Steaming success

Posted in Game Reviews on July 8th, 2009 by samuraisam

I remember Steam’s first steps, there were so many puns involving steam engines, steam rollers, and all manner of other steam technology and everyone saying how it was going to fail, and how it wasn’t working. I think it was such a difficult step in 2003 to launch such a service, it was a drastic move that would have been devastate to Valve if it had failed, but instead they took the step and steam is the biggest most bad ass success in gaming today. I buy practically all of my games on Steam.

While we’re all pointing very angry fingers towards the MPAA and RIAA and their relevant industries for trying to spread draconian DRM, steam has managed to slip somewhat similar DRM right under our eyes, but to be perfectly honest with you I do not at all feel threatened–I line up with everyone else and order anything that remotely interests me. To say I’ve spent a bit of money on games using steam would probably be a bit of an understatement. I’ve also enjoyed exploring older games like the early Doom incarnations and wolfenstein too; although I have played all of these I have never owned them myself and never gone through the entire games.

It’s unfortunate that the film and audio industries can’t put their collective heads together and see just how well steam works, why can’t I just buy a movie I want online and not have it be such a big issue? I know services are out there already, but none are like steam.

Finding old games on there like Deus Ex has been such an absolute joy (My steam copy counts as my 3rd copy of that game, at last no more having to buy the game again and again because of stupid Cd scratches)

Sadly the only limitations with a service like Steam are from those companies stuck in their old ways who have regional agreements (that prevent the sale of old as fuck games that aren’t available anywhere anymore to me in the middle of the desert) and also those that can’t seem to agree on better pricing agreements (that would make steam even in price to most major releases of games).
The perfect example of the regional restrictions would be the x-com series which for some unknown reason aren’t available for sale globally, despite being from around 1993 and being apparently unavailable for sale anywhere else; It’s like do you want my money or not?. Fortunately these issues seem to be outside of Steam/Valve and instead relate to other companies.
The other great thing so far and in the future will be mod support (blackmesa soon and sven coop v2 sometime in the next decade or so after that if we’re lucky), by being able to support games like these via distribution on Steam it is just the best damn service ever. i don’t think any other service hosts mods for free just because they’re good mods. Good on Steam.

If only every company could operate like Valve/Steam they might be able to see why Steam is such a success. Sadly, it is unlikely any of these companies will ever change their tone in at least the next 5 years or so.

Having said all this I’m not without my criticism, I still think they could make Steam even betterer by taking most of the suggestions people leave in the official forum and acting upon them or responding to them. I myself have left at least a few suggestions in there that have had no official response, most notably,Steam plugins which is my hope that one day steam will launch a plug in ability for the overlay (think IRC on the overlay, plus media center controls plus whatever you could ever want).
There are also some older games in the Valve catalogue that have small bugs that would only take a few hours to iron out (though admittedly I know nothing of programming); obviously non Valve games can’t be fixed by Valve so you can’t really fairly count those as being faulty.

Of course most people interested in gaming on PC would’ve heard of Steam by now, but to those who haven’t hopefully this is of some help.

Overall I rate the Steam service an even

10/10

because it’s the best damn thing ever.

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