Fuck steam.

The people at steam who decide policy and how to present it are clearly great geniuses. They have figured out how to totally shaft the indie market and most indie developers are happy about it and will defend them to death.

Now I know from experience that I need to justify this view to most people, because most people are living in a fantasy world when it comes to thinking about steam so let’s get clear about some stuff;

Steam are a BUSINESS, they only care about your game if it is likely to MAKE THEM MONEY. And I think our general desperation to get games on the service is damaging the market as a whole.

Greenlight is steam’s new way of finding indie games to put on their service. You can submit your game and the steam community votes on it and the stuff that filters to the very top gets the privilege of being on steam. It’s a brilliant idea, from steam’s perspective; they don’t have to do any work, and the community rejects the 99.9% of indie games they wouldn’t pay for leaving only profitable games left.

But it’s more brilliant (from steam’s perspective) than just that; greenlight has no content filtering AT ALL. If people find a game’s greenlight page it’s because the *developer* pointed them there. It’s impossible for people to just *browse* greenlight and find something they are interested in. This way only games that have a committed and large fan-base already will make it to the top. The games that would be guaranteed hits without steam, will be on steam!

The vast majority of developers will never see that ‘green light’ and get the chance to see how their games would sell on steam. The system is only good to the lucky 0.1% of indie developers who actually make it onto the service. Everyone else who tried just wasted their time .

All of this so far is totally fine, it’s a business after all! Steam aren’t there to do anyone anyone any favours but themselves, and that’s just super-cool, I applaud you for finding how to do less work and make more money steam. You guys are super smart!

… Well, it *would* be totally fine, if it wasn’t the case that steam has a massive fucking monopoly on PC gamers. “I won’t get it if it’s not on steam” is such a common attitude I could spit and it’d hit someone who thinks that. It’s not a mystery why either, steam offer an EXCELLENT service to their customers for sure. But their customers make up the majority of paying gamers and it leaves little room for the rest of us to make a living.

I would argue then, that steam *should* be as good to indies as people *think* that they are. If steam are the only way *most* people get their games, then it’s nothing less than steam’s RESPONSIBILITY to give all indie developers a decent chance.

But they won’t. It’s a business, a very successful one at that and we aren’t going to change their mind. They will give a handful of indies a decent break, and the rest of us will hear about that and be hopeful that sometime we’ll get our break and be on steam. And that is bullshit thinking right there.

So steam are only interested in a handful of indie games and are a detriment to everyone else? well I say FUCK STEAM.

There are a bunch of other decent ways to get games and we need to do more to convince gamers that they are cool. Crawling before steam and begging for permission on greenlight does nothing but show how desperate we are for steam’s audience. Let’s not get their audience like that, for one thing it’s not very indie, for another it won’t work for most of us, and finally it’s simply disgraceful.

Sure the IndieVanias, Desuras and IndieCitys of the world don’t offer quite as good a service as steam does. And direct sales can be tricky for gamers to keep track of but fuck it! we make awesome games and gamers are missing out because of their steam-goggles. There is a whole world of games outside of steam and gamers need to know about them, and be OK with buying them.

Steam aren’t going to do us ANY favours that don’t benefit themselves first. So let’s maybe stop depending on them so much, collect our dignity and work on how we can make an environment where anyone can sell their work on PC and have a chance at success.

Certainly not an easy task, people are loyal to steam and convincing them to get games elsewhere won’t be easy. But the difficulty in doing so isn’t an argument in favour of steam, if anything it’s an argument that we should have started sooner.


61 Comments on “Fuck steam.”

  1. Harry Harrison says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve has the capacity to finish and release a game yet, but I’m already thinking about how I’d go about doing so. Spending the time to create my own payment gateway and update system is looking more and more worth it.

  2. Haigen says:

    I totally agree with this.
    At first I liked the idea of GreenLight and even signed up to the steam community beta to check it out. Turns out I was wasting my time. Plenty of games I hoped to see on there weren’t. I knew a few people who told me they had their games accepted to go into GreenLight and yet I never saw any of them.

    Steam is a good service, when it’s not hurting others. And right now, it’s hurting a lot of people.

  3. winterwolves says:

    Selling direct is possible, I do it, 99% of my income is direct. Takes lot of time and patience though, nothing you can do in only 1-2 years for sure.

  4. Voxel says:

    I came here to berate your naive rantings but after reading this I find myself agreeing 100%. I’m obviously too malleable to be allowed on the internet anymore.

  5. bluescrn says:

    Agreed. I’ve been becoming more and more anti-Steam over the last couple of years.

    It’s sad that the gaming/gamedev community have allowed them to obtain a near-monopoly over PC game distribution.

    Valve are absolute geniuses at business, though. They’ve realised that if they make the occasional truly awesome game, and maintain a decent user experience within Steam, and hold regular sales – then the gaming community will adore them – and completely ignore any downsides… like the hundreds of indies with decent games, stuck outside Steam’s tightly locked gates…

    (Or equally importantly, what happens to your big Steam game library when a future version of Windows is a completely closed platform and won’t run Steam any more…)

  6. Rushil says:

    I do agree with some parts of this article. But what’s more important is that we should come up with a better solution or maybe help Steam rectify these problems. Yes, steam are a business but I still believe that they do care about indie devs. It’s not that they will always get things right at first. We need to help them as well to make the green light system better for indie devs. They’ve already heard the community and have started charging devs to upload game pages, in order to stop spamming.

    Also I disagree with the part that only games with strong fan base can succeed. There are are many games we had not even heard of are being up voted. Routine, a horror game for example. So yes games un heard of but good games can do well, maybe a they will be take a but longer to get the the green light, but they can do well. And which is why we should help steam rectify such problems.

  7. Jonny says:

    I disagree.

    Green light is the first service of its kind so there are bound to be teething problems in the first initial months. Quite frankly, if you arnt willing to pay the rather cheap $100 to get your game on there (which all proceeds are donated to charity anyway) then you can’t be that confident in your game as an idea.

    People talk about not being able to afford this but putting it blunt, games are a business and if you expect to make money from your game, you have to ve willing ti spend it. The IGF charge for competition submissions and no one questions that?

    Green light can grow into a great service but it will take cooperation from both sides. Steam have got the ball rolling and I fully believe their interests lie with the Devs and not some evil money making scheme.

    This continued attitude that Indie games are some special sub branch of the market is damaging to the cause. They are no longer special and are finally gaining the credit they deserve. Accept that Indie games (at least when you WANT it on steam) are business decisions and should be treated, like a business.

    $100 is an investment in your self to succeed so instead of bashing on what could be the best chance indie Devs have, work with it and make it better.

    • Fosax says:

      Couldn’t agree more, if every game was accepted into the store, we’d have a bunch of other WarZ fiascos, this would be damaging for Steam’s reputation.

      • SirFuckSteamOfChessington says:

        “…we’d have a bunch of other WarZ fiascos, this would be damaging for Steam’s reputation.”
        Are you a fucking idiot? Where did he say ‘approve all indie games on greenlight?’
        He stated that gamers should be allowed to browse all pending games on the Greenlight service, and allow them to pick and choose which on they desire to vote for, unlike the current system where fans are shoehorned into specific games without awareness of others.

        Anyway, The War Z is one of the games with a “a committed and large fan-base,” hence, the fiasco was larger due to the scale and size of the project and the entailed parties.

  8. AEric says:

    Interesting. First Steam is bad because they select which games are allowed onto the platform behind closed doors in their own review process. Now that there’s another, more open community-based review process, Steam is bad because they make the community do all the work?

    Gasp, Steam wants to make money? They’re a business?! I thought they were a charitable indie games marketing platform? This is outrageous!

  9. GB says:

    Overall I find it refreshing to read something that isn’t a complete bout of praising for Valve, but they still seem to be doing pretty well.

    “I won’t get it if it’s not on steam”, is one I have heard of myself quite a lot. I’m sure the main reason people won’t get a game unless it is on Steam is because Steam does indeed offer a great immersive, streamlined system with any purchases. A game bought from Steam, is integrated into your Steam program and with it comes mods and perks such as chat, easy game invitations ect, packaged in one neat bundle.

    Yet there is something slightly, though admittedly not overtly, pretentious from the notion that other gamers who do not buy a game on steam are missing out on something wondrous.

    Overall I think it’s too early right now to dismiss the merits of Greenlight. The idea that business comes first is one we shouldn’t be shocked about and should accept. But that being said, it’s still understandable to see why people in the front line or just a little bit behind within the indie game world are a little bit put out and put off by Greenlight and what it offers or to them claims to offer.

    Games have an abundance of websites dedicated to reviewing them solely on their packaged content, their game play, the issues they cause, the big business scandals affiliated with them and the celebrities that give their likeness and voice to the stories they produce.

    Getting a leg up in the gaming industry might be very difficult but it is slightly easier than getting a chance to be seen and heard in other mediums, such as writing and acting. Conventions occur annually in many regions offering showcasing opportunities and potential job grabbings. Youtube, blogging and other free exports online let anyone have a chance to get noticed and make a profit if they work hard enough and offer something a large group of viewers will enjoy and come back for.

  10. GB says:

    £100 isn’t rather cheap in the slightes, pre or post recession aka ‘it’s fucking hard to find an income’ age.

    It’s also as pointed out quite a lot of money to pay, considering that there’s no guarantee your investment will benefit you.

  11. The Steeng says:

    See, the reason why y’all are actually angry is that you’re being held to standards that you frankly can’t fulfill. Nobody is paying $5, $7 or $10 for your pre-millenial twin stick shooter or racer demos.

  12. [...] as a huge affront to the seemingly open world of PC game development. Many indie folks are mad - seething, even - and rightly so. Steam, the biggest (and, for many, only) place to buy PC games online [...]

  13. Lonny says:

    > Steam are a BUSINESS, they only care about your game if it is likely to MAKE THEM MONEY.

    No! Those capitalist swine!

  14. [...] (or caring) that the developer can’t just choose to put it up there.  As Sophie Houlden says, ‘ “I won’t get it if it’s not on steam” is such a common attitude I could spit and [...]

  15. I do wish Desura or some contemporary was a bigger competitor to Steam. Maybe a coalition of indies needs to analyze what makes steam work so well and either build or help one of the existing things rise up to steam levels to compete.

  16. Jeff Plum says:

    You’re right about Steam being a business. However your “indie” credentials have gotten in the way of seeing the bleedingly obvious: there are lots of indie games on Steam, they’re called the ones actually worth paying for and playing. Off the top of my head: Braid, VVVVVV, And Yet It Moves.

    Most “indie” games I play are nothing more than a single idea, poorly executed. Don’t get me wrong, the concepts of all these “indie” games excite me, but I don’t play games simply to sample your latest “great” idea. I play games that have a series of ideas joined together and polished to perfection so as to not break the immersion. Those experiences are worth paying for.

    Why don’t you single dev “indies” get together, start a small studio and put out something substantial instead? That would probably make it on to Steam regardless of your intent to do so because people would pay money for it.

    • Jeff Plum says:

      Gosh, I’ve read that back and it sounds terribly condescending and sarcastic. I meant it in a positive way, ie “You’re amazing by yourselves, just imagine what you can do TOGETHER! Indies unite!”

  17. David says:

    I don’t think this hostility towards Steam is warranted.

    Like you say, they are a business and they do have a significant share of the market for digital distribution of video games on Windows (50-70% according to Forbes). However, they also largely created most of that market in the first place, by introducing mainstream gamers to digital distribution with Half-Life 2. It’s likely that even though Steam has so much market share, it greatly increased the volume of _non-Steam_ game sales as well. Basically, if they have half the market, and they quadrupled the size of the market, they helped everyone else as well (except boxed-game retail stores).

    Also, if we must have a digital distribution overlord, then a privately-held company run by game developers is the best we could possibly hope for. If Valve hadn’t gotten there first, who would it be? Microsoft? EA? Activision? Imagine having to beg a publisher to grant you one of their reserved “Steam slots”, and then having to pay 90% royalties.

    Content discovery and curation is still an unsolved problem, and it seems like Steam is trying something new with Greenlight. They’re trying to deliver the low barrier to entry of the iOS App Store, but without the positive feedback loops that add so much randomness to that system. They were seeing a lot of fraud and joke entries that were making it harder for users to vote on legitimate games, so they added this $100-to-charity gateway to reduce that problem. Maybe it’s not the best solution, but it would be more helpful to suggest better ones than to condemn them for it.

    It’s true that getting on Steam is a big deal; it can probably double your revenue. But it’s not a magic bullet. If a game can’t succeed at all without Steam, then how would it succeed on Steam? Basically how Steam works is that if they think your game is going to do well, they will help it do even better, and take their cut. They don’t want to add too many unpopular games, because it might reduce sales of the popular ones. That is one of the positive feedback loops that is inherent in how the world works, and how the Internet works.

    It is definitely difficult to create games and find an audience for them, but I don’t think it’s fair to blame Steam for that.

    • Justin says:

      I agree with you David. a lot of Indies are bitching and moaning about Greenlight, not getting any feedback from steam, Microsoft, or other platforms that have high standards or are corrupt. There is a simple solution if this is how you feel, go somewhere else. Try something else. Takes less energy than complaining.

      If Steam is important to you, grind harder, politic, make a game that fits with their standards or find a a system more compatible with your game.

      Another solution would be to create solutions that will help them cultivate efficiency. I know negativity stirs more controversy but an article about how to improve could help them see the “light” instead of say fuck them. Valve is not an “indie” company and probably never will be, they may need to see things from another perspective instead of being criticized for trying something different to benefit indie developers.

      Regarding standards and being a business, I think it is great that they have expectations, they have the right to. If anyone is interested in Greenlight or Steam it is probably because they want sales for their business, not because they just want to toss out an unpolished project. Not too many people like competing in a flooded market filled with bogus clones, fragmented gameplay experiments and other experiences that are not complete.

      Cliche coming up… “If it were easy to develop successful games, everyone would do it.”

  18. k trout says:

    it should also be noted that the $100 submission fee goes entirely to charity

  19. I don’t think it’s true that Steam treat their customers well.

    They treat their customers like dirt, but they disguise it through flattery, and by actively encouraging zealotry and monoculture amongst their customers. Much like Apple.

    In many other ways Valve are a fine company who set an example I would encourage others to follow. But being a customer on Steam is like volunteering to be kicked in the face.

    (The customers are as much to blame for this as Valve. It’s hard to blame them for shafting a populace who are obviously very desperately queuing up to be shafted.)

    • Zach says:

      This is meaningless without examples.

    • Tseng says:

      Well, there are many examples why Valve threat their customers like dirt.

      One and the foremost is that they limit their rights granted by the law by binding the game to the account and with no way to unbound it.

      In European law it’s explicitly ruled out that a user has the right to resell the good he purchase. At the moment a customer pays for a good (i.e. a game/software) it belongs to him and he has the right to resell it (second hand sales).

      Valve is ignoring this (and looking strictly at it) breaking European laws, but no one had the guts yet to sue them.

      The other thing is, that they force people into using their spyware. You can not download, install or play the game without the spyware called Steam.

      I used to purchase regularly at Direct2Drive before they were sold (more than 50% of my purchases came from there). They had a really good and promising concept. You could simply purchase a game and install it, without need off some account or some spyware software like Steam, Origin or uPlay.

      Only a 1-time activation was necessary and most games having 3-5 activations that allowed you to resell your game once you were done with it.

      Also the aggressive autoupdate is what most people dislike, especially when some new forced update brings issues you didn’t had before, not having an option to downgrade your game.

      But since D2D got sold out, it turned out into another spyware driven distribution platform (aka GameFly in the European zone).

      The truth why most people still use and endure steam is not because steam is great and user friendly, it’s because
      a) it has a monopoly on digital distribution
      b) with the death of Direct2Drive, steam is the only serious platform which regularly offers high discount sales (33-75% discounts during certain events/days/weekends)

  20. YA says:

    butthurt egalitarian is butthurt

    not all games are born equal, deal with it

  21. Dex says:

    Fuck that shit, that’s the reason why me and other people use Steam and GoG instead of some retarded App Store or Desura or whatever, I don’t wanna see crap cluttering everything and pouring down the walls.
    Steam has also made me even *consider* paying money for “Indies” in the first place and getting a huge assortment on them by curating the good ones and making me realize that not all of them are crap.

    If anything, there should be an option with a separate service hidden away like XBLIG or whatever called “Steam Shit” where they hide all the hunchbacks and put potato sacks on their heads so I won’t have to deal with it and make it completely optional as an Extra Tab or something at most. There could also be a chance for “ascent” onto actual Steam through selling exceptionally or Steam Greenlight like processes, but fuck if I want your $1 crap you put together in a few weeks cluttering the Store.

    If anything, having to sort through all that shit in the Greenlight submissions (still not finished with the 700+ games) has made me even more sympathetic to them than I already was.

    There’s plenty of reasons to criticize Steam, from being a closed platform with DRM and third-party DRM (which GoG doesn’t have), to them being able to close accounts for any reason, to the different pricing and regional restrictions (which GoG doesnt have) and more, but keeping trash off of the store isn’t one of them.

    Also: http://www.examiner.com/article/how-a-steam-sale-saved-a-game-company
    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/features/9011-The-Terrifying-Tale-of-Amnesia
    http://www.neoseeker.com/news/12017-tripwire-steam-does-not-exploit-indie-developers/

    You aren’t entitled to them doing shit for you or doing your work instead (advertising your product, collecting payment and all that), if you don’t like it do it yourself, like that MineCraft dude.

  22. c3p says:

    The sad thing is that you are right, but there seems to be no real alternative.
    I really like the indie gaming scene and try to be open to new concepts, but there are to many to small/bad games.
    You are right, that titles like Trine, Super Meat Boy, Limbo, … that are on Steam would have sold great anyway.
    But fact is: While it might be true that the average of the indie scene is weakend by this, the Benefit for everyone who makes it trumps that.
    Plus the Fact that more Gamer are lured to the indie scene and away from the big titles might in total increase the average indie developer income.

    tl;dr Articel has valid points, but there seems to be no alternative and in the end everybody might profit

  23. [...] The indie community was polarized in two camps which were almost at each other’s (and Valve’s) [...]

  24. [...] and projects that create the best return on investment. I'm not quite willing to go so far as Sophie Houlden did (warning: salty language and an amusing but rather NSFW animated picture on the page) and tell [...]

  25. Rog says:

    It seems to me that Greenlight is still a new experiment and if you look at Valve’s history they iterate on their experiments, so it’s bound to adapt and change.

    I’m not sure what to do about the argument of them being a business. Yes they are. The monopoly argument I’m even less sure about, especially in an environment where everyone can sell on their own website with a reasonable amount of resources.

    I hate to say it, but a lot of this seems a bit like sour grapes, where if you’re not getting a great benefit to yourself, it must be bad.

    Clearly Steam has been a pretty good benefit to the game devs who’ve managed to get their game placed on the service. I imagine it will be pretty cool for those who get onto Steam via Greenlight.

    It’s not a democratic system, it’s more of an exclusive system, but isn’t it a good thing that some system fulfil that role? We have other more democratic ways of self-publishing.

  26. Joe says:

    Don’t be such big baby. I constantly check those games and the reason some of them are not popular is because simply put a lot of them don’t look interesting, they look like crap, boring or the indie developer didn’t bother to even post a screenshot of the game or gameplay videos. Just because you are an indie developer doesn’t make you mighter or better, either make a good product or don’t bother to complaint. I’ve had enough with those 8 bit low quality rehashes for example.

  27. [...] going to be an environment of progress and fairness that advances the medium, that Valve has some vested interest in the success of indies, that Greenlight isn't functionally exclusionary, and mostly, that $100 is just too much money. No [...]

  28. Lego says:

    “steam has a massive fucking monopoly on PC gamers. “I won’t get it if it’s not on steam” is such a common attitude”

    Maybe the majority of these people that think this way wouldn’t go on any other platform of distributon if steam wasn’t there anyway… They would just still go to a physical shop to buy their games.

  29. jvempire says:

    leaving the developers to market their own game doesn’t sound like a problem. it’s up to them if they want to get their game out there, it’s just like how kickstarter works as well. how bad it is to navigate is a major issue with greenlight, but it’s not like steam did that on purpose. hopefully the lay out will be improved later on (its a little better right now). as for steam only wanting to make money, uh the $100 entry fee goes to charity so i don’t understand what you’re getting at.

  30. John says:

    You have my complete support on this idea. I think every indie game deserves an equal chance to find their audience. I loves me some indie games, so thank you for your contribution to a great form of time wasting. I’m so glad we don’t hafta fling poo and draw stick figures on caves to keep ourselves busy these days.

  31. PIR says:

    You can search through Steam Greenlight. You can do it by keywords or filter entries by tags such as genre or platform. If you’re proactive enough then you can find games you would enjoy playing.

    I’m not sure if content filtering in Greenlight is new since this was written a month ago, or if Sophie just made an innocent mistake, but it seems pretty accessible at this point.

  32. Store Copy says:

    What a shit attitude.

    I’m indie and I support Valve for doing this. I emailed them as much, both Gabe and my handler for my games on Steam.

    I’d happily pay 10x that. It’d keep all but the best quality games and not some crappy little experiment you thought was cool, but is actually not enough to carry a game.

    If you want to play with the big boys, pay. Everyone has to now unless you have an existing game with them.

    Oh I’m bored of you already.

    • bluescrn says:

      Well, I took down my Greenlight page. The system is a bit of joke.

      Since it launch, it looks like more indie games have got on Steam by bypassing Greenlight than have got on via Greenlight. There’s a very blatant 2-tier system in operation.

      Gamers quickly lost interest after the launch, and pages are getting very few views. Game concepts/dreams/prototypes seem to have more success on there than actual complete or near-complete products…

      (Out of those approved, only 6 were actually on Steam last time I checked. If you’re one of those 6 – well, congratulations!)

  33. [...] a while back I ranted about why steam was damaging to independent developers as a whole (yes they are good for those that [...]

  34. Handsome Hank says:

    You simply couldn’t be more wrong. Did you do ANY research before posting this incoherent ramble or did you just trust your gut? Steam is putting the power totally into the players and developers hands. People who would otherwise have next to zero exposure are now able to get it. This is good for everyone. Greenlight has its faults no doubt but the way, the entire way, you’re portraying it is incorrect.

  35. [...] Well, there’s been plenty of rants about this, particularly with the $100 fee added simply for posting a title on Greenlight. In theory, it was [...]

  36. Sysgen says:

    Many good points in this thread. From what I can remember:

    Steam is a monopoly? No. I buy about half of my Steam games not from Steam so how can Steam be a monopoly? Steam is a drm system, not a monopoly.

    Steam does not care about it’s customers? I’ve personally seen Valve abide by European law which does override their TOS. I’ve seen Steam grant refunds but not always, this includes to me personally. Steam has an antiquated customer service system which I’ve personally experienced. Amazon issue, resolution in 2 minutes, Steam issue, resolution took 11 days. My verdict, I agree that if Valve took their customers seriously they would implement a real-time customer service system. They haven’t and from a billion dollar company that is worth more than Google or Apple per employee that is inexcusable.

    OK here we go. Greenlight. I’ve read developers say that this system is better than the old. OK. Why do they say that?
    Seems like an odd service. Gamers judge games not by playing them, not by being immersed, not experiencing how they control, but by watching a video. Really?

    That’s what Greenlight is on the surface. Looked at in that context it’s AWFUL and no it doesn’t work in that context. Then how does it work?

    Valve expects the indie developer to do the work to get their game greenlighted. Once you understand this you will understand the purpose of greenlight. Greenlight has little to do with how quickly gamers get bored watching doctored videos of incomplete games.

    http://www.littlelostpoly.co.uk/dear-esther/my-retrospectivepost-mortem-on-dear-esther/

    “The first response we had back was: “come back when you have a demo and a community that proves its popularity, then we’ll talk”.”

    That was the old way. That is talk to Valve. The new way is that the indie developer builds their own community, their own fan base. When you’ve done that your game should get green lighted by your community.

    So which way do you want it? Do you want Valve making the decision on your game or do you want your community, which you the indie developer worked to build, to make the decision on your game.

    Seems like an easy choice.

    How to build a community? I’ve seen developers give a way a few thousand Desura keys on Neogaf or other gaming forums. I’ve seen bundles created. The latest Groupees Greenlight bundle comes to mind. I bought several of those games in that bundle and I voted on green light for every single game I purchased

    Building the game is not enough. If you want the riches that getting your game on Steam can bring, well you have to do more than create a game.

  37. Ascendaeus says:

    I Downloaded the Shitty War in the North game Off SHITTY STEAM and All it Does is Crash My PC, BlueScreen 100% Every Time i go to Play The Only One Shitty Game I Bought From Them it Not only Fails to Operate (The Game i Purchased With My Credit Card!) But Also CRASHES MY PC Altogether, Every Time.

  38. Barney S says:

    Sounds to me like someones jealous!!
    Come on, if people really want their games out there…and steam are pulling this , and I agree, cheap money making trick, it’s not their fault, no one put a gun to the heads of these game developers and forced them to only try steam and nothing else, I bet there are other ways your game can gain recognition, if anything steam is doing them a favor. Like you mentioned, steam is a business, and like most businesses out there, they’re only motivated by money and more money, at least they give a shit about their costumers and always try to better themselves.
    I’ve been a steam costumer for many years now and I consider myself to be a cynical person, but I’ve yet to complain once about anything they’ve done so far, so hats off for steam.

  39. F says:

    As a consumer I’d rather not have to dig through piles of crap to find the few specs of gold. There are other avenues to getting the name out there such as through magazine or online reviews.

    The majority of indie titles are shit. I’m not trying to be cruel, it’s just a fact. People assume because they spent x hours/days working on something that they deserve some kind of recognition automatically. That isn’t the case. If you want recognition and profit, then do something amazing nobody has seen before. It’ll sell itself, and it will make it on steam AND it will get a crap ton of reviews automatically.

    So, perhaps the problem isn’t with Steam, but the quality of the crap people are trying to put on Steam?

    • Guest says:

      Thank you, I was starting to think I was the only one who didn’t want to dig through countless crap to find something that I want to actually spend my hard earned money on.

      If I want a horrible game, I am perfectly capable of programming one myself!

  40. Blackguard316 says:

    FUCK STEAM! I have to cut through tons of red tape to play a damn, offline game! And all they do is fuck it up, give me shit I don’t need or care about, control how and when I play, and FORCE me to be online. WTF!! I don’t want their “services”. I want to 1. Install. 2. Play. Nothing more or less. FUCK STEAM.

  41. Sigh says:

    There is no way in a million years that another service will beat steam nowadays.

    Too many people have a LOT of games on steam and valve has stated that they will NEVER allow transfers to other platforms.

    I myself have accumulated over 600$ worth of games in my steam account and fuck if I’m ever gonna give this up for anything, besides, last I checked, steam was the REASON why some of the most popular indie games even got the needed exposure.

    I do agree with some of the points, but overall, steam will never be beaten or die, deal with it.

    • Sophie says:

      I never said anybody had to throw away their steam library. :P

      So what’s the real problem, is it really so difficult to buy games from more than one place?

  42. Halldor says:

    Steam is the biggest pile of shit out there, I don’t buy games that are exclusively on Steam, because I wan´t to own the games I spend money on, not pay for some sort of “service”. Steam has the worst kind of DRM there is (ohh you don´t play by our rules ehh, well congratulations on loosing access to all the games you “bought”).

    Sadly many of the large gaming companies are going exclusively steam, I have not bought a game in like 2 years now because every single game seems to require steam.

  43. DemigodAtom says:

    Nice to see I’m not the only indie game dev out there that absolutely despises Steam.

    Valve (the wankers that shat out Steam) thought Steam would save the PC industry, partially true. The PC industry was dying out because consoles were “the new thing” and more developers were making games for these consoles and so PC gaming was dying out. When Steam was launched, it was a success – it had effectively rejuvenated the PC gaming industry.

    The reason why Steam is so popular now is because a lot of indie devs (and some of the big companies as well) relied on Steam to make sure their PC games got some publicity. Steam however is no longer needed since the PC industry now has plenty of action on the development scene. People are now more than aware of the potential PC gaming has yet some devs are still relying (too much may I add) on Steam when they could host it on a smaller service or even burn their game onto a disc and sell it in a good old brick-and-mortar shop still get some good sales.

    The biggest problem with Steam though is that it is destroying the second hand game industry. Before, you could buy a game, finish it, sell it to a friend and let them play it. Now, that’s made a turn for the worst. You can’t share the game, once you’ve bought the game, it’s tied to your Steam account so you can’t share the game without giving them access to your Steam acc which would mean they would have all of your save games.

    Yet devs don’t care about that mostly (assuming) because of what Valve has done with the industry. Now I could partially forgive that, if it wasn’t for the fact that Steam is pretty much invading our brick-and-mortar stores as well. I can understand (at least, understand to a point) Steam using this system if you bought the game from the actual Steam website as a digital download, after all you bought that from Steam’s very own online “shop” if you will. But using this system with games that we bought in a store with a disc? Come on Valve, that’s crossing the fucking line. We should be able to at least share that disc with our friends like we could in the good old days before Steam became the norm for PC gaming.

    Fuck Steam.

  44. Justin Cuff says:

    Okay, I’ll weigh-in. Who am I? No one really; kind of a loner and total nerd who likes to make old-school story-driven games. I have recently submitted a game to greenlight and have been met with lots of insults, personal attacks and even some threats of a sexual nature (kicking my nards-in if I ever add a game again, and ‘your game blows more schlongs than a hairdryer at a racetrack.’ But all in all, it has connected me to many players who would never have known about me. Will this result in sales down the road? I’m not sure yet, but I do know that steam has helped me become more visible and it shows some seriousness on the developer’s side to be adding their work to a premium service site. Of course it may not even be possible anymore with the ever-inflating bottle-neck of ‘indie’ titles, but if you have a website and are not a total arse, then people will buy your games and support your passion. You just have to get it out there to as many people as possible. Self-promotion is a full-time, 7/day/week job. Always be posting, responding and paying for a few banner ads on busy social sites can really boost your visibility. It’s not about making 1 game and then selling it. It’s about a long-term branding. You have to have a brand and work that into your daily existence on-line and elsewhere. Get off of the computer and talk to people in your own town/city. Start local with pc game groups, or post small paper notices around the market boards advertising your site and game. Explain that you are independent and super poor, but that you just want to make more games forever. People admire that kind of honest courage and it is just starting to work for me. Is steam a great site to sell your game on? I don’t know. It has been for many developers and then again, there are some who like being on the fringe and doing everything direct. Either way, it is up to you to make sure people know about you; not steam, desura, or anyone/thing else. I agree that there is room for improvement, but there has never been a better time to be an indie developer, and have all these wonderful communication tools at your disposal. The issue is not whether someone else can successfully sell your game for you, but whether or not YOU can sell your game.

  45. [...] points were retweeted by fellow game developer Sophie Houlden, who’s also written some very wonderful pieces about Valve and Greenlight on her website (and i really suggest that you read them), and [...]


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