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:

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

ilovebeer Member since:

No matter how much you pretend otherwise, the numbers don't lie. That `huge difference` you're talking about only applies to a vastly small & insignificant number of people. I'm not saying it isn't huge *to you*, but I am saying it isn't huge. It isn't anything. Alienware, the biggest supporter of Steam machines by far, confirmed sales are a tiny trickle and their focus is on Windows 10 machines, which are doing great. Valve had to state publicly they haven't abandoned SteamOS. When the creator and biggest supporter don't even agree with your assessment, something is wrong.

Reply Parent Score: 2

wallyd376 Member since:

It's all off topic. Valve (does not make games anymore). It does not make games for Linux, or PC or Mac anymore for that matter. Steam might have made Linux games more mainstream by giving developers a outlet to showcase and develop games for Linux (and other platforms), Valve is not responsible for the games created.

Your all talking like Valve has some magical say in what games end up on what platforms.. they don't. And this is a perfect example of what is wrong with Valve and it's user base as a whole. They are a PR nightmare who don't communicate to their users that they are just a distribution company. Basically an APP store taking a cut. Then it's users degrade in a forum like this talking about Half life, witcher and linux vs windows and miss the point entirely.

They could care less if your shitty Linux or PC has "insert game name here or native client", so long as they get their 10% cut of the game purchase. These guys are as bad as the Apple App store, but their communication and user support is worse. Thats the point. They don't care about their customers because they're making money hand over fist. So stop talking about games and platforms because they can't control that. Start talking about customer service and user experience, then refuse to spend money with them when then don't listen. Thats how things will change.

Lets also be clear... Valve is using HTC VIVE hardware and oculus rift software and bringing those titles to steam, but in a user friendly way that makes using and launching these titles easy for the average user using the steam interface.

Again.. an app store for VR games where they take their cut. They are not developing anything except a VR steam os launcher..

Edited 2017-07-10 20:43 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2