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Thursday, June 17, 2010

On Steam

Like many gamers I have a steam account, with 23 games currently in my library (it would be more, but I hate buying games twice and I wasn’t into steam until about eight months ago). I’ve thought both good and bad things about steam service, but I’m not fully sure if it’s a net positive or net negative (which is also a terrible pun on the fact that it is an internet based service).

On the positive side of things, it ensures rapid access to games. It also has great deals on games (one of my best purchases was the Total War pack, which was worth every penny, and was a rare case of me rebuying a couple games I already owned). The community parts of it ensure that you can connect with others who play the same games you do (I’ve met a few multiplayer partners via steam groups), and their forums provide useful insight into game problems, walkthroughs, and the like. Steam also provides a market for independent game developers without the costs of distributing through a major marketer.

The negative side of things, though, is a bit murkier. Like many gamers I know, I have a hard time turning down a good deal on games. Steam regularly offers games at cheap discounts, which are hard to resist. They package games together in bundles and sell these at ridiculous prices, and while some games you may own or not want, you will buy the package because of the one or two frontliners that you can get for a discount over retail stores. Is this still a bad thing though? Maybe you wouldn’t have purchased the game at that time, but you are still getting more than you would from a retailer at a cheaper price….

Maybe what I don’t like about it is that I know I’m being manipulated by marketing, and its working. I am forced to admit that, while I usually am full of ardor and spin a negative into everything I see, if not to see both sides of an argument then at least to double the length of these posts, I am unable to really say that steam has a true negative side. It seems to be one of the best services evolved by the internet. My steam library is always growing, and I appreciate any recommendations you may have.
-VG

2 comments:

  1. I *really* don't like the Offline mode and the annoyances that come with online services, but yes, the sales are great.

    There's a big Summer sale on at present, by the way. I highly recommend Puzzle Kingdoms (for $1, no less), World of Goo and Torchlight.

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  2. The actual service is kinda awesome I think, especially with the game sales.

    Plus, less boxes I have to worry about as all my console games take up a lot of space.

    I'm still getting used to the interface, right now the friend lists and options are kinda weird but I'm hoping it's just me getting used to the system :/

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