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Off-Topic Discussion => Gaming Discussion => Topic started by: Akalabeth Angel on March 19, 2015, 03:37:06 pm

Title: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 19, 2015, 03:37:06 pm
Source:
http://steamed.kotaku.com/valve-is-not-psyched-they-got-an-f-in-customer-service-1691308332

http://www.bbb.org/alaskaoregonwesternwashington/business-reviews/computer-software-publishers-and-developers/valve-corporation-in-bellevue-wa-27030704

Total Biscuit also discusses it on the recent podcast: https://youtu.be/8q9W2cor1dI?t=2h5m50s

Not particularly surprising given their business model and Steam's recent history of half-finished shovel ware games. Perhaps more people will be making the switch to Origin and GOG for the games that are available given that both give refunds on purchases. A practice that Valve and Steam have actively tried to get around despite rulings against them in EU courts.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Spoon on March 19, 2015, 05:23:03 pm
An other episode of Akalabeth going "I hate Steam and so should you!" ?
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Mika on March 19, 2015, 06:25:08 pm
Actually, there is a substantial amount of people who don't like Steam. I confess I never liked the idea, but had to conform since a couple of too good games were only released through it on PC. Darn XCOM for being available only on Steam.

I never saw the point of Steam for me, I always thought it as a rather invasive copy-protection scheme masked as a service, unfortunately a service for which I have no use (but apparently, Valve would have, as it's also a marketing study and merchandising tool). I don't play multiplayer games and I don't care about chat or Steam friends or achievements. When I play, it's my thing. Up to this day I never bought a game through Steam or other electronic stores, even if there are large discounts. I always use my account in Offline mode, unless I'm forced to update the Steam - and these seem to break things, especially if it happens close to firewall updates. I'm tempted to physically disconnect my internet to prevent stuff from calling home, but that doesn't seem to work out that well. I actually don't recall the service being advertised that way back in last decade.

It was actually 2013 when I activated a Steam account. Up to this day I'd much rather buy a physical copy of a game without any copy protections, they seem to work best regardless of the hardware. I do find it kinda weird that people are now raising the issue of refunds and all that, when we were saying the same thing before the thing got massively popular. Similarly, I had to work around the registration of Dead Rising 2 (legitimately bought), as I did not see the point of registering to Games for Windows Live. Turned out the game works better without it. LAN multiplayer support seems to be lacking in the current crop of the games, unfortunately. The only way for me to play multiplayer is to play against or with the people I know.

This is not to say I want to single out Steam, I definitely don't like other on-line copy protection systems either. So I have adopted a more conservative approach to gaming: I only buy games after they have been out for something like a year, get reviewed well and gather some following in Youtube. Effectively, I'm spending far less money in games than I used to, funny thing that, since now I could actually afford it. I was about to quit gaming completely a couple of years ago, but XCOM and the new Torment game revived my interest.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Scotty on March 19, 2015, 06:30:20 pm
Hey guys?  This is your friendly neighborhood mod saying that you're absolutely allowed to discuss the fact that Steam got this rating and what it means.

I will be stopping any "Steam sucks because x" or "Steam is awesome because y" argumentative bull**** because it never goes anywhere good.

Carry on.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Phantom Hoover on March 19, 2015, 06:40:18 pm
Valve really need to stop with their whole childish rockstar 'flat management' act and actually accept that they're accepting a huge amount of money from people to provide a service, and they need to actually provide that service even when it's inconvenient or boring. Seriously, it was sort of cute five years ago but all my good faith for Valve has withered. When you actually look what their fantastically self-affirming ideal has accomplished it's pretty damn meagre.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Dragon on March 19, 2015, 07:00:40 pm
Not surprising. Steam used to only host working games of reasonable quality. Really, most of those games are only good for collecting trading cards. They usually end up worth more than you pay for those games, so there's that. :) My father made a nice sum of money off that (eh, if only he could do the same thing with stock market, we'd be millionaires by now...).
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: headdie on March 20, 2015, 02:06:44 am
unfortunately despite Steam being a dumping ground for absolute rubbish, having poor customer service and continuing with practices illegal in Europe and other territories, the platform has a virtual monopoly on 3rd party games, while this is not the same as a true monopoly with there being competition the typical consumer who is only interested in getting the latest hype games is not fully aware of this and dosnt care so long as they get the game meaning that without a massive public scandal or a radical change in Philosophy at Valve things will not change.  Also, as Microsoft proves, even a massive scandal is no guarantee that things will change.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: jr2 on March 20, 2015, 07:05:37 am
...
Quote
I decided to ask Valve business development authority Erik Johnson what was going on behind the scenes. He replied that Valve doesn't really consider the Better Business Bureau a priority, but that users have the right of it: Valve needs to toss its busted customer service program in the incinerator and start over.

"The BBB is a far less useful proxy for customer issues than Reddit," Johnson began. "We don't use them for much. They don't provide us as useful of data as customers emailing us, posting on Reddit, posting on Twitter, and so on."

"The more important thing is that we don't feel like our customer service support is where it needs to be right now," he said. "We think customers are right. When they say our support's bad, our initial reaction isn't to say, 'No, it's actually good. Look at all of this.' It's to say that, no, they're probably right, because they usually are when it comes to this kind of thing. We hear those complaints, and that's gonna be a big focus for us throughout the year. We have a lot of work to do there. We have to do better."

When an issue's got roots this deep, though, how do you even begin to untangle it? Valve, Johnson explained, is looking at a complete overhaul.

"We need to do a variety of things," he said. "We need to build customer support directly into Steam. We need to understand what's the most efficient way to solve customer problems. Right now we're in a state where we're doing a bunch of technical work on thinking through how does a support issue get raised, who has to see it, how do refunds get issued within Steam—we've done a poor job on all of that up to this date. We think it's something we really need to focus on."

Don't hold your breath, but maybe knock on some wood...
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Flipside on March 20, 2015, 08:28:25 am
Thing is, people are used to the Supermarket model, if you have a problem it's usually the Supermarket that you go to first to request a refund or replacement, and then leave them to sort out the issue with the supplier. Steam wants no part of that model, they want to be nothing more than middle-ware, providing a platform without having to take responsibility for the stock.

I mostly like Steam, it's convenient, though possibly too convenient, and if you are patient, you never have to wait long for a decent deal to come along, and I understand that simply saying 'it's a terrible game' is not reason enough to demand a refund. The bigger problem is false/misleading information, especially when you get into the world of Greenlight games, that entire area is a minefield for both Steam and the customer, and the Steam form response of 'talk to the developer' is understandably annoying when it is effectively their platform that gave you that information in the first place.

It's really a question of 'who takes responsibility?' and there seems to be this whirlpool between Steam and the Developers where that responsibility vanishes into oblivion.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: jr2 on March 20, 2015, 12:00:31 pm
Well, TBH, unless the problem is specifically with the distribution method (ie, caused by Steam), the responsibility is with the developer, you can hardly expect Valve to go cleaning up a developer's games.  However, Valve can and should threaten to cease offering products from some developers if said developers are selling half-baked crap that is causing problems for everyone, and possibly, if the problem is widespread enough, threaten to ban all games from that developer.

Of course, Valve would probably need a developer's cooperation if there were problems with the Steam platform, but I'm assuming they would get it if the developer wants any sales at all.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Droid803 on March 20, 2015, 12:42:23 pm
so, steam gets f for people going "you most make an update" to products they don't really have control over (other than displaying it or not)?
whatever happened to making informed purchases?
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: -Joshua- on March 20, 2015, 12:45:46 pm
so, steam gets f for people going "you most make an update" to products they don't really have control over (other than displaying it or not)?
whatever happened to making informed purchases?

Hey, you most make an update would have been totally fine if 30% of every game that woutersmits bought would go to the SCP ;)
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 20, 2015, 01:42:21 pm
Steam is a store, not a distributor.   How many stores,  brick and mortar or digital,  do you find selling incomplete or broken products?  They are responsible for the products they stock. 
Also it's a bit paradoxical to want to be hands off when it comes to customer complaints or quality concerns and at the same time be involved at the very front end: the time in which the player is actually consuming their content.

Steam's solution to legal concerns seems to invariably involve changes to the user agreement which has said user waive all of their consumer rights.  It happened previously when the users were required to waive their rights to class actions lawsuits, now the EU rulings have been answered by a new user agreement which has them waive their rights when they start downloading their content. 

It should be no surprise that they receive an "F" when they're creating a system which is inherently anti-consumer and arguably anti-competitive.

Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 20, 2015, 02:07:31 pm
Quote
Steam is a store, not a distributor.   How many stores,  brick and mortar or digital,  do you find selling incomplete or broken products?  They are responsible for the products they stock. 

There's a key difference between a store, and steam. Store's *buy* the product they sell, and are thus responsible for making sure things bought from them are in one piece and not shoddy

Steam *does not* buy the products they display but rather are paid royalty to *distribute them* from the developer

So no, they are not a store by any means


That, and by incomplete/broken products, are you referring to Early Access?
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 20, 2015, 02:41:41 pm
Quote
Steam is a store, not a distributor.   How many stores,  brick and mortar or digital,  do you find selling incomplete or broken products?  They are responsible for the products they stock. 

There's a key difference between a store, and steam. Store's *buy* the product they sell, and are thus responsible for making sure things bought from them are in one piece and not shoddy

There's a difference between burden and responsibility.
A brick and mortar store is not "responsible" for buying good products, it's simply in their best interests. They have limited shelf space so they buy the products that will sell.  If a product is defective, they often have a legal obligation to replace it and a product which is not good and which does not sell affects their bottom line because it both takes up valuable shelf space and maybe be sold at a loss, thus the burden.

Steam has no shelf-space limits thus haven't the burden of caring about quality. Its in their best interests to sell anything and everything they can get their hands on. If the consumer is willing to put up money for it, its in their best interests to stock it.  When it comes to legal obligations, they dodge those by creating agreements in which the consumer is required to waive their rights in order to either continue using the store or to use their product.

Or in other words, as far as responsibilities go, they undermine their responsibility to the consumer in two ways. By making them waive their rights, and by offering them substandard products.

Steam *does not* buy the products they display but rather are paid royalty to *distribute them* from the developer

So no, they are not a store by any means

So are you claiming that Steam is misrepresenting itself? The URL is store.steampowered.com. The link on the page is "STORE". It's described as a "marketplace".

Steam at worst sells subscriptions, but selling a subscription is still selling a product.  People can obtain refunds for services or subscriptions they've entered into.

That, and by incomplete/broken products, are you referring to Early Access?

519 of 722 complaints about Valve to the BBB are related to "Problems with Product/Service".
Whether these are early access or other products, who knows.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 20, 2015, 04:57:10 pm
Quote
So are you claiming that Steam is misrepresenting itself? The URL is store.steampowered.com. The link on the page is "STORE". It's described as a "marketplace".

Go go power of the technicalities

Quote
There's a difference between burden and responsibility.
A brick and mortar store is not "responsible" for buying good products, it's simply in their best interests. They have limited shelf space so they buy the products that will sell.  If a product is defective, they often have a legal obligation to replace it and a product which is not good and which does not sell affects their bottom line because it both takes up valuable shelf space and maybe be sold at a loss, thus the burden.

Precisely my point, in fewer words

Quote
When it comes to legal obligations, they dodge those by creating agreements in which the consumer is required to waive their rights in order to either continue using the store or to use their product.

They're not dodging anything. It's written on paper, and clearly states what you're getting into. What you're downloading is a distribution platform that is an .exe you put on your computer, not some store you walk into. Hence, distribution platform that looks like a storefront. To use this program (which presents you products you can buy), you need to agree to the TOS of the .exe (something that's present with a great deal of programs you download and use). From that, it is significantly different from walking into a store, or going onto a website to buy something

You'll also notice that on their website, they tell you that you need to do the free installation of steam in order to do anything. There's a lot of things you are required to read as a consumer, and whether or not they kill your rights is entirely up to you to agree to

Quote
519 of 722 complaints about Valve to the BBB are related to "Problems with Product/Service".
Whether these are early access or other products, who knows.

Is there any way to see what the complaints are?
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 20, 2015, 05:23:08 pm
Quote
So are you claiming that Steam is misrepresenting itself? The URL is store.steampowered.com. The link on the page is "STORE". It's described as a "marketplace".

Go go power of the technicalities

Technicalities? You mean like this?
"Steam *does not* buy the products they display but rather are paid royalty to *distribute them* from the developer

So no, they are not a store by any means"


And having Steam self-describe themselves as a Store is a technicality? No. It's a deliberate choice.
The nature of their user agreement and the language they use on their storefront is completely at odds. The store implies game ownership, the EULA states that's not the case. Basically they present their service as one thing and then in the EULA explain the real nature of it in legal jargon.

Quote
When it comes to legal obligations, they dodge those by creating agreements in which the consumer is required to waive their rights in order to either continue using the store or to use their product.
They're not dodging anything. It's written on paper, and clearly states what you're getting into. What you're downloading is a distribution platform that is an .exe you put on your computer, not some store you walk into. Hence, distribution platform that looks like a storefront. To use this program (which presents you products you can buy), you need to agree to the TOS of the .exe (something that's present with a great deal of programs you download and use). From that, it is significantly different from walking into a store, or going onto a website to buy something

When the European Union courts rule that their policies are illegal and rather than change those policies, they create a policy to make it legal, then they are dodging their responsibilities.
It's akin to Obama's speech back several years ago where he said Quantanamo was bad because it was outside the law so to rectify the problem they had to create a new law to make it legal.

If the situation is at odds with the law, then change the situation.  That is the intent of the court ruling.  Not simply some clause which makes consumers waive their rights.  It's dirty and underhanded and wantonly anti-consumer. Any company which asks you to forgo your rights as a consumer is anti-consumer.

Both Origin and GOG give refunds on digital content., all without some court making a ruling against them.
Note that Electronic Art's BBB rating is an A+


Quote
519 of 722 complaints about Valve to the BBB are related to "Problems with Product/Service".
Whether these are early access or other products, who knows.

Is there any way to see what the complaints are?

"On June 25, 2013, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding product, service and customer service issues. Consumers allege the games they purchase from Valve Corporation or Steam malfunction, do not work or have an invalid CD key. Consumers also claim the company blocks users from accessing their library of games. Consumers further allege they attempt to contact the company for assistance, but Valve Corporation fails to correct the gaming issues, does not correct credit card charges or issue a refund, or does not respond at all.

On July 1, 2013, BBB notified the company of the complaint pattern. To date, the company has not responded to BBB's request to address the pattern.

BBB encourages consumers to carefully review the terms and conditions of the products or services offered by any company prior to purchase."


Etcetera.

Don't know if there' anything more specific, that's something you'll need to search out yourself.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Flipside on March 20, 2015, 05:31:44 pm
The thing is, it is about who is doing the advertising, according to Steam, it is the Developer, according to the Customer, it is on Steam, and both are correct.

The problem isn't that Steam should take responsibility, it isn't that that the Developer should take responsibility, it's that they've managed to create a situation where no-one has to take responsibility but the customer.

As for the whole 'buying things' argument, Steam do make a profit from every game they sell, they don't do it out of the kindness of their heart, so it seems to me that everyone here is mostly playing with semantics at the moment.

Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 20, 2015, 05:38:05 pm
The thing is, it is about who is doing the advertising, according to Steam, it is the Developer, according to the Customer, it is on Steam, and both are correct.

That only applies to complaints wherein features of the game are at odds with the advertising (ie false advertising).  But I would suspect the F rating is derived from a variety of factors and complaints, not only those which fit into that fairly narrow category.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Flipside on March 20, 2015, 05:46:06 pm
True, and I'd also state that 'it doesn't work with my machine', which seems to be a common call for refunds isn't always a valid argument either with computers. But certainly the idea that Steam 'isn't a store' because of the way it sells goods, rather than the fact that it sells goods is somewhat worrying to see floated around.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 20, 2015, 06:00:11 pm
The "it doesn't work with my machine" is in my opinion a valid complaint.  If Steam or Origin or any other client is on one or more computers, and if its granted access to know the specifications of your computer(s), it should also be able to ascertain whether the computer will match the minimum requirements.  Maybe that's not how the client works, but if a service is going to require installing an invasive client to monitor your gameplay, it should also come with features like the above to benefit the consumer.  Of course there may be many times when a game will not work despite meeting the minimum requirements.

Also the idea that Steam isn't a "store" in my mind is not all that relevant.  It's simply an argument that moves Steam away from an identifiable entity to something more nebulous. If the claim that "Steam has this responsibility to this customers" is countered by "Steam isn't a store, so it's responsibilities are different", then the question becomes what is it?  Any company selling products or services has legal obligations to the consumer. When the law talks about product liability for unsafe products, the law often doesn't seem to differentiate between manufacturer, distributor or storefront.  So if Steam is a "distributor" in the legal sense, then their obligation to the consumer might be unchanged, or in the legal sense it may be for all intents and purposes be considered a "store" in the same way that Walmart or any other B&M is.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Flipside on March 20, 2015, 06:09:44 pm
I think you'd need to prove a specific software-centric problem with working, so if, for example, it didn't work on any computer with an AMD graphics card, or multiple players whose computers were above minimum spec were still unable to play the game that's a cause for concern, so it depends, I think, on volume.

To me, it's similar to a online mail order system, most mail-order stores don't 'buy' stock until it is ordered, the difference is that the delivery on Steam is digital, rather than postal, and it's really not that much of a difference.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Scotty on March 20, 2015, 06:28:02 pm
If I buy a cutting edge new game and try to play it on a six year old laptop, when it doesn't work it's my own damn fault.  Steam shouldn't be held accountable to that.

If I buy a cutting edge new game and try to play it on a brand new desktop, when it doesn't work because of a particularly component or driver in use, that's something Steam should be accountable for.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Droid803 on March 21, 2015, 02:00:24 am
1. Any company selling products or services has legal obligations to the consumer.
2. When the law talks about product liability for unsafe products, the law often doesn't seem to differentiate between manufacturer, distributor or storefront.

Alright this is kind of a tangent but I'll bite, didn't change any wording, just chopped it up to make the propositions clearer.
1. True! Any company selling products or services has (some) legal obligations to the consumer.
2. False! When the law talks about product liability for unsafe products, the law DOES differentiate between manufacturer, distributor or storefront.

There is quite some difference in treatment for unsafe products between the storefront and the manufacturer. In many cases storefronts are entitled to rely on the manufacturer that each individual item they're is safe (as long as vast majority of the instance of the item is in fact safe). You can't bring a tort action against the store that sold you a pair of underwear out of a box that gave you a rash because that one pair happened to have some chemical spilled on it in the factory. It is quite unreasonable to expect them to try on all the product they stock -plus most people don't want to buy underwear that has been tried on anyway! - would you? Plus, it's not likely that the storefront itself has any of the technical expertise, or specialized equipment required or whatnot to carry out quality control (both of which the manufacturer would likely have). They're entirely entitled to rely on the manufacturer taking the necessary steps to have QC and ensure their products aren't defective.

In these cases, the manufacturer would be liable for their negligence in shipping a defective product - because presumably, it would have had to pass the factory's internal QC test; but not necessarily the store selling it - you don't expect them to open up each box of underwear that the manufacturer ships them and test every single one to make sure they don't have chemical on it; you can see how this is impractical. Bottom line here is that there is a distinction, mostly based on the capacity of each of the parties, their proximity with the product, in what are reasonable steps for them in discharging their legal obligations towards consumers.

So what you should ask is: Is Valve equipped to test and make sure that every single game they allow to be sold through their distribution service work flawlessly on every imaginable system that could possibly install their client? Is that even something realistic to expect them to do - is that even a workable business model? Or is that onus better placed on the individual game developers themselves who built the damn games and know how they've been coded, what resources the games use, and hold them to make their minimum requirements accurate?

Clearly, Valve should be responsible for making sure the client itself works on all systems that meet the minimum requirements, and that the client isn't causative of any of the issues experienced, but outside of that, I'm of the persuasion that Valve/Steam should have no responsibility over the quality of the games being sold over it. If it's not working, but it's not because of the Steam client, it's has nothing to do with Valve/Steam and everything to do with the publisher/developer.

With respect to issues not causally related in this way, however, I find that as a matter of policy, as a distributor/store/marketplace, they don't have to act as a second-round of testing for the game publisher/developers. If you expect the store to do that testing, then that just completely disincentivizes game developers from running meaningful beta tests and bughunts since well, the store is going to act as your "beta testers" for you. Furthermore, Valve/Steam isn't in a good position to address these issues even. They're not in a position to rectify the underlying problems. The developer has the source code - they're the ones that can put out a patch and fix things. You could argue that they could simply refund you the product, but you've already put on the underwear. Why do people have this feeling that they're entitled to returns/refunds? Stores offer such services out of courtesy. There is no requirement for them to do it. There are plenty of stores, online or offline, which do not accept returns or refunds under any circumstances, often for good reason. Some stores might just give you your money back out of courtesy, but I'd hardly expect them to as a default seeing as they've done nothing wrong (the manufacturer did, not the store), and the other 5 pairs in the box are fine anyway.

Just try getting a refund on used underwear. Good luck, by the way. You'll probably need it.

Honestly, it feels like people are throwing a hissyfit because they bought a ****ty game, or have a ****ty PC, and can't get their money back. Reading reviews is too hard i like playing games on a 15-year old potato computer **** you everything has to work for me or my money back. Especially since they're going after the vendor and not what may very well be the real source of your issues...

Quote
"On June 25, 2013, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding product, service and customer service issues. Consumers allege the games they purchase from Valve Corporation or Steam malfunction, do not work or have an invalid CD key. Consumers also claim the company blocks users from accessing their library of games. Consumers further allege they attempt to contact the company for assistance, but Valve Corporation fails to correct the gaming issues, does not correct credit card charges or issue a refund, or does not respond at all.

Legitimate complaints bolded
Illegitimate complaints striked out
Possibly legitimate complaints italicized (malfunctioning/not working/failure to fix MAY be valid if it is caused by interaction with the client, and not inherent to the game/system configuration)
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 21, 2015, 02:43:25 am
In these cases, the manufacturer would be liable for their negligence in shipping a defective product - because presumably, it would have had to pass the factory's internal QC test; but not necessarily the store selling it - you don't expect them to open up each box of underwear that the manufacturer ships them and test every single one to make sure they don't have chemical on it; you can see how this is impractical. Bottom line here is that there is a distinction, mostly based on the capacity of each of the parties, their proximity with the product, in what are reasonable steps for them in discharging their legal obligations towards consumers.

Yet in government defined webpages, the responsbilities of all three branches are often lumped into a single heading, such as:
https://www.gov.uk/product-liability-and-safety-law

The main responsibility falls on the manufacturer, but the stores and distributors have responsibility as well.

So what you should ask is: Is Valve equipped to test and make sure that every single game they allow to be sold through their distribution service work flawlessly on every imaginable system that could possibly install their client? Is that even something realistic to expect them to do - is that even a workable business model? Or is that onus better placed on the individual game developers themselves who built the damn games and know how they've been coded, what resources the games use, and hold them to make their minimum requirements accurate?

That's a ridiculous question, because rather than ask should Valve have quality assurance, you ask should Valve have perfect omniscient quality assurance.
A company doesn't get an F grade by having imperfect customer relations, they get an F grade by having **** poor customer relations.

Remember that Electronic Arts was voted worst company in america, two years in a row, yet despite that its grade from the Better Business Bureau is an A+. What does that say?

Clearly, Valve should be responsible for making sure the client itself works on all systems that meet the minimum requirements, and that the client isn't causative of any of the issues experienced, but outside of that, I'm of the persuasion that Valve/Steam should have no responsibility over the quality of the games being sold over it. If it's not working, but it's not because of the Steam client, it's has nothing to do with Valve/Steam and everything to do with the publisher/developer.

So if someone creates a game that is in fact a crypto virus which encrypts people's computers and holds their data hostage and Valve sells it through Steam are they responsible? Because you're basically waiving all responsibility whatsoever and I fundamentally disagree with that.


With respect to issues not causally related in this way, however, I find that as a matter of policy, as a distributor/store/marketplace, they don't have to act as a second-round of testing for the game publisher/developers. If you expect the store to do that testing, then that just completely disincentivizes game developers from running meaningful beta tests and bughunts since well, the store is going to act as your "beta testers" for you.

Valve testing a game would disincentivize people from running beta tests? - You have heard of Early access, have you not?  They have instituted a system which both disincentivizes beta testing and also rakes in the cash as well. 

You know what would legitimately make companies ensure their product is relatively bug free and stable? Denying sale on the storefront.


Furthermore, Valve/Steam isn't in a good position to address these issues even. They're not in a position to rectify the underlying problems. The developer has the source code - they're the ones that can put out a patch and fix things. You could argue that they could simply refund you the product, but you've already put on the underwear. Why do people have this feeling that they're entitled to returns/refunds? Stores offer such services out of courtesy. There is no requirement for them to do it. There are plenty of stores, online or offline, which do not accept returns or refunds under any circumstances, often for good reason. Some stores might just give you your money back out of courtesy, but I'd hardly expect them to as a default seeing as they've done nothing wrong (the manufacturer did, not the store), and the other 5 pairs in the box are fine anyway.

https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/repair-replace-refund#what-is-a-major-problem-

" When you have a major problem with a product, you have the right to ask for your choice of a replacement or refund.

"A product or good has a major problem when:

it has a problem that would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it
it is unsafe
it is significantly different from the sample or description
it doesn’t do what the business said it would, or what you asked for and can’t easily be fixed.


#1 in this list could be applied to most ****ty, buggy games.
#3 would apply in many examples as well
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Droid803 on March 21, 2015, 03:58:12 am
Fine. Two can play at this game.

Yet in government defined webpages, the responsbilities of all three branches are often lumped into a single heading, such as:
https://www.gov.uk/product-liability-and-safety-law

The main responsibility falls on the manufacturer, but the stores and distributors have responsibility as well.

Yes, as I've said, there are responsibilities, but the responsibilities are different and the brunt is borne by the manufacturer. That webpage says that pretty explicitly. Point?

That's a ridiculous question, because rather than ask should Valve have quality assurance, you ask should Valve have perfect omniscient quality assurance.
Well where do you draw the line then? Somewhere between "none" and "perfect", clearly. How much exactly do they have to test each game on a variety of different systems for quality assurance?

A company doesn't get an F grade by having imperfect customer relations, they get an F grade by having **** poor customer relations.

Remember that Electronic Arts was voted worst company in america, two years in a row, yet despite that its grade from the Better Business Bureau is an A+. What does that say?
Logically, yes, but here I'm discussing if that F grade was deserved in the first place.

That the rating system is not reflective of what people actually think and hence unhelpful? The only thing that's clear from those two tidbits is that the opinon of the two groups (the BBB and whoever voted for EA as the worst company) aren't in line. That perhaps calls into doubt the validity of the rating system overall more than anything else, and certainly more than showing that valve is somehow worse than "the worst company".

So if someone creates a game that is in fact a crypto virus which encrypts people's computers and holds their data hostage and Valve sells it through Steam are they responsible? Because you're basically waiving all responsibility whatsoever and I fundamentally disagree with that.

...

You know what would legitimately make companies ensure their product is relatively bug free and stable? Denying sale on the storefront.
No I'm not saying that. I'm saying that they have no responsibility over the quality of the game. It's not waiving all responsibility. If it's not actually a game at all and something malicious, then clearly they shouldn't be hosting it for sale in the first place and should take it down.

Just because a game doesn't work for some people that doesn't mean they should pull it off the store. And even if that were the case, where do you draw the line? How many bug reports is too many and you'll have to axe it off the storefront?

Valve testing a game would disincentivize people from running beta tests? - You have heard of Early access, have you not?  They have instituted a system which both disincentivizes beta testing and also rakes in the cash as well. 

You know what would legitimately make companies ensure their product is relatively bug free and stable? Denying sale on the storefront.
Early access is beta testing...which you are paying them to do for them. This is what people buying into it should understand, no?

https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/consumer-rights-guarantees/repair-replace-refund#what-is-a-major-problem-

When you have a major problem with a product, you have the right to ask for your choice of a replacement or refund.

You have the right to ask for a refund. Not the right to be granted one? But that might be me reading the provision a bit too uh, technically.
Interpreting it in the best possible way for your point, fine - one jurisdiction has made it a requirement to provide refunds when asked (and yes I know there are more). That doesn't change my point. That's definitely not the case absolutely everywhere, I see plenty of "all sales are final" and "no returns or refunds" signs around. There are arguments that can be made both in favour of having such provisions in place, and those against it. It's not a globally-agreed upon norm to hold retailers to this standard for service, after all the ghost of "caveat emptor" still floats around.

The elements of the test for faulty goods would undoubtedly be different for different jurisdictions as well. I can come up with 4-5 plausible alternatives off the top of my head to something having a problem that "would have stopped someone from buying it if they’d known about it" which captures the same basic idea but goes to different levels. Maybe there'd be a requirement of reasonable expectations (can't demand returns of everything because i think they're all immortality potions and wouldn't have bought it if i weren't deluded into thinking everything was - which would make the other requirements actually mean something), etc.



I'm not claiming that Valve/Steam is operating a perfect model with respect to customer service here. Clearly, they can do better. There's always room for improvement. What I'm getting at is that people seem to be barking up the wrong tree, or that they want Valve/Steam to insure against anything that could possibly go wrong with the stuff they sell not working exactly as the customer expected it to. Which, they could do, and would be good for the consumer. I can understand why they don't though.

I just don't think their practices are all that bad. It's not like they're deliberately suppressing information like deleting negative reviews. You can probably find out how well something is generally going to work if you poke around the client itself looking for reviews/discussions. Read the complaints/issues. Make an informed decision before spending.

Ah **** it you made me lose an hour of sleep. This is not worth defending.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Flipside on March 21, 2015, 05:18:11 am
It is kind of strange, in a way, when I was young computer games were the first products ever that you couldn't return if you had opened the packaging unless there was physical damage to the disc, and could only get a replacement, not a refund. This was done in the name of anti-piracy, and despite the fact that Steam is, in and of itself, an anti-piracy measure, it's funny how that concept has managed to get itself ingrained into our psyche in just a single generation.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Scotty on March 21, 2015, 12:12:57 pm
Fine. Two can play at this game.

Two will not play at this game.  I've made my position on this type of useless argument bull**** before.  Even though I've not quoted something of yours, Akalabeth, you've clearly instigated this.  Cut it out, both of you.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 21, 2015, 12:43:25 pm
It is kind of strange, in a way, when I was young computer games were the first products ever that you couldn't return if you had opened the packaging unless there was physical damage to the disc, and could only get a replacement, not a refund. This was done in the name of anti-piracy, and despite the fact that Steam is, in and of itself, an anti-piracy measure, it's funny how that concept has managed to get itself ingrained into our psyche in just a single generation.

There are many things which have surprisingly become acceptable, even defended in as much or even less time.

Before games were released largely on working order, games would only receive one or two patches at most because it was difficult if not impossible to distribute it.

Now people pay to play incomplete games, games which are sometimes never finished.

DRM has evolved in many ways, from sort of fun where you needed to consult a code wheel, two cd-always in or oversite programs to now being tied to a client like steam or origin. From derided to defended. 

From collectable to disposable. And from backwards compatible to increasingly difficult to keep playing on newer os.

By the way if anyone likes the collectible nature of games, likes indies, and likes no DRM check out the indie box. Got 6 of 'em myself already
https://www.theindiebox.com/

My second to last game came with a USB snes controller. Pretty awesome
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Aesaar on March 21, 2015, 01:56:57 pm
Remember that Electronic Arts was voted worst company in america, two years in a row, yet despite that its grade from the Better Business Bureau is an A+. What does that say?
That people love jumping on the EA hate bandwagon no matter how unfounded that hate might be?


Two things I will say:
1: Steam's return policy is ****awful and I think Origin is a superior service based on that alone.

2: If you buy an early access game that makes it very clear it's early access and you're pissed off that it's incomplete, you have only yourself to blame.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Spoon on March 21, 2015, 02:08:49 pm
That people love jumping on the EA hate bandwagon no matter how unfounded that hate might be?


Two things I will say:
1: Steam's return policy is ****awful and I think Origin is a superior service based on that alone.

2: If you buy an early access game that makes it very clear it's early access and you're pissed off that it's incomplete, you have only yourself to blame.
You are not seriously saying that hating on EA is unfounded... right?
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: headdie on March 21, 2015, 02:19:47 pm
That people love jumping on the EA hate bandwagon no matter how unfounded that hate might be?


Two things I will say:
1: Steam's return policy is ****awful and I think Origin is a superior service based on that alone.

2: If you buy an early access game that makes it very clear it's early access and you're pissed off that it's incomplete, you have only yourself to blame.
You are not seriously saying that hating on EA is unfounded... right?

No he is saying that EA is actually observing consumer rights at that point which steam is refusing to do even when the legal jurisdiction for the region they are distributing to tell them they need to observe their obligations.... which is very 90's/early 2000's Microsoft
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Flipside on March 21, 2015, 02:19:59 pm
The problem arises with games like Starforge, which ARE declared complete, but actually contain about 10% of the content advertised in the Kickstarter video. Basically, Codehatch took the money, started developing the game, realized that things were more complex than they thought, so they pushed out something that looks like a tech-demo and started trying to develop a rip-off of Medieval Engineers instead.

I'll agree, that's not Steams fault, but there does seem to be a worryingly growing number of consumers who will actually veer more towards the idea that it's the purchasers fault for not reading reviews, rather than the companies fault for releasing a sub-standard product that doesn't do what it said on the tin (and don't even get me started on how screwed consumers are by investing in Kickstarters in the first place).
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Spoon on March 21, 2015, 02:39:45 pm
That people love jumping on the EA hate bandwagon no matter how unfounded that hate might be?


Two things I will say:
1: Steam's return policy is ****awful and I think Origin is a superior service based on that alone.

2: If you buy an early access game that makes it very clear it's early access and you're pissed off that it's incomplete, you have only yourself to blame.
You are not seriously saying that hating on EA is unfounded... right?

No he is saying that EA is actually observing consumer rights at that point which steam is refusing to do even when the legal jurisdiction for the region they are distributing to tell them they need to observe their obligations.... which is very 90's/early 2000's Microsoft
Right, just checking.
(Cause a lot of the EA hate is very much founded)
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 21, 2015, 04:05:17 pm
Problem is people don't think for themselves. Many gamers are young and are influenced by media, you tubers or other peoples opinions. Loud mouths like jim sterling for example or total biscuit. And even though I linked a tb video he is sometimes an opinionated and elitist ahole.

For all games companies I simply consider the content they produce. The games I've played from EA have been enjoyable so don't have a problem. dead space, mirrors edge, battlefield etcetera
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: headdie on March 21, 2015, 06:21:44 pm
Problem is people don't think for themselves. Many gamers are young and are influenced by media, you tubers or other peoples opinions. Loud mouths like jim sterling for example or total biscuit. And even though I linked a tb video he is sometimes an opinionated and elitist ahole.

For all games companies I simply consider the content they produce. The games I've played from EA have been enjoyable so don't have a problem. dead space, mirrors edge, battlefield etcetera

EA loves to do its anti consumerism via stuff like DRM.
Steam is no interest in the quality of 3rd party content it distributes + no cares for consumer rights.
Ubisoft is we are going to make last years game looking better and buggier.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Klaustrophobia on March 22, 2015, 10:54:44 am
vote with your wallets.  pirate ALL the things!!!
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: CP5670 on March 22, 2015, 11:19:12 am
Not surprised by this. Valve is well known to have poor customer service if a problem does arise. As for the platform itself, I think Steam is definitely worse than Origin. Origin has its issues but doesn't force game updates on you and allows you to choose install folders without any restrictions (and without messing with NTFS junction points). I have a lot of Steam games, but they are mostly from Humble Bundle deals. To be honest, I buy most games long after release and pay little enough for them that I think of them as throwaway purchases anyway, so the DRM doesn't really bother me like it used to.

Steam *does not* buy the products they display but rather are paid royalty to *distribute them* from the developer

So no, they are not a store by any means

One interesting consequence of selling internet services instead of physical goods is that they can make a profit at almost any price and don't need to manage their inventory. You can see this difference on Amazon, where the physical copies of games are often significantly cheaper than digital copies because of the need to clear out old stock.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Flaser on March 22, 2015, 12:25:54 pm
Meanwhile on GOG...

Who knows? Apparently GOG Galaxy is moving along nicely, since they started to unbundle games in libraries for easier management and update handling.

As for the whole "Valve's responsible for - X" debate:

Whether you're a shop or a distributor, the real problem (IMHO) isn't that Valve's not handling purchase returns, it's that they don't provide *any* support for the customer to ascertain their lawful rights, namely holding the developer to the promises it made on the platform. Valve could (some say rightfully) argue that complaints and returns should be handled by the developer... however doing *nothing* to aid the customers in this (and no, lawsuits shouldn't be the default action for product related issues) is tantamount to them condoning illegal business practices and the fact that they financially benefit from this negligent behavior makes them accountable in a court of law.

The EU has already given them a warning, in fact I think it's only a matter of time (though this could take *years* given the slowness of EU bureaucracy) until they're hit with fines that *will* hurt them.

Even doing something as simple as taking customer feedback on developers and suspending release rights of the ones with massive bad publicity could go a long way toward restoring customer goodwill.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 22, 2015, 02:40:43 pm
Not surprised by this. Valve is well known to have poor customer service if a problem does arise. As for the platform itself, I think Steam is definitely worse than Origin. Origin has its issues but doesn't force game updates on you and allows you to choose install folders without any restrictions (and without messing with NTFS junction points). I have a lot of Steam games, but they are mostly from Humble Bundle deals. To be honest, I buy most games long after release and pay little enough for them that I think of them as throwaway purchases anyway, so the DRM doesn't really bother me like it used to.

I wish one could turn off Steam updates as well.  Having Steam check for updates every time I launch a game is infuriating.  I have no patience for anything that inconveniences me or gets in the way of my gaming experience.

Another practice that Steam has recently changed is that they've removed a feature of Humble Bundle. Rather than get your game by simply clicking a button, now you'll need to update a code. They added the functionality, and then removed it again. Why? It makes my infringes on my gamer experience. If I get 10 games in a bundle, now I need to enter in 10 codes to unlock them instead of just clicking a button for each one? I'm not 100% sure about this as I haven't actually renewed the last star wars bundle I picked it up, but that is the change as I understand it.

Any such client should be made to be as convenient and as rewarding as possible.  It should enhance the gaming experience, not detract from it. 

It's akin to EA's additional log-on on consoles. I'd pick up an EA game, like Battlefield 1943 and try to load it up and it would ask for my log on information. I'm already on Xbox Live, I don't need ANOTHER log on. And in the end I had problems I never once actually got into a game, though that may have been because the online community had died out.

As a consumer, when I'm looking at a product or platform the question I ask is how does this benefit me? And if a client is being forced upon me and the only incentive is "sales" then that's not sufficient benefit. GOG provides sales and updates to download with no client at all and with no middle man except for DOS box, which is ultimately a necessary evil and one that does not take up a lot of time to launch.

Good business practice, getting an A+ from BBB should involve practices which actively benefit and most importantly EMPOWER the consumer.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: MP-Ryan on March 23, 2015, 11:44:02 pm
It is kind of strange, in a way, when I was young computer games were the first products ever that you couldn't return if you had opened the packaging unless there was physical damage to the disc, and could only get a replacement, not a refund. This was done in the name of anti-piracy, and despite the fact that Steam is, in and of itself, an anti-piracy measure, it's funny how that concept has managed to get itself ingrained into our psyche in just a single generation.

I was just going to ask if anyone else remembered the fact that it has always been nigh-impossible to return games or other software as retail stores refused to accept opened copies, period.

In general, I like Steam.  I research what I buy heavily, I always buy through heavily discounted sales, and I find the social features infinitely better than Origins.  It's also less buggy (though Origin has gotten better).  However, I'm fully aware that it's buyer-beware - if I have a problem, I know Steam support will be virtually non-existent and a refund won't happen.  While I'd like that to change, it has never been enough of a dealbreaker to get me to use another service as my primary distribution platform.

What I don't want to see:  dozens of online distribution platforms, none of which work together in a social community.  Steam and Origin are enough of a pain in the ass together as it is.

If you're railing against online distrbution, always-on or partial connectivity, or DRM measures in modern games, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that ship has sailed.  If I have to pick an evil, I'll take the one with the massive established user base, high-value sales, best ongoing interface development, and largest catalogue.  GOG is wonderful, but it is a niche service.  Origin is still crap - just less of it now - but is only relevant for a small number of titles.  The other platforms are so irrelevant that I'd have to Google the correct names for them these days.  Like it or not, Steam is here to stay.  As consumers, we're better off advocating vigorously for better customer service in it that *****ing and moaning about its services.

BBB ratings are great and all, but they're best taken with a grain of salt these days - they operate on a very small data set.  Valve is right to take them less seriously than social media and industry-related websites; the user base of the BBB is tiny by comparison.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 25, 2015, 04:08:55 pm
Problem is people don't think for themselves. Many gamers are young and are influenced by media, you tubers or other peoples opinions. Loud mouths like jim sterling for example or total biscuit. And even though I linked a tb video he is sometimes an opinionated and elitist ahole.

For all games companies I simply consider the content they produce. The games I've played from EA have been enjoyable so don't have a problem. dead space, mirrors edge, battlefield etcetera

That's a wondrous advantage to having a following that agrees with what you're saying and has thus deemed you a quality source of information

While your opinion of him is yours, that doesn't make him any less of a source to go to when looking for information. He presents his side/opinion
That's typically what you are supposed to do when telling someone what you think of something

Overall though yes, I do agree that there are people who don't really read what they're getting (see shoddy consumer reviews on Steam, prime example being the Payday 2 Complete Overkill Pack, not to be confused with Overkill Pack, or any Early access games). But again, the only person to blame is the consumer unless there was intentionally misleading things posted such as "This game has these features" vs "This game will eventually have these features, but are subject to change and may be scrapped or not even implemented"

Whether or not you're influenced by "x" does not mean you have an out in terms of being aware of what you're buying. Young, old, no matter who you are, it is your job as a consumer to be entirely aware of what you're buying... and if you're not sure, don't get it until you are

Quote
Another practice that Steam has recently changed is that they've removed a feature of Humble Bundle. Rather than get your game by simply clicking a button, now you'll need to update a code. They added the functionality, and then removed it again. Why? It makes my infringes on my gamer experience. If I get 10 games in a bundle, now I need to enter in 10 codes to unlock them instead of just clicking a button for each one? I'm not 100% sure about this as I haven't actually renewed the last star wars bundle I picked it up, but that is the change as I understand it.

Yeah, not entirely sure why they decided to change it up like that. Linking was fine, but I suppose perhaps there were problems? Don't see how it really infringes on anyone's gaming experience, but I suppose I'm a rather laidback person and don't mind redeeming a physical code (which honestly, I prefer because it's easier to give to other people [versus having to make a gift link which is wrought with human error. Example being, someone redeems it to the wrong email address! Then you have to go through some hoops, get that fixed - which in the case of my friend was done relatively swiftly - and yeah, delays everywhere])

Not saying you aren't within your purview to be annoyed by having to redeem physical codes each time, but it's not really all that big of a deal so it's hard for me to understand how it infringes on your gamer experience all that much.

As for Steam automatic updates, how's that different from firmware updates on the PS3 or game updates on consoles? They only update if you're connected to the internet, much like steam, but you're forced to update the games to the next version in order to play them online

Typically though, most people have their automatic updates on as you launch steam, so any game that would need to be updated in order to play has already downloaded the update while you were off doing something else on your computer. Typically, this is a non-issue, but I'm presuming you're the type that disables the automatics and only updates when you launch the game. Easy fix here being, turn automatic on *only* for the games you play a lot of

Lots of simple fixes to simple problems
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Ghostavo on March 25, 2015, 04:55:33 pm
If I buy a cutting edge new game and try to play it on a six year old laptop, when it doesn't work it's my own damn fault.  Steam shouldn't be held accountable to that.

If I buy a cutting edge new game and try to play it on a brand new desktop, when it doesn't work because of a particularly component or driver in use, that's something Steam should be accountable for.

There is also the issue of having a system too new for the game to support.

For instance, I have in my account Solar 2 (http://store.steampowered.com/app/97000) from a bundle at Humble Bundle.

Note the system requirements on the store, specifically the OS:
Quote
OS: Windows XP SP2 or greater

What this doesn't tell you is that if you have Windows 8/8.1 it won't even start, because of some .Net library issue I can't remember.

As games get older and stop being updated/actively supported, this will happen more and more, since game devs don't periodically check if their games work in newer systems.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 25, 2015, 05:30:38 pm
Overall though yes, I do agree that there are people who don't really read what they're getting (see shoddy consumer reviews on Steam, prime example being the Payday 2 Complete Overkill Pack, not to be confused with Overkill Pack, or any Early access games). But again, the only person to blame is the consumer unless there was intentionally misleading things posted such as "This game has these features" vs "This game will eventually have these features, but are subject to change and may be scrapped or not even implemented"

Whether or not you're influenced by "x" does not mean you have an out in terms of being aware of what you're buying. Young, old, no matter who you are, it is your job as a consumer to be entirely aware of what you're buying... and if you're not sure, don't get it until you are

I'm not a believer in the idea that consumers have 100% of the blame for getting shoddy products. It's not the same as going into a store and looking for a specific item. There are laws about how what information is displayed on say a box of cereal, and also how it is displayed.

As far as I know there are no laws pertaining to how a website displays information (except for false advertising).  The way that information is displayed, the manner in which games are recommended or pushed at the consumer is likewise things all under steam's or whatever store's control.  If a person went into say Best Buy or EB Games and the second hand games were intermixed with the brand new games, would a gamer be pissed off if he bought a second hand game by accident? Similarly if Steam for example lumped both early access and full release games into the same display window wouldn't consumers likewise have cause to complain?  This may or may not have happened, don't know.  But I would say that in a situation like that, the store would be at fault as well.

Why doesn't Steam have the capability to filter out games that wont run on the user's current system?  Or at the very least to give warnings if the compatibility is in doubt. THAT would be convenient but it would also mean they'd get less money by ignorant consumers buying **** they can't play. So what impetus is there to implement it?

Not saying you aren't within your purview to be annoyed by having to redeem physical codes each time, but it's not really all that big of a deal so it's hard for me to understand how it infringes on your gamer experience all that much.

Because I have zero patience for anything computer-related that wastes my time.
Computers are supposed to be convenient.  Steam is supposed to be a convenience as well.  Having it waste my time is not convenient. Whether the time wasting comes from it running before I launch every game I play, or the need to authenticate offline mode for all my games.

When I launch my game I want to see my game loading. I don't want to see steam or any other client loading. And I don't want steam to be loading every time I turn on my computer either.

Another example is that a few weeks back I was playing Crysis from a CD/DVD I bought years ago. And while playing it, I got dropped out of the game to be shown an XP window saying that my computer would automatically restart in 15 minutes as a part of an automatic update.  That feature is the single most idiotic update function ever devised by man; forcing a restart in the middle of anything.  Did no one at Microsoft consider that you know, someone might be ****ing busy and in the middle of something when that window popped up? And rather than restart I told it to get lost, and continued to tell it to get lost every couple minutes as I continued to play the game for another 2 hours or so.

As for Steam automatic updates, how's that different from firmware updates on the PS3 or game updates on consoles? They only update if you're connected to the internet, much like steam, but you're forced to update the games to the next version in order to play them online

Typically though, most people have their automatic updates on as you launch steam, so any game that would need to be updated in order to play has already downloaded the update while you were off doing something else on your computer. Typically, this is a non-issue, but I'm presuming you're the type that disables the automatics and only updates when you launch the game. Easy fix here being, turn automatic on *only* for the games you play a lot of

Lots of simple fixes to simple problems

Simple problems which don't need to exist. That are created by a client which is forced upon the consumer.
I don't have any of the problems you list with GOG.com. I simply download my games and play them. I'm notified when I log onto the website of updates and can download them at my leisure. I can take my games anywhere on any device offline or online and never be bothered with log ins, unrelated loading screens, etcetera. It is the epitome of convenient PC gaming.  The only thing not convenient is the need to download and manually install multiple files but that's minor.

I don't equate console loading times or updates to Steam either.  A console starting or updating is equivalent to Windows starting or updating, except that consoles invariably start up faster than my desktop computers. It starts up quickly, occasionally needs an update, and I'm into my game almost immediately.  I've heard that PS3 firmware updates can take hours, my PS3 is still in the box so my only experience is with the 360 and for that Xbox that was never the case.  At the extreme I might have had to wait 10-15 minutes for some major game update but then again I often play games well after their release so I get all the updates in a single dose.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Dragon on March 25, 2015, 06:09:22 pm
Another example is that a few weeks back I was playing Crysis from a CD/DVD I bought years ago. And while playing it, I got dropped out of the game to be shown an XP window saying that my computer would automatically restart in 15 minutes as a part of an automatic update.  That feature is the single most idiotic update function ever devised by man; forcing a restart in the middle of anything.  Did no one at Microsoft consider that you know, someone might be ****ing busy and in the middle of something when that window popped up? And rather than restart I told it to get lost, and continued to tell it to get lost every couple minutes as I continued to play the game for another 2 hours or so.
You know you can tell it to put it off for 4 hours instead? It's right there in the popup. Myself, I went and disabled this "feature", so that even if it tells me it's going to restart itself, it won't, because I denied it permission to do so.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 25, 2015, 06:26:14 pm
Another example is that a few weeks back I was playing Crysis from a CD/DVD I bought years ago. And while playing it, I got dropped out of the game to be shown an XP window saying that my computer would automatically restart in 15 minutes as a part of an automatic update.  That feature is the single most idiotic update function ever devised by man; forcing a restart in the middle of anything.  Did no one at Microsoft consider that you know, someone might be ****ing busy and in the middle of something when that window popped up? And rather than restart I told it to get lost, and continued to tell it to get lost every couple minutes as I continued to play the game for another 2 hours or so.
You know you can tell it to put it off for 4 hours instead? It's right there in the popup. Myself, I went and disabled this "feature", so that even if it tells me it's going to restart itself, it won't, because I denied it permission to do so.

I've never seen any delay for four hours option. I'm still using XP. Looks like this except the button isn't grayed out.

(http://bzupages.net/attachments/7608d1239752329-windows-xp-automatic-restart.gif)

By later it means about "20 minutes" later

Forcing any restart is stupid anyway. Many people will turn off their computers and thus "restart" naturally.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Dragon on March 26, 2015, 06:52:19 am
I've never seen any delay for four hours option. I'm still using XP. Looks like this except the button isn't grayed out.

(http://bzupages.net/attachments/7608d1239752329-windows-xp-automatic-restart.gif)

By later it means about "20 minutes" later

Forcing any restart is stupid anyway. Many people will turn off their computers and thus "restart" naturally.
That's what you get for using an outdated system. :) They got that point some time ago (undoubtedly it wasn't just you who hated this 20 minute delay). The long delay option was in Vista already, I'm using Win7. I don't know if you can turn it off on XP. Some of the stupidity in one version does get fixed a version later.

Well, at least now you don't have to worry about this at all. No more updates for XP, no more restarts.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 27, 2015, 01:50:26 am
Quote
Why doesn't Steam have the capability to filter out games that wont run on the user's current system?  Or at the very least to give warnings if the compatibility is in doubt. THAT would be convenient but it would also mean they'd get less money by ignorant consumers buying **** they can't play. So what impetus is there to implement it?

Perhaps it's just me an my general notion that anyone who owns their computer or plays a lot of games on it are supposed to be aware of their specs. I'll concede on that if it isn't a generally expected thing for someone buying games to know that they can run it on their system.

Though, to be fair on the other hand, sometimes games exceed even recommended specs...

Quote
When I launch my game I want to see my game loading. I don't want to see steam or any other client loading. And I don't want steam to be loading every time I turn on my computer either.

Generally speaking, the less one fights Steam and its doings, the less problems you have. Course, personal preferences considered, it's no wonder there's as many problems as there are in regards to the two of you. That's okay though, desiring more control over how things run on your computer is a fine thing to want and yes, Steam sort of takes some of that control away. Can't argue that

But, this is also the inherent property of the gaming industry as it evolves. Digital distribution is easiest when you get someone else to do it for you, and you typically reach a broader audience. Steam managed to create something that was the most useful thing at the time and others are just now catching up


Quote
I don't equate console loading times or updates to Steam either... ...At the extreme I might have had to wait 10-15 minutes for some major game update but then again I often play games well after their release so I get all the updates in a single dose.

Uh... so you say the two don't really compare... but what you just described is *exactly* the same for Steam...
Major difference being is that PC games typically get more updates than consoles, but the two parallel.


Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 27, 2015, 03:22:07 am
Quote
Why doesn't Steam have the capability to filter out games that wont run on the user's current system?  Or at the very least to give warnings if the compatibility is in doubt. THAT would be convenient but it would also mean they'd get less money by ignorant consumers buying **** they can't play. So what impetus is there to implement it?

Perhaps it's just me an my general notion that anyone who owns their computer or plays a lot of games on it are supposed to be aware of their specs. I'll concede on that if it isn't a generally expected thing for someone buying games to know that they can run it on their system.

Though, to be fair on the other hand, sometimes games exceed even recommended specs...

I've been playing computer games for . .. 20 years? 25 years? Since the Apple IIE days.  Couldn't say what my specs are except for a detail or two. Maybe the graphics card. Certainly no the full extent of it. Have a second tower off a friend, haven't a clue what the performance of that is only that its better than the other computer.  If I try a game, like Crysis, and it doesn't work on the first tower, I try it on the second tower. If it doesn't work on that one, well . . . haven't had that problem yet but let's say I prefer gaming on the consoles for this very reason.

Thing is. People are expected to know their specs but this is an elitist mentality.  This mentality is why consoles are still going strong, because they're more accessible because they're simply more user friendly. I grew up with a friend who was an avid gamer as well. At times he played PC games like Tie Fighter and Starcraft. He could barely turn his PC on. Eventually after a hiatus, after he had money he didn't stick with PC games, he went back to consoles.

Valve/Steam is kind of dumb as well in my opinion with these Steam Machines. They seem to be tryin to buy another corner of the market and get a console-like experience with these boxes. But the biggest problem with them, is that there's a dozen different specs. They're not more accessible at all. What they should do is just make the client help the consumer make informed choices based on their hardware.

If someone dumbed down PC gaming to the point, where someone with no knowledge of their computer could reliably get games that work I suspect there might be a few more players.  That same friend of mine, once picked up a couple of the Mechwarrior games like MW3 mercenaries. He was desperate to play them, but his computer lacked 3d acceleration so they didn't work. Later on, when he had a better computer he and I still couldn't get them to work. 

Gaming shouldn't be that complicated.


Quote
When I launch my game I want to see my game loading. I don't want to see steam or any other client loading. And I don't want steam to be loading every time I turn on my computer either.

Generally speaking, the less one fights Steam and its doings, the less problems you have. Course, personal preferences considered, it's no wonder there's as many problems as there are in regards to the two of you. That's okay though, desiring more control over how things run on your computer is a fine thing to want and yes, Steam sort of takes some of that control away. Can't argue that

But, this is also the inherent property of the gaming industry as it evolves. Digital distribution is easiest when you get someone else to do it for you, and you typically reach a broader audience. Steam managed to create something that was the most useful thing at the time and others are just now catching up

It's very rare that I actually play any game from my Steam library. Given the choice, between a game from GOG and a game from Steam, I'll play a GOG game 9 times out of 10.  Of the six or so games I've played in the last few weeks, only one of them was  from Steam and that was a humble bundle purchase. (spec ops) In fact Total Biscuit did a WTF of a game today, called Ironclash that looks interesting enough to purchase. But rather than pick it up off Steam, I tweeted the company and asked if they'd be releasing on GOG.

I enjoy Steam best when I'm not using it :P

Quote
I don't equate console loading times or updates to Steam either... ...At the extreme I might have had to wait 10-15 minutes for some major game update but then again I often play games well after their release so I get all the updates in a single dose.

Uh... so you say the two don't really compare... but what you just described is *exactly* the same for Steam...
Major difference being is that PC games typically get more updates than consoles, but the two parallel.

As I said, the main issue is that I don't want to see a middle man program loading when I launch my game.  Once I've made my purchase, installed my game, Steam ceases to be anything but DRM. 
And to me it's one of the most offensive types of DRM because it's ALWAYS visible and it's always launching.

Other games need a code, once and they're good. You forget about it.
Other games need a code and a CD in the drive. Annoying certainly, but once it's in there you might play the game until the end and likewise forget about it.

But Steam games? Whenever I launch the game, steam launches. Something I could certainl do without.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 27, 2015, 04:13:28 am
Quote
Thing is. People are expected to know their specs but this is an elitist mentality.

Type dxdiag into run
Boom. Specs.

Quote
But Steam games? Whenever I launch the game, steam launches. Something I could certainl do without.

Launch steam on windows startup
Then go off and eat some breakfast or make some coffee
Return
Click game to play
Steam already launched and loaded, updates done in background while you were off doing stuff like food
Play game

Sure, perhaps you don't want Steam running on your computer...
...but that's the requirement it tells you about when you initially get Steam. If you're annoyed about this... and were aware of this (something they say often, although some games you don't need steam connected at all and can just launch via their .exe directly)... but still got Steam... well...
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 27, 2015, 01:59:00 pm
Sure, perhaps you don't want Steam running on your computer...
...but that's the requirement it tells you about when you initially get Steam. If you're annoyed about this... and were aware of this (something they say often, although some games you don't need steam connected at all and can just launch via their .exe directly)... but still got Steam... well...

Did anyone actually get Steam voluntarily? Did you? I, like most people, was forced to install steam after buying a physical copy of Half Life 2.
People were apparently initially quite pissed off about this. Pissed off about the need for an internet connection to play a physical game. Pissed about having to install a DRM client.  Over the years, a few sales and give aways apparently turned pissed off gamers into unadulterated supporters.  People who defend the client against all criticism, balk at the need for competition like Origin, and shy away from services like GOG in order to confine their gaming experience to a "single platform".

Later on, Valve made old games like Team Fortress 2 free. But despite being free, in order to play these games you needed Steam thus an entirely new generation of gamers was likewise forced to install Steam on their computers. Like a freemium iOS game that gets on your phone for free and asks for money later, so too did Steam get on people's computers through free games and later on sold other games and hats. 

Only now, when Steam is inundated with ****ty games and Valve's own development team has pretty much abandoned single player games, instead focusing on hardware and exclusively multiplayer content developed initially by out of house teams bought into the fold, are people again changing their minds.

The only difference between myself and other gamers is that I never became complacent.  No other company, in all my years of gaming, has ever sold me an incomplete physical game the way that Valve/Steam did.  And their history of single player games is not so great as to warrant the exceptions that people make for the company's shortcomings. So I neither care for them as a platform or as developer.

If I go into a store, and feel insulted or ripped off I shop somewhere.  The real problem with PC gaming, is that for most people they don't have that choice.  You want to be a serious PC gamer you need to work with Steam because so many games are exclusive to the platform. It's a virtual monopoly.  And sales breakdowns for several games that I've seen have pretty much confirmed that.  So personally I shop somewhere else by going to consoles or to GOG or other stores.  But one does really have to wonder, how many people actually truly like Steam? How many people like having this client always on their computer running in the background? How many people enjoy signing another EULA that waives more of their consumer rights? Or do they simply sign it because they're afraid of getting locked out of the many games they have already purchased.  Or is Steam basically a gaming social network and like facebook, some gamers feel lost without it.

Personally I think it's lamentable that one platform has so completely woven itself into the PC gaming experience and I hope for the failure of Steam box because frankly I don't want them to monopolize console/living room gaming as well.  Having one's gaming experience so tied to a single entity is extremely dangerous.  One day Valve and/or Steam is going to be bought up by someone else and everyone will soon find their entire gaming experience tied to a company which they may or may not respect.

As MP Ryan has said, the ship has already sailed. Personally though I'm happy on the shore.





 
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Spoon on March 27, 2015, 02:21:46 pm
An other episode of Akalabeth going "I hate Steam and so should you!" ?
Suprise Suprise
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 27, 2015, 02:31:24 pm
Not really.
The fact that Steam is a virtual monopoly has as much to do with the F rating as any other factor. When you own the market, who cares about customer service and customer rights?  Valve's rating is as bad as it is because they didn't even respond to 538 of the complaints against them. They simply don't seem to care.

As much as buyer beware applies to Steam purchases, user beware applies to steam users. People should be aware of the alternatives and be aware of the potential pitfalls in investing their experiences into a single gaming client.

Consumers are empowered when they have choice and when they exercise that choice. They're at the mercies of the corporations when they have no choice at all.


Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 27, 2015, 07:52:06 pm
Quote
Did anyone actually get Steam voluntarily? Did you?

Yes
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 27, 2015, 08:40:59 pm
Quote
Did anyone actually get Steam voluntarily? Did you?

Yes

In order to play what? A game that was available apart from Steam?
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 28, 2015, 02:20:55 am
Quote
Did anyone actually get Steam voluntarily? Did you?

Yes

In order to play what? A game that was available apart from Steam?

Please state the relevancy of your question so that I may see the point you're going to convey regardless of answer
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 28, 2015, 02:38:00 am
Quote
Did anyone actually get Steam voluntarily? Did you?

Yes

In order to play what? A game that was available apart from Steam?

Please state the relevancy of your question so that I may see the point you're going to convey regardless of answer

You are in all likelihood fully aware of the point I'm making which is why you have evaded answering the question.

"Voluntarily"means you're doing something free of obligation. If the game you first installed Steam to play was not available on any other platform you had access to then the choice was not voluntary. It was obligatory.
Only if a person has a choice between playing a game free from Steam and playing the same game bound by Steam is the choice truly voluntary. 

Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Flipside on March 28, 2015, 03:37:15 am
Well, there is a third choice, which is 'don't buy the game', it's the one course of action that many people tend not to consider, but also the only course of action that will ever really stand a chance of having a meaningful impact. In fact, one of my largest complaints about Origin was that it actually told me it had to be installed to play the game after buying a physical DVD (I think it was the Sims 3, or maybe a Need For Speed), that always kind of irked me, had I read the box when I picked it up, I would probably have thought twice about it. I did have something similar for Steam with Half-Life 2, but it wasn't compulsory to install Steam to play the game, merely recommended.

I'm not standing in judgement of people who do buy them, heck, I'm one of those people, but the bottom line is the only line that will eventually cause a service to re-evaluate itself.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 28, 2015, 04:25:20 am
Quote
You are in all likelihood fully aware of the point I'm making which is why you have evaded answering the question.

Unlike that particular statement, I prefer not to assume to know what weight the question carries and instead look for the person asking it, to clarify

I had my theory however

Quote
If the game you first installed Steam to play was not available on any other platform you had access to then the choice was not voluntary. It was obligatory.

Technically yes, you are obligated to install Steam in order to play the game. However, if you were aware of that fact and got it anyways... that makes it "voluntary"

Secondly: "done or given because you want to and not because you are forced to : done or given by choice"
To explain my point of posting the definition of "voluntarily" here, note the key words "done because you want to". Yes, you're obligated (or "forced") to install Steam on your computer to play the game, but if the consumer knew that and went ahead with it... they did so voluntarily

Afterall, one *chose* to put Steam on the computer while being *aware* of its requirement to play the game you *chose* to buy
A lot of choosing and personal freedom being exerted here. If you were aware and didn't agree, as Flipside stated, secret option c: don't buy the game. Afterall, no one is forcing you to buy the product which requires Steam.
Spoiler:
Though, there's actually an even more secret option "P"

If you were not aware, the situation changes. I haven't checked physical boxes lately, so I don't know if they say Steam Required to Play on them


But in spirit of actually answering your question, technically speaking I didn't get Steam to play a game. I got Steam to redeem a two coupons I got for free, one via Valve themselves, and another from an Unreal Engine Level Design textbook

Portal and UT3

At the time, I already owned Portal for PS3 on Orange Box and my computer couldn't run either games regardless
(The Valve Portal code being part of a promotion they did which I went sure, why not. I knew I needed to download Steam, but went ahead anyways because I made a voluntary choice to get it)
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: CP5670 on March 28, 2015, 01:18:42 pm
Quote
If you're railing against online distrbution, always-on or partial connectivity, or DRM measures in modern games, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that ship has sailed.  If I have to pick an evil, I'll take the one with the massive established user base, high-value sales, best ongoing interface development, and largest catalogue.  GOG is wonderful, but it is a niche service.  Origin is still crap - just less of it now - but is only relevant for a small number of titles.  The other platforms are so irrelevant that I'd have to Google the correct names for them these days.  Like it or not, Steam is here to stay.  As consumers, we're better off advocating vigorously for better customer service in it that *****ing and moaning about its services.

The only way we will get better customer service is through competition with other platforms that offer such service. Not saying Origin has that, but more platforms is a good thing because it's the only way to get Steam to improve in any respect.

Quote
Another example is that a few weeks back I was playing Crysis from a CD/DVD I bought years ago. And while playing it, I got dropped out of the game to be shown an XP window saying that my computer would automatically restart in 15 minutes as a part of an automatic update.  That feature is the single most idiotic update function ever devised by man; forcing a restart in the middle of anything.  Did no one at Microsoft consider that you know, someone might be ****ing busy and in the middle of something when that window popped up? And rather than restart I told it to get lost, and continued to tell it to get lost every couple minutes as I continued to play the game for another 2 hours or so.

You might as well just disable automatic Windows updates. There is no point in having them for XP, which hasn't had any updates in a long time. I have them disabled in 8.1 as well, and apply the updates manually every now and then. In my experience, an automatic update is as likely to break something as providing any noticeable improvement.

In terms of games, this is one of my major annoyances with Steam as I said earlier. It forces you to update games at all times, with no information given on what the updates actually do, and won't let you open games if it thinks they are too out of date. Unchecked updates often break mods, no intro fixes and occasionally saved games.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 28, 2015, 02:34:02 pm
Technically yes, you are obligated to install Steam in order to play the game. However, if you were aware of that fact and got it anyways... that makes it "voluntary"

Secondly: "done or given because you want to and not because you are forced to : done or given by choice"
To explain my point of posting the definition of "voluntarily" here, note the key words "done because you want to". Yes, you're obligated (or "forced") to install Steam on your computer to play the game, but if the consumer knew that and went ahead with it... they did so voluntarily

As I said, Voluntarily means you actually have choice.

I can voluntarily buy and play Halo 3.
I cannot voluntarily play Halo 3 on the Xbox 360.  Because the 360 was only platform it was available for, I was obligated to buy one in order to play Halo 3.

IF something is tied to a platform, then playing the game means that in that case the platform is not voluntary

But in spirit of actually answering your question, technically speaking I didn't get Steam to play a game. I got Steam to redeem a two coupons I got for free, one via Valve themselves, and another from an Unreal Engine Level Design textbook

Portal and UT3

At the time, I already owned Portal for PS3 on Orange Box and my computer couldn't run either games regardless
(The Valve Portal code being part of a promotion they did which I went sure, why not. I knew I needed to download Steam, but went ahead anyways because I made a voluntary choice to get it)

Yes, this would count as voluntary.
But hey, not bad marketing huh? For the price of giving someone a free, lower priced game, they get the client on the computer, probably permanently.  And since then you've probably bought tens, or hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of games on the client, making Steam/Valve a good sum in return.  Even if someone only spent 100 dollars on Steam, giving them a free 10 dollar game costs them pretty much nothing beyond bandwidth and makes 33 dollars in exchange.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 28, 2015, 05:18:17 pm
And here's a simple test that PC gamers who use Steam can ask themselves.

#1 Do you feel that you could be a gamer on PC without using Steam?
#2 If the answer is no, do you expect to spend more money on games on Steam in the future?

And if the answer to #2 is yes, then the person is basically trapped. Trapped in a cycle of playing on Steam and continuing to spend money on Steam. Perpetually, never-ending etcetera.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 28, 2015, 05:32:50 pm
Quote
As I said, Voluntarily means you actually have choice.

I can voluntarily buy and play Halo 3.
I cannot voluntarily play Halo 3 on the Xbox 360.  Because the 360 was only platform it was available for, I was obligated to buy one in order to play Halo 3.

If you voluntarily bought Halo 3, you already knew it was for Xbox 360 unless you're an ill informed consumer and don't understand the concept of exclusives
Thus you are aware of what you're doing and thus agree with it
If you didn't, you wouldn't buy the game

That's not forcing you to do anything you don't want to do, since at any point you can say "no" and not do it
Key thing to note here being, is that the consequences of not doing something here, are just that you don't get to play the game - a concept that's been around since the dawn of time. This is not a new thing, exclusives

But I can see the point you're trying to convey, which is that all games should be available anywhere anytime without restriction because you disagree with the concept of exclusives. To make an exclusive is to take away your choice of platform and creating an "obligation" you don't want

You want absolute choice. And I suppose neither or us are wrong in terms of how we view what a choice is (since viewing something as voluntary or as an obligation is a matter of subjective interpretation. I like my job, thus it doesn't feel like I'm obligated to do the tasks at hand, despite if I don't do them I get fired and lose my job. Your argument there is that doing that job is not voluntary because of the obligation is order to keep the job. My point is, feeling obligated and being obligated are two different things. Related, yes, but different in the sense that if you don't feel obligated, you feel free, like you're making your own choice)

Though if you really want to think about your definition of voluntarily doing something, we are obligated to live. We don't have a choice to live because somewhere down the road we are obligated to drink water or eat food in order to live. Nothing we do in life is actually voluntary as there is an obligation somewhere making whatever choice we make, actually not so voluntary

Examples: I am obligated to breathe, drink and eat in order to live
I make a choice to get a job, but I am obligated to work to their standards or I lose the job
I make a choice to live in a city, but I am obligated to pay money in order to do so which requires me to get the job that I choose which see example two
I make a choice to buy a game, but I am obligated to get a system which can play it, whether it be an Xbox, PS, Nintendo, or PC
I make a choice to buy an exclusive game, which makes me obligated to get a particular system

All of these are choices, but all of this end with an obligation to do something. Does that make them all inherently not a choice?

Doing something voluntarily is best described as doing something while being aware of the obligations that it carries with it. Otherwise, you can choose not to accept the obligations that your choice carries with it, and thus you don't choose to buy the game, work that job, or live your life
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Droid803 on March 28, 2015, 05:44:47 pm
You can always choose not to buy or play any games.
That alone makes it voluntary.

#1 Do you feel that you could be a gamer on PC without using Steam?

The answer to this is Yes.
There are plenty of PC games not tied to Steam, some which are very very popular, and are all some people play.
Steam does not have anything remotely close to a monopoly on the PC gaming market. They're just quite a convenient place to get them.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: jr2 on March 28, 2015, 06:07:21 pm
Another example is that a few weeks back I was playing Crysis from a CD/DVD I bought years ago. And while playing it, I got dropped out of the game to be shown an XP window saying that my computer would automatically restart in 15 minutes as a part of an automatic update.  That feature is the single most idiotic update function ever devised by man; forcing a restart in the middle of anything.  Did no one at Microsoft consider that you know, someone might be ****ing busy and in the middle of something when that window popped up? And rather than restart I told it to get lost, and continued to tell it to get lost every couple minutes as I continued to play the game for another 2 hours or so.
You know you can tell it to put it off for 4 hours instead? It's right there in the popup. Myself, I went and disabled this "feature", so that even if it tells me it's going to restart itself, it won't, because I denied it permission to do so.

I've never seen any delay for four hours option. I'm still using XP. Looks like this except the button isn't grayed out.

(http://bzupages.net/attachments/7608d1239752329-windows-xp-automatic-restart.gif)

By later it means about "20 minutes" later

Forcing any restart is stupid anyway. Many people will turn off their computers and thus "restart" naturally.


http://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/555444


Quote
It is always recommended to have a good backup of Windows registry before dealing with it. To know more about backing up Windows registry, visit:
 
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?kbid=322756
 
Go to registry editor and navigate to the following registry key:
 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Policies \Microsoft\Windows \WindowsUpdate\AU
 
Change the "NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers" DWord value to the required number.
 
0 = False (Allow auto-reboot)
1 = True (Disallow auto-reboot)
 
Save and restart Windows Operating system.

Article ID: 555444 - Last Review: August 30, 2005 - Revision: 1.0
APPLIES TO
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2002
Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 1
Keywords:
kbpubmvp kbpubtypecca kbhowto KB555444
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: headdie on March 28, 2015, 06:09:47 pm
I must say jr2, for a knowledgeable person a regedit is a pain, to the non technical.... RUN FOR THE HILLS
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: jr2 on March 28, 2015, 06:24:57 pm
Err... better use it more often, then. :nod: Triple-check yourself before changing anything -- watch where you are on the bottom of the Regedit window (see pic), but... System Restore will work in case of errors unless you take a sawed off shotgun to the registry with your delete button.  Even then it would just be a matter of restoring old registry hive file versions using another operating system from a CD {say, F4UBCD or Hiren's}  or similar. 

Windows Registry file locations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Registry#Windows_NT)

In this instance, I'm looking at one location in the registry that acts to start applications with the OS, similar to the way the StartUp folder does, and this is in the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run   (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is aka HKLM)

(http://i57.tinypic.com/2enmfmh.png)


It's not that hard, really, it's just people freak out because it's very powerful and doesn't hold your hand.  If you were just learning a PC, you would probably feel the same way about the Control Panel.  ;)
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: headdie on March 28, 2015, 06:28:24 pm
which is why I triple check every change lol
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 28, 2015, 07:40:40 pm
You can always choose not to buy or play any games.
That alone makes it voluntary.

#1 Do you feel that you could be a gamer on PC without using Steam?

The answer to this is Yes.
There are plenty of PC games not tied to Steam, some which are very very popular, and are all some people play.
Steam does not have anything remotely close to a monopoly on the PC gaming market. They're just quite a convenient place to get them.

75% of all PC games sold online are sold through Steam.
Monopoly isn't only about having absolute control, it's also about having enough control to manipulate the prices and if one argues that Steam sales already manipulate the market them the monopoly may already be in place.


But I can see the point you're trying to convey, which is that all games should be available anywhere anytime without restriction because you disagree with the concept of exclusives. To make an exclusive is to take away your choice of platform and creating an "obligation" you don't want

I don't disagree with exclusives. I disagree with the trend of turning the PC into a closed platform wherein so many games are tied to a single entity.  The same client that is on the Mac, Linux and now trying to enter into the console market after previous generations of consoles denied them access (specifically the 360).   Nothing is more frightening than having the sum of both PC/Mac/Linux and console gaming all tied to a single client. I don't believe any company should have that amount of power.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 28, 2015, 09:36:55 pm
Quote
75% of all PC games sold online are sold through Steam.

Citation required

Quote
I don't disagree with exclusives

Then don't use an exclusive as an example. It gives the wrong impression

Quote
Nothing is more frightening than having the sum of both PC/Mac/Linux and console gaming all tied to a single client.

How is this frightening? That and technically speaking, I can already use my laptop and Steam to game away in the living room (effectively replacing my PS3) through HDMI connections. Steam Box just makes it a little easier

Quote
I don't believe any company should have that amount of power.

I will then presume you don't really like monopolies in general
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 28, 2015, 10:29:28 pm
Quote
75% of all PC games sold online are sold through Steam.

Citation required

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-04/valve-lines-up-console-partners-in-challenge-to-microsoft-sony

Estimated they generated 1.1 billion in 2012

"Valve captures 75 percent of the global market for digital PC games through its Steam store, researcher IHS Screen Digest has estimated. While the company doesn’t disclose sales, digital distribution of PC games this year will comprise $5.5 billion of the $21.4 billion computer games market, according to DFC Intelligence, another researcher. IHS estimates Valve generated $1.1 billion in 2012 from full-game downloads."

Article Written November 2013

Their market share may be even higher this year.

Not only that, but digital sales for PC is estimated at 92% of all PC games sold:

http://www.pcr-online.biz/news/read/digital-sales-make-up-92-of-global-game-revenues/034551

Thus if the figures are accurate, 70% of all games for PC are sold/downloaded via Steam.

Quote
Quote
I don't disagree with exclusives

Then don't use an exclusive as an example. It gives the wrong impression

I didn't. I used an exclusive in an analogy.



Quote
Quote
Nothing is more frightening than having the sum of both PC/Mac/Linux and console gaming all tied to a single client.

How is this frightening? That and technically speaking, I can already use my laptop and Steam to game away in the living room (effectively replacing my PS3) through HDMI connections. Steam Box just makes it a little easier

Because I don't trust corporations. They're out to make money, and the only thing keeping them comparatively honest is competition.



Quote

I will then presume you don't really like monopolies in general

Who does? Power corrupts.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: deathfun on March 28, 2015, 11:21:26 pm
Quote
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-11-04/valve-lines-up-console-partners-in-challenge-to-microsoft-sony

Estimated they generated 1.1 billion in 2012

Not bad

Quote
I didn't. I used an exclusive in an analogy.

Analogy that looked very close to an example, but I'll concede that

Quote
Because I don't trust corporations. They're out to make money, and the only thing keeping them comparatively honest is competition.

Uh... isn't the point of a company/corporation to make money? That's pretty well their main prerogative, to ensure profits across the board
Competition doesn't keep companies honest, it keeps them competitive. Laws keep them honest, and there are laws in place to keep companies from doing shady things like price-fixing.
http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/h_00112.html

Steam also does not set the prices, the developers of the games they distribute set the prices
Sidenote: Steam encroaching on the areas of the Xbox, PS and Nintendo world is adding to the competition, not taking away from it

Quote
Who does? Power corrupts.

And generally when someone abuses their power, people come up and do something about it. If you feel Steam is abusing that power, immediately stop using it, create a movement protesting against it, and see if it catches on

However, I haven't seen them abuse that power and are simply trying to gain more profits, something most companies try to do.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Akalabeth Angel on March 28, 2015, 11:29:30 pm
And generally when someone abuses their power, people come up and do something about it. If you feel Steam is abusing that power, immediately stop using it, create a movement protesting against it, and see if it catches on

However, I haven't seen them abuse that power and are simply trying to gain more profits, something most companies try to do.

Getting European Users to waive their legal rights isn't an abuse of power?
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Scotty on March 29, 2015, 12:13:19 am
The whole thread

Apparently I wasn't clear enough.  Akalabeth, this is not the place to get on your soapbox about Steam, and I thought I'd made that clear (and hoped my earlier posting in this thread might help).  Apparently I did not.

So, how's this for clear?  Thread locked.
Title: Re: Valve receives an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau
Post by: Scotty on March 29, 2015, 02:38:08 am
Hey Akalabeth if you want to ***** at me about censoring you (lol) and want a response it probably helps to not have me on ignore.

Thread's still locked though.