Game Distributors Could Learn From Steam

Valve’s Steam is a well done system for distributing games. Yesterday I created my Steam account and made my first order through the system. It was extremely pleasant surprise. Here’s some highlights:

PayPal payments: I expected to see only Credit card payment options, and was very pleased to see that PayPal payments were also accepted. It’s easy to forget that the more chances you give the customer to bring you money, the more likely he will do that. Steam is a good example about a system well done.

Instant delivery: I have ordered some casual games earlier, and now I bought Half-life 2 Deathmatch (AAA product, typically seen on the retail stores) – and got it delivered via Steam. Downloading was simple, and reliable. Steam even told me that the download will automatically continue in case I go offline. I have always been a “box person” who wants to get physical stuff… but the price and easy way to purchase games really made me a Steam fan.

Great overall experience: Steam has community features, tabs for “my games” and all “additional stuff” that make buying & playing easy. They show me news if I want. When I install Mods, Steam will tell about them. The server system is just great. The whole experience was very positive.

But there was one tiny annoyance.

One tiny problem, which they really should take care of. The game was automatically installed to C-drive, without asking me! I don’t know if there’s some sort of special settings from where I can change the download path, but at least it wasn’t asked in the installation process – and I couldn’t find it anywhere. It’s a small thing, but can be bit annoying if you can’t tell where to put the games you purchase.

Nevertheless, I was very happy with the system, and I believe game companies (who wish to create distribution systems) could learn from Steam.

Juuso Hietalahti