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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Member since:

There's practically no market for Steam machines and SteamOS. Many of us already knew these were efforts destined to fail, basically dead-on-arrival because the numbers weren't there.

I don't care. It changed the industry somewhat, with many companies offering Linux ports of their games. It changed the way I game, with so many more titles available for me. It's definitely not a failure for a lot of people and you can't simply ignore that. Change happened.

Reply Parent Score: 2

CaptainN- Member since:

I agree with this. SteamOS and and the macOS port of Steam created an escape hatch from Windows, should that platform fail (or should MS do stupid things), and that's a great thing.

Reply Parent Score: 4

ilovebeer Member since:

While your comment falls within the realm of possibility, it's hilarious you think of SteamOS as a real alternative to Windows, and that there's any concern of Windows failing as a platform. It's like someone in Nebraska buying a boat because they're worried rising oceans will turn his house into beachfront property.

Reply Parent Score: 2

ilovebeer Member since:

Reality isn't shaped by whether or not you care. I didn't change the industry at all. Any industry support there was for it vanished as quickly as it came. The pie is no different today than it was pre-SteamOS. SteamOS may have changed the way you and a minuscule number of other people game but you're wrong that that can't be ignored. There simply isn't enough of you to make SteamOS or Steam machines sustainable. It's easy to ignore you - it's already happening, hence why nobody is doing any real investing, not even Valve at this point.

Valve said themselves their focus is updating the Steam client and selling controllers. They had to clarify that SteamOS hasn't been abandoned and they hope they can resurrect SteamOS in the VR space. And I'll predict right now that effort is going to fail too. The truth is in the numbers and there's simply no getting around it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Sodki Member since:

Have you taken 2 minutes to compare the game market for Linux before and after SteamOS? The difference is huge. There's nothing to debate: I'm not saying that it made an absolute dent on the industry, I'm just saying there were relevant changes that have affected many people, including myself, and that nowadays is very easy to be a gamer in Linux. You can't deny that.

Reply Parent Score: 2