Is Steam Killing the Retail Biz?

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bubbachuck

One thing Steam should add is some type of multi-user support.  For example, my girlfriend got into Torchlight and guess what, no Steam gaming for me.  Yes, I understand that I am buying a license for one user, but retail games generally do not have this restriction.  If I had bought Torchlight and x game at a retail store, she and I could play both on separate computers at separate times.  Also, I know that I could do "offline" gaming but it's not a general solution since many Steam games are multiplayer-based.

Thus, I propose that Steam implement some type of multi-user capability.  One easy way to do it without the risk of people all over the country sharing their Steam accounts is to do it by IP address.  That way, anyone on your home network would be able to play on a Steam account at the same time, which seems fair and is in line wth the "open platform" that PC gaming provides (i.e. you're not just restricted to one console).

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Gezzer

I wholeheartly agree with all the positive comments about steam. Just decided to count how many steam games I have... 148!! Wow, it was just too too easy.

Thing's I like about steam:

Steam's selection and price can't be matched by a retail store.

Retail only carries what the purchasing department decides to buy. Your choices are often very limited. A few 3A titles from big publishers, total shovelware priced cheap to trap an unknowing relative that buys it for you for Christmas/Birthday, and/or really old titles with minor price reductions. On the other hand if you want it there's a very good chance steam has it. What's more steam carries some great older titles for a steal that you'll never see on a retail shelf. Lastly steam has numerous package deals that are just too good to believe. Buy a whole publishers back catalog for pennies on the dollar? Got to like that. All most forgot all the indie goodies too. :)

Steam has very few restrictions on use.

Allmost all the DRM etc, are imposed by the publisher not steam. You can install on any amount of PCs you want. If the publisher's DRM allowes you can even play in offline mode (just disable you NIC). You don't even need a disc to play. About the only minor downside is when your logged in, any other PCs are locked out of your account.

Overall Steam has a great user experiance:

My first try with digital download was with D2D, and though you received more of a CD/DVD like product I found the experiance less then ideal. The thing that made me stop using the service had to do with HoMMV. It was more Uibsoft's mistake (they have the worst DRM). Every time anything on the PC changed including graphic drivers I had to reactivate the game and had a limit of 3 activations. This wouldn't of made it so bad if D2D tracked you account and had something to automate this. Instead I had to put in a support ticket and it could take as much as a week for D2D to send me a code to reactivate the game. Gave steam a try and I've never looked back.

 

With all this said it's kind of funny how all the posts missed the main part of the story.

"retailers are threatening to ban games that integrate the steam service"

Rightly or wrongly they don't want the games they sell to come with steam as part of the package. It'd kind of like this, they supply valuable display space to a game and part of the install process loads a service that encourages the purchaser to never come back for another game. As well if a retail company decides to try their own digital service, say with a free download of any retail purchased game to promote it. Well the integrated steam makes it much harder to do.

It's kind of like how at one point every multiplayer game came with Gamespy integrated. Anyone remember the competing services that Gamespy steam rolled? I don't and I even used a couple of them for awhile. Part of the problem wasn't just that Gamespy came with the game, but that it is/was a really good program for setting up multiplayer games.

That's the real problem that retail has with steam. It makes them redundent as a PC game supplier and makes it obvious that their days are numbered. So the integrated steam is like a big middle finger that doesn't sit well. The really funny thing is the threat to ban is more of a death rattle then anything. Retail's all but turned their collective backs on the PC any way.

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chucknorrisforpres

The only way Steam could kill retail is if they started selling GIFT CARDS! I don't know what Valve's deal is, I would already have bought a ton of stuff from them if I could pay cash for a card (like iTunes). Just sayin'

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smithbd01

Sorry, but using Steam has been awesome.  I love the fact that I can download a game that I haven't played in a long time.  I don't like the auto update feature, but meh that's easy to get over.  You can play steam "offline".  It does not force you to be connected like some DRM programs do.  You can send friends invites to games or even free copies of games.  Retailers having nothing to complain about.  They have been pimping console games for years.  Let them stay with consoles only.  We'll get our games on the interwebs one way or the other. 

Steam is not the only baked in online distributor.  Why is Steam being singled out here?  Windows Live! for PC and EA also have their own DRM distribution software.  I removed the EA games I had because the updater was incredibly inefficient and couldn't negotiate it's way around my VPN connection. 

Steam's rise will end if/when tiered data plans begin to truly take form.  A sad day will be here for all of us.  Truly the steam will turn into vapor and dissipate if that comes to pass.

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smithbd01

Sorry, but using Steam has been awesome.  I love the fact that I can download a game that I haven't played in a long time.  I don't like the auto update feature, but meh that's easy to get over.  You can play steam "offline".  It does not force you to be connected like some DRM programs do.  You can send friends invites to games or even free copies of games.  Retailers having nothing to complain about.  They have been pimping console games for years.  Let them stay with consoles only.  We'll get our games on the interwebs one way or the other. 

Steam is not the only baked in online distributor.  Why is Steam being singled out here?  Windows Live! for PC and EA also have their own DRM distribution software.  I removed the EA games I had because the updater was incredibly inefficient and couldn't negotiate it's way around my VPN connection. 

Steams robustness will end if/when tiered data plans begin to truly take form.  A sad day will be here for all of us.

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Sediket

I love steam, won't buy a game if its not on there now.

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sean76

Steam is the best way to go.  I don't need to worry about going to the store , buying a disc, and safegarding it against is getting damaged.  In the time it takes me to run to Bets buy, find the game on the shelf <IF THEY HAVE IT>, stand in line, drive home, I can have purchased and downloaded the game from Steam.

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mero909

This is basically Netflix vs. Blockbuster Video.  Hint:  Netflix is winning.

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Thoren

No, crappy limited shelf space in outdated big box stores staffed with borderline retards, coupled with crap return policies and non-competitive pricing is what's killing retail stores.  You're dead and dying, we've moved on.

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skank2dis1

The good points...

I hate it when I lose the game code and then my games become expensive coasters. Steam has basically cured that

I can install what I want when I want it without having to switch disks. That's pretty cool

There is a community that revolves around your games.

Steam has awesome sales!

 

The Bad points...

I miss the manuals! They are awesome bathroom material.

I dont have something tangable that shows that I own this game...

The reason why I hate STEAM, I no longer play some of the games that I bought and registered to steam. My sibling on the other hand just started playing video games, I can not give her my games because she would have to use it on my account and when she is playing I can not play. If steam can figure a way around it, I might be ok with them, however just because of this point... I hate... HATE steam! Let me do what I want with my game that I BOUGHT!

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0ly1r3m@1ns

steam is awesome say if i want l4d1/2 tahts 40$ at game stop or 20$ on steam even less on sale sorry this arguement isnt working retailers

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someuid

Yes, it is, because a physical retail store is inefficient when compared to an online digital distributuion system.

I don't know what to say to the physical stores other sorry, technology made you obsolete.  It is better for you to move on now and put your resources to better use somewhere else rather than try to fight off the inevitable.

I don't know what that 'somewhere else' would be, and if they don't know either, then that is a very good sign it is time to pack up shop.

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p47riot

Maybe to compensate for all the money that BB's losing to Steam, they can jack up the price for their Geek Squad tune-ups or "3D glasses syncing service" that they try to dupe people with.

Crooked d-bags....

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0ly1r3m@1ns

dont forget the 150$ for a 650 watt psu and 150$ for a shit graphics card and a 60$ to install it

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whpcguru

Isn't this like cutting off your hand to smite the hang nail on your pinky? Box stores could learn alot from Steam. Failure to adapt to changing markets and poor business decisions were the death toll for giants like Circuit City. Steam has a successfull model, brick and mortar retailers would be wise to emulate them.

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p47riot

Lemme get this straight:  Retailers are angry because Steam sells the same games that the retailer is selling, and their solution is to...wait for it...stop selling those games altogether??  That's a BRILLIANT strategy!  Q: How do you stop Steam from stealing your business?  A: You just GIVE it to them!

Oh, btw, I'll stick to Steam cause it 1. Provides a better service than your snotty, ignorant salespeople, 2. Doesn't rape my wallet, and 3. Allows me to buy games all day long from the comfort of my chair while I'm sitting in my underwear eating my nachos and playing another game (that I bought from Steam) while the new ones download.  The ONLY reason why I would even CONSIDER driving down there to your stupid store is if I was driving a bulldozer...

Stay tuned, I'll tell you how I REALLY feel...

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Laserwulf

So to recap:

"Business gets popular through offering a superior service, and competitors complain. News at 11."

Anyone who tries to call Steam a monopoly must not have heard of Impulse, Direct2Drive, etc. If brick&mortar retailers can't offer a more compelling reason for me to give them money instead of Valve or Stardock, it's not my problem.

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SoundLogic

I think it would be more appropriate to ask that question about Amazon

I'm impartial

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maleficarus™

Steam is good for PC gaming!

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burntham77

I am ready for it. If it gets more money into the hands of the people who make the games, I will support it. Not having to having discs and cases sitting taking up space on a shelf is good too.

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DOAcepr

Steam saved PC gaming period.  RETAILERS, LETS BE CLEAR!  If it not for Steam, I would be a consol gamer.  Steam has removed the pain in the arse that was PC gaming, i.e. disks being required to run game (not a great idea for laptop users), the fiasco of DRM, ruined disks, lost disks, game packaging clutter, gaming keys... the list goes on.  With all that why wouldn't you just game on a 360?  And seriously, do we need to question reasoning behind PC gamers choosing to buy games online?  Even if Steam didn't exist, why wouldn't you just buy the game online?  It's a no brainer... there is vastly better selection, less hassle, better pricing, it comes right to your house, you don’t have to put up with crappy customer service... again, the list could go on.  Steam revolutionized PC gaming.  Brick and mortar (B&M) game retailers screwed themselves just like the B&M movie rental places did.

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D00dlavy

"If it not for Steam, I would be a consol gamer"

Um... if not for Steam, I would be a non-gamer.  Console.  Gaming.  Sucks.

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Re4per

Why is anyone even entertaining that Steam is a monopoly?  So someone creates something that is near flawless and they are punished for it?  A company is able to sell games without packaging (i.e. environmentally friendly) and at much cheaper prices than in retail and they are criticized for it or called a monopoly?  The last time I checked nobody is stopping retailers from creating their own digital download service.  Amazon.com and EA have already built a service that is similar.  In fact, as one example, if anyone really wanted to they have the choice of where to buy Dead Space 2.  They can buy it on EA's download service, on Steam, or through retail.  Personally I will be buying it on Steam since that is where I buy all my games and I don’t like to use multiple services; I want all my games in one place. 

As for retail, I hate having to always put a disc in when I want to play a game.  Steam is perfect in that I just double click and jump into my game.  No keeping track of discs or boxes or product keys.  At the end of the day, game developers are winning since all these digital copies surely must make it more difficult to illegally reproduce the game.  It wouldn’t surprise me if XBOX followed in Steam's footsteps and made all their games download only. 

It just grinds my gears when retail companies whine about successes such as what Steam has enjoyed.  No one is stopping them from doing the same.  Oh wait, that's right, cause if everyone purchased games electronically how could retail game outfits gouge people when they trade-in their unwanted games and then gouge people again by charging a fraction less than the new-game price on a used title?  This topic ranks right up there with violent video games causing people to be violent in real life and I am so tired of hearing about that one.  Retailers = EPIC FAIL.

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buzzfunk

Steam saved PC games. That statement is 100% true. 

I have not bought a pc game at Retail for now 3 years. Looking at the pc section at the Gamestop here on hollywood/vine, it's obvious that they do not care about the pc. I think Steam is the absolute perfect solution and i don't even mind that the prices are the same as Retail. 

I think its also good to combat piracy. No need to mass produce the game on dvds and have the factories leak it. More mula for the game companies. Most games on Steam have demos available. No more excuses to steal the game and whine that you only wanted to 'see if its good'. 

I think the only loser here is Retail. They have ignored the pc market for years. Let them whine. In the end, everything will go digital one way or the other. At some point, the stores will only sell hardware because, just like music, all software will be delivered digitally. It only makes sense and is way greener anyways. 

 

 

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Vernak

Nice comments, although I would argue Steam reinvigorated PC games as opposed to using the word "saved."

 

Otherwise, a lot of the comments of this and other posters remind me of when the RIAA tried to force FM transmitters into consumer electronics.  The FCC told them that they "failed to adapt" and consumers should not be punished for it.

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cpuking2010

+1

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lilspooky

So the fact the retail stores have none to limited supplies of PC games has nothing to do with this right? 
My local GameStop has a sad dark corner with a single end cap of PC games.  Ranges from really shitty games no one ever heard of, and top 10 selling PC games.  Also prices are horrible; I always check online prices when I’m in a store.  Most games are still priced at full price, even if they are two years+ old.
The 2nd closest GameStop near me doesn’t even have PC titles!
It’s the retails stores Failure to stock PC games, and it is their Failure to not launch a digital distribution plan.  That’s the future, adapt or die! 
I see no problem not reselling steam games; I can’t resell any other pc game with a used serial key!   Besides, buy new and support the developers, so they can make more great games. 

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crwgrant

This is where the free-market society comes in handy. But unfortunately, there isn't much competition going on here. Steam does a great job with their game management and handling. I like that I can buy a game and download it in a few hours. I also like how I can play the same game on my laptop then again, or if it gets cloud saved, on my desktop a little later. It's great! Some games can take just as long to install with a CD/DVD as it does with steam. But I like it all. I wish these companies would just stop their bitching and play fair with the Free-Market system that exists in America. And the UK can go buck a fuffalo with their complaints. Viva la Steam!

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sniggler

Seriously, the day I pay $70 for a new game will be the same day I renew my Xbox Live...

Although some will argue it's not the retailers that set pricing, it's the publishers... 'They' is a collective term used to describe the corporate modus operandi

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igoka

I don't wanna brag but I have more then 100 games bought from Steam , also even if i have retail copy of the game i usually buy steam version as well (Battlefield2, Psychonauts etc.). Am I crazy ? Maybe but i have all my games in one place ready to play, no need to look for the CD/DVD and god forbid you lost your keys !!! From customer point of view here what we got :

Retail

Go to the store , hopefully you find it fast somewhere on the shelf, stay in the line to buy it , go back home , install , enter CD/DVD keys , hopefully it will play or you have to go look for the patch . Last game from retail i bought was Medal of Honor Airborne and you know what ? After installing copy protection didn't recognize disk in DVD drive , I had to go to the  internet to find  "noCD/DVD patch" . Can you believe it ? Also if you reinstall the Windows you have to start all over again !!!!

Steam

Open Steam Store , if you like some game look for the review , buy it , download it , it will take time but still more convenient . That is. You can do install steam on completely different hard drive in case of reinstalling OS.

To everyone who is saying that you cannot resell Steam game . Try to sell retail game if you already activated some specific games like Battlefield where CD/DVD key tight to your account , which means you cannot resell it.

Retailer is dying , it's just the matter of time.

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smashingpumpin

If only Steam would implement a true "offline mode" that requires no log-ins on "singleplayer-only" games, I'd give it a 10/10! Heck, maybe if u could sell your games too or transfer 'em to another email I'd give it a 11/10! but I think that's just asking too much for an online game store.

Since the average gamer plays at home/campus dorm where internet connection is at hand that leaves me to guess that most people hatin on it are: gamers that just couldn't wait to download their games on a slow ass ISP connection, ones that would love to sell/transfer games, middle of no where USA satellite/dial-up-only residents and obcourse the ones that couldn't figure out its simple to use "back-up game files" option that saves time redownloading games.  I've got less than 1Mbps internet download speed but that doesn't annoy me to leave my PC overnight or more to download a newer game or 2 (gah, I had my share of turning annoying huge file TF2, CSS auto-updates off coz I rarely play them and the nightmares I had downloading "1st week" game releases which always means even slower than snails download speeds)

One truly knows why the reason for agony of nomads, laptop gamer addicts on-the-go with no mobile internet subscription, and military gamers on 3rd world country-sucky-internet lands but all in all Steam is awesome! I for one, sure can't wait for its extremely discounted holiday sales comin up!

_________________________________________________________________________________

right before clicking SAVE, I felt a presence behind me with a knife saying "CAPTCHA BITCH!"

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rimael

Steam is a service that is good for everybody except the brick and mortar jerkoffs.  The problem is that in the process of producing a game and getting it to the brick and mortar market, the company responsible for making the game gets slammed in ass.  Let's go over the probable steps it takes to get a game from end production to retail store:

1. Hand copy to data center for mass DVD printing/labeling

2. Hand artwork to printing company to print labels for games and hand various instruction manuals and other paper products to printers

3. Put games in plastic cases (and pay for them, too)

4. Ship games to distributers

5. Distributers ship games to company warehouses (Sam's Club, Best Buy...), or Middle Man Distributers

6. Warehouses and middle-men distributers ship games to local stores for sale

7. Local store sells game to client.

Add all that up and subtract that from 49.99 and I bet PC game manufacturers make less than 10 bucks on each copy of a game they sell in store.  Now, what steps do they take through steam?

1. Hand copy of game to steam

2. Provide steam with keys that will work with game

3. Provide PDF of instruction manual

4. Sell game

So, how much profit goes to companies this way?  I am guessing a much larger chunk than when sold through brick and mortar.

In the end, we decide who to buy from, but for me, I generally choose to buy through steam.

Rimael

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kamikaji

Steam is pretty much THE best thing to happen since sliced bread.  We get crazy discounts, unlimited installs (for most games), barely any DRM, lower prices at launch compared to other options, cloud save games, automatic patching and updates, FREE DLC for almost all Valve games (and many others like Bioshock 2), etc.  The list just goes on and on.

If retailers think they can crash the content PC gamers' party, they are DEAD wrong.  PC gamers are more than happy with Steam, and I don't fancy other companies butting in and RUINING EVERYTHING by petitioning, lobbying, throwing their money around, and boycotting.  Good day.

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grorc

Wait wait wait... you arent going to carry a game if it is also offered on Steam? So it will only be offered on Steam?  ... sooooo people will only go to Steam because on the off chance your store wont carry the game so why waste a trip when I can just go to Steam?  Buy stock in that company!

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Keith E. Whisman

I've got about 6 Steam games that I purchased. If I wanted to sell any of them would it be possible? Is it possible to send my game from my account and transfer it to another?

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DoctorX

nope... but then again, you cant do that with a lot of modern games from retail. Almost all of them require activation of some sort.  

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JohnP

Are they also bitching about Blizzard? I bought 3 copies of Starcraft 2 and WOW Cata online. Only reason to get retail would be collectors but I learned long ago that the stuff in collectors has a half life of about 8 hours... And Blizzard is the biggest MF on the planet...

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ward852

i hate steam, i can never sell my games anymore because they are locked on my account and when i want to download a game from steam is takes forever to download, i never buy games from steam and i wish steam would go away. plus i prefer having the actual game in my hand rather than the electronic version. and why would you sell me a game in a box and give me a cd when i still need to download the game from the slow ass steam servers. i am happy that the shops are thinking of banning games that use steam because i don't want to buy a game that uses steam anymore.

so if there are any steam people reading this, then you should give people more rights instead of blocking people from selling the game which they pay for with there hard earn money.

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kamikaji

Then you don't need to re-sell.  I have never once sold a video game.  I read reviews, watch gameplay, etc, until I am sure that I want the game.  I also almost always play it at a friend's house or play the demo prior to purchase as well.  If you take all of these steps, then you are certain to enjoy the game.  If you enjoy the game, what is the point in selling it?  I, for instance still play almost all of my old games every once in a while.  To sell them would leave a hole in my poor nostalgia-laden heart :3

 

So, anyways, unless you are some sort of impatient impulse buyer, you shouldn't ever really need or want to sell any of your games.

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methuselah

Either your a troll or an uneducated 12 yr old.  I can't figure out which.

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stige

because you dislike Steam no one else who does appreciate the service they provide should be able to use it, either?

smooth.

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kamikaji

Then you don't need to re-sell.  I have never once sold a video game.  I read reviews, watch gameplay, etc, until I am sure that I want the game.  I also almost always play it at a friend's house or play the demo prior to purchase as well.  If you take all of these steps, then you are certain to enjoy the game.  If you enjoy the game, what is the point in selling it?  I, for instance still play almost all of my old games every once in a while.  To sell them would leave a hole in my poor nostalgia-laden heart :3

 

So, anyways, unless you are some sort of impatient impulse buyer, you shouldn't ever really need or want to sell any of your games.

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DoctorX

so let me get this straight... you hate steam because you have a slow net connection?  I get 6.6MB/s from the steam servers.  Sounds like you need to hate your isp/computer instead. 

 

also... news flash... if you bought AvP, you open the box up to see a peice of paper with a code on that requires you to get it from steam.  Several games are like that now.

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LatiosXT

... On a missed opportunity. First PC gaming was fairly big. Then this thing called the Xbox 360 came out and started waning. Then Steam picked up, as well as Direct2Drive and others. Now retailers see this industry worth as much as any of the consoles out there and want a piece of that pie, but can't since services that proven superior established themselves and can't really penetrate the market they abandoned.

Not like making a physical copy costs a whole lot. I believe it's chump change to publishers.

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Razor86

I totally agree.  A certain "big name retailer" in my area doesn't even carry PC versions of games.  You can only get the PC version if you have them order it for you, or do a pre-order for a new release.  And now they, or their brethern I guess, are complaining that steam is cutting into their sales?  What a load.  Let them cry about it, I love steam.  I can see the opinion of some gamers, it is true you can't resale your steam games, but honestly, how much could you really get out of a resale? 

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SmokingJs

No I didnt hack it I changed email accounts and I dont use them anymore at alll but they wont combine the accounts.

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DoctorX

ok.. just wondering... i have changed email accounts and just changed it in steam.

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NeonDevil

Steam didn't kill the retail market. The retail market slit their own wrists a long time ago by not catering to the wants/needs of PC gamers. 

Steam (and other services like it, eg Stardock, direct2drive) took advantage of this void and ran with it.

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misha573

Where I am, buying retail is a pointless exercise, they never have what I want and when they do its for some crappy console (phhhtt...)

I used to buy physical media via Amazon, but the shipping, duties, and taxes were prohibitive.

Steam (and a few other) digital direct is awesome.  No stupid rootkit drm crap (for the most part anyway) all the games I could ever want, and when I want too!

Now, I can't even find me parrot, me peg leg, or me hook.  I've become a tax-payin' land-lubber...

Its all about distribution.  Make it easy and painless and you end up like steam.  Who cares if the brick 'n' mortar game pushers ban PC titles.  As many have said already, they don't even carry 'em anyway...just console crud.

Any publisher stoopid enough to fall for their shenanigans don't know the market.

Just sayin'.

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SmokingJs

I used to say I wouldnt ever get anything off of Steam when they first started. Wow have things change I buy games from them now and I love the fact that I can just download my games after a format. They gripe I have is that I have two or three accounts that I would like to merge into one account. I have email them about this issue and they say there isnt anything they can do about it. It sucks having to log out and then back in but thats my own dumbass fault for being a dumbass and not writing it down to begin with. Other then a great service and I do like it.

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