Jimquisition: Steam Needs Quality Control

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TiberiusEsuriens:
While Steam already has a lot of review information, if they simply showed the average review score, or even just majority of thumbs up/down, on the highest level store tiles it would help people filter out the crap. When creating a truly open market, more power must be given not only to the sellers, but to the buyers as well. Valve has some really tough decisions to make, because whether they let more games on or let users send the bad ones to downvote-hell, they're inevitably going to be faced with the same problem the console marketplaces have had: good or small games getting drowned out.

Does steam ever display the thumbs down anywhere?

Loki_The_Good:
I agree there's a very blurry line between catering and censorship even with the best of intentions.

Exactly.

Hell some people actually like the war Z as insane as that sounds.

I was under the impression that it launched in shambles but has since gotten to a playable state. I recently played Rust. Glitchy and frustrating to play but there was just something about the game that was fun and worth the price of admission. I probably won't play it again for a year but a game doesn't have to be perfectly polished or even glitch free (Bethesda, I'm looking at you) to be fun.

I like the idea of more consumer control too. I think also what would be helpful is better search options and customization. So you can program your starting page to only show games in the genre's styles you like. If you don't want early access just tell it not to show early access games. The same with the search engine it needs to be far more robust then it is now. Hell it'd be really cool if you could put your computer's specs in and games that won't run won't even be shown. All as optional filters of course but it'd be nice if there were far more of them.

They do allow searching by genres but I don't see any advanced search function that would allow filtering out some results. I'd certainly like to drop some early access games in some of my searches. That'd be nice.

Rather weak point this week to be honest.

I'd rather live in a world where I can chose what to play, instead of being bullied into playing only a few "good" games. It's the same with censorship here in germany. Many games I like have a metascore of ~70, and I wouldn't want to lose them or be inconvenienced from playing them.

That being said, there IS a review system in place on steam, and the entire internet judges too, so if anyone bought gary's incident, it's his own fault. Valve could make an extra effort to bury the horrible titles somewhere, though.

And people should really stop making terrible indie games. I mean really, people can't be that delusional about their work, right?

LordLundar:

Fappy:
Considering this video WAS about Steam specifically, I don't see what the issue is. Mentioning whether or not other business' are doing it better or worse is irrelevant. His argument is that Steam is doing something wrong and that they should fix it.

The problem is blaming Valve for the quality issues is the same as blaming GameStop for used games. All it is is giving a scapegoat out there so everyone else can be happily ignored. The problem is with the industry itself, not a single store and Valve suddenly accepting responsibility when no one else does is not a magical bullet that going to fix the industry. All that's going to happen is the makers of this drek is going to another outlet who will happily put it out and nothing is fixed.

Sorry, but a "Not in my Backyard" answer is not going to fix things.

Absolutely no one thinks steam not allowing games on their store will make them without an outlet. The problem isn't that they have an outlet, the problem is they have space and basically marketing through the front page of a platform bordering synonymous with digital distribution. The problem isn't with the industry: all the garbage is coming from indie devs and there's no way to keep greedy motherfuckers out of any industry. There is no way you can stop a dev from making Guise of the Wolf 2: the Shittening and putting it on their site.

The problem is there is shit in my backyard, the problem isn't that there is shit in the sewers or the dumps or the toilets.

Dang. I've heard a whole lot about all this Greenlight business in the last couple of months, but I had no idea it was getting THAT bad.

Jim, you do have a point. The whole having so much crap and knock offs, and only a few good games is what really killed the industry in the U.S. in 1982.
If Steam wants to keep this service, they need to make some more demands of people putting up their games, or else the whole thing will be made useless.

:D Thank God for you, Jim.

Dragonbums:

OWENR22:
Bloody hell, how much stuff has he got on that podium now?

Not enough. There is one member missing on that desk, and that object is the Belladonna Bitch Fist.

<.< Perhaps Jim "lost" the Bitch Fist....

OWENR22:

Yes! Jim, bring back the Bitch Fist, and while you're at it lets get Jonathan Holmes' Penis on the show!

I'm worried to ask, but how is he going to get, that?

The problem with the old system was that high quality games were often being barred from Steam and worse yet Valve wouldn't give a reason for why it got barred. It was even more perplexing in that a lot of very bad games still got onto Steam without anything like Greenlight. The new system is better in that sense that quality games (particularly niche ones) aren't barred off from Steam anywhere near the same extent.

Honestly though, it wouldn't hurt to have some intern test the game before it's Steam release. Playing Guise of the Wolf for 5 minutes should have clued them in that the game is bug ridden, ugly, and had highly flawed gameplay. I doubt Valve is interested in real quality control since they've allowed bad games to skip Greenlight and they even brought back War Z/Infestation: Survivor Stories despite the developers blatantly lying on their Steam page.

I do think this is something Valve needs to fix, but there was one point I don't think was made in the video: the new releases front page is now useless, and that effects for gamers and developers.

It's the first thing that most people see when they get on steam, and where a lot of games pick up exposure. This deluge of crap, early access, and old ports is drowning out the actual gems that pop up onto the front page. Good luck on staying on that page for more than a day right now. Not only does Valve need to QA this shit, they need to implement a refund policy and front page store filters similar to the "show dlc" check box.

Edit: I just thought of what steam is starting to remind me of. Shareware sites from the 90's with half finished project game crap tossed up on there. Startlingly similar.

The main thrust of this argument (or certainly the first half of it) seems to come from "Arguments why YouTube won't last 2005" google search.

Simple improvement, that Jim himself mentioned in the video: Do not give game publishers absolute control over the user feedback forums on Steam. That way negative reviews cannot be silenced, as is happening now.

Of course that can mean more work for Valve, as someone has to mod those forums, and I guess that particular decision was a simple cost-cutting measure.

I'm all for the open-ness of Greenlight, and I think digital markets, once the audience learns and adapts, will naturally weed out the shady crap in favour of good products, as word of mouth has always done.... But only if the audience is given the tools to communicate with each other effectively.

As for people complaining that it'd be dangerous to have Valve decide what goes on Steam or what doesn't.... I agree, but thing is, they already have that control. Until Greenlight was around, you needed publisher backing to have your game on Steam, and, even then, Valve is perfectly capable of removing a game if they don't think fits with their Store (something, if I remember correctly, happened to a Greenlit pseudo-porn game).

In the end, what matters, in any market, is accountability. Same issue being discussed to death with all the "bribing" going around regarding game publishers. When someone releases a major fuckup, there should be consequences, and any and all systems that try to silence such consequences should be questioned heavily.

I love the variety Steam has but there has to be some streamlining. This is the one problem the indie scene might have to wrestle with to really get its market footing. From here to IOs folks are flooding the scene with games trying to be relevant in our social-media-saturated, economic-recovering age, they've just got to iron out the best time to get a finished game on the market.... a game....the ONE game....TO RULE THEM ALL.

The scene might need it's own 'Nintendo - Seal of Quality' era where standard checks and balances for functionality have to be met, and the focus would narrow to a few good titles, than mounds of brokenness. Its not good for our wallets, and not good for those developers business models in the long run. They're supposed to be the future ground breakers.

and look at Valve's Job listings. There's Steam - Business Manager. From the way Jim's putting it, they might need the QA/marketing equivalent of 'Swayze in Roadhouse' at this point. Somebody who can really tell these new companies

'that was then fellas, this is now'

or at least in a nicer way encourage people to put more stern warnings on early access titles, like DAYZ did, and move the price down a bit.

Dunno, seems kinda weird to expect quality control from Steam when we don't question why retailers stocked Ride to Hell. Stores aren't really the people we normally expect to do quality control for us, they're neutral carriers who allow us to decide what we buy and what not. And if someone really wants to buy Time & Eternity it'd be wrong for Media Markt to say "we don't like that game so you can't have it". Steam's layout makes it hard to see somewhat older titles at a glance (which makes flooding with new stuff a problem) and of course Early Access needs to be segregated like it is on Desura but I don't expect them to vet games for quality. And I bought Gettysburg Armored Warfare.

Piorn:
Rather weak point this week to be honest.

I'd rather live in a world where I can chose what to play, instead of being bullied into playing only a few "good" games. It's the same with censorship here in germany. Many games I like have a metascore of ~70, and I wouldn't want to lose them or be inconvenienced from playing them.

That being said, there IS a review system in place on steam, and the entire internet judges too, so if anyone bought gary's incident, it's his own fault. Valve could make an extra effort to bury the horrible titles somewhere, though.

And people should really stop making terrible indie games. I mean really, people can't be that delusional about their work, right?

There is absolutely nothing stopping a dev from putting a game on their own website and you buying it. You can choose what to play: Why would you choose Garry's incident? Why would you choose a broken game? And I take exception that there'd be a "few" good games. Steam is absolutely full of playable content. No one wants steam to just add games that get into prominent peoples' top 10 lists at the end of the year. No one wants steam to stop adding indie games, and certainly no one wants steam to stop removing any game that doesn't get at leas an 80 on metacritic.

70 isn't a bad score, 70 definitely isn't a bad enough score to bury.

Yes they can be that delusional, or they can just hope it sells enough to make a profit. You're not going to stop people from making terrible indie games.

Lightknight:
[quote="TiberiusEsuriens" post="6.841332.20686391"]While Steam already has a lot of review information, if they simply showed the average review score, or even just majority of thumbs up/down, on the highest level store tiles it would help people filter out the crap. When creating a truly open market, more power must be given not only to the sellers, but to the buyers as well. Valve has some really tough decisions to make, because whether they let more games on or let users send the bad ones to downvote-hell, they're inevitably going to be faced with the same problem the console marketplaces have had: good or small games getting drowned out.

Does steam ever display the thumbs down anywhere?

Yes/kind of. Once you've selected a game, you can scroll down to the reviews. People give it a numerical X/10, but each review also has either a green thumbs up or red thumbs down. Having never actually left a review I don't know how the thumb is generated, be it directly selected or generated based on the numerical score, but they do exist. It's also highly likely that people don't even know these reviews exists though, since you have to scroll past the game pictures, ratings, credits, alternative store choices... reviews are several pages down, much further than lazy people that just want to play a game will go (i.e. most people on earth).

The fact that the question had to be asked indicates exactly how useless it is right now.

Er, given the popularity of places where anyone can sell a thing (even a used thing), regardless of the thing's actual quality (eBay, Craig's List, Amazon, just about any app store, etc.), I can't honestly agree that Steam has an unsustainable business model. I'm not saying it's a very customer-centric business model, but it's not going to drive them out of business any time soon. It might even appeal to people who fear some censor board saying "This game is bad, because it has things in it our censor board disagrees with (but is not functionally broken in any way)." Besides, to have an all-inclusive library of games that are good, you'd need a board of reviewers larger than all of Valve, and I'd bet that's not financially feasible. Some games would have to be censored on time constraints alone, and that could hurt Valve significantly if those games were amazing and offered on other platforms (not to say we shouldn't have other platforms...).

If I got to offer a fix, it wouldn't be: Valve should hire hundreds of reviewers to decide what goes on Steam. I'd say: What if customers got to flag games as markedly busted, and get a refund for them? If a game gets enough "This game is unplayable/broken, DO NOT BUY" flags, maybe a smaller board of reviewers could take a look, then pull it from Steam. In the mean time, people who sunk money into a pile of crap could get their money back (or maybe after the game was pulled, everyone who wanted a refund could get their money back), and anyone who might be looking at the game could see how many "Game broke, don't buy" flags there were, and make decisions from there. Valve wouldn't have to hire a ton of people, gamers wouldn't have to necessarily risk spending jillions on crap just to find out it's crap, and Valve still wouldn't need a numerical rating system for their reviews section ("This game does not function as advertised" is much different than "This game functions, I just hate it").

LordLundar:
Question: at what point are you going to make the same demands of brick and mortar stores and other online stores like Gamefly?

Because everything you are accusing Steam of happens in every store, physical or digital. To say that Steam needs to filter when no one else does is disingenuous at best.

Because physical stores have a return policy?

Gamefly is a rental service - by its own promotion and purpose for existing, Gamefly is a 'try before you buy' service, one that also happens to offer the 'buy' service, but you also aren't stuck with a game after buying it like you would be through Steam because you're likely to rent it first. There's next to no need for QA here.

GameStop is even more simple - how many copies of Ride to Hell do you think your local GameStop has? Physical merchandising space is taken up by the games that will sell the most. It's why they generally have a billion copies of Call of Duty's latest schlock, but maybe only one copy of that obscure Japanese rhythm game. Hell, most stores don't even display PSP merchandise, despite still having it in stock. The other difference is that GameStop has a pretty nice return policy for used games as you can bring them back within seven days for a full refund. Not store credit, just whatever you paid for. You might be surprised to learn that most of their digital catalog will redirect you to Steam.

I'm not saying that Steam should handle their business model like that, but a return policy would be the minimum amount of effort Steam could put forth to show they're at least trying to help before they get crushed under the weight of terrible schemes like Greenlight.

While I agree that Steam probably needs some kind of vetting process, I believe that is something to worry about after the technical limitations they are attempting to break have been resolved. From what I gathered from GabeN's lecture at University of Texas, Austin, they feel like Steam's current store front is creating artificial scarcity in the form of barriers to entry and that their goal is to not only streamline the process of getting your product on the store shelves, but also implement self directed training on the store systems through the use of achievements.

I have reiterate that I agree with the principle, but I believe it can be address once the store space is actually laid open. The movements toward a community based review system are a step in the right direction and adoption of a GOG.com style satisfaction based refund policy would cement the deal.

There are two points to this issue

1)Customers want more choices and consistency in quality

2)Developers want to publish more games with easier access to said customers

You can give customers more diversity and a higher quality by putting a wall or filter between the games and your market, but that's costly and timely for both Valve and Developers.

You can open the flood gates and vastly lower the cost and time, but you get over-saturation of 'same'y' products and a huge drop in quality.

In order to grow Valve 'needs' to have a market that's more open than it was previously, but in order to maintain that growth, they need to monitor it. As with Youtube and the App Store, quality management with growth has been proven to be an extremely difficult task, and unlike Google or Apple, Valve doesn't bring in nearly enough money to program filters for PC games, or allow for their storefront to 'fend for itself'.

So they're at an impasse. They need money in order to increase quality control measures, but they need growth in order to increase revenue. One way to solve this is to outsource it, potentially at a low cost, or for free. Greenlight and Early Access were something they were throwing at the 'wall'. Neither seem to stick, so now what? Well that's what Valve are in the process of trying to solve.

Is it just me or did Recoil pull levels wholesale from F.E.A.R. Online? I'd swear I played those same exact maps on that game years ago.

Lt. Rocky:
If Steam had, say, a 1-month return policy, I feel there wouldn't be a need to enforce Quality Control. I doubt you'd be able to get the money back to your bank account, but that's why Steam Wallet exists, right? You'd get the money back to spend on a different Steam game.

A month? you do realize most modern games can be completed in a weekend, right?

I don't agree that Valve should be responsible for the quality of the games it sells on steam, the devs are responsible for that.
They SHOULD however be responsible to ensure that the customer is not lied to on the product page advertising features that aren't there.

I don't know if I really want valve to pull an apple on us here and have "quality control" that's so eccentric, you have absolutely no idea if you pass it with "just a good game".
Or a microsoft with how they treated indies like crap and shoved them into the darkest corner of their terrible 360 dashboard.

I also don't think this is valves place.
This is what sites like the escapist are there for, right.
So we can inform ourselves of what is and what isn't a good purchase.

Shdwrnr:
The movements toward a community based review system are a step in the right direction and adoption of a GOG.com style satisfaction based refund policy would cement the deal.

This is one way to solve it, but can potentially backfire.

I'd say that they can probably manage partial refunds on Full Releases(full refunds should it be broken), full refunds on green lit games, and no refund on Early Access(it defeats the purpose). Anything else could lead to issues when it comes to a marketplace like Steam. It works for EA, GoG, and Amazon because their products are practically guaranteed to work AND satisfy, and their Marktetplace is smaller(half of Amazons goes through Steam) so I'm not sure how Valve could manage.

Jimothy Sterling:
Steam Needs Quality Control

Valve is squandering its reputation in a bid to have more content than the other guys. Does more content mean anything when that content is crap?

Watch Video

I agree with 93% of what you said, but I really like Motor Rock. $7 for a remake of an Abandonware game is a great deal. There are additional tracks and additional cars, not to mention more customization available, so it isn't a total rip-off. Now that they've changed the announcer, it is hardly much more of a rip-off of Rock n' Roll Racing than Rock n' Roll Racing was a rip-off of Racing Destruction Set.

On the other hand, Valve needs to cull its store to get rid of games that are broken or were sold with deceptive claims and needs to punish publishers that silence legitimate bad reviews.

5 terrible games on steam and he's off his rocker.

Steam is still incredible and the best of the bunch as far as digital retailer's go.

Steam needs to fix things up soon or they'll be in danger? Please.

Interesting episode but i have to say i disagree. I personally have always be suspicious of greenlight games and i don't buy unless i'm damn sure they are going to be good but that's the attitude i maintain for all games.

Agree. Fully.
So many unfinished titles. Old games that suppose to work and they dont .... because (and no return policy). Greenlight is nice concept but for 1 good games that get thru 5 utter crap too. Why the hell they sell unfinished games that costs more than AAA title (wasteland) that whats Kickstarter for ....
I am currently mad at steam so this piece fits exactly to my mindset.
gj

True words Jim! It got out of hand.
And just saying "Steam is just a store and the dev/publisher are responsible!" is also a rather irresponsible stance to be honest.
In any other business than video games/software the retail store selling goods very well have responsibilities to their customers! - If it doesn't work I can return it for example or the store takes care about it getting fixed. Only video games/software are the exception and it SUCKS!
Not to mention that Steam made this business practice acceptable by presenting it to wide audiences it also pushed it forward by e.g. including early access games in their hit lists!

Fully agree with everything in this video. Greenlight started as a great idea but so much shit gets passed through it that it boggles my mind. Whenever I occasionally vote on potential Greenlight candidates I usually don't vote for more than 1 out of every 20. Most look awful and I'm not going to vote someone through on the promise of an idea that will in all likeliness, never be fully or even partially realized. I think a lot of people who vote in it must just go "ya that looks alright" and then vote for it without ever intending to buy the game if it was greenlit. It really just needs to go away.

synobal:
Honestly I thought people were suppose to do product research before buying something. Ya valve could do better but so could people. Hell they have reviews now right on steam, and then there is the industry of reviewers, like say Jim and such.

While it may be something of a crime against all humans, Jim, and other reviewers, aren't known by everyone. ;p

:/ Plus, as Jim pointed out, there are people on Steam not only misrepresenting the info on their games, and removing info that says bad stuff about their games. But also, people have outright lied about what's in the games.

Most people "in the know" now have knowledge of that, but hindsight is 20/20, and what not.

There should be 3 things the guy who's supposed to approve what games' are allowed on Steam: Yes, No, and "What are you, shitting me?!"

I have to agree with just about all of this video. Looking at the releases being announced as coming soon on Steam, it leaves me with a sense of getting choked on games that, in concept, look like interesting, appealing new ideas. Then once they come out and I actually pick a few to spend money on, they're barely work the time, let alone the money I spend on them. Contagion is something I got early and gave out as a gift around Christmas, but while I think it had (and potentially still has) potential, the controls are sluggish as hell and the animations are pretty stiff, at least the last time I played it they were. Nether, a game I got as a gift and had been looking at with a lot of interest, has come across as rather lackluster early on and pretty unforgiving to players early in the game.

There have definitely been some genuine gems that have come out on Steam as of late, such as Starbound (even in its early release state), Payday 2, Mercenary Kings and Metro: Last Light. But the better ones have tended to be the ones created by the more mainstream designers; say what you want about triple-A companies, they at least have the cash to create something impressive-looking. However, I'll readily admit big-name developers and publishers still produce plenty of shit - Ride to Hell: Retribution and Aliens: Colonial Marines are proof of that. However, I think we've seen less of a tendency to release half-finished products from these major developers...although on reflection that is something that's been on the rise even WITH big budget companies.

I definitely agree with Jim that Greenlight was something that had, and still has, a lot of good potential, but this recent wave of poorly-made drek clogging up the market is not reflecting well on it. And something I think is even worse, is that it will serve as a reason for mainstream developers to continue with the business model that has sent many people looking more to the indie developers. Programs like Greenlight and Kickstarter were made, to my understanding, as a way for small developers with creative ideas to get money for their projects because mainstream publishers have shunned new and original ideas because they break from the mold of things that have proven popular; the mainstream companies seem to fear risk-taking and want to do nothing but maintain status quo by creating design-by-committee games based on trends and focus groups. But now it looks like there's a growing number of people trying to use programs like Greenlight not to put out an idea they've put time, attention and care into developing, but a hastily stitched together product that's rushed out in an attempt to turn a profit as fast as possible. I'd personally be afraid that mainstream publishers would see this and jump to the conclusion that all new developers with an original idea are going to act this way, further cementing the publishers in their habits of only making games that ape what's already popular or are yet another installment in a series that has gone stale long ago; more Halo's, more Final Fantasies, and so on.

I have to wonder if these developers pushing half-baked games onto Steam are doing so because they feel pressured to get something out as fast as possible to satisfy their supporters. If that's the case, then I'm also reminded of Jim's past video on "Launch Splooge;" it's as if these small-time developers are in such a hurry to get something out there so they can get their development studio off the ground, they're throwing half-finished games onto the market so they can get something out there during a consumer feeding frenzy, namely this explosive interest in early release titles. If that's so, then I'd say it would behoove both publishers and developers to take the time to make a finished product to ensure customers don't feel taken advantage of, and it would behoove customers to neither demand developers work within an unreasonable schedule nor get caught up in a trend that has them buy without thinking first.

Sigh...I'm of two minds for this subject. ("Duality" seems more justified than ever, doesn't it?)
*****************************************
I

On one hand, Steam's leniency has enabled some truly great smaller (and indie) games to get attention and flourish where they would not have otherwise. It's adhering more closely to the principle of a free market than either AAA or consoles do and you CANNOT I repeat CANNOT expect a free market to be devoid of profiteers and quick-cash junk. That exists in every single free market on the planet in some form or another. It's unavoidable.

Personally, I don't seem to suffer from "accidentally" buying garbage as badly as it's made out here. Perhaps it's because I actually possess more intelligence and self control than a magpie and actually do some rudimentary research before considering a purchase. It's not hard to learn, and it doesn't take that much time to do.

So, for all the bitching about how the consumer shouldn't have to do that much work...uh, yeah. They do. In fact, it's kinda integral to the entire economic process; especially for luxuries.

Better informed consumers force a better response from the market; WE, as part of Demand, not Supply, are the de-weeders.
It's our job to steer quality control by establishing standards based on what we will/won't buy, and ENFORCING those standards through practice where able.

"Vote with your wallet" is only effective when you know what you're voting for and WHY.
And given the ENORMOUS number of sources of information (credible sources even!) to learn about a product at any given time on the Internet, there is no excuse to not at least try.

That, and if Steam does start policing games, what sort of standards would they employ?
How many promising WiP titles would suffer as a result?

*****************************************
II

On the other hand, Steam is still a proprietary system. Proprietary systems are more restrictive than a free market model by their very nature. So to win over the consumer, they MUST leverage their nature wisely by consistently filtering for quality. In short: Reputation matters.

This principle is (for better and worse) why Apple is so successful, and it's not a new concept to gaming either. It's actually one of the gaming industry's oldest concepts since a stable reputation is exactly how Nintendo not only pulled the business out of its crash, but kept it from crashing again.

Now, Steam isn't solely guilty of failing to filter properly. Pretty much every proprietary gaming system in the industry is at some point.

Nintendo, for all of their Seals of Quality and market filtering still approved droves of shovelware for every system they've made (well, except the Virtual Boy...maybe). But their lowered/nil standards are becoming more apparent with their growing popularity.

Back on Steam, the issue will keep growing with Steam's popularity.
More people = more suckers, and even if a tiny % of a large population buys a really shitty game, if it's made cheap enough it will still turn a profit.

Greenlight was supposed to let users automate the process via a sort of democratic vote, but as with any such system, low voter turnout allows vote fixing so rubbish still gets through the approval process fairly regularly.

I don't think it's unreasonable to try and filter out obvious cheap ass scams like War Z or Guise of the Wolf; those games are on par with really shitty PS2 games from over a decade ago.

J Tyran:
Now I am not claiming there will be a crash at all just saying those three things where among the main causes of the big crash.

While we're "not" insinuating points relevant to the 80s crash, I'll add another one.
The fourth factor that contributed to the crash, or rather, its absence: Openly available sources of information to the consumer; namely critical feedback and coverage.

The first game crash came before the internet. Hell, it came before dedicated gaming magazines.
There was no coverage of the games, just the publisher's word and the box art. So it was basically ripe for one-sided exploitation, and eventually, the consumers just lost all trust in the market.

But now, we have information. We have the internet. Word of mouth, critical feedback, and intermediary user feedback like Video and Lets Plays are all readily available within a day if not HOURS of a new game with any sort of visibility being launched (the sort of visibility that Steam can provide).

Even in Jim's video, he cites The War Z, an infamously terrible game and an obvious scam on launch.
But here's the thing: He didn't have to explain to us why the War Z was relevant. He could assume we knew, or that we could quickly learn if we didn't WHY that was a relevant example. Or Guise of the Wolf. This is literally the FIRST TIME I've even heard of that game let alone seen it, and even cutting Jim's commentary out (apart from the name) I could tell the game was total ass and would never even CONSIDER buying it; not even ironically.

It isn't due to any sort of superpower Jim possesses (though I'm sure others may speculate exactly what Jim's superpowers are. ;p), it's just due to the fact that we live in the Information Age.

The problem I see here isn't so much Steam's lack of quality control (Valve would need a lot more people on the project to actually make that happen), it's the trained stupidity of consumers. As I grow older, advertising seems far more transparent. As a child of the 80s and teenager of the 90s, that disturbs me greatly.

Looking back before I was born, I think we've again reached the level of bullshit in advertising that existed in the early 60s. I'm not entirely sure why, but for some reason, bullshit sells... again. My reaction to those games about which you exclaim "they charge money for this! What is wrong with these publishers?" is, "People actually bought that?! What is wrong with those people?". The mere existence of google searches, wikipedia and the plethora of video reviews makes that level of ignorance entirely willful in my book.

...I still choose to blame Edward Bernays... manipulative son of a bitch, that guy.

Lightknight:

McKitten:
I usually agree with Jim, but on this i've got to say fuck no. Steam is shaping up to become a near-monopoly like Amazon, and the absolutely last thing we as customers need is for them to grant third parties permissions to sell to us. That's a position of power that is absolutely going to be abused.

What? Jim just wants Steam to hold its content providers accountable. To curate their stuff. Where are you getting "grant third parties permission to sell to us"? What does that even mean in relation to this topic?

(Remember when people actually believed google about their "don't be evil" shtick? Yeah, funny that)

Yeah, haha, like that time they started google fiber to scare the huge ogliopoly of ISPs into not taking advantage of consumers. That worked so well some of them actually started providing a better service for a reasonable price and others try to pass legislation to stop it because competition hurts them...

http://boingboing.net/2014/01/31/kansas-cable-lobbyist-writes-b.html

You know, that time they made a company that boasts 1Gb down/up for $70 which is cheaper than many Americans are paying for over 15Mb Down/ 5Mb up.

Google isn't evil. They do a shit ton of stuff that greatly benefits mankind. From putting up huge cash prizes to reward scientific developments that benefit mankind to providing legitiamte competition across multiple markest. It's correct to say that they're in the position to do evil, it's incorrect to say that they are currently doing so.

Yeah, about that....

http://pando.com/2014/01/23/the-techtopus-how-silicon-valleys-most-celebrated-ceos-conspired-to-drive-down-100000-tech-engineers-wages/

Google has always been evil. But like Apple, they're real good at tricking people into thinking they're not.

Valve isn't there yet. They still have a chance to do something about it.

lord.jeff:
I have to completely disagree this time Jim, they are a store it's not their job to decide what goes out and what doesn't, especially with a store as powerful as Steam where not being on the Steam shelf can mean no one sees your game. It is the job of developers to make a good game not the stores and it's not the stores job nor is it the stores job to decide if a title is good enough to be bought by you that's your job as a consumer. This is a great example of giving up freedom for convenience let Steam control the market and decide what I should buy because I'm too lazy to look up gameplay footage and reviews.

Of course it's a store's job to decide what they sell.

Think of this: What is the difference between Whole Foods and Aldi? Both are grocery stores that sell food. The only difference is what products they allow to be sold there.

If you want your store to be known as selling cheap crap games that barely work, keep doing what you're doing, Valve.

I was willing to give steam a break on this until last week when I browsed steam for new releases. Its just swamped with crap titles and I got bored looking for something decent. Clean up your act steam.

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