What is Microsoft's current relationship with Steam?

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Hayt

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#1  Edited By Hayt

So with the news of Obsidian potentially being purchased by Microsoft I have finally been forced to give a shit about how the new Microsoft handles itself with PC games. I'm having trouble working out the structure of Microsoft and it's internal studios and how their games come to PC and what determines whether they live on the Microsoft store forever. For example when Remedy made Quantum Break with Microsoft it did eventually come to Steam. Same with Cuphead unless I am misremembering. On the other hand something like Forza or Gears of War only comes to PC via the Microsoft store. Is this because these were games that traditionally never came to PC in the first place?

Ninja Theory for example put out their games on Steam but I don't believe they've released anything since they were announced as being bought by Microsoft. Does anyone know how this stuff works?

tldr; Are Obsidian (and other internal studios') games ever going to be on Steam under Microsoft?

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Efesell

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Games like Forza and Gears are first party, so Microsoft controls everything about where those go and they're not served particularly well putting them on a competing service. Those other studios partnered with Microsoft and probably just had a deal to keep the game only on their platform for a certain amount of time.

If Microsoft does buy Obsidian those games probably won't be on Steam.

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Hayt

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#3  Edited By Hayt

@efesell: That's a pretty big bummer. As a company known for their PC games I wonder if forcing their content onto a deeply unpopular platform isn't going to hurt them. Not the mention the pricing on that thing.

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Efesell

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It might but I think it's also a pretty significant chunk of the audience that loves to complain but not actually do anything about it so they'll grumble all the way to the store but they'll still shop there.

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imhungry

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First party games are almost certainly going to be Windows store exclusive because of Play Anywhere. It's a pretty garbage store interface but I imagine getting to play on either Xbox or your PC is a enough of a plus for people to suck it up and deal with it.

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Hayt

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@efesell said:

It might but I think it's also a pretty significant chunk of the audience that loves to complain but not actually do anything about it so they'll grumble all the way to the store but they'll still shop there.

I feel like this is a pretty unfair characterisation. When the only alternative to not playing the game at all is buying it on a shitty platform I don't think you can blame that on the people being weak-willed or something. Microsoft forcing you to use their platform because they know that if you had any choice in the matter you wouldn't use it is an indictment on Microsoft not on the people who just want to play the game.

I love Obsidians games so if I have buy them through the Windows store I suppose I will, which is your point, but I don't think that disallows me the right to criticise what is an anti-consumer business practice. Further more I'm an Obsidian diehard. Anyone on the fence isn't going to wade through as much shit as I am.

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Efesell

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@hayt: I mean.. nothing disallows you from being critical on these practices but I hardly think it's unfair to note that this is ultimately kind of pointless when most people do that but also just give them money anyway.

Either way it was not meant to be a dig at anyone in particular, I'm more or less in the exact same situation here.

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carlthenimrod

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I would like Microsoft to release things on Steam also but I’m just happy they release all their 1st party stuff on PC to begin with. Saying it is anti-consumer is a little backwards to me as if this happened 10 years ago and you didn’t have an X-Box you would no longer be playing Obsidian games.

It took me all of 45 seconds to purchase Forza Horizon 4 and get it downloading. It’s not my first choice to buy games but it has a search box and the download speed seemed fast.

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cikame

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I'd prefer everything to be on Steam, let's get that out the way first.
I own two games on the Windows Store, Forza Horizon 3 and Gears 4, i had to download the eappx files for those games through torrents people had set up because the Windows Store download kept failing, this was two years ago. The next time i used the store was for the Forza Horizon 4 demo, where i was blown away by the fact that THE DOWNLOAD KEPT FAILING, i have no doubt that the Windows Store has been updated in the last two years, but in my case it still seems to be complete dog shit, and i wasn't surprised at all to hear Jason say it was still crap when he tried to use it.
So, knowing that the future of Age of Empires is going to be exclusive to the Windows Store, and that future games from Obsidian will be too, is nothing but bad news.

Steam's community hub is fantastic for specific game discussions, it's the first place people go to look for answers for technical issues, the workshop is a nice and easy system for modding if available, all my screenshots are kept on the Steam cloud, the community artwork sections are hilarious, the Steam overlay is useful and an easy way to interact with friends... any game not releasing on Steam is missing features as far as i'm concerned.

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FacelessVixen

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I mean, Steam is also my preferred platform for PC games, but it's not like I have any horror stories about the Microsoft Store. Not being unable to directly set custom key bindings for my mouse using Logitech Gameing Software because of how Microsoft's DRM works compared to other platforms is a bummer since I can't play shooters with a controller anymore, but the MS Store has been as non-intrusive as Uplay and Origin in my experience.

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dstopia

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#11  Edited By dstopia

I think anything that kicks Valve in the balls and make them improve their service is welcome, so I'm all for a diversification of online storefronts. So many people complain about Steam being a terrible storefront will still complain whenever they can't get their games through Steam, without realizing that that's the only thing that will drive people to make better storefronts in general.

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jay_ray

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The bigger thing is MS wants you to subscribe to Game Pass so most (if not all) new MS games will be available through that including any new Obsidian games. So I think most people would prefer to subscribe for a month for $10 instead of buying the game outright.

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bybeach

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I like Steam also, and really do not have much of a gripe with them. But I also understand basic reality, that it makes very good sense for Microsoft to do exclusive with their own established store. They are after all only acknowledging that Origin was perfectly correct in keeping all the profits for themselves, then having to pay Steam a cut of the action. Already covered ground.

What someone like me thinks, with not wanting my games spread around. or being very used to Steam, doesn't register. They know if I want a particular game enough, I will be coming.

Unless I don't for some reason.

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Hayt

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#14  Edited By Hayt

@dstopia: But this isnt Microsoft taking sales from Steam by offering a better storefront (it is, in many ways, a worse store front) it is Microsoft just not listing stuff on steam. Battlefield being exclusive to Origin doesn't force Steam to improve their frontend and neither would this.

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mavs

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Obsidian games are available on GOG as well as Steam. Personally I own Pillars on GOG but not Steam. This isn't only something that will affect Valve.

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NTM

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I was thinking about this a couple of days ago. Anyways, I don't know, but I will say that it would be awesome if The Orange Box was enhanced on the X.

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Hayt

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@mavs: True. GOG is a great platform. The biggest losers in this will be Mac and Linux people. I feel like Obsidian had support for those pretty well.

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ll_Exile_ll

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#18  Edited By ll_Exile_ll

This just seems like a silly complaint. Microsoft is already doing far more to get their games into more hands than Sony and Nintendo by releasing on PC in the first place. The fact that their first party games are even on PC is a huge boon to PC gamers, expecting them to release their first party games on a competing storefront is just absurd. Is Nintendo expected to release their games on PSN?

Secondly, advocating for further cementing of Valve's near monopoly on the PC games market is a bad idea. They've already proven they don't have customer interest anywhere near the top of their priority list when it comes to their policies on things like quality control, storefront over-saturation, and consumer protection. More competition in this space can only make everyone better. Look how much better Origin has become over the years as they've tried to compete with Valve. More platforms putting pressure on Steam can only result in good outcomes.

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alexl86

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Microsoft is an active publisher on Steam, just not most of their games. They released the Definitive edition of Recore, some Disney games and some other stuff in the last month(although they dropped all of them on the same day and haven't published anything else for a year).

They might still publish on Steam, although I'm not so sure they will if they become the sole owner. They may start treating them as an in-house developer. Obsidian has made a couple of my all time favorite games, so I'd be sad if this would limit them in any way.

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Hayt

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#20  Edited By Hayt

@ll_exile_ll: Steam prices well and their client works. That is why they continue to be successful. The same cannot be said of the Windows store. Acting like Microsoft is doing PC gamers a favour by offering their games at all is a laugh riot. Particularly when it comes to them offering Obsidan's games. Sony is irrelevant in this discussion as they aren't poised to take control of what has historically been a great PC oriented company.

I understand your wider point about competition but Microsoft and Origin aren't making Steam improve their service they're just making their own smaller walled gardens off in the corner.

Sorry if this comes off as standoffish but I feel being given no option but to use a half baked service is a pretty valid complaint and the whole "no it's actually good for you" angle is too much of a "that's not piss it's just raining" for my taste.

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Efesell

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To be fair Steam is a baffling and bad service in a lot of ways as well it just has the benefit of being the very first giant room for all of your games and it's frustrating when a lot of other services ask you to leave and come over for this one very specific thing.

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spacegg

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#22  Edited By spacegg

@mavs:

True. GOG is a great platform. The biggest losers in this will be Mac and Linux people. I feel like Obsidian had support for those pretty well.

As a Linux user/gamer this is unfortunately very true. It would be very sad if future Pillars of Eternity and other games would be only on Windows and Xbox.

I know lots of people are dissatisfied to Valve/Steam but it is good to remember how much work they do for open PC platform. They are developing open source software and embrasing open standards like OpenGL and Vulkan. I feel this is very important when Microsoft is working on their own software store and tightening their grip from PC users/gamers.