Most of us like some organization, especially nerds. We collect things, comics, novels, video games and possibly a toy here or there. We keep these things in a special spot where we can gaze at them from time to time, remember how great it was when they arrived in our home, maybe even play with/reread/watch again. It’s a little haven of predictability and order in an otherwise chaotic world.
Now that we’ve got huge caches of digital content many of the more, ahem, OCD of us meticulously keep these organized. What if you don’t? Digital content isn’t just sitting there to grab, if you forget what directory or folder you put it in, if it’s not well described in it’s file name, or, I shudder to think, you need it recovered after some disaster it can be nearly impossible to keep track of all your digitized stuff.
This is why what EA is doing with steam is seriously pissing me off.
Some of you might read this and be unable, or frightened, to get into my head, and I can’t blame you. I’m perfectly content to let the dishes pile up, leave dirty clothes and personal effects sit where dropped and just generally live in the gray area between sloppy and squalor. I’m better than I used to be, but mostly because my wife encourages me to be, not through any real personal improvement.
You may know that in months past EA has systematically removed titles from the digital content delivery service know as Steam. Steam is sort of more than just an online store now, it’s bigger than that. It’s a little bit of a juggernaut, and that probably perturbs some of the ridiculously rich overlords who see entire normal person annual incomes evaporate from their bottom line when they have to fork over whatever it is Steam charges for the privilege of product delivery through their service. You’d think that now after several titles have been pulled and more have been kept off of the service we’d know the actual reason why EA and Steam can’t work together. Here’s what EA has to say via David DeMartini, EA’s head of global e-commerce
“We take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content, and other services to our players” and so insist on being allowed to “establish an ongoing relationship” with customers and contact them to inform them of new patches and available content. Unfortunately, if we’re not allowed to manage this experience directly and establish a relationship with you, it disrupts our ability to provide the support you expect and deserve… At present, there is only one download service that will not allow this relationship. This is not our choice, and unfortunately it is their customer base that is most impacted by this decision. We are working diligently to find a mutually agreeable solution.”
I honestly have NO clue what this guy is talking about. He spent about 100 words saying nothing discernible about why their games aren’t on Steam. My, mostly uneducated, guess is a “an ongoing relationship” with the ability to “manage this experience directly” means EA doesn’t want to share revenue from DLC. I’m assuming that when a customer decides to purchase downloadable content for a game which has been purchased through Steam that Valve (the company who owns and operates Steam) gets some percentage of the sale because they run the transaction and host the content. EA most likely isn’t ok with this. DLC is the game industries way of making money off of games that have hit their stride and it’s benefits and detriments are a topic for another time. Needless to say most entities don’t part with money easily and EA, being the mega corp. that it is, is no exception. Make no mistake, if money is being lost, in any traceable amount, they are going to try and plug that hole, to Davy Jones’ locker with the customer.
Here’s where your Pajama Hero stirs from his slumber in unbridled rage. I want to put my games on the same shelf, together. That’s the “experience” I want. When there’s a patch or piece of DLC that you want to tell me about real, real bad, send me a message THROUGH STEAM EA! What possible problem does that create? Took are of that whole “contact them to inform them of new patches and available content” thing. Are you seriously telling me Gabe Newell was like “You want to WHAT?! Communicate with the people who purchased your game to tell them about new content?! I don’t think so, Steam sold your game brah, call them on the phone if you want to tell them something.”
It’s totally ridiculous. This is about money somehow, and neither side is fessing up about the real issue. Valve “wants EA games on Steam…” and EA continues to “hope to find a mutually agreeable solution to this issue soon.” it’s gamers who are left holding the bag. Want to play Star Wars The Old Republic? Install Origin. Make a new friends list. Manage a new application. This kind of idiotic garbage is what drives people in droves to Apple! I don’t want to be running Live for windows, steam, origin and whatever other half baked semi-spyware refuse every publisher cooks up so I can play a game on my PC. Make as many services as you want, I couldn’t care less, but let ME choose where I want to buy it, how I want to be contacted, and through what dispensary I get my fix.
To that end I’m going to be very clear; I’m contacting EA and letting them know I won’t be purchasing their games in any way that will mean profit for them. I haven’t bought a used game in nearly 4 years because I want the people who make games to keep making them. I will purchase any EA game I desire USED, and I will not purchase a game if I need a online activation for it to function. EA will no longer be getting my money because they are deciding how and where I can spend it. This isn’t OK with me. I’m not a steam fan boy. Steam was a necessary evil in the age of piracy run wild and it’s become a tolerable and functional way to keep an ever changing community in one place. It’s the shelf I want my games on. Let me put my games there, EA, or you won’t see another red cent out of me.