Millions of gamers around the world turn to Steam daily to get their fix of games. They are a clearly the leader when it comes to the digital distribution method of games sales and have introduced a lot of features which have been or are trying to be emulated by others. But as with any other empire in history, as one rises, another is falling in its wake. Is Valve’s Steam really that good and is it time to look elsewhere?
This article is going to be posted over a few pages to separate the subjects at hand.
- Part 1, is our customer service issue with Steam.
- Part 2, will look at some of the problems with Valve’s Steam platform
- Part 3, will look at the alternatives to Steam
If you would like to know how to buy Games from Amazon if you live outside America check out this article
I don’t think anyone inherently has a problem with Steam, myself included. Valve has proven time and time again that they indeed give back to the community, and the community has stuck by Steam and Valve. But is that enough to keep every gamer or even majority of gamers on the Steam platform? Does that mean we shouldn’t question Steam’s EULA and practices? Capitalism is at work as we speak, once a popular money making idea is out, there are bound to be others that will follow in their footsteps, hoping to take a piece of that tasty money pie. Any marketing person will tell you that brand loyalty is a factor when buying decisions are made, but one of the other biggest reasons for buying a product or buying from a store is price. As more and more platforms and stores come online, more and more will begin using alternatives to Steam. Following up on our article regarding EA games Origin platform, Muslim Gamer decided to take a look at Steam’s platform, possible issues and show you what other options are out there for gamers.
This article came about as a follow up to our Origin EULA dissected article and from a recent incident this site had with Steam. The Muslim Gamer Steam Group is now up to around 900 members and growing. Every month we do a free game giveaway (this month its the Total War Pack ), which the site has always purchased through Steam. However recently we had an issue with our last purchase from Valve’s Steam which left a bitter taste in our mouths, as a result we have decided to move away from doing our giveaways through Valve’s platform. When we went searching for other gaming digital distribution stores and price comparison sites we thought we would share our findings with everyone and at the same time start a discussion about Valve’s Steam.
Recently Company of Heroes went on sale on Steam, so we thought we would get a copy and gift it to one of our members on the forums, a thank you for being part of the community. As we were going through the process we made a mistake in the details we entered and the PayPal payment failed to go through. We started the process again, adding it to the cart and going through to the checkout, however the second time round, we forgot to click the radio button which puts the game into “Gift” status instead of our own games list. The PayPal purchase went through and straight after we made the purchase we realised our mistake. No problem we thought, just email Steam support and this will all be fixed in an instant…how wrong we were. Now rather then explaining each email and response we got from Steams support, we have included our email communication below so you can see exactly what was communicated with support and their response. We emailed several people at Valve explaining the situation after this and have received no response to date.
So in the initial email we have informed that we haven’t downloaded the game yet, that it was an accidental mistake and we have shown them our previous support for Steam. We never asked for a refund, we just wanted the status changed over to gift status so we can gift it to one of our members. The response is a catch 22, while yes they have will change it over, we will need to repurchase the game again “at the higher price” and they will refund the lower price back to us. As the cheaper price was offered on a daily deal and the response came back over 24 hours later, it was too late to really make it an equal offer as we pay more, get less back…
Yeah I know we just opened the flood gates to grammar Nazis but hey, we were editing the response several times before we sent it to Steam and left a few mistakes in there So anyway, we try again and try and clear up our intentions with steam support, maybe they didn’t understand what we wanted? Maybe this person wasn’t authorised to assist us, so just in case, we asked for an escalation. Well what do you know! There is no escalation. Any other business will allow you to at least try and speak with a higher up. Not with steam, who you get is who you get apparently. Not only that but they inform us that there are no refunds or exchanges, when in fact, if this was a retail store, I would be completely within my consumer rights to refund or exchange with no questions asked as the game had not been opened or installed. Apparently Steam only has to offer a “one time gesture” of a store credit. Sorry to say Steam, but that is not a gesture, that is a consumer’s right when the product has not been opened or used, you are entitled to a refund or exchange depending on the store. Would a retailer only offer a one time refund or exchange policy on an unopened, unused product?
So in the end we agreed to disagree with Steam support and move on. Now to be clear, this is over a few dollars that we are talking about so all in all its not really a big deal, this is more about the principle of the matter than the money. Another way of looking at it is to say that if we were purchasing 6 games for a big competition and each game was $89.99 (Australian Steam prices are baaad)? Not only is Steam Support saying that there is no way they can\will transfer the game from our games library to gift status, there is also no way of escalating your issue and that our “one time gesture” is used up . Basically, if you have a problem and they don’t want to fix it, or if you get a support guy\girl that is having a bad day, then tough luck for you.
As we stated earlier, if this was a retail store I would have no problem what so ever in getting our refund or exchange and doing this multiple times, there are no “one time gestures” with retail. As the game is still in its original packaging and unopened, I could have taken it back and exchanged it for anything else I wanted. This is one of the dangers of a locked in platform such as Steam\Origin\X\Y\Z and why I personally still prefer to buy boxed games. I guess its a matter of weighing up convenience over freedom, some will prefer one over the other. With the freedom option, no one can ever take that game away from me and when I am done with it, I can gift it to my nephew so he can enjoy playing it too.
No such thing with a digital game. I am sure some of you are raging now
“But you cant get games that cheap anywhere else!!! Its your Own fault, you did the mistake” “Well they offered you a credit int he end”
Well actually you can get games cheaper elsewhere, there are sales at retailers all the time and there are at least 20 other online game digital distribution stores that you can buy from. I agree it was our “accidental” mistake in not picking gift, agreed, but we would point out that if we had not of sent multiple emails over several days, each time waiting for a response from steam, we wouldn’t have been offered the credit, if we took the first option we would of had to purchase higher priced game to get a credit back on an unopened unused game? Plus if it was somewhere else, they probably would have just said, sorry about the issue, here you go, its called customer service.
So now that we have our issue out of the way, Part 2 will look at what issues do other gamers have\had with Steam and some of the downsides of Steam’s EULA
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