Valve may deny key requests from developers due to outside sales

  • All games on Steam must be PC exclusives and cannot be sold on other stores
  • All games on Steam must use SteamWorks DRM
  • All games on Steam must use Steam’s multiplayer servers which cannot interoperate with non-Steam titles
  • Steam Gold membership required for multiplayer, costing $XX/year
  • Prices no longer in local currency but in “Steam Coins”, selling at 80 SC per US Dollar


I see what you did there. In other words, when Steam becomes XBox and Playstation and Nintendo.


I doubt GOG is any more interested in having duplicitous developers exploiting their generosity than Steam is.


Yeah, it’s not this particular thing that bothers me. I can totally understand where they’re coming from in this case. It just made me wonder what other changes they will make to their terms in the future, and made me further wonder how far they could push those changes before people would get really upset.

I’m sure they’ve got people that analyze exactly this sort of thing. And that if they were to make any radical changes, they would make sure to make them gradually, so people would adjust and eventually accept them.

For me, the one thing that would really piss me off is if they ever get the idea to turn Steam into some kind of subscription service. Where in order to keep access to all of the games you’ve “purchased the license” for, you’d now also have to pay a certain (trivial I’m sure) amount per game per month. Say ten cents per game. Which sounds like a pittance until you count how many games you have, and multiply. Would I do this? Yep. They’ve got me over a barrel now, as I “own” far too many games there to just give them up. But I’d be really, really pissed.


You can come up with these conspiracy theories about anything though. There are always the possibility of someone changing things to screw us over. If you are going to worry about every little change an organization makes and envision all the ways it might be a slippery slope to some really unlikely outcome then it seems like you’d be running around stressing out about everything in life.

At some point you just have to either trust that the worst case scenario isn’t the goal, or just trust in the fact that there’s nothing you can do and not worry about it.


Is it really a conspiracy theory if they post online that they have a problem with a ratio representing too many non-Valve sales of Steam keys? That would seem to be just a regular old theory.


Ultimately I think they will crack down on the bundles and third-party sales, because I mean why wouldn’t they? Developers are using it to circumvent their 30% cut. That’s Steam’s primary revenue source.

But they aren’t doing that today.


Well, presumably there’s a reason they haven’t yet. And I would guess that reason is that they already make tons of money through direct sales and they don’t miss the revenue they’d get from those things enough to take the PR hit and possibly lose their defacto status as the hub of all PC gaming by turning all those bundles and third-party sales into presence on other people’s platforms rather than their own. Sure, some people would stop buying their games that way so that they could keep their library concentrated on Steam (I probably would, at least to start with). But not everybody.


I don’t see why other markets would allow third-party sales long-term either. I mean, that’s their primary revenue source also. I guess I could see them doing it short-term to take market share from Steam, but ultimately this sort of malfeasance is going to stop happening.


Yes it is. Steam has been EXTREMELY generous in the use of their service and even with their ratio issue they are still being generous with a service that costs them a lot of money to run. Just because they make a ton of profit from ti doesn’t mean they have to bear the costs for others that they are still willing to bear.

Nothing about Steam obligates them to facilitate sales through humble store, bundles, etc… The fact that they are trying to not block these while ban trading card scams due to their opening of the flood gate is not concerning to me in the slightest and trying to turn this into a slippery slope of banning humble bundle next is conspiracy theory territory.


Ah, you see Steamworks as a form of philanthropy. As opposed to a strategy that made Steam the dominant PC game platform.

Not everyone shares the view that Valve is purely benevolent and may properly punish those who “abuse” their generosity by failing to maintain a proper level of tribute.


Thank god you’re here to lead us into the light.


Because those other markets are the third party sales I’m talking about. Right now, people are buying on Humble or Greenmangaming or whatever, and then registering the actual game with Steam and using Steam going forward. If Steam stops providing keys, Humble and Greenmangaming and so on will still exist, but anyone buying through them will have their game with that service, not Steam. For some, that will be a disincentive to buy through those markets. But for the less invested, that will be a reason to use Steam less.


The point I was trying to make is that any service that gives away keys for free is losing money on every single key.

That isn’t a long-term strategy unless the money lost is very small (which it almost certainly is) or the loss-leader is worthwhile to get a new user (which it might be, for every platform except Steam).


Okay. So a completely unrelated point to the one I was making.


No it wasn’t. If Humble hosts the files, they’ll charge a cut. You won’t be able to get 7 games for a buck.


Humble already do charge a cut, by default on their bundles and in their store. But my point was that Steam probably doesn’t see the money they’re losing to third party sales as relevant next to the money they already bring in, the goodwill their current policy engenders, and the concentration of users in their ecosystem as opposed to others. I don’t know why the specifics of third-party sales are relevant to that point.


Valve could have not allowed other storefronts to sell steam codes easily and yet they would still be the dominant gaming platform for PC. You seem to forget that Steam is probably the main thing that pulled PC gaming out of the really low point it was in a decade ago, and it became dominant without humble bundle, green man gaming, and even G2A existing. They did not have to even start allowing third parties to sell steam keys to become dominant because they were already dominant then. VR is just one part of the gamiing space they have pushed innovation, especially when they didn’t really have to.

Valve has also been extremely big on innovation in the gaming space, and it’s a huge force in driving the extremely competitive landscape for VR that we have right now. Facebook didn’t put a lot of money and put out really good touch controllers out of the goodness of their heart, they were getting laughed at because Vive had had them a long time ago.

In the mean time while you try and claim that Steam is some boogeyman that eats it’s competition we have had Origin, Gog,, Oculus,, etc… which are actually doing extremely well and host a lot of games you literally can’t buy on Steam.

Then you look at the fact that Steam is supposedly dominant and yet it’s probably the worst place to launch a new game because of how competitive it is (unless you have a LOT of money for marketing). There is a huge opportunity for more curated and focused storefronts that people actually want to browse to find new games.

But whatever. You can just ignore facts and live life thinking it’s impossible that a company can only have nefarious goals if it benefits it in the slightest. I guess companies only do good things when it hurts them, otherwise it wasn’t done because it was an overall good thing to do. Not everyone is out to screw you over.


Can’t make you drink, though. : P


Indeed. That’s why I think a modification is in order to the saying: You can lead a horse to water, but if you can’t make it drink, take a two by four upside it’s head.

Here’s the warner brother’s interpretation with a camel: