Post Direct, Steam Is Shittier Than Ever (The Jimquisition)

http://www.patreon.com/jimquisition
http://sharkrobot.com/collections/Jimquisition-merch

We’ve had much of 2017 to see what Steam Direct has done for Steam.

Since Steam Direct turned out to be a complete farce, it’s safe to say it ain’t done a lot. You need not take my word for it either.

Also, Sterdust accepts a challenge from Pro Wrestling Ego.

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69 Comments on "Post Direct, Steam Is Shittier Than Ever (The Jimquisition)"

alextulu
Member
alextulu

The Discovery Queue makes suggestions based on what games you bought and what games you’ve looked at.

If you search for shitty games on purpose (like Jim Sterling), then the algorithm will think, that you’re interested in those types of games.

This is why Jim gets to see a lot of shitty games on the Queue.

Most people, however, don’t see them, because most people don’t search for shitty games to review.

The solution is to always remember to click on “I’m not interested”.

Chris
Member

Or, and stay with me because I know this is complicated, steam could hire and pay people to do a job rather than telling us to do it for them for free. Why should I have to sit there and sift through the fucking trash steam thinks it’s okay to have associated with their brand just to have their digital storefront work as intended?

alextulu
Member
alextulu

“sift through the fucking trash”

I’ll just repeat what I said, because you apparently didn’t read it.

“Most people, however, don’t see them, because most people don’t search for shitty games to review.”

Chris
Member
And that doesn’t answer the point of how people are supposed to discover new games that Steam’s algorithm doesn’t recommend for them. Because what you’re describing would be like using Youtube and only ever looking at ‘what’s trending’, the algorithm is always going to skew towards games that are already popular and have positive reviews. So new games by unknown devs get shoved down into a pit with the shit and we just pretend they aren’t there? This is why Steam Direct is bad for the platform, it’s bad for devs and it’s bad for consumers. And defending it just… Read more »
paul
Member
paul
Who would be the gatekeeper? What standards would they go by? Could a game pass the inspection by simply functioning and having achievements that some people want? That the industry is changing. People are getting interested in games for many reasons, and Steam is trying to provide many different temptations to sign up and spend money. Card collecting, selling hats, playing games for their stories, collecting achievements, online chat, watching people’s broadcasts, MP shooters, bullshitting around with ridiculous games and laughing about them with their friends (even if that game provides 30 minutes of mindless entertainment). Video games are not… Read more »
Chris
Member
Who said it was? My exact point was that those are the only things that can survive on Steam in this environment. Smaller indies and art games can’t when they are drowned in a sea of shit and rendered impossible to discover by a Russian asset flipper being able to throw a hundred games up in a month. And it’s not hard to have basic quality control. Someone who looks at the games and who is submitting them and recognizes basic patterns, can see that there is no gameplay or that the same stock assets are being used over and… Read more »
alextulu
Member
alextulu

“And that doesn’t answer the point of how people are supposed to discover new games that Steam’s algorithm doesn’t recommend for them. Because what you’re describing would be like using Youtube”

On Steam right on the front page, on the left side, there’s “Browse Categories”, and “Browse by Genre.”

Youtube doesn’t have that.

Chris
Member
Yes, and the moment you go into those categories and genres /that’s/ where the garbage starts to show up. That’s my point. People keep claiming that quality control doesn’t matter because Steam’s precious recommendation algorithm will just tell them which games are good, but that algorithm is always going to be influenced by high sales and high reviews. It’s always going to bias towards games that are already popular or have large marketing budgets. So go into those categories, and guess what? It’s still just going to recommend the same games that are on the front page, just only the… Read more »
paul
Member
paul
You’re ignoring my points. You need to stop thinking that the way you enjoy Steam is the same way everyone enjoys steam. People interact with Steam for many reasons. If people buy “broken” games for easy achievements or cards or badges or just to laugh at… those are just as valid as someone that buys a game for a great story and gameplay. Some people out there buy games just to collect them and have them in their library, they don’t even play them. Some people spend most of their time interacting with the Devs of the “broken” games to… Read more »
Chris
Member

What is insane is this bizarre need to defend a massive corporation for exploiting its fans because some small percentage of customers are masochists who like being exploited.

paul
Member
paul

I’m really not defending them though. I’m trying to help you understand that there are other people out there that enjoy the same platform in many different ways .

I hate early access games but I understand that other people get enjoyment from leaving comments for developers and seeing that feedback get implemented in updates. That’s an entire sub culture of gaming that I completely ignore.

Chris
Member

Good for you, that had nothing to do with the actual argument about whether steam should stop people from posting games that are actually broken or contain stolen assets and materials. But I’m glad you can explain the appeal of early access to me in a condescending way.

paul
Member
paul

I’ll try again without giving similar examples so that you don’t get confused. There are people that enjoy the exact same things that you an Jim Sterling don’t enjoy.

That’s as simple as it gets mate. Did you understand that?

Chris
Member
So they enjoy being ripped off by having games without executable files sold to them? Or do you mean that they enjoy games that should be illegal for Steam to sell because they contain copyrighted material or are stolen wholesale from other places? Because those are both things Jim has found on there that you are now defending. That seems rather an odd set of things to enjoy. There are people who enjoy being ripped off by “developers” uploading empty maps they bought off the Unity asset store with no gameplay after a “developer” used misleading or outright false screenshots… Read more »
Gorantharon
Member
Gorantharon

While Steam definitely lacks any quality control and only has refunds because they faced the threat of huge lawsuits, but now use that excuse to keep doing no supervising, the other point isn’t wrong either.

Most of the trainwreck games Jim showcases never show up in any of my lists. Even if I scroll through almost all of my recommendations.

I’d have to sepcifically search for them.

So when Jim exceedingly sees the flood of utter garbage that is in part due to him taking special interest in games with tags and categories lending themselves to such fare.

Hugrid
Member
Hugrid

You guys realise that even if Jim wasn’t pulling from the “all recent releases” pile (algorithm: SORT BY DATE) so he can find as yet uncurated or voted on *good* games and spread the word about them so algorithms can spot them, this still doesn’t excuse the games without working executables, the games with nothing, asset flips, etc… those still shouldn’t be on steam. That shit isn’t on the apple app store, that’s how bad steam is.

Gorantharon
Member
Gorantharon

And if you’d read my comment, you’d see that I state exactly that problem of Steam’s negligence first.

Chris
Member

Again, that’s only if you rely entirely on Steam’s “recommended games.” So you only ever see the handful of games that are already popular and/or heavily marketed. It’s impossible for a new game by a new developer to break through. That’s what is lost by the giant sea of garbage that is the rest of steam.

paul
Member
paul

I don’t understand why your being downvoted. This is absolutely true.

Steam knows to not show me RTS, Anime, Early Access, or sports games because I’ve filtered them out and always mark them as not interested if I stray away from the discovery queue.

paul
Member
paul

I only hope the downvotes are for my terrible use of “your”.

Deena
Member
Deena

The problem, of course, is that while that’s a great solution if you don’t want to see shitty games, it doesn’t answer the question of why these games should be allowed on Steam in the first place. This isn’t a question of personal taste (i.e. “I don’t like visual novels therefore visual novels shouldn’t be on Steam”), we’re talking scamware and garbage. What’s the justification for keeping them around?

paul
Member
paul

Broken games shouldn’t be on steam, but some people may enjoy some aspects of some of these “crappier” games. If someone buys a game because it hands out 5000 achievements, that’s a legit reason. We may not like it, but clearly some people are into it.

Hugrid
Member
Hugrid

Ah, so Valve took the advice from stringer bell in The Wire, where if your product gets a bad reputation, you just rebrand it and dilute the product to maximise the initial rush to try out what customers think is a “new” product when it’s literally the old product, but worse, and repeat ad nauseum as long as you have your market.

(for those who haven’t watched The Wire: Stringer Bell is literally a drug dealer applying knowledge he got from an MBA degree to the business of selling crack cocaine)

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

There are people who haven’t watched The Wire?

paul
Member
paul
Maybe it’s because I turned off early access titles or it’s because I have never played a game like the ones you mention but I don’t ever see these types of shovelware games on my storefront or recommended in my queue. It honestly looks like a wildly different platform than what I experience. I have a feeling Steam keeps showing you these type of games because you keep buying them and playing them. The more I think about it, does Steam really have a problem helping people find great games? I have something like 350 games and another 150 in… Read more »
diabolik
Guest
diabolik

This user has been deleted, but this comment will remain here so the following thread does not have to be deleted.

paul
Member
paul

They wouldn’t be hidden gems if there were no crap to sift through.

InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS

It’s like this reasoning is completely absent from Steam Defenders.

RipTide
Member
Once upon the far flung time of 4-5 years ago I enjoyed browsing steam for smaller $1-$15 games. I played some games I truly enjoyed, and some that I stopped after only a few minuets. Whatever I got thought, was always a functioning game that was obviously made with the intent of being good even if it wasn’t for me. Today this is no longer possible, when I go on steam all I see and buy are the already big and successful games. All of those smaller weirder games no longer get a chance because they are never going to… Read more »
Wisq
Member
Wisq
See, the thing is, I think Steam actually has three distinct roles: One, it’s a digital distribution platform. Developers put their games up, and people can buy those games. Then, users can fire up their Steam clients, log in, have their games downloaded and updated automatically, and they can easily install and play them on any computer. Their DRM system is unobtrusive (many games don’t even use it), and although you can’t resell “used” games, the deep sales more than make up for this. So I’d say they’ve completely succeeded in this category. Two, it’s a social network. You have… Read more »
Chris
Member
It should be judged by the fact that they put no effort into curating or recommending games. Because why pay employees to do the thing that you as a company are supposed to do when you can trick users into doing it for you by making it a ‘social experience’ or by offering shitty little nothing digital rewards for doing it. This is the silicon valley, social network model in a nutshell, and it’s why I think we ought to just burn a bunch of the big companies down and start over with people who don’t trust algorithms to do… Read more »
Wisq
Member
Wisq
But you see, I’d argue that you’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater there, because even if Steam had _zero_ ability to discover new games, they’d still be achieving two important goals out of three in my books — their games management platform and their social gaming platform. Sure, there are other “algorithms are god” companies like Facebook — companies that are doing real harm to society with their echo-chamber algorithms — that I wouldn’t mind seeing trashed and started over. But Steam’s big problem is limited to their discovery aspect. And while I’d like to see them solve… Read more »
InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS
“It’s just cosmetic.” That’s the lie which led to microtransactions becoming normalized after years of only being able to get traction in the mobile marketplace. Corporations took their time, tested the waters on what they could get away with, and slowly pushed the envelope. Now we have legislation in the foreseeable future to completely regulate away the most envelope pushingest envelope yet: lootboxes. People were willing to ignore or accept major, destructive flaws because it didn’t affect THEIR experience. They were willing to put up with the psychological manipulation, the removal of content, the genericizing, and the unfettered rampant greed… Read more »
Chris
Member
It may not seem like it’s doing harm, but it is. To struggling developers who are working for years of their lives and putting themselves massively into debt to make games they are passionate about and that they want people to find and play. Those people no longer have a platform to distribute on PC that has any chance of finding a mass audience. Saying ‘well I don’t care about those games, therefore Steam is fine and it doesn’t matter’ is saying we want an industry where small and mid tier developers dry up or move entirely to the console… Read more »
diabolik
Guest
diabolik

This user has been deleted, but this comment will remain here so the following thread does not have to be deleted.

wingednosering
Member
wingednosering

Maybe you can all enlighten me. As an indie dev, where should I be selling my game if not through Steam? Humble Bundle and GoG are doing alright, but I don’t see a realistic alternative yet for the PC market.

The instability on Steam concerns me; I just don’t know where else to go. Hell, a full Jimquisition on the alternatives would be great.

InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS
There isn’t one with the market share, just like there isn’t a viable alternative to Amazon if you want to sell physical boxed retail goods. Both are trying to solve tangible issues with automation, and both are failing to do so on a rather spectacular level. My advice? Focus on console development. Nintendo seems to be very appreciative of Indies and may be willing to cut you a deal on the DevKit (I’ve heard rumors they aren’t requiring native code and you can use your own engine, a huge step up from previous gens). Sony seems to be letting any… Read more »
Galactix100
Member
Galactix100
Probably go for either Nintendo or Microsoft’s platforms. The switch seems to be becoming a bit of a haven for indie games and the company seems intent on cultivating a good library which means there’s no need to worry about being burried under a load of crap. MS have made a big deal of their [email protected] program and every E3 for the last few years they’ve had a big sizzle real of all the indie game’s that they’ve supported through it so that may be worth a look. Also you’ll note that one of the quotes in this video notes… Read more »
Ayon Windsor
Member
Ayon Windsor
There was a small gaming news show here in germany that, quite some time ago, when reviewing a wrestling title went and made a funny skit about it by going to a wrestling club and getting taught some basics. While the stuff is of course not all that bad, they did mention that it was a quite intense workout and that some of the moves did indeed not always go as planned, which means, they hurt. A lot. They did not go out of that ring without injuries as well. With that in mind I can’t say I’d agree with… Read more »
Jiryn
Member
Jiryn

Quick follow up to your Destiny 2 video.
To “Fix” the throttling issue, Activision-Blizzard & Bungie have now doubled to tripled the XP Required to level, and for player progression.

MuddyScarecrow
Member

I think my favorite thing about these Steam episodes is the moments where Jim points out that these games, games in which you shoot Nazi Muslims for lolli porn or play as a licensed character that was not licensed by the license holders, would not exist on other platforms who would purge this shit the minute it got up to their approval gate. But in the magical world of Steam you get to kill Kim Jong Un like a Jew in the Holocaust, bitch.

Exley97
Member
Exley97
Here’s a question: Does Steam perform any kind of technical review of games for known security vulnerabilities or malware? Like, any kind of scanning at all? [I can practically hear Jim guffawing at this now] I ask because it’s pretty clear that unscrupulous developers in the Google/Apple mobile app stores (which have similar curation/quality control issues) aren’t content to just stick counterfeit and rip offs apps in those stories to take advantage of customers and have embraced malicious apps that steal user info, financial data, etc. I suspect the answer to my question is a capital NO, and if that’s… Read more »
Benj
Member
Benj

I vaguely remember a few games that had links to malware posted in their description. Which sort of implies they couldn’t get away with having malware as the main .exe file.

If they do much more than run it through malwarebytes I’d be surprised.

Exley97
Member
Exley97
Yeah…Malwarebytes is good as far as free antimalware/antivirus programs go, but that’s not going to stop the folks who know what they’re doing. You can obfuscate malicious executables in a number of ways, or add the malware in after it’s been approved by the app store/Steam via patching, MP servers or really any kind of online connection between the software and the command & control infrastructure (this is why Apple banned developers from using hot patching for iOS apps — it was too easy for developers to add malicious code through a quick patch that wasn’t scanned/vetted by Apple). With… Read more »
Hugrid
Member
Hugrid

“implies they couldn’t get away with having malware as the main .exe file.”

You forget the games Jim has found that didn’t have .exe files, had .exe files that wouldn’t work etc… slipping outright malware in to them is probably doable but is also above the skill level of most steam “developers”. The other thing is that eventually it’d be found out and the process of getting something on Steam likely creates too much of a paper trail for the liking of proper malwarios.

Terry-Osaurusus Hex XI
Member
“We’re being overrun, sir. Our defenses are doing little to hold them back, and the others… well, it appears they’ve abandoned us here. Should we signal for help to our neighboring allies? What should we do, sir??” – “Open the gates, drop the defenses! Let them all come at once!” – “But sir, wouldn’t that garuntee our imminent brutal defe…” – “Silence your naysaying!….Of course not, it’s all part of the plan, you see?” – “I… do not, sir. How will this improve our situation? This seems a terrible idea, sir. We can just easily signal for hel….” – “Incessant… Read more »
Deena
Member
Deena

Okay, I think I’m missing something here. When Valve had Jim, TotalBiscuit and whoever up at Mount Gabemore, it certainly seemed like some kind of plan had been presented, because the general reaction afterwards was “Yeah, this might work.” I recall Jim was… not optimistic, exactly, but at the very least open to the possibility that things might improve.

So did Valve just not follow through on whatever strategy they laid out at the time? Or did Jim and the others misread what was actually going to happen?

Justin McDaniel
Admin

From what I gathered (and could be wrong here, as my memory is not great), there was an “implication” from Valve that they would be doing at least a modicum of curation with Direct to make sure there was an actual game being sold. Which, as many had expected, was a straight up lie on Valve’s part.

Benj
Member
Benj

My reading of this was that they wanted some publicity for their overhaul from someone who’d been most openly critical of steam greenlight.

They then just crossed their fingers and hoped their sortoutallthisshit.exe algorithms actually worked.

Cobra_IronFang
Member
Cobra_IronFang

At this point it almost looks like Valve is activerly trying to destroy Steam. I mean no company can be this incompetent by accident can they?
It almost hurts my brain to think of but we might end up thinking wistfully about good the times were under Greenlight… I think i’m gonna be sick…

Anton
Member
Anton
This isn’t going to destroy Steam. Yes, the pile of asset flips looks ugly, but this is an issue that most people are not going to notice. For example, I’m only aware of the asset flip epidemic because Jim points it out. When I go to use Steam personally, I already know what I’m there to buy, and I’m never just randomly browsing, so I never even see these horrible games. To people like me, the service is working mostly as intended (you know, besides the weird card economy and the godawful customer service). …not to say this isn’t an… Read more »
Galactix100
Member
Galactix100
The thing is that as the shit pile grows it’s gonna be harder and harder for indies in particular to get noticed. Most indies rely on word of mouth as they can’t afford a big or even significantly noticeable marketing campaign. As such it’s only the big AAA games that don’t have to worry about the deluge of crap. As someone that goes to steam almost exclusively for indies since I can’t afford a PC that can handle AAA games as well as or better than a console the constant waves of crap means that I basically don’t touch Steam… Read more »
Chris
Member
Exactly. If you only ever look at steam’s front page and recommendations you won’t see the utter trash, but you also won’t ever discover indie games without the marketing budget to have gotten on that front page. By completely abdicating the responsibility of curating Valve is guaranteeing that their platform can’t be somewhere that small, talented devs can be discovered and thrive. You are either already big enough or well known enough to end up featured on the front page or you’re buried out of sight with the asset flips and achievement spam and the straight up scam artists with… Read more »
Anton
Member
Anton

No, that’s absolutely true, but OP’s point was that this might be bad for Steam itself. Which I didn’t agree with.

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

Oh yeah like I said Steam have a strangle hold monopoly on the PC market.

Although if their current attitude persists and indie deves start looking elsewhere en masse as the comments from devs featured in this video suggest may end up happening as indie devs become increasingly disillusioned with Steam it could hurt them in the long run. This could be the case if the likes of GOG grow enough to present an actual challenge to Valve’s dominance of the market.

Chris
Member
I don’t think it will destroy Steam, but it is going to damage it. In the sense that I used to buy a lot more games on there than I do currently, and I know others who feel the same. When a big, tentpole ‘AAA’ game comes out that I want on PC I still get it there, but when the sales roll around or when I’ve got a little bit to spend on a smaller game I don’t go browsing the way I used to. I don’t ‘discover’ games on there like I once did, I won’t take a… Read more »
drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

Even as someone who plays a lot of the more obscure stuff on Steam such as games like Dont Make Love I’ve never really been exposed to the stuff with the level of quality of games like Jim has discussed before.

Anton
Member
Anton

Well, these games would be pretty easy to spot and avoid, I imagine

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

They don’t have to worry since Steam has a stranglehold on the PC market and none of the consoles are really taking advantage of Steam’s current troubles.

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

It really is surprising that nobody, not even one of the 3 console manufacturers has taken advantage of the ever growing shit pile Steam’s turned into and tried to position themselves as the new go to place for indie devs.

You’d especially think that the likes of Sony and MS would be a more attractive proposition. Yes, they’ve been letting standards slip recently in terms of curation but they’re still far better at it than Steam, although that’s only because they bother to do it at all.

drownedsummer
Member
drownedsummer

They have Nintendo have done so with the Switch just they have exercised some sense of quality control.

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100
They’ve not really pushed it in the way I mean though, it’s more of a circumstantial thing with Nintendo. What I mean is that for a long time Steam was the go to place for indies, but ever since it became a complete shit show no-one’s come out and said ‘we want to take Steam’s place as the haven for indie games, come to us indie devs and we’ll all get rich together’. The conditions are there. Dev’s are clearly getting fed up with Steam’s bullshit, players likely are too. But no company’s yet made a concerted, aggressive and public… Read more »
Arella Jardin
Member
Arella Jardin
I’m on Xbox, and we get a fair bit of indie games every week, more than the AAA titles. And for the most part, they aren’t shovelware, so MS is doing some curation. The problem, however, is that MS really isn’t pushing them. They don’t do much to highlight them, they don’t advertise their indie selection (except for that short montage every year at E3). They exist, and that’s that. By mixing them in with the bigger titles, they just disappear into the crowd. It’s not as big a crowd as Steam, but still. I think MS could really benefit… Read more »
Coughee
Member
Coughee

GoG seems to be doing this. There’s a lot of indie games coming out on their storefront and so far I haven’t seen anything that didn’t at least look like… Well, not whatever that crap on Steam is.

Galactix100
Member
Galactix100

The only thing that’ll convince Valve and Steam to act and change their general attitude is rivals like GOG presenting a significant enough challenge to their dominance.

Indie devs abandoning Steam in favour of others that actually care about curation is one such way their dominance could be threatened.

Arella Jardin
Member
Arella Jardin
$100 is too low. When the idea of using an entry fee was rolling about, and it was going to be somewhere between $100 and $1000, people were worried about the poor indie devs just starting out, being over burdened by exorbitant fees. Any idiot can scrounge up $100. Clearly. If you want to weed out the fools and only get the developers who are serious about being game developers, you need a price that reflects that dedication. Now, obviously, I don’t think money should decide who gets on Steam. Valve should hire actual store curators and stop the worst… Read more »
Deena
Member
Deena

To be honest, given how many trolls already clearly have time and money to burn, I’m not sure a higher entry fee would make any difference. They’d just pay it and wait for the rebate, since Valve don’t take preventative action in the first place.

KayX291
Member
KayX291
and this is why I am using GOG (Formely GoodOldGames), not only to get older games that actually work but also for quality indie games. While Steam is getting filled with garbage, GOG on the other hand checks the game how it looks like and decide if it should be accepted into the store or not. Sometimes a good indie game may not get in, but it’s possible that it may get in even if it’s been refused in a 1st place by showing it in their forum so the users would check it up, praise the game if it’s… Read more »
InfamousDS
Member
InfamousDS

It’s starting to get chilly round these parts. Glad we have a dumpster fire to get warm around.

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