Whats going on? We thought you love Steam? Relax, I still do and I have over 50+ games but that’s about to change. Conspiracy theories aside, the digital age is taking the entertainment industry by storm and there is little that can be done at this point. Getting the game to download while you’re browsing the internet hassle free is something that many got used to. Fantastic sales throughout the year, what’s not to like?
Monopolies are bad, that much is agreed on. They kill the competition which in turn kill the motivation to improve and innovate. Why do you think Steam is not considered with its poor customer service? Because there is no real alternative. Sure EA Origins is catching on as well as the fantastic GOG.com, but Valve is the pioneer to PC digital games distribution and judging from how things are, they will likely stay at the top for many years to come unless something tragic happens.
Steam machines are failing and the Steam OS is a joke and yet Valve is not even concerned the slightest, why? Because they are on top and can afford to screw up. Where will people go? Basically, the people have a choice to either accept any changes Valve may see fit or move to a smaller platform with the many features that they got used to are missing.
One might argue that once the new platform gathers a large crowd, the features and games will start coming in. Not true as catching up to large competitors is not as easy as the normal consumer thinks it is, just ask Microsoft’s Xbox division.
In short: No competition, no creativity.
Killing the Creativity
I’m sorry but hard, a physical material will always be Superior to soft copy. From the amazing box designs to the smell of a new item and placing it on your shelve or in a dedicated collection corner, all of these things make physical copies what they are. Sure, all your games will be gone once your house catches a fire but having your entire house burned has a way less chance than the digital company going out of business or changing the policies (see next section).
Physical media has and always will have a special feel of ownership. No matter how flexible the digital provider may be, it will never beat the feeling or owning an item you can touch.
You are NOT in control of your own games
Valve can at any time deny you access to your own games or simply take away specific game with or without a reason. Don’t believe me? Google it. Once Valve goes down so will your games. Yes, Valve unofficially promised that in the unlikely event that they go under you will have a chance to download your games. Good luck downloading over 1 TB worth of games in the short amount of time they will give you supposedly they stay true to their word in the first place.
Playing games offline is also a problem to many as Steam offline mode is as reliable as your new politician. In short, a game can be pulled off your library with or without refund for many reasons including copyright expiration or simply the refusal to renew a yearly contract. Anything can happen and you can’t do anything about it because you own nothing. On the other hand, I’m still playing Need for Speed Road Challenge years after it discontinued without any problems. Good luck finding this gem digital legally.
. . .
There is hope, GOG.com demonstrated that it is possible for DRM free games to sell well and Witcher 3 is a fine example. Downloading digital DRM free games is a considerable alternative to owning physical copies as I can print my own covers from the likes of VHBOXART. Take a look at this beautiful fan created master peace.
Digital distribution is taking over, at least in the USA. If you are like me, support GOG.com or buy PC games from Amazon UK unless the game requires Steam to activate. Steam is not the devil and Valve is not the New World Order yet so I will continue to use it for the cheap price and what not but if I get the choice between Steam and a DRM-free physical version aka the Witcher 3, you know which one I choose.