Bethesda's epic sci-fi RPG is here, and it's a big one. From shipbuilding to exploring the surface of Mars, our thoughts so far.
Starfield Review... In Progress
The first trailer for Grand Theft Auto 6 is finally here.
Grand Theft Auto 6 Trailer
We take an in-depth look at Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and tell you why it should be heavily on your radar!
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora - a Deep-Dive into its Potential
Range-wise, the ROG Rapture GT6 is phenomenal, and it's ideal for all gaming and non-gaming-related tasks.
ASUS ROG Rapture GT6 WiFi 6 Mesh System Review
Post by trog @ 02:43pm 10/03/09 | 37 Comments
Edge have an interesting article looking at the rise and rise of Valve Software's Steam, covering the early days when it was basically just a simple patcher for Counter-Strike, to now when it is pretty much the best way to buy games online:
And selling thirdparty titles is arguably Steams most important move so far.‭ ‬Rag Doll Kung Fu was a big milestone,‭ ‬admits Newell,‭ ‬referring to the first non-Valve title on the service.‭ ‬People thought of Steam as this thing for Valve games,‭ ‬and then it turned out to be a useful tool for this independent developer that couldnt get traditional distribution.‭ ‬Then we started to see the publishers jump on board:‭ ‬Steam wasnt their enemy and retailers werent going to rebel if publishers used us as a way of reaching out to new customers.‭

The arrival of EA on Steam in‭ ‬2008‭ ‬was the final endorsement,‭ ‬particularly since it already had its own competing platform.‭
Have a read for more.



steam





Latest Comments
trog
Posted 02:45pm 10/3/09
FTA: "...an online community so well-supported that it sets standards even for those found on consoles..."

I thought that was a bit rich. I've always thought community support for console MP titles was (until pretty recently) laughable compared to what we had on the PC side of things.
Pinky
Posted 02:57pm 10/3/09
I'm just surprised at the lag of the industry to create new and enterprising business models and capitalise on them. The gaming industry doesn't have the excuse of the music industry which has a much longer and richer history - which is not much of an excuse anyway.

I have been surprised that the retailers though. If I was a retailer I'd be upset at Steam. Essentially they have a regular price for all items which they would have you believe is the retail cost take away the box and distribution chain (*cough* bulls***) - but then they do their once every couple of months 30-75% sales which nets 2000% more sales volume. Retailers are losing. The only question is how long it will take for them to cotton-on to it - and whether there's anything they can do about it now anyway. The train has too much momentum.

The future of games sales is online - lock it in Eddie. And the main reason is not simplified sales models, or anything like that - it's licensing. Steam has everyone logging in (read: validating their software licenses) and playing - the only real way to prevent piracy of online games.
Spook
Posted 03:01pm 10/3/09
The future of games sales is online - lock it in Eddie


so true;

all steam needs is free content from the bulk of aussie isps and it will really take off;


tequila
Posted 03:08pm 10/3/09
yeah I must admit I love steam, internets are up to the challenge of downloading a full game so why not do it
saves me time, just wish it would save money

charging the same for something w/o a cd ..
Midda
Posted 03:14pm 10/3/09
Great article. I think Steam really is one of the best things to happen to the games industry. It's just the little things that make it awesome. Say one day I decide that I want to play an old game, like the original Half-Life. I don't need to go digging for my CD, get pissed off when I find the disc is scratched, etc. It's sitting right there in my games list on Steam, and if it's not already on my HDD, I double click it, and it'll be there in about 15 minutes. Obviously the same thing applies to new games, though they'd certainly take longer to download.

I don't remember the last time I bought a PC game from a store, because Steam is just so much more convenient (and usually cheaper). And what they say about piracy is correct. If you offer the games at the same time and price world-wide (with some exceptions like CoD4, thanks Boba), it really takes away a lot of the appeal to pirate the game, though obviously the cheap bastards out there will still just torrent it.
Dan
Posted 03:18pm 10/3/09
From the look of things, brick and mortar stores are making up any shortfalls straight from the second hand game trading market, something you can't do with Steam... yet.
`ViPER`
Posted 03:21pm 10/3/09
Dont think i've paid for games in years until steam. If I can buy a new release game for $40 on special (and they seem to go on special all the time) then ill do it. I sure as f*** arent paying $99 for a new release from a retail store.

Price you games right and people buy them, what a suprise. A+ titles on realease should be $50 tops and then come down from there, eventualy going to $20ish after a year or so. I'm more likely to take a risk on a $10-$20 game.

Also as someone says, its fixes all piracy if your game is only availabe on steam.
Khel
Posted 03:21pm 10/3/09
charging the same for something w/o a cd ..


Yeah, it kinda sucks lately, I was going to get Dawn of War 2 off steam but it turned out I could actually get it cheaper from JB Hifi. Same with Empire: Total War.
IncrEdible_vEgetable
Posted 03:25pm 10/3/09
charging the same for something w/o a cd ..


Essentially production costs are incurred in the development and creation of a product, not in the physical item itself. Book publishing for instance is 70% - 80% production costs prior to printing a single page.

I would imagine the same could be said for electronic media.
ctd
Posted 03:29pm 10/3/09
I love how easy it is but now with the aussie dollar not as good as it was a few months ago games are almost as expensive as retail. CDWOW has become my new favourite.

- 3fl doesn't have all the content
- no built in scheduler
- no built in 'steamwatch'
- regoinal game pricing. though at least it only was for cod4 which was a s*** game anyway

It sucked when it first came out as well. Luckily you only needed it if you played CS, I was playing Natural-Selection at the time so we could still use WON for about a year or whatever.


I was going to get Dawn of War 2 off steam

yeah me too. got it off CDWOW for 50AU bucks (free shipping) when it was 60US off steam

last edited by ctd at 15:29:23 10/Mar/09
tequila
Posted 03:31pm 10/3/09
I would imagine the same could be said for electronic media.


completely irrelivent; they need to discount the price of packaging & shipping + printing/materials/artists for the cover etc, from the price of the game.
IncrEdible_vEgetable
Posted 03:42pm 10/3/09
completely irrelivent; they need to discount the price of packaging & shipping + printing/materials/artists for the cover etc, from the price of the game.


Yes, and what I am saying is that even doing that it's not going to change the final pricepoint by a significant amount, since most of the cost is in the development of the software.
FraktuRe
Posted 03:46pm 10/3/09
bulls***, we get ripped off purely because we're in australia.
trillion
Posted 04:21pm 10/3/09
Except you can't seem to pre-load an unreleased games content on Steam, so they have something to do there
tequila
Posted 04:31pm 10/3/09
since most of the cost is in the development of the software.


I'm not disagreeing with you at all, in fact I am agreeing with that point.
however, even if it costs $5 per game disc by the time they get from where ever they were printed to your local EB store, you should get that $5 off the game

If you dont get a physical media, it shouldn't cost the same as if you went out and bought the physical media
even a few $$$ off would make me feel less ripped off

You aren't getting packaging, they haven't paid any shipping, they haven't printed a CD for you etc etc
Twisted
Posted 04:49pm 10/3/09
From the look of things, brick and mortar stores are making up any shortfalls straight from the second hand game trading market, something you can't do with Steam... yet.
This is what I've heard from people at EB. Their 2nd hand margins/markups are much higher than their new games sales.
Midda
Posted 04:58pm 10/3/09
- no built in 'steamwatch'

Go into settings, and go to the download tab. You can set the content server you want in there.

Except you can't seem to pre-load an unreleased games content on Steam, so they have something to do there

Yes you can, I've pre-loaded games many times.
infi
Posted 05:04pm 10/3/09
yeah once DOW2 arrived in CDWOW I got it in about 4 days for $AU51 free postage. How can you beat that?
parabol
Posted 05:10pm 10/3/09
Go into settings, and go to the download tab. You can set the content server you want in there.

As discussed before, that doesn't guarantee anything. It just gives that server priority over others, but there are several cases where another [metered] server may be used instead.

last edited by parabol at 17:10:40 10/Mar/09
Tanaka Khan
Posted 05:11pm 10/3/09
I've only just started using steam (DOW2 and Empire:Total War) and my one major concern is that I can't play these games without steam, so if the internet is down WTF have I paid for if I can't use these products??
TiT
Posted 05:18pm 10/3/09
u can use steam offline
Midda
Posted 05:18pm 10/3/09
Steam works in offline mode.
Tanaka Khan
Posted 05:21pm 10/3/09
You can? Is there a setting in the steam program or does it just work automatically? I've tried turning off my modem and loading the games but they just sit there doing nothing until I turn it back on.
RUFiO
Posted 05:56pm 10/3/09
Once the majority of major Australian ISP's offer unmetred content for steam I can see it taking off. Until then a scheduler would do wonders for those without unmetred content.
I love Steam, but until those changes its not really head and shoulders above retail, its 50/50.
LOTUK
Posted 06:18pm 10/3/09
“At the end of the day,‭ ‬pirates are just serving customers better,‭ ‬either getting a game out faster,‭ ‬or in a way where people can move it between computers.‭ ‬If you can do that,‭ ‬people won’t go to pirate sites.‭”

I love that comment. Rather than b****ing about piracy being the cause for disruptive copy protection, just provide a better service than pirates... although better prices would help too :P
trog
Posted 06:19pm 10/3/09
I love that comment. Rather than b****ing about piracy being the cause for disruptive copy protection, just provide a better service than pirates... although better prices would help too :P
That's what the music/movies industry still hasn't understood either.
Bahamut
Posted 07:09pm 10/3/09
You can? Is there a setting in the steam program or does it just work automatically? I've tried turning off my modem and loading the games but they just sit there doing nothing until I turn it back on.
You can go into offline mode after signing in online, but iirc you can't start in offline mode without having selected it the last time you were online. I don't use it much, that's how it worked a year or three ago though :/

I don't see them removing the box/dvd/manual cost from the online version of the games though (I wish they'd actually include a digital manual in the online version). Retailers would complain about being unable to compete on price for one. I don't imagine the cost of allowing users to download games unlimited times into the future would be that huge with bandwidth/storage prices, but you can't argue that they support products far longer than any retail chain does and that would incur some minor costs which that markup would help cover (to excess, since it'd only be a few cents per person).

Steam still has one flaw (outside of the fact that nothing comes with manuals); in the event that VALVe goes bankrupt and is put into receivership you may very well lose access to your games permanently. I know Gabe's stated that in that scenario they'd disable the DRM/unlock your games, but do you honestly think the people taking over would let them destroy an enormous asset like that? We're totally at their mercy with our games collections, and if I'd thought for a moment that they were going to die out any time soon I wouldn't be using their service :/
eXemplar
Posted 07:28pm 10/3/09
Also as someone says, its fixes all piracy if your game is only available on steam.


It's actually fairly trivial to download any game available on steam through a "patched" version and play the games with or without the patched steam loaded, updates and all. However, you can't play on official multiplayer servers.

My only gripe with steam is it's complete lack of any real extensibility, and still utter dongs interface. You still can't even do something basic like select 2 games and hit "pause update".
bLaZe
Posted 09:40pm 10/3/09
As long as they continue to charge at and above retail prices, I'll continue to buy the version with a resale value.
FraktuRe
Posted 10:50pm 10/3/09
I wish they'd actually include a digital manual in the online version).


You can right click on games and many of them have a 'view player manual' option.
BatS***
Posted 11:39pm 10/3/09
Steam still has one flaw (outside of the fact that nothing comes with manuals); in the event that VALVe goes bankrupt and is put into receivership you may very well lose access to your games permanently. I know Gabe's stated that in that scenario they'd disable the DRM/unlock your games, but do you honestly think the people taking over would let them destroy an enormous asset like that? We're totally at their mercy with our games collections, and if I'd thought for a moment that they were going to die out any time soon I wouldn't be using their service :/
This is when the internet comes into play and patchs/hacks become the norm to unlock the games you bought.
HERMITech
Posted 12:37am 11/3/09
Yeah, have to admit, I'm not all that concerned about steam going broke an my licenses becoming voided. There are always cracks an the like if it's needed. Now if only other wang services (yes you EA Downloader) were up to Steam's competency (unless it's gotten better since I stopped using it 2 years ago?).
VRBones
Posted 11:13am 12/3/09
I like what they've done with the integration, friends list and achievements, but they are still missing stuff like:
- ASK me before downloading.
- Throttle or schedule downloading
I've tried many a time to fiddle with the setting to get it to play nice, but it insists on reaming my connection on startup. Because of these I leave steam off most of the time, which defeats most of the community aspects.

I still get auth issues and offline mode just doesn't work (because you never know when THEIR server will be down). It all adds up to one thing: It gets in the way of playing games ( http://www.vrbones.com/2007/11/steaming-pile-of-pt2.html )

.. and don't get me started on steam in tournaments.
ctd
Posted 11:17am 12/3/09
YOu can select it so games have to be updated manually. I dont know how this works because automatically is manual enough for me... I have to restart steam or double click the game to get an update.

SAying that a schedueler would be awesome for offpeak usage.
trog
Posted 11:24am 12/3/09
Yeah, have to admit, I'm not all that concerned about steam going broke an my licenses becoming voided. There are always cracks an the like if it's needed. Now if only other wang services (yes you EA Downloader) were up to Steam's competency (unless it's gotten better since I stopped using it 2 years ago?).
EA gave up a while back IIRC and are now doing their stuff on Steam.
Midda
Posted 04:46pm 12/3/09
That article is retarded. He doesn't give any reasons as to why Steam may go the way of the dodo, he just says that it might. He's just cranky that Steam s**** all over his own platform.
Commenting has been locked for this item.
37 Comments
Show