Retailers speak out against Valve: “Steam is killing the PC market”

Thursday, 11th November 2010 09:20 GMT By Nathan Grayson


Gamers may – by and large – worship Valve as the rightful god of PC gaming, but multiple major retailers both online and off see a big ol’ pair of horns beneath the developer’s halo.

“Publishers don’t give a shit, they don’t care what happens to the customer. Which is the crucial point, because Steam do,” the director at a Steam rival told MCV.

“I’ve fought hard for my customer, and never before have I had to give my customers away. Steam is killing the PC market and it is no wonder digital retailers are failing.”

According to MCV’s report, at least two major digital retailers are calling for Steam-free SKUs of many PC games – so as to even the playing field.

Brick-and-mortar retailers, too, are feeling pressured by Steam’s unwavering presence, especially as they begin to move into the online space.

“If we have a digital service, then I don’t want to start selling a rival in-store,” the digital boss at one of the biggest UK games retailers said to MCV. “Publishers are creating a monster ­– we are telling suppliers to stop using Steam in their games.”

“At the moment the big digital distributors need to stock games with Steam. But the power resides with bricks and mortar retailers, they can refuse to stock these titles. Publishers are hesitant, but retail must put pressure on them,” the head of sales at a major digital outlet added.

Our first reaction: put Gabe Newell in a house with these guys and you’d have reality TV gold. Our second reaction: someone’s going to lose this showdown. And based on what we’ve seen here, they probably won’t be quiet about it.



  1. Crysis

    Retailers have started slowly shortening pc games stock before Steam became mainstream, pc gaming is not dieing, these retailer are just complaining about loss of potential revenue.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Boo-hoo, retailers. Serves you right for scalping us all for so long.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Harry

    Given how little space my local GAME gives to PC games (or even older console games) they have no-one to blame but themselves.

    More and more they’ve been pushing consoles at the expense of PC gaming and it’s no wonder PC gamers are turning to a retail experience (albeit a digital one) where they feel valued.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. SunKing

    Valve are actually doing more to save the Windows/Mac market than retailers are. They’re just worried about being cut out, and rightly so.

    That said, a monopoly on digital distribution will likely not be good for the consumer.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Zurtech

    I agree with all three above. Game and the like have really poor selections when it comes to PC games, and don’t get any wall space any more, they’ve been dumped in the isles with all the secondhand and “2 for” titles.

    As the other’s have said it’s their own fault. Personally if a game’s multiformat I generally buy it on PC, end up with higher frame rates and generally more stable gameplay, and with games like Fallout better graphics and the modding community.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. SwiftRanger

    Steam has in some ways done a lot of good for PC gaming and retailers failed to handle to get the same amount of buzz and income from PC games as with console games by their own fault idd.

    That being said, just one solution is never good, Steam still has plenty of issues (ethical, service, mod-wise) and Valve should definitely separate Steamworks from their Steam store client somehow. Retailers, brick & mortar and digital, all have a point by saying Steam holds back PC gaming just as much as it advances it.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. _LarZen_

    They day you cant find PC games in the stores is they day PC gaming truly is just for the hardcore fans. And we are getting there realy fast…almost no games in stores anymore.

    It’s like when the Amiga was pushed out from the stores by PC games back in the days.

    When people say stuff like this people always scream but we dont need games in the stores, everyonebuys digital..specialy on Steam.

    I have been watching the peek hours on how many players are online on Steam, it is beaten most night by 1 or 2 games on the X360 alone…

    Pc gaming wil probably never die, but its has gone from the big badass gaming platform to a “little” group of people compared to the big picture…the console gamers.

    End of story

    #7 4 years ago
  8. RoarrrUK

    Steam brings so many advantages to PC gaming. Without it, it wouldn’t be dead of course but it would be a lot worse.

    auto updates, friends, chat, demos, videos, achievements.

    It’s their own fault. No shelf space apart for the most absolute mainstream titles e.g. sims or wow.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Old MacDonald

    I’m no big fan of Steam, but the brick & mortar stores have noone to blame but themselves. When they stock only a handful of new PC-games, mostly aimed at the The Sims crowd, no wonder PC-gamers are taking their business elsewhere. If they want to compete with Steam, they need to give the PC more shelf space so that we’re not forced to buy our games through digital distribution half the time.

    As for the other digital distribution channels, well, I can see their point (and it’s not new either). If they sell games that are Steam-based, they’re helping their main competitor. So yeah, publishers should totally offer Steam-free alternatives as often as possible.

    BTW, _LarZen_, two points: I’m one of the most active PC-gamers I know of (in real life), but most days I never even log on to Steam, because I play so many Steam-free games. So looking at the Steam stats is not a very accurate way of finding out how many PC-gamers there are. Secondly, don’t treat “the consoles” as one platform. They are three distinct platforms, and it’s not “consoles vs PC”, but “PS3 vs Wii vs 360 vs PC”.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. _LarZen_

    Seams people here and other places blame the retailers. But I think you are looking at this the wrong way, ofc retailers wants to sell PC games. And would use alot of shelf space on it IF people actualy came in the store wanting to buy PC games.

    As other mention all you can find is Sims and World of Warcraft and a bunch of old PC games in the stores today. Why have this in the store? Becaus that is what the general PC costumer buys…?

    If 200 costumers came in the store asking for PC games the retialer would ofc consider the marked and take in some PC games….the retailers aint stupid..they want to earn money.

    The PC gamers aint coming to the stores anymore, they are gone or replaced buy console costumers, that come in the hundreds in the stores leaving with a game and a smiling retailer.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. NiceFellow

    Steam is definitely not killing the PC market. Load of tosh. The shift to consoles for a lot of developers, marketing of console titles and space given to consoles has forced a change on the PC market and Steam (and similar services) are just part of that change.

    If retailers want to see a vibrant PC market they have to ask what part they need to play in supporting it, what value they offer to me as a customer and support PC gaming in general.

    This complaint is simply whining about a competitive channel that happens to be doing well as part of a market changing.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. fdelfino

    Bottom line: people are usually unhappy when the competition is doing better than they are.
    As mentioned above, developers use Steamworks for the advantages is has (auto update, achievements, etc). If other digital services want to compete, they should offer the same.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. brotherhoodofthewolf

    Xbox is doing a lot to kill PC gaming – or rather, monetising PC gaming for MS’s pockets – by bringing PC tech and styles of games to a console audience.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. SunKing

    I guess it’s not totally the retailers’ fault. I just bought CoD:BLOPs for the 360 because of the supposedly borked multiplayer in the PC version. I just can’t be arsed to wait for patches for badly cobbled-together PC versions anymore. :(

    #14 4 years ago
  15. SunKing

    Also, it was cheaper, and I get the impression that graphically there won’t be a huge difference aside from the resolution.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. scuz

    Talking from the bottom of their pockets. Fuck them and their non existent support for PC gaming. Steam is the only thing keeping PC gaming at the forefront of peoples minds.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Freek

    Right now Steam is the best digital service around, that’s why gamers shop there.
    You want to change that retailers? Geuse what, offer a better service.
    Don’t sit there whining that you want things to go back to the way they were: innovate or die. You choose.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Hunam

    Who the fuck buys PC games from retailers anymore? They hardly stock the games and have been ignorning the space for the last 5 years. Fuck ‘em.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. back_up

    retailers are crying :lol:

    #19 4 years ago
  20. blackdreamhunk

    we know pc gaming is like the Borg resistance is futile

    ahahahahahahahahhahahaha :)

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Hunam

    Funny thing is, places like GAME/EB might have a problem with stocking games like New Vegas that are steamworks enabled, but i don’t think the supermarkets will have much of an issue and will happily pick up their sales :)

    #21 4 years ago
  22. freedoms_stain

    Given the choice of a game from retail without steamworks or the same game at the same price from Steam with steamworks, Steam every time.

    And if Steam costs more I wait til it doesn’t.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. artursz1993

    I HATE STEAM, BECAUSE THEY ARE THINKING, THAT 1 DOLLAR IS THE SAME AS 1 EURO! It’s CRAP! and they dont care about people!

    #23 4 years ago
  24. freedoms_stain

    @23, You never EVER get a direct currency conversion price on anything Europe vs US, largely because we pay way more in sales tax and Valve pay more in corporate tax to operate in Europe than the US and the final cost to customer is reflected in that.

    So your hate for Steam would appear to be rather irrational and misplaced.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. DSB

    Freek said it. Steam may not be perfect, but if anyone made the effort to match them on price and convenience, I’m sure a consumer or two could be convinced to make the switch.

    Brick and mortar retailers are dead and buried. Try to fight the internet – Good luck with that!

    #25 4 years ago
  26. osric90

    If there wasn’t for Steam, I would be buying pirate PC games because here in my country they retail them CRAZILY expensive or more simply… THEY NEVER ARRIVE. Steam lets everyone buy considerable cheap games that never get scratched or lost. If PSN was like Steam, I mean… WTF… It would be the most successful story ever. Imagine havbing all you PS1, PS2 and PS3 games in a single 2TB hard drive without having to take all your discs everywhere when traveling (or choosing) and without that huge risk they get scratched, ruined, etc.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. DuckOfDestiny

    These guys should fuck off.

    If you want to stop Valve raping your business, provide a better service than what they do. The only reason Steam is so popular is because it’s easy to use, some great prices and special offers and you don’t have to deal with crap DRM.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. DSB

    @27 Not true about the DRM sadly. Steam carries SecuROM, Ubisoft Online Services Platform and Games for Windows Live.

    The only one they don’t carry is Starforce, it seems.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. bpcgos

    Looks like “the big fish”(aka retailers) seems to be bothered by the “growing little fish”. Isn’t this usual matter in businesses?? When you leave something, there is always other replacing your position although with very different manner!
    By the way, PC Gamer aren’t like console gamer that love to rush something “new and too much hyped” in store! They tend to wait another pc gamer colleague to talk about the game they want to buy to judge is it worth to buy or not.
    But in the meantime, retailers have always thought that unsold PC game on the day one of its release means its not worth to be put on shelves and quickly replace it with another “too much hyped” game title! And then, when those poor Pc gamer come to retail store looking for the game he/she wanted to buy,he/she saw nothing there! It makes him/her comeback to its home,jack up his rig and look for steam/online distribution offer!
    So,who’s fault it is??

    #29 4 years ago

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