A report at MCV says that two major retailers in the UK are demanding “that game publishers remove Steam from their games or they will not sell them in any form.” At the same time, two unnamed “big-name digital retailers” are experiencing financial problems because they are unable to compete with Steam who has captured a massive segment of the PC download market.
A director at a “fledgling Steam rival” comments, “Publishers don’t give a shit, they don’t care what happens to the customer. Which is the crucial point, because Steam do. I’ve fought hard for my customer, and never before have I had to give my customers away. Steam is killing the PC market and it is no wonder digital retailers are failing. Steam is locking down the market.”
Now I’m all for competition because it breeds innovation and is usually a win-win situation for consumers, but the above news to me is just a whole bunch of whining. Steam, if anything, has prevented the PC gaming from disappearing into obscurity because of the prevalence of console game systems. Instead of complaining, why don’t you offer services comparable to what Steam offers such as indie game support, awesome game prices, cloud support and a platform that makes shopping and managing your games easy. The formula to win consumers is easy. Consumers are usually looking for the cheapest and easiest method to purchase a game. Any extra services and benefits only help to tip the scale in your favor on a close game purchase decision.
Does this potentially create a dangerous market situation where Steam is so dominant that we suffer as consumers? Of course! But the hope here is that some other company will step up to provide the competition we need.