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SteamOS: It's here (steamdb.info)
343 points by xPaw 1494 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 248 comments

I have a huge problem with Steam in general. It's nothing against Valve and nothing against the games on Steam store, but hear me out.

Lets say you buy a game on the Steam store. Now lets say that game is so bug-ridden that you can't play it. It's so bad that you can't even run the game. You check online and it's such a big problem that the CTO has publicly apologized. You contact Steam support to ask for a refund. They tell you to forget it, so you contact the publisher. You explain that you have liked their games forever but this game is not playable. You want your money back. The publisher will tell you that you need to get a refund from the retailer you purchased the game from. It's out of their control because they don't have your money.

You contact Steam again, they tell you that they will issue no refund. You threaten to file a charge back from your credit card company. Steam says that they will disable further purchases from the Steam Store if you do so. They actually state that they will not let you purchase any more games from them if you protect yourself as any consumer should be allowed to.

Somehow, I just can't imagine doing business with them anymore.

I know one person who bought the wrong game on Steam by mistake: he couldn't get a refund but he was able to persuade Steam support to add the value of the purchase to his Steam wallet.

Nonetheless, this seems to be a good place to mention GOG's 30 day money back guarantee: http://www.gog.com/support/website_help/money_back_guarantee

on origin you can get your money back 24 hours after you started it the first time

Isn't that only for EA games?

Uh, that's never happened to me, nor anyone I know. And Steam Quality Control is good enough that games that bug-ridden will very very rarely make it through.

As someone who released a game on steam, they never checked it. We could have released a game that crashed on start up and they wouldn't have known before hand.

I'm not complaining. It's great for developers.

Steam envisions itself more as an open platform than a storefront. I don't have an opinion on whether this is the best choice or not, but that's the direction they have said they are moving in. The GP's complaint seems more like a consequence of that general direction that a consequence of Valve's attitude as a business, as they generally (only generally) have a track record of being relatively consumer friendly. And in the specific industry of games publishers, they are practically saints.

You could roll out a day one bugfix to every user and force an update.

And it's their duty to know that your game works?

Perhaps you should read the context of a thread before mindlessly posting.

His comment was in response to : > Uh, that's never happened to me, nor anyone I know. And Steam Quality Control is good enough that games that bug-ridden will very very rarely make it through.

So, uhh, yeah it's their responsibility to check a game because once it is available on Steam they're vouching for its quality in some manner.

As long as they aren't giving you refunds for games that don't, yeah, it's their duty to make sure that games which are technically unreliable don't make it to the store. Either that, or hand out refunds.

In my mind there should be a refund from Steam either way:

- If Steam has a thorough quality control, they (sort of) tell you that the game is OK, no obvious bugs. But there could still exist a serious bug that you can find, and I think they should give you a refund. They said it would work and it didn't.

- If there's no quality control to speak of (i.e. they just sell whatever the developers are shipping) and it turns out to be crap, it's still Steam who has sold it to you. In my mind they should still give you a refund, apologize a bit, and then deal with the developer.

I can't see that it's Steam's responsibility to test the game, but it's in their interest to provide high quality, so they ought to do some smoke tests at the very least. But no testing (from Steam and/or the developer) can guarantee that there's no problem with the software, and if there is, I think it's obvious that Steam should handle the refunds to the customer (since it's Steam's customer), and then Steam should handle it with the developer.

Yes, I agree that Steam should be issuing refunds -- but even more so when they don't do any compliance testing of their own.

In the iOS App Store, Apple can issue refunds if a user complains about an app. If they do, they'll refund the entire purchase price, but keep their 30% commission.

In other words, it costs developers money for Apple to issue a refund.

It has happened to me. I purchased a game and the multiplayer was completely broken/bugged. Like most people, I thought Steam would refund me without much of a hassle. Turns out steam has a very strict NO REFUND policy. This came as a shock to me after hearing so many good stories about Steam. Note that this was a well documented bug in the steam forums for this game.

I used to feel very safe purchasing from steam, now I don't think it's very safe to purchase any sort of indie game.

The recent Ashes 2013 cricket game was so bug-ridden it was taken off Steam after less than a week. It looks like all refunds were handled by the publisher though:


Dungeon Defenders is fairly unplayable on desktop Linux due to this bug: https://bugzilla.icculus.org/show_bug.cgi?id=5831

This bug is easy to reproduce and they even know the issue (lack of physx support on the linux drivers) and even though there's a workaround (Android version doesn't have this issue) the devs still haven't fixed it. They could at the very least stop selling new copies to Linux users on Steam until this is fixed.

Plants Vs Zombies.

If you have an account on a PC and an account on a Mac they will either destroy each other's cloud saves or refuse to start.

There is a way to get rid of the cloud save but you lose your progress. It happened to me and I was pretty pissed.

Recently found out that you can switch off the cloud saves on the Mac, then purge some config stuff and play it offline. You won't get your progress from the PC side but at least you won't destroy it either.

Only a year late. :-D

Then you have never tried to purchase linux games on Steam.

I have a modest library of games, and I have quite a few of these I bought for when I boot to Linux. Almost none of these games work.


While I have not sought a refund, or anything from Steam - it can be common to buy a game on steam and not be able to run it.

Pretty sure that story is going to change drastically once games are made for SteamOS rather than Steam on Linux. Going to be a non-issue eventually.

Crasher, WarZ, those are the two I can think of off hand.

They removed WarZ and even offered refunds after a bunch of complaints.

>They removed WarZ

Actually, they didn't. All the developers did was have it relisted under a different name ("Infestation: Survivor Stories").


Actually they did, and then had it relisted. It was later renamed because Paramount filed a lawsuit against them.


Totally unplayable... (4.6ghz 8core 15fps)

Jagged Alliance Online.

The game was advertised as it works on OSX, but it doesn't work on Mavericks, and still has issues in other cat versions. Read here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/218450/discussions/0/846955554...

Let's not forget Day One: Garry's Incident, how can a game like this be allowed on the store is beyond me.

You played Nether recently?

I haven't, that's how much it sucks.

I'm still hoping they pull it together but the last time I looked at it, it was atrocious.

You mean the game that's in EARLY ACCESS?

You got what you bought there.

I had that problem with Saints Row 2. It didn't run on my OS properly at all.

I've owned L.A. Noire for over a year and I've never been able to play it because of a rare and enduring "synchronizing bug." I've probably spent 16 hours researching, twiddling and reinstalling to try to get it to work.

The only good news is I got it on deep deep discount during last year's Christmas sale.

You didn't buy Age of Empires II HD, obviously.

I've never had any issues with that one?

Haven't been able to get AntiChamber to launch without crashing

Just to provide a counterpoint, I've never had a problem with Antichamber, and it is a very, very good game.

Sorry to hear about your difficulties though!

Godus has those very issues.

As other's have pointed out that Godus is an alpha game much of it has not been written yet. It is probably over a year from being a good game. The issue is this is not communicated well enough to people purchasing, as illustrated by the above comment. If Hooch expected Godus to be a bug ridden when purchasing their wouldn't be any surprise when he discover it was bug ridden. One idea I could see would be for Steam to require developers to list a sample of issues the game currently has in the promotional video. Introversion does this well with their game Prison Architect http://youtu.be/KDDzSOS0vzc?t=1m6s . I see this serving a similar purpose to the Risks & Challenges section on Kickstarter, warning the customer that they are not buying a game with the typical protections and warranties they are used to.

I expect to be able to actually run the game instead of it crashing as soon as I double click on the icon. I'd probably have no issue with it, if I could actually get it to run. Then there is the whole no refund issue with Steam.

Isn't Godus explicitly a "This is an early access beta version" release?

It's an alpha/beta and looks like they are finally going to put in the bits and pieces to make it a real simulation.

Conversely, I have a friend that used to play Godus every day before he moved to some other game.

Why would this be limited to Steam? I bought a game on the PSN Store that wasn't even playable. I asked for a refund and didn't get it.

As someone who sells a digital product, I completely understand the No Refund policy.

Hmm, as someone who also sells a digital product, I have to disagree. I'm very generous with refunds. I figure a reputation for great customer service more than makes up for the small amount it costs me.

Sure, there's nothing, literally nothing, stopping someone from downloading my entire 40-hour+ back catalog, unsubscribing, and asking for a refund. They could also sign up for the free trial, download everything, and unsubscribe.

Or they could just pirate everything. And there's nothing I can do to stop it.

So who would I hurt by refusing to offer refunds: The freeloaders? Or the legitimate customers who gave my product a try and found that it didn't fit? Maybe I'm naïve, but I think that positive word-of-mouth a friendly and prompt refund will benefit me more in the long term.

I know that if I got a non-functional product and couldn't get a refund, I'd be livid. I'd execute a chargeback so fast their head would spin, and I would badmouth the company involved for months.

How's your business going with this approach? I actually suspect your reasoning here is correct, but I'm always curious to find out how a business is faring using this customer-friendly approach.

Almost all the refunds I process are due to people getting busy, no longer using my service [1], and forgetting to cancel their subscription. When somebody sends me a cancellation request right after they've been billed, I volunteer to refund the payment. Perhaps half of them take me up on it.

Even with this proactive approach, my refund rate is only about 1%. It's not affecting my profitability in any significant way.

The benefit is harder to measure. I typically get a warm thank you from offering and, as I said, about half decide to stay subscribed for the remaining month. I've also had people tell me how much they appreciate my "no DRM" policy. So I'd say that my general attitude of trusting and respecting my customers pays off, but it's impossible to say how much.

[1] I sell a subscription-based programming screencast called Let's Code: Test-Driven JavaScript, http://www.letscodejavascript.com

I also sell a digital product with a 30-day "refund for any reason whatsoever" guarantee.

I think I have had one refund requested ever. It's not a huge seller, but that still puts the refund rate considerably less than 1%.

>> "As someone who sells a digital product, I completely understand the No Refund policy."

I don't. There games are DRM'd and when I FINALLY got a 'refund' (best I could get was store credit) they disabled the game anyway so it's not like I could get my money back and still have the game.

On Google Play you can ask for a refund. The request gets forwarded to the developer who can accept to do the refund or not.

Steam could at least provide that.

Wow, this is why people pirate.

This is why I issue chargebacks.

You have an account per game? Because otherwise steam will revoke your access to the rest of your games if you try this approach. In general, teh better approach is to read reviews and watch gameplay videos.

In which case they'd find themselves sued if they pulled that on me, and that's the approach everyone should take to that kind of customer hostility.

Small claims courts / magistrate court filings are cheap pretty much everywhere, and does not require a lawyer. But it would tie up some exec and someone at their law firm for enough time that it'd be a loss for them whether they in or lose.

And in the EU at least they'd also face a near guaranteed loss in most countries if they tried to punish a customer for taking advantage of their rights to return a product that did not work as advertised.

The you get your card company to chargeback every single purchase you made.

Yeah that's not going to happen. Cc companies don't charge back really old transactions.

Anecdotally, I bought Dark Souls not knowing it required a Microsoft game profile to save your game at all -- no local saves whatever. I wrote a (really bitchy) email to Steam and was promptly offered some sort of "special circumstance" refund.

Incidentally I didn't even follow through with it, though I never played the game even once...

Just take the 5 minutes it takes to make an account and enjoy an awesome game. Use a fake email if you must.

That's not really possible now that Microsoft shut down GFWL. Just grab the pirate version.

I'm currently playing Dark Souls under Windows (I bought it during a Steam sale some days ago), and don't understand this. When the game launches it needs and account in "Games for Windows Live". I created an offline (local) profile without any trouble. Honestly, I don't know if my saved games are going to the cloud or not, but the game is working and I didn't have to sign up for any service or give an email address.

Here's a short (less than one minute) video on how to create a local profile:


Seems like a valid complaint against Steam, but with not much to do with Steam OS. The whole point is that this OS is in some ways irreversibly open. No single company ever has the power to control the platform entirely- if Valve have bad policies, you at least have the option to install another marketplace.

In the screenshot on the github page, you are signing a terms of use. I guess I am wondering if it's even possible to install another store.

Um, yes, it's possible. SteamOS is an open-source Debian fork. The only thing proprietary in the whole package is the Steam client itself, which you aren't at all required to leave installed.

Not to mention the improvement to drivers, etc, will rise the tide for everyone.

You could install wine on it and use it to run photoshop if you wanted whie mining bitcoins and running an apache webserver. It is a linux box on pc hardware. Never mind install, you could develop another store on it.

>>Lets say you buy a game on the Steam store .... >>Somehow, I just can't imagine doing business with them anymore.

"Let's say"? Is this a hypothetical? If this didn't actually happen then what's the issue?

I went through this. Spent a total of two weeks trying to get the game to work -- even went it and bought new hardware. I went out of my way to show record bench marking results. It's not my card, it's not my power supply, it's the buggy game.

2weeks of being jerked around by steam, doing every. Single. One. Of their suggestion AND logging that I did them. No result. The end result could be boiled down to "sucks for you. We don't give refund."

In the end, I ate the $60. I wasn't going to risk my entire game library over one game.

I must say though, the events certainly "raised my consciousness" to the fact that owning digital things is in a really crappy place right now. What other company do we allow the right to reach into our house and pull back things that we have rightfully purchased? It's really quite absurd.

It's not a purchase, it's a rental with the entire rent paid up front. You know it's a rental because you enter into a continuing contract with them, which causes the games to be returned when either party breaks the contract. You have to map your mental model to view it that way, and put a matching value on things. It's why i only 'buy' games on steam when they're steeply discounted because that's the only time they're fairly priced.

Anyway, at some point this is going to get regulated, especially in the EU. They won't be allowed to use terms like 'purchase' and 'buy' without a specific legal consequence (like the right of resale). Until then we can only hope they get onerous enough to get on the radar of lawmakers.

They won't be allowed to use terms like 'purchase' and 'buy' without a specific legal consequence (like the right of resale).

I really like this idea. Make sure that words that if you want to claim to 'sell' something, you actually have to fulfill criteria that guarantee buyers' rights. It makes a lot of sense and would eliminate a lot of bullshit in digital distribution.

> What other company do we allow the right to reach into our house and pull back things that we have rightfully purchased?

Amazon with Kindle books.

That's true. And also why I don't buy from them anymore. I'm doing the best I can to vote with my wallet. Which means pretty much the only place I purchase ebooks from anymore is OReilly, as they give plain old, drm free pdfs.

Why would they give you old PDFs? :)

Jokes aside, I had no idea that OReilly gave PDFs with their books. I thought that was only something that much smaller publishers did.

I believe they won't delete your game library, however, they will lock you out of future purchases.

Do they keep you from creating a second account for purchasing and gifting what you buy?

Its been ages, but does a brick and mortar take back games that arent shrinkwrapped anymore?

Generally not. I work in retail and we're not really supposed to take PC games back, though this is often fudged.

Console games we'll take back if our disk tester says they're faulty.

I'm having a hard time believing you since nowhere you tell us the name of the game.

dont you agree when you buy a game, that there wont a refund?

I'm sure it's in their Terms of Service. The question that needs answered though is who is liable for non working software? It seems remarkably anti-consumer that every software purchase should be a risk.

If I meet the minimum requirements, if I can show bench marks, "prove" system stability, and run every other game in my library with the exception of this specific game, who is liable? Is it my fault that their game doesn't run on my system? That's an honest question, cause I don't know. I know that as a developer, if something I've written doesn't run on a computer that I consider it a fault in my software. Or, can at least recognize that an external force (i.e. a Bit Locker or something) will prevent that software from ever running due to permission issues, at which point a refund would be in order. I just can't wrap my head around not being viable for a broken product.

"The question that needs answered though is who is liable for non working software?"

Valve are. As a matter of law, any seller is responsible for selling a working product. If Valve claim otherwise, they're lying, and probably breaking the law in doing so.

I've heard of this actually happening. I think it is to prevent people from buying games, playing them, then trying to file a chargeback so they play the game for free.

I guess the fine line from Valve is, there isn't really any way to differentiate people legitimately having problems vs. people trying to scam the system, so their default policy is if you file a chargeback your account is going to be suspended.

So, why don't they just have a policy that you have 24 hours to get a refund, like the original Android Market policy? Sure, I suppose if you are really dedicated you could play through a game in those 24 hours and get a refund to play for free, but that's a marginal enough case that it's probably not worth worrying about.

Or they could just limit the number of refunds you can get, to say 1 out of 10 games that you buy, and no more than one per month.

Or they could just refund you any time you want. Yeah, sure, a few people will scam them that way, but it's not like they have a huge per-unit cost for delivering the games to you. If it'll make users like the above more happy and more willing to buy from Steam, it's probably worth it in the long run.

Sure, I suppose if you are really dedicated you could play through a game in those 24 hours and get a refund to play for free, but that's a marginal enough case that it's probably not worth worrying about.

I think your underestimating the number of gamers who would pull all-nighters to play through a game as fast as possible in order to play games for free. Heck, plenty of people already do that without the ability to get a refund once they are finished.

Hell, if I was still in college I would seriously consider doing it as a broke student.

Allowing for refunds within 24 hours is effectively a free 24 game rental for any game in the library.

This kind of thing has happened to several people. Steam used to disable your access to all your games if you did a charge back, so things have got a little better.

Happened to me with Rome Total War II.

Most recent case when big release flopped and guys behind it were apologising that I can remember is X: Rebirth from few weeks ago. Many people asked for refund but nobody got it.

That's not true. I was one of the idiots who bought it on release day but I eventually got a (Steam credit) refund after a lot of back and forth. And there were several other people on the Egosoft forums who got a refund as well.

When did something like this ever happen? Per Steam's policies, whenever a game like this exists (The War Z for example), Steam will pull it from their store.

Plus, with all the Steam sales how do you not want to do business with them? I have so many games from Steam that I just have but have yet to play.

Also, why would you buy a game without first reading reviews?

War Z is the only one I heard of. The game in question is Rome Total War II. It is from a more reputable publisher even though they apologized for the bugs and I waited for the first patch to solve this very well known issue.

Okay? Sorry, but your personal Steam Support horror story doesn't really contribute to discussion of the Steam OS platform itself.

Yes it does. It's worth bringing up. If you go through the trouble of installing an OS whose existence is based on this policy, you should know if your rights as a consumer will be ignored.

I don't get this. We never discuss iOS App Store or Android's Play Store when an OS update comes out. It's just a program to a new Operating System.

> when an OS update comes out.

Er, maybe not when an update comes out, but about iOS in general? I've sure heard and read plenty of discussions about the app store. The iTunes / App stores is specifically the reason I do not want an iPhone (again).

In this case, I get that its linux, but its Valve's branded linux. Complaints about Steam, the impetus behind the distro, are completely relevant.

The Steam Store has been around longer than the iOS App Store. I guess that's why I was hoping for a discussion about the OS that came out today. I guess we can just talk about the OS some other time.

Discussion of the Steam store's implications for SteamOS does not preclude simultaneous conversation about SteamOS. You can find such alternative conversation by scrolling down past this first thread. I can heartily recommend doing this! I'm sure you'll enjoy it more than focusing on the fact that there's an entire one thread of people not as bored with the topic of the steam store as you appear to be.

Get your credit card company on the phone. Explain the situation clearly and back up your claims. They may ask you to call the retailer with the credit card company representative listening in (you'll get instructions on what to do). How the conversion goes from that point could be very different from you working on your own.

>> "It's nothing against Valve..."

Not sure what you mean by this. Who are you complaining about, if not Valve? It's not as though "Steam Support" is an entity independent from them.

He's saying that he doesn't have a problem with Valve in general or in other regards, just with this specific policy.

I've had this happen with me- I preordered Leviathan: Warships, and upon launch was completely unable to access multiplayer through their buggy account system. The publisher acknowledged my issue but declined to answer further support requests. Valve issued credit to my account in exchange for removing my game from the library within hours of asking for it.

Preordered games somehow are cancelable. It's in the terms of service.

I paid $49 for Unreal III, it still sits in my drawer unused and unopened. Why? Because Epic promised to have a Linux port soon after release like they did with UT 2004. That had been the 3rd game I bought from them. I've bought none from them since.

I have not had a single negative experience with Valve. I started with them on Windows years ago and when they came out with Steam for Linux last year I installed it and got all my games (that ran on Linux and more since that have been ported) in the same UI, better experience, faster, I have zero complaints with Valve and Steam.

I had almost the exact same thing happened. I bought Super Meat Boy for Mac. Checked the specs and I was above them. The game worked once or twice but then crashed every time I entered the level screen. I contact Steam who told me to contact the developer. The developer said that it was a problem on the latest version os OS X and wouldn't be fixed soon. They said I can get a refund but it has to come from Steam.

I actually showed Steam my email from them and still had to fight for it. In the end all they would give me was credit for the Steam store, they wouldn't refund me.

I thought this might have been a one-off (maybe I just got a bad customer service person) but apparently not. If I were a game developer I'd be pretty worried that the blame fell back on me for bad customer service like this.

I had the same issue with Super Meat Boy on a Mac! I just checked, and it looks like there's been an update that fixed it, at least with 10.8.

Cool, thanks I'll have to check it out again.

I had a similar issue, except it was with their Steam client (on Mac). It started hanging and crashing on every launch. I sent them crash traces and tried to get help figuring out what was wrong. However, their customer support is one of the worst I've ever dealt with. I got no help at all, just a canned reply after canned reply that told me to follow the steps I had explicitly told them I had already followed.

After trying to get it to work for weeks, I finally told them that their product is faulty and they're not doing anything to fix it so I would like my money back. Of course they refused over and over. Since I only had a handful of cheap games bought at sales, I decided to write the whole thing off as a loss and uninstall it.

This happened to me with Batman: Arkham Asylum. Not saying that the game was bug-ridden, but I couldn't get it to run on my computer.

I had previously spent thousands of dollars through Steam, and after they wouldn't refund a $5 sale, I quit buying games through them. I even mailed a letter to Gabe Newell at their corporate headquarters, and while this has worked successfully with other companies, I never received a reply.

I also won't buy games that require Steam activation, which sucks sometimes. Shadowrun Returns was one such game, but it looks like they now have it on GoG, so I have something to play this weekend.

I'd start doing business with them again for a $5 store credit and an apology, but I have little hope that will ever happen.

The problem is, that if you tried to take a PC game back for being faulty at a GAME/Gamestop brick and mortar shop, more often than not, they will only give you a replacement game of the same title. If it's faulty because of software bugs, probably the BEST you could get is store credit, and only after you've shouted at everyone for a while.

It is GAME's policy in the UK to NEVER refund/allow returns of PC games after they've been opened because of piracy, and quite frankly, is exactly the same reason Steam have their own similar policies in place.

If you don't like it, buy console games.

If GAME wont give you a refund, you issue a chargeback on your credit card to get your money back.

Or drag them in front of a magistrate and watch them try to explain why they think it is acceptable to scam people by selling a product that does not work as expected.

The reason they have these policies in the first place is because so few people stand up for themselves in these situations.

> It is GAME's policy in the UK to NEVER refund/allow returns of PC games after they've been opened

Isn't that illegal under EU consumer protection laws?

If I go out to check the mail, there is a chance I may be hit by a bus. I still walk outside my door.

Purchasing from Steam has risks and benefits, just as purchasing from any other store does. You highlight one risk, and it is a real risk, but you don't really indicate why it outweighs everything else.

Let's assume that Steam games are generally 20% cheaper than boxed games from my local game store (actually, they're much cheaper than that, in this part of the world). Let's assume that one game in ten is a dud (actually, much less than that, in my experience). So we have two options:

Buy 10 games for X locally, get a refund on one game, ending with 9 good games for 0.9X.

Buy 10 games for 0.8X locally, get no refund, ending with 9 good games for 0.8X.

Obviously, option 2 is better. Same games, less money, even AFTER the refund. Plus I didn't have to go outside to be hit by a bus. :) (Plus, my local game store has a poor selection.) Your argument seems to be "hey, options 2 is so terrible I will never use Steam", but I don't see what's terrible about it; it sounds like a great deal to me. Plus, many brick and mortar stores will quibble over refunds; many will absolutely refuse to give a refund if the box has been opened. How is this better?

"Steam isn't perfect" isn't a good argument. "Steam isn't the best option" is a good argument, but you might struggle to make it. :)

The only thing that matters is that it's against the law to sell a broken product and not give any kind of refund. You can't say that because it may be relatively cheaper to buy from Steam that we as consumers should just metaphorically take it in the arse.

If you chargeback any online service like this, they will cancel your account. Origin does the same.

Happened to me with one of the Mass Effect games I bought through Steam. Crashed on me too frequently to play. Never had any problems with any other game I'd ever purchased.

I told Steam about it. They said, "no refunds". It's not that I made some kind of vow to never use Steam again, but basically that was the disappointment that pushed me over to using my PS3 for all new games and I haven't bought another Steam game since. That was a few years ago.

This exact scenario happened to me with the second Penny Arcade game.

But I don't care. I'm disappointed, sure. On the other hand it's a generally very rare occurrence, mainly limited to indy titles, and it's very likely most games will get fixed and patched. The deployment of fixes is a major benefit to Steam in general.

If you think there's a retailer on earth who won't give you some edge case runaround in a similar way you're naive.

Just posting to confirm that this is indeed the case. Paid like £7 for an indie game that doesn't work on Mavericks and never even had a chance to open it.

I have a hard time believing this happened to you, as I have had interactions with Steam customer service for similar issues and they usually gave me credit. If you really think Steam's return policy is bad, let me know how Best Buy or Gamestop treats after you bought and played a game and want a refund.

I heard that one guy had his steam account closed so he couldn't access or play any of the games he had bought after processing a chargeback! Small Claims court can be the consumers only friend in these situations.

I was just issued a refund for a game I purchased several months ago because it's unplayable (Super Street Fighter IV).

This also isn't the first refund I've gotten? Are you all using the same support ticket system?

The few instances those things have happened they've issued refunds....

I think this depends where you live and your consumer protection laws. While I've never requested a refund I know several people in Europe who have had successful refunds.

"You contact Steam support to ask for a refund. They tell you to forget it, so you contact the publisher."

This has never happened to me. I've always gotten a refund.

your post is really out of topic. Your comment has nothing to do about this news on steamos.

X-Rebirth isn't? Yea, they refused a lot of refunds.

tl;dr: I had a bad experience once and now I don't like them.

Nothing wrong with that now, no? My computer, my rules.

I'd rather just go to the official site, myself.


Agreed, although jump up one level.


Not sure why we're voting up an unofficial site that's just copying the info from the official page.

Our post was made BEFORE that page was live and any announcements by Valve were published.

Anyone know why the hard drive requirements are so large? Also they say 500gb and 1TB in different locations

"The image provided here requires at least a 1TB disk."

The 1TB one is due to the way Clonezilla images work, it expects a drive with at least 1TB capacity to mirror the image back.

The 1TB requirement is for the default install, if you use the custom Debian-based installer that isn't an issue.

A link explaining what SteamOS actually is might come in handy:



    Please use http://repo.steampowered.com[2] for downloading

    repo.steampowered.com goes through the CDN and will spread the load. The steamstatic link people are passing around is not behind a CDN.

For those using the unofficial torrent to download, can verify it with official MD5 or SHA512.

I'm pretty excited to see, at least from the steam FAQ, this is going to be a pretty straight forward layer on top of Debian with some back ported changes. I've seen so many crazy rumors about completely custom audio stacks, replacements for X and who knows what else. This is assuming the vague mention of an "updated graphics stack" doesn't mean anything crazy...

Does anyone have a torrent link? The installer link is down for me.

Edit: Here is an unnoficial torrent magnet link: http://mgnet.me/foUDd

Unverified sha1 - 1e4dae83371ba704d5d89e1828068ef0c4151e32 but it seems to match chunks from the HTTP source (using the torrent & HTTP source together)

this torrent seems to give me the same as the official hash:


This post in breaking the page. Could you remove the trackers to improve that?

Fixed, didn't realize. Thought I had the 2 spaces there but I guess not.

Add two spaces in front of that line, please.

Oh, I thought I did. Will do.

Is this going to result in better video drivers for Linux feeding back into the open source community? That would be nice!


They have been working with various GPU vendors on better Linux drivers for at least a year if not more.

Valve also recently joined the Linux Foundation.

It appears they are working towards making the software in the ecosystem better.

It does not state on what drivers/other stuff they are contributing. It sounds they work together with the vendors to improve the proprietary drivers, I think. That would be zero benefit for GNU/Linux environment. Also current state of Steam OS is just a standard Debian with proprietary components added. And those components are what really matters in this field. I do not expect that Valve make their Steam Client open source, but at least not relying solely on closed stuff for the relevant parts. In the current state this doesn't improve anything or makes somehow the "ecosystem" better.

There was some recent quote about Gabe saying something along the lines of "open source is the future of gaming". I wouldn't be one bit surprised if that were bull though. In fact a less literal but more likely interpretation of that is "in the future we'll exploit (more) open source for our own benefit."

What isn't clear to me from that post is whether they're giving something for the open source community, or for a part of the Linux community that runs proprietary drivers, distribution platforms, games, etcetra on top of some open source?

It already has.

Running on Debian 7.1 Wheezy, nice. Now I don't have to change operating systems.

Can anyone please explain to me how this is supposed to work with the majority of games out there that happen to be only for Windows? Short of a handful of indie games, what exactly are you supposed to play with this?

Many major AAA titles have performance issues on Windows these days, and that's with nVidia and AMD doing their best to optimize their drivers, so please don't try to convince me that you can run the latest Assassin's Creed through Wine or something.

They are working on streaming games from a windows pc to a steambox. http://steamcommunity.com/groups/homestream

It's a project that aims for the future, not the past. Or can you play PS3 games on a PS4?

Ok, so it's a concept for a gaming OS that might become viable in the future, provided that developers decide to build for it.

I still feel like there's a ton of misadvertising and misleading in their ads, making it look like it's a full blown OS. Hence my question.

It's a console OS. It's based on Linux, and can run any game that is available on Steam for Linux, as well as any other Linux game or application if you flick a checkbox. Frankly, it's also in a better place than the two traditional consoles that have just been released, as far as game choice goes. There are, having a quick look, 684 games available through Steam for Linux.

SteamOS is being advertised as part of Valve's SteamMachines initiative, whereby hardware manufacturers will build PC-based console devices running SteamOS.

Where are they making it look like it's a desktop OS?

Seriously? Let me elaborate upon what you just said: http://i.imgur.com/Gsun97X.jpg

It technically is a full blown OS, just centered around gaming. There are currently 100 or so games available for Steam on Linux. The OS as far as I can tell, is currently in Beta. It's released now so Valve can get feedback and tune it so it works better when the actual steam machines is released.

> I still feel like there's a ton of misadvertising and misleading in their ads, making it look like it's a full blown OS.

I don't understand. Are you equating OS popularity among game developers with the completeness of an OS?

How is SteamOS not a full OS?

It is not a Windows gaming OS, but that's something only Windows can be.

Can you point out any misleading information in their advertisements?

By the way, it is a full blown OS.

it is a full os. it is just a gaming-focused linux distro. So presumably anything that works on linux can work on steamos.

What I'm interested in is the streaming portion. Imagine a setup where a VMware server with a gaming VM streaming to a RaspberryPi in the family room or Mac.

How much bandwidth would that require at 1080p with compression? Well, if we assume 16:1 compression ratio, that's 1920x1080x3/(16x1024) KB per frame, times 24 fps = 9.11MB per second. So a 73Mbit wifi connection would be required. Can the RPi push that?

30fps would require a 90MBit link.

Or perhaps we could assume a 32:1 compression ratio on 720p content -- that's about 10 megabits per second. I don't know if the Pi could even do that with sufficiently low latency (the server's specs will probably be more important anyway) but if we're going to give a flea computer a task, at least make it vaguely feasible.

And when did wifi suddenly become a requirement?

And where did you get 24 fps for gaming?

The Pi will choke. It's LAN adapter is on the USB bus, and peak real-world throughput was something like 1-2Mbps.

Normally not a problem with prerendered video, because they have high compression ratios, but live streaming can't offer the same level of compression.

24fps is movie framerates. It's the lowest fps which humans find tolerable.

16:1 compression ratio is based on DXT compression, which looks like ass, but is able to be done in realtime if the server is beefy enough. 8:1 would be better.

32:1 would look so terrible that I'm not sure anyone would be willing to sit through it.

Wifi is a requirement to make it go mainstream. Most people aren't willing to run physical cable through their living spaces, either due to lack of patience or equipment.

Why does it need to be a texture compression algorithm? Intel Quick Sync can encode H.264 with pretty low latency.

YouTube can stream from outside of my WiFi network at 720p or 1080p, streaming within it shouldn't be a problem. Pushing the codec pieces far enough down the stack that they're done by hardware will be the bottleneck.

In any case, http://steamcommunity.com/groups/homestream seems to answer this - they're going to build it.

I am confused by your calculations. What does texture compression have to do with video compression?

A peak 5 mbps h264 video with no B frames would look very good and have no latency.

DXT is extremely lightweight compression designed to be decompressed in parallel during the rendering process. 10mbps is plenty if you're using a video codec, and the Pi has hardware H.264 support.

H.264 imposes a few seconds of lag to get to that sort of compression ratio with acceptable quality. Good for movies, not so good for games.

Are you sure about that? As I understand it you usually don't want to have more than 4-5 B-frames in a row. And if you use baseline profile you eliminate B-frames and can cut the latency to be less than a frame.

See also: http://www.eetimes.com/document.asp?doc_id=1273759 http://x264dev.multimedia.cx/archives/249

Powerline is almost there.

I wouldn't attempt wifi. My house is full GigE.

I haven't played much with the Pi as yet so no idea as to what kind of throughput is possible.

But regardless, I'm happy to use a beefier client if that is what is required. Noticed I said Pi or Mac. Maybe a Mini would be more suited to this.

netcat piping to /dev/null on an RPI saturates the 100Mbit NIC on my RPI but with over 70% cpu load, on my non-scientifc tests.

very unlikely

Can somebody post screenshots if they got it running? I am mostly interested in design. Their release announcements were amazing so I am curious what they pulled off.

It basically looks like BigPicture.

Is this some kind of leak? steamdb.info is evidently not affiliated with Valve in any way...

nope this is entirely legit. Valve confirmed that when they shipped the 300 steam boxes today to beta testers they'd also push live Steam OS Beta. Check the github and steamstatic.com files.

This doesn't mean that downloads from steamdb.info or steamstatic.com are legit. Tread carefully, I'll wait until there's a link from an official site.

steamstatic.com is where the deb packages for the Steam Linux client are hosted.

steamstatic.com is a valve domain, look at its nameservers whois.net/whois/steamstatic.com

Does anyone know if this can be installed in VirtualBox? I'd like to try it, but I don't feel like setting up a new computer for it or dual booting.

I suspect so, it's based on Debian 7.1.

The main problem is they seem to have put it on a single server instead of the Steam CDN and now no one's able to download it

They people to use the CDN link and not steamstatic: http://repo.steampowered.com/download/SteamOSInstaller.zip

If you use wget, the download'll resume automatically whenever it chokes:

  wget http://repo.steamstatic.com/download/SteamOSInstaller.zip
But it's choking every percent for me, so I doubt it'll finish.

wget -c will look for a partial file (so when it bombs out you can just start it again). Sometimes it makes sense to force a file name, that one looks like it will work fine.

Sorry, invalid assumption - it's a zip made to be extracted to a FAT32 drive for UEFI install. This is difficult to do on VirtualBox.

Well, shit. Is there any hope of virtualbox (or even vmware) support?


Use another VM or nix install to grab the zip, extract it to a path and run the following:

    genisoimage -o test2.iso -r -J steamos/
(assuming you extracted the zip to steamos/)

I've edited this post to remove most of what I said, the installer as it stands now is designed to work on UEFI compatible systems only and VirtualBox isn't compatible enough.

I'm not sure I can be bothered fixing it as the SteamOS TOS forbids distribution of modified versions.

Oh come on. At least give me a hint on how to fix it. :)

You said you got partway through the installation -- did it finish successfully?

Yes, installing an ISO created like that will work, but the way X is configured breaks all of the ttys in VirtualBox. I've got a virtual serial port ready to debug the issue but booting in recovery would work too.

If you're still interested: https://gist.github.com/voltagex/7955961

I'm not sure I can be bothered fixing it as the SteamOS TOS forbids distribution of modified versions.

Wait, what? How does that work, vis-a-vis the GPL?

The GPL doesn't cover every file in a distribution.

Along these lines, does anyone know the best way to boot from the downloaded zip file in VirtualBox? I'm currently trying to convert the contents to a bootable .iso, but I'm not sure if that'll work.

Use mkisofs to create an iso from the unzipped contents and use the iso like any other install media.

I got it running under Virtualbox fairly easily. It's not that exciting, just Gnome 3 with a few extra desktop icons. You can choose to login to big picture mode directly from Gdm.

From the FAQ:

"NVIDIA graphics card (AMD and Intel graphics support coming soon)"

I believe VirtualBox emulates a graphics card, and not an NVIDIA one, so it may not run even on machines with an Nvidia card.

VirtualBox emulates a generic VESA adapter, with some extensions to pass OpenGL commands to the host (and includes a fork of Wine's Direct3D-on-OpenGL implementation to provide some degree of acceleration for Windows guests).

Using a real NVidia GPU from within a VM is possible, but not with VirtualBox, and not with most gaming systems (due to either having necessary hardware features disabled on overclockable Intel CPUs, or AMD systems lacking a second GPU for the host).

Did GNOME just make it onto a lot of desktops all of a sudden?

300 to be precise.

installed SteamOS on my labtop. Essentially just Debian 7 Gnome (with special steam repository) plus Steam client and all necessary drivers (ie Nvidia) automatically installed. Easy automatic install...just extract SteamOS.zip to usb, boot usb with UEFI enabled, and will install to first disk (just make sure your first disk is unused, as the auto install will not prompt the user for anything). Went ahead and enabled all the debian repos (so can install any debian program, so can function as a desktop workstation or server). So now it is basically like I've had in the past with Debian 7 plus steam client. And of course only the steam linux games work, although you're one "sudo apt-get install wine" instruction away from running most windows programs...

Download seems to be awfully slow. A torrent for the installer would be nice.


Whoa, this comment ruins the page layout. If you can still edit it, can you throw two spaces in front of it? (That'll render it in a fixed-width <code> block.)

I was hoping that it would have a "streaming only" mode, with much lower hardware requirements. I have a decent spec gaming machine in the study, and a low spec HTPC in the living room that I was hoping I could just stick Steam OS on and stream from the study machine.

>> There is a desktop environment. Gnome.

I'm in! I'll give it a try in a VM for a while. That's how I ended up moving home machines from Windows to Ubuntu years ago.

Thanks Debian, Gnome and Valve!

EDIT: DISREGARD. "Keep in mind that we are not affiliated with Valve!"

I guess I skipped past that at the top.

Hopefully they make the backported eglibc .deb packages available. I'm betting they'll have an updated version of the graphics driver and possibly mesa too.

On Debian this has been a headache for me, so I'm hoping they'll make these things available :)

They should include optical disk instructions (ISO-to-bootable-DVD), given that USB sticks are such an obvious security hazard.

(...I realize it's trivial to create an ISO image for DVD burning, but gee it'd be nice if that was a readility available option)

> given that USB sticks are such an obvious security hazard

What? What's less secure about booting some random code you've downloaded from the internet from an usb stick vs booting it from a cd you've burned at home?

If you burn a disk, it stays put. The disk will never be changed. Every time you use that burnt DVD, you get the same results, unless it gets scratched.

On the other hand, let's say you have a USB stick.

1. Download installer package.

2. Create bootable USB stick.

  ... maybe leave the stick plugged in, and surf the internet.
3. You boot, successfully install a clean system, then:

  ...leave the stick plugged in, and surf the internet.


  ...leave the stick unattended, and in the physical presence of an enemy.
4. Fall victim to malware which goes undetected:

  ...specially crafted malware corrupts the USB stick, and includes a malicious payload as part of the *NEXT* install.


  ...someone builds an evil corrupted debian package and slips it into the installer, so that it piggybacks into the *NEXT* install.
5. Now, you have a corrupted installer spreading its hazards to every installation thereafter. You have no idea whether the installer's integrity has been compromised, because the USB stick remains writable.

With a DVD ISO, there is only one chance to attack, and it's during the download. This is easily mitigated if Valve tells us the exact size in bytes and what SHA-256 hash of the downloaded file is (over an SSL connection), so that we can verify the integrity of the download by matching hashes. If that matches, and we burn the disk, we know the disk remains secure and tamper resistant (more so than a USB stick), so long as it is not damaged or scratched or anything.


This single comment really messes up the whole HN comments page by making it really wide. Someone should fix the CSS.

(By the way, you can fix your comment to not do that by putting it in a literal block by prefixing with 2+ spaces.)

After install it didn't boot correctly on my Macbook Pro 7,1. Booted to grub but then black screen. Also note (as now stated in the official documentation) it wipes your hard drive for the initial install.

> Custom graphics compositor designed to provide a seamless transition between Steam, its games and the SteamOS system overlay

That is the exciting part to me. Anyone have any details? I'm about to go digging.

Is there a jigdo link? If they plan to do point releases they should go with that system, it saves quite a lot of bandwidth.

Debian with EULA? Hell no...

So now I need to set up bootcamp >four< different OSs?


If you have linux installed already you can just install Steam an it will work.

2014, the year of Linux on desktop! (meh)

> (meh)

I don't get what you mean by that last part. Is it supposed to make your "2014 year of the gnu/linux desktop" remark sarcastic?

Sorry English is not my first language.

Any word on controllers yet?

I am drunk and this is good

Do they allow us to install games outside of Steam or does everything have to go through the Steam store and their 30% cut?

The OS is based on Debian, according to [1] there is a GNOME desktop that you can use.

[1] http://steamcommunity.com/groups/steamuniverse/discussions/1...

Steam for windows allows you to launch non-steam games (or applications) from Steam by creating a shortcut(iirc you even get the steam overlay when you press shift+tab). I would be surprised if they removed this functionality from SteamOS.

God forbid a distribution platform be compensated! How dare they ask for money!

I don't believe that's the point she is making. Obviously the distributor should be compensated. I believe her point is will 3rd parties that are NOT green lit on steam still be downloadable similar to Android's install from unknown sources.

My initial thought would be they allow 3rd party / not affiliated with steam. They seem pretty open with everything about SteamOS and I would think it would only hurt their chances of adoption if they were to lock it down. Even if they do lock that down I'm sure someone would easily find a work around as it is Linux after all.

It's a she, but I agree with the rest of what you said :)

Oops my apologies. Fixed :)


Well, it's definitely not an official announcement. Though the github page looks legit and has only been added a few minutes ago.

Yeah, apparently steamdb.info is unrelated to Valve. That was a little confusing. Shouldn't Valve be the one to release SteamOS?

steamdb.info is just looking at the valve distribution repo and getting their info from there.

It's based on Linux? What about all the games that require DirectX?

If it was based on Windows there'd be no point in having it.

presumably for many of them you can have a software wrapper that translates directx to opengl calls

You'd have to be literally drunk to think that's a good idea.

That's actually what the people at Valve did (GDC 2013): https://developer.nvidia.com/sites/default/files/akamai/game...

Performance improved as a result. The number they give is ~20%. The other nice thing was that you could use D3D10+ on Windows XP...

Yet there are DirectX state trackers in Gallium3D. I doubt that Gallium developers are drunk all the time.

They're not optimal, but they do work. (The reverse exists too; this is how the D3D build of my game engine works for targeting Metro.)

Drunk on WINE?

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