Valve’s once respected ‘hands-off’ approach to the management of the largest storefront in the world for PC Games has become nothing more than a symbol of laziness and negligence.
The once exclusive, prestigious club of games that had been chosen for syndication on the incredibly convenient and reliable service which lets you download your games anywhere has become swamped year over year without trash games, unfinished games, literally copy and pasted tutorials pretending to be games (Valve called them ‘Fake Games’ but didn’t get rid of any), and even game listings that are missing files of any kind (wow).
Shouts out to Statista for the Chart
Steam became a joke in recent years for allowing terrible, half-baked games like The Slaughtering Grounds, Day One: Garry’s Incident, and Guise of the Wolf; all of which were so bad that their creators attempted to censor and sue critics like Jim Sterling and TotalBiscuit who dared to give players a warning not to buy them. Pathetically, one of these three games has not even been removed from Steam to this day even though each had its own mega-scandal during the 2013-2014 time period.
During the initial days of Steam’s downfall, a program called Steam Greenlight was introduced as a way for indie game developers to get their titles on the platform. The reason for this action was that Valve became too negligent to continue actually curating the games that deserved to be on their service after a massive flood of wanna-be indie devs began chasing after the success witnessed in 2010-2012 by indie titles on Steam such as Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac, Castle Crashers, and so on.
These titles remind us of a better time in which PC Gaming was represented well by cream of the crop indie games that made it the cutting edge of gameplay design and the envy of console owners. Steam made PC seem like a great place for gamers to play more games with less focus on graphics and generic styles but instead more focus on fun factor, gameplay quality, and innovation.
Word got around that it’s easier to make games as a newcomer to the industry if you do it on PC, but then Valve decided to let automated systems, fraud-soaked voting platforms, and general negligence become the approval system for Steam publishing ever since. Instead of Steam remaining a beacon of gamer-centric development and innovation, it quickly became the idiotic wasteland of the industry.
Fast forward to now, Steam has replaced Greenlight with something called Steam Direct in which hopeful game developers can simply pay $100 to instantly publish a game on Steam. It’s not literally instantly, they do need a small window of time to pretend that computers and/or humans took a look at the game first – but we all know by now that is not the case.
Attack of the Fanboy named Steam “Worst Service of the Year 2017”
Over 7,600 games released for Steam in 2017 and actual quality game companies have been reporting that the past 3-4 years have been absolutely devastating causing up to and including player bankruptcy for titles that are considered solid gold. Many game companies have fled to greener pastures and release their titles on consoles to be discovered now, causing a new problem on console curation teams that have to sort through which titles deserve to be on their platform. PC used to be the place that indie games fought to be king of the hill so that they could move forward to consoles. Now, thanks to Steam, PC is a place for new ideas to silently die.
One game receiving universal praise for its quality, fun factor, and gameplay design is Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King. The games’ creators stated that the title has sold 20x as many copies on Nintendo Switch as it did on Steam and all around the world you can find reports from outlets that had never even heard of the game until the developer spoke out against how Valve’s Steam platform is treating indie games.
#NintendoSwitch community is a blessing! #BlossomTales is now a turnaround story: Humble indie dev @castlepixel can stay in business and continue making games. Love y’all! 3 months #Switch revenues surpass #Steam lifetime revenues 20 times! pic.twitter.com/GxO88Zor12
— FDG Entertainment (@FDG_Games) March 16, 2018
FDG Entertainment has created a homage to the Zelda franchise with nostalgic yet original gameplay heavily influenced by Nintendo, who approached them to bring the game to Nintendo Switch. FDG states that if it wasn’t for Nintendo, they would’ve had to shut down their studio thanks to Steam’s useless functionality as a platform.
“GOG Galaxy is a smart, pro-gamer alternative to Steam.” according to Forbes Magazine – but is it doing enough to compete? GOG Galaxy stands the best chance at proving it can do better than Steam at providing the platform PC Gamers desperately need, but it’s slow moving and hasn’t made any major headlines in years.
We desperately need a hero to swoop in and save the day. Steam no longer deserves to be the #1 PC Gaming platform and it lost its right to that claim years ago. How long will it take for gamers to embrace a new platform and will it be too late by then?
Tencent is releasing their own games console (TGP Box) and Steam alternative (WeGame), but is mainly based around China. Every week hundreds of horrible games are releasing on Steam, and Valve has proven that they don’t care. Gabe Newell was once loved and championed by gamers as a God of PC Gaming, but now is more akin to Oscar the Grouch, a garbage collecting trash-man here to bring you his unshaven, unfinished, unthinkably poor quality products to his once legendary storefront.
Other Steam Alternatives:
Chrono.gg – A fairly new website in which one game is given a massive discount and huge spotlight per day. This is an excellent place to find great new indie games you’ve probably never heard of. While they don’t always have the most practical use as a storefront, and don’t always focus on indie games, it is actually a new idea for how to sell video games on PC. We need more creative outlets like this to surface with ideas of how to promote and sell games that have never been tried before. In addition to their main one game a day lineup they’ve also recently introduced a program called Chrono Coins with a shop for players to have a bit more variety in their indie game shopping.
Desura (discontinued) – This was arguably the largest Steam competitor for indie games in the time period during which all of Valve’s mishandling of indie games began. One major flaw of the platform was that it began to give out Steam keys for games purchased through the service. It is the opinion of this author that any platform dealing in Steam keys is essentially bound to die off and feeding its own demise. The store was an amazing place to find new indie games and felt like an alternate dimension in which tons of titles you’ve never heard of could be enjoyed for hours on end. Sadly, Desura was purchased by people and companies which mishandled it and has gone bankrupt. Hope remains that its newest owners will succeed in their attempts to bring it back to life, but time will tell.
Humble Store – Creators of the Humble Bundle, this is a well-known place to pick up games for very cheap once in a while and give to charity at the same time. IGN recently purchased the company and although many fear this is a conflict of interest, the website seems to be operating in a similar fashion to its past. Once in a while they do spotlight indie games that you might have never heard about. Often times they present less information on-screen at a time, helping users to hone in on a few good indie titles. It’s not always a good fit for normal game purchasing though, and again – Steam keys are involved here so their days might be limited.
itch.io – Unfortunately, this storefront is even worse than Steam for letting literally anything release. Perhaps web-stores like this are actually the reason Steam was inspired to just give up on caring. Pathetically, you may find it more useful than Steam for finding indie games even though they don’t hold anyone back from publishing – because Steam’s algorithms are so terrible at sorting out and suggesting games whereas itch.io can still be navigated in a logical way.
Honorable Mentions: Green Man Gaming (Gives Steam Keys so it’s really pointless other than occasional deals, mostly focuses on major titles not indie games), GamersGate (Gives Steam Keys, Focuses on Major Games), IndieGameStand (discontinued).
Dishonorable Mentions: Origin (EA’s proprietary platform made simply out of greed), UPlay (Ubisoft’s proprietary platform), G2A (Ebay-style website known for allowing scammers to sell stolen Steam keys).
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Jon Ireson on 20180321 and was last modified on 20180321 .