Frankly I think the sanest option here would be for MS to simply buy Valve and turn them into the "Windows App Store". But I can't imagine that happening given all the internal churn that would be required to eliminate all their existing online purchase junk.
Gabe is a billionaire, and left MS to do his own stuff. And Valve culture sounds incompatible w/ MS culture.
The man sincerely loves his job, his fans, and especially his team.
I wonder why there are not more companies going that route. It seems to be sort of expected nowadays that every large company must incorporate.
Which is exactly what they are doing, with the win8 store policy, metro sandbox, and pricing strategy for the x86/classic-desktop version.
All of those are much more successful than they were before Microsoft acquired them.
If Microsoft provides competitive pricing, fast downloads and good key management (easy key activation, no PC activation limits, DRM-free options, good online/offline story) I could see people switching away from Steam.
Amazon is actually trying quite hard in this area - their download application could use work, but they have pricing and good DRM policies in place. Plus, their community outreach is mind boggling (especially considering the other DD outlets do none at all).
Isn't it really just a modern day record label?
Steam is, from a user perspective, a video game marketplace on PC. In Win8, they will have to compete with the built-in windows marketplace, where most games will published directly. In other words, Win8 is a catastrophe for them as it's endangering their business.
Your games are locked into steam, and they may never be removed from there. You own none of them. The only way to play them is to open Steam (presuming it's up / not horribly busy / you have an internet connection^) and be shown their market place. There is no way to 'export' your 'purchases'.
Contrast that with other sites where you buy the game and get to download an actual installer, which you can do whatever you like with.
Steam could do a lot better for users, but by locking people into their service they do a lot better for themselves.
^There is an offline mode, yes. Except you have to put it into offline mode while you still have an internet connection, which sucks (what if your internet goes down due to a power cut / accident / misconfiguration at the ISPs end?), and it's not supported by all games.
Basically, Steam knows what product they are selling, they sell it cheaply, they sell more of it in one place than other (like GoG and GMG), they let you mount games that aren't Steam games into it to help keep it organized. Other services simply haven't caught up and gamers seem willing to accept limitation in exchange for convenience. It's an easy target for disruption, but no one has managed to yet, Amazon is working hard but their UI is not up to snuff.
Also, achievements, friends, and groups are a nice touch that doesn't exist elsewhere in the same quality or quantity.
Right now, the benefits of Steam far outweigh the fact that your games can't be exported. I guess time will tell if that will change. It's not like Steam has always been the darling of gamers.
Some games have license keys, which work if you do a manual install. Some games also work fine outside of steam if you activate the game executable from the filesystem (all of the admittedly few I've tried have worked this way)
Isn't that already the same kind of competition? If a game is on the software center it has no online DRM so I would absolutely get it there over Steam if it was for the same price.
Has there been any talk from major publishers/developers that they're actually looking at the Windows 8 marketplace as a serious option? Steam seems to be very friendly towards developers/publishers in terms of pushing out updates, cert, advertising. Plus, Steam has pretty good support for customers. What will the Windows 8 marketplace offer or do better to provide the sort of incentive needed to attract big players?
Been using W8 on my desktop at work for about a month now. If only it were that easy.
The big problem is that W8 is insanely inconsistent. Trying to change system settings can result in having to navigate a byzantine maze guiding you through new Metro interfaces with old-school control panel applets interspersed throughout.
The Control Panel still exists, but there's also a Metro PC settings interface, and trying to search will give you some mix of the two. It's just a nightmare to navigate.
It's more that the entire user experience sucks than it has anything to do with any single application.
Wasn't this on the Beta product? Why is everyone talking as if it's on the RTM version?
I don't think we'll see a unified experience until Windows 9.
When it boots I immediately launch a remote session to my windows 7 desktop.
Everything I've heard about Metro suggests limited customisation of the desktop and apps that insist on being full-screen or some guaranteed fraction. All of this feels like evolution in reverse to me.
I've never used Windows 8, but the stories coming out make me never want to.
The desktop is still there, icons are still there, overlapping windows are still there, the only thing gone is the start menu, replaced with the metro launch screen that can launch both desktop and metro apps.
There are still some issues with the two different environments, especially the difference in look and feel, but it still works well.
Well, it is and it isn't. Native Metro apps do more or less behave the way he's describing. The thing is, almost no native Metro apps exist right now, so you'll spend the vast majority of your time in traditional desktop mode anyway.
Only the new start screen (which replaces the start menu) will expose you to Metro. But in my experience with the Release Preview, this start screen is pleasant to use and still allows for keyboard search like in Windows 7 as well as keyboard navigation.
You can still use your desktop in precisely the same way you're doing right now. Nothing has changed there.
What happens when the majority of apps you want to use are Metro apps?
I seriously, seriously question in half of the people attempting to spread shit about Windows 8 here have ever seriously used it for more than 3 minutes in a VM.
It's going to get harder and harder to avoid metro apps.
There should be an app for that. It could be called... oh, I don't know, how about COMMAND.COM?
I think Windows 8 is a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space. I think we'll lose some of the top-tier PC/OEMs, who will exit the market. I think margins will be destroyed for a bunch of people.
Sounds more like all it is a problem for all of the many players in the Windows space. Now of course Microsoft can do what they want with their ball (subject to DOJ purview), but so can everyone else, including companies like Valve who have been a major influence in keeping the PC relevant for an entire market.
If Steam and 2,500 games were available on Linux, that would make a huge case for that platform in the home.
It's not gonna be a wasteland by any measure.
 TransGaming makes Cider: http://transgaming.com/cider and Cedega/GameTree Linux: http://gametreelinux.com/
Steam is pretty great and it's not easy to replicate. See "Google Play."
Probably not going to happen before they release their new gaming console.
They need a good launch title and you know how long it takes them to build a game.
They will happily Wubi install Ubuntu over their Windows disk the day their steam library works on it if Steam pushes them to switch. Getting the library working and the graphics drivers up to par is the bigger problem.
It's disingenuous for Gabe to talk about how much of a 'Catastrophe' Windows 8 is going to be or how touch screens are "Short-term" but leave out the fact that these fears stem from it's possible impact on Steam's bottom line
Short-term, if they can still get their games through Microsoft's own market, they won't care.
Once they level the playing field (by allowing users to use Stream or the MS App Store without penalty), Microsoft can start to try and draw users away from 3rd party services. However, in the short term, it's hard to imagine them drawing users from steam and forcing those same users to abandon their investment in steam.
It may or may not happen, but I like the idea of having multiple options.
I am rooting for Linux, WebGL, and other stuff. Whatever can help take down Windows is great. If Windows can actually take down Windows, even better.
If you are talking about fglrx then I forsee nothing but pain for you. I doubt even Valve's encouragement can improve that situation.
Problem was that awhile back I think that Chrome wouldn't run WebGL and I thought it was a driver issue, so I installed the fglrx crap, which not only didn't make Chrome run WebGL but it completely screwed me, and I never properly removed it until now.
The fact that things like this are still an issue makes me think that it will take more than just Steam to make desktop Linux more than a tiny niche in the gaming market.
Original post is https://allthingsd.com/20120725/valves-gabe-newell-on-the-fu...
I think that the fear he has of Windows 8 is not that Valve will have competition or that steam will lose market share. it already is fighting similar offerings from a few different angles. He seems concerned that windows 8 represents a step back from the open platform model of windows. That it signals an attempt from Microsoft to build their own walled garden to counteract Apple's. This would inevitably be bad for third parties who make their living in the Microsoft ecosystem.
Linux then solves the problem because the platform is open. Not in terms of cost but of access
- haven't looked under the hood of W8 yet but if MS wants to limit me what I can install on my computer / take over boot / BIOS control this one will certainly find no home on any of my computers.
Call me old fashioned but if I go to a shop and buy a computer (or have it send to my place) I actually want to own it and not find a clause on line 432'678 of the license agreement that it's now completely legal that a Seattle Corp has pwned my computer.
Seems like, if you don't have a script polling their website hourly for EULA updates, they can insert terms like "By continuing use of our product, you agree that we now own your computer, your house, your bank accounts, your first-born son and your immortal soul." And you'll have no choice but to pay up.
I'm surprised I haven't seen more headlines about companies trying this kind of s*.
Thank god. I was afraid we'd get through this thread without the typical misinformed FUD about SecureBoot.
Business executives are now openly doubting the future relevance of the Windows platform!
Also, Counter-Strike: GO is being released on Aug 21. http://store.steampowered.com/app/1800/
P.S. I have heard of CS:GO which is nothing more than old CS:Source with improved environment. It isn't a bad game by any means, but it is lagging behind multiplayer shooters like CoD, Battlefield.
You're the first person I've ever heard say that Steam throttled downloads, and I've heard and had a lot of complaints about Steam in the past. That's just not one of them. In fact, the only thing close to throttling I've heard is users wanting the ability to manually throttle game downloads.
I'm not saying your lying, I'm just not sure that it was as a result of something on Steam's end.
Obviously BF and CoD offer single player gaming, but for multiplayer there's a good case to be made (and one that often is made) that CS out-does both of them in terms of game play.
How far off are computerised wristbands?
Instead of having to go through Steam's distribution, games will have the option of going directly to the Windows 8 app store and get featured there, not to mention XBox Live coming to Windows.
Anyone know what Steam's cut for game devs is? Microsoft is charging between 20 to 30%, so Steam seems to be very worried about their revenue stream and thus supporting Linux as a hedge.
Of course the regular desktop Steam client will keep working, but not on Windows RT ARM devices. Also, doesn't the WinRT support full DirectX?
Says Pitchford, "It would be much better if Steam was its own business." If Valve spun off the content delivery system, it would also remove the perceived conflict of interest Pitchford takes umbrage with. "Steam helps us as customers, but it's also a money grab, and Valve is exploiting a lot of people in a way that's not totally fair," Pitchford says. "Valve is taking a larger share than it should for the service it's providing. It's exploiting a lot of small guys."
Edit: It is worth nothing that if a user's game was activated with a retail key, Steam takes no cut. This means that you are effectively getting service for that user for free.
You also get Steam Cloud, which allows you to store your users' configuration and saved game files to be accessed anywhere, their peer-to-peer networking API which provides NAT punching. Then there's matchmaking, stats/achievements, Steam Community (their social network), and several other "Steamworks" features. 
Edit: Microtransactions is another big one, also known as in-app purchases. The online brochure for Steamworks is worth a read if you're interested in any of this: http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/index.php
I haven't read a lot about Windows 8's app store, especially concerning Xbox Live, but Steam still has a lot to offer to developers.
And that's without even getting into updates that provide extra content. Steam's flagship game, Team Fortress 2, updates at least once a month with extra (free) content. That generates mayor amounts of good will towards the devs, and it would be completely unsustainable if the developers had to pay $40k to update, and another $40k to fix any bugs or imbalances in the update.
We're talking about the XBox. There's only one hardware device to test against.
Also, the first update is free.
They also have branches, so that you can release betas for your users to opt-in and test.
Is there any reference for that?
Edit: Oh, and PC Gamer has a good bit about the update process.
On the other hand, Microsoft's new 20-30% cut doesn't sound like very low-margin distribution infrastructure either...
Does "low-margin" for software really make sense? These aren't physical goods that have a inherent value. The "cost" of any given piece of software is the price you are willing to pay the people building it.
If Microsoft takes that away, they'll bail in the biggest possible way. Good luck getting Adobe to retail through your app store. They'll probably make a Linux port as a big fuck you to Ballmer.
He's clearly not just talking about the app store cutting into margins. Why else would OEMs exit the market if not because of usability issues/market collapse?
At least, in the case of Android, they can add value, or extra revenue streams. In the case of linux, the open nature, would provide a competitive edge.
Why would any OEM be interested in selling win8 devices? If microsoft is going the way of the console ( like apple and amazon are doing ), shouldnt microsoft be paying them instead of the other way around?
But he is allowed to be a bit upset: Steam is effectively not allowed on Metro.
And there was loyalty between Valve and Microsoft. In general, he dislikes the verticalisation in the market; how consumer devices will all be (media,game,app) consoles. But to see Microsoft make this move, just hurst more, when your company has invested so much in the windows ecosystem. And lets not forget that without Steam, pc gaming would have died completely 5 years ago.
Personally, i dont like it either. I think its anticompeteive in nature, and bad for innovation. Appearantly operating system vendors are becoming the new cable companies, charging for access to consumers.
But unless one of them (apple, google, microsoft, amazon) has a monopoly, its not illegal to operate in this manner.
Your sentence is like saying that without Internet Explorer, we would still be paying for internet browsers. It's praising Microsoft for what it did and mysteriously assuming that in absence of it, no one else would bring the cost of browsers down.
This is my nitpick with "what if X didn't exist" scenarios: people imply that nothing would fill the vacuum.
Another example I just made up: "If Linux didn't exist, we wouldn't have a free, open source OS". I'm pretty sure FreeBSD or something like that would grow like Linux instead. Not saying it would be better or worse, because, frankly, I don't know.
Another counterexample would be the internet itself. It could very easily have gone wrong and we would have been stuck with the likes of Compuserve and AOL.
I don't think i'm wrong, but it's hard to argue about alternative history, right? It's all pure speculation. You are right about that.
If anything he risks footing a lot of the effort to get developers onto Linux (see: Valve openly talking about working with GPU manufacturers to improve the quality of Linux drivers) only to have it benefit people that choose to distribute outside of Steam.
No, because it's DRM-less.
That said, Valve appears to be going for a play based on being a cross-platform app store (Windows, OS X, Linux). It's not obvious to me that they can add much value that way (after you've gone to the work to implement support for three platforms, submitting to three app stores is not a lot of overhead) but we'll see.
I know that Steam lets you take your games from one machine to another, but I don't expect that to be the norm for most app stores.
I see no reason to infer that Newell's comments are limited specifically to app platforms. I also wouldn't be surprised if there's more to this than just a Steam-for-Linux download; they could be working on something like the old Phantom project to really bridge the gap between console and PC, and take advantage of Windows 8's almost inevitable initial poor reception to gain marketshare.
Buying is just a one time deal. Achievements and other social features of Xbox Live are constant and, if shared with the large Xbox network, will be very desirable for consumers.
Steam cant be on Metro, and the x86/classic-desktop will likely end up, only in the high end of the market.
Just like Apple, the common win8 consumer device will be in the 200-600 dollar range .. running on ARM, and completely block any competition from selling content. The privileges of backwards compatibility and "side-loading" will be available only on 800+ dollar devices.
So, Steam on windows has no future.
If there are no alternative, people may still hate it, but it will still be the killer feature.
You bring up a good point about the WinRT ARM devices. These devises are very closed off similar to the IPad, the only option for WinRT tablet users will be to go to the Windows Store but I don't think Valve even cares about this market too much ( I don't think you can download games directly to your iPhone from the steam app, can you?). Steam in my opinion is geared towards the PC desktop gamer not the (ARM) tablet* user, so Valve has nothing to worry about.
*x86 tablets will most likely be able to download steam.
The problem is that the PC desktop-gamer market is shrinking, and may shrink further if a large population adopts WinRT tablets. I'm sure there are many edge-case customers out there that would rather pay <$500 for a PC in exchange for not having access to the few indie games they or their children purchased on Steam.
While most avid PC gamers will keep with the desktop model, this sort of fork in the road for PC buyers is in essence also a narrowing of accessibility for future generations of would-be PC gamers.
Store fees are calculated on a per-transaction basis as well. These fees are based at 30% of the app price, until your app reaches $25,000 or equivalent of lifetime sales (aggregated across app sales and in-app purchases) when they change to 20% of the app price.