The Steam Review

Comment and discussion on Valve Software’s digital communications platform.


TSR going quasi-inactive :: January 14th, 2008 :: Site news :: 19 Responses

I started writing about Steam because the changes it was creating weren’t properly understood by the gaming public. As it became more and more important there was more and more to talk about, and what began as a collection of guides and explainers I could paste into threads on the Steam Forums turned into a surprisingly popular, well-read and on rare occasions very important ‘news’ site.

But as anyone who’s been following my updates for long enough knows, these are lean times. Even the Steam Community has provided remarkably little to talk about: like Steam today in general, it’s there and it works, but nothing of particular interest is happening with it.

It’s clear to me that Steam’s development has plateaued, at least for now. I don’t intend to shut the site down (hopefully that will never happen), but with the articles I have notes for today either entirely speculative or concerning another distribution service there seems little point in continuing to try to produce them. Nor in working myself up over whispers and rumours that turn out to be nothing.

Consider The Steam Review, then, in official hibernation until something comes along so big that it convinces me to pick it up again. Which having made this post will probably be some time next week…

Murphy’s Law strikes again! Eve Online is an addition I’ve coveted for a very long time, and I’m trying to arrange an interview about its future relationship with Steam right now.

19 Responses to this post:

  1. Anonymous admirer Says:

    It’s a good thing you announce this hibernation, because otherwise people would have kept visiting only to post comments saying “OMG still no update !!”

    Seriously, I agree with you saying steam is for the moment, like it’s main skin, flat. Games keep coming (non Valve ones) minor updates updating, but otherwise nothing much and exciting is to see (even on the horizon, except for the new TF2 Medic Achievements.) GTA is on Steam, it’s quite a thing, but it doesn’t change anything. It’s just one more game after all !
    Steam is too streamlined ! No outages, bugs, h4x0rz, or service suspension à la Xbox Live… It works too well. Not that I complain ^ ^…
    That’s why there is so little to say.

    Thanks for the site providing great insight of all things Steam, and I hope to read your next post soon !

  2. Andy Simpson Says:

    Here’s to hoping something big happens.

  3. GFree Says:

    “It’s clear to me that Steam’s development has plateaued, at least for now.”

    Have to disagree just a tad. Last week’s update included brand-new things like support for multiple content server connections, which is pretty useful. You can’t expect there to be a revolution every so often with Steam. Then again, you can only report on what you know or hear, and if there’s not enough to be said, then good luck on the hibernation thingy. 🙂

  4. Andy Simpson Says:

    It just doesn’t feel like there’s a been a properly big new feature in a while. I suppose multiple downloading is new-ish, but it doesn’t feel terribly groundbreaking.

    I guess if they ever actually get the P2P stuff out of the door it might be news. Who knows how long that’s been in development for now!

  5. GS Says:

    I’ve been a long time reader of this site, and your articles are always well thought out, it would be a shame to see it not constantly updated.

    A few thoughts of my own, maybe you could look into expanding the site into digital distribution comparison site, in my opinion the most interesting aspect of digital distribution right now is, who’s the biggest player, who’s going to outlast everyone else, who’s got the best prices, etc etc.

    There is a wealth of interesting information surrounding all of this, if I had the html expertise I’d consider making a website along those lines myself, but perhaps you would find it more palpable.

    Regardless, congratulations on what you have achieved, hopefully you won’t disappear from the stratosphere!

  6. Film11 Says:

    Thanks for informing us 🙂

    I look forward to future articles and features.

  7. Ortziantor Says:

    The feed is staying in my reader.

  8. Zeh Says:

    Thanks, Tom. The posts were sparse but very insightful. I do agree that Steam has reached a point where it’s very well established. And yeah, the feed is also staying in my reader.

  9. Tom Edwards Says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone. 🙂

    It’s the week after I made that post (almost to the day) and what do you know? Something to talk about! God bless you Murphy. I’ll take a long look at it and see what there is to say. Hopefully it’ll be integrated somewhat.

  10. PseudoKnight Says:

    And here I was coming to post that. Not sure how significant it’ll be for Steam, but time will tell. It’s certainly one of the more remarkable games in the MMO market, going against conventions. It’s pretty hardcore, though.

  11. hahnchen Says:

    I came here to check if you’d break hibernation and comment on EVE’s arrival. Steam has been wanting an MMO for a while, Gabe has commented on World of Warcraft being the one to beat, and whereas a niche MMO like Eve won’t do it, it could be the first step.

    But how is it going to work? If CCP have just dumped EVE onto Steam, all it’ll just be another channel for them. But if Valve have implemented a subscription payment system, then it could open up a lot more doors, for other MMOs, and GameTap style rentals.

  12. Andy Simpson Says:

    I have a feeling that Steam has always had a subscription payment system, or at least that the architecture for it has always been built in, but hasn’t ever been used.

    Anyways, to do GameTap style rentals, Valve would actually have to get streaming working properly.

  13. Robin North Says:

    I’d say this might well be a good reason to come out of hibernation too, Tom…

    Thankfully for me, it seems to correlate pretty well with the conclusions I drew about Valve’s strategy in this area, so no drastic dissertation chapter re-writes for me!

  14. garry Says:

    Yeah, time to come out of hibernation big man.

  15. hahnchen Says:

    It’s interesting that they’ve decided to decouple the Steam backend for Steamworks. So you could implement the stat tracking and authentication features without the customer installing Steam.

    How are Valve looking to gain from this? I guess they hope that these free tools will encourage developers to use the Steam front end too. And maybe to activate achievements requires the customer to have a Steam account. I’m not too sure how it’s actually going to pan out, but you better get your ass out of hibernation.

  16. garry Says:

    My guess is that you’d have to bundle your game with Steam to get those features. But it might just be one of those unselfish ‘make stuff better’ things like Powerplay.

  17. Andy Simpson Says:
  18. Tom Edwards Says:

    God damn you, Valve! Now I look like an idiot! And Andy looks like a genius! 😉

    I’m out of bandwidth at home until next month. I’ll try to get stuff done on the campus, but it’s not so easy without access to instant messaging, Thunderbird, OneNote, or Steam itself.

  19. Dwarden Says: