Game Exclusivity Wars Are Upon Us And Valve's Anti-Review-Bombing Process Is Without A Rip-Cord

from the convenient dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about the rather sudden emergence of Epic Games' entry into the game distribution business. In a move to directly compete with Valve's Steam, the Epic's store has been attempting to gobble up AAA titles into a program of limited exclusivity, typically six months. The lure for all this is a split for Epic and the game publisher that is more generous for the latter. Valve, meanwhile, responded to one of the larger stories about a game going Epic exclusive, Metro Exodus, by complaining that it was bad for gamers generally and Steam users specifically. That quite predictably served as a rallying cry for Steam users to go to the store pages for other Deep Silver Metro games and bomb those pages with negative reviews that had nothing to do with those games and everything to do with the exclusivity deal.

All of which is at odds with Steam's policies and the platform's stated goals of preventing review-bombing of this type. But as the exclusivity wars appear to be upon us, with more games jumping on with Epic, it's becoming clearer that this is probably a purposeful strategy on Valve's end. The latest example of this is the announcement that the next game in the Borderlands series has signed on with Epic to be exclusive for six months. The backlash on Steam was almost immediate.

Over the course of yesterday and today, Borderlands 2 has received nearly 1,600 new negative Steam reviews, while Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel has been hit with 420 and Borderlands: Game Of The Year Edition has picked up 320. These games are receiving renewed attention not just because of the Borderlands 3 announcement, but also because Gearbox recently updated the Borderlands Handsome Collection with new HD textures and put the series on sale. Still, you need only look at Borderlands 2's top reviews to see what much of the negativity is about.

“Love the game, but I can’t recommend it because the sequel will be exclusive somewhere else,” reads one highly upvoted review.

“Scummy company that insults every single person that purchased the game on this site,” says another. “Skip it.”

It's quite obvious that these are not legitimate reviews. They are, however, quite useful as a barometer for how gamers generally see these kinds of exclusivity deals. Much like the market fragmentation that has become the streaming entertainment industry, these types of deals can only serve to frustrate the gaming public. Suddenly, due strictly to business interests, gamers aren't certain where to find the games they want, or if their platform of choice will even have them, or when. That's not a great concept for maximizing the growth of an industry that has exploded mostly without this type of fragmentation. While the console market has always had some of this, expanding it to the PC market makes little sense, since there's no hardware-specific tie in. It's just going to piss people off, and that's already starting.

On the other hand, Steam and Valve sure seem to be taking the most cynical route possible, given that it recently committed to ending this kind of review bombing.

Last month, Valve revealed a solution to Steam’s increasingly ubiquitous review bomb problem: a new system where a human team digs through reeking piles of fishy reviews surfaced by an automated program, and—if they find those reviews to be sufficiently suspicious—they’ll “mark the time period it encompasses and notify the developer.” Then they’ll remove those reviews from the game’s overall score and stop other reviews posted in the same period from counting.

Currently, it’s impossible to say whether or not Valve has reached out to Gearbox, but the company has yet to make any marks or remove these clearly trolling reviews from Borderlands games’ scores.

That sure makes it look like Valve is just letting this all happen to punish a company that chose to do business with another platform. If that isn't what this is, then Valve should come out forcefully and say so. If it is what Valve is doing, then it's hard to conclude anything other than the company is undermining its own user review system, which is one of the most useful aspects of Steam.

Regardless, it appears the exclusivity wars have come to PC gaming. And that sucks no matter the specifics around Borderlands reviews.

Filed Under: competition, epic, exclusivity, platforms, silos, steam, video games
Companies: epic, valve


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  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 2:58pm

    Well, crap. As a Borderlands fan* on Steam who is planning to pre-purchase the game, this puts me in an uncomfortable position.

    I really wanted those skins.

    I was planning to buy the deluxe version with all the extras. Perhaps I'll compromise by pre-buying the main-game-only version and adding the DLC after it comes out on Steam.

    • Over 3000 hours on BL2.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 3:06pm

    ... This again?

    Valve, meanwhile, responded to one of the larger stories about a game going Epic exclusive, Metro Exodus, by complaining that it was bad for gamers generally and Steam users specifically.

    Which was true...

    That quite predictably served as a rallying cry for Steam users to go to the store pages for other Deep Silver Metro games and bomb those pages with negative reviews that had nothing to do with those games and everything to do with the exclusivity deal.

    ... Which is not. Steam users were already (rightly) pissed that a game that had been advertised as coming to the platform was suddenly yanked out and made an exclusive on a significantly worse platform at the last minute, acting like it was somehow Steam's statement that motivated them to show their displeasure is absurd. They didn't need Steam to tell them they'd been screwed, they knew that quite well themselves, and review-bombing was how they made clear they weren't happy about it.

    That sure makes it look like Valve is just letting this all happen to punish a company that chose to do business with another platform.

    Or, you know, that they're dealing with a new system that was just recently added and thereby is likely to have bugs, on a platform large enough that they're almost certainly swamped with questionable content to deal with more serious than people making clear they're not happy with a particular dev, and aren't dropping everything in order to immediately focus on an issue that's mostly someone else's problem.

    As the update on Kotaku made clear the system was applied to the affected games a whopping two days after it began, and if that qualifies as 'punishment'('For two days your games shall have lower scores thanks to pissed off customers! Feel our displeasure!') then the bar has been set really low.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 3:48pm

      Re: ... This again?

      I'll just second the point about Steam users not needing a rallying cry. The vocal part of the Steam userbase has not been shy about voicing their displeasure with anyone granting Epic an exclusive window on games. I've got no interest in installing another platform to get games. Steam already has more than I will ever buy, and the amount of money the publisher gets isn't my concern. Anyone not putting their games on Steam or GOG doesn't get my money, and it has a lot more to do with convenience than principle for me.

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      • icon
        silentspectator (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 7:12pm

        Re: Re: ... This again?

        Just to play the devil's advocate, look at it from Epic's point of view. You've created a new store and want to popularize it. What is the best way? Exclusive games have been effective/accepted in the console space. Why not try using that to establish a user base while you build new features? Market fragmentation is a genuine concern but that is a side effect of a competitive market where the players are trying to distinguish themselves from each other. Ultimately, Steam is far from perfect and more competition is always a good thing. The fault for switching to Epic store after announcing Steam pre-orders lies as much if not more with the publisher.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 7:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: ... This again?

          Just to play the devil's advocate, look at it from Epic's point of view. You've created a new store and want to popularize it. What is the best way?

          Offer a better platform for both game companies and customers, with more and/or better features, such that companies/customers want to use your platform, rather than being bribed/coerced into doing it, a tactic which guarantees that people's first impression of your platform will be toxic and you'll suffer backlash from angry customers who've suddenly found themselves in the middle of a pissing contest between platforms.

          If Epic were actually competing, offering better deals for both customers and game companies then people would have a lot less of a problem with it, but given the downright pathetic state their platform is in and the fact that they've been running around bribing companies to sign exclusivity deals it's pretty obvious that even they know that what they're offering is rubbish and the only way they can get people to use their platform is coercion or bribery.

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          • identicon
            Paul Brinker, 15 Apr 2019 @ 8:31pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: ... This again?

            Epic is competing.

            Epic takes a ~12% cut of each game sale. Valve takes 30% (unless your AAA). Metro Execudous Devs said they could reduce the price by $10 AND still make more money on Epic then they could on Valve. Epic is also gating content, going after the upper 10% of games for its store. The goal is of course to get people to come to them for quality while valve releases every game under the son.

            Point being:

            • Games are cheaper on Epic
            • Games are generally higher quality

            Valve could easily respond by creating a tiered system for AA games, better or more variable rates, or really doing anything to help dev studios instead of being the Amazon for games.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 12:09am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ... This again?

              Games aren't actually cheaper on the Epic Store, Metro was $10 cheaper than the Steam price in the US only everyone else got to pay full RRP for it.

              However before Metro was pulled from third party stores you could get it for $45, so the move to Metro actually increased the price for everyone.

              In addition to that the 12% rate isn't really the reason games are going exclusive to Epic, they are going exclusive because Epic are throwing money at them - they are ether giving them money up front or are guaranteeing their sales for a year, so even if Valve dropped their cut to 12% they'd still lose games to Epic.

              This also misses the fact that the 12% cut isn't sustainable outside of the US - Epic based their 12% cut on people paying with Credit/Debit Cards or Paypal, however outside of the US (and UK) people in other countries use other payment methods and Epic's solution to that is to push the payment costs onto customers so the games cost even more in Europe.

              Valve also allow publishers to generate Steam keys for their games and sell them on other stores without Valve taking a cut of these sales, so if Valve lowered their cut they likely wouldn't be able to support free key generation which would kill off the various third party websites which actually compete on price, though even if Valve don't kill these sites them being forced to lower their cut to 12% likely would, as they'd no longer be able to compete on price (as their initial discounts generally come out of their 30% cut) which would result in higher prices as you'd have no choice but to pay full RRP on release.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 1:05am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ... This again?

              Games are fucking Windows-only on Epic store. No wonder Mac and Linux-Users are pissed.

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          • icon
            silentspectator (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 9:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: ... This again?

            And they are working on new features. It's just easier to get management/stakeholder/shareholder buy in for additional funding if you have an established user base. (I don't work at Epic, just guessing based on my experience.)

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            • icon
              Samuel Abram (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ... This again?

              Maybe in the future, the Epic Game Store will be a viable competitor to Steam. As of now, it seems that it's made to benefit developers at the expense of people who play games, and it's far too early for them to bribe developers when their store is still in Alpha.

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            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 6:13pm

              'Lettuce 6 months down the line, burger patty 8-9'

              If someone sells me a burger, I pay, only to find out that it's missing the meat and lettuce, 'We're still working on that' does not a valid excuse make. The fact that they are reduced to bribery and coercion and might, at some point down the line, implement some basic features that should have been there from the get-go(as far as I know the gorram shopping cart is still 'in development'), does not in any way excuse their actions and the state the platform is in now.

              In addition, the 'looking for more funding' excuse kinda falls flat when you consider how they are trying to coerce people to use their service, namely bribing companies into signing exclusives. If they've got that sort of money to throw around they damn well had money to spend on offering a real competing platform. They chose to go the sleaze route, they weren't forced into it.

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              • icon
                silentspectator (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 7:22pm

                Re: 'Lettuce 6 months down the line, burger patty 8-9'

                Yup, you're right. Additional funding doesn't make sense.

                Though I still think coercion/collusion is a little hyperbolic. They aren't forcing anyone into these exclusivity deals. Would you characterize Netflix or Amazon prime's original series as collusion? The concept is pretty much the same.

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                • identicon
                  bob, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:01pm

                  Re: Re: 'Lettuce 6 months down the line, burger patty 8-9'

                  The thing is Netflix and Amazon only showing their own content is more like epic only hosting their own created works like fortnite. The problem really comes when they get other content providers like Discovery channel to only show on one service when it was made by an outside entity.

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                  • icon
                    silentspectator (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:56pm

                    Re: Re: Re: 'Lettuce 6 months down the line, burger patty 8-9'

                    I guess that depends on what you mean by "own content". Netflix pays people to make shows for them. Epic is paying Devs for making timed exclusives for their platform.

                    I'm not saying it isn't a little shady but it's nowhere near the collusion/coercion levels it's being made out to be.

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                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 10:30pm

                  'You remember that game you wanted? Yeah, got news for you...'

                  Though I still think coercion/collusion is a little hyperbolic. They aren't forcing anyone into these exclusivity deals.

                  Bribery and coercion for publishers/developers and customers respectively, and it really isn't. They're bribing publishers/customers to sign exclusive deals that they otherwise wouldn't have made(even to the point of bribing them to pull selling on a platform they had previously advertised as selling on), and coercing customers to use a platform they wouldn't have used by forcing them to either get it through their garbage platform or not at all for half a year.

                  The Netflix/Amazon comparison doesn't hold up either, as in those cases the companies are paying their own money to create their own content, which they then use to enhance the value of their own services. Epic on the other hand is taking games that are already created and were slated for a wide release and paying the companies to artificially restrict the release, forcing customers to go through them. Paying for an exclusive on content is significantly different than paying for the development of the content itself and then making it exclusive after that.

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    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:34am

      Re: ... This again?

      I'll add this because I take issue with Geigner's criteria about what does and does not constitute a legitimate review.

      “Love the game, but I can’t recommend it because the sequel will be exclusive somewhere else,” reads one highly upvoted review.

      It's quite obvious that these are not legitimate reviews.

      There's nothing illegitimate about that. He gave a legitimate, if brief, review (Love the game) and then added that he nevertheless couldn't recommend it and provided a reason (poor customer service). That's perfectly legitimate.

      Consumers have a lot of factors that go into whether they're satisfied with a product or not and customer service is a big one.

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      • identicon
        bob, 16 Apr 2019 @ 12:14pm

        Re: Re: ... This again?

        Exactly. Legitimacy of reviews are in the eye of the beholder. As long as the person makes a truthful claim or opinion it is a legitimate review.

        Notice, no one said a review had to be well written or useful to be legitimate.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 3:28pm

    It's quite obvious that these are not legitimate reviews.

    Is it really? Seems legitimate to me. A review doesn't have to only be about the content of the game; this is information relevant to the game, information that prospective buyers will be better off if they're aware of it. How is that not "legitimate review" material?

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    • identicon
      Bruce C., 15 Apr 2019 @ 4:01pm

      Re:

      Except the information isn't relevant to the game being reviewed, it's relevant to the sequel.

      Now if Steam had publisher and developer reviews where people could leave comments about the companies and their sheety anti-consumer practices, then that info would be relevant. Amazon and other vendors allow you to provide reviews of the consumer experience with their different vendors, so it's not impossible. That would also help in cases where a company repeatedly scams people or abused the Early Access process by abandoning a game in early access and then starting an new one.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 4:18pm

        Re: Re:

        Except the information isn't relevant to the game being reviewed, it's relevant to the sequel.

        And that is relevant to the game as well, as games are not totally stand alone.

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        • identicon
          Bruce C., 15 Apr 2019 @ 6:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I can understand your position, but unfortunately it's Valve's platform, so they, not you or I, get to define what "review bombing" is. And that's kind of anti-consumer in itself.

          To be clear, both platforms are being dicks about this. It's cut-throat competition. Long term, having legitimate competition in games distribution should be a good thing, but Epic locking up exclusivity deals before they've even implemented a shopping cart in their store is a dick move. Devs going exclusive after taking pre-orders on a different platform is a dick move. And this has happened with several games -- multiple dick moves, if you will. "If you shake it more than once, you're playing with it." comes to mind. These companies are engaged in self-absorbed wankery and we're just collateral damage.

          Fortunately, I only just installed Witcher 3 after buying on sale on GOG, so I can wait this one out. I probably won't be buying any "AAA" micro-transaction-ridden garbage on either Steam or Epic.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 9:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I probably won't be buying any "AAA" micro-transaction-ridden garbage on either Steam or Epic.

            Only a fool pays full price for a title and then follows that up by giving the publisher even more money to make the game playable, be competitive with other players doing the same thing, etc. Micro-transactions do not belong in a game with a $60 price tag.

            Interestingly, a free game with micro-transactions, even just cosmetic items for purchase, will almost always financially eclipse a $60 game with micro-transactions. $0 price tag = many more players = many more opportunities to convert those players into payers. And those who are already payers tend to pay far more than $60 just to show off some new "skin" or silly hat. See Fortnite as a recent example but far, far from the only one.

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      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:38am

        Re: Re:

        Except the information isn't relevant to the game being reviewed, it's relevant to the sequel.

        Which is something a prospective buyer would want to know-- that if they enjoyed this game, it's sequel won't be available here.

        No different than a book review that says, "This is a great book, but if you like it and want to read how the story ends, be aware that its sequel will be locked behind some other walled garden."

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 7:57am

      This

      Agreed. Ask me why I don't like Lean Cuisine meals, and I'll tell you it's because I gladly boycott Nestle-owned businesses and brands. I'll tell you that some of the meals are tasty and I used to buy them until I learn who owned them, but I cannot give my money to a company that steals water from a community and sells it back to them at a premium.

      I've given up the rat race of PC gaming and always needing the newest and best hardware, becoming a console pleb, but I agree with the Steam users here: Gearbox did a crappy thing by announcing for Steam and then going back and giving exclusivity to Epic. Ask me whether I liked the Borderlands games and I'll tell you I got them all and they were fun, but I won't be buying future games until they're no longer exclusive, and I'll tell you why.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      You're not wrong, but a game review is presumed to mostly about the game.

      I think Valve should allow Developer Reviews though. It'd be a nice middle ground where you could complain about Paradox nickle-and-dime-and-quartering people for DLC, Slitherine selling their strategy games like they're full budget AAA titles, or Gearbox doing stupid shit with their sequels.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:22am

        Re: Re:

        ^ This ^

        And those developer & publisher reviews should be linked to every game listed. I want to know what country they're in/from. I want to read about their business practices and anything available about their leadership. I want to be able to check a box and ignore any game sourced from a developer or publisher I don't care to do business with. There are plenty and it's getting hard to keep track of them all.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 3:41pm

    The problem is that people believe online reviews at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 8:33pm

      Re:

      The bigger issue is game journalism. GamerGate was ridiculous because even if they were actually concerned about ethics in game journalism, it's just game journalism. What's the worst that can happen?

      "I put all my faith in a single article and spent $70 on a game I didn't like! The sky is falling!"

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 3:42pm

    Umm, did you write this article like two weeks ago and then forget to update it?

    https://www.polygon.com/2019/4/6/18298215/epic-games-store-review-bombs-steam-borderlands-2

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 4:09pm

      Re:

      Techdirt isn't a news site.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 4:48pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm not sure how that precludes basing opinion articles on up-to-date information.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 5:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Techdirt has what, 5 regular contributors, who cover dozens of topics per week, and you want them to be on top of morning and evening editions like traditional newspapers with dozens of reporters and dozens more researchers?

          So you would like them to be on top on other sites posts (pick one)

          5 minutes ago

          half an hour ago

          half a day ago

          two days ago

          two weeks ago

          last month

          Well, it doesn't take the most recent information to develop an opinion. I developed an opinion about Epic the first time I heard about them. And that was here on Techdirt when they first pulled this scam on their previous customers with a different game.

          Scam???? you say. Yeah, scam. People bought and liked the game (see the first post) on Steam and now they have to install someone else's gaming software in order to download and play the newest version of a game the already have? Yeah, that is a SCAM.

          Epic is acting as a gaming platform, like Steam is a gaming platform, but new to that market. Its not that they are actually platforms, but they provide (apparently) some consistency between hardware and software across multiple situations or, it is an obtuse form of DRM. Epic, an untested newcomer to this genre seems to have purchased those 6 month exclusivity contracts, in order to make their entree into the "gaming platform" market, by dissing Steam and all the previous customers of a particular game.

          What I don't understand is why those folks so pissed off cannot wait, let's say 7 months, and buy it from Steam. That is what will really stick it to Epic.

          Maybe 'instant gratification' and 'shiny' and 'I got it first' are are bigger motivators than I thought. The problem I have with those is that I tried them in the past and the satisfaction is less than advertised.

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          • icon
            Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 5:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Dang, I intended to mention that those five contributors all have other jobs and this blog is part time.

            Come to think of it, there might be six or seven or even a few more irregular contributors who contribute regularly in an irregular manner.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 7:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Dude, there was one update, over a week ago, to the central premise of the post.

            This isn't a hard ask.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 7:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I didn't and won't read that update, yet I still have my opinion. And frankly, my opinion has nothing to do with any updates. It has to do with the original action, and the original reactions. That isn't going to change, regardless of updates.

              Re-read those last two paragraphs.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 8:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I just checked the link the OP put up and there's nothing to suggest anything that "updates" on the Techdirt post.

                Frankly, unless it's something like a Prenda Law update from some time ago (or years back, and I actively search for it to laugh at blue, horse with no name and antidirt being complete and thorough fucknuggets), people generally don't care about posts a week old since those disappear into the archives.

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            • icon
              Thad (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 8:00pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Neither is "if you have a suggestion for how an article could have been approached differently, make it without being a prick about it," and yet here we are.

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          • identicon
            Travis, 16 Apr 2019 @ 9:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Considering that the article calls out steam for not taking action on the review bomb, when they did 10 days ago...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 7:51am

        Re: Re:

        Techdirt isn't a news site.

        You've never listened to the podcast, have you? You know, the one where Mike repeatedly describes Techdirt as a news site?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 3:42pm

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  • icon
    Bamboo Harvester (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 3:50pm

    Negative comment bombing....

    ...So, Blue's a Steam user....

    /s

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 4:12pm

    @Timothy.

    I don't know how to reconcile

    they’ll remove those reviews from the game’s overall score and stop other reviews posted in the same period from counting.

    and

    Valve is just letting this all happen to punish a company that chose to do business with another platform

    How is Valve hiding review bombs by default punishing a company that chose to do business with another platform?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 15 Apr 2019 @ 4:21pm

      Re:

      It's reconciled by allowing the bombing to go for days before dealing with it... but I don't think that's really fair to Steam. Dealing with deliberate attempts to sabotage game scores to show displeasure at the distributor/developer of the games isn't really all that easy. They admitted that automated systems weren't doing the job and had to get real people involved, and that takes time. Complaining about two days to handle thousands of review bombs is like governments wanting social media to handle "bad" posts in a hour - highly unrealistic in real life.

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 4:08am

    Gamers are retarded.

    Let's just get this fact out of the way. Every day, their retardation gets worse and the rest of us, who maintain common sense, can only watch as our gaming hobby dwindles into a pile of shit because it cannot compete against the growing retardation.

    Epic's arrival into the arena means one thing: competition. You know, this thing everyone keeps talking about that's supposed to be good for consumers?

    It means choice, and a possibility on increased options when competing stores offer the same product. Yes, right now, some games are exclusive, but this will not be the case in the future.

    Instead, publishers, who have literally taken advantage of retarded gamers, are going to milk this to the "Nth" degree by pushing the boundaries of "digital deluxe" with "features" and the increased price tags to go with them.

    You'd have to be completely retarded not to see this coming, just as you'd have to be completely retarded to use the phrase "AAA" game when very little released in the past 5 years comes close to the standards which formed the "AAA" moniker to begin with.

    I saw this retardation arrive in force for the first time when Microsoft announced the XBox One. "DRM!", these retarded gamers screamed. "Physical copies don't require always online!", they said, before renewing their Microsoft Live account for another year.

    This retardation needs to stop, so articles like this can stop.

    What Epic is doing is not wrong. It's jarring. It's DISRUPTIVE, a term Techdirt has used for ages when announcing how retarded people yell at clouds instead of seeing what the disruption is bringing.

    Yes, it sucked Metro was pulled from Steam after being available for preorder. What the article DOES NOT MENTION is these preorders were honored.

    EVERY. DAMN. ONE. OF. THEM.

    So while it's great and fun to rip on a situation without fully disclosing all the facts to receive eyeballs to ad revenue, this is just another blatant example of gamer retardation.

    Oh, the author. I should have known, given this is the same retarded gamer who screamed Microsoft was pushing DRM on the XBox One will clearly ignoring the fact consoles are DRM by default.

    Common sense, please rest in peace.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:10am

      Re:

      Competition? Come on.

      If a developer stood up and announced "We'll release on Steam, Epic, the Apple Store and as a standalone release on our website!" I'd be the first one to stand up and offer applause for being given options. This would mean there's competition between game stores.

      Exclusivity deals are not about "competition." It's about the absolute opposite. It's about locking up a product to try to force people over to your platform because you either a) can't compete or b) think competing is too 1900s so you'll speed it up with some anti-consumer practices.

      You could MAYBE make the argument that eventually, ten years from now, there will be more competition, but that would mean you think the ends justify the means. They don't. They never have. This excuse has been used for every damn dumb decision in history. It's no good here either.

      You are sort of right though, Metro did "honor their preorders", but Mr GetYoFactsStraight, let's get those facts straight:

      They announced that all Steam preorders were being moved to Epic, and backtracked only after massive backlash from the community. They also responded to the backlash by attacking their own community, and threatening to not release on PC at all in the future. That's what you call "honored the deal?" To me it sounds more like a four year old throwing the toys out of the pram, when things don't go their way.

      Yes, I'm truly impressed with the developers who signed these deals, and I'm so glad the Epic games store has created competition, letting me choose where to buy my... oh wait, they don't. Do they?

      Be careful you you call a retard. Most of the gamers understand the situation better than you do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Paul Brinker, 16 Apr 2019 @ 9:02am

        Re: Re:

        Not sure you understand who the customer is in each of the above situations.

        Each of the online stores are competing to get games released on their platform. Each store offers a mix of services, price points, payment services and supported platforms. Going exclusive means you do not need to build your own sales portal, you only need to support one architecture, and at least one platform will give you a better cut of the sales if you meet their standards.

        Supporting GOG, Origin, Steam, your website, and Epic costs a huge amount of money. This is not a movie that is the same on each service, its a software product that needs to reimplement services and features that are platform dependent.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      Were the preorders honored on Steam?

      Cause if not, EVERY. DAMN. ONE. OF. THEM. are still valid reasons for people to be pissed off about.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      Epic's arrival into the arena means one thing: competition. You know, this thing everyone keeps talking about that's supposed to be good for consumers?

      The kind of competition in question here is not the kind that benefits consumers. Competition between gaming platforms is to draw in game publishers, not reduce game pricing. This form of competition actually harms consumers in that now they have to use multiple platforms to play all the games they want to play, assuming there are titles exclusive to each. It won't affect the prices consumers pay at all, which is a good thing in this case as there are already harms.

      Even assuming your opening statement is correct, gamers are clearly not the only mentally disadvantaged people on the internet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 9:37am

      Re:

      War is peace! Freedom is slavery! Exclusivity is competition!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 4:42am

    "Oh boohoo, they are review-bombing my company for pissing all over our own customers. It's not an official channel for such things! Fix it!"

    If only Valve had said:

    "Ok. We'll fix it. From now on the front page for each game will now prominently display user reviews of the developer, alongside the reviews for the game. The reviews are in the right place now. Enjoy."

    I really, really, really dislike "exclusivity deals" as it's one of the scummiest practices you see on a free market. It's admitting flat out that you can't compete, and have to try to hijack customers that wouldn't otherwise spit on you to put out a fire. Epic's behavior is disgusting shows total disdain for the very customers they are trying to get.

    As for the developers and publishers who sign these deals... they aren't just pissing all over the customers they want to get, but all over the fans they already have. These people are actually worse; I hope they all go bankrupt. But they won't, because people are too dumb to vote with their wallets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 6:54am

    We need competition to steam,
    the only way epic can get people to switch is to offer new exclusive games .
    Epic offers more money to devs than steam .
    Any service that only has one main supplier is bad for the consumer ,
    wait 6 months and it,ll be out on steam .
    We have seen on the apple store where devs have to pay 30 per cent of revenue
    its not good for the market.
    In the era where games are costing millions to make ,its good
    that devs have a choice other than steam.
    Epic with its income from fortnite has the chance to offer real competition
    to steam .
    Small stores like GOG cannot afford to pay devs to put exclusive games
    on their store .
    Consoles all have drm and their are exclusives on xbox and ps4 consoles
    too .
    Just the presence of epic will force steam to offer a better service to
    consumers .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Annonymouse, 16 Apr 2019 @ 7:30am

      Re:

      To bad that Epic's platform is as polished as a Drumlin and doesn't actually provide a better customer service experience......

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 9:22am

      Re:

      We need competition to steam

      Who is "we" and why do we need this competition? If you are a game publisher, how will fracturing the market help you? And if you are a gamer, how will this fractured market help you? Or are you a lawyer? An investor in Epic?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bob, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:32am

      Re:

      GoG doesnt compete with steam. They have their own market and stick to it, the games they sell must be DRM free and they don't care about exclusivity. Whereas steam allows anything through as long as you pay $100.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 9:33am

    I don't understand the hate against Epic.

    PC is the platform. The delivery method is Epic. There is already so many other exclusive launchers (Origin, Uplay) that only EA and Ubi games are on, so why the hate for Epic?

    The PC hardware has so many other stores that one more shouldn't be a big deal. Good job on them wooing developers.

    When steam started up years ago, it did not have all the features it does now, it was just like Epic is now. Just a platform to get Half Life and Team Fortress.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      Let me help you:

      Steam: "We're a digital game store!"
      Humble: "We're DRM-free! Also, contribute to charity and get cheap games!"
      GOG: "We're DRM-free!"
      itch.io: "We're for the independents of the independents of the independents!"

      Meanwhile…

      Epic Game Store: "Can't someone else do it!?!"

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      bob, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      • Each launcher competes for system resources and must be run to keep games up to date, gather news, or get user content related to the game on that launcher.
      • Each launcher silos your money if you sell items or use gift cards.
      • Each launcher incorporates a password which should be unique amd managing passwords even in a tool is just one more thing to do or remember.
      • Each launcher may not have the same user name available depending on when you joined.
      • Each launcher must individually be updated as well
      • Each launcher has divergent options, features, and game offerings.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:21am

        Re: Re:

        Exactly! Say what you will about the Nintendo Switch, but I'd still have bought one even if there were no Nintendo exclusive games on the platform. It's the platform that finally made me stop playing games on Steam. I can't say the same about the Epic Games store. If the Epic Games store had no exclusives, I wouldn't use it at all (plus since they're just the timed exclusives, I'd rather just wait to get the games on Steam than use Epic's launcher).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 1:35pm

    Much like the fragmentation on the streaming front made me go without a lot of stuff I will go without in this case as well. I wonder how many will go the "enough with the bullshit" route and just go without. Or pirate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    TDR, 16 Apr 2019 @ 1:39pm

    Sort of reminds me of EA's horrific exclusivity deal with the NFL for the Madden series. Is that nightmare finally dead or has it been extended yet again? It's been far too long since we've had a new NFL2K game.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 2:53pm

    It isn't Valve's fault people are pissed at them it's their own doing and it isn't Valve's responsibility to run PR for them.

    There is no reason people shouldn't be allowed to take company's actions into account in their reviews. If people are honestly unhappy with the company and posting honest reviews saying so their review system is working just fine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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