Stores vs. Developers vs. Customers vs. Publishers


#1

All of the major game stores (Steam, GOG, Origin, Uplay, itch, etc) serve different groups at the same time, many of which have competing interests. Broadly speaking, they are:


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://www.fortressofdoors.com/stores-vs-developers-vs-customers-vs-publishers/

#2

I’m a huge cheerleader for GOG, and would be on DRM grounds alone, but they also provide a good shopping experience and so on. I am philosophically opposed to Steam and other DRM-saddled sources, so I have less experience with them (very little with Steam, none with the others), so this article was (as usual!) quite interesting.

I noticed you had nothing to say about Humble. As a customer there’s some things I like about it (DRM-free titles are marked, torrent downloads are available, and no registration is even required), but Humble seems to have a severe packaging problem: downloading one’s games as a ZIP of loose files is fine for a technically-minded person like myself, but I can see how others might be daunted.

As far as GOG’s curation goes, I’ve often wondered if, were it a free-for-all (or near to it) we would get a significantly larger slate of games there. I’ve heard stories of studios wanting to get on GOG but not being able to, and I’ve wondered how common that really is. I’m sure you can’t answer that; I’m just thinking aloud. The more quality games GOG has, I feel, the better it is for everyone: customers, studios, publishers, and the industry at large (though GOG may feel differently).

I’ve never visited Itch.io before; now may be a good time to start.


#3

Fair enough @JKingweb. Myself, I couldn’t care less if publishers want to protect themselves - I would too. If I kept getting robbed, I’d start upping my security. For me, I sometimes buy on GoG, though that usually is because of price (They tend to have better deals than Steam these days), but my biggest issue with GoG is the exact one the article brought up - its curation. GoG’s library feels a little anemic at times, so 90% of the time, I go to Steam. Plus Steamworks tends to make a good case for picking it up on Steam.

Yeah, I think you nailed Humble Bundle’s biggest issue. I think that’s more an issue of its nature than anything though, as I would assume designing a custom installer for each package would be a lot of backend work for them.

GoG will unfortunately always be limited in size, because there’s a lot of publishers and developers who aren’t keen on DRM-free releases. GoG will never approach the size of Steam with that restriction in place.

I’ve never visited Itch either, but I think I might see what’s available.