Steam monopoly dangerous for pc?

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Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -

Pc gaming is pretty much dead retail wise. Only place i see pc games as at bestbuy. Eb games has one shelf filled with old games in the back of the store.

Steam has a large fan base, because it did things right. But i feel people are far to loyal to the valve company. I remember when BF3 came out people were screaming " no steam no buy". Let me get this straight, you wont buy a game you have been waiting for because you cant use your favorite store? That is just insane and fanboyish.

Steam has 80% the digital market which pretty much means they own pc gaming. Power turns companies and people into monsters. As steam takes more and more of the market they will become less friendly.

Steam sales might not be as good as they were. No reason to drop prices when your the only store in town. they may also ban people from their accounts for any reason. Imagine you have 1000$ on games on steam and one day they block you from their network. Its over for you you cant play those games on steam servers anymore.

Digital copies gives publishers huge power. Steam is basically a DRM software that locks down the games.

#1 Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -

Pc gaming is pretty much dead retail wise. Only place i see pc games as at bestbuy. Eb games has one shelf filled with old games in the back of the store.

Steam has a large fan base, because it did things right. But i feel people are far to loyal to the valve company. I remember when BF3 came out people were screaming " no steam no buy". Let me get this straight, you wont buy a game you have been waiting for because you cant use your favorite store? That is just insane and fanboyish.

Steam has 80% the digital market which pretty much means they own pc gaming. Power turns companies and people into monsters. As steam takes more and more of the market they will become less friendly.

Steam sales might not be as good as they were. No reason to drop prices when your the only store in town. they may also ban people from their accounts for any reason. Imagine you have 1000$ on games on steam and one day they block you from their network. Its over for you you cant play those games on steam servers anymore.

Digital copies gives publishers huge power. Steam is basically a DRM software that locks down the games.

#2 Posted by ajamafalous (12003 posts) -

You aren't really aware of Valve's track record, are you? There's a reason people trust them and are so loyal.

#3 Posted by killacam (1284 posts) -

now THIS is journalism!

#4 Posted by Indiana_Jenkins (390 posts) -

Amazon

They already stole money from my Steam Sale Stash™

#5 Posted by Leptok (942 posts) -

Yeah Valve has a proven track record, but if they start doing shitty things, I'll jump ship in a heartbeat. I think they know that too.

#6 Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -

you guys are missing the point. Just because they started off good does not mean they always will be. They have very little reason to keep giving you great deals in the future if no one can take sales from them.

#7 Edited by Fattony12000 (7429 posts) -

Steam does not have a monopoly on PC games.

Steam is pretty cool.

Valve are pretty cool.

People think they are cool.

If they stop being cool then people will not buy games from them.

Steam is digital rights management, but a very fair and reliable and good form of digital rights management.

#8 Posted by Dagbiker (6976 posts) -

I agree that power breeds contempt. And even at this stage I see steam unable or unwilling to improve some of their interface.

On the other hand the only reason why they have 80% of the market is because no one does it better.

I am not one of the fan boys who will not buy a game on any other service. I have Origin installed, And I have many games bought on Gog, my preferable service. But Steam makes it easy, cheap and they have good quality.

I do fear for the day when they pack it all in and become defunct. Because then all your games will no longer be playable. And I know some one will come in here and tell me Gaben said they would remove the DRM. But Why? And How? They cant go back and renigotate everyone of their contracts with every single one of their publishers. They might be able to remove the DRM from valve games but not EA games, or Ubisoft games. And why, if Valve was going under why spend money and time removing DRM?

#9 Posted by bushpusherr (788 posts) -

You are making the assumption that all Valve cares about is the bottom line and making as much money as possible. Of course they are a business and they are trying to make money, but they also demonstrate a very core principal of customer satisfaction (something many other developers / publishers do not). This is why people trust them so much...because money is clearly not the only thing they care about.

#10 Posted by Sumbog (484 posts) -

The reason Steam has such a monopoly right now is because they offer the best service, but if they stop offering the best service then people will move over to services which is the best. Valve has shown that they are a very consumer oriented organization, with a healthy track record of being fair and keeping people happy- sure you could say what if they changed, but that's a really poor argument with no precedent.

#11 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Yes, retail IS dead, but Valve is awesome, and actually has a lot of competition. Like, GOOD competition. Amazon usually just sells Steam versions, but you can get discounts on Amazon you won't get on Steam, and the same goes the other way. Onlive is a bit of a competitor although it's service isn't great. I'd say that Origin is the worst of the major ways to get PC games.

Also, Best Buy and Fred Meyers usually have pretty big PC sections, in my experience. It's not dead, exactly. It's just not the console business. There are better ways to go, and getting rid of brick and mortar isn't the worst thing ever.

@banishedsoul1 said:

you guys are missing the point. Just because they started off good does not mean they always will be. They have very little reason to keep giving you great deals in the future if no one can take sales from them.

This is the stupidest way to look at anything in the world. "Well my wife has always been completely faithful and loving and caring, but might become a whore and start boning my friends, so I'm going to be constantly in fear of her disloyalty." You'd sound like Stalin. If it's good and there is no reason to believe that is or will change (there isn't, and getting rid of the awesome sales isn't going to make Steam shitty. They still handle the idea of DRM right, they still have great servers, they still allow you to download as many times as you want whenever you want for how ever many games you want.

@Dagbiker said:

I am not one of the fan boys who will not buy a game on any other service. I have Origin installed, And I have many games bought on Gog, my preferable service. But Steam makes it easy, cheap and they have good quality.

I don't think fanboy is the right word for about 90% of those people. It's about convenience and having all of your games on one service. People dislike Origin more because of the segmentation of the market rather than because it isn't Steam. I'm not locked to Steam but if it's available there, I'll almost certainly buy it on Steam. The only exception will be Borderlands 2, which is only because I want the physical crazy edition so I'll get that at Gamestop. And maybe give that copy to a friend and buy it on Steam for playing.

#12 Posted by Jimbo (9815 posts) -

Retail isn't dead everywhere. The majority of Witcher 2 sales were retail copies for example. Steam accounted for about 1/5th of the first ~1 million sales.

Competition is good for consumers and I agree that the 'no Steam, no buy' sentiment is pretty moronic, but that's morons for you. I don't believe that a significant number of people actually think like that though, and even less will make good on those threats - it's just noise, like the CoD 'boycott' crowd. People will go where the games are / where the cheapest prices are.

I do buy from Steam, but most of my >£10 game purchases are made elsewhere. I attach no value to the Steam platform itself as a service whatsoever. Ideally, I would like to buy more games directly from the creators and cut out the middle-man entirely.

#13 Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -

@Fattony12000 said:

Steam does not have a monopoly on PC games.

Steam is pretty cool.

Valve are pretty cool.

People think they are cool.

If they stop being cool then people will not buy games from them.

Steam is digital rights management, but a very fair and reliable and good form of digital rights management.

Yes steam does have a monopoly they have pretty much no competition. The problem is they might not always will be cool and by then they might be the only major digital store out for pc. Meaning if they become abusive to the consumer they have no where else to go.

#14 Posted by Mijati (922 posts) -

The switch to Digital for PC has been the best thing for the platform in a long time. With many more people being able to release PC games now and make money off doing so is great. On top of that games are no longer limited, it's impossible to find copies of a large number of older games and in the future that (shouldn't) won't be a problem.
 
While Steam is the main store for PC games there's healthy competition at the moment, with Amazon pulling in decent sale numbers amongst places like Gamefly, Gog as well as other retailers offering digital downloads in their online stores for physical products (GameStop etc.).

#15 Posted by Vinny_Says (5709 posts) -

I don't think any monopoly is good in any market but then again I don't see valve turning into a bunch of assholes anytime soon. However if one day Gabriel decides to turn valve into a public trading company then I can see everything going wrong for the consumers.

#16 Posted by matti00 (668 posts) -

I would say Valve's story is the perfect example of why a free market economy works. They did it cheaper and better than anyone else, so they got the lion's share of the market.

If someone else has a better idea, they'll be able to take over the market too. I like that we have Steam and there's still room for niche services like GOG, it shows the system is working.

#17 Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1 (1807 posts) -

There are some concerns with Steam becoming a monopoly, but I don't see them. First of all, most people who play PC games do so on their browser. Secondly, even in the core market F2P games are still far, far more popular than Steam. Until League of Legends is on Steam, I don't see them having anything like 100% of the core game market on PCs. Thirdly, Origin still exists and is still marginally successful, add to that the numerous other DD sites (GOG.Com, GamersGate, Direct2Drive, Amazon Game Downloads, PopCap Games, &ct) and you've got a very large percentage of the market that has not been annexed by Steam. Large percentage of the market? Yes. Monopoly? Not even close.

#18 Posted by Fattony12000 (7429 posts) -

@banishedsoul1 said:

@Fattony12000 said:

Steam does not have a monopoly on PC games.

Steam is pretty cool.

Valve are pretty cool.

People think they are cool.

If they stop being cool then people will not buy games from them.

Steam is digital rights management, but a very fair and reliable and good form of digital rights management.

Yes steam does have a monopoly they have pretty much no competition. The problem is they might not always will be cool and by then they might be the only major digital store out for pc. Meaning if they become abusive to the consumer they have no where else to go.

A monopoly (from Greek monos μόνος (alone or single) + polein πωλεῖν (to sell)) exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity (this contrasts with a monopsony which relates to a single entity's control of a market to purchase a good or service, and with oligopoly which consists of a few entities dominating an industry).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly

#19 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

Steam is a monopoly, but like others have said, people appreciate the way they do business, and they're making a boatload of money by doing business this way. It's not like they're gonna gain a 100% monopoly and then immediately hike prices and stop sales, and add horrible DRM. They do business the way they do because it's making them money, not to trick people for the future.

#20 Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -

@matti00: No one else was really doing Digital games. Steam really never had much of anyone to fight with. Market only saves the consumer money when there is real competition to keep them fighting. Look at windows when vista was god awful people had no where else to go but wait for windows 7 or stat with xp. D2D and desura were pretty much all that stood and steams way and are pretty much irrelevant at this point.

#21 Posted by c0l0nelp0c0rn1 (1807 posts) -

@banishedsoul1 said:

@matti00: Look at windows when vista was god awful people had no where else to go but wait for windows 7 or stat with xp.

You're forgetting every other OS out there. Get a Mac or use Ubuntu until it gets better. Better yet, stay with XP. Steam does have competition, it's just doing everything way better than they are. Monopoly and best in the market are two different things entirely.

#22 Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -

People with workstations that need windows had no where else to go. Macs are not an option because you have to buy their hardware. Linux which i use has pretty much no market share at all.

#23 Posted by TaliciaDragonsong (8699 posts) -
@banishedsoul1:  I just want to say that I'm quite sure people wanted BF3 to be on Steam because Origin had/has a lot of trouble with some basic things and feels completely unfriendly compared to Steam.
I've used both but Steam just kills it when it comes to catalogue and user friendly interface.
 
We'll how it goes in the end, if you're really worried about being blocked from the network I say write down your CD keys and get yourself a (illegal) copy/back up.
#24 Posted by Jimbo (9815 posts) -

@bushpusherr said:

You are making the assumption that all Valve cares about is the bottom line and making as much money as possible. Of course they are a business and they are trying to make money, but they also demonstrate a very core principal of customer satisfaction (something many other developers / publishers do not). This is why people trust them so much...because money is clearly not the only thing they care about.

Well, they're smart enough to realise that in this business, happy (/fanatical) customers ultimately = more money. There's not really a neat line of distinction between being motivated by satisfying customers and being motivated by making money; the former is done in service of the latter. If they were truly as altruistically motivated as some like to make out, Gabe would retire and go work in a soup kitchen or something.

I think they're absolutely fine as businesses go, but this widespread notion that they put the good of their customers above their bottom line is baffling to me. I have no idea what that idea is based on. I think maybe it's just because a lot of people aren't capable of putting 2 and 2 together. 'Oh they're giving away Portal! It must be because they like me!' etc.

#25 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

@banishedsoul1 said:

@matti00: No one else was really doing Digital games. Steam really never had much of anyone to fight with. Market only saves the consumer money when there is real competition to keep them fighting. Look at windows when vista was god awful people had no where else to go but wait for windows 7 or stat with xp. D2D and desura were pretty much all that stood and steams way and are pretty much irrelevant at this point.

Steam is a store. Windows is a operating system. That is really a bad comparison - a digital store can be easily built, an OS not so much.

At least here in the US retail PC games are doing ok - Target carries a pretty decent selection of pc games (casual and regular).

Just like regular retail stores, if Steam starts pissing off people, the other stores (Origin, Amazon, etc) will take the business.

#26 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

Also, where do you get the 80% market number?

#27 Posted by VIGGO123 (552 posts) -

Steam does not have a monopoly. Here in Norway there is only one store that can sell alcohol with more than 4,7%, now that is a monopoly. Steam has a decent amount of competitors, and they have too keep doing good in order to keep the majority of the market.

Also, you cannot get banned from the Steam service. You can get banned from individual games or from all games using Valve Anti Cheat, and only Valve's own games uses that. So that argument is invalid.

#28 Edited by Rohok (554 posts) -

No steam no sale.

I didn't want BF3 to begin with but if it was on STEAM I would've picked it up in a sale.

The only reason they own the market is BECAUSE of the low prices and friendliness. Once they lose that we'll move on. I like where STEAM is at, and I'll never switch over to anything else.

#29 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (795 posts) -

Just because something can go bad doesn't mean it will definitively go bad. The best indication of future action is past action. If OP is going to argue that Valve might dropped the ball, specific examples from the past are needed to support the claim. So far, we have been given none. It's difficult to truly engage in a meaningful discussion if one party is essentially substantiating the argument with maybes.

#30 Edited by Hats (360 posts) -

@banishedsoul1 said:

@matti00: No one else was really doing Digital games. Steam really never had much of anyone to fight with. Market only saves the consumer money when there is real competition to keep them fighting. Look at windows when vista was god awful people had no where else to go but wait for windows 7 or stat with xp. D2D and desura were pretty much all that stood and steams way and are pretty much irrelevant at this point.

There are competitors to steam that are doing quite well amazon and greenmangaming have been having sales as well atm, also desura is more about the indie scene and gog with the mass of classics

steam is in the lead but go back 7 years it was a POS now with blizzard planning on opening battlenet to other publishers, EA with their shitshow, Amazon with their customer service and backend, and greenmangaming not region locking or price gouging

#31 Posted by upwarDBound (654 posts) -

Valve does not have a monopoly in any sense of the word.

#32 Posted by Hunter5024 (5691 posts) -

So far Valve has given us every reason to trust them so I wouldn't worry about it yet. But it's never good for one source to be in charge of so much, thats why I don't groan about Origin and I hope they get their act together. Also hopeful for GOG as it tries to expand.

#33 Posted by matti00 (668 posts) -

@banishedsoul1 said:

@matti00: No one else was really doing Digital games. Steam really never had much of anyone to fight with. Market only saves the consumer money when there is real competition to keep them fighting. Look at windows when vista was god awful people had no where else to go but wait for windows 7 or stat with xp. D2D and desura were pretty much all that stood and steams way and are pretty much irrelevant at this point.

You're thinking too small, when I talk about the PC market I include brick and mortar stores too. You don't consider them a competitor now, because Steam made them obsolete. Market forces in action.

I agree for the most part with what you say about operating systems, but we all know that's been broken for years. That's a fairly well cemented duopoly, whereas I think it's unfair to say the PC games market is a closed system.

#34 Posted by Jimbo (9815 posts) -

@matti00 said:

I would say Valve's story is the perfect example of why a free market economy works. They did it cheaper and better than anyone else, so they got the lion's share of the market.

If someone else has a better idea, they'll be able to take over the market too. I like that we have Steam and there's still room for niche services like GOG, it shows the system is working.

Only if they also have an established multi-million selling PC franchise which they can leverage to kickstart their service.

Steam have a virtually unassailable market position at this point. Even with a 'better idea' I think it'd be near enough impossible for somebody else to take over the market. Valve could use their market dominance to make life very, very difficult for anybody they considered serious competition, if they were so inclined.

#35 Posted by matti00 (668 posts) -

@Jimbo said:

@matti00 said:

I would say Valve's story is the perfect example of why a free market economy works. They did it cheaper and better than anyone else, so they got the lion's share of the market.

If someone else has a better idea, they'll be able to take over the market too. I like that we have Steam and there's still room for niche services like GOG, it shows the system is working.

Only if they also have an established multi-million selling PC franchise which they can leverage to kickstart their service.

Steam have a virtually unassailable market position at this point. Even with a 'better idea' I think it'd be near enough impossible for somebody else to take over the market. Valve could use their market dominance to make life very, very difficult for anybody they considered serious competition, if they were so inclined.

You're right, taking over the market might be a difficult task, I take it back. That sort of thing could take years, even decades, but it's not unthinkable for a well run platform to at least take a part of Valve's market share. My main point is that I don't believe Valve have a monopoly.

#36 Posted by CaLe (3988 posts) -

What a surprise that a Linux user thinks along these lines. Come back when you have a leg to stand on.

#37 Posted by SmilingPig (1337 posts) -

no

#38 Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -

@CaLe: Um i use windows on the same pc to play games on. You sir are being a provocateur good day.

#39 Posted by zels (207 posts) -

There are legitimate problems with Steam, unfortunately you ignore all of them and instead focus on some ridiculous hypothetical scenario.

Steam has a large fan base, because it did things right. But i feel people are far to loyal to the valve company. I remember when BF3 came out people were screaming " no steam no buy". Let me get this straight, you wont buy a game you have been waiting for because you cant use your favorite store? That is just insane and fanboyish.

I think that had more to do with the idea that we could end up having to install 20 different pieces of crap on computers just to play different games (hypothetically, imagine if every big publisher had their own "Steam" or "Origin"), not that it wasn't on Steam.

#40 Posted by McShank (1629 posts) -

@banishedsoul1 said:

@Fattony12000 said:

Steam does not have a monopoly on PC games.

Steam is pretty cool.

Valve are pretty cool.

People think they are cool.

If they stop being cool then people will not buy games from them.

Steam is digital rights management, but a very fair and reliable and good form of digital rights management.

Yes steam does have a monopoly they have pretty much no competition. The problem is they might not always will be cool and by then they might be the only major digital store out for pc. Meaning if they become abusive to the consumer they have no where else to go.

then they will die a slow and painfully poor death. If they go abusive and done care anymore about the consumer then EA will step in and start saying they wont be dicks and start selling more then their games on origin and BAM! we have a new source of games. No one is dumb enough to ruin something like steam after all these years of being number 1 in sells over trying to get a little more money. Where else can you find a game for 7$ when retail sells for 50 still.. or gamestop sells a used copy for 5$ less then new while steam will sell it for 5$ because its 75% - 90% off randomly during the week. Reason i have put over 1500$ into steam in the last 4 years is because they dont do what your saying. One day in a far away universe when something does happen and they go corrupt and my account can no longer be played, i Doubt i would want to go back and play the games i own now anyways due to they are extremely out of date and I had beat them multiple times.. Valve knows they run the pc game buisness and that there are competitors out there waiting for them to do something stupid, so they wont. They will do what they always do and make millions doing it without having much backfire from the consumer / companies alike.

#41 Posted by mdslac (33 posts) -

Where did you get that 80% figure?

#42 Posted by bybeach (4832 posts) -

PC gaming is alive and well in the next universe over. Retail (the old universe),..and for that matter it would seem some gaming sites like GB, came to some conclusions about pc gaming. After all it is not uniform and certainly can be either or both out of the consumers interest or affordability range. Buuuuuut, no matter. Sites like Amazon filled the gap disc wise with excellent distribution, and then digital retail happened. Suddenly console finds itself a bit behind the curve. And Dave (and Vinny and Drew) pick up some slack at GB. But on the digital dist. side, Steam is not the only player. Sites, notably like Good Old Games, Greenman games(they still around?) and lately to increased success Amazon Download present competition. I like Steam, but Good old Games at the least has my respect also.

I think what is happening to PC gaming is informative in it's more recent upward trend. Maybe now, especially with Consoles offering HD gaming, a new balance is being found with alternatives and expectations.

I like it.

#43 Posted by SomeJerk (3252 posts) -

Hey, OP. At least four of your co-workers began their campaigns around the world all at the same time. The management in charge of the shilling department should try staggered forum thread drops.

#44 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -

@mdslac said:

Where did you get that 80% figure?

He made it up.

#45 Posted by C2C (855 posts) -

@banishedsoul1 said:

Steam has 80% the digital market which pretty much means they own pc gaming. Power turns companies and people into monsters. As steam takes more and more of the market they will become less friendly.

Where did you get this number from? Does this number apply world wide or just in certain regions? Does this "digital market" include consoles? What does having this market entail (selling games, playing games on the platform)?

#46 Posted by banishedsoul1 (294 posts) -
#47 Posted by bushpusherr (788 posts) -

@Jimbo: my comment wasn't meant to imply that they valued customer service MORE than money, but that it was definitely a pillar of their operation. Contrast that with a company like Activision or EA and how often they seem to be actively programming against the customer in order to make more money.

#48 Posted by Imsorrymsjackson (855 posts) -
#49 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

Steam do not have a monopoly. They only control the market because their service is (arguably) the best. If they cease to be the best, there are other services available.

#50 Posted by HellBrendy (994 posts) -

@ajamafalous said:

You aren't really aware of Valve's track record, are you? There's a reason people trust them and are so loyal.

The thing is though, and I'm a Valve fanboy, that Newell and his peers are not going to be around forever. And what happens if (sadly, I think "when" is more appropriate) a Kotick-look-alike takes over the wheel? Bad stuff. Bad stuff indeed.

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