want. They released their film engine for FREE. They supported Garry's Mod when any other company would have shut it down.
You could argue that Valve is anti-developer - or another way to put it would be too free-market oriented, but the truth is that Steam is shaped by users, entirely. The fact that the shop can be shit sometimes is absolutely on consumers. If you stopped pre-ordering crap or purchasing Goat Simulators, then the environment would be cleaner. Valve is not forcing you to do so, they're giving you the option, that's all.

I suppose Valve could hire low-skilled bug fixers and a hotline. Though I doubt they will because they're basically allergic to corporate bullshjt.

Now Valve COULD do better when it comes to regulating... maybe. Maybe because one, they would have to slow down innovation so much that Steam would probably freeze for years. Maybe, more importantly, because they would be faced with actual ethics, and considering their huge influence, could start signing the death of developers because of "ethics".
Double Fine for instance, would objectively deserve a huge slap in the face for failing to deliver twice on pre-ordered projects and not refunding users.
But what about Hatred? A lot of people thought it should be banned, should Valve ban it? Because if they do, they basically fire the 20-30 guys who worked on the game - no way they're going to make it by themselves considering how much they're relying on Steam.
What about Postal 3? considering how much gaming media have entered a "pussy feminazi libertarian artsy" phase, they won't promote that game. If they don't get Steam access, then where will they sell, shops are dead for games (that's kinda true by the way, 92% of games sold on PC are downloads). We're getting in dicy territory.

All in all I feel you're giving Valve a lot of flack out of fear of monopoly, which is basically telling them "hey you're successful please stop". While I agree that consumers would benefit from more competition, I can't blame Valve for competitors doing poorly, especially when Steam was NOT the first of its kind and had to fight its way up (Stardock had a platform for instance) in a time when it wasn't really clear that digital games were going to explode. If anyone, I blame developers, especially large ones, for letting that happen. I'd give credit to EA for trying to resist... if Origin was not an EA focused way to control users (there's NO benefit to using Origin, zilch).
Honestly, had any other company been in the position Valve is today, we'd probably be looking at a much, much worse situation.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Alice » January 2nd, 2015, 2:44 am

Not going to bother with the bit before this because it's mostly the same things that have been said before and it seems we're simply not going to be able to agree on that. (Also these responses are getting really long, lol.)
Sarusig wrote:Can you actually blame a company for being successful though? That's not really being fair to them.
Since they're an American company, the second the Anti-Trust Act can be brought down on their face, you bet someone will do it too. But right now they can't, because their sector is video games - and consoles and their locked, proprietary shops are still strong contenders (which by the way is an artificial monopoly - by forcing users to chose a console with exclusive, they create a close environment).

I don't blame them at all for being successful. I simply hold those who have done well enough to become a virtual monopoly to a far higher standard than others.
Also, saying Valve is anti-consumer is really not true if you compare them to their competition. They've rammed prices into the ground and given consumers the power to vote (Greenlight). They've given consumers the power to openly say what games they think are good or bad (voting system) and even more importantly, to actively promote them (curator shops, though I liked Games Republic model better). They're allowing players to mod the sh*t out of games without restrictions and basically do what the hell they want. They released their film engine for FREE. They supported Garry's Mod when any other company would have shut it down.

There's several anti-consumer things Valve does and has been heavily criticized for at times. The first is their return policy which is basically non-existent. If you try to contact support wanting to return a game for any reason they'll basically say "sure, but only this one time regardless of the context". (This includes games that should run on your computer but for whatever reason don't.) The second is their actually their pricing. And I mean two things with this. The price of most triple-A games and the conversion rates between countries. There's no reason a triple-A game should cost $60 on physical media and digital download. A lot of the cost is the cost of putting the game on the physical media and making the packaging. Valve actually had the better idea with Portal 2 of putting it at $40 or $45 (I forget which, it's been awhile) which makes far more sense for a digital download.
You could argue that Valve is anti-developer - or another way to put it would be too free-market oriented, but the truth is that Steam is shaped by users, entirely. The fact that the shop can be shit sometimes is absolutely on consumers. If you stopped pre-ordering crap or purchasing Goat Simulators, then the environment would be cleaner. Valve is not forcing you to do so, they're giving you the option, that's all.

I can at least partly agree with this. People doing shit like gifting Bad Rats as a joke or buying dumb shit or falling for the hype surrounding a game definitely don't help the quality. I don't buy crap like Goat Simulator and I don't pre-order many games, only from companies I know I can trust. And even then I've started pre-ordering less and less over the past couple years. (And I go by the belief that you should vote with your wallet. Which is why I don't buy certain games I'd otherwise enjoy such as Far Cry 4.)
Now Valve COULD do better when it comes to regulating... maybe. Maybe because one, they would have to slow down innovation so much that Steam would probably freeze for years. Maybe, more importantly, because they would be faced with actual ethics, and considering their huge influence, could start signing the death of developers because of "ethics".

In my opinion when it comes to regulating they just need to have a small team that actually tests the games submitted to the store and makes sure they work reasonably well and that the store description isn't a flat out lie. Ethics should have nothing to do with it.
Double Fine for instance, would objectively deserve a huge slap in the face for failing to deliver twice on pre-ordered projects and not refunding users.
But what about Hatred? A lot of people thought it should be banned, should Valve ban it? Because if they do, they basically fire the 20-30 guys who worked on the game - no way they're going to make it by themselves considering how much they're relying on Steam.
What about Postal 3? considering how much gaming media have entered a "pussy feminazi libertarian artsy" phase, they won't promote that game. If they don't get Steam access, then where will they sell, shops are dead for games (that's kinda true by the way, 92% of games sold on PC are downloads). We're getting in dicy territory.

Double Fine I believe should be faced with a penalty. Those others though I don't think should face any consequences. I personally think Hatred looks like an awful game and have no interest in playing it. Which is while I intend to simply not buy it rather than pitch a fit over the fact others can.
All in all I feel you're giving Valve a lot of flack out of fear of monopoly, which is basically telling them "hey you're successful please stop". While I agree that consumers would benefit from more competition, I can't blame Valve for competitors doing poorly, especially when Steam was NOT the first of its kind and had to fight its way up (Stardock had a platform for instance) in a time when it wasn't really clear that digital games were going to explode. If anyone, I blame developers, especially large ones, for letting that happen. I'd give credit to EA for trying to resist... if Origin was not an EA focused way to control users (there's NO benefit to using Origin, zilch).
Honestly, had any other company been in the position Valve is today, we'd probably be looking at a much, much worse situation.

I give them a lot of flack because I know they can do better than this but they don't. If they'd at least partly let go of their managerial structure for example, they could get some dedicated teams addressing some of the problems while allowing for their main workers to still follow their normal structure. Store quality control and tech support teams really don't need the freedom to pick their projects and both those jobs are something that are more a waste of time for Valve's more talented employees who should be spending their time on more meaningful things.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Sarusig » January 16th, 2015, 1:58 am

Alice wrote:Not going to bother with the bit before this because it's mostly the same things that have been said before and it seems we're simply not going to be able to agree on that. (Also these responses are getting really long, lol.)


Yeah tell me about it. Took me two weeks to find the courage to go back to it. x)

Alice wrote:I don't blame them at all for being successful. I simply hold those who have done well enough to become a virtual monopoly to a far higher standard than others.


Well that's not going to help creating competition now is it? I'd expect others to raise their standards to compete, not the leader. Although this monopoly thing kind of baffles me in retrospect... if Microsoft was big enough to get all Sherman acted up the ass, then surely Valve should have gotten into some sticky mess too by now? I can't see a company like EA passing on an opportunity like that.

Alice wrote:There's several anti-consumer things Valve does and has been heavily criticized for at times. The first is their return policy which is basically non-existent. If you try to contact support wanting to return a game for any reason they'll basically say "sure, but only this one time regardless of the context". (This includes games that should run on your computer but for whatever reason don't.) The second is their actually their pricing. And I mean two things with this. The price of most triple-A games and the conversion rates between countries. There's no reason a triple-A game should cost $60 on physical media and digital download. A lot of the cost is the cost of putting the game on the physical media and making the packaging. Valve actually had the better idea with Portal 2 of putting it at $40 or $45 (I forget which, it's been awhile) which makes far more sense for a digital download.


Ya forgot a quote ya old hag!
Anyways, yeah, Valve customer service, or lack thereof, sucks. We've actually agreed on that already, so I suppose this is one not customer friendly practice we could hold Valve accountable for. Though we would have to compare them with other similar businesses to see if it's them not making an effort, or the concept being unfathomable do to the client/employees ratio (I'm looking at ISPs right now).
Actually there is a VERY good reason a game should cost the same price on physical media and digital media. This is not linked to production cost, this is simply linked to competition. Were Valve to lower prices compared to physical shops, they'd open themselves to being sued by Gamestop and co. for unfair competition. And they would likely lose. And actually Portal 2 kinda supports this theory: if there's one game on which Valve had total control, it was Portal 2.
The conversion rate between countries, well I'm surprised you brought it up but that's my bad for assuming everyone on the Internet is American-centered. Yes, it is a good point actually... or is it? European peeps been complaining about price differences quite a lot too, arguing that €1=!$1 (for some reason, pounds get a proper conversion). Except... well prices on Steam in Europe are the same as prices in store. It's just more noticeable on Steam, but it's once again the same problem. Steam aligns itself on stores.
In addition, Steam could also argue that the cost of the product is irrelevant in the pricing of said product: only its value counts. Which is... actually a huge debate in economics.

Alice wrote:I can at least partly agree with this. People doing shit like gifting Bad Rats as a joke or buying dumb shit or falling for the hype surrounding a game definitely don't help the quality. I don't buy crap like Goat Simulator and I don't pre-order many games, only from companies I know I can trust. And even then I've started pre-ordering less and less over the past couple years. (And I go by the belief that you should vote with your wallet. Which is why I don't buy certain games I'd otherwise enjoy such as Far Cry 4.)


Oh I said "you" in a very general sense, as in "you the masses". I was not particularly targeting you. I'm also depriving myself from games because I believe in the wallet vote, and I don't preorder at all, ever - especially not if it's AAA material.

Alice wrote:In my opinion when it comes to regulating they just need to have a small team that actually tests the games submitted to the store and makes sure they work reasonably well and that the store description isn't a flat out lie. Ethics should have nothing to do with it.


That would be an improvement. However that would not prevent absolutely terrible games first released 15 years ago to clog the store page due to unscrupulous publishers. Or ports of iPad games.

Sarusig wrote:Double Fine for instance, would objectively deserve a huge slap in the face for failing to deliver twice on pre-ordered projects and not refunding users. But what about Hatred? A lot of people thought it should be banned, should Valve ban it? Because if they do, they basically fire the 20-30 guys who worked on the game - no way they're going to make it by themselves considering how much they're relying on Steam.
What about Postal 3? considering how much gaming media have entered a "pussy feminazi libertarian artsy" phase, they won't promote that game. If they don't get Steam access, then where will they sell, shops are dead for games (that's kinda true by the way, 92% of games sold on PC are downloads). We're getting in dicy territory.

Alice wrote:Double Fine I believe should be faced with a penalty. Those others though I don't think should face any consequences. I personally think Hatred looks like an awful game and have no interest in playing it. Which is while I intend to simply not buy it rather than pitch a fit over the fact others can.


Agreed on both counts. I'm just pointing the fact that I'm not sure I'd trust Valve, or anyone private corporation for that matter, to take regulation into their hands when it comes to ethics. Which doesn't mean I'm happy with seeing things such as Rapeplay.

Alice wrote:
Sarusig wrote:All in all I feel you're giving Valve a lot of flack out of fear of monopoly, which is basically telling them "hey you're successful please stop". While I agree that consumers would benefit from more competition, I can't blame Valve for competitors doing poorly, especially when Steam was NOT the first of its kind and had to fight its way up (Stardock had a platform for instance) in a time when it wasn't really clear that digital games were going to explode. If anyone, I blame developers, especially large ones, for letting that happen. I'd give credit to EA for trying to resist... if Origin was not an EA focused way to control users (there's NO benefit to using Origin, zilch).
Honestly, had any other company been in the position Valve is today, we'd probably be looking at a much, much worse situation.

I give them a lot of flack because I know they can do better than this but they don't. If they'd at least partly let go of their managerial structure for example, they could get some dedicated teams addressing some of the problems while allowing for their main workers to still follow their normal structure. Store quality control and tech support teams really don't need the freedom to pick their projects and both those jobs are something that are more a waste of time for Valve's more talented employees who should be spending their time on more meaningful things.


I don't think they have these "not highly skilled employees". From what I understand, Valve doesn't even have a proper dedicated tech support team. Maybe they COULD have one. I'm not sure if they could. But when you looks at the fact that they got where they are from scratch precisely because of their unusual company culture/hierarchy, that's pretty difficult to ask them to get back in rank. I'm happier with Valve being as they are than I'd be if they turned into any other company their size. With that said, I can agree on:
- Their support being absolutely garbage (though I've only have two games with issues ever)
- The store page needing cleaning
- F*ck you one euro is not a dollar and it has never been.
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Re: Steam complaints thread

Postby Alice » January 16th, 2015, 3:00 am

I'm not going to reply to everything right now because I have a hell of a headache but there's a few points I will for now.
Sarusig wrote:Anyways, yeah, Valve customer service, or lack thereof, sucks. We've actually agreed on that already, so I suppose this is one not customer friendly practice we could hold Valve accountable for. Though we would have to compare them with other similar businesses to see if it's them not making an effort, or the concept being unfathomable do to the client/employees ratio (I'm looking at ISPs right now).

You could easily compare them to Blizzard for customer service. Blizzard's customer service is actually quite impressive to me considering you rarely see that quality of service from companies a quarter the size with less than 10% of the userbase they have. You can also compare them to EA. EA's customer service isn't the best but it's far better than Valve's is and EA makes a similar amount of money as Valve. (Smaller userbase though but EA's userbase isn't exactly small either.) You also can't really argue that it's due to Valve's userbase because this has been an issue with Valve's tech support since I joined Steam back in 2009. At that point they only had a couple million users or so in total. (They still had fewer than WoW at that point.) The big issue there is that as their userbase has grown they've let their tech support completely stagnate rather than keeping pace with the userbase.
Actually there is a VERY good reason a game should cost the same price on physical media and digital media. This is not linked to production cost, this is simply linked to competition. Were Valve to lower prices compared to physical shops, they'd open themselves to being sued by Gamestop and co. for unfair competition. And they would likely lose. And actually Portal 2 kinda supports this theory: if there's one game on which Valve had total control, it was Portal 2.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the point here but I disagree with it entirely. I see it from the exact opposite view. Digital distributors found a more convenient, more efficient method of selling their products with a far lower overhead as well. This isn't unfair competition, it's simply better. (Best comparison I can think of at the moment is comparing Google to other search engines. Google's engine isn't unfair competition, it's simply a better format.) Unfair is Wal-mart who will come into a new area and drive the local retail shops out of business by selling their products at a loss while Wal-mart can simply absorb the costs and the local retailers can't compete because they can't absorb the costs.
The conversion rate between countries, well I'm surprised you brought it up but that's my bad for assuming everyone on the Internet is American-centered. Yes, it is a good point actually... or is it? European peeps been complaining about price differences quite a lot too, arguing that €1=!$1 (for some reason, pounds get a proper conversion). Except... well prices on Steam in Europe are the same as prices in store. It's just more noticeable on Steam, but it's once again the same problem. Steam aligns itself on stores.

I definitely think the pricing is a problem personally. A game that would cost me $60 should cost $72.86 in Australia but you'll actually find that more often than not they go for around $90. It's really quite absurd in the eyes of not only myself but many many others.
Oh I said "you" in a very general sense, as in "you the masses". I was not particularly targeting you. I'm also depriving myself from games because I believe in the wallet vote, and I don't preorder at all, ever - especially not if it's AAA material.

I will admit to pre-ordering but I only ever pre-order a game anymore if I'm confident that I will find it acceptable. (See: La-Mulana 2, though that was a Kickstarter and not simply pre-ordering, my first KSed game as well.)
I don't think they have these "not highly skilled employees". From what I understand, Valve doesn't even have a proper dedicated tech support team. Maybe they COULD have one. I'm not sure if they could. But when you looks at the fact that they got where they are from scratch precisely because of their unusual company culture/hierarchy, that's pretty difficult to ask them to get back in rank. I'm happier with Valve being as they are than I'd be if they turned into any other company their size.

(Last bit I'm gonna respond to at the moment, may have to remind me later to finish responding to the rest in case I forget.)
That's the thing, I'm not asking them to completely give up their methods. I'm saying they should bring in people to fill those spots that need proper structure such as tech support. Tech support especially isn't something that you can really just get away with giving your workers the choice to deal with. It's a necessary job but it's one that most people don't want to deal with, especially if their alternatives are going and creating some new feature for Steam or working on a game. I might have mentioned this before but I think that overall something like Google's structure would actually benefit Valve more at this point. Google has a standard structure for the most part (though with fewer sticks administered rectally) and allows each worker to dedicate a portion of their day to whatever project they want to work on. I think something more the exact opposite might work best for Valve since they've always been so disorderly. Set aside an hour or two per day where things that absolutely need to be worked on get the time they actually need.
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