Why do they have such influence, and is it good or bad?
Steam and it's awesome sales
29.4% (70)
29.4% (70)
GabeN
4.6% (11)
4.6% (11)
Their games are all round awesome
10.1% (24)
10.1% (24)
Business practices like free DLC for Portal 2
13.9% (33)
13.9% (33)
Other (Specify)
2.5% (6)
2.5% (6)
Yes, it's good.They deserve all the power they have in the industry.
30.3% (72)
30.3% (72)
No, it's bad.No one company should have the sort of influence Valve has.
8.4% (20)
8.4% (20)
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Poll: Why does Valve have such a stronghold on the gaming industry, and is it right?

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Now if there is one company which has the most loyal and ardent fanbase, it is Valve.No other company closes.For those of you who remember the MM, when bethesda posted on FB to get votes, they got the lead on valve by 50 votes.When Valve did that, they were leading by a good 1500.This might not show anything, but it shows that how much people love valve and are willing to do whatever it takes to make them win in any shape or form, be it a stupid online poll.

Noq let me just say, i LOVE their games.But i often notice that while every one of their games is fantastic, the games themselves are a small part of why Valve is loved so much.Which ones of them are the mos responsible?

I may not be as huge a fan of Valve's games as a lot of people on this site, they're great, but I just don't feel an urge to sing their praises.

Their business practices, however, should be lauded.

They're honest, they treat their customers like people instead of walking wallets, and they don't feel a need to cash in on a franchise just because it's popular.

When Valve decide to make a game, they do it right, no matter how long it takes.

Cause they're the only ones with a steam powered stronghold.

Valve is also a private company, so they can afford to exercise their values without having to bend over to outside demands.

Daystar Clarion:
When Valve decide to make a game, they do it right, no matter how long it takes.

A lot of developers that have similar resources like Valve should also do the same *coughbiowarecough*.

Daystar Clarion:
I may not be as huge a fan of Valve's games as a lot of people on this site, they're great, but I just don't feel an urge to sing their praises.

Their business practices, however, should be lauded.

They're honest, they treat their customers like people instead of walking wallets, and they don't feel a need to cash in on a franchise just because it's popular.

When Valve decide to make a game, the do it right, no matter how long it takes.

image

agreed, as much as i find their games "okay", i love their business principles and how they run steam.

*runs back to treasure chest of steam purchases*

Because they don't treat their customers like crap. Sure they still just want your money, but the way they go about getting it is a hell of a lot better than a company like EA. You respect your customers and they'll come back.

It's obvious why Valve have such a loyal fanbase, they treat their fans well, make good games, and basically have a monopoly on digital distribution because of their excellent service.

Monopoly is never really a good thing, but hopefully Valve's excellent business practices will have a good influence on "evil" companies like EA and Activision.

Valve is of course more than just one man, but Gabe Newell is their greatest asset.

He's 'one of us' - he doesn't come across as hating and distrusting gamers, being obsessed with squeezing as much money out of us as possible while offering as little in return as he can, or as being hopelessly out of touch and/or insane. Sure he's a businessman and wants to make money, but he does so by delivering good products and services at fair prices.

And it's kind of sad that this makes him stand so high above many other publishers and developers, especially the big guns.

I just think its funny. EA treats their customers like crap. End result: 500 million dollar loss in 2011. Valve treats their customers well. End result: Gabe Newell gets on the "Richest people in the world" list. Just goes to show the whole dey r a business and hav 2 make da monies argument is a load of tripe.

Do I want them to have such a stronghold on the industry? No, but they are the only ones intelligent enough to get to that point.

I'm going to say a cussing phrase so explicit I'll probably get insta-banned, buuuuuuuut.......

"I've never played Half Life, nor do I intend to. And Counter Strike sucked for what it did to the gaming community in general."

:P

That said, I still like and respect Valve as a company mostly because of what everyone else has said: in comparison to the business practices of numerous other developers, Valve comes across as a bunch of saints.

SoMuchSpace:
Now if there is one company which has the most loyal and ardent fanbase, it is valve.

They are hardly unique.
Take Apple or [insert popular religion]; those also have large, fanatic fanbases that will crucify you for thinking differently.

Like the numerous comments above me, they realize that there are people holding those wallets of money and contrary to popular belief of other publishers, they do not walk around on their own. They have good ideas to attract consumers and treat them well enough so that they return. They also realized people love sales!

As for is it good or bad, the respecting your customers is good but I hate DRM and DD. Though I'm just another weak willed gamer who has bought still games for it (even when I got store copies steam still liked to fuck with me and not let me play them, not to mention sharing games is a pain which makes me more inclined to do it just to spite them).

I don't like DRM, but Steam seems to have the most sensible approach to DRM in use. You can download the game to as many computers as you want, and the only real limitation is you can't play it on two computers at the same time (a situation which would not arise unless you gave someone else access to your Steam account)

I'm not sure that you could say that Valve has a stronghold on the gaming industry... but they do have a major advantage in having a fairly unique service in Steam. I realize that there are many other download services, but Valve (with their head start) managed to make it into the industry's "Kleenex". Nobody offers the service as well as them, and they tend to be rather humane in their dealings with customers.

To put it simply:
Good customer service is where you and the customer get what you want, and leave happy.
Great customer service is where you and the customer get what you want, they leave happy, AND they want to do more business with you based on the interaction.
-In my experience, Valve tends to practice the latter of the two.

That being said, I can't say I'm really a fan of Valve anymore. I like steam, enjoy the services it offers, loved the half-life games... but damn have they burned up a lot of karma chips with me over HL-Episode 3. I like things released when they are complete, but there is a fine line between "released when its done" and "Duke Nukem Forever".

Flip side, due to Steam and them taking a % cut from sales, they are self-funded and don't have the time, budget and publisher pressure practically every other studio has to deal with to survive.

One has to wonder what would Valve be like if Steam wasn't available and funding their pockets, if they had to do more regular releases of their titles instead of in Valve Time?

Obviously it's a good for them, and of course, I love and my wallet hates Steam. But it's also a bit unfair to other studios. Like, what if Obsidian Entertainment had the time to finish KOTOR 2? Or Troika and Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines? How would Origin, Impulse, and DD compare 8 years from now to match Steam's maturity?

Gotta put things into perspective here.

Valve is really popular, probably because of their buisness practices and the fact they seem to be more pro-consumer rather than say EA who is seen to be incredibly anti-consumer.

I'd also say they deserve the influence they have, they do some pretty nice stuff.

The PC is the gaming industry? Since when do they have a "stronghold on the gaming industry", when a good portion of games that come out now, aren't even available for Steam?

I think that they should have better competition in the industry than things like GamersGate, or even worse, Origin. But their business practices seem to be decent, even if I could care less about Valve(I could care less about and am honestly sick of seeing first person shooters everywhere). I hear they take a much smaller percentage than Sony with the PlayStation Network does. What's amazing, is that even though they have a monopoly on the PC market, they don't sell things like they do.

I hope they get some competition anyway. If anything, because I don't think that digital distribution should be dominated by a developer which focuses on creating first person shooters. Did I mention I don't like first person shooters?

RJ 17:

"I've never played Half Life, nor do I intend to. And Counter Strike sucked for what it did to the gaming community in general."

CoD's mulitplayer more or less ripped off Counter-Strike's horrible balance and vocal assohole fan group, but forgot to have mods or make the multiplayer fun.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Do I want them to have such a stronghold on the industry? No, but they are the only ones intelligent enough to get to that point.

If I ever meet you in person I will give you a big giant hug for saying this. At the end of the day, Valve has shown that ignoring intrusive DRM* and treating customers well will rake in more dough then one man could ever need. Their smarter because they understand that we aren't walking wallets, and I applaud them for that.

*Yes, steam's a DRM but it has a good cause, so shut your asshole your pulling arguments from.

LilithSlave:
The PC is the gaming industry? Since when do they have a "stronghold on the gaming industry", when a good portion of games that come out now, aren't even available for Steam?

Off the top of my head there is Street Fighter X Tekken, Call of Duty franchise, Battlefield, Walking Dead: The Video Game, Resident Evil 4 and 5, All Zombies Must Die, Burn Zombie Burn, Isanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Lost Planet 1 and 2, Assasin's Creed Series, Elder Scrolls Series, Mass Effect Series, Driver SanFransico, Alan Wake with its DLC's, Magicka, Super Street Fighter 4, Dead Rising Off the Record and Dead Rising 2, Saints Row 2 and 3, Rayman Origins and soon Dark Souls are all available on Steam after a console release or at the same time as a console release, so what are these major games that don't get released on PC again? Because thats just off the top of my head of games that were eventually released onto PC. And the way you worded it was that most don't get released on PC at all, but a wide selection from Triple A to Indie have been ported to PC.

Also Lilith, if there was enough support to bring Dark Souls into development for PC then the PC audience have enough voice to convince a publisher and developer to give them what was supposed to be a console exclusive.

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Valve is nice, and no matter how long it takes them, they always make a good or even great game. Easy way to put it, their not the EA of the PC market, and that makes me smile.

Good business practices, treating the customer right so they'll come back to you, and understanding that people love sales. Of course, Valve's out to get money, but the way they do it puts them entire floors above the rest of the bullshit in the industry (Kotick & EA, take some goddamned notes.)

I love Valve as they are and I think they're one of the few businesses that deserves such a strong hold on the industry.

But.

That does not mean I'm not worried, whilst I love Valve at the moment what happens when key players like GabeN retire? Will someone get a hold of Valve and turn it into the next EA?

Aprilgold:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Do I want them to have such a stronghold on the industry? No, but they are the only ones intelligent enough to get to that point.

If I ever meet you in person I will give you a big giant hug for saying this. At the end of the day, Valve has shown that ignoring intrusive DRM* and treating customers well will rake in more dough then one man could ever need. Their smarter because they understand that we aren't walking wallets, and I applaud them for that.

*Yes, steam's a DRM but it has a good cause, so shut your asshole your pulling arguments from.

I actually do think Valve sees us as walking wallets, as any company does, but they are just smart enough to realize they will make more money in the long run if they dont treat us as such.

Steam is more evidence of their smart way of doing things. I dont care what you say, Steam is DRM and it is intrusive, but they put effort into making it as little of a pain in the ass as it can be. While its still buggy and frustrating sometimes (I just traded a game against a DOTA 2 beta key with someone, it took us 10 tries to get the trade screen working) most people (myself included) still dont mind using it. Why? Good large library, sales, a functional friends list/chat/community thing built in, and the occasional moment of madness where something awesome happens, like Valve giving away Portal for free or dropping the price of L4D2 to something crazy like 1 dollar for a day.

As Gabe said, it all comes down to service.

Not really a huge Valve fan I like some of their games but I just dont find them great more forgettable fun and Steam is definitely not my thing I am never putting that crap on my PC again but that being said they do tend to treat their customers with more respect than a lot of companies which always garners good will.

I think valve comes across as well as they do mainly because so many others come across as so bad. Its just hard to hate valve really I find it hard to love them as well but fair play to them they must be doing something right.

Also im not sure they have such a stronghold on the gaming industry as you think they do many games dont use steam at all i.e all but one of my games dont use steam (because one was one too many) but in PC digital downloads yes im sure they are ahead and will remain so for the foreseeable future. (mind you I am not a huge PC gamer and most of my PC games are older ones)

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
I just think its funny. EA treats their customers like crap. End result: 500 million dollar loss in 2011. Valve treats their customers well. End result: Gabe Newell gets on the "Richest people in the world" list. Just goes to show the whole dey r a business and hav 2 make da monies argument is a load of tripe.

Do I want them to have such a stronghold on the industry? No, but they are the only ones intelligent enough to get to that point.

There are so many things that work in Valves favor in the eye of people (and many things that people overlook).

Valve is the biggest indie company out there. They are not on the stock market so it is run by Gabe, who doesn't give a shit about what the people do as long as they do it well and have a good time (the handbook for workers showed that). This Willy Wonkas Chocolate Factory method of game making seems to work in their case: The games they release are pretty good, the service otherwise is neat and they always have some crazy shit they want to test.

But before you ask yourself why I quoted you: Because my text is just an addition to yours. It is pretty much what you said.

When it comes to Valve, I don't mind them having an almost-monopoly on on game download markets. it's been shown time and time again that when it comes to valve, being nice wins. They took over the download market, and a good percentage of the PC market as a whole, simply via Steam and frequent sales. They create awesome games, and actually seem to like their fans, and want to keep them.
Plus, Gabe Newell just seems much more personable than Bobby Kotick or John Riccitiello. Really, take a look:

Gabe Newell
image

John Riccitielo, CEO of EA.
image

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision-Blizzard
image

Out of those three, who would you be most likely to visit the pub with?

Its pretty simple really, they treat their customers with respect and not like retards, and they run Steam which is pretty much the savior of PC gaming. Valve invested in the PC game market and helped to keep it alive when companies like Microsoft basically said we have our console now so fuck off.

Plus Gabe is not a wanker like Kotick and Riccitielo.

Aprilgold:
Also Lilith, if there was enough support to bring Dark Souls into development for PC then the PC audience have enough voice to convince a publisher and developer to give them what was supposed to be a console exclusive.

Yeah, but they had to do that to begin with. I don't think that PC gaming is as mainstream as you think it is.

Though you've reminded me of a Dragon's Dogma thread I've been kinda interested in making.

Da Orky Man:
--unholy snip--

Out of those three, who would you be most likely to visit the pub with?

Personally, I'd go with Gabe Newell.
Seems the most likely to go to a pub, too. The others would rather dine in a fancy restaurant and pay the bill using money milked from consumers with DLC.

No one company should have a strangle hold over an aspect of a portion of industry. even Nintendo when it was the only game in town(and a token resistance from sega) it partook in many practices it had to abandoned in the modern ages.

Because they're not twats. Customers come first and the bottom line follows naturally. Even when they fuck up you're never left with the impression that it's because they don't give a shit, or because chasing the dolla was more important.

Competition should certainly be encouraged, but the competition tends to be half-arsed or simply a grab for market share; GOG is a far more worthy distribution rival to Steam than Origin ever will be.

SoMuchSpace:
-snip-

Based on the replies you've gotten so far, there isn't much reason in once again pointing out how/why they treat their customers so well. But I will say that, given the overwhelming answer to your question is "Valve treats their customers well," I think that speaks volumes to how much being treated well as a customer matters to people. Yes, they do dispense the products people want like every other big developer. But to not feel disgusted with whom you are giving your money to, or better yet have a feeling of respect for that company? That is an extremely valuable and rare feeling as a customer, and it's a type of respect that is only given when earned.

I think more developers need to be like Valve. The stronghold Valve has on the market only indicates that Valve has something that no other companies are giving to customers. The fact that they aren't getting a slice of that pie is their own fault for failing to make their customers feel like people rather than wallets with brains. I mean, it couldn't be easier. They have the blueprint right in front of them, and Valve openly encourages others to do the same as them.

They hold power because of Steam.

That said, I think the overall worship of Valve is bad because they have a very specific way that they make videogames which is, though good for their games, not how every game shoud be made, which is not what their fans seem to think.

For example: I think Valve games are more or less good examples of how you can make games without cutscenes* if that's really what you want to do. Valve fans seem to think that cutscenes are a sin and that almighty Valve has the answer: eradicate them, even at the expense of clarity or flow.

* Of course, often this just means there's a cutscene happening around me while I have nothing to do, like in the opening to Half-Life 2. The main sin of this being that it reiterates the worst sin of any long cutscene, you can't skip it. Give Kojima some credit for at least letting you skip his cutscenes.

Because they haven't been massive dickheads fucking over their fanbase and no they have a stronghold on the PC side as of yet and with good reason. I would love if they had competition but they just don't because no one is near as good as them PR and decision wise at the moment.

EA is only starting to catch with using Origin right but it still has a fairly bad shop UI with that awful white background. The only website I like or want with a bright white background is Google.

What steam does, is get all the things we normally hate companies doing,
Stiff DRM, death of second hand gaming, watching what we buy and play, stupid DLC

and make us not mind, who cares about second hand games when there is a Sale every week? If DRM does not get in your way, does it matter? is DLC ripping us off if we only buy it if we really want to and it doesnt effect the gameplay?

EA is trying origin and so far they have done everything wrong, holding loads of sequels like BF3 and ME3 didnt make origin more popular, it made the games less

If any other publisher had a stranglehold like steam, they would abuse the market and the prices.
steam, sits atop a mountain of money and throws down treats for us,

Well for one, they have a wide selection of hats in TF2. Everybody loves hats.

Except Solid Snake. He hates hats. >_>

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