What’s with the Steam hate?January 21, 2010
So after getting a little addicted to playing Global Agenda and writing a few pieces on the subject for Massively, I started to notice this really odd wave of comments that actually confused me — people who refused to play GA because it was Steam exclusive. They didn’t want to install Steam or deal with it, because they felt it was getting in the way of their gaming experience.
Some of the comments they had about it were absolutely venomous, such as how it hogged system resources, performed bad installs, updated games slowly, and was generally unwieldy. When I was reading their comments, I felt like I had gone back in time to the year 2004, when Steam first came into mainstream use with Half-Life 2, and the first “Steam Controversy” was born.
In fact, just as I’m writing this article, I went over and checked the Wikipedia entry on Steam. Holy shit, talk about being biased. If Wikipedia is to be believed, Steam is a buggy piece of crap that ruins video games, steals money from developers, and demands the sacrifice of first born children to the “My Games” tab before a game can be run.
Yet, even as I’m typing, Steam is running comfortably in the background, doing whatever it is that it does in the background. When I want to run a game, I open Steam, double click on the game, and it runs. Beyond that, Steam offers me some amazing, amazing, amazing deals on games that I’d like to play. Deals that go above and beyond their 10% discount on a game when you pre-order it. From the Steam Holiday Sale alone, I was able to buy nice gifts for all of my friends, add 10 more games to my arsenal, and not spend more than 100 bucks for all of it. The amount of money that I’ve saved through using Steam as my distribution service is just amazing.
So, let me try to wrap my head around some of these reasons for why you shouldn’t use steam.
So I pulled up the ctrl+alt+delete service menu to see just how much memory Steam takes up when it’s running in the background. Just so you all know that I’m not making crap up, I put the screenshot off to the side here. Click it if you need it blown up, as I know it’s pretty tiny. But, even with the visual evidence, let me break it down for you.
Steam, in this photo, is taking up 8,680k of my memory. Compare that against Skype, which is taking up 12,236k, iTunes, which is taking up 32,976k, Thunderbird, which is taking a hefty 46,308k, and Google Chrome, the “lightweight browser” that’s taking up a whopping 53,328k over two processes. For one instance of Google Chrome, I could run Steam six times. So don’t tell me that Steam is hogging your precious resources, unless you’re running on a really, really small amount of RAM. I’m running on 2 GB, personally, and Steam does not impact how my games run.
Shit, the only reason I was running iTunes in this screenshot was because I was playing Burnout: Paradise. And even while running iTunes, Steam, Google Chrome, and Thunderbird, Burnout: Paradise still ran at 60 FPS with everything turned on high. Don’t tell me Steam ruins how your game runs.
2. Steam ruins installs
I have 36 games on Steam. Not one has misinstalled in the entire 4 year history of me using the program. Either I’m incredibly lucky, or Steam isn’t a rabid misinstaller.
Oh, and if you’re talking about how Steam automatically updates games when the developer pushes out a patch, then that’s not Steam, that’s the developer. If it updates and breaks your game, I’m sorry, but it really doesn’t happen as often as you want to say it does. Once again, over my entire history of using Steam (and having 3 different computers, each with a different setup) I’ve never had a game break from an update on Steam. Ever.
3. You need to be online to play Steam games
If you’re on dial-up, then this is a legitimate gripe. It does suck that you have to be online to play a Steam game, as Steam forces game authentication every time you run the game. However, for the rest of you silly geese who are on broadband, what the fuck are you complaining about? Sure, this might suck for those of you who have bandwidth caps in other countries, but I don’t see Steam pulling down that much bandwidth when I’m playing. It’s very light on the bandwidth if you’re not playing an online game.
If you’re in the US, you most likely can’t gripe because we really don’t have bandwidth caps around here. I’m constantly connected to the internet thanks to the wonderful advent of cable internet. I’m always online. If I wasn’t online, I’d pretty much go insane.
Lastly, if you’re bitching about adding Steam and you’re adding it to play an online game, like Global Agenda, then go fuck yourself. “I have to be online to use Steam” is not a valid excuse when the game you’re playing IS ONLINE ONLY ANYWAYS.
4. You can’t sell Steam games back to the retailer or to someone else
No, and you can’t sell PC games to GameStop either. If you don’t want to use Steam because you want to sell your games, then just don’t use Steam. But for online only games (like Global Agenda) then you really can’t resell the game anyway because it’s tied to your account. Once again, go fuck yourself. *smiles and thumbs up*
5. Steam is a trojan horse
Thanks alot, Direct2Drive, for making this really shitty comparison. Sorry that your download service doesn’t offer a community panel, IM and voice chat services, automatic updates that don’t suck, and competitive deals.
Steam is not a trojan horse. If anything, steam (and integrating games into Steamworks) lets developers utilize Steam’s anti-cheat platform, their auto-update functionality, matchmaking and lobbies functions, and the very cool Steam Cloud which lets you keep your game saves and profiles online and take them wherever you go. As long as you’re logged into Steam, you get your games and your saves. Very cool.
So, if you’re still into hating Steam, then you’re still pretty much stuck in 2004. If you still really don’t want to use the program, then my advice is to just not use it and shut up about it. Go off to Direct2Drive or go shop at GameStop — you still have those options.
As for me, I’ll be enjoying the Steam Cloud and my legion of affordable games.