Valve is Destroying the Game Industry

Valve is single-handedly leading the way to the ruination of the game industry.

One of (if not the) primary function of their Steam platform was to prevent, or at least reduce, software piracy of video-games. However, not surprisingly, Steam did little to reduce piracy and a different function ended up gaining a lot of momentum and is destroying video-games.

A big selling point of Steam is that developers can get their games out to users faster and easier and release patches and updates to users faster and easier. While this seems like a good thing, it is actually hugely detrimental.

In the old days of programming, you had to spend time designing your software, then more time writing it, then testing and debugging it until it was as good as possible. Then you would release it to manufacturing to be written to disks/discs, shipped to stores, and sold to customers. The users would then use it, and sometimes find problems or shortcomings. Developers would then gather these reports and requests and roll them up into an update or full upgrade and repeat. This would happen once in a while and would make it worthwhile to upgrade to a newer version because there were a lot of fixes, changes, and enhancements. (The same was true for hardware.)

Now look at how things are today with Steam. Developers write a half-baked game with a massive quantity of bugs and missing features, then rush it out the “door” (i.e., publish it to Steam) to get it to gamers as fast as possible. They have no qualms about doing this because they can just fix/complete the game after release by posting bug fixes every few days to Steam and releasing the features they cut to get it out fast as “downloadable content” (often for more money).

This is terrible programming practice. Not only does it encourage sloppy, lazy programming, but it costs the users tremendously. Users frequently have to keep paying for things that should have been included, they have to constantly use monumental amounts of their own bandwidth to get patches that seem to grow ever larger (don’t even get me started on the unacceptably large size of games these days), and the actual quality of the games (in all areas) just keeps going down.

Another horrible consequence of Steam is a part of its anti-piracy mechanisms. It requires an Internet connection to let you play most of the time which of course is undesirable, but because of this design, it means that they perform a server check on the game license. While the server check can (and has) be hacked, it means that you cannot buy or sell used games. In the old days, you could sell your old games (whether to buy new games, buy your children winter clothing, or to pay for your mother’s surgery). You could also buy used games for cheap if you could not afford them when they were new and expensive. Now, however, you have to create a Steam account to activate the game (even if you bought it on DVD), and the game then gets locked to that account, so you cannot buy or sell them. This is absolutely unacceptable in every way.

Imagine if Ford designed their cars and titles such that you were not allowed to sell or even give your car away. You would be stuck with it forever and never able to buy a used car, which means that anyone who is not rich would be locked out forever.

Just because they made Half-Life does not make them good. Valve is bad and is destroying the game industry. Users need to stop supporting Valve and Steam. Unfortunately, that will not happen. People may be angry and may even intend to boycott stuff, but the truth is that they won’t; the ones that can afford new games, will just buy them when they come out no matter how mad they may be.

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