… or, at least, its prominence when it comes to the world of gaming platforms.
The fact that entire COMPANIES exist JUST to sell Steam keys is insane (like Fanatical, GMG, etc.).
TL;DR: Steam is too big and needs more competition, especially platform-installation-free ones. At minimum, it should offer tiered pricing that increases based on purchase count, instead of walloping even little guys with immediate 30% cuts on all of their sales.
A bit over a month ago, we at ItchIoJusticeBundle had to ban a harasser who attacked a probably-young gamer who literally did not know that games could exist and be run outside of Steam, because that's all that he knew.
That just blows my mind. One platform should not be this big.
idk, guys. Fanatical, GamersGate, GreenManGaming, Humble Bundle (apart from the DRM-free Trove)… it's crazy that companies can exist just by selling Steam keys. I'm not sure of why Steam is so fan-obsessed and other platforms are looked down upon or shrugged by the average, at least, redditor gamer (and I'm not talking about Epic).
It's crazy, to me. They have all of the power over people's entire libraries and diehard fans keep giving more for the sake of achievements of all things. They could pull a Humble Bundle on people at any time (in case you haven't heard, HB accounts are now randomly getting perma-banned for using the gift link option, even as legitimate gifts outside of trades and individual resales). They could raise developers' barriers to entry even more and no one would bat an eye. These are serious issues.
Why do people use Steam? From what I know:
- Customizable profile pages, trophies, and achievements
- The focus on achievements is incredibly unhealthy. I know a guy who literally played multiple games he openly admitted that he didn't like and was tolerating just for the sake of achievements. Like, what is gaming, then? Is this behavior to be encouraged?
- Remote Play (which isn't a big deal any more with Remote Play Detached)
- The review system, comments on reviews, live broadcasts, and library-sharing/consolidation
I would have listed trading cards as a benefit, but:
- They only feed back into the Steam ecosystem (since you can't exchange wallet funds for actual $), which still requires its platform to run games
- They encourage buyers' addiction to cards, which is psychologically and morally unhealthy
- There are entire farms of bot accounts just dedicated to card-mining. This server-clogging spam needs to be banned; Archi's Steam Farm should be shut down.
The key to a healthy game-dev-to-gamer environment seems to be diversity and promoting fair cut practices. Other platforms have no integration of a lot of these Steam functions, sure, but my beef is that Steam requires itself to be launched alongside any library games; there is no way to opt out.
I would posit the installation-free platforms as the current most moral leaders in this space:
- www.itch.io (given its flexible, developer-specified sale cut %, which is amazingly generous) and
+ the free, open-source PlayNite to combine all of one's libraries into one, which sends the Steam library-consolidation argument 6' under. A title being on Steam versus other platforms should have nearly zero weight on one's acquisition of it, compared to price or healthier developer support.
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