Screw Steam

by Steve Bowler on March 18, 2008 · 4 comments

in business

As a service for content distrubution, it’s a wonderful thing.

But it seems that at least once a week it is directly in the way of my enjoyment of playing my games.  Tonight’s issue?  Steam servers being updated, so my “Steam Ticket” was in a constant state of being “invalid.”

How many years has this service been around?  Four?  And I still can’t just log on and play a quick game of TF2 with a couple of friends?  I honestly don’t care if the servers are being updated.  I just want to play.  I’m tired of waiting for forced updates to single player games, I’m tired of Steam auto-updating itself.  I’m just tired of Steam, period.

The service is obviously not intended to benefit the end-user, as Live is.  Live doesn’t get in the way of me borrowing a friend’s game and playing it at my house.  It allows me to quickly find and connect with friends online, and besides the fact that the 360 is a closed system and it forces me to update games if I want to play them online (but will still allow me to play a game offline un-updated), it is largely only there to facilitate my heightened gaming experience.

Steam, on the other hand, exists to protect Valve.  Good for Valve.  Seriously.  I commend them on finding a way to almost completely defeat piracy on the PC.  Unfortunately for the consumer, it hamstrings players from distributing their software to friends for them to demo it, or in many cases, keeps people from accessing the very games they paid for, as it did to me tonight.   This is exactly the kind of networking experience PCs don’t need right now.  Stop driving me to my damn consoles.  Sometimes I just want to play some games on my PC, for crying out loud.

I think when I’m done with this industry tournament I’m going to uninstall Steam for the last time.  It’s been at least two years since I actually purchased anything on Steam before Orange Box debuted.  I doubt anything significant will come out from them again in the next two years, anyway.  At least not anything to rival Portal.


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