This article certainly is not meant to be a rant about the Steam Store. If anything, I love the steam store. I’ve been buying games off there for years. Heck, I have the entire original XCOM franchise (and the new one). Yes, that means the original XCOM game, followed up by terror from the deep, XCOM Apocalypse, Interceptor etc. I’ve played every single XCOM game – even the Bureau:Declassified, and most hardcore XCOM fan boys will tell you the game was buggy, glitchy, had a shoddy interface, was hard to play…and just kind of generally sucked. Enforcer was not a great game either.
Anyways, that’s a matter of opinion, and we’re getting off topic there. What I’m saying is – I’m a gamer. As a gamer, you have to buy games when they go on sale. It’s difficult to justify a $80 price tag anymore. The game loses a lot of value, just like a car does when you “get it off the lot.” As soon as you get that hot little game into your hands, you’ll never get the same amount of money you paid out for it.
The Online Game Licensing Saga as we know it
Today in the digital online gaming world, all games you buy on Steam belong to your steam account – they belong to you. They have 0 resale value at all. Even before this, PC games were trending in that general direction. Licensing didn’t allow you to activate the game on more than one PC. Blizzard, for example, has been tying game purchases to their online Battle.Net service long before Steam was even a thing. One game, one license key, one account.
Before all this Steam business, Internet cafes were synonymous with people stealing CD keys and activating them elsewhere. So you’d be trying to play a game at a Net Cafe and someone had stolen the key while visiting, so the shop would take a loss. This is one of the reason why Internet Cafes have gone so downhill – it became a real challenge for shop owners to maintain licensing for all of the games, and not have it frequently stolen by savvy techy types who frequented.
Now, let’s put the history lesson aside for a while. This gamer is unhappy with Steam’s discount and pricing structure of late. Take for example XCOM: War of the Chosen. I paid the $70 some odd dollars for XCOM 2 when it first came out. I played the game over and over. I beat the game many times. Now, if I want to get the expansion and have some more re-envisioned fun with the game, I’m being asked by Firaxis and XCOM2 developers to fork over more money. I get it, it costs money to build games. But the thing I don’t like about Steam is how when they should be discounting this expansion based on how long it’s been out, what they do instead is add on some additional downloadable content and jack the price up even further.
The regular price of War of the Chosen was $49.99. Instead of putting the expansion for sale so more people can play it and grow the user base, Steam decides instead to charge a few dollars more, call it a sale and up the price to $53.00.
Game manufacturers want more and more money – and what happened to the box art?
So, where’s the incentive for online gamers to purchase the expansion? We’ve already paid full retail price for the original game. You want us to fork out more money for the expansion. Plus, now just the expansion itself is no longer available – we’re forced to pay for some additional downloadable content (DLC) to go with the expansion, whether we like it or not.
Steam aren’t the only ones doing this. PlayStation Store is not much better by comparison, either. You don’t get box art anymore when you buy a digital game. Sooner or later, box art will be a thing of the past. Such a shame really.
What do you think? Do you value box art? Why not let us know by leaving a comment.