Yet another steam (Digital Distro) thread

PC : Turn based WW2 goodness in the mold of Panzer General. This promises to be a true classic!

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Rudankort
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Post by Rudankort » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:00 pm

Xiggy wrote:I buy games from steam, Impulse, Matrix,Battlefront, etc. They all have their good points and bad points. The biggest issue I have with steam at the moment is they are isolating online gamers. If you buy a game on steam, you play online with other steam gamers ONLY. That fractures the community.
Interesting, is it mandatory for all games which go to Steam? Is this anywhere in their rules?

kop101
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Post by kop101 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:17 pm

Xiggy wrote:The biggest issue I have with steam at the moment is they are isolating online gamers. If you buy a game on steam, you play online with other steam gamers ONLY. That fractures the community.
As an Example, A very popular RTS Company of Heroes, has had something 65 million games played on there network. The people that purchase it on steam, cant interface with that community. They can just play with the people who bought the game on steam. This is a business model Steam chose. I am not sure it is good for the gamer/customer.
Completely wrong! I own CoH collection and a lot of other multiplayer games on steam and never experienced or even heard about such ridiculous things...Do you have any proof?

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Post by Xiggy » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:21 pm

Most of the newer games on steam have their network code pointing to steam servers. It is hard coded. The original supreme commander series was re-released on steam and all network code replaced. So since some of my friends purchased it recently on steam, the only way we can play together is if I buy a 2nd copy on steam. Some of my friends have the steam copy, and some the GPGnet (Gas Powered Games version) copy.

The is a relatively new thing. It surprised me as well. I own the original boxed supreme commander forged alliance. So I know this is true. Just cause you can play online, does not mean that you are playing against the entire community. The steam community has over 3 million people online most days.
Last edited by Xiggy on Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kop101
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Post by kop101 » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:33 pm

that's obviously developers issue, not steam
http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/s ... ?t=2172088
You are assuming such occasion is steam policy for all games, and it's not true. And now Rudankort is kinda confused about it :)

Xiggy
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Post by Xiggy » Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:39 pm

Thanks Kop. This will make my gaming weekend. We are having a LAN party for the next 4 days.

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Post by steelwarrior » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:20 am

I belive you would do great on Steam - just check out all the Paradox Games there selling in between 20-40€ and have good numbers - Paradox even wants to stop boxed games because of the good sale on platforms like Steam - your ratings in tes magazines are also great - so why not try it - i also buy nearly all games from Steam - for you guys I made and exception ;-)

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Post by Rudankort » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:18 pm

steelwarrior wrote:I belive you would do great on Steam - just check out all the Paradox Games there selling in between 20-40€ and have good numbers - Paradox even wants to stop boxed games because of the good sale on platforms like Steam - your ratings in tes magazines are also great - so why not try it - i also buy nearly all games from Steam - for you guys I made and exception ;-)
What numbers are good for Paradox exactly? And where did they state that they wanted to stop boxed games? Always useful to know more. :)

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Post by VPaulus » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:24 pm

Rudankort wrote:What numbers are good for Paradox exactly? And where did they state that they wanted to stop boxed games? Always useful to know more. :)
http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/07/06/parad ... 0&ns_fee=0

http://www.destructoid.com/paradox-brin ... 5109.phtml

Magika (9,99€), Hearts of Iron III (9,99€) and Cities in Motion (19,99€)

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Post by VPaulus » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:50 pm

Spiderweb (Jeff Vogel) and his first game on Steam:
http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2011/08/ ... steam.html
A couple months later:
http://jeff-vogel.blogspot.com/2011/11/ ... steam.html

This an indie developer not a small developer like Slitherine.

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Re: Yet another steam (Digital Distro) thread

Post by impar » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:06 pm

Ok, the following was the post I wrote while reading through the thread.
Some points were already addressed but am posting this anyway because am lazy to edit it. :wink:
Raisti wrote:I ask again now because even Stardock now releases on Steam and as you may know the CEO of Stardock (Brad Wardell) was a real Steam hater.
Stardock sold its own DD platform Impulse to Gamestop. They just went for the top dog in DD.
Rudankort wrote:- You seem to assume that everybody can sell on Steam if he wants to. This is not the case. It is always their decision to list the game or not, and they tend to prefer to work with bigger budget titles.
:?:
There are several indie developers selling in Steam.
http://store.steampowered.com/genre/Indie/
Rudankort wrote:- Even if they do accept the game, prior to that the negotiations will take place, and on that stage they will press the developer to reduce the price to the normal level users of Steam expect. Their goal is to have the prices consistent across the catalog. They are NOT interested in listing more games which nobody would buy.
No idea if that is how it works, but having PzC in Steam will make many more sales, balancing the lower price with higher sales.
Rudankort wrote:- Even if we are allowed to have any price we want, there are customer expectations. It is no secret that the graphics in Panzer Corps is not up to modern standards. For example, the screenshots from Sins of a solar empire you mentioned look much more impressive. Just look at user comments about Panzer Corps on more mainstream sites - they are all about outdated graphics and too high price. We cannot really expect to sell the game on mainstream sites without adjusting the price to customer expectations there. Then, and only then we can hope to sell more copies than we are selling now.
Customer expectations and price...
Can you check how many copies of PzC have been sold by the usual Slitherine\Matrix stores with the recent 50% discount?
Can you imagine how many more copies would have been sold if PzC was displayed on Steams front page?
Rudankort wrote:- And here comes the most important question. Why do you think that the mass market model is equally good for all games and all developers? Small companies simply cannot cope with the number of support requests if they sell a lot of copies for low price. This can easily eat up all development resources and completely stall any new development. More users means all kinds of new problems like MP server overload and the need to purchase and maintain more hardware. And so on. For this reason, you need to think twice before going this way. All games are different, and there is no universal solution.
Reagrding support requests, PzC is a pretty mature product now, would be surprised if there would be many new problems popping out.
Regarding server capacity, ever heard of Steamworks?
http://steampowered.com/steamworks/
Rudankort wrote:In fact, we are always considering new sales channeles, and at some point in the future Panzer Corps might appear there.
Good.
If it gets released make sure that Steam friends popups appear.
Aloo wrote:
kjeld111 wrote: the game has a very solid Metacritic score, both from the press and the public.
This is the place where I found out about the game. Next thing I did was to look for it on steam.
I read about PzC on RPS, first thing I did was to google: steam panzer corps.
Rudankort wrote:Yeah, I checked their forum as soon as I got the link from you. So, according to their site, this forum has 350 topics and 1476 posts. View counts are hundreds, thousands at best. In direct comparision with this forum these numbers are not impressive. Although such comparision does not tell the full story of course. I also tried to compare HoI forum with Half-Life 2 - there are several forums on that series, and the biggest post counts are like 30000 and 118000. So roughly 100 times more. Probably not bad if HoI sold 100 times less than Half Life. But all this is so speculative.
That would be an unfair comparison. HoI3 also has its own forum:
http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/for ... -of-Iron-3
Rudankort wrote: If you Steam guys are willing to help us with this, we would appreciate some hard data. Can you give some more examples of games similar to PzC and how much they cost (I see only russian prices myself)? Were there any indications, in interviews or whatever, about the sale numbers those games managed to achieve? Any info like that would help.
You can watch any Steam price by adding "?cc=XX" to the end of the Steam store link, without the "" and where XX is the country code. ?cc=de for Germany, ?cc=uk for UK, ?cc=us for USA, ?cc=fr for France, etc. Just make sure to return to your default country (in your case ?cc=ru).
Also, check these:
- http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011 ... -sales.ars
- http://www.bit-tech.net/news/gaming/200 ... revealed/1
- http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/opinion-retail-vs-steam

Steam also has a Steam stats page:
http://store.steampowered.com/stats/
You can see there how many Steam gamers, who are online, are playing what.
Xiggy wrote:I buy games from steam, Impulse, Matrix,Battlefront, etc. They all have their good points and bad points. The biggest issue I have with steam at the moment is they are isolating online gamers. If you buy a game on steam, you play online with other steam gamers ONLY. That fractures the community.
It depends on how the MP is structured.
If you want to talk about gaming community fracturation, we can talk about BF3s Battlelog thingie. Thats fracturation!

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Post by Rudankort » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:40 pm

Guys, thanks for the links. Interesting read.

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Post by docmorningstar » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:22 am

I'll chip in my 2c

I think the biggest attraction to steam vs 'other' digital DL formats (even direct from dev/producer) is that it keeps track of all of your games and makes them available when you move on.

I for instance own several flavors of Hearts of Iron II (base + all expansions) and it was *really* obnoxious to keep track all of my key-codes etc, as I moved PCs 2x over the lifespan of that game. Now that they are on steam, that annoyance is *gone* - not only that, but if I go on vacation to visit my in laws, and I want to 'sell' someone on the game, I can just hop into my steam account and install it. Easy.

Yeah, I could keep track of it through Pdox's store, but its just easier on steam.

I am worried about this same issue with my slitherine games. I own 5, 6, slitherine games, and if I ever reformat or lose my keys, I am screwed.

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Post by impar » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:28 am

Yep, the ease of use, I mentioned it in some other thread.
Might as well post here too:
impar wrote:Let me explain what happens whenever I buy DLCs from the mentioned Digital Distribution Platforms.
I buy the original game, I buy X number of DLCs. I play the game+DLCs until I either uninstall them or format the system. Prior to uninstaling the game or formatting the system I can backup the game installation folder or backup the game itself into a .exe file.
When I want to play the game again, I can (1) just re-download the entire game+DLCs at 30Mb\s, (2) put back the backuped game folder into the DD platform folder and verify the game integrity, (3) install the original game via the backuped .exe file. The platform will automatically keep the games updated using the 30Mb\s connection, some will even keep my custom key configuration and save files.
On all of these three options the installation of the game and DLCs is made in three, or less, user actions using the full available internet connection.

In PzC I have to keep the original game file and serial key, the last patch, the 39 GC DLC file and the 39 GC DLC serial key, the 40 GC DLC file and the 40 GC serial key, the 41 GC DLC file and the 41 GC DLC serial key, ... 42, 43, 44 and 45. Afrika Korps DLC? Pacific DLC?
I have to manually install the game using the game serial key, the last patch, the 39 GC using the 39 GC serial key, the 40 GC using the 40 GC serial key, the 41 GC using the 41 serial key, ... 42, 43, 44 and 45.
How many user actions?
And yes, I know PzC can be updated automatically, but at what speed?

rezaf
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Post by rezaf » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:32 am

The PayPal issue pointed out a different thing in favor of adapting a third person service like Steam: they do the infrastructure for you.
Matrix/Slitherine have no way to take preorders, a very unwieldy method of delivering updates with DLCs and no way to gift games (it's been "coming soon" for years and years now).

None of these things have been remotely critical for me so far, but preorders and gift-functionality ain't exactly rocket science...
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Post by IainMcNeil » Tue Dec 06, 2011 10:35 am

Just to be clear - you can register your serial to your Slitherine account at any time. It automatically registers it if you ever play multiplayer. Once regsitered you are able to download your games again whenever you want. Even if you dont register we can still look up your orders by e-mail, address etc and re-issue download links. It's not as seamless as steam right now because they force you to authenticate on line and use their software to deliver the files direct to your machine. We do not have the restrictions that come with this type of DRM but it does mean you have to manually download and install the files.

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Post by Longasc » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:44 pm

The OP actually didn't want to start this, but with such blatant "oh Steam is sooo convenient" talk I cannot help to point out that there are downsides as well.

1. Modding Steam games.
That's the reason why people who bought Mount & Blade via Steam later downloaded it from the homepage of the developer.

2. Forced Steam game updates.
Steam patches are so thoroughly tested that they are always perfect.
As seen with the latest Skyrim patch.
Dragon are now flying backward and your resistances are gone and some crash now entering dungeons for no apparent reason.

3. Binding yourself to the Steam platform
for future expansions, updates etc.

4. Restrictions for developers when releasing games on Steam
I recommend reading Notch, the maker of Minecraft on this matter: http://notch.tumblr.com/post/9550850116 ... team-notch

5. Gabe Newell is watching you
I do not only want it "private" when I played how much, I do not think you should be allowed to track what I am playing and doing and so on without my explicit consent, Steam.


I am all for digital distribution, but the walled garden and master account approaches in the field and the predominance of Steam are not good. Many major games are not available on Steam as EA with Origin and Blizzard-Activision want to sell their stuff themselves over their own download infrastructure and bind customers this way, without the middle man Steam.



But who needs all that, convenience is king?!

rezaf
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Post by rezaf » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:49 pm

Just to clarify Longasc, I'm not a big steam fan, tend to avoid it like the plague and have already purchased Panzer Corps long ago... :wink:
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docmorningstar
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Post by docmorningstar » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:03 pm

Yah

It's not that the 'old' way of doing things is that hard, it's just that the 'new' way is a heck of alot easier.

impar's point is a particularly good one esp with the DLC. Having to keep track of 10+ key codes is kind of annoying, and having to try and track down 10+ key codes if you 'lose' them is even more annoying.

Finally, integrated payment means people are waaaay more likely to buy DLC. It is so easy to see there is DLC, click on it 'ooh shiny' and the CC linked account means instant DLC....

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Post by Longasc » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:03 pm

I wasn't directing this at anyone in particular, no worries (@rezaf).

docmorningstar
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Post by docmorningstar » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:32 pm

iainmcneil wrote:Just to be clear - you can register your serial to your Slitherine account at any time. It automatically registers it if you ever play multiplayer. Once regsitered you are able to download your games again whenever you want. Even if you dont register we can still look up your orders by e-mail, address etc and re-issue download links. It's not as seamless as steam right now because they force you to authenticate on line and use their software to deliver the files direct to your machine. We do not have the restrictions that come with this type of DRM but it does mean you have to manually download and install the files.
Hrm

I was unaware of the register serial -> slitherine account. . . .

And I did attempt to have someone look up a game of mine (CEAW) that I couldn't find the key to. Noone ever got back to me, and I ended up putting my old HD back into my box and digging the key out of that system. Frustrating.

BUT

being able to register all my games is super-awesome, since I think I own like 7 or 8 of them now... That addresses my major + with Steam

The comment about mods and forced updates brings up a very good question though:

what percentage of game owners are active users of mods, and, what portion of the community 'care' what version they are on?

I have always suspected that it is the vocal minority who are active in the forums, who participate in mods, and who really have specific issues with specific patch numbers. I *think* that MANY (MOST?) gamers never download a mod for anything, never read the patch notes, etc.

Since forum posters (and devs...) tend to be 'more active' anyways, I think they tend to forget that for the average joe gamer, mods, patches, and the fine details are non-existent.

A game like PzC, to me, seems like it can actually attract both sets of gamers: the hardcore mod community as well as the 'soft' wargamer who just wants to move some tankies around...

I also find that I tend to float between the two categories. In my opinion, Steam captures the non-hardcore community much, much better.


In my magic happy world, a game like PzC would be available on both Steam, and through the 'normal' distribution channels. The game would share a key between both avenues, so that the casual gamer can more easily get into a game, hardcore players can get the full version for modding goodness, and casual players can become hardcore if they like the game enough.

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