It's almost kind of a shame that it's more or less entirely for games and game development software - something like it with sourceforge/github integration or an API for general purpose Windows installers would be nice.
notwithstanding whatever Windows 10 might have, because I still refuse to touch that, but it's probably not as good as the Steam client.
- Backing up application data in the cloud (game saves)
- Update priorities (ASAP, before next launch, before everything else)
- Throttling bandwidth use or background updates (because I know you're streaming Youtube and your battery got low and you just want to have enough juice to finish your video, but Google Play Music/TV/Movies/Bloatware must update now, what's a little buffering for the next 20 minutes anyway?)
- Update windows (like when the phone is idle in the middle of the night, not when I'm in the middle of using it)
It doesn't seem like any of these things would be hard to build. I guess "package manager UX" doesn't look good on a product manager resume.
Other common case is when I pull into my driveway/office and happen to be charging my phone in the car and it gets into WiFi range. Boom, update everything time.
Google supposedly knows everything about my daily routine, and yet, somehow can't predict when I won't be using my phone. Even something super dumb like, screen off > 2 hours && battery > 80% && connected to wifi would make my autoupdate life much better.
Apple has the opposite problem. "Hey, your computer needs to restart, [Restart Now], [Remind me tomorrow]". [Remind me tomorrow] doesn't mean, oh I noticed that your computer went into sleep before tomorrow I'm going to restart it now. Thanks Apple, I had unsaved state open.
Ironically enough, Microsoft seems to have gotten the apply updates/restart frustration down. Maybe it's from all the flak they've gotten over the years.
> Ironically enough, Microsoft seems to have gotten the apply updates/restart frustration down. Maybe it's from all the flak they've gotten over the years.
Not IME. When I shutdown my computer to go away for Christmas holidays windows decided that this was the perfect time to apply updates. Fortunately it completed on the bus ride and not the flight.
I think we've gone well passed the point of what computers should do on our behalf, everything they try and automate lately just ends up aggravating me.
You can tell the system which Wifi networks are metered, at least since Lollipop if not earlier.
So if your app loses state because of an automatic restart, that is really a problem with the app. The developer should either make use of the state restoration APIs (preferred), or at least implement -applicationShouldTerminate: to prevent the reboot when there are unsaved changes.
In the end, the visible change was the addition of Edge and Cortana .. A good way to make me decide to never use these 2 apps.
I would really like to know what it was downloading, and why it took so long. My entire windows partition is only 100GB, it would have been faster for me to back up my data, download a new ISO and install Windows from scratch than to just update it.
So MS followed Valve on this.
No, no, no. That's how I ended up with a laptop burned screen. Or being woken up by whatever music it was playing at that time. Solution: update when I press the button or when I planned it myself.
And do their damnedest to get rid of the half-hour wait on reboot whilst it does unknown evil in the background with no indications of action or time to completion ... yes, I've been burnt!
iCloud has been doing that for years, with more features and flexibility for both users as well as developers than Steam.
> Update priorities (ASAP, before next launch, before everything else)
Disable auto-updates and let the user decide. Manually choosing updates works better on the App Store than on Steam.
> Update windows (like when the phone is idle in the middle of the night, not when I'm in the middle of using it)
macOS, iOS, tvOS and watchOS all let you choose whether to download OS updates in the background and when to install them.
On our tests we saw that the game does not run if the PC does not have following libraries, check those tickboxes on that page to install them as well
https://github.com/lukesampson/scoop/wiki/Chocolatey-Compari... (scoop) is an option focused on dev tools, http://boxstarter.org for repaving dev/vm machines.
Proprietary https://ninite.com for normally-installed stuff, not sure if the free edition updates things.
How has this limited your experience so far? I'm not really well-versed on even the expected impact this has on commonly used applications... is there any?
In general you will also lose stability and/or performance with complex or intensive applications. For many suites like GIMP, Blender and LibreOffice this is a deal-breaker for me.
And I say that realizing it's only a step removed from downloading an installer and running it, but still.
I don't understand this obsession with package managers. You guys really have less trouble with package managers than Windows installers? It was literally just 2-3 days ago I was trying to update Ubuntu and I couldn't, because of some stupid error (I don't remember exactly) along the lines of "libgl1-mesa-glx depends libglapi-mesa XX.YY but ZZ.WW is present" (again: I don't remember the error exactly). And no matter which packages I tried to upgrade/fix/uninstall/whatever or in what order I tried it, it wouldn't budge. I guess the package dependency graph was somehow impossible to satisfy? I assume because different packages required different versions of the same package? This was not the first time I've ran into problems like this... eventually I just wiped it and restored from a backup. (Which I had made from moments earlier, because, well, did I mention this wasn't the first time this has happened?) To say I don't see what all the fuss and obsession with package managers is about is putting it very... mildly.
Hell yeah. I remember when I had to set aside entire weekends to reinstall a Windows machine. These days, when I need to reinstall one of my Linux boxes, I just fire up the Arch installer, and instead of installing the "base" package group as the manual instructs you, I install my configuration package for that machine which pulls in all applications (from the kernel and coreutils all the way up to Steam) and contains all configuration. When I recently reinstalled my notebook to enable full-disk encryption, it took me around 30 minutes, of which most time was spent downloading packages, and downloading /home from the backup storage. Net working time was maybe 5 minutes. I actually watched a movie while doing it.
The issues that you're seeing are because the particular package manager you encountered is shit. (Or rather, because Debian's/Ubuntu's byzantine packaging processes create a ton of pathological cases.) I've never had such problems on Arch. (Except for those cases about once a year when they restructure something and the package manager is confused, in which case you go to archlinux.org and the most recent news item contains the magic shell incantation that immediately resolves the issue.)
I will concede that I usually run into far fewer problems/bugs with Arch's pacman than Ubuntu's apt/dpkg. It seems far more robust, and honestly more intuitive too. On the other hand, (1) getting things set up in Arch in the first place is so much more of a pain that it wastes just as much time, and (2) I have also had bad luck with Arch, when after re-downloading and re-trying the install a couple times, I finally realized the ISO I downloaded just had a broken build. (?) I would follow the setup instructions (yes, the appropriate ones, I know they change over time) but pacman would just somehow choke by the end. Once I realized it was a problem with their build I just went back to an earlier ISO and updated and it was fine. But yes, overall, I've had far better experiences with it.
When I switched to Linux full time, I basically replaced Ninite with a one line shell script and was done. It also removes any worry that Ninite might go sour in the future.
2. Because it's really convenient to just link people to its Github repo when they ask questions like "how do you configure MPD to use PulseAudio?".
No, I do not think Installers are better than package management. By far, package managers are a key factor in system stability.
I'm sorry, what kind of protection is this that only after trashing my installation Apt decided to inform me that it can't handle the package dependencies?
And on top of that, for some reason you think the only alternative is to _bypass_ the package manager and get an even more borked installation? You don't see a third option?
> Having to route around the protection
which I never did or suggested I should do...?
> is precisely why you should use a package manger properly
and you are insinuating this somehow implies I must be using my package manger "improperly" because... why and how exactly?
>(I don't remember exactly)
There is your problem.
Your package manager prevented you installing something which would have caused instability, and you didn't grok it well enough to understand, and somehow this is the fault of package management?
Did you upgrade your dependency graph before deciding it was all too difficult to understand and use the tool to fix the problem? (apt upgrade && apt update)
apt was telling you something important: you chose to just ignore it because "too confusing" or whatever .. maybe because you grew up on the very poor habit of "just install it and who cares whatever may happen afterwards" of installers?
>_bypass_ the package manager and get an even more borked installation? You don't see a third option?
There is a third option - upgrade your dependencies, try again, and if it persists - remove the offending package and replace it with one that works. That dependency graph is there to tell you: your system may become unstable after you install this.
No such luxury happens with the plain ol' installer methods ..
sudo apt-get autoremove && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
What "it" are you even talking about? I didn't "choose to ignore" anything. I Marked all Upgrades, clicked Apply, rebooted when it was finished, went to see if there were any more upgrades (there were some), tried to mark & apply them, and was greeted with this error. Apt/Synaptic got me into this broken state and couldn't get me out of it. I don't know what story you're reading, but it doesn't seem to be what I've been writing. There was nothing for me to ignore. The error wasn't something I ignored; it was the problem.
No. Nothing was broken. The updates you had asked for were about to break something if you installed them. The error message was the package manager stopping you from breaking your system.
Uhm... two things.
First: you see this screenshot? https://askubuntu.com/q/814380
Aside from the actual package names, the bottom part is the same kind of error I got.
See how it says "You have held __broken___ packages"?
See how the top answer is "You can use Aptitude to automatically __fix__ the __broken__ packages"?
Yeah, I interpret that to mean I had broken packages. After updating. Not before.
Oh, and actually, I think it's basically the same kind of situation as in that link. Notice it has >17k views, only 2 answers, and no accepted answer? Yeah, I guess it's not so easy to resolve.
Second: Even if I ignore the above and pretend nothing there is currently broken, a system that cannot be updated is, uhm, broken. So not only was this system just broken, it was doubly broken.
I actually don't, imgur is blocked where I work. But I know the error you're talking about.
> Yeah, I interpret that to mean I had broken packages. After updating. Not before.
Yeah the error reporting is bad, which is where the whole unix philosophy of small cooperating programs goes completely wrong. (Or possibly the error is correct and the package is broken - Ubuntu maintainers in particular seem to make bad packages quite often. But the package manager isn't the problem there)
> Notice it has >17k views, only 2 answers, and no accepted answer? Yeah, I guess it's not so easy to resolve.
More likely the user who asked it (3 questions, 0 answers) got bored and never "accepted".
> Even if I ignore the above and pretend nothing there is currently broken, a system that cannot be updated is, uhm, broken.
In as much as you now can't use the package manager to update all your programs? I mean I'd agree that this qualifies as "broken", but it's exactly as broken as a system that doesn't have a package manager in the first place. You could still update all the individual programs manually like you would on windows. Which is what I thought you were advocating?
"Linux is for haxorz and normies should go away!"
"Why don't more people use Linux?"
But such is expected from a large community though.
Call me, uhm, skeptical. I wonder why he'd get bored, if not for receiving non-working answers. I wonder if it's at all akin to how I'm in the same situation and the answers don't work for me either. That strangely correlates with the lack of an accepted answer. Yeah, "not causation", I know. Doesn't change anything.
> You could still update all the individual programs manually like you would on windows. Which is what I thought you were advocating?
No you can't, which is my point. These programs depend on different versions or libgl/libmesa/whatever is causing the problem. So I can't update anything that needs a newer (or older?) version because it chokes when there are multiple versions needed. That's a non-problem on Windows, and if 10 years ago the story was different that means, well, nothing.
You have to decide which flavour of php you want to use and install the dependency manually, yourself.
This is a feature, not a bug.
Not knowing how to use package management and why you'd do things this way, does not mean that package management is broken. It means you don't know what you're doing.
I know, that's really hard for Linux Desktop people to understand, because it goes against their nature of making everything as complicated as possible for no reason. It's not rocket science, lots of systems managed it in the past.
I prefer to just keep the system stable through careful application of well-curated dependency graphs. I've never run into any issue, having used Linux since the very first day, that I couldn't solve by proper application of package manager tools. It seems its easy for newbies and those who don't care enough to get into trouble, but with the right attitude you can easily have systems with years and years of uptime (personal experience).
I only hit a similar problem in Windows once, when it hung up installing a new C++ runtime, and since then I could neither install another C++ runtime nor rollback it (restore system did nothing), resulting in applications randomly crashing or refusing to run because they were loading the wrong C++ libraries, and the only solution I found was reinstalling Windows again.
Right, Windows isn't perfect either. What it does have going for it, though, is that on Windows there are comparatively very few external shared libraries -- in fact, the only ones I can think of are in fact the C, C++, .NET, and SQL runtimes. So, as you confirmed, it means application updates rarely break your system globally. (OS updates can still wreck the system... but that's no worse than Linux distros in my experience... but let's not go on this tangent.) Of course, that comes at the cost of needing to rely on the vendor for updates to their uses of third-party libraries. It's understandable that not everyone would like this trade-off (though mine tends to prefer an out-of-date system that works than a patched system that's broken), so that part (kind of) makes sense, especially if people are extra-worried about security over productivity. The part I find mind-boggling is that Linux users are obsessed with package mangers for the initial installations themselves, not merely updating. Package managers seem (almost?) fundamentally flawed in that regard, and that's what baffles me. Do they really only ever want to install FOSS software blessed by their OS distro, and do they really think it makes sense for a system to break if they install anything unblessed? More power to them if they can live like that, but I can't.
In terms of the problem you faced, do you mind if I ask how recent of a Windows version it occurred on? (i.e. was it on pre-XP, XP, 7, 8/8.1, or 10?) One generic tip I do have is to use VirtualBox to boot into the host OS with an immutable virtual disk, make all the changes, and verify everything works correctly before doing it for real. It can come in handy when installing programs or updates that you suspect might be problematic. I can provide more details on this if you're interested; just let me know.
Answering your question, I hit that problem on a Windows 7 machine, it was not a suspicious update, just the usual "install C++ redistributable 20xx to make this program work", but it crashed halfway for some reason. After a while I just reinstalled Windows (it was almost a clean install, so nothing starting anew was simply faster).
>The part I find mind-boggling is that Linux users are obsessed with package mangers for the initial installations themselves, not merely updating.
Yes, because it keeps the system functional and operating and - if you use it properly - package management is a hellaciously great way to build a system.
> Do they really only ever want to install FOSS software blessed by their OS distro, and do they really think it makes sense for a system to break if they install anything unblessed? More power to them if they can live like that, but I can't.
Its your system, manage it how you like. But the default of 'safety and stability first' in a package manager is a feature, not a bug. Don't blame the tool if you don't know how to use it properly - its clear that you simply do not know how to use package management to your benefit. This doesn't mean package management is of no benefit; it means your basis of operating/administering the system is flawed. I would suggest this is due to your attitude more than anything else; its certainly not for technical reasons.
I do. And like you said: "was". That's why I asked which version of Windows parent is talking abomut. Why are you bringing it up so many years later when you explicitly acknowledge it "was" rather than "is"?
> Don't blame the tool if you don't know how to use it properly
So many of you are baselessly claiming this yet none of you are telling me what I could have possibly done "improperly" to get into this mess. I told it to update everything. And there were no packages that had more updates... except these ones which wouldn't budge. If just telling my system to update and letting it do whatever it wants is "not using it properly" then -- to put it as nicely as I can put it -- there is a UI/UX problem. (Read: it would do a good job of explaining why a Linux distro isn't the main desktop OS, wouldn't it.)
$ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
The reason you're getting so much push-back on this issue, I feel, is that there are far, far more benefits to package management than disadvantages, and in your special case you managed to get into a state that led you to the wrong conclusion, alas. Your package manager was protecting your system, as it is designed to do - what you needed to do was identify which package had the foul dependencies, and either decide to override the package manager, or uninstall the original app - which I believe was Steam.
Steam on Linux does have gotcha's - one of which, the designers of Steam also don't want to have to maintain a package repo or play nice with distro's efforts to keep peoples systems clean and well-maintained (too expensive to actually play along) .. so the fact that you were being tripped up by Steam, and subsequently blamed Linux-worlds' package management, is double-frustrating for those of us who have been using package management for decades and consider it one of the principle advantages to being Linux users, over the hell of Windows installation that has cropped the industry for decades.
Right now, my biggest nightmare are VST plugins. They are in fact the reason why I didn't upgrade my PC from an i7 920 for years. I estimate it will take me at least a week of full spare time use to deinstall them on the old machine and re-install them on the new machine. Steam would make many people a huge favor if they managed to enter the pro audio market, which still comes with their own installers, licensing schemes, DRM, spurious hidden support services, etc. All the bad stuff, exclusively for honest customers.
I probably need to look into QoS again, but my ISP's router has it locked down.
You wouldn't have this problem if you didn't give up your freedoms to mega corps (only some snark).
"I really really want this package and do whatever other proprietary shit this script I didn't read thought was a good idea (like maybe put it into the system with some bizarre name) on a system that will always have this NVIDIA card in it"
And now you are trying to upgrade to something (the proper mesa gl library) which conflicts with that request. But because the package you "installed" has no information (because it's not a real package; because it's a bundle of proprietary code that NVIDIA refuses to properly support) the package manager can't really help you (it can't remove a package it doesn't know how to, so it can't remove the dependencies it's providing, so it can't add a new package with the same provided dependencies). You have to undo whatever shit that script did before you can proceed with a stable system.
Also note, what you are trying, is basically impossible with a Windows system (e.g. installing an arbitrary video driver; moving a system - without re-installation - from hardware to a virtual box system, or even hardware to hardware). So if it doesn't work... it's not like you had any other options anyway. NVIDIA assumes the Windows paradigm here, the open source systems you bludgeon with their proprietary code can do nothing to stop the bad actors you force on them from doing bad things.
I don't know the list of NVIDIA driver packages off the top of my head, or whatever bizarre shit they did to your installation, and it's not the responsibility of the Linux community to provide tech support for your hardware manufacturer. I had considered trying to be more helpful, and do some cursory research into your problem, but your attitude towards someone else that was being extremely helpful showed you don't want to be helped, you want to angry at someone. We are not your tech support, so I can tell you: Fuck off.
Not in Virtualbox without the guest additions installed. Even with them, it would be a different binary blob. I mean, don't let me get in the way of your profane, unhelpful, and extremely unnecessary rant, but...
As to your effort question. Because I want people to use these systems. As I was writing a detailed response he started writing troll responses (implying the people had read some other story and responded to his for some reason he couldn't fathom; and requiring excessive amounts of evidence) to people offering honest explanations and differing opinions. So I wrote an ending paragraph to what I had that called him out on trolling these people for "tech support" as that as the most charitable way I could view his actions.
It's frustrating when trolls take advantage of people's willingness to help with technical requests as a way to disguise shutting down disagreement by asking questions with large burdens. And then also his changing his story once they respond (often editing his posts without EDIT markers), implying they got everything about his vague statements wrong and that his evidence - his anecdotal setup - disagrees. He has set up a situation where it is easy for his anecdotal evidence to be infallible unless someone can somehow figure out his vague error which is a symptom of his misunderstanding more than it is the system, but his response to attempts to explain the system have been met with his trolling about how they are reading something different. I suspect now that his trollish behavior is a way to defend his argument and incompetence from being challenged.
As it happens, my own experience with the Linux community suggests that you do not accurately represent it at all, at least not when you act as badly as you have here. Someone with no such prior experience, faced with your execrable behavior here and your claim to represent that community in so behaving, could not reasonably be blamed for the conclusion that attempting to engage with that community would be a terrible mistake.
Surprising is, that no one seems to have a problem with the technical side of what I posted. Just the fact I said a bad word. To wit, I have news for you, the guy who runs linux swears all the time at all kinds of people. I wouldn't touch the stuff if I were you.
Also still waiting to hear how a disk image looses a package when placed in a VM.
> I never claimed to be a member, let alone some sort of representative
Earlier, you said:
> We are not your tech support
Whom, then, did you mean by "we"?
And as far as the technical side, well, who knows? You're very quick to assume you understand exactly what's going on, but I don't see why that means I should be likewise.
1. I wasn't here to seek tech support at all. The discussion was on package managers and I was sharing an experience I had. Users such as you decided to issue judgments that I must have necessarily ignored apt and broken my system by... installing non-OSS software (?!) without any information on my actual system setup. As I said in the very beginning, I already reverted to my backup. Nowhere did I solicit tech support, and nowhere did I expect any, especially based on almost complete lack of knowledge about the actual system configuration.
2. Flagged. This is the first time I've seen such an attack on HN. And you can imagine I have no interest in replying after this.
> Which of these packages is proprietary? I was doing this in VirtualBox without guest additions installed, and while I used to boot this installation on an NVIDIA system, I don't believe I had any NVIDIA-specific packages on it. Let me know the proprietary package name(s) you think I had and I'll search to see if I had any of them installed.
(Also, how would you do that if it was already wiped? Edit 2: yea.... because as not tech support I have read everything you have posted on your problem and am aware you have backups)
You were acting pretty entitled to this other person's help here:
> What "it" are you even talking about? I didn't "choose to ignore" anything. I Marked all Upgrades, clicked Apply, rebooted when it was finished, went to see if there were any more upgrades (there were some), tried to mark & apply them, and was greeted with this error. Apt/Synaptic got me into this broken state and couldn't get me out of it. I don't know what story you're reading, but it doesn't seem to be what I've been writing. There was nothing for me to ignore. The error wasn't something I ignored; it was the problem.
Edit: Oh and that's a perfectly civil response to you continuing to tell people who know how these systems actually work (which does not include you) that they are incapable of understanding what you are writing and implying that they are somehow delusional.
>> You were asking to be provided tech support here:
> Which of these packages is proprietary? [...] Let me know the proprietary package name(s) you think I had and I'll search to see if I had any of them installed.
I was fact-checking your (unsolicited) diagnosis, which you had already provided despite my lack of request for any kind of support. You made a claim seemingly out of the blue that caught me off-guard (it seemed unfounded and I had neither requested support nor a diagnosis), and in response I said if you wanted to check your facts I would provide you with information to confirm or disprove your (again: unsolicited) diagnosis. I thought maybe you would be interested in seeing whether you are correct. Of course I won't anymore, after your profane verbal abuse.
> (Also, how would you do that if it was already wiped?)
Because as I said multiple times since the beginning, I had a backup from before the update, which I ended up restoring to. Apparently you are not reading?
Yes, I posted a general response to the class of problems that your anecdotal story appeared to apply to. In an informal discussion of anecdotal evidence, what sort of fact checking do you seriously think could be performed? It's basically impossible. You are trying to set an impossible bar for anyone to comment on anything you say.
> I said if you wanted to check your facts I would provide you with information to confirm or disprove you
That's... not how any of this could possibly ever work. You want me to perform research so that you can tell me whether I got it right or not? My original response stands regardless of if it effects your system: proprietary code is often a problem for package managers.
But further more, as the one holding the anecdotal (and physical) evidence, the onus is on you to agree or disagree with facts using it. Your request for me to do original research specific to your problem is at it's most charitable a tech support style question (even if phrased along the lines "what technical knowledge do I need to prove you wrong?"). Because if it were a request for evidence in a discussion it would be an unreasonable request positioned to stifle all disagreement with you by placing unnecessarily large (e.g. ridiculous) burdens on anyone who comments (to which my response would be much stronger).
If alternatively you had said "I doubt that because I never installed NVIDIA code on the system." or nothing at all. I wouldn't have cared or responded.
That was the point I gave up on him being an honest participant.
OneCore does have a package manager.
Windows Store (Win10, WP10, Xbox OS) use it and it works great but with old win32 apps, nothing is "standardized" in terms of storage, app state and versioning so that's an open challenge still.
I am mostly unable to find puzzle games that are not rpgs nor adventures. No matter what I do I see same most popular games I don't happen to be interested in.
Seems most people want puzzles in a context, rather than just raw?
If I go to search and put "puzzle" I get pages of puzzles and can choose a tighter genre to narrow it down. If I go to Portal 2, say, I get "more like this" (Qube looks interesting).
What's your best puzzle game?
The hate for Origin was mostly hate for EA's greedy practices and some privacy related stuff that came out when their client was released.
You can click and drag it onto your friends' computers for a quick LAN party or to let your girlfriend play alongside you on a airplane.
I never hated Steam more than the time I was on a 18 hour bus ride only to find out Steam wouldn't even launch if it decided it needed to check for updates and you had no internet connection. And there was no way then to play the games you paid for.
If a game you want is available on both GOG and Steam, it's almost irresponsible to get the Steam version.
Oh yeah, on that same bus ride, I found out that .azw-formatted ebooks are locked to a single Kindle. I'm ready for GOG Books.
Mind you Valve still has a policy against porn. Lots of games still have to link to uncensored patches.
https://www.gogwiki.com/wiki/GOG_Connect has a history of games and dates. If you miss the owning that game on that then, and remember to check the website, you miss it.
Gamers love platforms and what they provide at least as much as they love games themselves.
Steam is a lot like Facebook, leaving Steam for the competition would be like deleting years of your life.
For example, cable TV (from whereever you are from), Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime is 4 already.
For gaming, there is Steam, Origin, Battle.net, GOG that's 4 already.
If you take a smaller "app store" like Origin the question arises why does this even exist? It brings nothing on top of Steam.
If you want to compete with a product you need to compete on price or features. Well, price is zero, so you gotta compete on features. They can't compete on features, so EA enforces you to use Origin. Screw that. I want all my games in one managing app.
The reason Origin and Battle.net exist is because EA and Blizzard want control and keep people within their own infrastructure and offerings. I do get that from Blizzard's PoV. From EA's, not so much.
Plus that only works because they're reasonably big, and I doubt it works on the long term.
Valve, instead, choose to not only distribute their own games but also provide a complete platform for other publishers. They even allow you to import games which aren't on Steam such as Battle.net ones.
GOG specialises in DRM-free games which Steam doesn't.
Except it isn't - Steam reportedly charges a chunky 43% extra on top of what the publisher gets (30% of the retail price you pay goes to Valve).
Other platforms try to charge the same, but for a near-zero-marginal-cost good, it is a bit strange that there is no price competition yet...
The article does mention this, and also mentions a platform who don't take a cut, and explains how it is difficult to compete with these.
I'd argue though that if you self host instead of outsource (to e.g. Steam), this also has costs. So the reasoning that you'd save that 30% would be unreasonable.
Before Steam, when I bought a game, the purchase was tied to a physical disc. I'm very bad with physical things: I break them, misplace them, give them to friends and forget about it forever. I don't have any of those physical games now.
I still have Half-life 2 that I bought in 2004 on Steam though.
The identity of belonging to a specific platform, which games are exclusives and social events promoted for gamers and devs alike by the platform holder, are very important facets.
Game distribution is NOT one of them, at all, by any stretch of the imagination, at this point in time.
I've saved this article to share every time I hear that pitch.
- Messaging (WhatsApp, SMS)
- Social Media (Facebook)
They have a headstart of more than a decade to any upstart and the growing of trust cannot be artificially accelerated. On top of that there are financials. Valve are not expected to disappear any time soon because of their huge earnings. Again, impossible to replicate. And they are a private, mostly (or exclusively?) founder-owned corporation, so there is at least a possibility of making "good enough" money, which is important for the "not shoving unwanted features down customers' throats" part. A VC funded startup, or worse, a publicly traded company could never reach "good enough" profits. It's the goose that lays golden eggs: a publicly traded company would inevitably keep rising into overvaluation until it eventually reaches the point where the only way to justify it is to cut up the goose in search of even higher profitability.
There needs to be a serious competitor to Steam, something with significant enough market share that Steam gets scared. Steam could be so much better than it is -- I'm not saying that it's a bad product, just that it could be better.
Discord seems perfectly positioned to take on Steam. They already have incredible adoption in the gaming community. And they have quite a bit of experience at this rate too. (Maybe I should go work for them and push this line from within...)
They turned the Curse application into a game/mod store that also integrated custom servers that essentially mirrored Discord's application.
They also are using Twitch Prime and other service integrations to promote it. And they are well backed, which isn't something that could be said about Discord.
They're an ever growing market, backed by a publisher with a strong lineup, just like Steam was in its early days.
GOG is a great service; their main limitations is that many AAA publishers absolutely refuse to release without DRM, though this is sloooooowly eroding, somewhat. GOG can't go back on their DRM-free promise without a revolt from their audience, but it also limits what big-ticket games they can sign.
I like GOG a lot, they've carved out a nice niche for themselves, but from every developer I've talked to, they're still a fraction of Steam's market share. I don't expect them to take over anytime soon, but I'll always support them and hope they continue to grow.
I hope they never go back on no-DRM, it's not worth it.
Why, though? It doesn't even work. Denuvo sort of worked, had a GIANT performance hit due to running on a VM, and even it was cracked before long.
EDIT: $725 million. Not cheap.
Itch supports indie game dev by letting community manage "Game Jams": http://itch.io/jams
Their site + client is open source: https://github.com/itchio
I feel like I can no longer discover cool titles or great things people are buying on the site.
One I like: 'Weird games for your pleasure' http://store.steampowered.com/curator/7099409-Weird-Games-fo...
Even the discount sites and Humble Bundle aren't able to match up against Steam in third world countries.
It's clever because it takes purchasing power into account. So a game that's about 1 hour salary in the US would cost about 1 hour on a Indonesian salary as well.
This is going to be really hard for many competitors to match.
I cannot even imagine a game distribution product that would get me to switch from Steam, unless there were Very Important games on it I couldn't get on Steam, or unless the prices were at least 10-15% lower.
Article's author here :) You couldn't even do this, because every distributor I've ever heard of reserves the right to match your full retail price. So you can't even cut your margins in a bid to pass on the savings to the consumer.
So yeah, it's tough out there.
i.e., just like you can take your phone number to any other phone company, or how banks in europe have to share info, you were able to take your game library with you to any other game distribution service?
Perhaps the same could be done for iOS/Android portability
It's not about the customer--none of them cares, except at that moment in time the customer forks over the cash for it.
Because otherwise they seem like just another walled garden.
Then players would move all their games from crap clients like Origin and Uplay to Steam.
Could be extended to a lot of services tbh :
Music Libraries in Spotify
Contacts in Facebook
One of the reasons I love GOG is Connect : got a game on Steam ? Now you have it on GOG too.
Assuming it would work both ways, I would consolidate, on Steam, all the games I currently have on Origin, Bethesda Launcher, Battle.Net Launcher, Epic Games Launcher, uPlay, Twitch Desktop App, a few I've forgotten, and whateverthefuck Rockstar's GTAV launcher is called.. Though that's probably not what you had in mind.
Steam is generally pretty great. But off the top of my head I can think of two areas where Steam arent delivering;
- Greenlight. Good idea, didnt work as planned. Room in the market for some kind of Greenlight/Kickstarter hybrid?
- Gaming for kids and educational software. A Kahn Academy approach but with games instead of lessons.
GOG.com got started in 2008, which was critical to their success. Steam had much lower market share back then. If GOG started today I would give them much, much, lower odds of succeeding.
And consider also that Desura, Direct2Drive, Impulse, etc, which also were around in that rough time period, are all dead and gone.
So they didn't really start out of nothing when it comes to having connections with game developers.
If you are interested in how it works, I highly encourage you to read his blog .
He's spent his own time and money to help big name companies get more customers, helped smaller companies expand their business without much incentive to himself at first other than a mention here or there or some free products, in turn he used those products to gain more business for those companies and eventually became well known enough to start getting small amounts of cash and more expensive products. Eventually these companies trusted him enough to make some of his custom designed things and get commission on their sales.
I'm kind of getting sick of hearing about instagram but it's been cool watching him grow this weird little business he's been doing.
I bought an add-on to a game, it downloaded to 99% and refused to finish. I mailed support, perhaps 2 weeks later I received a generic did you try to reboot your PC response. So I listed the 10 different (including and up to complicated) things I had tried up to then and mailed back.
Another 2 weeks later I get another response along the lines of whether I've tried restarting my Steam client.
After a 3rd round I just gave up. In the end it was a network issue on their side that auto-magically resolved itself (after 1.x months)
The best thing Steam has ever done was allowing(but not requiring) importing of other games to it. We (as in myself and other users) will voluntarily move to Steam in many cases, just to avoid dealing with whatever download site the game had before, or to get the automatic updates. I've done that with KSP and Elite Dangerous (which has a non-shitty site).
And then Steam added VR - a very good implementation at that, which also supports Oculus Rift.
Updates just work flawlessly, download speeds are good in general, one can move games around, you can backup them if needed, etc.
Other competitors would not only have to match that, but do it better. And still most people wouldn't bother, because of their existing friends and libraries.
The article is spot on.
(Also, Origin is garbage, the only good thing is the name)
I've had no issues with Origin.
It downloads/updates the games and launches them, and hasn't failed at that yet. I don't much care for any other feature.
Outside of Windows/Android/iStore... There's nothing worth switching.
I've passed up on purchasing games (IE: Mass Effect 3) because it's tied to a shitty NotSteam...
I also use GOG when the GOG-tuned Dosbox version of a game is better than the Steam one. I don't use their downloader app.
Maybe taking on newgrounds or miniclip with a wasm based gaming platform is the niche?
It sounds like itch is more of a lifestyle business than something trying to compete with Steam. And maybe they got started with indies back when that was more of a "blue ocean" (Steam used to be quite anti-indie in the early days).
> Maybe taking on newgrounds or miniclip with a wasm based gaming platform is the niche?
Now that is a good idea.
It's kind of ridiculous they don't.
1. The gamers
Gamers are by definition quasi-technical and, by their very nature, will be welcome to (at least) trying out a new client or platform. I, and most of my friends, and probably most of Twitch, have not only Steam, but also GOG, and also the God-awful Origin, and Epic's launcher, etc. So installing a new client so I could play some games I like is really not that big of a deal. Steams social aspects were always secondary to its game delivery platform -- besides, most people use Discord to keep in touch, no one really takes Steam's "social network" seriously. I think that's a non-issue.
2. The developers
If you're an indie dev that's toiled for the past 3 years on a small game that you hope will make it big, you will release it on every platform -- let me say that again: you'll release on Steam, on Itch, etc. On every. Single. Platform. If you (really) want to sell AAA games, you can just be a run-of-the-mill distributor at first, and just sell keys. Worrying about developer friction I think is fundamentally misguided.
3. How to win
Imo, winning would look something like this: scout indie developers building the next big thing (they'll be a lot of false positives, so a lot of $$$ helps here). Make them sign contracts to only distribute through your platform. Do this for like 10 or 20 games, even if the contracts suck for you (hell, I'd give them > 100% revenue share). Now you're funneling people through your platform to play the newest "Cuphead" or "Super Meatboy" or "Dark Souls" -- obviously this isn't easy, but I do think you could hypothetically compete.and slow.
Especially for the model of early access & building community gradually instead of risking it all on a big release --- since you're sometimes putting out new builds weekly the update pipeline becomes a real time factor.
If it was a numerically advantageous proposition to scout & invest in indies, we'd see more people doing that. Try for a month going through new releases on Steam and predicting which ones are gonna be successes. It's a near-impossible game, much less if each bet cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
Plus, if somebody offered me such a contract, I'd be deeply skeptical that 100% of their revenue share (plus a straight-up cash bonus even) would beat out what I could get by going with established avenues --- especially if I had something I had good reason to believe was the next Cuphead.
I think you forget you're posting on YC's forum. YC literally does this (with much higher stakes, by the way). Obviously, the great majority of YC companies don't end up being unicorns, but every now and then you get a Dropbox.
And to address your first point, Steam's SDK (for anyone that's worked with it) obviously sucks. But Valve can afford to release a crappy SDK because they're the big player and they don't care. Obviously, if I made a game distribution platform, the back-end would be minimal and packaging would be programmatic. E.g.: upload your binary, we'll package it and deploy. You don't need half the crap Valve peddles anyway (Steam overlay, chat, etc.)