Steam Puttering Out

A couple of days ago, I bought Atari: 80 Classics In One off of Steam, only to find that it doesn't bloody work. The store page said nothing of the game not working on Windows 7 64, but every time I try to run it, the main menu is off color, and I can only play one of game because if I quit out to the main menu, the damn thing crashes. There's no information on the Atari website, there's nothing to help on the Steam support page for the game, and the forums have limited solutions that don't really help at all. So now I'm stuck with software I can't use, I'm out $15, and Steam just gives me the bloody runaround. They told me to go to Atari support, in what I can only guess is a form letter, and when I told them I couldn't find an answer there and asked for my money back, I got no reply.

I'm pissed, to say the least.

Steam is the premier digital distribution service. It has the most games, the most active community. In many ways, it's the only thing the PC has left going for it. However, while Valve's support with their own games is fantastic, they have no work on their behalf with regards to 3 party games. Games with retarded DRM are put on there, games that don't run on the average Steam user's system are on there (the forums for the game in question are almost universally negative in their opinion of the experience), and Valve does nothing.

Could you imagine if the first parties for the consoles were this lax? If you couldn't be sure that a game for the system would run, no one would trust their money to that console. Yet with Steam, no one bats an eye, despite the fact that the games are as bound to the platform as a console game (you can't run them without Steam). Valve is very much a first party now. Steam is their platform, they control it, they own it, and thus it is their responsibility to make sure that the experience for the end user is as seamless as possible. No one's saying to scan for game quality – that'll always be subjective – but at least the ability to run things without the enormous headache that we now experience. Be it putting in virtual machines for older titles, forbidding overly intrusive DRM, or working with 3 parties to make sure the game doesn't crash all the time, shit has to work. If not, then the consumer can't possibly be expected to trust their money to chance.

Steam has been an enormously successful platform, and I still love the service. I just wish the support would be up to the same level. It's a shame that the company with the most important item in all PC gaming has decided to run it half-assed. Get your act together, Valve.

2 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by YukoAsho

A couple of days ago, I bought Atari: 80 Classics In One off of Steam, only to find that it doesn't bloody work. The store page said nothing of the game not working on Windows 7 64, but every time I try to run it, the main menu is off color, and I can only play one of game because if I quit out to the main menu, the damn thing crashes. There's no information on the Atari website, there's nothing to help on the Steam support page for the game, and the forums have limited solutions that don't really help at all. So now I'm stuck with software I can't use, I'm out $15, and Steam just gives me the bloody runaround. They told me to go to Atari support, in what I can only guess is a form letter, and when I told them I couldn't find an answer there and asked for my money back, I got no reply.

I'm pissed, to say the least.

Steam is the premier digital distribution service. It has the most games, the most active community. In many ways, it's the only thing the PC has left going for it. However, while Valve's support with their own games is fantastic, they have no work on their behalf with regards to 3 party games. Games with retarded DRM are put on there, games that don't run on the average Steam user's system are on there (the forums for the game in question are almost universally negative in their opinion of the experience), and Valve does nothing.

Could you imagine if the first parties for the consoles were this lax? If you couldn't be sure that a game for the system would run, no one would trust their money to that console. Yet with Steam, no one bats an eye, despite the fact that the games are as bound to the platform as a console game (you can't run them without Steam). Valve is very much a first party now. Steam is their platform, they control it, they own it, and thus it is their responsibility to make sure that the experience for the end user is as seamless as possible. No one's saying to scan for game quality – that'll always be subjective – but at least the ability to run things without the enormous headache that we now experience. Be it putting in virtual machines for older titles, forbidding overly intrusive DRM, or working with 3 parties to make sure the game doesn't crash all the time, shit has to work. If not, then the consumer can't possibly be expected to trust their money to chance.

Steam has been an enormously successful platform, and I still love the service. I just wish the support would be up to the same level. It's a shame that the company with the most important item in all PC gaming has decided to run it half-assed. Get your act together, Valve.

Posted by ATrevelan

Steam is a distribution service, a storefront, so they really don't have a responsibility to make sure the games work for everybody. The developers do. If Atari wanted to sell their stuff on Steam, they're the ones responsible for giving Valve the code and everything else needed to put the game up. If Valve was responsible for making sure all Steam-distributed games worked, they wouldn't have the ability to make their own games. 
  
You bought a half-assed game from a half-assed developer. Furthermore, the game was originally released way back in 2003, making it pre-Vista let alone WIndows 7. You're not going to get full compatibility with an OS that's barely a year old. There are other developers that are just as bad with their new titles, but Valve ain't one of them. Check Steam's News section for game updates, and just look at how frequently Valve updates games as old as Half-Life 2. 
 
It sucks that you're down 15 bucks, but if you really want to make sure it doesn't happen again do some legwork before you buy the game, especially an old one. The Steam forums, as you've found, are a great resource for that sort of thing.

Posted by wrathofconn

This is like complaining about bad third party games on the Wii. Nintendo makes it ridiculously easy to release a game for the hardware, so some bad games get out there. But do you blame Nintendo just because you can't play these games without a Wii? Steam is a free service, and the game you bought would probably have been just as bad if you installed it from a disk. This isn't Valve's fault.