Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why does Valve have such a good reputation among gamers?

For a reason that I cannot really comprehend, Valve Corporation has a really good reputation among the vast majority of gamers. They seem to consider it a "cool" company, a company to like and root for, and to be a fan of.

I really can't understand where this reputation is coming from. It's completely undeserved, and quite false.

Hardly a month goes by without yet another controversy surrounding Valve. Famous internet critics semi-regularly criticize Valve for yet another antic of theirs, and how they fail their customers, or engage in dubious activity. In some cases this even results in a big customer revolt.

The latest case, which is by far not the only one, is the CS-Go gambling debacle. I'm not going to repeat it here because it's easy to google for it, but long story short, from the perspective of Valve: Valve knew perfectly well, for several years, that illegal (or at the very least legally dubious) gambling was being performed by third-parties using Valve's intellectual property, and Valve did absolutely nothing about it. No statements, no policies, nothing. On the contrary, since Steam supports selling and purchasing of virtual goods related to this, Valve was gaining a profit from each sale.

It was only when a really high profile case surfaced, where the owner of such a gambling site engaged in highly illegal activities, resulting in a class action lawsuit, and this resulted in an uproar, did Valve finally shit their pants and issued a statement denying the rights to use their IP for such purposes. But only then. When this had been going on for years, and Valve knew perfectly well about it.

This is just one of the most high profile recent cases. It's not the only one.

In general, Valve doesn't really care about its customers, their privacy, or their activities, or anything, really, as long as it doesn't affect their profits and doesn't threat them legally. Petitions by users to improve things like privacy go completely ignored by Valve. Valve simply doesn't care. It is only when an enormous consumer revolt happens, which threatens their profits or reputation, that Valve will do something. Anything less than that, and they just don't care.

Yet Valve's good, and rather unearned and unjustified, reputation persists, for some strange reason. Valve has a huge fanbase, which will even go out their way to defend Valve if somebody criticizes them, or petitions for improvements that would benefit customers.

I really can't understand why Valve has such a good reputation. Other companies don't. Especially gamers, and computer savvy people in general, are highly critical of corporations like Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Facebook. Yet these exact same people will furiously defend Valve against criticism, even though Valve has done some rather questionable stuff completely worthy of those other corporations.

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