Why Steam Sales are Bad for AAA Titles AKA Why I Think Destiny Isn't on PC

By David Piner -
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Disclaimer: For the sake of brevity, I make a sweeping claim that AAA titles are being delayed from PC because Steam is encouraging people to wait until sales. This is not the “whole truth,” as other factors are considered when porting a game to the PC, but that’s not the topic here - the topic here is how Steam sales can and will eventually muddy PC gaming to the point it becomes unattractive to big ticket games - AKA the fun ones everyone loves and what does eventually become of the scrappy underdog as it goes from indie no one to superstar.

Steam is ruining our industry and no one cares. No one cares at all. Steam sales are taking more cash out of the industries pockets, while AAA titles don’t even CONSIDER PC sales until they’ve sold every last copy to a retailer somewhere and are ready to cash in on the PC market.

I can’t play Destiny on the PC and I can’t stand the console shooter controls. Why do you think indie games are doing so well? Why do you think our industry is so hackjawed that GTA and Destiny are console exclusives while we get yet another iOS game port showing up in the Steam store because they offered some kind great reward in their game while suggesting a click to greenlight.

Let’s get this straight - I’m mad. Honestly mad. Companies want to make money and Steam et al. is making it harder and harder for a company to get $59.99 for a game. It’s not just Steam, it’s all of the associated online retailers, who instantly discount games by 20% or more even at launch. I’ve bought almost every single PC MMO game at some outrageous discount before launch either through Amazon, GreenManGaming, or some other retailer like GameFly.

Which is great for me as a consumer on the surface! Yet, at the same time, we’re losing prestige on these games and we’re losing the value that we put into them. I can pay $59.99 for a game that tomorrow will be $14.99, so what’s the game really worth? Modern AAA titles like Assassin’s Creed is always at half off. I think Far Cry did well not being on sale for a few weeks before hitting the e-bargin bin. Now some games DO NOT need to be that price, but when a company pours millions and millions, the expectations to at least make that back is there. You can't get a super high budget game without a super high budget price, if that makes sense.

Again, as a consumer, yay, but at the same time, come on that’s just making developers push away from the PC and move onto the console which provides the “ultimate” DRM aka you’re not hacking our games without either a soldering iron, a REALLY old firmware version, or it’s an older Wii and you’ve turned it into basically a really bad Xbox Media Center.

So they get to sell at MSRP for months, discounts are rare, and you know what Destiny pre-order was down to a whole $53.99 on Groupon or $49.99 if you count the free $10 reward code you got one some sites.

It’s just kinda silly that we’ve got this entire community of people worshiping at the alter of Steam who showers games into people’s game inventories that they never play meanwhile we’re being denied AAA games because some marketing division somewhere is like pshaw, PC is a tough platform to move into, no one is going to buy until a game is near to free as possible, devaluing not only our brand, but our product and our product’s prestige.

Now, I’m part of that community, I’m not buying a single PC game until it hits like 75% off and I get a free lollipop, but at the same time I recognize the issue and fully support the idea that AAA games cost bank to make and they have to make that bank back, if PC games keep devaluing themselves, we might see an end of the AAA PC era and see the big companies produce console only games while PC is the realm of Minecraft.

Which is totally cool I guess, if there was a solid line and not this weird line of AAA games talking vaguely about PC even though Destiny was made for the PC originally. Bah humbug I say. Let’s see an end to these sweeping sales, before we’re stuck in a land of Unity games that everyone has played a billion times before going on sale for 99.9% off.

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About The Author

David "Xerin" Piner
Get in the bush with Xerin every week for his column, Respawn, as he analyzes the hottest trends, buzz topics, and absurdities in MMO gaming. In addition to his ongoing war against early access titles.