Author Topic: Retailers threaten title boycott with Steamworks, a "rival in-store"  (Read 1288 times)

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November 11, 2010, 11:56:14 am

Offline FRT

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Retailers threaten title boycott with Steamworks, a "rival in-store"

Valve has had tremendous success with a little digital platform called Steam, but now at least two major retailers want its head on a metaphorical pike.

They don't want to be "selling a rival in-store," which is exactly what Steamworks is. Publishers are "creating a monster" - they will not sell PC titles involved.

For years now the PC games section of any specialist retailer has shrunk massively compared to the space on the floor now given to the consoles, particularly to the second-hand segment. Valve's digital platform has helped PC title sales grow strong again.

Well tough luck because now that digital sales are all the rage the retailers want back in on the PC market, and if publishers keep including Steamworks (which is a copy protection method) then they'll no longer stock any such PC titles.

"If we have a digital service, then I don’t want to start selling a rival in-store,” said UK retailer's digital boss. “Publishers are creating a monster ­– we are telling suppliers to stop using Steam in their games.” By monster do you mean crazy super deal periods?

Another major retailer added: "At the moment the big digital distributors need to stock games with Steam. But the power resides with bricks and mortar retailers, they can refuse to stock these titles. Publishers are hesitant, but retail must put pressure on them.”

Retailers had all but written off the PC games market in favour of the console chart toppers, and then embracing the trade-in service where they get all the profit. Now that digital platforms have helped PC sales swell they want the lead role again.

“Steam has made it so easy for everyone and they have lots of users. But how long do you wait before you take control of your own digital strategy? Like with iTunes, at some point it’s going to be too late," said Gaikai CEO David Perry.

Is this a case of toys being thrown out the pram? If your local retailer stop stocking physical copies of PC games would it really matter as much as they hope it would? Say what you will but Steam has done a great service to the PC market and its gamers.

Recent titles with Steamworks? Fallout: New Vegas and Call of Duty: Black Ops.