Gearbox Boss Says It's "Dangerous" to Let Valve Win

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Power corrupts
Absolute power Corrupts absolutely.

I use Steam and love it, I don't really see an issue with it. If somebody has an issue with it, why not make their own online distribution center to compete? It's a free market, after all?

I like VALVe but a monopoly is still a monopoly

The Escapist: Forums: The News Room: Comments: Glefistus says "Fuck you" to Gearbox boss.

EDIT: Not only do I want Steam and consequentially Valve to control the market, I want to see them buy Microsoft out. Then fire everybody there.

Valve got lucky with steam, and they know it. They were taking a huge risk when they launched it with Half-Life 2. They had several problems with it, which they eventually got working. In the beginning, people hated it because it was a huge problem. Myself included. Now, everything works great, and the delivery system is excellent.

Microsoft may nickel and dime us if they try something similar, but I don't see them being that bad about it. Just don't let Activision try it.

spuddyt:
Power corrupts
Absolute power Corrupts absolutely.

It also Rocks absolutley too.

I wouldn't worry about it too much, because Valve depends on its customers, and keeping them happy. As for Developers, they get a chance to release indie games on a large scale. But I'm not sure if they have a lot of choice.

Wow, just wow.

What is his thing against Steam? It allows people to buy games in the comfort of their own chair, and it delivers fast, free updates at any time. And I can't think of many other companies I would want with the kind of power that Steam wields in the digital distribution market. Plus, Microsoft, really? That is one of the dumbest ideas I have heard in a while. If he doesn't want to support the money-hungry, dangerous program called Steam, then go buy from D2D, or Impulse.

Slycne:

That said, I really enjoy Steam. I think it rides the fence well between giving me value in return for giving up some software rights. However I can see how the conflict of interest is actually holding the service back. Game developers want to put their games on Steam because it's popular, but this means that they are directly financing their competition. This would be akin to say, Wall-mart selling TVs at Best Buy. Sure they are still making money, but they are also having to pay are share of that off to someone who also sells TVs.

I'd be interested in finding how how much of a cut that Steam takes, Apple for instance takes 30% on iTunes app sales.

First of all, yes, people are getting things mixed up. We're talking about Valve owning steam, not Valve the game developers.

Second, it's plain good business... Valve used to make games, they created and nurtured steam into the amazing platform it is today, and now everybody wants a piece. Is it bad that valve owns Steam? Why? How would it be worse than -ANY- other company owning it? So far Valve, as Steam owners, have consistently delivered quality to the consumer: Cheap prices, easy and convenient delivery, generally great customer support and even nice promotions.

See, unlike consoles, Valve does not force people to use it. You don't need a "Valve gold account" to play your copy of non-valve games online (hint hint, microsoft). Valve, as far as I know, have never attempted to monopolize the PC market. They just do what they do, and they do it better than anyone else. Any company is free to say "Sorry Valve, you're not selling our stuff on steam!"... But they don't. Because Steam caters to enough people to populate an entire continent. Because it's doing well, and so people want a piece of that.

Let me ask you, considering Steam is an entirely optional service, do you think it would manage to hold any kind of nearly dictatorial hold on the PC...? If steam goes down the drain people turn to direct2drive, windows live, etc. They haven't because, they don't need to! Steam offers them better deals! Why not?

Seriously, how petty can someone get to try to slam a company for the sole purpose of being successful?

oranger:
hell, the whole thing stinks. anybody remember a certain "episodic" game, sold in 10 dollar chunks? what would have happened if that strategy had worked? how many "chapters" would there have been before we got the whole game? 10? 11? what I'm getting at is this: steam is evil,
because if the people running it had their way, we would all be paying sooo much money for our games...hmm, I seem to recall some dude saying we gamers are getting too much game for our money, it was an article here somewhere

If we had it microsoft way we'd be paying Ģ30 for an episode

Therumancer:

disc in hand is how it should be.

very well said. i cant stand steam. to me its a worthless program that keeps slowing my computer down. also whats with the deal about having cd-keys locked to your account with no way of getting them off? i let my friend barrow my DoW2 to only find out he cant play it because its linked to my steam account and now needs my informaton. if they REALLY cared about their customer base they would do this.

Wow, -2 for Pitchford there. The man seems as if he has something decent to say, but he's scared of pissing off Valve. Instead we get this ludicrous "I trust them, but ya know, I kinda don't, and ya know, I uh, yeah. I mean...." nonsense. Grow a backbone Mr. Pitchford, and either say what you want to say or don't say anything at all.

EDIT: OT, I think that Pitchford does make some good points in there. For one, a lot of indie devs try to get people to buy games on their own website because Valve takes such a large cut of sales; while that's fine in a fifty dollar game, maybe, with something like The Path that's only ten bucks, there's not a lot there for the developers to walk away with.

And really, it would be best to be its own company, so that Valve would have to lost the same cut out of their games as everyone else. Because the conflict of interest thing is pretty icky, and I wonder how much longer it will be before we see the regulatory agencies show up and start asking questions. Granted, they would completely bugger everything if they got their hands on the case, so Valve really should set something up sooner rather than later.

Malygris:

So who would Pitchford like to see at the head of the digital distribution charge? Oddly enough, he seems to think Microsoft might be a pretty good choice, if they could just get their stuff together.

I thought he was making some good points up until that little gem. He thinks its wrong for a game developer to have control over a game distribution system and would prefer Microsoft to do it? Has he forgotten Microsoft makes games too?

microsoft has done pretty decently with xbox live but games for windows live was horribly handled so I wouldnt trust a d2d service with them, besides while having that much power in one devs hands isnt always the best idea, valve has really shown that they are good at handling it.

Well then randy if you don't want valve to have a monopoly then you know what you do, make a competing online distribution business. So put up or shut up.

Although people might not realise it yet Stardock's Impulse will be the saviour of digital distribution.

This guy sounds like he was just thinking aloud. He wasn't articulating his thoughts very well, I think because he hadn't really thought them out yet.

In any case, MS makes games too, so they'd have the same conflict of interest. And they'd charge for free updates.

Xanadu84:
I think he forgets the good the free market is capable of. Valve is on top because it doesn't screw people over. They just provide the service. Hell, the publishers set the prices, Valve just distributes and takes the piece of the pie that otherwise would have gone towards making and shipping the physical disc. And what conflict of interest? They sell a game, they make money. They have a robust library, and more people buy from them. If Valve acted on a conflict of interest, they would lose money in the long run, and Valve knows this. And I really think that he has no basis for saying that it hurts smaller developers. Smaller developers are going to have a bitch of a time makeing a physical disc, shipping it to stores that want to buy, and advertising in order to get people to want to buy it. Its a huge hump to get over. With Steam, indie developers are greatly benefited. Steam puts it on there new releases, every one gets the chance to see it, and a trailer, and a description, etc. Instead of idling its way into obscurity on a shelf somewhere, thousands of people buy it out of interest, and the developer get's a huge amount of name recognition. I can think of nothing that could benefit indie games more then Steam, and ive read as much from a few indie developers. Personally, I can name 15 indie games I have presently installed on my computer, that I bought through Steam because I saw it on the new releases, watched the video, and thought it looked good. I never would have even heard of these games were it not for Steam. I only name the ones I have installed because including the ones I don't have installed would take too long to count. Even if Steam takes a piece of the pie, they make the pie exponentially bigger.

This.
It seriously sounds like Gearbox's top banana is speaking out of his ass, and he confirms it by bringing Microsoft into the picture. He says Valve is making undue advantages by controlling Steam, and yet he wants to switch control of Steam to Microsoft, which is a game publisher in its own right. And frankly Microsoft employs too many crap sales tactics that would put Steam in the crapper. One would have to wonder if he doesn't own some shares in Microsoft, or is getting looked at by Microsoft for acquisition.

Slycne:
A lot of you are not actually reading the complaints he is leveling, he isn't addressing Valve as a game developer but as the single owner of the Steam service. Valve's game quality has little to no bearing in this discussion. Take a minute, read what he has to say san the rose tinted glasses and then comment.

That said, I really enjoy Steam. I think it rides the fence well between giving me value in return for giving up some software rights. However I can see how the conflict of interest is actually holding the service back. Game developers want to put their games on Steam because it's popular, but this means that they are directly financing their competition. This would be akin to say, Wall-mart selling TVs at Best Buy. Sure they are still making money, but they are also having to pay are share of that off to someone who also sells TVs.

I'd be interested in finding how how much of a cut that Steam takes, Apple for instance takes 30% on iTunes app sales.

So what's stopping you from finding out? Frankly I haven't seen a so-called conflict of interest here, since Steam has been advertising all it's games equally, with Valve games hardly showing their face unless there is new DLC or a new game coming. If there is anything that this article says, it is that other developers and/or publishers need to get off their ass and develop their own service to compete with Steam. It amazes me that Americans live in a capitalist society, and people whine about Microsoft "monopolizing" the OS market and Valve "monopolizing" the Online Gameservice market and yet anyone with a decent business sense could set up their own service. Linux may not be better than Windows, but kudos to those who put their effort into it. As for Direct2Drive it could be a good competing service to keep Valve honest (which to this point it stays honest anyway, more honest than Microsoft does with XBL), but there are points that D2D makes piracy easier, and there are probably other points as well. Steam provides a good marketplace for games, almost always having a sale on select items(much more than Gamestop or Best Buy might ever provide), and provides a sound DRM on product that a lot of people probably don't even think about when they buy. All this was developed by Valve, so IMO they have every right to stay in control. Gearbox's argument is only sounding like they want a piece of the pie for no work.

Maybe Valve could just split and let steam be run by its own group. Of course it'd be a dumb idea to do that just because. Somebody else would need to say "No, this is bad" and split them.

Kojiro ftt:

In any case, MS makes games too, so they'd have the same conflict of interest. And they'd charge for free updates.

If they charged for it it wouldn't be free right?

Besides, as an Xbox 360 user I've never paid for an update. I've paid for content sure, but not updates.

Perceived conflict of interest, yes. They /could/ affect their competitors games. From everything Ive seen they have yet to do so and wont. But people are skittish things and those in the market know this. Randy Pitchford is doing the worst sort fo fear mongering trying to push people into taking up his argument for him all the while talking out of the other side of his face to make his hands 'clean'.

Scum and villainy

this argument makes absolutely no sense

Christemo:
Microsoft is possibly the worst developer and publisher i know about, save Atari, obviously.

this is my vision of steam if Microsoft took over.

-everything would be green and white, text included, which would make Steam lose it charm.
-prices on free updates and patches.
-higher prices, MUCH HIGHER.
-worse customer service.
-no weekend deals.
-friend system fucked over to resemble XBL.
-price for owning Steam, just like XBL.
-360 advertising all over.
-more developers, including the ones that have made shitty games.
-no porting of older games, KOTOR for example.
-Halo adversiting all over.
-no Valve games, because Microsoft is a bunch of greedy clusterfucks.
-fake Metacritic scores for Microsoft games.
-no "Add non-Steam game" option.
-no downloadable mods, like Zombie Panic or Zombie Master.
-do i need to continue?

in short, Steam would be fucking horrible.

Yes, you do. Only you need to provide an actual explanation for each point you made, because it sounds like you are just an angry man ranting against Microsoft. Seriously, am I the only one that doesn't hate Microsoft? I don't get why everyone thinks they are evil.

On-Topic: It sounds like he has a valid reason for concern, but It's difficult for me to imagine Steam causing these problems. But then again that's probably because I can only think from the perspective of the consumer.

samsonguy920:
So what's stopping you from finding out? Frankly I haven't seen a so-called conflict of interest here, since Steam has been advertising all it's games equally, with Valve games hardly showing their face unless there is new DLC or a new game coming. If there is anything that this article says, it is that other developers and/or publishers need to get off their ass and develop their own service to compete with Steam. It amazes me that Americans live in a capitalist society, and people whine about Microsoft "monopolizing" the OS market and Valve "monopolizing" the Online Gameservice market and yet anyone with a decent business sense could set up their own service. Linux may not be better than Windows, but kudos to those who put their effort into it. As for Direct2Drive it could be a good competing service to keep Valve honest (which to this point it stays honest anyway, more honest than Microsoft does with XBL), but there are points that D2D makes piracy easier, and there are probably other points as well. Steam provides a good marketplace for games, almost always having a sale on select items(much more than Gamestop or Best Buy might ever provide), and provides a sound DRM on product that a lot of people probably don't even think about when they buy. All this was developed by Valve, so IMO they have every right to stay in control. Gearbox's argument is only sounding like they want a piece of the pie for no work.

I wouldn't be that hard on Gearbox. Sounds to me like they are more concerned with a possible monopoly, and that lack of competition will decrease overall quality. Sound like he likes Steam, he just wishes there were other options. I'm not going to fault him for being concerned by one company dominating the market. That's something to be concerned over. He just hasn't thought his fears all the way through. Game developers have there own capacity to advertise, promote, etc, and have there own capability to bring people to Steam to buy the game. Steams only concern is content delivery. Its like how, say, Mad and Cracked magazine might be competing, but the postal service doesn't really enter into the equation. And in addition to things like D2D, Steam naturally has to compete with physical copies, and the developers themselves selling there game digitally all on there own. Those options won't go away, and are enough to keep Steam honest. Yes, I am bit of a Steam fanatic, but that is because it does the content delivery thing better then anyone else in the market. I'm willing to seem like a fanatic for things which are better.

Well, I don't trust Valve or Microsoft. They're arrogant beyond my tastes.

Christemo:
Microsoft is possibly the worst developer and publisher i know about, save Atari, obviously.

this is my vision of steam if Microsoft took over.

-everything would be green and white, text included, which would make Steam lose it charm.
-prices on free updates and patches.
-higher prices, MUCH HIGHER.
-worse customer service.
-no weekend deals.
-friend system fucked over to resemble XBL.
-price for owning Steam, just like XBL.
-360 advertising all over.
-more developers, including the ones that have made shitty games.
-no porting of older games, KOTOR for example.
-Halo adversiting all over.
-no Valve games, because Microsoft is a bunch of greedy clusterfucks.
-fake Metacritic scores for Microsoft games.
-no "Add non-Steam game" option.
-no downloadable mods, like Zombie Panic or Zombie Master.
-do i need to continue?

in short, Steam would be fucking horrible.

Same could be said for Sony as they are just as bad, if not worse. Just because they give PSN for free doesn't mean it is better and doesn't mean they would do the same as Steam.

Actually you know what, some of the things you have listed very much biased against Microsoft. Some are just plan wrong.

Just remember that Steam is PC. It;s not console based. Console based things are far more difficult to program for. It is not as fast and as simple as just posting it on the internet and say "Here."

-prices on free updates and patches.

That has NEVER happened on XBL or PC microsoft games. Not once did I have to pay for patches on a game.

-no weekend deals.

This is half true, but they do give deals out every now and then. Not on a weekly bases, but it doesn't mean they don't ever do it.

-no Valve games, because Microsoft is a bunch of greedy clusterfucks.

Right, this is why Left 4 Dead, Half-Life, and most Valve games are on the Xbox or Micorsoft PC and not on Sony. I'll remember that tip since Microsoft doesn't want Valve games anymore.

-no "Add non-Steam game" option.

Aww yes, I am very very sad that my PC or console doesn't play Sony products or my Sony products doesn't play Microsoft products.

-no downloadable mods, like Zombie Panic or Zombie Master.

I have bought many of MICROSOFT games off Steam and have modded it AND got it for free. I do not know where you get your sources from, but this is bullshit in itself. The ability to mod is solely based on the game developers who release the developer tools to allow modding.

Let us not forget that Left 4 Dead IS a licensed Microsoft game both on the PC and the console port.

I also want to point this out. If Microsoft is so bad to you, then why does Valve prefer them over Sony or anyone else?

-do i need to continue?

Yes please continue. Please keep listing sources believing you own a business and know how to make money while giving everything away for free. Please post the things that are nonfactual and are non-biased in anyway....oh wait.

I think Tim on Ctrl+Alt+Del said it best

image

I can't believe no one on this site has mentioned the hypocrisy...people who want to bash Pitchford don't even realize the real reason why such a complaint is ludicrous in the face of bigger perpetrators...

Slycne:
Game developers want to put their games on Steam because it's popular, but this means that they are directly financing their competition.

Game developers want to put their games on the PS3/XBOX 360/Wii because its popular, but this means that they are directly financing their competition.

...

Does anyone here take issue to how I altered the statement?

As I understand it, console makers get payed whenever a developer puts his game on their machine. Console makers then get a cut of every unit sold.

No "conflict" there...so long as you disregard the fact that these same console makers have in-house developers...

image

Wonder how much money other developers have contributed to the much anticipated Uncharted 2... I mean, Naughty Dog is a subsidiary of Sony...

I guess this is something Randy Pitchford failed to notice when he released his Brothers in Arms titles on the consoles... (or maybe he thinks Uncharted 2 will be a flop...)

Dark Templar:
The man is criticizing valves DD monopoly, not Valve as a game developer. If Valve is the single owner of the most successful DD service it monopolizes on aspect of the game industry, gets a profit off of everyone and makes it harder for small game developers to get started.

Take a moment to read my reply to Slycne.

...

Now explain to me why Pitchford wants Microsoft involved in Digital Distribution?

Amidst all this worry about "helping the competition", Pitchford must not consider Fable 3 as a serious threat....

WickedArtist:
I can see what he's talking about. Having a game distribution system at the hands of a game developer does create a potential conflict of interests....

O RLY?

The original arcade and console games of the 1970s and early 1980s were developed in-house by manufacturers such as Atari...

There has been a "conflict" since the beginning...the fact that Pitchford wants to lash out at Valve but none of the ginormous console makers tells us either:

A) He is the dumbest CEO in the video game development industry.

or

B) He is brave enough to challenge Valve, but doesn't have the balls to take on the console giants and demand that his fellow developers abandon the job security and financial backing these fiends provide.

(you know, cause in capitalism, everyone is concerned about a making a level playing field...even the developers...)

He didn't really make much of a point, just vague nods at Valve 'exploiting' people.

Besides, Steam is so inexpensive and convenient, why not? Plus it's a good interface for friends and stuff.

Wait a minute here.Dinīt Gearbox make the two Half-Life 1 spin-offs?

The_Oracle:
Yeah, it's totally dangerous for a company that's known for its high-quality products (most of the time), attention to detail, and fanservice to actually get ahead in the industry. And Steam is exploiting people how exactly? Mind elaborating, Mr. Pitchford?

Exactly, i got steam and am incredible happy with it, and as far as i know, companies arn't being forced to use steam, so they don't have to accept whatever valve say..

Speaking as a customer, I like Steam. And Valve! They have shown themselves to be one of the most responsible players on the market. However I can understand some of the concern

"Gearbox Boss" comes across like he talking straight from the sphincter.

I have both Steam and Impulse installed. I regularly browse the interwebs for deals from places like Direct 2 Drive and Good Old Games. I love me some Indy games and game mods too and follow their development on a constant basis.

http://store.steampowered.com/search/?genre=Indie

I see 239 listings. You know how many Indy games I used to see on the shelves of retail? Ya, I thought so.

As far as the percentage Steam is taking goes, here is something interesting for ya - Compare the various prices of Mount and Blade:

Taleworlds Entertainment Website: $33.60 CAD https://store3.esellerate.net/store/checkout/CustomLayout.aspx?s=STR6104314888&pc=&page=OnePageCatalog.htm
Steam: $29.99 USD http://store.steampowered.com/app/22100/
Impulse: $32.60 CAD? http://www.impulsedriven.com/mountblade
Direct 2 Drive: $5.00 USD? http://www.direct2drive.com/6680/product/Buy-Mount-and-Blade-Download

And for those who want their disc in hand:
Amazon: $11.17 USD?
27 new from $8.13 1 used from $10.99 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001DF1AM8/ref=asc_df_B001DF1AM8930897?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&linkCode=asn&creative=380341&creativeASIN=B001DF1AM8&tag=cnet-1744-20

So, now the real question is, when it comes to a online service for buying your game, who sets the price: Publisher or Developer? When the price on Steam/Impulse is consistent with the Developer's download price, what do you take from that? And how do you factor in the $5 price from D2D?

Honestly, how is this situation not shit tons better than what both the developers and customers are getting from retail? I say good on developer/publishers like Valve and Stardock and if others don't like them, do what they did, start a viable service like Steam and Impulse and release kick ass games with patch, content, and mod support.

So in conclusion to my rambling (for now): Screw you "Gearbox Boss", I have now just put your businesses games, http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/games/ , on the list of those I raise an eyebrow at before I even consider purchasing your products along with such luminaries like EA and Microsoft. Huh, they've made some alright above average, mostly average, and a few stinker games in the past, http://www.metacritic.com/search/process?sort=relevance&termtype=all&ts=gearbox&ty=3&button=search , I wonder if that has anything to do with this...

News flash: Steam is the most popular, well-organized, successful, fully stocked digital distribution system available. Valve has already won.

CrysisMcGee:

spuddyt:
Power corrupts
Absolute power Corrupts absolutely.

It also Rocks absolutley too.

I wouldn't worry about it too much, because Valve depends on its customers, and keeping them happy. As for Developers, they get a chance to release indie games on a large scale. But I'm not sure if they have a lot of choice.

What i'm saying is that if valve gains total control over the digital distribution market, there is no reason for them not to abuse their position (right now they do it not because they love you, but because they enjoy having repeat customers who will buy all their stuff)

I honestly see no problem with Valve running Steam. Sure they'll promote their own games a bit more, but that's okay, because they're freaking Valve. I guess the argument could be made that they could influence sales of their games and cut from other developers that choose to put their games on Steam's profits. However, the fact is that the other developers choose to put their games out.

Bottom line, for me at least, I trust Valve to the ends of the Earth with gaming, and I see no problem with Steam whatsoever, at least from my own personal experience using it.

Monkeytacoz:
you want Microsoft in charge? FUCK YOU, then they would charge us for free updates dumbass

I second that.

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