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

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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RE[2]: Comment by Licaon_Kter
by grandmasterphp on Mon 10th Jul 2017 05:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Licaon_Kter"
Member since:

No it isn't over hyped. Great Graphics, Good story, Good voice acting, plenty to do. Side quests actually are more than the usual shite like "please get this for me". No DRM.

Also CD Projekt Red are the only games studio that isn't doing loads of anti-consumer shite, make sure they actually tell their audience what is going on.

Edited 2017-07-10 05:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:

No it isn't over hyped. Great Graphics, Good story, Good voice acting, plenty to do. Side quests actually are more than the usual shite like "please get this for me". No DRM.

Story is all over the place, and like the first two Witcher games, CD Projekt Red needs to learn a few things about pacing. Characters were uninteresting and boring, save for a few (the Baron was memorable, as was my personal favorite, Keira). Geralt has always been an unlikeable asshole for me, with his responses ranging from "asshole" to "slightly tighter asshole" - meaning there's no role playing to be had in what is claimed to be a role playing game (GTA suffers from the same core problem). While some quests were interesting (again, the Baron quest comes to mind), most of them are "go to place, activate magical plot device [Witcher senses], follow trail, kill monster, get reward" repeated ad nauseam. Real choices in the game are rare, and even those that are there, feel meaningless and pointless ("Oh, this town of generic, copy/pasted NPCs I met only 4 minutes ago gets destroyed if I do this? And why exactly should I care?").

Gameplay-wise, it's a train wreck. The first fight is exactly the same as the last fight, since all abilities and possible fighting styles are unlocked right from the beginning, meaning there's no real sense of getting stronger, more powerful. The combat got repetitive after only a few hours - let alone after the 100+ hours you need to spend to actually finish the game (and before you ask - I did finish the game and tons of side material, including the DLC). Leveling up is entirely meaningless, giving you tiny stat boosts that feel entirely void of impact (compare to e.g. DA: Inquisition where every time you level up, you learn new abilities that can greatly alter the way you and your party play). Finding cool equipment is an exercise in frustration, since that cool-looking sword you just picked up is either too low-level and useless, same-level and only a tiny, meaningless upgrade, or too high-level meaning it's locked until you're 20 levels higher - and once you hit that level, the sword in question moves into one of the first two categories.

Then there's the annoying stuff, like the game being entirely too easy on any difficulty level (it gets laughable once you unlock the ability to deflect arrows), save for that one boss fight (one of the kings of the Wild Hunt), or the GTA-like movement controls which are deeply frustrating in towns and buildings.

That being said, the game looks amazing, is very well optimized, and tons of people love it - so maybe I'm just not the right person for it. Who knows.

Also CD Projekt Red are the only games studio that isn't doing loads of anti-consumer shite, make sure they actually tell their audience what is going on.

Yup, this one's 100% true.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Sidux on Mon 10th Jul 2017 10:03 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Licaon_Kter"
Sidux Member since:

Single player games are not exactly fashionable these days. You have many "play through"'s online these days so why pay for the title.
However I do get your point and hope this type of games will not become extinct because of the online trend.
It's like reading a good book..

Reply Parent Score: 1