Why Steam is different from what Microsoft is doing.

For PC’s: Prior to steam, you would buy a PC title and it would come with an activation code. The code was a basic and simple way to prevent pirating. This was needed on PC and not consoles, because PC discs are made to be read by computers which, reasonably, can copy that data. Consoles have never had the ability to copy a game disc.

So PC gamers had piles of game discs, and codes. But obviously the codes didn’t work an infinite number of times. That would defeat the entire purpose of the code! So if, say, you bought a new computer and needed to reinstall the game onto your new system, you would need to first contact the game company, read them your product code, and then they would either allow an additional activation, or would give you a new code to use.

All in all, it was complicated as fuck. What’s more, because computer games can be run without the disc in the machine, sometimes gamers would simply lose the disc! Then, when they get a new computer, they would be SOL and need to rebuy any missing games.

Add in account locking to this situation, and the consumer is nothing but pleased: He doesn’t need to keep track of discs and codes anymore! He can install on any number of computers! All is well in the world!

But now let’s look at consoles: They share none of these problems. Instead, they had cartridges (later, discs) which could easily be swapped from system to system with no drm (because discs weren’t made in a way that was easy to duplicate anyway). And console users always had a decent library established for their game discs since they were always necessary to play the game.

Add account locking to this and…. well it’s really just throwing a monkey wrench into the consumer’s plans. Everything gets more complicated. Even if it doesn’t create a barrier to what you wanted to do (like play a game at a friend’s house without bringing over your xbox), then it’s still only an additional hassle with absolutely no benefit to you.

  • PC Gaming has never been about bringing your game to your friend’s house and playing it on his PC.
  • PC Gaming is rarely multiplayer/multiaccount on the same machine.
  • Steam sells most of the games available on consoles for cheaper.
  • Steam has massive sales and bundled sales where you can get games anywhere from 50-90% off retail price.
  • Steam doesn’t prevent you from installing mods on your games.
  • Steam doesn’t require an internet connection once the games have been installed.
  • More than one person can be logged into the same steam account at the same time. [EDIT: to be completely accurate, more than one person can use the same account at the same time, but only one can be logged in AND playing the games - but the point stands, one account can be used by multiple people to play the same games.]
  • PC Gaming has never been about game resale.
  • Console gamers have always relied on used game resales/trades/rentals.
  • Console gamers have not had the requirement to be logged in to play single player before – for some gamers I know in rural areas, this is one of the reasons they own a console over a powerful gaming PC.
  • Finally, I don’t HAVE to use Steam to play games on my PC. I can choose to get them from ANYWHERE. You don’t have a choice on the XBox One.

The PC is not a closed platform, and many games are available through different services. That means that while Steam has an effective Monopoly due to widespread use, it’s not the only choice on the market, it is a free thinking peoples choice. On Xbox’s platform, you’ll do things Microsoft’s way or not at all.

Valve is also really good to its customers. Constant sales, ease of downloading titles, an offline mode, and no subscription fee. Microsoft’s platform definitely lacks some of these perks, and it’s unlikely they will ever be as generous or as forward thinking as Valve, so a closed platform with all of the drawbacks of Steam with few or none of the perks of it does not sound appealing to me.

Furthermore, when I purchase a console I’m looking for a different experience than I get from a PC. For me, a PC is a much more personal piece of equipment; I don’t care if I can’t easily transport my games from place to place or lend them out because I’d never expect that from the platform. When it comes to consoles I value physical media, and I value being able to rent games or to take them to a friend’s house without having to transport my PC, create a user account on their system or download the whole bloody game at my destination. At that point I’m getting all of the drawbacks of PC gaming on a system that is substantially less powerful than a gaming PC I could build for just a little bit more money.

To sum it up, it lacks most of what made console gaming attractive in the first place and it’s inferior in every way to building a PC for my living room. That’s why I hate what they’re doing with this and it’s why I won’t be buying it.

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