Steam Is 70% of PC Digital Distribution Market

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Steam Is 70% of PC Digital Distribution Market

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Stardock chief Brad Wardell says that his company's Impulse service is second place in the digital distribution business, but it's a distant second - Valve's Steam platform makes up a whopping 70% of the market.

There's probably a saying somewhere about how having the humility to admit defeat is a noble thing indeed. And while Brad Wardell - CEO of Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod developer Stardock - isn't exactly admitting defeat by saying that Stardock's own Impulse digital distribution network is second place, it takes a certain kind of grace to admit just how badly Steam is beating off his pants.

"Our estimation is that Steam - as the current market leader - enjoys approximately 70 percent of the overall digital distribution market with Impulse at 10 percent and all others combined at 20 percent in terms of actual dollars generated per month," wrote Wardell in the annual Stardock consumer report.

"Steam and Impulse both have the advantage of exclusive content (Left 4 Dead, Half-Life, Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, etc.)," Wardell added, saying that he expected digital distribution to make up about 25% of total revenue for an average PC title.

Wardell briefly discussed the difficulties of running a service in direct competition with Valve's juggernaut platform, specifically addressing Valve's success in licensing Steamworks to other publishers and developers as DRM.

"Once a game requires Steamworks, it is effectively cut off from us, which limits our content. Examples of this include THQ's Dawn of War II, Sega's Empire: Total War, and more recently Activision's Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 ... The problem is that it is not practical for us to install a game that in turn requires the installation of a competitor's store and platform in order to play it." This outlook is reflected in his company's refusal to offer MewTwo on Impulse (a stance that is shared by other digital distribution networks such as Direct2Drive).

While I'm certainly not buying into the Randy Pitchford school of Steam-bashing, I think it's important that even the most ardent Valve fanboy recognize that despite Steam's dominance, having competition like Stardock's Impulse is a good thing. A total monopoly on digital distribution would mean that A.) the service could charge whatever its operators felt like and B.) the operators would have little reason to improve.

So thanks, Brad Wardell and Impulse. You may be getting sand kicked in your face like someone in dire need of Charles Atlas' bodybuilding, but I'm glad you're here.

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I buy from both myself. I'm glad Digital Distribution is taking off though. It's very convenient and, you save a lot of money with offers and such.

Wow. I knew that Steam was big, but not THIS big!

Not surprised. Surprised someone had the stones and honesty to say it though. More power to Mr. Wardell.

Steam is on top, and with retailers stocking fewer and fewer PC titles, it will more than likely stay that way.

5 year old digital distribution service has a huge market share lead on a year old competitor, how shocking!

Hmm, I should take a look at what Impulse has to offer, actually. I never really looked past Steam and Direct2Drive. It's good to feed the competition a bit, it keeps the games and services on a certain level of quality for PC gamers.

In other news,the sky is blue.

I´m sorry but this is hardly a surprise.

Impulse is such a stupid name. Who the hell is going to ask their friend if they have a 'Impulse account'? Steam is 1 sybil and easy to say.

RAND00M:
In other news,the sky is blue.

I´m sorry but this is hardly a surprise.

Blue?!? *Shocked*

This is hardly a suprise really, considering that Steam broke the 2 online million users and is actually staying there it's just going to keep growing.

Yay for Steam!!

(The more money Valve makes, the more they can afford to develop new features for TF2 and L4D1&2 and finally get around to developing EPISODE 3)

If I ever become a PC gamer, I'll probably focus on using Steam.

Impulse is in certain aspects much better than Steam.

For example, they don't have the 1€ = $1 policy like Steam has. At one point in time, Steam had Red Faction: Guerilla 25 % off to a price of 37,5€.
I looked around a bit and found out that Impulse also had the game off, but 50 % rather than 25 % amounting to a total price of $ 20!. That's almost 1 third of the sale price Steam had.

In conclusion, Impulse is a very good competitor to Steam.

I like impulse but the steam overlay is just so handy so I tend to have it running all the time and that makes it hard to bother using something else

Steam being that big is a bad thing, because non-digital games are now requiring the service. That you can go to the store, buy a game, and STILL be forced to use Steam is not just a pissoff, but greatly troubling.

I'm not surprised. Even 90% would not have surprised me.

Good on them, but I like to buy all my games hard-copy anyway.

Its a psycological thing, I like being able to go to a shop and buy something visceral, and the anticipation of getting home and loading up agame for the first time is exiting to me, as opposed to clicking a button and waiting for something to download.

.. also, it gets me out of the house.

It's 70% of a market that is only 5%-10% of the entire PC game sales market.

Not exactly verging on a monopoly here.

Khell_Sennet:
Steam being that big is a bad thing, because non-digital games are now requiring the service. That you can go to the store, buy a game, and STILL be forced to use Steam is not just a pissoff, but greatly troubling.

It's not like they're making you pay to use Steam. Just consider that for a moment.

L33tsauce_Marty:
Impulse is such a stupid name. Who the hell is going to ask their friend if they have a 'Impulse account'? Steam is 1 sybil and easy to say.

Ah, but you forget, these people are PC gamers, and they, unlike you, have the ability to use polysyllabic words in everyday conversation.

Hey, doesn't escapist's War Cry have a store? I bought SWAT 4 Gold Edition off of it IIRC.

Still, I may love steam but if I see a good deal, I'm going to take it, so having options like impulse, D2D, and War Cry is nice.

I was ALMOST going to get Impulse's DDE of Dragon Age Origins, but I decided I would rather have a hard copy of that.

No surprise - Valve were pioneers of digital distribution.

TheRealCJ:

L33tsauce_Marty:
Impulse is such a stupid name. Who the hell is going to ask their friend if they have a 'Impulse account'? Steam is 1 sybil and easy to say.

Ah, but you forget, these people are PC gamers, and they, unlike you, have the ability to use polysyllabic words in everyday conversation.

What do you mean? I'm a PC gamer and I can use complex and frightening words, but the name Impulse isn't going to catch on as much as steam did.

I will still use Direct2drive over Steam or Impulse. Unless there's a better sale.

Furburt:
I buy from both myself. I'm glad Digital Distribution is taking off though. It's very convenient and, you save a lot of money with offers and such.

Me too, but I have to say I do the bulk of my buying on Steam - Steam links everything up for me, something that Impulse doesn't do currently... and I'm sorry to say, its already too late for them in my case, because having 2 accounts with different companies creates a barrier between the games on each one. So even if Impulse introduce, say, Impulse Achievements, I won't switch to them.

Its a shame really, as Stardock are a really good company, on par with Valve when it comes to treating their customers well.

CantFaketheFunk:
While I'm certainly not buying into the Randy Pitchford school of Steam-bashing, I think it's important that even the most ardent Valve fanboy recognize that despite Steam's dominance, having competition like Stardock's Impulse is a good thing. A total monopoly on digital distribution would mean that A.) the service could charge whatever its operators felt like and B.) the operators would have little reason to improve.

very true. before impulse and their weekend deals the sales over steam were few and far between, now you have them every week like clockwork.

L33tsauce_Marty:

TheRealCJ:

L33tsauce_Marty:
Impulse is such a stupid name. Who the hell is going to ask their friend if they have a 'Impulse account'? Steam is 1 sybil and easy to say.

Ah, but you forget, these people are PC gamers, and they, unlike you, have the ability to use polysyllabic words in everyday conversation.

What do you mean? I'm a PC gamer and I can use complex and frightening words, but the name Impulse isn't going to catch on as much as steam did.

I could care less what it's named. So long as I can get good deals and efficient, reliable purchases, I'll use it. Trust me, the addition of a syllable isn't going to make a difference to anyone.

I hope your making enough money to keep Valve on its toes, Impulse. And I hope that your service nets you enough returns to be comfortable, I really do. But I can't justify buying anywhere except Steam personally. But your efforts in providing an alternative has perked my interest in Sins of a Solar Empire. So...there's that for you.

I think that impulse could have easily had a 20-25% share if if didn't suck so much.

JeanLuc761:

L33tsauce_Marty:

TheRealCJ:

L33tsauce_Marty:
Impulse is such a stupid name. Who the hell is going to ask their friend if they have a 'Impulse account'? Steam is 1 sybil and easy to say.

Ah, but you forget, these people are PC gamers, and they, unlike you, have the ability to use polysyllabic words in everyday conversation.

What do you mean? I'm a PC gamer and I can use complex and frightening words, but the name Impulse isn't going to catch on as much as steam did.

I could care less what it's named. So long as I can get good deals and efficient, reliable purchases, I'll use it. Trust me, the addition of a syllable isn't going to make a difference to anyone.

Guess what. The Gaming Companies Don't care what you both think.

OT: This really isn't that amazing. Its more understandable that people would want to get digital Games due to the fact that its more organized then a pile of games sitting on a Shelf or floor. Now lets tally the people who pirate the games lol.

Only 70%? I thought that it would be more like 80.

Donnyp:

Guess what. The Gaming Companies Don't care what you both think.

OT: This really isn't that amazing. Its more understandable that people would want to get digital Games due to the fact that its more organized then a pile of games sitting on a Shelf or floor. Now lets tally the people who pirate the games lol.

Why is it nearly every article about PC gaming has piracy brought up?

JeanLuc761:

Donnyp:

Guess what. The Gaming Companies Don't care what you both think.

OT: This really isn't that amazing. Its more understandable that people would want to get digital Games due to the fact that its more organized then a pile of games sitting on a Shelf or floor. Now lets tally the people who pirate the games lol.

Why is it nearly every article about PC gaming has piracy brought up?

Cause if your going to factor in all percentages and get a correct answer you have to factor the 3 major Outlets. Digital Downloading such as steam. Buying from a store like best buy. And lastly downloaded illegally.

Donnyp:

JeanLuc761:

Donnyp:

Guess what. The Gaming Companies Don't care what you both think.

OT: This really isn't that amazing. Its more understandable that people would want to get digital Games due to the fact that its more organized then a pile of games sitting on a Shelf or floor. Now lets tally the people who pirate the games lol.

Why is it nearly every article about PC gaming has piracy brought up?

Cause if your going to factor in all percentages and get a correct answer you have to factor the 3 major Outlets. Digital Downloading such as steam. Buying from a store like best buy. And lastly downloaded illegally.

Depends on the answer we're looking for here. This article is dealing with revenue gained from digital distribution, which is something that cannot be gained from pirated copies, and claiming each pirated copy is a "lost sale" is merely speculation.

If we were trying to find out how many copies of the game were being played regardless of if it was purchased or not, then piracy figures would be relevant.

Doesn't surprise me, Steam is massive.

JeanLuc761:

Donnyp:

JeanLuc761:

Donnyp:

Guess what. The Gaming Companies Don't care what you both think.

OT: This really isn't that amazing. Its more understandable that people would want to get digital Games due to the fact that its more organized then a pile of games sitting on a Shelf or floor. Now lets tally the people who pirate the games lol.

Why is it nearly every article about PC gaming has piracy brought up?

Cause if your going to factor in all percentages and get a correct answer you have to factor the 3 major Outlets. Digital Downloading such as steam. Buying from a store like best buy. And lastly downloaded illegally.

Depends on the answer we're looking for here. This article is dealing with revenue gained from digital distribution, which is something that cannot be gained from pirated copies, and claiming each pirated copy is a "lost sale" is merely speculation.

If we were trying to find out how many copies of the game were being played regardless of if it was purchased or not, then piracy figures would be relevant.

true. I guess Money Earned compared to possible earnings would need to factor in Torrents but as is doesn't

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