By Sweep 36 Comments
After watching the Kentucky Route Zero Quick Look, I went and bought Kentucky Route Zero. That seems an underwhelmingly methodical process, and I suppose it was. The only real hiccup was that the game isn't yet available on Steam. And that's actually the extent of the trouble: A single hiccup. I clicked their site, bought the game with paypal, downloaded and unzipped it, then set the
exzecutable executable to run through steam anyway. Because I'm just a fucking maverick like that.
However, this last step was crucial.
Not running a game through steam is a death sentence for even the best intentioned purchases. My computer is littered with little indie titles that I picked up but that would only run through some other ridiculous software and not through steam. There are plenty more which I simply never bought because they didn't flash up on the steam storefront. Worse still, there were non-steam games set to run through steam that I hadn't updated, and would simply refuse to start. I would click on them, receive an error saying "This game is out of date" or "Error: something something missing files something" and promptly lose interest. That seems... unhealthy? Steam might not have turned me into a lazy cunt, but it certainly brought it to my attention.
I played the Battlefield 3 beta and I loved Battlefield 3. It was gritty, the guns gave a satisfying kick and, also important, I was pretty fucking good at it. When I was told that I couldn't play the game on Steam and that I would have to use this other "basically steam but not as good as steam" software that seemed to be more of a hindrance than a help, I was not amused. Both Origin and Battlelog are services that work on a very basic level - they function - but unfortunately they do not work for me. If EA want to build their own distribution platform then great, but in making the process so convoluted they have actively detracted from the enjoyment I get from their games. To the extent that I can't even be fucked to play them. Why make all that effort when I have these other games over here on steam that don't require any fucking around at all.
Gabe said something in that Verge interview that really drove this feeling home for me:
"The internet is super smart. If you do something that is cool, that's actually worth people's time, then they'll adopt it. If you do something that's not cool and sucks, you can spend as many marketing dollars as you want, they just won't."
I'm not really a PC fanboy.
I have fought for neutrality as often as I dared - the more people playing videogames the better, regardless of what machine they are using to do so. One might argue, however, that I'm a Steam fanboy. I have been using Steam for 6 years now, and I'm pretty damn comfortable with it both as a service and games hub for my computer. So when I actually took some time to think about Steam, and my dependency upon it, I felt pretty fucking good about it.
It sucks that there are some games that don't or can't go the steam route, though I like to think I'm savvy enough to track down titles like Kentucky Route Zero regardless. The problem is that there is no room on the internet to go backwards - Steam raised the bar; if you can't reach it, you might as well not exist.