Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 9th Jul 2017 09:37 UTC
Games

PC Gamer has an article up about the failure of SteamOS, and it serves as a good anchor to talk about Valve in general.

"The fundamental reasons that Valve cares about SteamOS haven't gone away, and we continue our work to expand it," Valve said in a statement to PC Gamer. I had asked if SteamOS was still a priority, how many people were working on it, and if Windows 10 changed Valve's approach. "The launch of Steam Machines taught us a lot about what Steam customers value in hardware. Right now we're continuing to work on SteamOS as a product, with over 96 updates and 3,525 games released. We have many incentives for those making SteamOS titles and we see a bright future for SteamOS, especially in VR."

The comment about VR is interesting, as the new tech is clearly Valve's present focus. If SteamOS can provide a better VR experience than Windows, and VR technology proves itself more popular in the future, perhaps the OS has a shot of resurging with a new round of 'SteamVR Machines'. But the success of SteamVR isn't a sure thing, either.

The problem with Valve is that they are the technology company equivalent of a toddler - kind of cute and adorable (if they're not yours), but easily distracted, unfocused, and kind of living in their own fantasy world. Valve wanders from left to right, never committing to anything, just doing whatever it fancies. That would be completely fine if it wasn't for the fact that it strings partners and consumers along for the ride - only to jump off midway, leaving the ride to slowly come to a grinding halt in the middle of nowhere.

While the company devoted time and money to SteamOS and SteamVR, it let its most important piece of software - the Steam client - languish, to the point where it's now probably the most unusable piece of software on any Windows PC. It's slow, ugly, bloated, confusing, overly complex verging on the unusable, and in general just frustrating and cumbersome to use. In fact - and some people might balk at this - but EA's Origin client has improved so much over the years, that it's much nicer, cleaner, and easier to use now than the Steam client ever was. I will fight you on this.

And, of course, they left us at one of the biggest cliffhangers in gaming, and we have no Half-life 3. No Portal 3. No Left 4 Dead 3. No new IP. Nothing. We cry foul at EA, Ubisoft, and Bethesda for being unoriginal, but meanwhile, continue to treat Valve like the greatest gaming company in history, even though they haven't released a new game and haven't introduced a new IP in a long, long time.

It's high time Valve demonstrates that it actually cares about its customers, by improving Steam or releasing games we actually want - or in general just by showing some damn follow-through for once, or at least being open about plans for the future so we know what we can expect before we plonk down a bunch of cash for the next shiny they're peddling.

As it stands now, Valve isn't showing any signs that it cares about the fans of its games, and as the competition catches up to and races past Steam in user experience, the resentment grows ever deeper. Yes, the headline is harsh, but I can't find any sign that it's not true.

Sure, Steam is the giant of PC gaming today - but no giant remains standing forever.

Permalink for comment 646532
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Get real people
by wallyd376 on Mon 10th Jul 2017 15:48 UTC
wallyd376
Member since:
2007-10-26

Valve doesn't make games anymore, most of their developers that built half-life and portal are gone. They are a software distribution company. (and a young one) still learning. That's their business model. But honestly, their game IP and the steam client aside, I don't think that's people's real frustration with the company.

This is what i've seen...
(1) - Forced updates that break games. GOG has had the option to not install an update, or roll back an update that broke a game for a few years. I spent two months not being able to play Skyrim and Witcher over a forced update. This needs to be addressed. I can't tell if game makers are forcing them to do this, or this is some self imposed thing that Valve is doing with Steam. There is nothing more frustrating than getting all your mods installed and having an update break your game.. (Im looking at Skyrim and Fallout 4)

(2) - Faceless support through a forum. The perception is that they don't care because the fact is, when there is a problem on my xbox or playstation I can call Microsoft or Sony... You can't do that with Valve. The online steam forum is just full unanswered questions by people asking for help help. To make matters worse, the bullying by other pc users belittling the users asking the questions makes the experience outright horrible. Valve seems to be relying on the users helping users model but it's not working. Just look at how fast these comments spiraled into off topic witcher mud slinging... it's 10x worse on Steam.

(3) - Multi-player on your home network with a single game. The limitation of one instance of a game at the same time for multi-player games is frustrating. And only one instance of Steam running at the same time sucks too. Myself and my kids all use the same login for steam on different PC's. (I still can't figure out family sharing).. but it sucks that if we're all on the same network inside a house we can all do multi-player together.. This isn't just me either, most of my friends scratch their head at family sharing and setting up multiple instances of playing too.. it's just not obvious or easy to set up. I usually just end up disconnecting one PC from the internet to I can play Witcher or Skyrim, and letting my kid connect to the internet to multi-player with friends.. it's just a wonky limitation.. and It should be easier..

(4) - Inconsistencies in platforms.. (I'm not talking about games.. you're not getting Witcher on Linux... Thats the Developer, not Valve, they can't do anything about what games they offer on each platform..) I'm talking about the consistency between all the clients on desktop and mobile. It still pisses me off that I can get to my wishlist on my mobile phone without drilling down into my account and clicking a super hidden link. I think someone said native platforms.. but yeah.. native platforms and a clean UI. My biggest grip is the stupid add your phone number screen that is still popping up even though I put my phone number in over a year ago..

These are the (fixable) things that make people angry. It's also makes people angrier when the company stays silent and doesn't publicly address any of the issues.. especially with they have millions of users...

Reply Score: 1