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back to article Game denies Steam threat claims

Retailer Game has unequivocally rejected allegations that it demanded publishers delay the release of PC games on the UK version of the Steam download service - or face having their titles taken off its High Street stores' shelves. Earlier this week, Facepunch forum poster Teddi Orange named Game as the retailer responsible for …

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Facepalm

Maybe this explains why...

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My local Game stores seem to be gradually phasing out PC games completely, and only stocking the console versions?

One of the three local-ish shops to me now has a single shelf of mostly discounted PC games. The rest of the shop is for PS3/Xbox/DS stuff. The other two shops are stocking less PC games too.

Soon we'll only be able to buy them online anyway.

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been like that for some time now

Over the last few years Game has reduced from a sizeable in-store PC game presence down to one back-of-store, hidden away shelf section at best. I was in one Game yesterday (Westfield Shopping Centre) and they had a tiny selection hidden away without even a "PC" sign over the games, also about half the games were pre-order and the rest were fairly patchy in coverage of the recent games market. A complete waste of time.

Profit on a PC game is trivial compared to that of console games, especially the 2nd hand games that dominate most Game stores these days.

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Thumb Up

Game on!

I see no benefit in wasting my time going to a shop, queuing, paying the same price and receiving an entirely fallible DVD.

Steam will be around for at least my lifetime, during which time I will be able to enjoy my whole gaming catalogue with little faffery.

Plus, have you seen the deals on Steam? All the Doom and Quakes for half the price of a console game.

Move along bricks and mortar. Or embrace Steam as a friend, find some way to use it to bring people into your store. Take a cut.

Pretty sure retailers meant I got Red Faction Armageddon later than high-street purchasers. Not too fussed about that, it was rubbish.

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I'm with Anon on this..

Frankly, I don't see what they're so bothered about as they hardly sell PC games anyway. Last time I was in a Game it was like the dying days of the Amiga - one shelf section (or something like that) in a shop full of console titles.

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Silver badge

@Martin Lyne

"Steam will be around for at least my lifetime"

Are you terminally ill?

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GAME

It's pretty much gone downhill on the PC game presence since the name change for the entire brand from part Electronics Boutique to entirely GAME.

And who thought GAME was actually a better name, anyway?

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Silver badge

Who buys brand new games on Steam?

I can understand buying games on Steam when they're on sale. I can't understand why anyone buys them when they're brand new. They sell for RRP and it is trivially easy to find the same game in a physical store or on Amazon.com for 30% less. Sometimes it's the same damned game, i.e. it's a Steamworks title so it runs on Steam anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

@who buys new games on steam

It's potentially to do with steamworks games with retail versions. Game will have had to try and explain, and deal with the returns from people etc, who were annoyed about, or couldn't cope with, having to get a steam account for the Medal of honour games.

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Bronze badge
Meh

Buying new pc games

I suppose I do sometimes, but indie games. The majority of mainstream popular PC Games are released months after their Console release and often feel like direct ports or have achievements which is just the worst thing ever.

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Megaphone

GAME

I find it quite odd that Gamestation has replaced what GAME used to be in terms or store atmosphere and clientele, and they essentially moved the GAME brand to replace Electronics Boutique. And who remembers when Electronics Boutique was Future Zone?

When the US company Electronics Boutique bought the struggling Rhino Group, owners of Future Zone, that's when things began to go downhill. They later swallowed GAME and merged the two, keeping the GAME name before acrimoniously severing ties with their US owners.

UK high street retail is rather fucked at the moment. HMV essentially have no competition since the demise of Woolworths and Zavvi, yet they are struggling. And with GAME's prior purchase of Gamestation from a very desperate Blockbuster, the lack of competition on the high street isn't healthy for the consumer.

No wonder downloadable game services are so attractive, not only are they more convenient, they are often far more competitive in terms of pricing and regularly offer far more choice.

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Denied allegations...

Well, they're hardly going to admit them, are they?

Game need to learn to compete with Steam (and other online content delviery), or put up and shut up.

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WTF?

Easy solution to this...

The retailers don't even need to worry about a staggered download release date... sell it for less than Steam and the punters keep on coming. Some do, and some don't (staring intensely at you GAME...).

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Anonymous Coward

@Peter Campbell

They do. Prices for Day 1 release PC games are always cheaper on game.co.uk than on Steam, and don't get me started on Steam's outrageous Euro prices. Funny thing is, I know lots of people who are happy to pay Steam prices anyway.

As for this rumour, I call shenanigans; Game are gradually reducing their PC presence in-store as it is; this would be too contentious and Game have no leverage to force the publishers to do it anyway. In a way it would be nice if Game DID do something about Steam e.g. create some credible competition for it (and no, Metaboli isn't good enough).

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Price

"Retailers fear Steam will become as powerful a force in games sales as Apple's iTunes has become in the music business."

Time to start selling your games at a more competitive price, then.

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Silver badge

Too late!!

Steam already *is* that powerful.

The weird thing is the implication that the High Street retailers didn't see that coming.

Valve were rather large and well-known in the PC gaming sector even before they launched Steam, so it's not exactly surprising that they managed to leverage that to get so many third-party developers and publishers to jump on board.

Furthermore, while it does have DRM it's not massively in-your-face, like most of the other DRM schemes various publishers have tried. I'm not going to buy a game that treats me like a criminal in my own home.

However, I really don't like that I apparently can't gift my copy of a game to a friend once I've decided I don't want it anymore - maybe I didn't like it but a friend of mine might, or maybe I just finished the game and don't want to play it again.

That said, I'm not entirely confident that Steam will be around for longer than 10 more years or so.

However, I do think it'll probably be around for the useful life of my current PC.

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And with good reason...

"Retailers fear Steam will become as powerful a force in games sales as Apple's iTunes has become in the music business"

Its not really surprising. With steam, I can get the game as soon as its available, without having to go to the nearest shop (not that it's very far, but a massive pain with parking), they never run out of stock, they never try and sell me loyalty cards or any other tripe and I can re-download the game when I wish, no questions asked. Not only that but the game will probably cost me less too!

I know it has some downsides too, I'm not a fan of DRM, and I can never sell any games bought on steam (not that I ever sell my games anyway) but without a doubt steam provides far more positives than negatives. Bricks and mortar stores should be afraid... very afraid. In fact how they have managed to survive this long is frankly baffling

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Boffin

Well it's not like they'd admit it anyway, is it?

I've spent more on games through Steam in about 2 years than I would have done in the preceding 5, because the pricing and availability has been more in line with what I want.

I'd love to see more choices available, but GAME and most brick & mortar retailers strike me as being insufficiently forward-thinking to be able to devise a service that would be able to compete. Given how many brick & mortar retailers seem more interested in selling second-hand games (http://penny-arcade.com/2010/08/25) perhaps this shouldn't be a surprise.

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we have a winner...

...why do you think they don't want steamworks games? because you can't re-sell them, because once it's tied into your steam account it can't be extracted (to be fair to steam, I can't think of a way to transfer games to other accounts that isn't doomed to end in squillions of stupid-phished-users' games being used to scam people)

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FAIL

So Game are ditching PC titles?

Ok? So then Game will be left with a rack of "Mavis Beacon Typing Tutor", "My Little Pony* Dress Up Studio" or "Realistic Intercity Trains Simulator"-esque PC games (cf the Woolworths or WHSmiths computer games section circa late 90's). I'm sure they'll sell well...

(*no disrespect to the MLP:FIM bronies... :D)

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MJI
Silver badge
Flame

Train Simulators

They are on Steam as well - had an advert for a Somerset & Dorset one when I had a look at offers recently.

The fire

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Silver badge

To be fair, they already did.

Have you been in a GAME store recently?

PC games are either absent or only one shelf.

There's a lot more margin on console games, so not all that surprising.

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Happy

RIP B&M Games Retailers

So retailers can't compete with Steam. What a surprise. Steam churns out non-recent releases at decent discounts has frequent good offers on major new titles and best of all I don't have to get off my fat arse to get them. Who actually buys PC games from shops anyway? The previous comment about the predominance of console games in retail stores hits the nail on the head.

I think that Game et al konw that the writing is on the wall unless they can come up with a convincing e-offering and I very much suspect that Steam has already slammed the door on them. I can't see myself and others moving to another online service when most of our gaming collection is now in the Steam archives

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Boffin

RE: RIP B&M Games Retailers

".......I can't see myself and others moving to another online service when most of our gaming collection is now in the Steam archives." No, I wouldn't want to move away from Steam, but I'd be quite happy to run several Steam-like games download services if they ran competitive offerings. In fact, that would be the ideal, as then the equality would drive the providers to innovate new services and battle on price. After all, most people I know only have Steam because they originally got Half-Life and Steam moved the old Sierra update service to Steam accounts.

Games producers like Blizzard are already moving to their own download services, having migrated all WoW accounts to Blizzard accounts being the obvious first step. Maybe the might of Blizz will allow it to fight the Steam on equal terms. Retailers like Game will either have to partner with an online/download service or move to consoles only.

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Coffee/keyboard

Boycott Game

I haven't set foot in a Game store in years, ever since they reduced the PC section to 3 shelves, stocking nothing but 5 year old budget games, and Flight Sim / Train Sim add-ons.

If they think I'm going to bother trying their download service, when they clearly abandoned the PC gamer years ago, then the upper management must be truly delusional.

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Mushroom

Maybe...

These retailers need to know when they've been beaten. They seem to pretty much only stock console games now anyway and how can you argue about the price differences between Steam and pretty much any other retailer...

I can't even remember the last time my local Game had a "Sale". I don't see a sale as being a fiver off a title that was already overpriced at £35 anyway. Valve have it right with Steam, it's gamer oriented and i think it has always been that way. Game is just a shop that sells games, much in the same way other shops sell shoes.

Refusing to stock the biggest new releases as a threat doesn't seem like much of a long term business strategy does it? What happens when you aren't stocking anything good because i think it would be fair to say that publishers must be at the point where they prefer Steam, i know for sure that the gamers do.

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Bronze badge

Game's Up

Game is just a dinosaur that doesn't realise it's extinct yet.

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FAIL

Dodgy

"We have had no such conversations with any publisher and have been in contact with various publishers who can confirm this for you as well."

Translate:

We have had not no such conversations with and publisher "honestly gov", but really the ones we have we have been in contact with to make sure they say they haven't or we will stop stocking their games.

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Ubisoft & Settlers

I was a little hesitant at first when I found Ubisoft required me to make an account with them after buying a copy of a rent game in the Settlers series. However they have done a good job of integrating the game with Steam as well as offering Facebook and Twitter integration in the game for things like achievements. Perhaps publishers should be encouraged to include items like this which mean that at least the social aspects of Steam's offering can be distributed across different outlets.

Am I wrong or right in thinking there is a Microsoft Live and a Steam version of Bioshock? Just seems weird that you cannot link N accounts to one game; although I can see that owning a CD-ROM copy of a game should not give you a Steam copy to download anywhere... well unless that new MP3 "backup" service which upset iTunes can also apply to games?

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Oh, why are we waiting....

I still do not get why I had to what an extra 4 days before DeusEx was unlocked here in EU?

The content is already preloaded on my computer. It is really frustrating to see articles, blogs and reports from people already playing and discussing a game, but we have to wait.

In an internet age, with download delivery, staggered releases make absolutely no sense.

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FAIL

Sales charts

The reason we in the EU had to wait, is due to sales charts.

Companies will only release a game on the first day of a new week of chart tracking.

US resets on Monday midnight, EU resets on a Thursday midnight.

It's just to make sure that they get the best sales chart position, even though the feckers count pre-orders as 0-day sales, and it shouldn't make any f'n difference to steam pre-order customers which region they are in.

Fuckers.

Did I mention game publishers are fuckers?

Retarded ones at that.

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Silver badge

I can understand their worries, but...

I like Steam - I get most of my games that way.

No media to lose, no boxes to store, no license to enter, and games work offline (well, those that make sense to, anyway), plenty of freebies (I'm having fun with Team Fortress at the moment)

Just the virginmedia download caps get in the way, but I'll take that rough in amongst all the smooth.

A few more similar services would be most welcome.

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So why is it...

That just a couple of months ago I put Saints Row: The Third on my wishlist and now when I try to check it says that item isn't available in my region. It was not that long ago and now it's not that far away til release.

I haven't seen any news from THQ or Volatile so I am a bit suspicious. Shame because I used to love GAME. Now everything about it seems shady.

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FAIL

Gave up on Game years ago......

They never have a good selection of PC games and won't do second hand ones (although other retailers do) I'm very happy with Steam as a PC gamer.

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Flame

So who is it then?

Can some one find out who is leaning on Steam, so I can ensure that neither I or any of my friends ever buy from then?

Release the investigative journalists!

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Stop

Hoisted by their own Petard

Game have only got themselves to blame for this. For years I always bought my PC games from Game as I was able to walk down to the shop, buy the game and be home faster than if I were to download it. Gradually however they have reduced the PC section from 6-8 panels down to one.

Now if I go into Game there is almost no chance of them having the title I want in stock unless it's in the Top 10, frankly Tesco have a better selection these days. So taking away the convenience of being able to walk into a shop and buy it, why would I want to buy from them?

Game abandoned the PC games industry in favour of the cash cow that is the console market, so frankly they've got little reason to complain about PC gamers abandoning them.

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It still about pricing

I wanted to buy Civilisation 5 recently

Steam wanted £29.99

Game wanted £16.99 online (don't know about the shop)

ASDA had it for £14.00

Guess where i bought it from

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Coat

My guess

You waited for one of the regular Steam sales and picked it up on there for a fiver?

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That's what I did

Really I'd been thinking about it for a while steam had it for I think a tenner, really been enjoying it.

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Silver badge

The only way you can compete

With the Steam disease is by forcing the publishers to abolish DRMs and be reasonable on the price.

Neither is going to happen.

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Holmes

Has anyone...

...asked for a comment from Valve on this yet?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Has anyone...

Yes. Still awaiting a reply, though.

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Coat

titular vent

You'll be waitng a while. This is Valve Time (tm) after all.

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Trollface

@Ipopman

Indeed. If Gabe spins in his chair to answer that mail, the resulting gravitational lensing will cause them to delay Episode 3 another month...

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Coat

titular disenoblement

Only a month? I would have thought it would be when DNF gets released.

Wait, what was that? DNF was released?

I want HL Ep 3 and HL 3 now, k :)

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RE: Hoisted by their own Petard

Too true here.

Like so many of the comments above I too shopped at Game for a great many PC titles now that the whole PC section has been reduced to a tiny section of the store that only comprises the top 10 or a bunch of really old discount games nobody wants.

Frankly the last few games I have bought online through Amazon then I was introduced to Steam by getting Shogun 2 (which requires it), now I will not go back to Game!

They snubbed PC Gamers by refusing to stock our titles and moving towards Consoles and now that someone else has a good download service they want a piece of the pie. They have only themselves to blame for where they are by their coprorate strategy.

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Joke

Their *game* is up

Long live Steam, just as quick as popping into an indy retailer and getting the box and dvd instead...

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Re: Their *game* is up

...and if you do buy the boxed version for some inexplicable reason it connects to steam and downloads about 5GB of stuff anyway.

May as well cut out the middle man.

PS - as above, stopped going to Game as I could not find the PC section/shelf/dusty jewel case.

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Flame

Game - the people who killed Barrysworld servers

Fuck em. I hope they go bust. Wouldn't shop there if they paid me to do so.

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Anonymous Coward

Wait, what!?

They killed of Barrysworld!? Bastards

All my Tribes 1 BWTL memories....sniff, nostalgia

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Flame

It's a simple call...

I buy a lot from Steam, being able to see the current specials, and metascores on the spot to inform choices about them is brilliant.

But the main benefit from my point of view is the on-the-fly updating - no more installing and then grubbing around for patches - it's all taken care off.

If I am concerned it's a huge game, I'll buy it from play.com, and then verify it through Steam so I don't have to DL 15 gig or something, or if I want the super delux edition. But on the whole, Steam offers both value, and an easy way to buy games on a whim, for downloading later.

Piss off Game - we don't need your shit service and shit selection. You don't offer what we want, so stop trying to sabotage someone who is. Come to think of it, I am going to boycot Game going forward.

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