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.

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Steam Client
by sheehanje on Thu 13th Jul 2017 20:40 UTC
sheehanje
Member since:
2017-07-13

I was an early adopter of Steam Machines - owning both an Alienware and a Cyberpower Syber - both good machines for what I wanted them for. My kids played on them both for well over a year - but certain things still were missing they wanted - not the triple A titles - but things like Roblox wouldn't work at all, or work properly with things like Wine.

Valve can do better with compatibility and making channel inroads. But the client I had no issues with. It was better then the Xbox One, better then navigating windows 10. It also diffused one issue I have with young kids that are gamers - it closed one game when they went to the next one.

As far as the client on Windows - it's not a disaster. I don't know why it's slow for you - it certainly isn't on any of my machines. The worst part of the Steam experience isn't steam at all, it's the abomination of Windows 10. I don't know why people like it so much - if anything is bloated and has more unnecessary inconvenience, it's Microsoft's latest version of their OS. SteamOS, or even Steam on Ubuntu is much, much, much more streamlined. I don't have issues with it from a usability standpoint - my issues are more centered in content. It has a lot, but not some key pieces I need for my kids. If it did, I would have them both off Windows 10 in a heartbeat. I've thought of downgrading them to Windows 7 - but it's only a few years before Win 7 goes the way of WinXP.

I would love to see Valve put their full weight behind SteamOS. Yes, the client could use improvement, but comparing it to Origin is laughable. Origin is basically a launcher and updater. It has none of depth of the Steam Client. It doesn't really do living room well, the updater take a lot longer then Steam does - one beauty of SteamOS is the updater is blazing fast for OS and Client - espeically if you are going to compare it to not only Origin updates, but also Windows updates. It's almost like comparing a skyscraper to a shed.

You can knock a Valve for a lot of things - but the Steam Client - even with some of its obfuscation, is still the best gaming platform on the planet. If they ever fix the depth of content with SteamOS - they may be on to something. It was great to use - and at some point I may go back to it. Sorry fan boys, windows 10 sucks.

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