There’s a war brewing in the video game industry, and it’s getting uglier by the day. Steam, the longtime leading digital distributor for the PC platform, is facing a significant challenge from an equally large and powerful player: Fortnite creator Epic Games, which launched its own PC games store last year. The ensuing competition has morphed into a console war-like debate for a modern generation of players who grew up under the unhindered dominance of Steam, a platform now facing its first real form of competition since it arrived on the scene nearly 15 years ago.
I’m glad we’re seeing more and more competition in this space. Steam is a hot mess, both the store and the application itself, and the more competition Valve has to deal with, the better. I’m tired of Valve approving every single garbage reskin “indie” title, leading to an endless stream of terrible “games” that makes it incredibly hard to find the few gems among the pile of feces, and I’m tired of the Steam client being a huge, slow behemoth of an application that regularly crumbles under its own sheer bloat (on Windows – let’s not even get started on the Linux and Mac versions).
Valve has had this market all to itself for far too long, and they’ve grown complacent. I welcome the competition from GOG, Epic, Humble, and all the others.
Except there is no real competition. Epic isn’t releasing their store on Linux, and GOG still hasn’t released a client for it. That leaves basically itch.io which has a bunch of indie games and mostly just the same stuff as Steam.
Maybe Epic will compete once they have more games in there, but for now I think of them as like uplay and Origin. They’re there, but I try to avoid them. Steam has had competition for a long time, but they are clearly doing just fine. (Not sure what the gripe is about the app, I haven’t ever had steam crash on me, or if it has, it has been so long ago, or was the fault of Windows, where there were other bad things going on.