Game Retailers Plan To Boycott Steam Enabled Games

A growing number of the biggest PC games are making use of Valve's SteamWorks tools and that doesn't seem to bode well with brick and mortar game retailers who don't want to promote their competitor's services.

"If we have a digital service, then I don't want to start selling a rival in-store," the digital boss at one of the biggest UK games retailers told MCV-UK. "Publishers are creating a monster ­- we are telling suppliers to stop using Steam in their games."

The head of sales at a big-name digital service provider agreed: "At the moment the big digital distributors need to stock games with Steam. But the power resides with bricks and mortar retailers; they can refuse to stock these titles. Publishers are hesitant, but retail must put pressure on them."

Industry experts estimate that Steam controls more than 80% of the online games distribution market.

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Three Solutions

Three things would make the Steam service a perfect system:

1. The ability to trade games you've bought--to transfer your ownership of a game to somebody else's account. I bought a copy of Skyrim. I played it for a couple weeks and moved on to something else. Now my son plays it, but I can't play other games on my steam account while he's playing my copy of Skyrim. If I could transfer the game to his steam, that would solve everything, and it would only take a microsecond of steam server time to change the owner key of a game. But no. They want you to rebuy multiple copies of the game.
2. The ability to play offline, if you choose. My internet connection was down for a few hours last week. All the games I'd paid for were basically useless to me because I couldn't log on to steam. This is not to mention the times when it's Steam itself that's down. Their servers are busy, so you can't play your own games. That's called Fraud: selling a product or service that's not delivered as agreed. Can you say Class-action lawsuit, folks?
3. Customer service. I don't need to add anything to this. Anyone who's tried to deal with Steam customer service knows it's as useless as trying to hammer a nail into a wall with a water balloon. A friend of mine bought a pre-owned game from a brick and mortar store only to find that the previous owner is still using it on his/her steam account. The friend contacted steam customer support with photos of the receipt, proof of purchase, CD-Key, CD ROM, everything. 6 months later, it still isn't resolved. The friend was given some vague bullshit about the photo being too blurry which is an absolute lie. The photos are high resolution pics. You can see even the fine-print on the receipt. The brick and mortar store won't take it back either because the seal was broken. Meanwhile the guy who sold it back to the store is still playing it, and probably laughing his ass off. NEVER BUYSTEAM-CRIPPLED PRE-OWNED GAMES. EVER.

If they corrected these three problems, it would be a perfect service. But profit is the bottom line, and their only concern. Their customers are merely tools to them for getting richer. The only thing that would change this is for a compete service to start up that had all the same features without the gouging or poor customer service. Let's hope this happens soon. Suddenly Steam would be bending over backwards trying to please the public, or they would die a well-deserved death.

Until these things happens, it's better for a gamer to avoid steam altogether. Never buy a steam-crippled game, ESPECIALLY if the game is pre-owned.

Boycott STEAM

Steam is the death of the resale market. Do you enjoy cheap, used, games? Join the boycott today. I'm fighting this battle today...I just want to play Homefront....and they have us by the short and curlies. I will never buy another STEAM game. Ever.

[url removed]

We do not accept receipts from online auction websites or used software vendors. If you do not provide a valid purchase receipt, Valve will not be able to transfer the CD Key.


I couldn't agree more. Some games you can't even play unless you get online. Others you have wait ridiculous amounts of time while the game updates. Bottom line-steam controls the game you just bought. Not you

Okay while steam is a pain in

Okay while steam is a pain in the ass, it is for me a required evil. For me, some of the games I buy are old, that cannot be found instore.

The other thing is that Im Australian and a game here costs $90-$110! (for a new release pc game). Now please explain how the current Australian Dollar is buying 1.04USD and yet we are paying $30-$50 MORE than you americans? 30AUD Shipping?? GTFO. Game stores and distributors in Australia suck asshole and I refuse to buy anything from them. So the alternative is steam which lets me pay $60USD for a new release game that makes it around $58AUD. And I dont have to drive 30mins to the closest Game store to find out they dont stock it.. Which could make a game as expensive as $140AUD to get up and playing. (I own a very thirsty car lol)

Bottom line, Steam = Value for Aussies.

Screw brick and mortar retailers

"Brick and mortar" retailers can go screw themselves. If they make money from the game, why does it matter where it was purchased from?

Also, ever been to a gamestop lately? There is one tiny little PC rack in the one where I live and you wouldn't know it was a PC game rack without paying a fair amount of attention. Most people probably think it is a bargain rack.

If physical retailers want to sell PC games in their stores, they need to ACTUALLY CARRY THEM. If I want a PC game about the only option I have is to buy it from Steam (or another digital distributor) or from a place like Amazon.

I like Steam. Games are easy to backup, you just copy the right steam folder to another drive and there. Some Steam games don't have any more DRM than an internet connection when you first start it up. The other publishers like EA insist that SecuROM be used on top of the Steam protection so that is their fault.
As far as having a physical copy, yes, a lot of the time I prefer a physical one.

However, I don't have an infinite amount of space, I have very few friends that play games on the PC, and I am the type of person who never resells games once I get them. Every time I sell a game I end up wanting to play it three years later (I wish I still had Crysis..). If you like to loan you games or sell them later then you can not like Steam, that is ok. Go buy your physical copy. However, don't go around saying it is great for Steam to be diminished because you want a physical copy. As far as I understand it you aren't going to be barred from getting a physical copy if you want it.

The last time I used Direct2Drive SUCKED. I ran out of authorizations (had to reinstall XP a few times) and I sent them an email asking for a new code so I could play the game, THAT I PURCHASED. Want to know how long it took them to answer? SIX WEEKS. Unacceptable. Never again. If Steam did that crap I wouldn't deal with them either.

just returned fallout vegas.

just returned fallout vegas. package says 'internet activation required'. apparently that means a7Gig download.
Returned it.
Will never buy another steam game.
Don't need games. I only play them because they are fun. DRM isn't fun.

Steam sucks.

First off, I've been around since the days you had to program with punch cards. I physically own in excess of 450 games. Bought and paid for in a store.

Steam sucks. It's unessesary bloatware and spyware. Invades your privacy. Is itself a DRM scheme, no different than a disk checking system or key. You can't loan out or sell your copy of a game. It wastes bandwidth, maybe only a little per individual but combined with the rest of the masses it's a huge amount. Completely unecessary extra headaches for a few guys who what to get together for a beer and preztels LAN evening. A single update can ruin their entire evening. Especally if the updates are slow or are flawed.

The issue with retailers is of course money. The bottom line. If no one buys a product in store, why would they carry it? Steam, EA, et al. killed the retailer market. You only have 4 feet of PC games because the sales don't warrant more.

Consoles get more because they have rigid tight DRM on the console itself. The sales are there. The console gamers are stupider. They haven't a clue how to backup disks or bypass DRM or disk checks.

Your games cost a few mill, maybe ten to develop from scratch. (and yes I know some few console games have had 30+ mill budgets) Once you have an engine, the sequel content is cheaper to produce.

Ten mill (higher than the avg) divided by 50 bucks per unit is 200000 units need to be sold. HL sold over 800000 units, HL2 over two mill. Now keep in mind that HL3 cost about 40 mill to develop the engine but other games use that engine too. Left4Dead is the same engine. So Left4Dead's development costs are minimal. It sold 2.5 mill units. Add in all the HL2/Left4Dead/etc sequels/add-ons sold and it brings the avg cost per unit sold down significantly. Steam averages $30. profit per sale. If it's a HL2/left4Dead sale it's all profit now. The development costs were long ago paid for.

Boxes sold in a store make less than $10. profit.

You don't save the $20. you don't get a box, a case, a disk, a manual, maybe a map or a poster. Zip nada. Steam gets it all and gives nothing back.

You're being scammed. and don't whine about the cost of servers and sysops etc. It's still far cheaper than manufacturing and shipping a single game by truck, etc.

And finally, your steam account is a 'subscription' (read your eula)and revokable at any time. And then your 'library' of steam bought games is gone for good.

Steam is good for Valve, not for anyone else.

I Hate Steam

When I pay out $50-$70 for a game, I want something to show for it. I want the physical copy so that I can install/ play it any time I want, not having to ask some third-party distributors' permission for a game that I already paid for. Ultimatly they have the power over software you paid FULL PRICE for. If for any reason they find reason to cut you off, any game that requires Steam activation to play becomes unplayable. I'll never understand why some people feel they benifit from steam; it does nothing but cause inconvienience.

Steam no good!

I cannot stand steam strictly on the playing end of games. If I want to download a patch and dont have internet, I'm stuck paying for a flawed version. No longer can i use a friends computer and dl the patch onto a disc or flash drive. That is my most critical flaw in steam. Also, I've noticed I have to pay now for map packs or new civs, they are not just an add-on to a patch update. It is just another way for corporation to stick it to ya when ya already paid $55 for the game. And what about others who live in rural areas where internet can cost $100/mth for decent speed and not forgetting the installation fees for Sats around $400! I wish ALL RETAILERS BAN ANY GAMES REQUIRING STEAM! AND ALL GAMERS REFUSE BUYING THERE GAMES! Whats wrong with just going to the store and buying the game? Why would anyone want a third party installation to play a game? What benefit is there to any gamer? This is strictly a benefit for them, corporate f***ing america where the rich get richer off the poor getting poorer. Why not just post the dl content on ur website? What is the difference? It's like adding a middle man when there is no point other than they make more money off of us consumers, as if the games aren't expensive enough! Also, for most of us it takes just as long to dl games, patches, etc as it would to just go to the store and buy it. Steam blows, for sure

Steam is successful, deal with it!

Steam was not great when it launched...let's face it. But now it's an ever-growing sales machine that puts the the PC user back in power over "bricks and mortar" games distributors...

Have you seen the fucking PC games section in Game, HMV or Virgin stores? It's fucking ridiculous! Console games are wall to wall, with full isles...yet we, the humble pc users, suffer from poor choice, poor stock and poor everything. Oh and DRM? Oh yes, another thing console users don't have to deal with.

So, I say good on Valve for creating Steam. Let it grow. Let it blossom... And may it stay as important as it is to the PC user. Because, let's face it, how many Indie game developers can afford to release their gaming gems with propper publishers? Not many, if any at all. And Steam is an invaluable outlet for them.

"Bricks and mortar" is dying, Long live Steam.

Steam is successful, deal with it!

Steam was not great when it launched...let's face it. But now it's an ever-growing sales machine that puts the the PC user back in power over "bricks and mortar" games distributors...

Have you seen the fucking PC games section in Game, HMV or Virgin stores? It's fucking ridiculous! Console games are wall to wall, with full isles...yet we, the humble pc users, suffer from poor choice, poor stock and poor everything. Oh and DRM? Oh yes, another thing console users don't have to deal with.

So, I say good on Valve for creating Steam. Let it grow. Let it blossom... And may it stay as important as it is to the PC user. Because, let's face it, how many Indie game developers can afford to release their gaming gems with propper publishers? Not many, if any at all. And Steam is an invaluable outlet for them.

"Bricks and mortar" is dying,
Long live Steam.


nothing like not being able to play a game i paid my money for because of some corrupt steam file or lack of internet connect.

steam has sucked from the very beginning.

Tired of the steam crap

I totally agree. I never play on the internet, yet have to put up with the steam crap. It used to be nice to be able to play a game on my computer without a corporation trying to steal away my ability to play without signing on. Steam is very similar to a corrupt govt. Lots of trouble, no service, forced to use them if you want to play. I no longer buy any game that uses steam.


I have no complaints with Steam and the way they manage things. I have a greater complaint with "buying a game" for $50 and finding out that some suit is tellin you that you are only renting it. EA tops them by limiting your installs. You are better off with Steam in this case. It is always out there if your system crashes. I miss walking home and opening a box and loading it on your computer though.


NO CDS.... awsome downloads... NO licences... CANT LOOSE THE SOFTWARE TITLES... steam is a milion times better than storefronts

all brick and mortar sell is xbox and ps3 anyways... the PC games section is like wow/xbox live crap... that shit is gay

tell you what tho, if the storefronts ban steam I CAN BUY TVS LAPTOPS AND DVD PLYAERS ONLINE BITCHEZ

gaming is WAY better on steam


On-live sucks! I hope gaming never turns a cheek to that, i rather go with steam. For the most part i like a combination of both going to Gamestop and Steam to buy games. I hope going to gamestop never becomes obsolete but thats just me I'm a 25 yr old gamer and i think cloud is a dumb idea and On-live is useless garbage, thats what game-fly is around for. Its for ppl who want try games before they buy them.

I don't see your point. They

I don't see your point. They are still making profit regardless if they are selling a steam enabled product. Isn't like the customer is going to go back and sell it back to the store as second hand. Once a key is used it's worthless. Same goes for games not connected with steamworks.

Throw my 2 cents in...

Well here's my 2 cents,
at first I thought Steam was bad very bad, then I grew used to it, it's no big deal. Of course here's the problem, and why I still like to buy a hard copy (CD or DVD) of my games.
What about when you have to reinstall. To upgrade to a newer version of windows, because of a hardware issue etc. That means your expected to download your entire game collection again (No backing up a collection to DVD etc). If I owned all my games through steam that would take an absolutely ridiculous amount of time.
With that said... it's a shame, great specials good choice of games etc.
As far a profits and the industry go, back before all these great anti piracy ideas CD keys sucurerom activation etc etc, profits were up and times were good, coincidence ?

game backups

thats why steam allows you to make a backup of any game you have already downloaded

.... also, can you imagine if a game retailer boycotted Black Ops? bwahaha

i love steam.

You can back up your games.

Just click "Steam/backup and restore games" from the menu bar inside of Steam. It will let you back up your games to a folder. Then you copy that folder to a storage drive, and you'll never have to download them again. It even lets you choose what games you want to backup, and file sizes for your backups.

Good luck

The only reason I buy games at EB is because Steam may not have it yet. Or the game IS steam enabled and I dont feel like waiting for the download to finish. If they do that people just wont shop there..

I hit the buy button on steam

I hit the buy button on steam and I'm able to play the game after it downloads.

I don't see why you people are shitting your pants about licenses and every other god damn idiosyncrasy about "owning". It just fucking works and it's convenient.

That's why brick and mortar places don't approve. It's an ass pain to have to get in your car, drive to the place and take money out of your wallet.

can u say lazy?

listen, I love playing games, but if i get too lazy to sit in a seat and move my foot forward a few inches and turn a wheel, open a car door, take a game off the shelf, pull my wallet out, etc., then I am probably the laziest person on earth! No wonder us American's are so damn fat, heavens forbid I should have to pull my wallet out to buy something! And besides, don't ya have to pull out ur credit card?! The point about steam, is it restricts the poorer people from playing the game like the rich who can afford there own internet and crap! Steam can go blow it! I will never change my mind, ever! even if there was a gun to my head

"survival of the

"survival of the fittest"

"adaptation is the key to survival"

"natural selection"


all of the above mentioned phrases are adequate descriptions as to why steam is prospering over store retailers.

have all of you idiots forgotten that the same retailers boycotting steam are the ones that discontinued buying used pc games? theyre the ones that reduced their pc game section to a single cart, cornered around entire walls of console and hand held games? DO ANY OF YOU REMEMBER WHEN THE SHOE WAS ON THE OTHER FOOT?

are all you morons really that simple minded to turn a blind eye to the fact that these stores ARE A LARGE PART OF THE DECLINE IN PC GAMING, and are now blaming steam, rather than themselves?

for shame....none of you deserve to own a pc.

Good point, but watch the name calling.

I couldn't agree more... Other than the unnecessary name calling. I hate when I walk into a store and they have over 20 feet of shelf space designated to each console, including the handhelds, but only a small 4 foot section for PC games. The fact that I can log onto Steam and browse thousands of PC games is enough to grab my attention. Couple that with the weekend specials and such that they often run, and you have a recipe for PC gaming glory. There are downsides to Steam though. I hate that I have to patch games immediately, and I'm somewhat paranoid that I may accidentally do something against the terms of service which could render my account disabled. Even with those issues, the pros to Steam outweigh the cons.

Well i didnt really wana

Well i didnt really wana submit anything in this regard. but yes steam is just a big money making racket in the gaming market and the sooner game develepors can realise this the all beter for them. I mean what the heck!! What really is the purpose of steam? To prevent piracy? PLS!! ur guys cant be serious. Every game to date that made use of steam was cracked and will be cracked in the future. I do cracked games myself and believe me with Call Of Duty. Black Ops it took me merely 3 hours to fully cracked it to a stable gameplay. No i dont sell any of such copies or distribute any such copies. I merely do it for the challenge.

Steam is awesome

Steam chews up your bandwidth??? Wth? maybe get a better connection lol!

I have Steam running in the background 24/7, for the last few years iv been using it. Not once have i noticed it slowing down any of the pc's i used it on or taking up unnecessary bandwidth.

Digital Distribution is going to take over sooner or later and buying games in a retail store is going to be a thing of the past, its inevitable! deal with it.

Retailers these days try to get as much money out of you possible..60 euro for a game? Rip off.. Without retailers physical manufacturing of the game, distribution, storage, publishers, all will be obsolete! And guess what this leads to? MUCH cheaper games!

Cheaper games? You mean like

Cheaper games? You mean like all that activation nonsense with Windows would lead to cheaper operating systems?

It doesn't lead to cheaper games, just more money in the publisher's bank account. It also leads to fewer people employed by companies that produce the CD's, DVD's and manuals for the games, and fewer people employed packaging and shipping the games, and fewer people employed at the stores selling them.

it's business, *******business

any company that creates anything does it so it can make money. and who do they make there money off of? us consumers that's who. congrats, u bought their bs so they can get ur money on stuff like updates or new map packs and what-not, those r the real idiots. u really think their CEO's care about us, no!

Steam would be fine if... wasn't required to be running 100% of the time.

Granted, I use Windows. I've come to accept that I will have to use Windows to use my computer. However, in order to keep the stability of said OS as high as possible, I like to keep what's running on top of it to a minimum.

Steam doesn't let me do that.

Steam insists on running as much of the time as is possible. I've had to specifically go through and remove it from start-up and set its service (which runs independant of the client) to manual just to stop it from running when I'm just using my PC for something Steam has no business with. Of course, as soon as I try to run anything which require it, the client and service are immediately brought back into life.

If Steam were stable, I may not have an issue with it. But it's not. It crashed no less than two times before letting me finally install my retail-box of Mafia II, then crashed again before letting me actually play it. Ever since, any time I make the mistake of letting it go online it seems to chew up by bandwidth doing "something" which is too important to tell me just what that "something" is (I believe it's updating itself, plus downloading ads I don't care about).

If it were a "while it's running only" system akin to, I would have no problem with it. I can log in to to buy new stuff whenever I please, it's active when I run one of the games that uses it, but it goes away the instant I close my browser and/or all the associated games. It also never needs to be updated - the updates are done server side without me downloading anything, or they're done with the game patches (which I should probably be installing anyway).

Thankfully, Mafia II has long since been cracked and I can now play the software I purchased without issue. I made the mistake of buying one Steam game - won't be making that mistake again.

Is anyone here paying attention to the industry??

I know we would all like to believe that the industry is doing great, and we should all have the right to resell games, or refund them if we don't like them.
I'm sure many of you would love to pay $2 for a fully realized, rendered, multi-path RPG. But people. This isn't viable.
Today, less than 30% of AAA titles are making their money back. If you allow people to sell their games on at a discount to other people, this would lower this figure further. Steam gives indie titles a chance to play in the same field as AAA publisher titles, and sit right beside them on the shelf, even without EA advertising megabucks. In Australia, we pay $80-$100 for new games. This makes steam a much cheaper alternative. Sure, you buy a junk game on steam every now and then. But should they really be responsible for buying back your mistake?


Believe me if I developed an indie game I would not release it over steam if the turnover in costs hit me like a ton of bricks, this would discourage me further from releasing future products. We can already see this with triple A titles, unfortunately that happens to be piracy and we already know how corporations jump to law suits. However imagine how pissed off the little guy would be if every person out there wanted a refund. I would probably do well as an indie dev selling my title for free over steam but then where is the money in that? Also you cannot sell anything over Steam without first signing an "NDA" just to be able to use the service they must review the product if its even worth their investment. They give sales figures to work with, meaning you don't actually get a big say in it. On top of that they charge a distribution fee unless your game happens to be free.


I really disliked Steam when it ffirst came out and used it when i bought Half-Life 2 - a 100% purchase-worthy game.

Now i must admit that i really like Steam a lot. and it works pretty damned well, overall. Certainly teh best DD platform I've ever used. Not being able to give Steam games away or sell them if kinda lame, but I don't think I've ever sold a game, anyway.

And nwo that most every retail, boxed version ahs a EULA that states that "your" software isnt; actually yours, Steam is nto such a pain in the ass.

Adn still, if you want a game that you actually OWN, and don't want to be bound by EULA silliness, you just pirate it.

And now with so many "PC" games going the route of console-first development, with all the horrendous horsesh|t that it brings along with it (no modding, match-making, lack of support, innovation, price hikes), pirating is almost always the best choice.

Hell, even most games i BUY, i still end up using cracks or downloading pirated copies of anyways, jsut to avoid the DRM and other silliness.

Steam purchases + Piracy is teh way to go. Oh, adn Steam games are almost always cheaper for us in NA, so there's that.


If brick and mortars decided to boycott by refusing to stock Steam required games, that would definitely drive customers to Steam. Imagine if you were told that the only way you could purchase Black Ops was through Steam. People would complain about it, but eventually a large amount would create a Steam account and buy it. After using Steam once, a lot of those new customers will find it to be an appealing service, and continue to use it for future purchases.
On the other hand, game companies make a large portion of sales from brick and mortar retailers. The lack of sales caused by a boycott may be enough to cause them to change their ways.
I think it's a 50/50. You would have to get all of the major brick and mortar retailers on board before anyone with half a brain would take the risk. So I doubt we'll ever see this happen.
My personal opinion of Steam has changed over time. When I first bought Half-Life 2 (3 days after it's release), I hated Steam. The installation took roughly 9 hours on DSL, I had to be online to play single player, and it had to automatically update every time a new patch came out. I know patches and updates are important, but if I want to play a game right now, I'll play and update later. I hate that Steam has any power over when I can and can't play a game that I bought with my own money. Today, I like browsing the Steam store and enjoy the fact that I can install any game that I've installed in the past, but I don't think that it should be a mandatory part of installing any game. Every game that requires Steam should have a "Steam-less" counterpart available.

Steam is full of S**T

Steam has to be the biggest piece of s**t known to man. I agree with only a part of the system but when you can't get the people to understand that you own the damn material and your trying to reinstall it back on your pc with all the information that is needed ex: password, login. then what efing right do they have to keep me from doing just that. i've owned a few of their games that i bought from the stores and yet after i install it once i can never get back onto it if i take it off and put it back on.

I agree

How dare a company expect you to remember a username and password. I hate my email service for that same reason, and I hate vehicle manufacturers because they expect me to remember my keys whenever I want to drive my car that I bought with my own hard earned money. I also hate that my bank wants me to remember a pin number so that I can draw money from an ATM.

Seriously, a username and password is a terrible reason to hate Steam. I do agree that it is a piece of shit though.

Response to "I Agree"

C'mon pal! Like you've never forgotten or lost a password/username before?! It happens! And if it does, you're uber-fucked! Have you ever tried to contact Steam for support of any kind? Good luck! I wonder if they even have a tech support dept. They don't give a shit about customer service-they don't have to! They got their money before you even got the game, so there's no need to worry about disgruntled customers.


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