Saturday, April 27, 2013

Steam is no longer the value king when it comes to PC gaming

It has been over 6 Months since I bought anything on Steam. These days my bargain conscious euro's go to Steam's competitors including Amazon, Green Man, Gog, Gamer's Gate and others even when I am buying games that install on Steam. A few years ago Steam sales of AAA games were the pinnacle of gaming value and at that time I was spending hundreds of euros in the Steam store. Nowadays however whenever I see something for sale on Steam I automatically look around to see if I can get it cheaper somewhere else. My lack of Steam purchases in over half a year shows that I almost always can. It is particularly telling that I didn't buy a single game from the Steam Christmas sale because I had already acquired everything I wanted at better prices from other online retailers.

I suppose this is a natural consequence of Steam having such a dominant position in PC gaming. Competitors know that they have to beat Steam to get business and they do. This is free market competition working like it should.

I still like the Steam platform and I install games on Steam as a first choice if that option is available but I am a little bit worried that someday they will decide I am no longer any value to them as a customer. I don't think that Valve gets any money when I buy a game from someone else. A few minutes googling couldn't answer that question definitively but I am pretty sure it is the case.

I doubt Valve would ever really kick me off their service for not spending any money with them but who knows what could happen: a change of ownership, a change of management, a change of business policy.

Perhaps I should make the occasional "insurance" purchase  in the Steam store.

Hmmm ...May Payne 3 only €7.49 today from Steam.

Ah why not?

Just in case. 

4 comments:

Wilhelm Arcturus said...

Oddly, the last discount game I bought on Amazon gave me the option to just use a code and get the game on Steam. Works for me, but I am not sure what it means.

mbp said...

That is very common Wilhelm. You by a code from another retailer and Valve allows you to download the game through Steam. I have no idea what is in this for Valve but it is very handy.

Azuriel said...

I am pretty sure Valve gets 30% no matter who or where you buy it from. The exact percentage may vary, but consider the fact that Steam also acts as a form of DRM in addition to a marketplace. What was Skyrim's DRM on the PC? Steam. So I am pretty sure that Valve would get paid even when you're buying Steam codes on Amazon.

mbp said...

Azuriel I too am sure that they don't get anything if you buy the Steam key from someone else. Of course if you buy a game from Steam then Valve gets their cut just like any retailer.

Ah finally found it: http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/retailsupport.php

Quote: "Steamworks has a host of features and services that support your retail product and any digital copies, wherever they are sold. It’s free. There is no per-copy activation charge or bandwidth fee."