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Steam Deck OLED (steampowered.com)
983 points by robbiet480 8 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 683 comments



Gotta love that they know how people tinker with their devices:

Rear cover screws now thread into metal

Adjusted rear cover screw heads to Torx™, as well as other materials and geometry tweaks on the heads to reduce stripping risk

Lowered number of screw types throughout system

Reduced step count required for common repairs

Improved bumper switch mechanism drop reliability

Moved bumper switch to joystick board for easier repair

Improved display repair/replacement to not require taking rear cover off


Wow, it's very rare for companies to move in this direction. This is the polar opposite direction of what Apple's been doing.


It'll be a very dark day for us all when Valve turns evil.

Steam Deck has been a modder's dream since it came out. Just having "desktop mode" be a standard option has been amazing.


Valve already did the evil part, they were just so early to the game (pun intended) no one knew how to react or what it meant. They somehow avoided mass criticism, or I wasn't paying good enough attention.

I question a 30% developer fee for using Steam. Loot boxes in CS and TF2 to get and keep kids gambling. Destroying nearly every mod and skin community. I don't think I'm willing to sweep all that under the rug because they made it easier to open a steam deck.

I like Valve believe it or not, but I question a lot of these decisions.


While I won't argue loot boxes, and I dont know enough about mod/skin communities...

The 30% developer fee makes a lot more sense if you consider that steam is much more than a game store. They host forums, guides, achievements, cloud saves, multiple versions of the game at once with beta channel access, screenshots, remote play, extras like Proton support, a friends list that will show you when other people are playing a game (advertising). And the store page has all sorts of stuff like ratings, reviews... a shopping cart and ability to purchase more than 1 game at a time (didn't know that was a feature, but apparently it is). And top of all that, it's just frankly where PC gamers are, so theres a ton of built in marketing.

Not every game benefits from all these things. But it's hardly just a storefront. I would question Gamestop taking a 30% cut. I would question if EGS wanted the same 30% cut as valve gets. Gamers prefer Steam over EGS, and the reason they prefer it isn't just because "it's a nicer store front." It's a whole platform thing.


Steam taking 30% cut is fine. No one is being forced to use Steam (unlike on iOS)

If developers don’t like it, they can chose other options to distribute their game.


Technically no-one is being forced but network effects mean that not publishing on steam is essentially suicide for any dev without a huge marketing budget to overcome those network effects. This means that Steam is in a position where they can demand feeds in excess of what they could in a healthy competitive market.


Is there anything preventing a healthy competetive market for game stores on PC? Does Steam/Valve engage in behaviour that limits competition? Alternatives do exist - itch.io, GOG, Epic Game Store, and just putting an .exe file on your website.

If the market is not being artificially suppressed (I don't believe it is), and developer still think it's financially advantageous to pay Steam's fees, doesn't that indicate the fee is "correct"?


Epic has lots of games that aren't published to Steam. They seem to be doing fine.


Epic recently admitted their store isn't profitable.


That doesn't mean the Epic Store is not profitable for the developers.


It does mean that at any point in the future the store could simply not exist with short notice.


Epic pays those Devs for timed exclusivity on EGS, with the profits from Fornite and Unreal.


Most game developers aren't Epic.

It's Steam or bust for the vast majority.


Another way to word that, is that the benefit that Steam provides through their distribution/passive marketing service is so large that it justifies the 30% price tag. If it did not, then developers would go find another service. It's basic economics.


Here is where I come in and recommend everyone check out Playnite: https://playnite.link/

When I care about supporting a developer or publisher and they offer their product on their own storefront DRM-free, I will often go there to buy. Or I buy from GoG which takes a smaller cut. Playnite lets me launch my Steam and non-Steam games in a seamless fashion. Steam still does a great job as a game installer/patch manager, and helps me discover new games. But I'm not locked into paying them a 30% fee, which is pretty brutal for some smaller publishers.


Windows only?


It can run on Linux/Steam Deck apparently:

https://www.reddit.com/r/playnite/comments/15q2x16/i_install...

I have only used it on my Windows install, so I can't recommend this.


Who is being forced to use iOS?


Literally people will look down on you if you don't buy an iPhone.

They back off when they find out my line of work, but you hear about bullying and peer pressure in school over bubbles. That does not end when you leave high school.

One VC said that people that buy Android don't have taste and wouldn't work with them. Now they say Android is for poor people. Freedom to sideload or install a custom os be damned.


>That does not end when you leave high school.

It's not a high school thing, it's just amplified during that point in life; there is always pressure to conform.

I don't care about whether or not some VC thinks I have class either professionally or personally. Avoid people that jump to conclusions and you'll be better off, regardless of how fancy their personal titles are.


Don't worry, there are a (perhaps) surprising amount of VCs who love Android.

I'm one of them. We are not all the same!


Apple knows this and has curated it. Why do people think that they had specific bubble colours for messaging devices inside/outside Apple ecosystem.

They even did deep, dirty tricks like this: https://uxdesign.cc/how-apple-makes-you-think-green-bubbles-.... Not only that but Apple just love to lean heavily on their own custom functionality rather than coming up with open/reusable technologies. Apple are happy to use Wifi & Bluetooth standards to compete in the market, but not so much standards for chats/group chats (where Android users find things don't mesh as well/they don't have the same functionality as iOS users).

I can't for the life of me find it now, but I remember reading an article a while back on how Google found a way to trick iPhones into accepting Android messages as "blue bubble"/iOS messages by dumping some string onto the end or something. I'm sure it was a HN post but I can't find it, which sucks cause it was pretty funny reading.


you shouldn't tie your self-worth to the mobile phone brand you use


It's easy to understand this when your matured, not so much when you are developing, or literally get excluded from activities because of that.


I mean, $800 is kinda cheap for self-worth, if we’re honest. Cheaper than a sports car or house with a view or own apartment or even one vacation someplace fancy.

But yeah, ideally one shouldn’t tie self worth to perishables.


What’s your line of work that you need an Android phone?

I find dealing with Android users from iMessage tiring but everyone I know who uses Android also uses WhatsApp and that works just fine cross platform.


Same goes for Steam though, especially for multiplayer games.


I believe you, but that sounds made up.


Not being forced to use iOS, but if you are on iOS you are forced to use the app store.


I think the point is Valve doesn’t own the store and the platform.


They do now for the Steam Deck, but customers can always choose to play on Desktop or x86 handhelds instead.


SD is ultimately a linux computer, so you can still throw on another store if you really care. It's also a relatiely niche device, so not quite prone to monopoly effects anyway.


You can install other game stores on your steam deck. You can directly install apps outside of Steam. You can even install a different operating system if you want. It's not locked to Steam in the slightest.

Let me know when I can install fdroid on iOS.


Literally every app developer who want to target the iPhone user market.


Don't forget, they are also forced to buy a Mac. License demand that iOS SDK must be used only on Apple hardware.


No one is being forced to drink water as well.


So to complete the analogy, if you don't use iOS you'll die.

...?


s/you/iPhones and yes, that does line up.


No one is being forced to breathe!


People Make Games did a great half-hour documentary on it. It's... pretty bad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMmNy11Mn7g


according to polygon gamestop's margin on new games was around 25%. So that's not massively different and steam absolutely provides more value for the developer than gamestop.


I don't really get the GS comparisons. GS was from a different time where your options for distribution on console was selling in brick and mortar stores or barely selling at all. they 100% can't justify 25% in 2023 as digital purchases supercede physical, but that's not when these rates were negotiated upon.


I mean the entire Unreal Engine 5 is a 5% cut, a 30% cut to host forums and screenshots is a little ridiculous.


Other features steam develops for you with that 30% cut: Multiplayer friends list apis, cloud save apis and space, wide open VR apis (that get turned into Unreal Engine apis, game streaming, voice chat (though it's terrible by today's standards), workshop (modding and UGC) apis storage and management, Free keys to give out on other platforms which actually decreases that 30% cut depending on how much you use that functionality, built in "markets" for in game items, steam remote play apis and functionality, remote play together api (streaming gamepad stuff over networks without needing any crazy configuration or special programs), the new input system which is just incredible and can basically eliminate any work an individual game developer has to do to support powerful input tools and accessibility, free selling games on linux with very little dev work needed to support it and way less demanding bugs from linux users, built in customizable (but purposely bad) DRM if you only care for a minimal implementation, etc

"Steam" is not just a game store. It's like if walmart built an entire industry around maintaining, supporting, and extending anything you sold through them. 30% is a lot, but Valve is the only company out of basically the entire retail industry actually providing value to sellers and buyers alike, rather than just a storefront.

The CS:GO child gambling problem is HUGE though, and unconscionable. I don't know how Gabe feels about that, but I don't care. It should be exceptionally illegal to give a child access to a "gambling like" game that ever touches real money.


Friends list and matchmaking APIs are also provided by Epic Online Services, and work on consoles, multiple engines, and multiple stores, for free.

That 30% cut still seems egregious. Those features are all nice but none of them can be used to make a game.

Unity is even cheaper, at 2.5%.


Evidently it's not egregious to the people putting games on the platform, so agree to disagree I suppose.


I’m fairly certain Microsoft and Sony both take a 30% cut too.


Yes. They knowingly put things on the platform with the 30% cut in mind because it is worth it to them, ergo they do not find it egregious.


It can be worth it to them and still be egregious. At 50% it’d likely be worth it (to the extent it’s still a viable business) because that’s where the largest market of PC gamers are. It doesn’t necessarily mean anyone would be happy with the fee.


They also host the game download and all its updates allowing buyers to (re)download whenever they want.

30% is the standard retail cut if I’m right. So if you sell your game at Walmart, they take 30% too.

Edit: There is actually a way to bypass Steam’s cut - provide by Valve strangely enough - if I’m right. As developer you can mint as many API keys for your games as you like and sell those through other means. Your customers will still download and play through Steam but Steam gets nothing - i.e. you use their infrastructure for free; of course they would get their cut from copies sold via their store.


yea, I don't get how people complain about Valve. Google, Apple, Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft all take roughly the same.

The difference is people actually like using Steam. They actually want to be locked in. I'd rather by a game on Steam vs Gog. Consider that. DRM free, but people prefer the lock-in. That's because Valve is nailing it.

Imagine people saying the same about Microsoft, Epic, EA etc.. Nope.


Many games on Steam are DRM free. You have to download the game through Steam... but from Gog you have to download the games from Gog too. One uses their app as a gatekeeper and the other uses a website. KSP is an example just off the top of my head where you can download the game, delete steam and keep playing. Not all games implement Steam DRM.

But also yes. Steam has made the gaming on linux process so much easier. Using steam is the easiest way to game now and I definitely prefer all my games to be there.


They all do. You can argue it's too high but the issue is that they all own those platforms and the hardware you develop on (except Google). Valve, not so much.

>The difference is people actually like using Steam. They actually want to be locked in.

yup, and that's where the danger starts. People like being locked into Apple as well. the consoles all conditioned people to being locked in. I understand it, but don't think it's a good thing.

Microsoft does technically have a lock in with PC, but they have enough historical lawsuits on those issues that they are lax on what is hosted on Windows. The reckoning for Apple/Google is definately coming, though.


> but the issue is that they all own those platforms and the hardware you develop on (except Google). Valve, not so much.

Console manufacturers charge a separate per unit royalty for every game published for their consoles, typical in the range of 10-20%.

That’s how they make most of their money before online stores - the console is sold at near break even typically but they do earn on extra accessories.

The store charges are separate and independent.


> People like being locked into Apple as well.

I don't. I just use Windows and Linux occasionally and that reminds me why I prefer Mac OS.

It's easy to get lock in effects when the alternatives are crap wrt usability. Even if you can get larger numbers for less money on the spec sheet.


On one level, it's evil lock-in. On another, it's all-products compatibility with very tight integration.

I don't like being locked into Apple, but I can't argue with the extraordinary convenience of doing it their way. New iPhone or iPad? Just set it next to your old one and it will pull everything over. New Mac? You can clone from a backup of a different Mac. I started with an iPad, got a Mac a few years later, and finally got an iPhone after Google released the amazing (loved the fingerprint reader on the back for unlocking) but disastrous (the battery would decide to go to hell one day, no warning, and you were losing 30+% of power per hour) Nexus 6P.


I don't remember the details but I thought they clamped down on the CD key work-around in the last year or two.


No. Valve was never against legit developers using their infrastructure for games sold elsewhere even if Valve dont get any cut. If you have game that sold 1000 copies on Steam you can still generate 10,000 keys for selling elsewhere.

What they clamped down on was developers who built $0.01 game for trading cards farming. Now Valve just have some fair usage rules so developer of game that sold 10 copies on Steam can't request 1,000,000 keys for it.

Disclosure: I am indie game studio co-fouder so Steam keys is something we deal with.


I found it - in February 2023 it looks like added some limits and are enforcing that Steam customers don't get a worse deal than customers who use CD keys.

But yes they have clamped down on the fake games for trading card farming too.


It was a news in February 2023, but Steam had this as part of their ToS for decade or more. Basically Valve want you to run the same discounts on Steam as you run on other stores.

AFAIK it's perfectly fine to temporary run something like lowest-ever price outside of Steam on a condition that within some timeframe (not sure about timing) there will be similar sale on Steam.


Valve has done a massive favor to us Linux folks with their work on Proton and other Linux-related development. That’s also worth something.

30% does seem a bit too high, though. I’ll grant you that.


Actually they have done a massive favour to the games industry, keep targeting Windows and get Linux for free, what a deal.


Promotion probably plays a bigger role in enabling profit than engine, though.

Whether it should may be a different issue.


Discovery is a major reason why so many people use Steam.

That, and Steam hasn't really burned many folks, ever. They even pioneered returns after you played the game...

As a user, I've never once been mad at Steam.


Note that this was after Valve was taken to court and was ordered to pay fines for violating consumer protection laws by not offering refunds.

> Valve must pay a fine of AU$3 million (about £1.6m/US$2.3m/€1.8m) for misleading Steam users in Australia by stating they were not entitled to refunds for faulty games on Steam

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/australia-fines-valve-over-...


Australian laws do not apply to the rest of the world - and a $2.3m fine is pennies anyway. So no, that is not why people in the US can get a refund after playing a game for up to 2 hours...


>So no, that is not why people in the US can get a refund after playing a game for up to 2 hours...

okay, here's the EU part: https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/new-valve-refund-poli...

not brought to court but that right-to-return law put another fire under their butt for sure.


The only thing I get mad at Steam about is that the client updates (baseless accusation incoming) WAY too often and/or desperately needs to have some sort of incremental update system. I am, however, not a game developer. But as a consumer it's been very good.


> They even pioneered returns after you played the game...

They were forced to do so by the Australian government, so it was hardly "pioneering".


Feels very apple-esque when people spin up compliance to government regulations as "pioneering". Then Epic has the same spin every other company does and they are ground to dust in the internet discourse.

But yeah, difference is Valve knows to be good to consumers (mostly) but make dev support a nightmare if you're not big enough.


> That, and Steam hasn't really burned many folks, ever.

I think like many new things it got off to a rocky start in 2003 and 2004 (especially with the launch of Half-Life 2). I only started using Steam on 2007 I think and I've never had an issue.


Minimizing the value of utilizing steam to those two things is ridiculous (ly disingenuous).

Is 30% fair? I don't really have an opinion, but putting your game on steam isn't required for game development.


Same as 7 million dollars for 30 sec air time for commercial during Super Bowl, ridiculous.


Yeah, probably the reason why it’s not only forum and screenshots? Don’t know.


Oh, thanks for reminding me to claim my free game from Epic Games this week.


Don't forget the network backbone for multiplayer game traffic.

I'd love to see a "what has Steam ever done for us?" sketch produced :)


I thought it was just a very sticky library where people keep buying Steam games because all the games they already own are on Steam.

Also, both Xbox and PlayStation have more-or-less all those things you mentioned but you get subsidised hardware in the deal too.


One major plus with Steam is buying a single copy of certain games and having a friend join instantly via remote play.

Also nice to be able to buy some new games and run them on an old laptop, can't do that on my xbox 360 anymore. My library all runs on my latest computer too. At least xbox makes a fair amount of the catalog backwards compatible, it's not a thing on Playstation.

edit: plus I can give friends access to my entire library, providing I'm not using it at the time.


Another fun thing about steam: There's no setting for the game developer to enable/disable the networking, so if a steam game uses steamworks and doesn't have multiplayer through steam, it can just be modded in and works great.


Is this the best tool for that?

https://github.com/m4dEngi/RemotePlayWhatever


And monthly online fees?

Or is that only PS?


This is fair, but it's an oddly mixed bag on Playstation for legacy reasons.

Free-to-play games can be played online without a subscription, but paid games require a subscription - I imagine as a holdover from pre-Fortnite days and cross-platform play.

I'm a subscriber for the game catalogue and only really play online multiplayers that are F2P anyway, but yeah it doesn't seem at all justifiable. It's a strange decision too - I can't imagine the subset of people who are NOT subscribers for the monthly games and/or catalogue AND are playing games online that are NOT f2p is big enough to be a significant impact to their bottom line. If anything it would be a deterrent from choosing the platform.


> I would question Gamestop taking a 30% cut

Why? Physical distribution is way more expensive and they handle the entire consumer lifecycle.


Gamestop has a single interaction with the sales process. Once I've bought my game, unless I want to return it, I never have to think about gamestop again. So while the "get the game to the store" costs more, the act of swapping money in exchange for the game is basically 0 work. Gamestop has logistics to deal with as their primary service.

Valve has a perpetual obligation. I might buy the game and then never even download it. Or I might download the game. delete it. download the game again next week. delete it ... etc... And take 1000 screenshots that I want them to host, and upload mods for a game that they have to host and people may download. And this may happen forever (or at least until Valve ceases to be a company).

Fable III isn't even available in the Steam store anymore... but they have a repo hosting the game files. And they still take updates (the package was last updated in july 2023, even though its been off the store for years). According to SteamDB there are 14 people playing it right now. Steam has been supporting a game that they haven't even sold in the past 8 years.

I'm willing to bet that if I ask gamestop for anything regarding support for a game from 8 years ago they'd just laugh at me.

tl;dr - physical distribution has cut and dry limited obligations, but steam has to deal with stuff forever.


>the act of swapping money in exchange for the game is basically 0 work.

you're still treating this as a software service. Remember that for a physical store:

1. you need to maintain the store. you can't have dirt bugs and grime everywhere 2. you need insurance to deal with various inevitable factors. theft, crime within store grounds, destruction of property, etc. 3. buildings break down faster than servers. you need to upkeep that. 4. security. Need to monitor the store in and outside of business hours. 5. yes, support. They manage memberships, pre-orders, process returns in or out of warranty/return period, check inventory for if older used games are around, and can route you to other locations for such product.

Its only cut and dry if you never think what is needed to maintain the norm for you.


That’s not a downside for Steam, and probably totally negates any distribution cost.

Imagine if you had to go to Gamestop every time you launched a game. They would kill for that opportunity. Steam has a captive audience who goes to their store every day.


> host forums

Some of their discussion forums are incredibly toxic though, seeming to have no effective moderation.

Baldurs Gate 3 and Starfield spring to mind as clear examples, though it wouldn't surprise me if there are even worse ones around.


That's fair. and there are plenty of stories of game devs that do moderate their forums being incredibly toxic themselves.

But point being, Steam is a whole platform. When THPS 1+2's "Upload a custom skate park" broke, I just hit shift+tab and clicked discussions, and bam. theres discussions about it being broken for other people. and I didn't even have to launch the game, I could just go to discussions from the game on steam to see when it was fixed. I didn't have to go googling for everything.

And the beauty of it, is that valve hasn't made all of it a walled garden. It's a nice garden, but they do a pretty good job of not keeping it completely locked down (which is the main reason why proton has been so successful).

So no, Steam won't moderate your forums for you, but they will host the forums and you don't have to have your own/none. But then again, that might be more of a benefit to the customers than to the devs who may not care.


Some example? I don't use Steam, nor play videogames nowadays but I played a lot the original Baldur's Gate back in the day, so I'm somehow curious about this (even simple pointers are appreciated)


Personally, I insta-bought Baldurs Gate 3 when it launched due to having played Baldurs Gate 1 & 2 + the video's of it showing the graphics looking ok.

It was a mistake.

The Steam discussion/forums for it are here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/1086940/discussions/

I've not looked at them for ages as they were very toxic for a few weeks after launch, and I personally have no real desire to go looking again now. Maybe they've magically improved somehow, but I doubt it.


>It was a mistake.

What do you mean, the game is objectively solid and is very much a continuation of the Boulders Gate series. It has flaws, but personally I think it's the best crpg i've played in years (and without nostalgia filters).


I'm guessing its probably related to the fact that BG1 and BG2 are T-rated, BG3 is both M-rated (in part for sex) and inclusive in a way that, well, more than one review or article suggested it might be something like “the queerest video game of all time”.

To be clear, I'm not criticizing, I just am not surprised that a certain segment of the BG1/BG2 fanbase is unhappy.


Why was it a mistake? I've only heard good things.


First thing on the forum: BG3 doesn't represent asexual people!

https://steamcommunity.com/app/1086940/discussions/0/3944650...

Steam takes 30% to make everyone slightly dumber


I see a thread of people talking about their experience of the game and how aspects of it made them feel. That's exactly what a forum is for, and a very legitimate way to engage with a piece of art.

Particularly for a game with strong sexual representationa and inclusion, it is legitimate to discuss aspects where the inclusion is still lacking. This may be useful for the Devs future plans, or it may change nothing but be useful for other prospective players to understand about the game.

You might not find the thread useful or engaging. I don't find the threads about compatibility with hardware I don't own useful or engaging. Not every thread is for every person.


I'm honestly surprised no one has mentioned the Most Favored Nation clause, which helps enforce Steam's ability to charge 30%.

https://www.pcgamer.com/lawsuit-claims-valve-is-abusing-its-... https://www.masonllp.com/case/valve-mass-arbitration/


A whole lot to say not much. It’s reviews and forums.


>Not every game benefits from all these things. But it's hardly just a storefront.

yeah, that's my issue. but it's all or nothing because the only thing that really matters is presence. So you just suck it up or use another store (or distribute independently).

>Gamers prefer Steam over EGS, and the reason they prefer it isn't just because "it's a nicer store front." It's a whole platform thing.

It's really just network effects at the end of the day. We've seen enough instances in other places in tech where the de facto is shit and even actively ruining its product, but people stay.

Sad thing isn't how big it is, it's how hard it is to fail.


> They somehow avoided mass criticism, or I wasn't paying good enough attention.

Let me tell you about the Counter-Strike 1.6 Beta update in 2002...

https://counterstrike.fandom.com/wiki/Steam

(Geez, 21 years ago!)

But yes, you are otherwise correct. That said, I argue that Valve has done an overall good job providing value to their users and even developers.


When they established a 30% fee they were on the cutting edge of digital stores and doing something very risky. So to make what they made work was great for small developers.

I would argue they still aren't evil (and Apple is, though I am a shareholder) because Steam, the Windows store and Epic can all live together on my PC as competing store / DRM. If a developer doesn't want to give up 30%, they have viable alternatives.


Developers can also absolutely just sell exes directly from their website, or on itch.io.

Is it a great way to get publicity? No. Is it a perfectly reasonable way to sell a game? Yes.


Hacker News has dozens if not hundreds of threads about people complaining about bandwidth costs on their static blog going viral and getting inundated with views. Some games taking up 100+ Gb and getting millions of downloads for week’s can’t be cheap.


Making people think that you need to pay for bandwidth is the greatest scam pulled off by AWS


If people like your game they'll seed it for you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BitTorrent#Software


I mean if the cost of the game doesn't pay for the download cost that sounds like an arithmetic issue.

Also, what small-time indie game is >100gb?


?

This is a thread about steam charging a 30% cut and people asking about what costs they could possibly have?

If Steam didn’t take a cut then they would not be able to pay for bandwidth. And even a 100 mb indie game downloaded a million times is still a lot of bandwidth times that by tens of thousands of games and it’s more than just games, screenshots, saves, mods, forum posts, video trailers, patches, etc.

A one time sale of a 4 dollar game that could support 100 gb worth of mods with being able to delete, download, and reinstall dozens of times has ongoing costs.

Selling on your own website, yes, you should be able to cover sending your own exe 100gb or not with each sale.


>Selling on your own website, yes, you should be able to cover sending your own exe 100gb or not with each sale.

I think the point was that if you were hosting independently, your video game isn't going to be 100+ GB. You will handle the costs or build it into the price of the game.

Dunno how thin margins Valve operates on, but I think they can survive on less than 30%, especially since they offer lower rates to AAA studios.


Oh I was agreeing that Steam provides value, and supporting it with the suggestion that if they didn't people would opt out and just sell games without Steam.


As a developer, I don't mind paying the 30% for the hosting, payment handling, discoverability, community management etc.

I can't say if it's truly worth the 30%, but I sure don't want to be handling all those services myself or through others.


Yep. Valve takes that cut and serves up your game (and its patches) on demand FOREVER. No need to fight for shelf space, or bicker with store management on product positioning or any other shit. When a gamer wants your game, they get it, and if they're looking for something that might be like your game, they'll find yours, too.

I also remember reading an article from way back when that said that brick and mortar revenue cuts were at _least_ twice what Steam was taking. Perhaps this memory is totally wrong... with today's Google I'll certainly never be able to find the source of the memory.


Above GameStop is said to get a 25% cut, and that is NOT counting the distribution, the publisher, etc.


If you are not Blizzard or CDProject it most likely is worth every cent.

As a casual gamer I am not willing to dig around the internet to look for games.

But if I stumble upon something random on Steam there is a chance I will buy it.


most indies don't (and usually shouldn't, unless mobile) target casual gamers, and they can't bet on "stumbling upon a random game" to sell.

That stuff isn't easy but fortunately Valve isn't the only one offering that, and pretty much every other storefront offers lower rates if that's important.


What I mean by “should” is if game sticker price is $10 and as Indy game dev you can get $7 basically for free if casual stumbles on your game.

I assume such dev can and should also use all other available promotion options of course.

So from my pov 30% is fine to pay. Especially that after initial effort of putting game in.


Sure, but when your game is selling in the double digits, that's not something you can bet on. Discoverability is a multiplier and if an indies' is very low, Valve doesn't help there. You gotta pay $100, so I need at least 14 people to "stumble" and buy my game just to pay that back. Then I need 140 people so I can get that $100 back.

If valve wants to earn those 3 dollars, they need to ensure my game can be discovered to begin with. "becsuse there's a lot of people on steam" doesn't cut it these days. That was valuable at one point but I'd say aroind 2014 or so it ceased to be so.


> Destroying nearly every mod and skin community

What on earth is this referring to? Steam doesn't inhibit moding at all. Heck, it has built in mod support that's used by games like Oxygen Not Included and Rimworld and it's huge ( https://steamcommunity.com/workshop/ ).

Steam also doesn't bat an eye at mods from outside of the client and there's no shortage of mod managers that work with steam - Vortex, CKAN, r2modman, etc...


I was wondering about that as well.

I think he's talking about cs, but last I checked it had a massive modding community.

Unless he meant custom skins on official servers, but that's how you can cheat so.


I am with you on the loot boxes, not sure I agree on the rest. City skylines as an enormous modding community, on steam, for example.

I am OK with the 30%, because it's not a monopoly. You can use any other store, "sideload", whatever, without restrictions. I think, but I am not sure, that you could actually offer your game cheaper on other channels in parallel. But because people like the convenience of steam (which is probably one if not the best implementation of a software store) that many would pay the premium to have the game on steam.


Well, Source was the last Counter Strike game that allowed people to use custom skins. CS2 enforces sv_pure when playing on official servers, so you can't make up your own skin and use it. It sucks.


Using custom skins on official servers by modifying game files has always been forbidden since CS:GO. CS2 doesn't make it worse. Join a community server if you want to use your own skin you made up.

At one time[1] Valve even tried to ban community servers that offer custom models/skins. Though they doesn't seem to enforce it anymore.

[1]: https://blog.counter-strike.net/index.php/server_guidelines/


> Loot boxes in CS and TF2

It's apples and oranges.

It's worth pointing out that this is for cosmetics. The largescale lootbox outcries have been exclusively about gameplay advantages. Games that only provide cosmetics are usually praised for being fair. For example, Overwatch also has lootboxes - but for cosmetics only - and nobody gives a damn.

And then there's cards, which you earn for free, and can sell for a wallet balance in order to buy games.

> keep kids gambling

I don't believe this is their goal, even though they certainly aren't doing enough to prevent it.


Overwatch *had lootboxes. Now it has a BattlePass you buy, new heros are locked behind buying the BattlePass or grinding the first ~40 levels to get it for free, and also premium cosemtics in a FOMO-style "today's deals" daily rotation store. No lootboxes. I miss OW lootboxes. I'm not a gambler but the surprise/novelty was fun, and once I had most cosemtics I wanted I could also just collect them which was satisfying. I had >500 and double digits of every seasonal loot box at the end of OW1.


Actually they changed the unlock system, you have to win 10 games as the role the locked hero is in to unlock them now. At least that's what I had to do, might be cause I had OW1 since the early days and played a lot of it.


Blizzard had the worst luck. Their loot boxes were fair and most reasonable, but because they also looked so visually appealing, they were used in the thumbnail and header of every major article describing the horrors of loot boxes in general.


Las Vegas had the worst luck. Their casinos were fair and most reasonable, but because they also looked so visually appealing, they were used in the thumbnail and header of every major article describing the horrors of gambling in general.


Honestly I found it crazy that out of all the lootbox systems that existed, Overwatch got the brunt of the outrage. CS to this day has a much more predatory and in pretty much every way worse lootbox system than OW ever did. I don't think I spent a single cent on that game (other than the 40EUR or whatever it was to buy it) and I unlocked most of the things for my main champs through the natural lootbox drops.

It was such a neutral system and I literally never felt any type of FOMO or pressure to buy lootboxes, which can't be said for other games with similar systems.


Not true, the outcries are about the gambling aspect, be it cosmetic or not. When you can buy cosmetics directly (or convert real money to game money) the general consensus is that it’s fine, you know exactly what you get, with loot boxes you don’t (and they are always filled primarily with junk nobody wants to stack the odds against you) Overwatch was more or less the worst possible implementation of cosmetic loot boxes and it’s great that they’re actually gone.


Orange box :D


Lot's of uproar back then. Many people did not switch to steam for as long as possible.


I switched as soon as I could, the beta was great. Once release happened it went in the crapper.


30% fee is fine? If you don't want to use steam you can put an ad in the back of 2600 Magazine and mail out CD-R or USB sticks like they did in the olden days. That's how Wolfenstein 3D and Duke Nukem were sold for many years.

Valve charges 30% because customers want all the stuff that comes with steam. They work for that 30% unlike smartphone ecosystems that offer a closed ecosystem and can lock competitors out of their platform.


>f you don't want to use steam you can put an ad in the back of 2600 Magazine and mail out CD-R or USB sticks like they did in the olden days.

you're free to. I will offer Itch.io as a modern alternative: https://itch.io/

almost zero restrictions on games you can upload, and they let you set your own share, even down to 0% if you so please. I think the default is 10%, which seems reasonable.

>Valve charges 30% because customers want all the stuff that comes with steam

not really. they charge 30% because they can leverage their 90% market share on small devs. In fact, they already relented and offer a lower share if you sell more than like, 25m copies. That suggests that they do need to work to keep AAA stUDIOS from making their own stores (again).

It's all about market dynamics. And I bet many steam users just use it for network effects.


It's not even just loot boxes, but them letting people gamble with the items (which can be worth a lot of money!) on unregulated gambling sites that allow minors. It's insidious stuff.

Good video on it: https://youtu.be/eMmNy11Mn7g?si=dwotdKXKu5mHLZWg


There’s so many options for distributing PC games that the market clearly sees the 30% as fair. This is an ecosystem where you could sell a game on a website with a payment portal and nothing else…


Plenty of publishers do try ditching Steam for their own storefront. They always come back to steam. Ubisoft is currently doing this with the latest Assassin's Creed game, PC sales are Epic and UPlay store only.


It seems like Steam is just that good for 30% then, can't say I'd call Valve evil for that.


> I question a 30% developer fee for using Steam

Devs are free to move to Epic Store/Microsoft Store if it bothers you that much. That's the beauty of PC, your computer is not tied to a single store.

They don't because they know those stores don't have the market share Steam has. The people have spoken.


I remember some pushback when the Steam store was launched, with people pointing out (rightfully) that with this you don't really own the games you buy


There is a tendency for people not to see evil where they don’t want to. Lego, for example, is responsible for producing a ridiculous amount of plastic every day. I am expecting to get downvoted just for mentioning it.

They do know what they are doing to the environment themselves, though, despite the public’s blind eye they are making at least some effort to research more biodegradable materials.


> I question a 30% developer fee for using Steam.

30% was more reasonable in 2005-2006 when steam was getting it's first third party games on the platform (and games were cheaper as well, a selling point for digital distribution at the time, which has no longer existed for many years due to greed) and when compute and bandwidth was massively more expensive than it is today. These days the cut should be closer to 5-10% at most.

> Destroying nearly every mod and skin community.

I miss those days so much. When I was a teenager there was always new maps and mods for hl1/hl2 to try out. Now modding in pretty much every game and it's community doesn't compare, most developers won't ever release tooling for their engines and will sue people who reverse engineer their games to make third party tooling. Even 'mod friendly' developers like paradox and bethesda don't like people making changes that affect core gameplay too much and will strip out functionality to prevent people from doing it because they would rather pump out shovelware DLCs to make money.

Valve lucked out by doing all the enshittification in the late 2000s/early 2010s when their reputation was at it's highest. If they had cultivated this same following today and then rug pulled in the way they did in the past they would have killed their business entirely. Imagine if CDPR/A ctiblizzard/EA announced they would never make a game again and would only sell third party games through GOG/Battlenet/Origin, their distribution platform. Their business would be gone in a matter of months.


> These days the cut should be closer to 5-10% at most.

It's interesting to see this randomly thrown out, I'm curious if there's any basis for this? Epic Games currently takes 12% and five years later they're still unable to turn a profit. That's for a store that wrote a brand new launcher that's worse than Steam's and they don't have nearly half the features Steam does.

I believe Humble takes 5% and they're also not doing that well.

5% would hardly even cover the CC fees. Not to mention refunds.


do we actually know if AAA studios pay the 30%? it seems very plausible that they all have secret deals with steam for a smaller cut


Yeah I think it was publicised a few years ago that Rockstar had a special deal for Grand Theft Auto V at least. It may have been all developers get reduced fees at certain sales tiers but I don't remember the exact details.


It is public knowledge that fee drops to 25% after $10,000,000 and down to 20% after $50,000,000 in game gross revenue.


Pretty well known that they and others dont pay 30% after some number in sales.


Yeah, facts here. Valve is of course already evil AF. And braindead gamers jump on that Epic hate train and defend the Valve money making machine that steals 30% from devs just because they can. I do not think Epic is great either, owned partially by Tencent ... but at least their competition and lowering devs fees and going to court vs Apple and things like that benefit the actual devs in the end.

What does Valve actually make with all this money? That rake on billions for basically doing nothing and like since HL2 the amount of games they actually developed was very low. Alyx was a niche game for VR only. Maintaining and improving CS and calling it 2.0 is hardly anything considering what they could do. Dota 2 they just bought it. Steam machines failed and it was never that they actually sell hardware with a loss. So seriously where is all this money going?

I can only assume straight into Gabens and other high level execs pockets at Valve.


Don't you see the topic? They developed Steam Deck platform, with paying for FOSS developers and opensourcing/upstreaming. I haven't expected such a great thing done by a private game company.


Well that's all great and all and I like Proton but they only use it for their own game. Its totally tight to Steam and its not recommended to be used with non-Steam games. So this is THE OPPOSITE of doing it the nice way and good open source should be done.

The also did not start from scratch and just used Wine and build upon this and payed the guy who did DXVK ... its hardly eating up billions to come up with something like the Steam Deck and Proton. Steam OS is basically just Arch Linux now so its hardly anything revolutionary from scratch.

Do not get me wrong I like all these things but I stand by what I said. I fail to see where all the money is going. Take a SINGLE AAA game where Valve rakes in 30% of the profits for a few distribution servers and a few forum mods. They have invented a money printing machine and for like 20 years the have been printing money and there is nothing visible for anyone to actually see. They do not even make games. Other game devs do not have billions at their disposal and develop games with high budgets and at a 100x faster pace. I stand by what I said, the money goes straight into Gabens and other exec pockets, the have nothing to show for it. The Index is expensive AF its not that they made a loss with it. They make profits with everything they do, especially the Steam Deck.

Steam controller also failed but its not that they wasted billions on that failed product either. I never tried it, I think the idea was great but the layout was wrong, buttons should not be on the bottom.

You tell me where all the money is going. Like do you really think they spend even more the a tiny tiny fraction of that they made on paying open source devs and deving the Steam Deck? The already had their money printing machine loooooong b4 the Steam Deck was even an idea. WTF did they do with it?


> there is nothing visible for anyone to actually see

> You tell me where all the money is going

> Other game devs ... develop games ... at a 100x faster pace

> Steam controller

> The Index

Steam Controller gave us Steam Input, which works with:

- Steam Controllers

- Xbox 360 controllers

- Xbox One controllers

- Xbox One S controllers

- PS3 Controllers

- PS4 Controllers

- PS5 Controllers

- WiiU Pro Controllers

- Switch Joycons

- Switch Pro controllers

- A bevy of other third party controllers

All with shareable layouts, hosted by Valve.

The Index gave us Steam VR, which supports:

- Valve Index

- Oculus Rift

- Oculus Rift S

- HTC Vive

- HTC Vive Pro

- HTC Vive Cosmos

- Razer OSVR

- Pimax 4K, 5K, 5K Plus, 8K, and 8K Plus

- Dell Visor

- Samsung Odyssey and Odyssey+

- Acer AH101

- HP WMR

- Lenovo Explorer

- HP Reverb

- Varjo VR-1 and VR-2

Along with their support for OpenXR.

Not to mention Remote Play, and the variety of platforms they support with that. Or the hosting for cloud saves.

I'm not saying this costs billions, but I do think you're missing quite a bit of what Valve do when they launch something. There's quite a lot visible for people to actually see and use.


You are deeply ignorant of how much money and effort Valve are pumping into the FOSS Linux ecosystem. The names of their employees as well as their contractors can be found attached to submissions on a wide swath of projects. The project lead behind Proton was an employee of CodeWeavers, essentially the people who made Wine. A partnership! Insinuating that they're all take no give is just ridiculous.


It's privately owned so does not have the shareholder pressure to keep increasing share holder value.


The do increase shareholder value, just in exactly short-term. The problem with publicly traded companies is not as much wanting to increase the value, but how short is the time horizon, when most owners don't have any understanding of the bussiness other than just handful of numbers every quarter.


>Valve turns evil

Some people and legislators are arguing that unregulated digital gambling is very very evil


If you mean gambling in Counter Strike, at least it's not explicitly aimed at children.


I was a teenaged boy when I first started playing Counter Strike. Maybe I’m a Luddite but the game is still fun; I feel like you don’t have to gamble or buy 48 cosmetic collectibles to enjoy it.


It's explicitly not aimed at children being rated M / mature and with obvious themes implying as much. Obviously children still play it, but there has to be some level of responsibility on the parents here.


Children don’t play Counter Strike?


Whether or not children play CS:GO/CS:2 is irrelevant. It is a game where 50% of the time you play as terrorists shooting law enforcement, it's very obviously not aimed at kids.

The only way for kids to gamble in CS at all is to either steal a credit card, which is obviously not Valve's fault, or for them to have a Steam gift card. If anything is to be done about the children, I think Valve should just 1) require a users to have a credit card on file in order to buy lootboxes, and 2) require re-entering the full credit card details if the user makes several purchases in a short period of time, in order to stop kids who, for example, memorized the CVV of a card already on file in Steam.

Keep in mind that uploading a government ID would have issues, seeing as in the US a driver's license is not universal, not to mention IDs all across the globe. Maybe there's an alternative form of ID that would work that I just can't think of, but anyways, I'm against needing to upload a government ID to access anything unless it's specifically for governmental purposes.


> Whether or not children play CS:GO/CS:2 is irrelevant

My opinion is that it is relevant... but each to their own I guess.


Children are not the only group harmed by gambling.

Regardless, many children most certainly do play Counter Strike.


Ok but as a society we’ve settled on letting fully grown adults partake in some forms of gambling. Are we really equating loot boxes in a mature rated game to casinos that will empty your kids college fund in the span of 12 hours?


My point is that the "think of the children" angle is redundant and reductive. We simply don't need to go there to have a discussion on the pros and cons of lootboxes.


you mean because CS is such a mature community?


Gambling is very different from csgo cases and pokemon cards. One of the insidious aspects of gambling is that people can delude themselves that they can actually get rich from it


I'm sorry to tell you this but csgo has a thriving secondary market where you can exchange items for real money.


I'm aware and I'm not going to deal in absolutes because I'm sure there are a few people out there that do think they can make money from csgo skins but it's absolutely nothing compared to actual gambling.

I'm a former gambling addict, it is very very difficult for me to lose the amount of money I have lost at craps or blackjack playing magic the gathering.

I don't think we can classify all variable reward systems as gambling. Even competitive online chess with elo and matchmaking could be classified as gambling.


Look at the wikipedia page:

> Gambling (also known as betting or gaming) is the wagering of something of value ("the stakes") on a random event with the intent of winning something else of value, where instances of strategy are discounted. Gambling thus requires three elements to be present: consideration (an amount wagered), risk (chance), and a prize.[1] The outcome of the wager is often immediate, such as a single roll of dice, a spin of a roulette wheel, or a horse crossing the finish line, but longer time frames are also common, allowing wagers on the outcome of a future sports contest or even an entire sports season.

CS cases ticks all of the boxes. I'm really curious what your definition of gambling is.


Most children who had pokemon cards bought for them likely don't consider the act of buying and opening pokemon card packs to be life altering or ruining events. I also doubt the average person considers buying packs of pokemon cards gambling. So while it fits the literal definition, it's considered different colloquially.

This is very much unlike slot machines and blackjack which can and do take over people's lives.


Gambling in a casino also doesn't have to be life altering either. In fact there are people who have destroyed their lives opening pokemon card packs. Reddit is literally full of stories. Here is the first random story I clicked on: https://www.reddit.com/r/PokemonTCG/comments/14uucxy/im_in_3...


People who were raised from childhood with a particular form of gambling as a regular thing seeing it as different than “real gambling” generally isn't surprising, but it doesn't mean that there actually is a real meaningful difference beside personal acclimatization.


I find all this handwringing about cosmetics gambling ridiculous when sports betting is becoming more and more accepted and legal.


For me, if there's some good way to gate kids from participating then gambling with loot boxes should be perfectly accepted. Not that it's good game design, but adults can vote with their attention/money


> if there's some good way to gate kids from participating then gambling with loot boxes should be perfectly accepted

There already is, you gotta have a credit card to buy lootboxes. And while I am not aware of the situation all across the globe, in most places you gotta be 18+ to get a credit card. For a debit one you might qualify a couple years earlier in the US (and probably some other countries), but an easy solution would be for Steam to just ping the bank for info on the age of the customer. However, I am not sure if that would be easily possible, especially if we are talking about API-like approaches.

The only current workaround is using gift cards, but I somehow doubt that kids resort mostly to that instead of using their parents’ credit cards. But at that point, it is on parents, because there are all sorts of ways to solve the problem on an individual level (e.g., get a card with a low limit just for steam, use a paypal account that you have to manually log into for every transaction on steam and don’t give your kid the credentials, etc).

Unfortunately, there is no way one could feasibly stop some parents from just handing their kid a credit card and mentally checking out. And any other solution to the problem that won’t massively inconvenience adult Steam customers seems to be difficult to imagine.


It’s simple to add a child as an authorized user so they get a card.

But at that point it comes down to parents.

I feel most of the “children gambling” people just hate the idea of loot boxes in general, which is fine, but the argument is stronger if it’s honest.


At least here in Australia, Steam vouchers get sold in supermarkets and any one at any age can buy them. I'm not sure if those vouchers work on the Steam market but I'd assume they would (I've never seen anything in the Steam UI to suggest that deposited funds will only work in some places).


In Germany there is a big fat 18+ sticker on the vouchers.


I mean I think that's a bad call too.


Oh same. I think it is far, far worse. Sports betting has a really gross social component where the group applies social pressure to push casual spectators to "put their money where their mouth is", I don't think sports betting at a venue should be illegal, but I also don't think letting anyone place bets with a booky from the drunken comfort of their friend's living room is at all beneficial for society.


I kind of get the argument, even if I'm not fully convinced, that betting is something people are going to do anyway so you might as well codify it and keep it honest, but if nothing else, advertising sports betting should absolutely be illegal, and sports betting should probably still be illegal.


>I don't think we can classify all variable reward systems as gambling.

That's true. thank you for your perspective


Gambling is literally anything where you pay money to have a chance to win something. That includes all these loot box things in literally any and all of its forms.

As someone who was once addicted to these games, they should absolutely be illegal. We really should not allow corporations to print money with drug dealer methods.


That definition is very reductive. Any competitive tournament with an entree fee is gambling?

Also, the reason I'm against banning such games is because when you look at all the things we find fun, you will be sad to see that a lot of them just boil down to variable reward. That variable reward aspect is what makes it fun.


Competitive games are not based on chance. Betting on the outcome is.


> Competitive games are not based on chance

You would be wrong. Even chess has variance, the better player does not always win.

Then there are games that actually integrate chance as a mechanic and are still competitive.


Not being based on chance doesn't mean there's no element of chance.

If you have no skill or training in chess, there's basically zero chance of you winning.


>Any competitive tournament with an entree fee is gambling?

technically yes. But not all gambling is illegal. because the legal definition of gambling is more precise.

I think that's the part that is forgotten in the discussions because we conflate the casual definition with the legal one.


Have you watched pokemon card opening videos?


>One of the insidious aspects of gambling is that people can delude themselves that they can actually get rich from it

Do you really think TCGs are not gambling? Guess people open MTG and Pokemon packs just for "fun" then.

Why would holo cards, foils, and mythic rares exist? Black Lotus is just a piece of cardboard after all.


I agree, I mean to the kids (And some adults with nothing else to do) the digital items and such are "Getting Rich"


laughs in Eve Online


Valve is a private company, so it would probably be after gaben leaves the company


Valve has a history of being pretty anti-consumer, especially in regard to obeying warranty and returns.

They were very early on in pushing “gambling for kids” with loot boxes and microtransactions.

But yeah, exposed screws are cool I guess.


You're right. Steam also charges an atrociously high % of revenue, and yet people bitch endlessly when they have to use Epic Games Store or other marketplaces EVEN THOUGH we espouse so much about game developers being constantly fucked by big companies.


Steam is not a publicly traded company. Their decisions don't necessarily have to improve profit margins.


Also, they have a much more narrow target market with different interests and priorities.

"PC gamer" correlates with "hardware tinkerer" much more strongly than "telephone user" does.


Publicly traded companies also don’t have to increase profit margins. They generally do, but so do privately traded companies.


Increasing profit margins is a reliable way to increase stock prices, which is (at this stage of capitalism) the most powerful force directing the allocation of capital. It's a self-reinforcing feedback loop with far-reaching power throughout the economy.


Allocation of capital matters for startups. Most large companies aren’t issuing new stock, so profit margins only affect secondary markets for their stock.


>Their decisions don't necessarily have to improve profit margins

They can always rely on the gambling money. Takes 0 effort (all digital), unregulated, and it's enormously popular on Steam.


You're trying to muddy the waters by calling it gambling. Gaming and digital loot boxes are different. Even if they share some similarities. Gambling is far, far more destructive than digital loot boxes in games. No need to conflate the two.


> Gambling is far, far more destructive than digital loot boxes in games.

Nope. They are exactly the same thing. Same effect on the brain.


Please, say it with more conviction and continue providing no sources. That is what will convince me.


Please, downplay the impact of serious diseases some more. I'm sure your "it's not gambling even though it's basically a rigged lottery" argument will convince everyone here. Even plain old video game addiction is already a recognized medical diagnosis by the WHO, to say nothing of literal gambling.

https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/add...


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_gambling

Valve could shutdown the whole thing with one button but they don't. Do you know why because it's profit for them too. Every case and every key sold.


Every TRANSACTION involving a CS:GO (CS2 now) skin gives valve a cut. An entire offshore gambling INDUSTRY exists around treating these skins as value bearing tokens you can deposit, gamble away, and cash out. They then take the enormous profit that unregulated gambling always generates, and pushes it towards degenerate gambler streamers who regularly have thousands of literal children watch their stream, where they often gamble with a rigged account made for them by the gambling companies so they can show artificial success to, once again, 12 year olds.

They pay these streamers millions of dollars, up to and including one of the streamers moving to a different country with more lax gambling laws so they could continue to gamble on the companies dime (because they are a degenerate gambler) in order to hook children on gambling.

The skins work exactly like crypto in this case, except the on-ramp is a game that millions of children play (I don't care "it's not aimed at kids", you don't need to be 18 to buy a steam gift card at the store for the skins, and the game itself is free, which is a huge lure for children without an allowance) and it is entirely unregulated.

This entire system is being used to purposely trap gambling addicts at a very young age to milk them for as long as possible in the gambling industry, for every dime they are worth, and until they have used up all possible credit they can find just to keep pressing that addiction button. Twitch is in on it too.


How is it not gambling? You put in something you need to buy with money to receive an item you can trade for money. Sounds awfully similar to me like you go to a casino, get some chips to wager and then later trade the remaining chips back for money. Regardless of whether the "official" law states it's gambling or not from a moral perspective they are pretty much identical.


> to receive an item you can later trade for money.

A person could reasonably argue can be exchanged vs primarily intended as a stand in for cash is important. If the items are intended as actual items people value then that's more defensible than say chips that only exist to be cashed out. (And I'm not familiar enough to know whether that's the case here)


I would maybe agree with you if the marketplace were not operated by Valve. But it is. This makes very clear that the one of the intended use cases of the skins is to be sold. Which is understandable, it's very likely Valves makes in the order of a billion dollars just from the marketplace.


Valve's a software distribution company, not a hardware company.

The steam deck exists primarily to expand their targetable market.

It's of no benefit to them if people's devices fail - they just stop buying games (unlike Apple, where the devices are intended to slow down or stop working altogether).


Valve may not be a hardware company on the scale of Apple, but they do design/prototype/create/repair hardware products. Also, they do a lot more than just distribute software [0].

[0] https://uspto.report/company/Valve-Corp/patents


Yes, of course they do - and all in service of steam.


I'm confused, you're lobbing this as if it's a gotcha or insult.

No matter what you think of them as a company Steam is a license to print money, of course basically everything they do is in service of it...


No I'm not, I'm acting as if it reinforces my original point - which it does.

That Valve is a software distribution company.


Valve released the highest quality consumer VR headset 4 years ago.

Today, it is still one of the highest quality consumer VR headsets. It has not dropped in price yet.


> unlike Apple…

I liked the direction you were going, but I don’t think you made the right comparison. iPhones, for example, are used 30-60% longer (4-10 years) than a Samsung phone (3-6 years). Apple provides software updates for all of their devices for 6+ years.

I’ve had very few devices containing lithium ion batteries that didn’t require a new battery. I have devices from the early 2000s from Sony, HP, Dell, Nikon, and countless others whose batteries have failed.


Samsung has some very aggressive upgrade programs, so that might explain it. Used to even have an entire yearly upgrade program you could pay for.


>where the devices are intended to slow down or stop working altogether

Stop spreading disinformation please


I don't think Apple is the pinnacle of repairability by any means, but they have been making slow improvements in this area (like replaceable back glass in the new model phones, the entire mainboard doesn't need to be replaced for common repairs as often now, etc).


I think Apple essentially sells disposable, glued shut, one time use electronics while grandstanding like crazy about the environment.

Lisa Jackson has probably the hardest job at the whole company, to drum up the stats and relativism to make it look like they are trying at all in any meaningful way, and not just lying about their portfolio of dystopian horrors and banal inconveniences.


The iPhone:

* always had the longest software support lifecycle in the industry. Only recently has Google tried to match them. My six year old iPhone only just stopped getting support for the current iOS release; it will still get security updates for a few more years.

* can be repaired quickly from parts likely stocked in repair shops almost anywhere in the world thanks to the relatively small number of models, whereas a local repair shop is unlikely to have parts for an Android phone, unless you happen to have a phone that was sold in large numbers in that locale

* can have its battery replaced with legitimate OEM parts, retaining waterproofing and whatnot, by Apple or third party shops who have been certified to do the repair correctly. No Android manufacturer does anything close to any of this.

* was one of the first phones to throttle CPU speed when it detects rising internal resistance from battery aging, thus prolonging the device's lifespan (which everyone shit on them for, claiming it was designed to 'force' people to upgrade, when it was exactly the opposite - it kept people's phones working longer than they otherwise would)

* has a charge/data connector much more durable than standard USB connectors, and it's still not placed on the motherboard like nearly every Android phone does; it's on an easily replaced board. The whole EU USB-C debacle about consumer rights. It was about other companies eliminating Apple's competitive advantage with the Lightning port, denying consumers the right to choose a different connector other than the planned obsolescence USB connectors. And you know what else? Nobody's iPhone has ever been fried by a Lightning cable, but there was a huge debacle over USB-C cables that would fry anything they were plugged into.

There's a reason iPhones retaining their value in the used market for years - and Android phones depreciate like a lead balloon.

> lying about their portfolio of dystopian horrors and banal inconveniences.

Ooooookay then.


I understand that you want to feel good about your purchasing decisions, but you just are not seeing how low you are setting the bar.

I use these products and am deeply invested in them. They are good, but much farther from perfect than you think. All of these stats are hollow relativism.

If two companies were detonating atom bombs in your neighborhood, but one provided you and your family with super solid umbrellas to catch the ash, you'd probably be swollen with praise for them as well.

There I go demonizing again... I really shouldn't be comparing a corporation with greater market value than the GDP of some countries to a nation state with the power to instigate generational environmental disasters. Totally different, not worthy of comparison at all.


What does one time use mean for a phone? You make one call and dispose of it? I used my last iPhone for 6 years, including a 3rd party screen replacement and battery replacement.


One person uses it, for a pre-determined amount of time dictated by security updates and software based gatekeeping, and then its time of usefulness has passed, and it can't be meaningfully put to any other use. In parallel, parts and service become scarce.

If you're advocating that the average user, or differently abled users get comfortable with the tweezers and pentalobe screws in order to extend the lives of their devices, I'm afraid you've lost the plot.


My house is full Apple products, the average device is well over 5 years old. The gaming PC I built after the MBP I use is virtually worthless now, as the motherboard is fried and buying a new socket LGA 1150 motherboard just isn't worth it.

All electronics are the result of dystopian horors, and they generally don't have a very good shelf life. Are you aware of how many SuperFund sites are in Silicon Valley?


Pretty dull newsflash, this is the exact kind of weak, destructive relativism I was talking about in my post.

Apple's the worst, except for all the rest? I should lay off Apple because they're doing better than their competitors?

You're not opening any eyes by saying everyone is doing terribly, you're just responding to dissent with tired whataboutism and false claims of futility.

The market and regulators and device builders and customers could do better and should.

Apple wants to claim be leader in this space, they should do so with substance.


My substance was that my Apple products consistently out live every other electronic manufacturer's. I have an iMac and a MBP that are both over a decade old now and run great. The hardware is excellent after putting a new battery in the MBP and an SSD in the iMac. Especially the 2013 MBP with Retina display, its still an awesome machine even at 10 years old. The biggest problems with old iPhones are banking Apps and cellular connectivity.

Until we find a way of mineral extraction and purification that isn't terrible, electronics are going to be bad. Could Apple work to improve that? Yes, and they should too. My point, which I'd argue is pragmatic, is that Apple makes the longest lived devices you can currently buy, and not by a little but by a lot.

Demonizing the current front runner in a competition you care about? ...well lets just say you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar


There is no demonizing taking place - they make shit that objectively lasts longer (good), but they glue it shut when they don't need to (bad).

The latter is such a poor environmental choice, that it negates the former, but you don't see it yet.


> there is no demonizing taking place

Buddy, you just said, and I quote: "lying about their portfolio of dystopian horrors and banal inconveniences."

Get a grip.


I have a strong grip on the meaning of these words and the organization I have observed as a customer and user for decades.

How about you get a dictionary and encyclopedia and learn what dystopian horrors and banal inconveniences are?

Then look at Apple's factories, mining operations, glued together, locked down, borderline unrepairable products, and a big old pile of lightning cables and see that is an apt, fair and even charitable description of their activities.

Or you can just take yours and grip them to your chest and cry, whatever works for you.


> they glue it shut when they don't need to (bad).

Disagree. Glue isn't really that hard to deal with and likely makes the phone substantially more waterproof. It's really not hard, at all, to deal with glue, it's typically dissolves in acetone and only requires mild heat to overcome.


I'm using "glue" as a stand-in for all of the measures they use to lockdown their products when there is no physical need for it.

Nonetheless, you're selling "typically dissolves in acetone" as a user friendly, easy to repair, best in the industry experience? Should we give them a special award with text that is flanked by sprigs of wheat?

You don't realize how low you are setting the bar here.


Apple has a billion dollar PR engine trying to convince you that privacy was Apple's idea or repairability was their idea. It wasn't. Its them trying to get in front of regulation in the EU and outmaneuver their competitors.

Do you think the iphone 15 being USB-C was Apple's idea too?


Woz himself has spoken out against Apple's anti-repair stance.

For a few gens now "simple" to swap out iPhone parts like screens need to be purchased directly from Apple and authorized to go into the device that's being repaired via IMEI. This kills off tons of third party market options. Imagine if vehicle manufacturers required that you buy all replacement parts from them. In the case of vehicles, there are tons of used, reconditioned, and third party parts available that work just fine as replacements.

This kind of behavior is why I'll never "buy" an Apple device; you never truly own it and can do what you want to do with it, from both hardware and software perspectives.

https://screenrant.com/apple-self-service-program-requires-s...


I don't know on which planet you live but every new generation is worse than the previous one.

My last macbook needed to have a battery replaced during Apple Care (after only 2 years) and they just gave me a new body (no dents, same specs, same keyboard layout, transplanted the ssd - or transferred the data, not sure) and plugged it to the old screen.

If they don't bother swapping a battery...


Citing something that's been the same way for all Apple laptops for at least a decade doesn't really support your assertion that it gets worse with every generation.

Your repair was probably done by moving your laptop's motherboard into a new lower case (with a corresponding new battery glued in).


Is there any real justification for glueing batteries in beyond obstructing replacement?

It's not as if there's any space for them to slide around, they're a fairly tight fit in a compact device, and there's got to be plenty of other options to keep them in place if there is a little bit of looseness to deal with.

(I guess they'll use safety as an excuse, to reduce the risk of the damage to cells. But it's not the real reason, is it?)


The case isn't so tight the batteries can't move. LiPoly batteries expand and contract when they heat and cool. The case needs enough space for that to happen without putting pressure on the battery.

When the battery is at its most contracted state it can move if it's not fixed to the case by some means. Movement of the battery puts stress on the connectors and can lead to a short (or worse).

Gluing the battery in the case is a safe way of fixing it in place inside the case. Screw tabs would give the opportunity during assembly of puncturing the battery casing with a tool or screw. They could also work themselves loose with the thermal expansion cycles.

But people like the thought-terminating "Apple bad" narratives.


Nah, this is just an apologetic just look at the amount of engineering they put in their Thunderbolt 4 cables: https://www.lumafield.com/article/usb-c-cable-charger-head-t...

Its crazy stuff. You are telling me they cant think of a secure way to use a mechanical, screwed system that is able to cope with the thermal expansion. I find that hard to believe. I believe it is mostly cost and profit incentive, MAYBE safety, but I also doubt that last one.


Surely there's a non-adhesive material that'd serve that purpose though, some sort of foam or rubber perhaps?


I think adhesive and screws are the only two practical options for securing a battery well enough to prevent repeated cable flexing, which is probably much more of a concern than screws coming loose.


Are you saying these were some sort of hazardous devices ready to explode at the most inexpected time?

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62wUaJUh4Ko


Those batteries are glued in to their own rigid case, which makes swapping them out of the laptop trivial but also didn't leave much room for expansion inside the battery pack, and the battery pack was pretty thick compared to any recent Apple laptop.

Replacing the cells inside one of those packs would have been similarly difficult to ungluing and replacing the batteries in more recent Apple laptops, but there was a lot less reason to rebuild those battery packs.


Check out Fairphone. Maybe not as feature packed as the latest Pixel or iPhone, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Even Marques Brownlee [0] said he's going to rate gadgets' green/sustainability creds from now on, after reviewing the Fairphone.

0. https://www.youtube.com/user/marquesbrownlee


Apple is going back to how home computers used to be, before Compaq got lucky with the IBM PC cloning.

They were consumer electronics devices, most of the expansion possibilities were via external devices connected on an expansion port of some sort, and that was about it.

Naturally this model offers better margins than selling PC components on thin razor margins, which is why even the PC world is going into that direction, leaving custom PCs for hardcore gammers and servers, where OEMs can also enjoy higher margins.


If you do it well, the polar opposite just boots your marketing and overall goodness.


It'd be nice if it was a real console and not a glorified Nintendo games piracy device.

It's very easy to be user friendly when your business model is relying on piracy, they even showed an emulator in a now deleted trailer


By "real" console you mean a locked-down device that can only run software approved by the manufacturer and restricts running arbitrary user code?

Why would anyone ever want that? If you buy a device, you are supposed to be able to do anything you want with it, including running emulators or whatever.

Thankfully, even when vendors want to prevent people from doing that, they often screw it up and leave exploits that allow people to regain control. Even funnier when they then try suing random people for that to compensate for their engineering skill issue/make an example etc.


I'd rather have companies putting out emulator-friendly devices than re-charging for the same game every time a new hardware generation rolls around. The steam deck is just a computer at the end of the day, people are going to run emulators on it.


sure, but most other console makers actually sell at a loss and rely on selling and re-selling software to make profit. And users who buy consoles don't want to mess around with emulators anyway.

Valve didn't sell hardware for half its lifetime, and the hardware it sold were on small margins. Steam Deck is a success selling a few million, the vita was a bomb selling 10m (very conservative estimate. you'll see 15m when googling). Economies of scale


Did you accidentally respond to the wrong comment?


I don't believe so. I was just explaining that a console needs to justify every generational bump. And if remasters are valuable enough, they'll do it.


Oh, I see what you mean now. I had trouble figuring out the relevance to my comment before.


Nintendo make great games that I pay for. But the way they drip feed their back catalog and price gouge on N64 is a red line for me. The entire NES to N64 catalog (licensing permitting) should be a part of the base Nintendo Online subscription.

I'll give them a pass on Gamecube and later as that generation can still look pretty good.

I would probably subscribe if they got the back catalog right. But it's no bother to me really, it's trivial to emulate their games right up to the Wii U.


>The entire NES to N64 catalog (licensing permitting) should be a part of the base Nintendo Online subscription.

Why? no one expects all PS1 games on PS now, nor all OG Xbox games on gamepass.

If people still want to buy ports or subscriptions instead of figuring out emulation, that's their choice.


I don't have an Xbox or PS so not really bothered about what their services are. I guess a trickle rather than a drip feed is OK, it should be a lot faster than it is now though.

Knowing the majority of the NES > N64 Nintendo back catalog is coming at a reasonable pace would be a reason to subscribe to their online service, assuming it is all available at the base sub price.


You are aware that the vast majority of Steam games work on the Steam Deck? There are literally more games available on Steam that you can play on it then probably every console in existence.


Are there stats on what proportion of Deck use is piracy? I have a Deck, half my friends have Decks, none of them have mentioned piracy as a use case that I can recall.

A 40 year old with a twenty year back catalog of Steam titles gives me plenty of things to play.


Emulators are not illegal, nor are compatible clones of consoles. It's actually weird that there aren't many alternative implementations of consoles in current times. There were plenty in the NES days.


They are legally dubious enough that Steam had to take down Dolphin. I think that's the real kicker.

>It's actually weird that there aren't many alternative implementations of consoles in current times

where's the allure anymore? the PC and mobile hardware can do that just fine. those alt knockoff consoles came at a time where owning a PC was a huge premium.

That said, there are a few modern alt consoles to consider as a hobbyist:

https://play.date/

https://www.analogue.co/pocket

https://www.arduboy.com/

but they very intentionally aren't trying to compete with modern games.


I think "had" is too strong a word. I don't think a US court ever forced them to do it. As far as I know, they asked Nintendo what they thought about it, got the standard Nintendo "it's illegal" spiel and took it down of their own accord to play nice.

These things are "illegal" because these corporations can afford to turn the justice system into a legal bullying mechanism. They don't like what you do? They threaten to set your money on fire if you don't stop. Most people just obey because they don't really want to impoverish themselves fighting them.

There's no telling what would actually happen if it actually went to court though. I've read too many court cases where these game companies lost to just believe them when they say it's "illegal". The problem is always the fact they win in the end simply by having deeper pockets: the other party often gets bankrupted despite the victory. Bleem and Virtual Game Station come to mind. True justice would have been these alternative implementations of the consoles competing with the real thing on equal footing on day one.

> where's the allure anymore?

There weren't clones of any of the consoles of the previous generations though. Modern consoles are basically glorified PCs but a PS2 and NDS weren't.


I think that's pretty reductive. They have a whole category of games that are great on Deck. I love playing Streets of Rage 4 and Katamari reroll on it.


Using an emulator does not make you a pirate.


strictly speaking, yes. But I hope we can both agree that a large share of emulator users aren't taking their legally bought copy of a game and creating a backup rom out of it. Nor manually dumping the bios from their legally obtained piece of hardware.


It's amazing to watch how Torx screws have gone from crime against humanity to actually a good thing over the last decade.


Engineering wise, Torx was always superior, particularly small screws that would strip easily. People hated it because of the patents, and getting good tools were extremely expensive because of the licensing.


I'm confused by the idea that torx could be superior. I don't think I've ever touched a device or car with torx heads that didn't end up with half of them being stripped.


imagine how much worse it'd be if they weren't torx.


I have tinkered on cars both with and without torx. Torx sucks, its also not uncommon for dimensions to differ on included torx tools so when you use a size 3 on another products "torx 3" it will strip away.


With all due respect, I've tinkered with dozens of electronics (not cars) and Torx heads are by far my favourite.


Philips used to be the "good" one because although it's a pretty bad design, everyone had it. Now that lots of people have torx drivers, they're better in pretty much every way. They're a lot harder to strip, they don't cam out as much etc.


Are they still covered by the patents that made them unattractive initially? Patent expiry could very well be the reason for their increased popularity.


Wikipedia tells me the original Torx patent[1] was filed in the 1960s, so anything related should have long since expired. (There’s apparently also a “Torx Plus” patented[2] in the early 1990s around the time the original patent was expiring, but I don’t believe anybody deliberately chooses that one. Expired in 2011.)

[1] US 3,584,667, https://image-ppubs.uspto.gov/dirsearch-public/print/downloa...

[2] US 5,207,132, https://image-ppubs.uspto.gov/dirsearch-public/print/downloa...


Torx patent expired in 2011, so that's increasingly likely why it's taken off.

Edited to add: the "Torx Plus" design's patent expired in 2011, which was put in place in 1990 as the original Torx patent was expiring then. Some more nuance, but there ya go.


My understanding is that the patents for Torx (and Torx Plus) have expired. They're an ISO standard, "hexalobular internal" (which is much more fun to say).


Hex are a crime only because there are way too many sizes.


More sizes than any other type of screw? I doubt it. In my experience they are more standardized into a few discreet sizes.

edit: Also, you said Hex and I'm assuming you meant Torx (since GGP did). But that could very easily be a bad assumption, so I apologize if it is.


I think it may seem like Torx has more sizes than say Phillips or flat-headed screws due to the fact that with those you can generally get away with a screw driver that is "close enough" in size, whereas with Torx you really need the exact size the screw is using.


If you want to strip your screws, you can do that. And then there's the Pozi vs Philips thing that people tend to get wrong. Torx is kind of a pain in the ass because you always try the wrong screwdriver first, but it's still way better than philips/pozidriv


It's because philips drivers are wedge-shaped. They properly fit a range of screw heads. This means that there's only two or three commonly used driver sizes. With torx the sides are parallel so the driver size is directly related to the screw head size.


Torx are great since there is a limited number of sizes. But hex has metric and sae plus plenty of variance bolt to bolt.


Also, Torx takes the guesswork out of determining which bit to use. If it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit. Phillips can be a pain in the ass to figure out which bit to use.


I thought most of the hate was for tri-wing and pentalobe.


> Improved bumper switch mechanism drop reliability

> Moved bumper switch to joystick board for easier repair

These are such a big deal, and such a design flaw in the first deck.

The most breakable part(eg. From any drop) requires valve to do the repairs because the same board houses the most complicated parts


I'd argue that putting the USB-C charge port directly on the motherboard instead of a replaceable carrier was an equally poor choice. One booboo or too many accessory plug-unplug cycles requires a motherboard replacement, RMA, or a hotplate and hot air at a minimum. There are contacts that are under the USB-C port module, so it's not even possible to change it with an iron. Better a separate daughterboard connected by FPC. Mine has a magnetic wearout extender on it now.


Yeah my old intel macbook (touchbar) is pretty much unusable because the usb-c ports no longer 'click' so keeping a power cord plugged in is incredibly frustrating. I asked a guy at the local non-apple mac store and he said in my model they are soldered directly onto the motherboard and are a bitch to replace. Apple just wants to replace the whole motherboard. I think now they put them on daughterboards but i'm not sure. Thankfully the m2 I replaced it with has magsafe (or you can use usb-c to charge if you find yourself without a magsafe cord) so far less cycles on the usb ports.


Steam is in the world of selling you games; Steam Decks being cheap/reparable/etc leads to more game sales.


By my count I've bought 17 games since getting my SteamDeck, they got me.


I prefer steam’s openess as an incentive to sell games versus companies that manipulate you, spy on you, prevent repairs, steal your data or use all sorts of dark patterns. Steam is simply a company that builds products the right way. They deserve my £.

Oh and that sexy support of Linux. It won a loyal customer for life (or until they get acquired and get enshitified to death).


The Linux support saved my personal laptop from dual boot hell


Valve also dont sell $450 device for £450...


Sounds like a win-win-win situation for gamers (buyer), developers (seller), and valve (marketplace).


Is there something wrong with that?


Small observation, I think they got the idea for a limited edition see transparent case after seeing how many people were interesting in modding theirs with an aftermarket one, and also probably a reason they made it even easier to take apart. The steam deck has seen more hardware mods than any other consumer hardware device I can think of in the past decade.


And no jailbreaking required. I just wish I could hold one to see if my hands fit.

My awkward hands where DS, Switch, PS and Xbox controllers all give me cramps after around ten minutes of play time.

N64 not so. It's why I've always been a PC gamer.


if your hands cramp when using a switch, the deck might be good for your hands. I've had the same issue with the low stick placement on it and the deck has been an ergonomic joy.


I've found the Deck quite uncomfortable to hold, with the rear buttons being the lowest point. Lots of pain in the curve of the palm, plus the stock plastic is slippery which makes you try to squeeze harder. Propped up on a stand with an external controller is my preferred way personally.


the switchdeck is massive compared to all of them


>switchdeck

pretty sure the switchdeck is just a dbrand skin?


yeah meant steamdeck


Well not sure about the Steam Deck, its all nice and fine but if the original device is not very durable its still sucks of you need to repair it often.

I do not know if they are going this route with the Index, that thing is notoriously bad build, and it breaks for people after a very short lifespan all the time. Basically almost every serious reviewer complained how their Index broke after X months. I do not think its easy to repair at all and does Valve sell spare parts? It should life longer in the first place.


I have owned an index for 4 years with heavy daily use during the pandemic, and the only issue I've had is when I smashed a controller in a wall playing beat saber (and even so only the thing that retains the elastic strap broke).

I've also spent a while in VRChat where these issues would be discussed and I've never seen anyone mention that the index in not durable.


Hmm, given the chassis changes, what are the odds the OLED screen can be dropped into existing Decks? It would probably hold back adoption but I'm unlikely to upgrade so soon anyway.


Valve says it cannot be installed in LCD models. A third party may offer a solution though.


There's already "DeckHD" after-market upgrade kits, a 1920x1200 OLED screen for $100.

Looks like a pain to install, though. Saw a time-lapse of the process on LTT and it looked like it involved removing just about every single screw and fastener in the entire device.


The DeckHD is still an IPS LCD, it just has better color coverage: https://deckhd.com/#specs


Do you know if the plastic casing is any easier to open? I damaged the edges of mine with the spludger when prying it open to install an SSD, the plastic is quite soft.


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