Retailers want to ban Steam

Discussion in 'Digital Distribution & Mobile Game Applications' started by PhatFreD, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. PhatFreD

    PhatFreD Well-Known Member

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    Apparently games retailers are becoming concerned about Steam's growing market share. I have always loved the Steam distribution platform and the pressure they put on the physical game retailers. But has Steam become too big and thereby threatens competition? What are the TOGers opinions?

    Link to story: Retail threatens to ban Steam

     
  2. Vulcan21

    Vulcan21 Well-Known Member

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    It's time then for the bricks and mortar retailers to change the way they sell games or the pricing of their product then isn't it ?

    Surely if you're losing market share to an online medium, then you also move into that area to compete, rather than bitching about market share and playing bully boy tactics with game manufacturers and distributors.
    Sure Steam makes it easy to puchase a game and play, but trying to shut it's game distribution down, simply because it's successful and competes with retailers is just laughable.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  3. Rage

    Rage Retired Moderator

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    I think the statement claiming that "games being sold with the Steam tech built in will push people to buy through Steam" is a bit mute. The fact that I can pick up COD: BO for $65 else where or buy through Steam for $89.99, I think says it all. I will purchase wherever the price is cheapest.

    I also have a bit of an issue with companies / industries complaining that a competitor is placing a strangle hold on a market. For anyone to have such a strong hold as they claim, they're competitor must be doing something right and probably, they're not doing anything right.

    What would be the issue if Steam became the "games-equivilent of iTunes"? I personally hate iTunes, so guess what, I don't use it. There are other places I can purchase music and other players I can play it on. If you don't like Steam, buy your game from somewhere else. I understand it is a little different because these games are being played through the Steam "accounts" but Steam don't make money THAT way.

    *deep breaths*
    Anyways, end rant :)
     
  4. Judge_Kiwi

    Judge_Kiwi Star Citizen: Vice Captain

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  5. Beavis

    Beavis Well Torn Member and Previously Retired Captain

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    I have used Steam for many years (you had to get it play HL1 DM even though I had already been playing on line for ages before it's introduction) and think it is great.I still buy games else where if they are cheaper than Steam.

    The companies like THQ ,Ubisoft etc must love Steam,they list their old catalog of games and still get $5 for games that would not even be put on the shelf in a store.
     
  6. Thermal Ions

    Thermal Ions Retired Captain

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    Are these are the same retailers who have relegated the PC sections of their stores to a little single shelf down the back, and now complaining that their competition has an unfair monopoly.

    Regardless of whether people have steam, and thus the steam store, most will shop primarily based upon price, followed by convenience and value add. For me, Steam is that convenience and value add, while for others it's their local bricks and mortar store or import store.

    Trying to blackmail publishers into dropping Steamworks is just crazy, and not stocking a Steamworks game sounds a lot like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Besides, couldn't such threats themselves be seen as anti-competitive behaviour?

    I went crazy commenting on this story last night when it popped up on RPS.
     
    Drac likes this.
  7. Snott

    Snott Well-Known Member

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    I have stopped going into stores as I can never find any PC games. Seriously.
    Online "stores" which ship a physical copy are as near as I can find usually, apart from the likes of DickSmith which are overpriced.
     
  8. Mecha-Wombat

    Mecha-Wombat Well-Known Member

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    B&M Retailers are like the record companies

    Blind and SLOW to tech
    So are they going to ban EA games next with their DD platform:w

    it has taken me a long time to see the awesomeness that is Steam

    sure it messed up last week but it forced me to load HL2 an I am having a ball ATM
     
  9. Xavien

    Xavien Retired Captain

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    I like steam as its a better alternative to some of the other drm methods that are out there. Its true though that here in england i can get most games anywhere from 10-50% cheaper on amazon but steam is pretty secure and apart from a few problems i do prefere steam to other downloadable stores. Other then that the community idea is nice its easier to team with others for the multiplayer games etc..... I say fair play to em.

    I think the retailers are making a fuss about nothing though, but what else is new.
     
  10. Snott

    Snott Well-Known Member

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    I agree, I currently have a borderlands disk which is unusable till I go through the support process. What a waste of $100. With Steam I wouldn't have that issue.
     
  11. brohawk

    brohawk Retired Captains

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    Personally I hate Steam. I also hate games that make Steam mandatory to play the game. For instance, I have been having Internet issues, which while I could play CIV 4, makes it impossible for me to play CIV 5 due to Steam. So I would rather Steam went and brick and mortar stayed.
     
  12. Beavis

    Beavis Well Torn Member and Previously Retired Captain

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    If you can start Steam once,you can then tell it to restart in 'offline mode' and when you start up Steam it will let you play any game on your steam list as long as they were not been updated at the time.

    We use this method at LANs when playing Steam games.
     
  13. brohawk

    brohawk Retired Captains

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    I have it set to offline mode and it still wants to connect. So I can't play when my Internet is acting up. Is there some other setting I am missing?
     
  14. Drac

    Drac Squad Officer

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    My thoughts exactly. The retail stores abandoned PC games years ago. Steam, Impulse, D2D, GOG ect stepped in to fill the void. No use bitching about it now.

    The reason I think they're starting to complain is that they realise pretty soon they're also going to loose the console market as the next generation of machines will come with a full online market that relegates retailers to selling little more than hardware and voucher/gift cards for the online stores.

    However, it would be nice if Steamworks was a little less "Steamy" and provided developers with better integration options. Divorcing the store from the Friends, community, game updates would be a nice start, and provide developers with options to skin the steam overlay and an API to develop their own tools, custom news feeds and stats ect to match their game. Impulse offer the same services as steamworks but don't require you to also install the impulse store. They call it impulse reactor and along with DMR, matchmaking, achievements ect you get the option to build custom overlays with reactor wide friends lists ect and it works quite well. Basically it 's like GFWL (steamworks sans the store) done correctly. You can install the impulse digital store client if you want, but you don't need to.

    Brohawk, when you set offline mode it'll ask to connect every time you launch Steam, just click the "stay in offline mode" button. Unless the game is part-way though an update there shouldn't be an issue. Although if I was having Internet issues I'd probably spend my time try to fix instead of playing Civ. I feel like I've lost an arm when I have no net access.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
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  15. Double Supercool

    Double Supercool Just Joined

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    When I worked as an investigator for the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a combination of say, the Federal Trade and Consumer Affairs/Better Business Bureau in the USA), I had a woman ring me and state that the manufacturer of the goods she retailed was going to be opening a direct to public wholesale store down the road. She went on to say that they could sell direct to the public cheaper than she could buy and that it was illegal and anti-competitive.

    I explained it was very legal and in fact pro-competitive. More stores selling for less increases competition, lowers prices, increases customer service. If your margins don't allow you to compete, I am sorry but your business will fail. That is capitalism.

    She then almost screamed the following statement:

    "Well then, just WHAT is the point of retailers?"

    I had to bite my tongue. What could I say "If consumers can buy direct from the manufacturer or from a wholesaler, then there is ZERO point or need to be a retailer". Retailers exist to bring products together for easy access by consumers and easy distribution by manufacturers/wholesalers. Retailers do not have a "right" to exist just because they want to.

    If you are an inefficient business, why should you be protected?

    This is a big deal in Australia for motorcycle parts (my other hobby). We are routinely charge THREE TIMES the amount of buying the *exact* same goods from the USA and they are often delivered quicker. Local stores can whine, but their service and markups are atrocious.

    The only thing that annoys me about Steam is that they still appear to have region pricing for some (all?) items. I'm sorry, but with a digital product that has effectively zero distribution costs compared to physically shipping a box, region pricing is a blatant gouge.
     
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  16. hadrian6616

    hadrian6616 Well-Known Member

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    My biggest issue with steam is the way you can more easily download demos or the way it opens up a solid large distribution channel for independent games and how you can stumble across games you may never know about (EU3 & Hacker Evolution for me). Without it i think PC games would be less supported.
     
  17. Redgum

    Redgum Retired Captain

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    Supercool - that is a great post! you only make about 4 posts a year, so you must put your time into getting them right :p and yes it is a blatant gouge!
     
  18. Thermal Ions

    Thermal Ions Retired Captain

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    Yes, nice post Supercool.

    It is rather amazing that retailers B&M or Online feel that a competitior who has grown their business over many years (from the same starting point mind you) to be offering a better customer experience for many, all of a sudden should be deemed to be operating anti-competitively and/or illegally.
     
  19. Unknown

    Unknown Retired Captain

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    Well, funny you should mention that - as discussed in another thread:

    Dumb question time. If a complaint was made to the ACCC, would it essentially be met with a, "Meh, Steam's overseas so what do you want us to do about it?" or would it be taken seriously and investigated?
     
  20. Drac

    Drac Squad Officer

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    I've often wondered that. If publishers are being pressured into this then could it be seen as collaborative price fixing?

    I thought that kind of thing was illegal, but I'm not really sure if it applies here:

    [B]ACCC Price Fixing[/B]

     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010

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