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Notch "Wary" About Steam's PC Dominance

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Minecraft, Notch, Steam

Notch "Wary" About Steam's PC Dominance

Hopes That "More Games Can Self-Publish"

Despite many players wanting to buy and play Minecraft on Steam, Markus "Notch" Persson is slightly worried Valve's digital platform becoming a monopoly in the PC market, and hopes that more games will follow his example by self-publishing.

Though Persson is a big fan of Steam, the influential Indie Godfather is not entirely sold on the idea of releasing Minecraft on the service, both in order to retain 100% of each sale and because he's "wary" about a single platform reaching total dominance in the PC space.

"Minecraft has kept growing very fast (and is selling faster than ever), which combined with us not being on Steam leads to some potentially interesting strategic positions," Persson told PC Gamer. "I'm not quite sure what those are, but we're a bit wary to submit Minecraft to Steam without knowing more about what we want to do."

"As much as I love Steam, I do somewhat worry about the PC as a gaming platform becoming owned by a single entity that takes 30% of all PC games sold. I'm hoping for a future where more games can self-publish and use social media and friends to market their games. Perhaps there's something we could do to help out there? I don't know. If nothing else, we might work as an inspiration for people to self-publish," he continued.

Steam does have competition in the form of platforms like GamersGate, GMG, Good Old Games and Origin, but most PC players look to Valve for their integrated library, community and achievements. Steam Greenlight promises to make it easier for smaller developers to publish on the service - could Notch's prediction of a "single entity"-dominated marketplace come true?

Add a comment8 comments
Quietus  Jul. 26, 2012 at 11:31

For me, it's simply about convenience. Steam allows me to keep all of my stuff in one place, with zero hassle in worrying about the chance of losing or forgetting anything. It's why I've yet to look at any of the other platforms. There's nothing inherently wrong with the idea of having multiple platforms, but when they all want to be running at once, my PC would grind to a halt.

hurrakan  Jul. 26, 2012 at 11:46

I like using Steam because I like having all my games in one place.

I do NOT want to have games spread over multiple services and have to log into each one, one at a time, to play a specific game.

However I really hate the Steam user interface. It does not adhere to basic usability guidelines or user interface design, which all makes it very annoying to use. It's slow, klunky and doesn't make it easy to find games.

There's no excuse for the desktop client to be so crap - they may as well have just used a website. E.g. at least on the website I can open links in a new tab by middle-clicking them, so I can look at more games faster.

And the way Steam lists games is utter crap - can only view in blocks of 10 and you have to go through those blocks in sequence, forwards/backwards.

There is absolutely nothing positive to say about the design of Steam's user interface. This is not what I expect from Valve, so I don't get it.

Last edited by hurrakan, Jul. 26, 2012 at 11:52
Tsung  Jul. 26, 2012 at 11:54

I agree with Quietus. All these different platforms are annoying and serve no purpose other than to clutter up my hard drive with game launchers and applications.

I want games on Steam, it works, it's easy to see what my friends are playing without launching multiple platforms. If Steam has a monopoly it's because they are delivering what the customers want. If publishers want to do their own thing, go for it, but don't get upset if you lose sales or customer complain that you are not delivering the service on the platform they prefer.

sparx1981  Jul. 26, 2012 at 11:56

I like using steam. It's interface is simple enough and it's customisable. If I want to see a lit of games that I have I can. If I prefer to view that list as a grid which images of the games I can. The workshop gives me easy access to mods for games and the store is easy to use. Pricing can be high when we're not in a sale period but during sales their prices are often very good too.

As for their dominance. It's simple. Can anyone else bring out anything that can compete with the quality of service that they have? EA have tried and most people hate Origin. In fact, I think even EA keep Origin in a Beta state.

Steam do a very good job. They also have a wide catalogue which means that it's easy to keep all of your games on there.
The only very minor thing I would like improved is for Steam to recognise ALL retail CD keys. It does recognise some, but others it wont. As such I do still have a few DVD games which are not in steam.

Quietus  Jul. 26, 2012 at 12:28

And the way Steam lists games is utter crap - can only view in blocks of 10
This does frustrate me too, especially when you've clicked on something, click back, and your setting are gone. The website manages to do it fine, so why not the client?

Also, why does it feel like the 'all games' option is hidden?

imdurc  Jul. 26, 2012 at 15:54

And the way Steam lists games is utter crap - can only view in blocks of 10
This does frustrate me too, especially when you've clicked on something, click back, and your setting are gone. The website manages to do it fine, so why not the client?

Also, why does it feel like the 'all games' option is hidden?


Quietus, the "all games" dropdown isn't hidden. It's the default for when you look at your steam games list.

I'm very confused by both yours and Hurraken's response to the way steam lists your steam games. Here's how I see mine, which is based on my smaller steam screen layout, i.e. a third of my desktop screen space.

First up, there are 3 modes in which to view your games. The first is the default "game details" which, at this moment, is showing me 35 of my games. And that's with the categories getting in the way of showing a few more.
The second view is the "list" mode. This shows me around 14-15 games at a time.
The third is the "grid" view. This shows your games as a grid of game box images. At its widest viewpoint, you can see 24 games at a time.

I'm not saying steam's client is 100% great, but I also don't feel it's bad. And certainly not slow for me here in the UK. I believe the steam client could use some work, e.g. The sooner they stop using flash and move to html5, the better. But, overall, the client does seem to work well for the majority of people.

Quietus  Jul. 26, 2012 at 16:03

Quietus, the "all games" dropdown isn't hidden. It's the default for when you look at your steam games list.

I'm very confused by both yours and Hurraken's response to the way steam lists your steam games.
We're talking about the store.:p

Cricky  Jul. 29, 2012 at 08:06

While I find it handy having all my games in one place I am wary about having them all with the same provider in case something happens. What if Steam/Valve went bust or I lost access to my account? Is that all of my games gone? Interesting article on Rock Paper Shotgun about whether we own our games: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/02/01/thought-do-we-own-our-steam-games/

Also when away from an Internet connection Steam isn't too hot. I know there's an offline mode however last time I went away it didn't work for me for some reason. I'd set it up before going and it seemed to work but when I tried to use while away it needed to connect to check something so I couldn't play anything on Steam. Fortunately I also use GOG so had other games on my laptop.

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