5 problems for Valve to solve in 2018 | PCGamesN

5 problems for Valve to solve in 2018

valve problems 2017

Valve has been a vitally important part of PC gaming since it launched Steam more than a decade ago, but that’s not say its digital storefront and other ventures aren’t without their problems.

These are five issues we hope Valve tackle in 2018.

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Game discoverability

It’s become increasingly difficult for players to discover new games on Steam, simply because there are so many released each day. This is a problem for developers, also, because it can mean a game they’ve poured years of work into disappears from the front page within hours, driven out by other new releases.

To put this in perspective, in October, Steam was on track to have more than 6,000 new releases in 2017. That’s an average of more than 16 new games released every day.

Valve have ways to highlight games you might be interested in, tailoring the front page and discovery page to your interests based on games you’ve previously bought. However, this has its own problem: it creates a bubble. If you buy a few strategy games it doesn’t mean you only want to play strategy games, but that is predominantly what Steam will now show you.

This isn’t an easy problem to solve, it may well not have a perfect solution, but the significant increase in games released on Steam in the past year alone means that it’s something Valve should address in the new year.

Review bombing

We’re increasingly frequently seeing people abuse Steam’s review system to try and send a message to developers. What that message is can vary wildly, negative reviews have been used to tell developers players don’t agree with their politics, that players would like a Chinese translation of the game, that players don’t think the game they bought reflects what they were sold.

Valve recognises the problem and introduced a system this year that lets you see the longtail history of a game’s rating so you can see if there is a sharp negative trend, suggesting it has been review bombed. However, this doesn’t stop the game from appearing to have a negative review when you’re scanning through Steam, which, as pointed out above, is becoming increasingly the only way to digest all the games coming to Steam. 

Fringe discussion groups

When it comes to Steam Curation groups there appears to be little in the way of moderation from Valve. A report by Motherboard earlier this year showed how there were many far-right, homophobic, and racist community groups on Steam, some of which were even promoted to the front page for all to see:

Steam is used by tens of millions of people every day. Clearly moderating all of their interactions is a mammoth task, but it is surprising that Valve aren’t checking for homophobic slurs in the names of curator groups.

There is potential for this to only become a greater problem for Steam in 2018 without a stricter form of moderation coming into play.

Paid modders 

Earlier this year Valve’s founder Gabe Newell said people not being paid for mods was a “bug in the system” https://www.pcgamesn.com/the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim-special-edition/skyrim-paid-mods, so it’s clearly an issue on his mind. We didn’t see any movement from Valve on the paid mods front in 2017, so it may well be something we see returned to in 2018. We already know that Bethesda are working on their own system with Creation Club.

Valve first tried giving modders a cut of the pie back in 2015, letting them sell Skyrim mods in Steam. However, there was a severe backlash and the system got pulled.

Support VR

Valve has a problem with starting projects and then seemingly losing interest in them - SteamOS, Steam Machines, and Steam VR. Despite being behind one of the few premium virtual reality headsets that have gone to market they have done little to support the Vive with software. Earlier this year Valve said they were working on three games for the device but they’ve said nothing about what those games are or when people can expect them. That does little to attract people to picking up a very expensive hardware package.

Hopefully next year will see them start talking about these games in greater detail.

GOTW
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SlipperySnips avatarGrimalkin avatarZeroderp avatarBelimawr avatarchronium avatarJoeyhavoc avatar+1
Grimalkin Avatar
12
6 Months ago

"Review bombing" is not a problem, it's the only way players' voice to be heard.

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SlipperySnips Avatar
2
6 Months ago

Well written article Dustin! One thing they need to fix is the gifting system. I went to buy a game in the Steam Winter Sale and I wasn't able to buy the game because I already own it but earlier this year you could hold the game and then gift it when you wanted. They lost a sale because of this! :)

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Joeyhavoc Avatar
29
6 Months ago

Valve's cut is too big. 30 percent for hosting servers is ridiculous. And worse, we can't even share our games with family anymore.

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Zeroderp Avatar
60
6 Months ago

I did not know fringe groups were a problem in a world that ignoring is a button away. Besides, most of the curators the Motherboard article showed were specifically searched for and had 11 followers at most. Seems like the majority of Steam users ignore them and let them rot away.

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Belimawr Avatar
1285
6 Months ago

the biggest thing they need to solve is competitive pricing, they still sell games at full retail while most other stores have knocked the prices down considerably. steam sale is the only time it may be possible to find something cheaper on steam and even then it is a crapshoot as even with considerable discounts they still can't match the likes of Amazon on price. it's not just a steam problem it's a digital sales problem, but then some storefronts like greenman run constant offers and discount codes to keep a somewhat competitive price.

it is something steam needs to get a lot better with since most people turn to it and it's sales not knowing they are often paying more than normal retail for a game in a sale. no developer or steam will ever complain about this, because they all know if they use this model they can slowly get people to pay more and more happy in the belief they got a bargain.

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chronium Avatar
28
6 Months ago

First thing it's the developers and publishers that are in charge of the prices on Steam not Valve. The second thing is that Valve still get their cut from those third party sites because those keys are still bought from Valve in order to be resold.

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Belimawr Avatar
1285
6 Months ago

so valve has to set a high price because of the developers but the other sites who distribute steam keys have to get their keys from valve but can magically sell them for less than valve can directly?

I'm sure you can see the lack of logic in that train of thought. end of the day it's up to the storefront to be competitive, you can argue till you are blue in the face that valve has the prices dictated by the developers and publishers, but that is true of any store front, so why would multiple storefronts be capable of selling cheaper? hell even brick and mortar stores can sell for cheaper than steam the majority of the time for a code that activates on steam.

this is a problem that comes back to valve as if it was higher up the food chain it would be the same for every store that sells official copies. I'm not even including dodgy sites like G2A, I'm actually talking sites that get their keys from first party suppliers the same way Valve does for steam.

Valve keeps their prices heavily inflated to keep the developers happy and because they don't want to cut into their own profits, unlike most other stores who would rather have more sales and a smaller profit per unit.

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chronium Avatar
28
6 Months ago

Steam isn't a storefront it's a marketplace all Valve do is maintain it and organize sale events. They used to curate it but they stopped doing that because it became to much work. The developers and publishers are in charge of what games get posted and how much they cost, since the majority of their sales still come from steam they aren't that motivated to be competitive to third party retailers.

Yes Valve do make money from third party retailers. Those steep discounts are sometimes them selling at a loss in order to get traffic to there site in order to make money from other purchases. They also do deals for bulk buying of keys from various sources but in the end Valve still gets there cut.

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Belimawr Avatar
1285
Belimawr replied to chronium
6 Months ago

just a quick example if it is set by the developer, lets go to a smaller game, they are billions, direct on the developers site via humble store the game is £17.09, on steam the same game is £17.45, both ways it activates on steam, both versions are identical, both versions have been posted by the developer, now why is there a price difference?

this is just one difference I've seen recently, but the more you look the more you see this is a common trend, with steam leading to market in raising prices of PC gaming knowing that the average person won't look past them.

but end of the day because steam got lazy and couldn't be bothered to run their store (the reason it is flooded with crap) but still wants to take a cut, it doesn't excuse them, if anything it makes them worse.

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chronium Avatar
28
6 Months ago

I can't reply to your latest post so I'll reply here.

Developers don't post games on Humble Bundle. HB is a storefront and bulk buy keys the only other marketplace I know of is itch.io every other place is a retailer with there own gimmicks to get traffic.

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Ken Bone Avatar
1
6 Months ago

They really need to bring support for High DPI display Scaling in Steam. For people with high-res high-dpi displays like 1440p, 4k laptops or small monitors, our only options are crude scaling -which looks blurry and terrible- or no scaling where everything looks microscopic!

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