Thursday, February 9, 2017

Some people don't accept Steam's monopoly status

When it comes to digital purchases of PC games, Steam has a de facto monopoly status. There are no viable alternatives to it, and thus you are pretty much stuck with Steam, for good or bad, if you are an avid PC gamer.

Having a monopoly status can be a detrimental thing to consumers. Having no competition gives Valve carte blanche to do pretty much what they want. On average Valve is a relatively fair corporation, but on the other hand they also show their uncaring greedy cold corporation side from time to time, which they can do with pretty much no repercussions. It's not like they are going to lose any customers.

For some strange reason, several times now, when I have brought up in online conversations Steam's monopoly status, and the fact that they don't have competition and that there are no viable alternatives, some people have protested, and claimed that there are viable alternatives and that Steam does not have monopoly status.

Invariably the same bunch of counter-examples surface, such as Origin, Uplay, GOG and the Windows Store. None of them hold water.

Origin sells only EA games, period. It's most certainly not an alternative. The same is true for Uplay, which only sells Ubisoft games.

In a conversation where GOG was mentioned I made a simple test: I searched for the first recent game that came to mind: The new Doom. No hits.

I did the same with the Windows Store. No hits.

So no, there are no viable alternative to Steam, if you want to purchase games online.

What I don't understand is why some people have hard time accepting this. What's their motivation?

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