The last barricade has been smashed: the future belongs to gaming portals

After seeing Avadon game by Spiderweb software in Steam I was amazed. And shocked. Jeff Vogel (guy behind spiders) has been making and selling games from his website as long as anybody or their mom can remember.

His new game Avadon is now appearing at Steam store (priced close to 10 bucks) and he also sells the game through his own site (price close to 20 bucks).

This is quite shocking.

While Cliff has any time left from kicking some pirate sorry arse, he is advocating selling games through your own site (although he too sells his game through Steam).

Jeff and Cliff are like the god fathers of indie scene, and they’ve been doing this stuff for long time (and are successful, moneywise). If these chaps get their games to Steam, that is a pretty sure indication about where the industry is going.

Sure, there’s exceptions about indies who sell (millions) only through their own site while battling against evil corporations that try to steal all their money if you use certain words in your game (hint: words like “scrolls”, “elder”, “isles”, “hunted”, “arena”, “rogue”, “warrior” are danger area to use in your games… sigh), but the point is (getting bit sidetracked here) that portals (or at least one) are getting bigger. Small indie sites are getting even smaller.

And let’s admit it. When you can choose to buy a game through (1) some random indie gaming site or (2) through Steam, which one you choose?

Yeh, same here. I too buy pretty much all my games through Steam as well. It’s so handy.

What are you thinking about my thoughts here? Two indie oldtimers who have always sold mainly through their sites are now in Steam as well. Should we get worried?

Share your thoughts.

16 thoughts on “The last barricade has been smashed: the future belongs to gaming portals

  1. Don’t forget that Jeff and Cliff first sell each game at full price on their own sites to loyal customers BEFORE going on Steam to get extra sales from that crowd. If they launched a brand new game on Steam, then I’d think the portals have won.

  2. While I don’t like any one person having too much power, I actually feel pretty good about Steam growing big. They’ve got good morals, great games, and it seems like an overall good business.

  3. I’m a Linux user. As such, I certainly wouldn’t MIND using Steam to manage my game software if they would just be arsed to allow me to do so without using Wine. But as long as portals refuse to believe in me, I will abstain as much as I am able.

    In an ideal world, Steam for Linux would have an API that my package manager could hook to register any game I install, and games Steam goes to install could invoke my package manager so everything is done right. Maybe someday…

  4. I dont buy games anymore from Steam because you dont actually own them, but you rent them. I am from the Commodore 64 era, the time when you would have to go to the store to get a game and got it in a nice box with nice artworks, instruction manual, etc… You actually owned the game. It was yours.

    Now, I buy them directly from websites. Without DRM. So I still own my games. I can archive them and install them on all my computers. And that makes me happy.

    If Steam goes away, you can kiss your games goodbye.

    • No DRM is good, but Steam let’s you download game anytime when you want, even if your computer harddrive breaks down or something. Also, you don’t need to be online to play most games. I also have no need to have one game on all computers.

      I do agree that DRM sucks, but I hardly think that’s issue with Steam..

    • Juuso,

      Of course Steam let you download your games if your HD breaks down, and you dont need to be online to play the games beacose of their authentication system installed on your computer. But what if they closed down, and your HD fails…. You still dont have your games anymore. What if in a few years they decide not to support your games on their servers anymore….

      I read somewhere that if they were to close down, they would release the key to unlock everyones copy… But who would take care of that if they close down someday?

      I do understand the value of DRM. But It’s the distribution system I dont trust. I way prefer the old “buy the registration key” system. I sleep better at night.. ;-)

    • I don’t worry such things ;)
      I feel compatibility of games will be bigger issue. Steam will be here after 5 years, but I wouldn’t trust Windows Vista compatible games to be compatible then…

    • I still have 2 old computers (one of them antique :D) to run old games I like. So I worry about my games and I avoid buying online games as much as possible.
      I could get Civ City Rome on steam for a few buck but I wanted it on a disk so I paid more than double on it from ebay.

  5. Michael Prideaux

    Nice blog just discovered it.
    I am currently stuck in a debate on how much control publishers have on games, I read one of your previous articles involving portals and how they can ask for score to be changed as such.

    But who in the publisher/developer relationship controls things like “pre order bonuses” in something like BF3 and not releasing DLC for free on launch like Capcom. I personally believe its the publishers who do these dirty deeds while my friends claims its entirely the devs.
    Any ideas or thoughts?

  6. When I have the choice, I don’t buy from Steam but directly from the makers of the game.

  7. How I look at it is that both Jeff and Cliff, in all of their infinite wisdom and experience, found just one more avenue in which to generate more revenue.

    Given the right looking into of this path can prove win-win for other indies as well.

    • either way… it means that portals are getting more customers/power. And when more and more developers join, certain portals just keep getting bigger audience…

      …and when that happens, “directly from dev site” purchases diminish.

      Possibly :)

  8. I actually prefer to buy games directly from indie developers, assuming there’s no added DRM (which there usually isn’t). Steam itself is a form of DRM, and DRM-free always wins in my book. Of course, this is assuming the price is the same. Given the option of buying a game for $20 directly from an indie or $10 from Steam, I’ll get the game on Steam.