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The Battle of PC Digital Distribution: Steam vs Epic vs Others

DryvBy

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I've seen a lot of arguments for and against changing from Steam, even having the Polygoober site explain how being pro-consumer is toxic.


I wanted to explain some concerns I have and open a thread where others can debate for or against having multiple ecosystems or distributors.

Digital Distribution is Mostly DRM

Yes, even glorious Steam is a form of DRM and if your a young pup, you may not know a lot of PC gamers were against Steam at first. No one wanted to sign online to get access to their games or install a secondary application on their PC just to game. DRM was already a major issue in PC. But in the end, it was less annoying than some forms such as limited installs of games or installing various spyware checks in the background. People eventually gave in because Steam turned into an overall nice product even if it was DRM.

Origin, Epic, Uplay and most others are a decade behind the services that Steam offers. We're missing user reviews, easy installation of mods, curator recommendations, and several other benefits that Steam offers. I personally don't care if Metacritic gives a game a 9/10 anymore. Those numbers are inflated and mean nothing to me. What matters to me is the overall user reviews. Sure, a game can be hammered with negative reviews if the devs upset the community but that's gaming democracy. Is that worse than buying broken games based off of overly positive reviews from major publications?

Epic is still new to this but it seems they're taking a very Walmart approach to the market. Instead of giving a real purpose or new set of desired features that puts them over Steam, they're... Well, let's move on to see what I mean.

Competition Is Good

And I agree. But when competition is buying exclusive rights for their store, it becomes less about fair competition and more about throwing money at something. This doesn't make me want to use your store. If you offered something another store didn't or had your own exclusive content you worked on, maybe I'd consider using the product.

I know there's the argument that pubs are making more money on Epic currently. That's fine but unless I'm saving more money, that's not helping me. It makes sense for them to go that route but also yanking all their games and slapping it on to one isn't competitive.

I look at gaming stores similar to grocery stores. Imagine you want milk, eggs and bread. Milk is only at Walmart, eggs at Target and bread at H-E-B (Texas people will get that). Do you want to jump around to different stores just to get what you want? Or would you rather just look for the best deal out there?

I also don't want to just trash one store. I have my next section to really address a huge concern I have overall that's linked to this one. Uplay and Origin have offered nothing of value other than buying games too. Discord even has a store. Twitch has a store (I think; I just get free games for their service).

There's too many cooks all of the sudden. And this entire thing is pushing me even more to my console. On PlayStation, I go to PSN and it manages all my digital content. On Xbox, Xbox handles it. Switch, Nintendo. But on PC, I may need to isn't all over 6 apps just to play games. And remember which one has which game. Why? Why do this?

Digital Distribution Can Shut Down

Steam wasn't the first DD to pop it's head up. When Assassin's Creed first came out, I bought it on Direct2Drive and guess what? I don't have access to my game anymore because that service went under. There's no way every service is going to be able to manage over the years. If you have a dozen stores, one or more of those will start taking a dip if not fully properly managed and then you're stuck with nothing. Some may not care but I do go back and play really good games I enjoy. I'll even plug that GOG was the only other DD I enjoy because it filled in the gaps when Steam was missing some classics.

I currently have 2000 game in Steam and 300 in GOG, most of which I've sampled like demos. I'm invested very much in those ecosystems and I don't want to switch. But even if I did, I still have to hope these other companies can mainstain their business. Even though I don't like Origin that much either, I did buy the C&C games there and don't want to lose them. But if EA keeps losing money, who's to say they'll keep the store up? It's a gamble.


Overall

My bottom line argument is that I don't like how Epic is handling their store already. And publishers are now just making their own stores to cut out the middle man. This is only going to encourage piracy in my opinion and ruin sales on PC. I don't know why certain blue check marks and media are pushing so hard for the Epic store. It's fine to talk about and it's fine to have, but acting like Steam users are vile or privileged because they don't want to install even more stores and manage games that may be exclusive to each store is insane. This is a big turn off to PC gaming currently.

Note: all grammar and wtf parts of this are due to me staying up too late writing in my phone. I'll correct later.
 
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Lucumo

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People eventually gave in because Steam turned into an overall nice product even if it was DRM.

My bottom line argument is that I don't like how Epic is handling their store already. And publishers are now just making their own stores to cut out the middle man. This is only going to encourage piracy in my opinion and ruin sales on PC. I don't know why certain blue check marks and media are pushing so hard for the Epic store. It's fine to talk about and it's fine to have, but acting like Steam users are vile or privileged because they don't want to install even more stores and manage games that may be exclusive to each store is insane. This is a big turn off to PC gaming currently.
No idea where you live but a lot of people (here in Europe) stopped with (modern PC) gaming due to Steam and other, horrible DRM - others switched to consoles.

Those are right. Steam users whining, calling for piracy of games not releasing on Steam are entitled, hypocritical scum. Ever spent a thought about how many exclusives Steam gets and no one complains about it? Likely not. But one time Steam doesn't get something and people go crazy. The big turn-off when it comes to gaming on PC is the plethora of shitty, gated DRM stores like Steam, Origin, Uplay etc.
 

Larxia

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No idea where you live but a lot of people (here in Europe) stopped with (modern PC) gaming due to Steam and other, horrible DRM - others switched to consoles.
This sentence doesn't make any sense.
First, it's thanks to steam that pc market grew this much in the past years, like it or not. We have now on pc more games than ever and almost all consoles games (other than exclusives) get PC ports now. Without Steam I really doubt PC gaming would be as alive as it is today.

Secondly, switching to console because of DRMs on PC? That doesn't make sense, games on consoles are now as drm-ish as games on PC. They might not need an activation code with physical releases, but with all games now needing tons of patches, even day one patches, to be played in decent conditions, your physical, offline version is not of any use anymore, and once the PSN / Xbox / Nintendo servers shut down and you can't download your patches anymore, your game will be incomplete. I really don't think consoles have any advantages anymore over PC on the "DRM / Online" thing.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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If I could throw the "port begging" and "platform wars" behavior right back in the faces of PC gamers circa 2009 who laughed at all this behavior when it was taking place between the Wii, PS3, and 360, I would. But that would mean I have access to time travel and should probably be doing more noble things than talking on a message board.

The third-party publishers -- the same who’ve told us the glorious merits of a one-platform future -- appear to be bringing about the splintering of storefronts all on their own. There appears to be no market force driving this or demand from customers. Rather, it is the platform holders who are hungry for a piece of Steam’s pie as digital interlocutor. If it was being driven by market forces, then we would see the competitors offering a featureset comparable to Steam. The only one that comes close, in my opinion, is Discord since it is the most robust foundation for the social elements of Steam.

We saw this exact same thing occur with digital music services (was mostly centered around iTunes a decade ago until it splintered) and we're seeing it now with the splintering of video streaming (HBO Go, Disney/CBS streaming, Crunchyroll, etc).

The PC game storefronts rested on their laurels for too long. And for years, PC gamers have been all too willing to seek out keys from questionable sources just to shave off 10% or 20% of their purchase price. The reason why Epic is entering the market with guns prices and exclusives blazing is because that's what appears to resonate with PC gamers: they'll drop storefront loyalty as soon as a discount appears.

DLC is a huge factor. It isn't enough to get the purchase price of the game. These storefronts also want your return "foot traffic" when you pick up DLC, when you check out the forums, when you see how many achievements you've gotten, when you decide to spend an extra $5 on the soundtrack, etc.

All these factors result in what we are seeing today. Epic Store is merely the most recent, the most brash, the most obvious example of these behaviors, but PC gamers have already been making the excuses. "Well... I play a lot of Blizzard games so I don't mind keeping an active battle.net account. Well... Mass Effect Andromeda looks too cool to skip so I don't mind signing up for Origin..." etc etc.
 

Lucumo

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This sentence doesn't make any sense.
First, it's thanks to steam that pc market grew this much in the past years, like it or not. We have now on pc more games than ever and almost all consoles games (other than exclusives) get PC ports now. Without Steam I really doubt PC gaming would be as alive as it is today.

Secondly, switching to console because of DRMs on PC? That doesn't make sense, games on consoles are now as drm-ish as games on PC. They might not need an activation code with physical releases, but with all games now needing tons of patches, even day one patches, to be played in decent conditions, your physical, offline version is not of any use anymore, and once the PSN / Xbox / Nintendo servers shut down and you can't download your patches anymore, your game will be incomplete. I really don't think consoles have any advantages anymore over PC on the "DRM / Online" thing.
Could have just as well been any other digital (even DRM-free) store. And it also doesn't have anything to do with what I wrote. Depends on what you mean with "PC gaming", people playing on PC or total amount of PC games? The former would have absolutely been fine without Steam, the latter just needed a decent digital store.

Why are you comparing the current state to the past which we are talking about? Around 9-10 years ago, console gaming wasn't as bad while the PC market was pretty much in the dumpsters thanks to years of shitty DRM like online activation, limited installs and the growth of Steam and other clients. Physical games were already requiring you to install Steam and activate it there, just so that you could play your singleplayer game. These days it's even worse, with games from PC magazines forcing Steam onto you. As such, it wasn't that surprising that people looked towards alternatives like browser games and MMOGs during that time (mid 00s and onwards).
 

petran79

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I remember the shareware era. No way I'd go the risk and trouble to send a cheque to an American company from far far away to get the full game. Had to resort to other methods like borrowing and copying.
Digital distribution is a godsend and was also unavoidable for the fractured PC gaming market.
 

Husky

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Those are right. Steam users whining, calling for piracy of games not releasing on Steam are entitled, hypocritical scum. Ever spent a thought about how many exclusives Steam gets and no one complains about it? Likely not. But one time Steam doesn't get something and people go crazy. The big turn-off when it comes to gaming on PC is the plethora of shitty, gated DRM stores like Steam, Origin, Uplay etc.
The problem isn't exclusive games. The problem is paying for exclusives, a phenomenon that's unwelcome in the PC space. Valve has never paid for a game to be exclusive.
This is why I'll never touch the Epic store.
 
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Lucumo

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The problem isn't exclusive games. The problem is paying for exclusives, a phenomenon that's unwelcome in the PC space. Valve has never paid for a game to be exclusive.
This is why I'll never touch the Epic store.
Valve has always been a smart company (see how they only really created the four HL games and Artifact while usually buying up ideas and people (CS, Team Fortress, DoD, Portal, Left 4 Dead, DotA 2 etc)). Similarly, it's easy to gate things by having multiplayer only available there, offering a workshop where creators can earn money instead of the open places that were used before and such things. First you catch the users, then you build a wall. That's how Valve did it, no exclusives needed.

I remember the shareware era. No way I'd go the risk and trouble to send a cheque to an American company from far far away to get the full game. Had to resort to other methods like borrowing and copying.
Digital distribution is a godsend and was also unavoidable for the fractured PC gaming market.
That really depended on where you lived. Usually, you would have distributors/publishers in your country. The stuff programmed into the shareware version (where you send something or call somewhere) obviously never applied elsewhere.
Fractured PC gaming market? Are you talking about the 80s and early 90s? Lol.
 
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Husky

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Valve has always been a smart company (see how they only really created the four HL games and Artifact while usually buying up ideas and people (CS, Team Fortress, DoD, Portal, Left 4 Dead, DotA 2 etc)). Similarly, it's easy to gate things by having multiplayer only available there, offering a workshop where creators can earn money instead of the open places that were used before and such things. First you catch the users, then you build a wall. That's how Valve did it, no exclusives needed.
It sounds to me like you're only listing good things here. Valve turned fan projects into larger games, offer Steamworks integration for online games, and house a built-in mods distribution platform. I'm fine dragging vpk files into my Source games, but it's sure easier to just click subscribe.
 

Sorne

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You talk like the games are unreachable when they are published on another store. It's just another app you need to get. Granted, I mostly play on console, but when games are exclusive on console we have to go buy a whole new system, just to play that game.
I get the niceness of having all of your games in one spot, of course.
And if this new store i benefiting the developers more, I would definitely go there since they are the reason you're here in the first place.

If a game that's published on another store makes you pirate games, then you're an entitled prick.
 

Lucumo

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It sounds to me like you're only listing good things here. Valve turned fan projects into larger games, offer Steamworks integration for online games, and house a built-in mods distribution platform. I'm fine dragging vpk files into my Source games, but it's sure easier to just click subscribe.
It was a neutral example for Valve being a smart company. And if you think gated features which aren't available for people outside Steam who own a game are good, well, screw you.
 

Husky

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It was a neutral example for Valve being a smart company. And if you think gated features which aren't available for people outside Steam who own a game are good, well, screw you.
Games that use Steamworks multiplayer can use non-Steamworks multiplayer on other platforms. Mods released on the Steam Workshop aren't required to be exclusive to the Steam Workshop, and as they're still downloaded to one's computer in the same format as non-Workshop mods, can be easily redistributed and used with non-Steam copies.
Why would exclusive features be a bad thing? That makes no sense. Neither does your weird insult. Are you seriously turning up the heat just to avoid having an actual discussion?
 

Zaru

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Long story short, so far nothing Epic has done has improved my potential experience as a customer (that includes the price), so they can fuck right off until they provide any sort of value to me.
 
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Long story short, so far nothing Epic has done has improved my potential experience as a customer (that includes the price), so they can fuck right off until they provide any sort of value to me.
You don't like free games?
 

Lucumo

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Games that use Steamworks multiplayer can use non-Steamworks multiplayer on other platforms. Mods released on the Steam Workshop aren't required to be exclusive to the Steam Workshop, and as they're still downloaded to one's computer in the same format as non-Workshop mods, can be easily redistributed and used with non-Steam copies.
Why would exclusive features be a bad thing? That makes no sense. Neither does your weird insult. Are you seriously turning up the heat just to avoid having an actual discussion?
Which is what some do and it's obviously a large step back from how it used to be when everyone played together instead of being separated by stores. And no, the Workshop used to be accessible for everyone until Steam made it only available for Steam users. As such, I can't download anything there, if I wanted to. If you don't understand what's bad about features being gated from a percentage of buyers of a game, then you haven't been a PC gamer for long and actually have no idea how a consumer-friendly approach would look like...or what that even means. So you are either a troll, some Steam drone or not exactly smart.
 

MetalSlug

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If a game I want becomes then exclusive to the Epic store, then I'll simply skip it or wait until it makes its way to Steam.
 

Woo-Fu

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You don't like free games?

About as much as Troy liked horse statues.

The only real concern I have with competition in this space is the inevitable race to the bottom that will occur. Less infrastructure, less bandwidth, less support, less everything so that they can still make the profit they want while charging developers/publishers less. Epic is subsidizing their effort with Fortnite revenue, which means the bottom is actually the very bottom.
 
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Helios

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Which is what some do and it's obviously a large step back from how it used to be when everyone played together instead of being separated by stores. And no, the Workshop used to be accessible for everyone until Steam made it only available for Steam users. As such, I can't download anything there, if I wanted to. If you don't understand what's bad about features being gated from a percentage of buyers of a game, then you haven't been a PC gamer for long and actually have no idea how a consumer-friendly approach would look like...or what that even means. So you are either a troll, some Steam drone or not exactly smart.
I know right. Who could forget the times when developers didn't have the time or resources to make a functioning multiplayer so it resulted in people using TCP/IP ? Those were the fun times. Fuck Valve for offering the developers servers and an API to use.
Jokes aside, why would Valve allow people outside of Steam to use Steam features? Again, nobody is forced to use the workshop and they are also not forced to ONLY upload the mods on the workshop. There are also third party sites that allow you to download Steam workshop mods if I recall correctly. If they wanted to build a wall, why would they allow such sites to exist?
Same with Steamworks, nobody is forcing developers to use it. Steamworks doesn't only use their servers, it also allows for Steam-specific features such as the Inventory and Marketplace. Should Valve release those too to the rest of the public that's not using Steam?
 

ZywyPL

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I really couldn't care less from which store I get the games - all I want is to buy and install a game, double click on the icon, and play the game, that's really all. What launcher runs in the background? Like I said, I couldn't care less. I don't want ANY launcher to begin with, that's why for me MS Store > all. I just hope they will get wider 3rd party support once next-gen starts.
 

Sophist

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The motivations behind Epic Store aren't only financials. Tim Sweeney is truly concerned by consumers freedom and fought for it during his entire career.
 

Husky

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Which is what some do and it's obviously a large step back from how it used to be when everyone played together instead of being separated by stores. And no, the Workshop used to be accessible for everyone until Steam made it only available for Steam users. As such, I can't download anything there, if I wanted to. If you don't understand what's bad about features being gated from a percentage of buyers of a game, then you haven't been a PC gamer for long and actually have no idea how a consumer-friendly approach would look like...or what that even means. So you are either a troll, some Steam drone or not exactly smart.
Woah, this Workshop bit is news to me. That'd be pretty cool, but I see no flaw in Steam creating features for Steam. Seems as absurd as saying the Dualshock 4 not natively supporting Xbox One is a bad thing. Steam's got sick built-in controller support for a few hundred third-party gamepads, but since you have to launch your games through Steam for it to work, instead of them providing their work as an external program, is this actually a bad thing?
The rest of this is just you insulting to deflect from having a conversation. dude, if you just want to believe what you believe, you don't have to kick at people and say "fuck you idiot!" when they disagree. You can actually just disagree with people, for whatever personal reason you want, and they take it real well
 
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Lucumo

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I know right. Who could forget the times when developers didn't have the time or resources to make a functioning multiplayer so it resulted in people using TCP/IP ? Those were the fun times. Fuck Valve for offering the developers servers and an API to use.
Jokes aside, why would Valve allow people outside of Steam to use Steam features? Again, nobody is forced to use the workshop and they are also not forced to ONLY upload the mods on the workshop. There are also third party sites that allow you to download Steam workshop mods if I recall correctly. If they wanted to build a wall, why would they allow such sites to exist?
Same with Steamworks, nobody is forcing developers to use it. Steamworks doesn't only use their servers, it also allows for Steam-specific features such as the Inventory and Marketplace. Should Valve release those too to the rest of the public that's not using Steam?
Hey, the mid 90s were fun and I definitely consider TCP/IP to be multiplayer. At least via that (and LAN) I can still play the games unlike ones released in the last ten years which don't offer that anymore.
Of course they wouldn't, because they are a company that wants to earn as much money as possible. Releasing mods and such on different websites is certainly what some creators do but of course, it also creates extra work and is bothersome. As such, not that many people do it. Additionally, if you can earn money on Steam, you certainly wouldn't want to release it somewhere where you can't earn money.
Ideally, it would obviously be all 3rd party, so that it's compatible with every store. But that wouldn't give Valve any advantage, so they offer those services to the people and tie in some extra stuff which binds it to Steam.

Woah, this Workshop bit is news to me. That'd be pretty cool, but I see no flaw in Steam creating features for Steam. Seems as absurd as saying the Dualshock 4 not natively supporting Xbox One is a bad thing. Steam's got sick built-in controller support for a few hundred third-party gamepads, but since you have to launch your games through Steam for it to work, instead of them providing their work as an external program, is this actually a bad thing?
The rest of this is just you insulting to deflect from having a conversation. dude, if you just want to believe what you believe, you don't have to kick at people and say "fuck you idiot!" when they disagree. You can actually just disagree with people, for whatever personal reason you want, and they take it real well
Steam is a store on the PC, not a console competing with another console. Can't say anything about controller support, mine have always worked fine in every game, without any extra clients. PC games have supported controllers since the 80s, so...
I didn't even do that, unless you are cheering for Valve screwing over non-Steam customers which is fair enough (and even then, "screw you" is barely an insult). The other one offers possibilities since you don't appear to be able to have a proper discussion, for one of the three reasons mentioned. As such, any exchange of words of knowledge was actually worthless from the beginning.
Funnily enough, Helios also doesn't seem to know how a consumer-friendly environment would look like and argues in defense of a corporation (that clearly needs it) instead of the masses of gamers in general. That doesn't make any sense unless one doesn't care about others and is happy as long as one has his own cake or one is already a drone and blindly supports anything a company does (much like the Apple fanatics). But at least he seems to have actual knowledge of PC gaming which is a big plus.

Anyway, like I already stated: Valve is smart. So it's no use telling me that what they do makes sense and is good for business because I obviously know that. I'm arguing for the general gamer and not some store or company and people seem to forget that.
 
The only real concern I have with competition in this space is the inevitable race to the bottom that will occur.
This is a valid concern but not exclusive to epic either. We've seen how bad valve support is, how long it takes them to roll ANY new features out. Really this is happening everywhere with outsourcing (banking, development, support, etc, any ways to cut costs for the bottom line). It's a side effect of the globalist economy we're in.

Valve has never paid for a game to be exclusive.
This is why I'll never touch the Epic store.
Don't need to pay for exclusives when you are the only shop in town
 

petran79

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That really depended on where you lived. Usually, you would have distributors/publishers in your country. The stuff programmed into the shareware version (where you send something or call somewhere) obviously never applied elsewhere.
Fractured PC gaming market? Are you talking about the 80s and early 90s? Lol.

Sorry I meant fractured when it comes to game developers. You can buy games directly from the developers website or even play some for free. Problem is self-promotion and adverising. Many computer games remain uncovered and terra incognita this way. Steam, GOG, Origin etc represent only a fraction of the PC gaming market
 

sol_bad

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You aren't really adding anything to the conversation. You are basically sitting there bashing Steam as you seem to have an axe to grind with Valve as they ruined PC gaming for you. The topic on hand is about comparing digital store fronts, you are not discussing this at all.

GoG is a great store and I have about 400 games there. The only reason it is great is because it is DRM free. In terms of feature sets it can't compete with Steam.

Blizza, Origin and Epic all seem to be entirely 100% gated off and you can only play the games via their launchers. Sales are locked to their stores which is what matters to me as a consumer.

Uplay is not gated off and their games are on sale at multiple digital store fronts so I'll give them a tick for that.

Steam is just the grand daddy, you may hate it but it is where the vast majority of the Steam community migrated to. I hated the idea, despised the idea back when Half Life 2 came out as I was a physical buyer only. They turned me around over the years and now I have 910 games on there. I would hate to have all those games taking up space.
 

Helios

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Funnily enough, Helios also doesn't seem to know how a consumer-friendly environment would look like and argues in defense of a corporation (that clearly needs it) instead of the masses of gamers in general.
I can defend both. Like you said, a third party server feature that is compatible with every store would be ideal but if Valve is the only one willing to do it and it doesn't lock developers into using it than I think it's somewhat fair. In fact, I don't think they are the only ones. GOG recently released their own version of Steamworks with GOG Galaxy that has cross-play between them and Steam. I haven't used it, so I don't know if/how it works but it sounds cool and I think it's a good middle-ground.
Either way, these features in the end benefits the customer and forces the other companies on the market to find ways to improve. Or in the case of Epic, just buy your way into the market with no benefit to the consumer. On the flip-side GOG is making a lot of progress in that regard and I will support them even more if they continue to add features (like roll-back patches) especially if Steam stagnates. Seriously Valve, give me roll-back patches. That shit needs to be standard practice for offline games.
 
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Fbh

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As someone who only recently started playing on PC I do find some of the complains about the Epic game store a bit exaggerated. People talk as if they needed to buy an Epic Games PC now or something with claims like "it's like the concept of console exclusives has arrived on PC" when in fact it's just another free launcher you can have downloaded and running in like 5 minutes. (I mean hell I wish I could just download the "Xbox Store" for free on my Ps4 and buy the Master Chief collection)

With that said, just as with consoles I don't like the idea of buying the exclusivity of third party games. Epic developing its own exclusive games would be great or if they go to third party devs and offer to fund and publish their next project if they make it exclusive it's fine too. But just walking up to devs and basically paying them to not release their games on Steam rubs me the wrong way, that is giving me no benefit as a consumer and is just talking options away from me.



Either way no DRM makes GOG the best one by default and I wish I could buy everything there.
 
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Lucumo

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Sorry I meant fractured when it comes to game developers. You can buy games directly from the developers website or even play some for free. Problem is self-promotion and adverising. Many computer games remain uncovered and terra incognita this way. Steam, GOG, Origin etc represent only a fraction of the PC gaming market
Pretty much, advertising and making yourself seen is absolutely the crux when it comes to indie-developers...or even A games these days if they want to sell some copies. One really can't rely on quality or word of mouth anymore. It does work from time to time but more often than not, it doesn't. I'm really glad you are also aware of that. Often times you see people writing like Steam owns half the PC gaming market which isn't true. Sure, Steam is large but even with the influx of Chinese players thanks to PUBG, it still controls not that large of a fraction. There are way too many gamers sticking with MMOs only, older games, casual games, or simply games from non-international storefronts.

You aren't really adding anything to the conversation. You are basically sitting there bashing Steam as you seem to have an axe to grind with Valve as they ruined PC gaming for you. The topic on hand is about comparing digital store fronts, you are not discussing this at all.
You seem to only have read my first post where I replied to the OP or my second one then. After that I mentioned what the underlying issues with most digital stores (mostly Steam) are.

I can defend both. Like you said, a third party server feature that is compatible with every store would be ideal but if Valve is the only one willing to do it and it doesn't lock developers into using it than I think it's somewhat fair. In fact, I don't think they are the only ones. GOG recently released their own version of Steamworks with GOG Galaxy that has cross-play between them and Steam. I haven't used it, so I don't know if/how it works but it sounds cool and I think it's a good middle-ground.
Either way, these features in the end benefits the customer and forces the other companies on the market to find ways to improve. Or in the case of Epic, just buy your way into the market with no benefit to the consumer. On the flip-side GOG is making a lot of progress in that regard and I will support them even more if they continue to add features (like roll-back patches) especially if Steam stagnates. Seriously Valve, give me roll-back patches. That shit needs to be standard practice for offline games.
Well, ideally, one defends what one thinks is the best possible solution. I'm generally not really self-centered, so my interests align with the general interests of consumers. It's tough to say from an outside perspective but we did/do have 3rd party services (Gamespy, Gameranger and such). The issue here is/was competition from Valve via Steamworks and developers/publishers not caring about the market in general, as long as their game works somewhere. As for GOG, I'm not sure about the crossplay. Stellaris is supposed to have it and it should offer crossplay between Steam, GOG and Paradox' launcher but I think from GOG's side it doesn't really work (at least that's what I read somewhat recently)? To me, it sounded like Paradox is mostly working on it which is obviously bad because smaller developers won't implement it then because it takes too much work. That's why a 3rd party service would make sense because one can serve everyone rather simply. Basically, every store uses the same core but is able to customize on top of it. That would be the ideal. But well, Valve obviously has no interest in that and the other stores are twiddling their thumbs because they only compete with each other (instead of also working together in some aspects) and want as much control as possible. And control is really important to them, just take a look at how Valve didn't implement a LAN mode in DotA 2, or how Blizzard doesn't have one in Starcraft 2 even though LAN was always a standard in RTS games.
Epic's foray can really go either way and I have absolutely no clue which direction it will take. If Epic becomes a sizable competitor, developers/publishers may say that releasing for just one store (Steam) might not be the best decision and move towards releasing on multiple stores. Of course, the problem here is always patch parity and the likes. There is no single standard, so it takes work...which isn't good for small teams. Well, we will see how it goes. At least it's interesting that something is happening on that front.
(And yeah, being able to revert to previous patches is a must. Too bad that's not really in the interest of publishers, even when it comes to offline games for whatever reason.)
 

SkinnerSw33t

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If I could throw the "port begging" and "platform wars" behavior right back in the faces of PC gamers circa 2009 who laughed at all this behavior when it was taking place between the Wii, PS3, and 360, I would. But that would mean I have access to time travel and should probably be doing more noble things than talking on a message board.

How is it the same? It's not like you could load up Blades on your PS3.

Epic works just fine on my PC that handles Steam, GOG, Uplay, Origin and so on.
 

DryvBy

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I really couldn't care less from which store I get the games - all I want is to buy and install a game, double click on the icon, and play the game, that's really all. What launcher runs in the background? Like I said, I couldn't care less. I don't want ANY launcher to begin with, that's why for me MS Store > all. I just hope they will get wider 3rd party support once next-gen starts.

The MS Store is a built in launcher in Windows 10. Don't think for a second MS doesn't have DRM loaded somewhere.
 

Graciaus

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I don't use any launcher other then steam and I don't see that changing. No matter how many free games epic gives away I'd never download their store.
 

Ballthyrm

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We need an Open source game library launcher where every Devs pitch in a little bit of revenue for support.
Everybody get their own store but the base features would be shared across all the stores

All that stuff:


You would just have different Tab for different store, all on the same Banner.
Everybody takes 95% of revenue, the 5% goes in a common pool for Devs cost and server costs.
They are already doing that with the Khronos group and the Vulkan API.

Cut out the middle man, let's have a flat Fair playing field where the only thing that matters is the quality of the games.
As long as the store are taking crazy cuts like 30% or revenue, the devs will want to find another solution.
 
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synchronicity

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Dec 16, 2011
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I have no problem with what Epic is doing. In life (and business) people / entities do what they can do. Everything and everyone is trying to get ahead and survive as best they can. Let the blood flow! Things will sort themselves out.

I'll enter the battle by ignoring the Epic store because I have no interest in it. If that changes at some point, I'll act differently.
 

SirKicksalot

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I don't give a shit about having multiple clients as long as they don't accidentally your whole PC like Bethesda's.

I'm OK with your game being exclusive to your store. Didn't do much for Paragon and UT lol, and CD Projekt's Thronebreaker tanked so hard they rushed a shit version of it to Steam 17 days later

I'm not OK with pulling a game from all other stores, which is what Epic did with Metro.
 

ZywyPL

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The MS Store is a built in launcher in Windows 10. Don't think for a second MS doesn't have DRM loaded somewhere.

Even if, I don't really care, I just want to play games, that's what I've been doing in the past 25 years or so, that's the only thing that ultimately matters in this whole video game industry - playing games. And when I compare it to other stores, real life situation - I wanted to check The Division after over o year of break, what happens? The launcher needs an update. A couple of actually. Then the game needs patches. Lots of them. Then all the DLCs. After literally over 20min., once the game finally started, I immediately turned it off, because I was sick and tired of al that waiting and completely lost all the interest in the game. Steam, the same deal - I use it once, maybe twice a year, and every time I need to wait for all the patches to download. And it takes me at least 15min to figure out there the goddamn download manager is, it's such a mess, it's UI is hard stuck in the 90's with billions of buttons, tabs and windows, where all I really need is a search button to find the games I want to buy and check when they'll finish downloading. In terms of UI every other store sh**s hard on Steam IMO, but apparently people call it "features". So the more games abandon Steam for the sake of other stores the happier I am. And going back to MS Store - everything is always up to date - the store, the games, DLCs, it's all always there, the games launch immediately due to no launcher having to boot first. So yeah, despite all the technical issues (which I personally experienced once, literally once) it holds the crown for me, because it brings the consoles' ease of use and convenience. But like I said, lack of 3rd party support makes it barely competitive with other stores, maybe they'll figure it out with next-gen with their hard push on Play Anywhere, Games Pass etc., but until then I'm super happy that Steam finally has a competition (Epic).
 

Lightsbane

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Besides all my other issues with going digital, the main problem I'd have with buying a game on the Epic Store, is that I feel it won't be around for long.
Maybe a few years. At best. Then it will fail to stay afloat and all my games will be gone with it.
 
Jul 30, 2009
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All the industry is doing, with microtransactions, gambling-like dynamics, stupid exclusivity, etc. is pushing for just more piracy.

All the while punishing those that are keeping it afloat.

And competition means being able to choose where to buy games.

What I do in this shit scenario is just buying singleplayer games I know I want to play and pass on everything else until there's a substantial discount (which means just waiting a couple months).
 

Ballthyrm

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Even if, I don't really care, I just want to play games, that's what I've been doing in the past 25 years or so, that's the only thing that ultimately matters in this whole video game industry - playing games. And when I compare it to other stores, real life situation - I wanted to check The Division after over o year of break, what happens? The launcher needs an update. A couple of actually. Then the game needs patches. Lots of them. Then all the DLCs. After literally over 20min., once the game finally started, I immediately turned it off, because I was sick and tired of al that waiting and completely lost all the interest in the game. Steam, the same deal - I use it once, maybe twice a year, and every time I need to wait for all the patches to download. And it takes me at least 15min to figure out there the goddamn download manager is, it's such a mess, it's UI is hard stuck in the 90's with billions of buttons, tabs and windows, where all I really need is a search button to find the games I want to buy and check when they'll finish downloading. In terms of UI every other store sh**s hard on Steam IMO, but apparently people call it "features". So the more games abandon Steam for the sake of other stores the happier I am. And going back to MS Store - everything is always up to date - the store, the games, DLCs, it's all always there, the games launch immediately due to no launcher having to boot first. So yeah, despite all the technical issues (which I personally experienced once, literally once) it holds the crown for me, because it brings the consoles' ease of use and convenience. But like I said, lack of 3rd party support makes it barely competitive with other stores, maybe they'll figure it out with next-gen with their hard push on Play Anywhere, Games Pass etc., but until then I'm super happy that Steam finally has a competition (Epic).

 
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sol_bad

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Steam does have a search function, it's in the top right hand corner. Accessing your downloads is also easy, not on my PC at the moment but I'm sure you hover over "library" at the top and then click on downloads. It's something similar to that affect though.

Granted, you may have had a bit of difficulty finding your downloads but if you had trouble searching for games on the store, I don't know what to say.
Regarding Steams updates, if you can get The Division fully updated within 20 minutes then I assuming Steam would take a minute or less. Is your time really THAT precious?

The Windows store is a huge mess in my opinion, it may always be up to date but searching on that thing is horrendous. Everything is all mixed together, free and paid for games, other apps. eh
 

ZywyPL

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I don't have problems with finding the games I want on Steam, at all, but it's the other things I mentioned that really triggers me. But then again - if people can navigate through Steam with it's overloaded amount of tabs/windows, then what's so difficult in having few other stores/launchers installed on the PC? You just create a "Games" folder on the desktop, with all the shortcuts of your games, and who cares from which stores those games come from? Really, I find all those "stores wars" as a serious mental issue, rather than an actual practical/technical issue, people are just chained/addicted to Steam and are unable to play games downloaded from other stores, just for the sake of not being downloaded from Steam, which is truly sad, or day I say, pathetic. I have UPlay for Ubi games, Origin for EA games, MS Store for MS games, Steam for the rest, and now Epic also the rest of the games that are elsewhere unavailable, so really, where's the issue? And if competition can really bring lower prices, them I'm all into stores diversity.
 

sol_bad

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For me personally, I simply don't want to support any launchers/store fronts that can't compete with Steam.

All the other launchers fail in comparison to Steam, both in terms of feature set and representation on other digital store fronts. You can get Steam games on GMG, Humblebundle, Indiegala and Fanatical for example.

They also need to understand and respect that the competing store front has been around longer and has a much larger user base. GoG for example have GoGConnect where you can import certain Steam games. This is respecting your user base.

PS
Splintering my game database is a huge OCD issue for me.
 
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Bolivar687

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I was into Counter-Strike when Steam launched and I didnt understand why we needed this extra layer of software. Then, when I moved in with my Dad my senior year of high school, downloaded Steam on a new machine and it automatically began downloading all my games, it clicked. You have to understand this was back when your PC games library was a collection of plastic CD cases stashed in the drawers of your computer desk.

Of course, Steam was never in reality the be-all, end-all of PC gaming. Many of the PC's biggest games, going back to World of Warcraft around when the platform launched, have always existed outside of Valve's ecosystem. I always felt like Steam grew naturally from other publishers not wanting to invest in their own distribution and anti-cheat but, even then, it was always obvious that everyone has the incentive to just self-publish and sell their own games. When EA jumped ship, a lot of people were outraged, but to me it felt like inevitability.

That's what makes this Epic move such a weird anomaly - whereas Steam grew organically and has now naturally run its course and is entering a new phase, there's nothing organic or natural about this. If I'm not playing The Division 2 on Steam for convenience, why would I ever buy it anywhere else than UPlay? I can't imagine that Epic have a good answer for that, either.

I don't know why journalists would raise the alarm now, for this latest, most bizarre and nonsensical reason to eschew Steam, other than the fact that they raise the alarm every time gamers raise a grievance against their corporate patrons now. They're irrelevant anyways, so I'll just leave it to then to defend this in their social media bubbles.