Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The deal with digital distribution

Many like to attack Valve's digital distribution service, Steam, as another prospect that could be dangerous to the gaming market. Due to Valve's success, some fear that this may kill competition in the market, and anyone who has taken a high school economics class can tell you that it's not good when you can only get your desired product from one guy.
Though I'm against monopolization (anyone should be, really), there is one thing that I will defend: if Valve created something so successful and innovative, they should be able to use that to its fullest extent. Why should Valve have to limit its own success? If anything, this should push other companies to create rival digital distribution services in order to topple Steam.
Think of Steam like your neighborhood Wal-Mart. Sure, we can argue economics for ages, where one person stands on the side of the suffering small businesses and the other defends the corporate giant. See, the thing with services like Wal-Mart and Steam, is that people flock to these services because they see value in them. If a Wal-Mart springs up in a small community thriving with "Mom & Pop" stores, those small businesses must find a way to innovate their product and prove to their customers that they are still worth the extra few dollars, or the inconvenient drive down the block.
Same with digital distribution services. If Steam really upsets that many people, perhaps a competitor should come up with a digital distribution service that people can see value in. Sure, it's not a difficult task, but it certainly can be accomplished. Or better yet, why not have retailers remind us why (gasp) physical copies are still worth it?


Kyle said...

I easily fall into the "Valve fanboy" category, and really don't understand at all when I hear people whining about steam. I always choose steam over any other method of game owning.

Leagueman said...

Nice post. You hit a couple good point. also EA is releasing their own digital distribution service, Origin. how the market is at least expanding.

The only thing i dislike about Steam is that at anytime they could conceivably ban my account and I'm down $100.

Scott said...

Hah, I'd be down a lot more than $100, been using Steam a long time. While a ban could conceivably happen, I have never heard of such a thing unless it was a VAC ban.