Game retailers threaten Steam ban

Darren Allan

November 11, 2010

Steam is Valve’s digital game delivery platform for the PC, and it’s been a very successful one.

In fact, it has grabbed some 80% of the digital download market on the PC, but this dominance is something that high street retailers aren’t happy about, according to MCV.

The issue is that Steam has such a monopoly, when it comes time for these retailers to roll out their own rival online stores, they won’t stand a chance. Steam will be like iTunes, with a complete grip over its market, and they argue that isn’t fair.

At least two major retailers have told trade mag MCV that they will pull games tied in with Steam – such as Call of Duty – off their shelves in protest, unless the publishers drop their Steam connection.

The retailers in question aren’t named, but it’s certainly fighting talk. One was quoted as saying: “Publishers are creating a monster – we are telling suppliers to stop using Steam in their games.”

Mind you, the threat to remove PC games from shelves is a bit of a sore point with many non-console gamers, given that high street retailers have generally relegated PC display space to very small sections anyway, in favour of the big consoles.

Having not supported the PC industry, which has arguably led to Steam’s big success, are they justified in now crying foul?


Comments in chronological order (9 comments)

  1. shadow says:

    Yeah. Boo hoo. Would be nice to mention names though.

  2. Skunktopus says:

    The Reason why Steam is so popular is that its a excellent service. i tend to buy most my games Through Steam as i can be assured of the most uptodate version of the game. Awesome updates to valves own products. Ability to easily chat and Hook up with gamers i want to play with. Not to mention a ever changeing deal of a week and easy access to a massive games library. Game Retailers should just realise with the neglect shown for the PC gamer they were going to go somewhere else. Now a competitor is to big they try and have there cake and eat it

  3. Reader says:

    As a PC gamer, I have to agree that the stores haven’t helped themselves in the slightest.

    I’ve gone into stores and spent more time looking for the PC Games section than looking at the PC games section.

    In a lot of stores these days you get the top ten and a small shelf of 3 for $20, or similar offers for older games.

    I’ve mostly given up looking in stores. Unless I want the absolute latest game, I’m better off looking on line or downloading from services like Steam.

    Oh, and Steam has kicking special offers that retail stores just can’t match.

  4. aberkae says:

    I’m so clueless who can it be, duh gamestop most likely, walmart, bestbuy, toysRus, in least order. Sell your console games and be quiet! Thay are making a ton of money on reselling value which steam can’t do. You can’t stop the rain ! Digital sales is inevitable. Look at blockbuster and netflix!
    Just join the etailers or don’t compete! Direct2buy is another digital etailer that consumers use such as myself.

  5. aberkae says:

    FYI steam sells the most games for the Mac.

  6. Zoogar says:

    This is kinda what is going to happen for consoles as well. It’s only a matter of time until Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo make games available to download through their online market places, either for this generation or the next.

    Games retailers are going to have to change their business model from just games retailer to more of a life style store for gamers; otherwise people won’t have any reason to take the less convenient option of going to a store to buy the physical version of the game.

  7. Swiftee says:

    People like Game/HMV/Game Station have feck all PC games on their shelfs, Also whats the point if people dont buy games from Steam they order them on websites like These big ‘Game’ Stores are a joke, When COD MW2 was released a few of us was there for the midnight launch to buy our PC versions, when we finally got into the store we was told they didnt order any PC versions but they have Xbox or PS3 versions if we was interested. A few days later my friend told me that his mate worked there and the manager had told them to tell the customers they had no PC versions so that people might but the console version instead.

  8. Alex says:

    This is kinda stupid. Whose fault is it that they are so late in the game? Steam took a chance when no one else would and they are making a profit on that. They cry about it even before starting their own on-line stores. I’ve been trying to use my points that Ive earned in their store(which is now closed) for over a year and their website is still giving the same error.
    They should pull all their PC games from shelves and we’ll see what happens. There’s talk that the next gen of consoles will have all their games on line for download what will they do then?

  9. kensmith051 says:

    Retailers are lazy and greedy.
    They havent moved with the times an now expect to force their hand and companies like Steam because they carnt get their own way.

    It shows you how out of touch they are if they think the majority of pc gamers still buy games in store…. thinking threats will get them back in the game…

    My one gripe about Steam is the piracy protection. Not to much of a problem but your carnt sell games on easily.
    Plus the last few games Ive bought incorporating the steam platform have forced me to download the ENTIRE game agin from them…. and at 2-3G its a pain in the ****

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