UK Retailers Accused of Blacklisting Steam-Required PC Games

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On one hand, these stores are being jerks.

On the other, you shouldn't ever HAVE to have steam for a game you buy that was not purchased on steam.

Irridium:

Xan Krieger:
I believe Steam should be optional, never mandatory. Steam functions like an anoying DRM, I remember buying Half Life years ago and yet I couldn't install it with the disc because I needed to register it on Steam. It wasn't till years later when I got internet access that I could finally play a game I bought.

I support any game retailer that doesn't want to sell games with that horrific DRM.

Indeed. Though I kind of like steam, I agree that it should always be optional. Unreal Tournament 3 did this, and I loved that it did this. You could install it normally, or you could activate the product key on Steam and install it that way.

I wish more games did that.

2 things
1. You brought up UT3 because of my username, didn't you?
2. I actually have 15 games on steam, one of which I bought through steam.

MelasZepheos:
I really sympathise with these guys. The way digital disribution is going, Valve have basically set up a monopoly, and will, in the same way as Microsoft and Apple did, probably be very very hard to dislodge now.

What I see Valve as having done is very sneakily gone behind everyone's backs, and very under the table, and set up Steam before the advent of digital distribution, and I think in the coming years we are going to see their company practices get very ugly as theystruggle to maintain their vice-grip on the industry.

But yeah, Valve are teh aw3som3s, greatest videogame developers, they made half life and thus everyone must worship the ground they walk on. Anything I say will just be ignored and get me attacked by the legions of Valve fanboys, when they're not being bent over the table by the ep 3 release date.

I share your concern about a potential monopoly that could result in Valve deciding to drop good business practice because there's no competition to keep them on their toes, but how exactly have they "very sneakily gone behind everyone's backs, and very under the table" in setting up Steam? Was there an official announcement for "today is the day that digital distribution exists and is a thing" that they were supposed to wait for before introducing it?

Abandon4093:
In all fairness. If you're going to buy a game that requires steam, why not just buy it from steam?

I get why they've done this, they've probably had complaints that certain games make them download steam, and if they're anything like most of my friends. They don't want it or care what it is, they just don't want to have to install a secondary program to play it.

Some people don't care/use/know steam, games like The First Templar and Dawn of War 2 require you to install it to play. Even if you have a physical copy. Even if you wanna try out The Orange Box but don't have steam you HAVE to install it.

Though I don't see why they are blacklisting games... seems like a dumb move IMO. I mean Modern Warfare 2 required steam, what if Modern Warfare 3 did as well? That's a ton of lost profit.

BrailleOperatic:
Why is a Russian magazine reporting on this, and not, say, a British one?

1C is the biggest Russian video game developer/publisher not a magazine publisher. =p

TwitchyGamer101:

Abandon4093:
In all fairness. If you're going to buy a game that requires steam, why not just buy it from steam?

I get why they've done this, they've probably had complaints that certain games make them download steam, and if they're anything like most of my friends. They don't want it or care what it is, they just don't want to have to install a secondary program to play it.

Some people don't care/use/know steam, games like The First Templar and Dawn of War 2 require you to install it to play. Even if you have a physical copy. Even if you wanna try out The Orange Box but don't have steam you HAVE to install it.

Though I don't see why they are blacklisting games... seems like a dumb move IMO. I mean Modern Warfare 2 required steam, what if Modern Warfare 3 did as well? That's a ton of lost profit.

Did you even read my comment past the firs sentence?

Isn't that a little suicidal?

B&M Stores: "Oh, people are buying more from Steam than from us? Let's go all-or-nothing on the publishers!"

Publisher: "So Accounting, how's it going?"
Accounting: " Well sir, 70% of our income is from Steam."
Publisher: "Sexy."
Accounting: "And we have mode more per-copy than from anywhere else."
Publisher: "Life keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?"
Accounting: "Sir, B&M Stores have threaten to cut us of if we continue to use Steam."
Publisher: "Are these guys serious?"

Eh... I get where the retailers are coming from... I don't have many PC games but you shouldn't HAVE to download some third party service online in order to actually play your game you just brought home from the store.

Awexsome:
Eh... I get where the retailers are coming from... I don't have many PC games but you shouldn't HAVE to download some third party service online in order to actually play your game you just brought home from the store.

Meh, while it's a problem for consumers, I doubt the retailers care about that. However, the fact that a customer is going to buy a game, install Steam, and learn that "oh hey! There's a way to quickly and conveniently buy the games I want over the Internet without ever having to go to a store again", now that they care about.

Oh well, if they want to throttle digital distribution of video games, they're about half a decade too late (at the least).

i say good on those retailers. steam should be an option (if you intend to go for online MP). why should i need to have an internet connection for a game im ever going to play SP? We wont mention you need the net to even be able to START PLAYING.

i feel for those that dont have the internet (yes such species DO exist!)

Well, my thoughts on the subject is that there is more to this than publishers and distributors (brick and mortar or digital), there is a third tier and that's us the consumers. While their motives aren't specifically for their benefits, I actually support the physical game stores on this because I dislike how I go out and buy a game, and then find out that my game is actually digital and simply a glorified way of buying the product off of a service like STEAM. I want to have control over what I own, if the winds change in say 10-15 years, STEAM goes down, and I say want to play "Fallout: New Vegas" I'm pretty well screwed... and before anyone comments I *HAVE* played games that old, and even if STEAM
looks like a Juggernaut now, things can change rapidly, someone WILL do to STEAM what STEAM is doing to other services now.

The issue of control over the product you own is a big one, and at the core of conflicts like the one we've been seeing with SONY. I don't think people really "get" where things are going here, and how little we're being given for the increasing amounts of money we spend. Even if they are doing it for their own greedy reasons, at least for the moment I am sort of glad to see the physical retailers taking a stand, but it remains to be seen if it's too little, too late.

Heh, no biggie, here in my country, normally, the games at retail cost as much as $90 and those aren't even the limited editions, so I prefer, by far, to buy those games directly from Steam.

I think this is just going to force customers to go to wallmart or whatever to buy their games there instead of at EB games. The customers still using the brick 'n' mortar route are gonna save themselves $20. Win win

BrailleOperatic:
Why is a Russian magazine reporting on this, and not, say, a British one?

Read the OP, a "Russian publisher 1C". Who cares about a Russian video games publisher? :P

I rarely buy video games from physical stores these days. Steam is absolutely terrible. They get games late, they price gouge, login servers have issues, etc, etc, etc, etc. But.. They stuff me around less.

In Aus we have EB Games which is a branch of Gamestop (I think) and they can be pretty bad. They'll give my preorders away, give me games with no manuals, no serials, no music CD's (If it says I get one, I want the damn thing), discs scratched so badly they don't play, snooty kids.. The works. Steam stuffs me around, but stuffs me around less. Not by much, and they don't have collectors editions, but you know.

I do like collectors editions so I'll fork out for the shiny bits and pieces that comes with them, but when they're being given away on me, not coming with parts or just plain damaged, that really isn't something that would make me continue my patronage. Especially considering the money involved. ~170 for Shogun 2, ~130 for Assassins Creed Brotherhood, ~110 for Napoleon Total War.
Just those three games would cover Tae Kwon Do for five months, or put me most of the way towards getting my student skydiving license. Or get me a radio and amateur radio license. Lots of things to do, and physical stores just don't inspire the confidence to continue shopping anymore.

Kinda funny though. If they don't stock Steam games like Brink (for those of us who care about that game. :P), Dawn of War, Total War, CoD, The Witcher 2.. Then people who would normally go to a physical store would discover the wonderful world of the internet with GoG, Steam, GamersGate..

Gg, thanks for playing?

Xan Krieger:

Irridium:

Xan Krieger:
I believe Steam should be optional, never mandatory. Steam functions like an anoying DRM, I remember buying Half Life years ago and yet I couldn't install it with the disc because I needed to register it on Steam. It wasn't till years later when I got internet access that I could finally play a game I bought.

I support any game retailer that doesn't want to sell games with that horrific DRM.

Indeed. Though I kind of like steam, I agree that it should always be optional. Unreal Tournament 3 did this, and I loved that it did this. You could install it normally, or you could activate the product key on Steam and install it that way.

I wish more games did that.

2 things
1. You brought up UT3 because of my username, didn't you?
2. I actually have 15 games on steam, one of which I bought through steam.

1) Yes. It reminded me of Unreal Tournament, then 3 and it's implementation of Steam.
2) I have 34. 29 of which are store-bought. Others I got from sales where prices were so low I couldn't resist no matter how hard I tried.

kian525:

Booze Zombie:
That's funny, I'd imagine doing that would earn them less money, overall. "Hey, nobody has this game I want?" "It's on Steam!" "To Steam, with our CASH!"

yeah i agree. this is kind of a dumb move by retailers. anyway steam is cheaper so stores are only for people without broadband or have a console.

Depending on where you live, it's cheaper to buy games on amazon for consoles.... no seriously. Here in New zealand COD: BlOps costs about $130 USD. seriously.

It's interesting distinction to note that these stores are apparently not refusing to stock games available on steam, they're refusing to stock games that REQUIRE steam to play. Maybe they're one and the same. But it's great how people have been some brainwashed into buying incomplete products off the shelf from either B&M stores or even online stores like amazon.

There was a time where I could buy a game, and it would be MY GAME, and I could play it without internet watch dog holding my hand. And the game I bought was 100% complete, not 96% complete or whatever bullshit Steam pulls out.

What value does buying a game off Steam give you?
You can't resell it to a 2nd hand shop.
You don't actually own the game, because if Steam ever goes tits up guess what you can't play it.

It's basically a full priced rental.

Irridium:

Xan Krieger:

Irridium:

Indeed. Though I kind of like steam, I agree that it should always be optional. Unreal Tournament 3 did this, and I loved that it did this. You could install it normally, or you could activate the product key on Steam and install it that way.

I wish more games did that.

2 things
1. You brought up UT3 because of my username, didn't you?
2. I actually have 15 games on steam, one of which I bought through steam.

1) Yes. It reminded me of Unreal Tournament, then 3 and it's implementation of Steam.
2) I have 34. 29 of which are store-bought. Others I got from sales where prices were so low I couldn't resist no matter how hard I tried.

You guys really should put yourself in others shoes. Steam, to me, is fucking awesome. Why because so far it has saved me $400 dollars in savings. The regular cheap as chips sales and the fact that it (mostly) isn't tied to region price wise means that games that are in stores here cost $130 (which is like $115 USD) while steam releases them for $60... so awesome...

Traun:
Isn't that a little suicidal?

B&M Stores: "Oh, people are buying more from Steam than from us? Let's go all-or-nothing on the publishers!"

Publisher: "So Accounting, how's it going?"
Accounting: " Well sir, 70% of our income is from Steam."
Publisher: "Sexy."
Accounting: "And we have mode more per-copy than from anywhere else."
Publisher: "Life keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?"
Accounting: "Sir, B&M Stores have threaten to cut us of if we continue to use Steam."
Publisher: "Are these guys serious?"

The problem with steam isnt that you CAN buy from it, its that you CANT use the game without it. This means that a brick and mortar store has little reason to purchaise copys of a game they have no advantage in selling.
For example, someone like me, who currently uses internet provided by a smartphone (its faster than my previous high speed internet provider) had a little over a 1 month downtime while steam locked me out for having "unrecognised technology" a bug they introduced with the new security features clashing with certain providers blah blah blah. This is after an extended period of downtime caused by some bad packet data that Steam though was a hack. It wasnt, they re-activated my account and apologised but it took months. Needless to say if it has a steam logo on it i probably wont buy it.
Then there are customers with real functional internet access. these are customers who have little use for the brick and mortar stores as they can purchaise and download a game in less time than it would take to stop by their local retailer.
This makes the market for games with steam requiremets downright tiny for brick and mortar retailers meaning they can either purchaise a case or two of the games and HOPE they sell, risking being stuck with unsold product and possibly loosing money or just saying to heck with it and avoiding the product.
They arent threatening anything, they are simply refusing to carry product that could potentially lose them money.

Ask me if I care. Bricks-n-mortar retailers have around one shelf of PC games these days, half hidden behind the rows and rows of shelves full of console games. The only time I set foot in one any more is if I'm picking up a preorder that I decided to order a physical copy of, because of Collector's Edition swag or the like. I certainly never go into one to browse any more. Physical stores have almost completed their migration to complete irrelevancy for PC gamers, and it's not Steam's fault - it's their own.

That's good, actually.

It does make no bloody sense that there's some shit that requires me to be always online tacked onto the singleplayer game I just bought and am physically holding in my hands.
Why should I juggle 5 passwords and account names for 10 different "stores" that keep spawning like cancer cysts around even if I buy retail?
If I have the disk, steam should be optional, not mandatory cause really, it is a bonus.
But I guess we can't have that since steam is also the DRM shit every single game nowadays clearly needs first and foremost instead of something cool that's good for customers.

Maybe they should just cut that whole pretense crap with game boxes out and make subscription cards with steam codes on them instead cause really, that's all it is about.
We don't buy a game with steam for the dvd, we buy it for that code on the back of the manual and throw everything else into the garbage can since you can't do shit with it afterwards anyway.
It would lower production and shipping costs, save space and would also be more honest and easy to identify but I guess it just makes too much fucking sense.

MelasZepheos:
I really sympathise with these guys. The way digital disribution is going, Valve have basically set up a monopoly, and will, in the same way as Microsoft and Apple did, probably be very very hard to dislodge now.

What I see Valve as having done is very sneakily gone behind everyone's backs, and very under the table, and set up Steam before the advent of digital distribution, and I think in the coming years we are going to see their company practices get very ugly as theystruggle to maintain their vice-grip on the industry.

But yeah, Valve are teh aw3som3s, greatest videogame developers, they made half life and thus everyone must worship the ground they walk on. Anything I say will just be ignored and get me attacked by the legions of Valve fanboys, when they're not being bent over the table by the ep 3 release date.

Well for a start, banning games that require Steamworks only shoots themselves in the foot, if they don't have a game I want, I'll just go "Okay I'll buy it on steam then, and given them ALL of my money". If they don't carry it, they don't get any slice of the pie, and steam gets all of the pie. How they thought this was a good idea, I will never know.

Although how you've come to the conclusion of "Valve have gone behind everyones back and sneakily set up a service" boggles me, how else do things get invented other than people inventing them before other people? Is Thomas Edison a slimy back hand dealer for inventing electricity before "anyone else got a chance", is Alexander Bell a monster for inventing the telephone because he didn't say "I'm going to invent a telephone now, everyone else get started on them now so you all have a fair chance at inventing them and so I don't start a monopoly!" Is George Beauchamp(Rickenbacker Guitars) a complete dick for inventing the guitar and having a monopoly on them for the 6 months to a year of their invention? NO he isn't, and all the other recognizable brand names of electric guitar rose up in the next four years, innovating and offering viable to alternatives to Rickenbacker. As it stands, no body has managed to create something that offers a service even close to equal to what steam offers, even the upcoming EA origin shot itself in the gut before it even started by telling us you're not allowed to download stuff a year after you buy it.

Valve invented Steam because it was a useful service to deliver games and offer a social service and chat program/game organizer/join games of friends service that doubled as a non intrusive, turn off able DRM system. It's not Valves fault they have a monopoly, it's other businesses fault for not saying "Hmm, that seems like a good idea, I want in on this" nearer the start, it's no good leaving it for almost a decade and then other companies only just starting on it, then saying "STEAM IS EVULZ FOR HAVING A MONOPOLY!!11!" that's just bad business practice.

Seriously they're a business, complaining at them for managing to have a monopoly always puzzles me, surely if you sell something, you'd prefer to be the only one doing it, so people only give their money to YOU. Because that's what businesses are designed to do: MAKE MONEY. If they were being out of order or bought people out, or did aggressive takeovers I'd understand but they don't and I can't imagine they would to be fair (not that they need to, it's not like they actually have competition). Heck the money they've made from other companies steadfast refusal or 8 years too late reaction to creating their own digital distribution channel is enough to get a ride back to which ever planet you come from, under the table man.

Steam started before the advent of digital distribution, because it WAS the advent of digital distribution (or at least in terms of a stable decent service, I don't know if it was actually the first to do digital distribution of games). You can't say they're playing dirty because they invented something, otherwise anyone that invented anything would be labelled as such.

Also, if you call me a fanboy for refuting your sensationalist bizarro world point, I'm going to have to stab you.

Akalabeth:

What value does buying a game off Steam give you?
You can't resell it to a 2nd hand shop.
You don't actually own the game, because if Steam ever goes tits up guess what you can't play it.

It's basically a full priced rental.

Well for a start I can access it any time because I don't have to carry physical copies of games around with me, I also don't need to put a disc in my pc. Steam also has an offline mode which means you can play the games without being connected to the internet and the only games that require steam to be running are Valve games(Half life, L4D, Portal and TF2 and even then you can crack it if you're in a pinch, and I think uninstalling steam and then launching the games from program files works, although I'm not a 100% on that one but I seem to remember doing it with Half Life 2 before I had an internet connection)and magicka, which is a special case because it was part published by valve.

Everything else can be launched independently of Steam by going into program files and launching the .exe from there, which DOESN'T require steam to be running. Non valve games are launched through steam to enable the overlay, which is why you can add games to the launcher and use steam in game for games that you didn't even buy or aren't available on steam, like I do with League of Legends, Minecraft and Starcraft 2. All buying a game through steam means is that you can download it if you log on to steam on a PC that doesn't have that game installed on it.

Valve also have stated that in the event of them having to shut down, they will release all Steam purchased games to be completely independent, then all you have to do it burn the Installer to a disk and voila!

That would be quite bad news if it would happen in my country.
Steam requiring games are still cheaper in retail store then on steam for me
(which is ridiculous on on it own).
For example Portal 2:
On Steam: 37,99€ (55 $)
In retail store: 32 € (46 $)

elvor0:
Valve also have stated that in the event of them having to shut down, they will release all Steam purchased games to be completely independent, then all you have to do it burn the Installer to a disk and voila!

Pic or it didn't happen.

Abandon4093:
In all fairness. If you're going to buy a game that requires steam, why not just buy it from steam?

I get why they've done this, they've probably had complaints that certain games make them download steam, and if they're anything like most of my friends. They don't want it or care what it is, they just don't want to have to install a secondary program to play it.

I don't buy new releases on Steam due to insane prices. A new game costs 50€. I can shave a tenner of that in retail. not to mention Amazon.

Steam is ripping us off, simply.

Abandon4093:
In all fairness. If you're going to buy a game that requires steam, why not just buy it from steam?

I get why they've done this, they've probably had complaints that certain games make them download steam, and if they're anything like most of my friends. They don't want it or care what it is, they just don't want to have to install a secondary program to play it.

I don't buy new releases on Steam due to insane prices. A new game costs 50€. I can shave a tenner of that in retail. not to mention Amazon.

Steam is ripping us off, simply.

John Funk:

BrailleOperatic:
Why is a Russian magazine reporting on this, and not, say, a British one?

Both CVG and MCV are UK-based sites, as far as I'm aware.

Surprisingly enough, I've never eeven seen a CVG, and the only MCV near here shut down years ago to be replaced with a HMV.
We have GAME. It's all thats needed !
Also, GAME still seem to stock steamgames, such as Dawn Of War 2.

well when i last went to dikies or EB games or jb hi-fi the PC games has a little shef and didnt have what i wanted anyway
and i have wondered what not stocking a steam game is going to do imean how is not stocking a game going to boost sales people who want the game are going to know its steam powered so they are going to get it there sure the dev and publisher are going to lose out on luddite gamers but so are the traditional retailers unless the ludites move to amazon this move only costs the traditional retaliar and will put them out of busness faster

Fuck UK retailers, I stopped using them when they stopped stocking PC games (and no, those 'soldout' 3 for £10 games dont count). This is equal to a child throwing away a toy and then gets upset when another child picks it up. You have made your bed, UK retailers! and now you shall lie in it!

John Funk:

Competition in the digital distribution market is a good thing and should be encouraged - but threatening publishers into avoiding it entirely? That's pretty low.

Retailers, bother physical & digital, being "forced" to effectively sell a competitors product (Steamworks requires Steam, after all) to their customers is no less low, really.

The only reason I don't use steam all the time is because I have a pretty restricted monthly download limit (about 20GB) due to my rural location. But I have noticed over time that my local Gamestation has been stocking increasingly fewer PC games, but they still have tons of Steam ones; I think its more that people are going elsewhere for them.
But this kind of behaviour is the reason they don't get my patronage when I go into the city; the selection in Edinburgh is shocking and so in the end its places like Play.com who get my money.

with all this shafting us PC gamers receive its little wonder why we are all pessimistic and bitter. Console gamers STILL do not know how easy they get it.

Hahaha, let's see how this works out for them yeah?

I compleatly, 100% agree with this descision. If I buy a game in a retail store, I expect it to be able to install it right out of the box, not have to install Steam to simply play the game. Valve, in my opinion, are compleat dicks for creating this system in the first place.Now, I don't hate digital distrabution, I don't use it very often, but I don't hate it.

That said, I will be awaiting the inevital anger this will draw from the hoard of Valve fanboys thinking 'Valve is teh best, they can do no evil, herr derr.'

Knife-28:
I compleatly, 100% agree with this descision. If I buy a game in a retail store, I expect it to be able to install it right out of the box, not have to install Steam to simply play the game. Valve, in my opinion, are compleat dicks for creating this system in the first place.Now, I don't hate digital distrabution, I don't use it very often, but I don't hate it.

That said, I will be awaiting the inevital anger this will draw from the hoard of Valve fanboys thinking 'Valve is teh best, they can do no evil, herr derr.'

Problem lies in what Steamworks actually is. It offers cloud computing for user data like save games and profiles, it offers achievements system, it's a community portal, a distribution service and of course a DRM scheme.

Thing is as a developer you can't really just choose the DRM and opt-out from the rest of the package. You take all or nothing and as far as DRM schemes go Steamworks offer the least outrage from the "community".

They could of course make a Steamworks Lite version that would only manage DRM, cloud and achievements but i doubt they would really want to from business point of view.

therandombear:
Err...last time I checked the PC game shelves in my local gamestop and other electonic stores, there's Fallout: New Vegas and several other game titles with steamworks logo...damnit, forgetting titles..atleast I know it says steamworks on most of them, I've checked.

So, this only in the UK then or happening other places?

Uk game stores have constantly just not stocked enough games for pc users to be worthwhile for around 8-9 years now. I have primarily bought either through (amazon,play.com etc etc) the internet or via a download service for about 5 years now (before that i was a playstation gamer primarily, woo ps2). This is usually why you will see a lot of uk pc gamers nonplussed about steam as drm, and quite positive that downloading the games is the future (i haven't bought a disk in 18 months now)tangential i know, but i thought interesting at the very least.

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