Gabe Newell: Modders absolutely need to be compensated

Remember the last time when Valve tried to introduce paid mods on Steam? It didn’t go well and it did not survive contact with the PC gaming community. When the proposal was announced in April 2015 with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as a pilot game it mostly got negative feedback. Shortly after that Valve removed the feature altogether. To some gamers the notion of paying modders for their work was contrary to the spirit of modding. Many suggested a donation scheme for Steam Workshop modders as an alternative to traditional pricing.

Gabe Newell discusses VR Thursday alongside Joe Ludwig (left) and Matt Brown.

“We underestimated the differences between our previously successful revenue sharing models, and the addition of paid mods to Skyrim’s workshop,” Valve’s Alden Kroll wrote at the time. “We understand our own game’s communities pretty well, but stepping into an established, years old modding community in Skyrim was probably not the right place to start iterating. We think this made us miss the mark pretty badly, even though we believe there’s a useful feature somewhere here.”

“… modders create a lot of value, and we think that … absolutely they need to be compensated, they’re creating value and the degree to which they’re not being accurately compensated is a bug in the system, right? It’s just inserting noise into it,” said Gabe Newell. “You want to have efficient ways so that the people who are actually creating value are the people that money is flowing to.”

The Skyrim situation was a mess. It was not the right place to launch that specific thing and we did some sort of ham-handed, stupid things in terms of how we rolled it out,” he said. “EJ [Valve’s Erik Johnson] basically said we just need to back off of this for now, but the fundamental concept of ‘the gaming community needs to reward the people who are creating value’ is pretty important, right? … the degree to which Valve helps contribute to efficiency in the system is one of the ways in which we’re adding value to the system as a whole. So, you know, we have to just figure out how to do it in a way that makes customers happy and that they buy into it, it makes creators happy because they feel like the system is rational and is rewarding the right people for the work that they do. Does that make sense?”

Skyrim gave us a ton of information. But there was also a little bit of ‘That burner is hot. Maybe we wait awhile before we put our fingers on that burner again.'”

By | 2017-02-11T11:35:45+00:00 February 11th 18:16, 2017|Categories: Entertainment, Games, News, OMG!1, Steam, Steam Flaws, Steam Updates|Tags: , , , , , , |1 Comment

Valve to replace Steam Greenlight with Steam Direct!

At first Steam Greenlight was looking really good, the idea of it, but today I can easily say that the Steam store has been cluttered with all of those shitty games that no one wants to play and fake reviews for free games. Valve has been dissatisfied with Steam Greenlight as well, even Gabe Newell described the system as “probably bad for the Steam community” in 2013. A year later, he stated outright that they have to “make Greenlight go away, not because it’s not useful, but because we’re evolving”.

The direction of that evolution was finally revealed! New system called Steam Direct is coming this spring. It will enable developers to get their games on Steam without having to pass an approval process first. Greenlight helped the indie developers. It also ended up bringing in a lot of money. Valve said that there are now more than 100 Greenlight games that have earned at least $1 million each, many of which likely would not have been released on Steam under the pre-Greenlight rules.

Changes on Steam like: user reviews, refund system and the implementation of Steam Curators have all improved the experience for both users and developers, the next step “is to establish a new direct sign-up system for developers to put their games on Steam,” according to Valve’s blog post.

“This new path, which we’re calling ‘Steam Direct,’ is targeted for spring 2017 and will replace Steam Greenlight,” Valve explains.

“We will ask new developers to complete a set of digital paperwork, personal or company verification, and tax documents similar to the process of applying for a bank account. Once set up, developers will pay a recoupable application fee for each new title they wish to distribute, intended to decrease the noise in the submission pipeline.”

Clearly the goal is to discourage the submission of Greenlight projects that are submitted in bad faith (jokes, stolen projects etc.). The amount of the publishing fee hasn’t been finalized yet.

“We want to make sure Steam is a welcoming environment for all developers who are serious about treating customers fairly and making quality gaming experiences,” Valve wrote. “The updates we’ve made over the past few years have been paving the way for improvements to how new titles get on to Steam, and Steam Direct represents just one more step in our ongoing process of making Steam better.”

Lets just all say it out loud, most people are dumb asses and they shouldn’t be able to vote for games to be released on Steam. It’s better if Valve picks games that are going to be on Steam instead.

By | 2017-02-11T11:13:51+00:00 February 11th 11:20, 2017|Categories: Entertainment, Games, News, Steam, Steam Flaws|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Valve wants to shutdown Team Fortress 2 gambling sites

If you’re unfamiliar with how skin gambling works in Team Fortress 2 it’s basically a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive clone made by Valve. They have released the following statement recently:

“In July of last year we outlined our position on gambling web sites, specifically noting that Valve has no business relationship with these sites. At that time we also began blocking many CS:GO gambling accounts… More recently, some gambling web sites started leveraging TF2 items. Today we began the process of blocking TF2 gambling accounts as well. We recommend you don’t trade with these sites.”

We can’t really blame them, can we? It’s a business and they don’t like it. So if you’re using some kind of TF2 gambling/trading websites it’s your last chance to get something that you really want.

Source: PC Gamer

By | 2017-01-30T19:25:41+00:00 January 30th 15:15, 2017|Categories: Entertainment, Games, News, Publishers & Developers, RAGE NEWS!!!1, Software, Steam, Steam Alternatives, Valve|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Valve hit with $2.1 million USD fine by Australian courts

This has been on the net for a while now but due to holiday season I didn’t have much time to post this, anyway Valve lost its legal battle against Australia’s competition watchdog earlier this year. It’s all because of refunds.

An Australian court has ruled that Valve must pay $2.15 million USD fine following the loss of its legal battle against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The fine is the maximum requested by the regulatory body, and according to the Sydney Morning Herald was imposed because of Valve’s disregard for Australian law when it set up shop in the country.

Valve’s refund policy has changed dramatically since the suit was filed—it now offers refunds on just about everything, “for any reason”—but that apparently didn’t impress the judge on the case.

Valve will be required from now on to post a notice on its Australian website, in size 14 type, informing consumers of their rights.

Source: PC Gamer

By | 2016-12-28T15:51:29+00:00 December 28th 15:51, 2016|Categories: Entertainment, Games, News, OMG!1, Steam, Steam Flaws|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Game developer Digital Homicide banned by Valve!

Ever heard of Wyatt Derp? No? It’s fine, I bet most of us haven’t but the guys who created the game decided to sue 100 gamers who posted negative reviews on Steam. For $18 million! Yep.

The have a history of suing, especially game critic Jim Sterling (from YouTube) with a ridiculous $10 million lawsuit for posting rude video reviews of their games since 2014. They were pretty fun to watch!

Steam Rage

But suing regular players is just another level of madness. Valve decided to remove every single mention of that game developer from Steam (games like Wyatt Derp, Temper Tantrum, and The Slaughtering Grounds). If you have bought their games you can still play them from your Steam account.

“Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers,” Valve VP of marketing Doug Lombardi

Good job Valve, we appreciate that!

By | 2016-10-14T13:48:19+00:00 September 19th 12:16, 2016|Categories: Entertainment, Games, Indie, News, OMG!1, Peasantry, RAGE NEWS!!!1, Steam|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC): Another proof that false positive bans are real

Since I’ve started using Steam back in 2007 I had this little obsession of mine, well more of a concern. You see, every now and then I have some sort of paranoia that I might get VAC banned for no reason, like I sometimes read online.

I used to be very cautious of what I’m running in the background, even if it’s just a music player. Who knows how Steam/VAC scans the running processes? Even using some sort of trainer for single player games could potentially result in a VAC ban I guess. Modifying the game files too.

VAC Ban Revoked Valve 2016

There was this post on reddit from a guy claiming his VAC ban in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has been removed by Valve:

It was a VAC ban for CSGO. I did not bother appealing it AT ALL. Within 41 days Valve removed my false VAC ban. I didn’t appeal because I thought there was no point in arguing as they do not take them back.

It’s nice you might think but should removing a false ban take 41 days? What the fuck? Origin has superior customer support and Valve should learn from them.

Also check out this comment which seems like a really valid point:

Many years ago I got ban in CS Source. I didn’t cheat. I asked on forums. I was told to “fuck off you cheater”, “VAC has no false bans” and few other comments. Valve support told me that bans are final and didn’t respond to any more messages. 2 months later my ban was removed with similar message.

In the process: I got my reputation ruined. My friends all thought that I cheated. I got banned from few online forums where I asked for help. I got disqualified from local LAN tournament and added to some (it is no longer existing) custom bans database for servers using some kind of 3rd party banning plugin.

With that false ban they forced be to create new account and buy CS source again. Fucking cunts.

The Steam sales are getting worse!

Every time there is a Steam sale on the horizon I think of buying something but when the event launches and I see the main store page I just can’t browse it. Why? The store displays all of the offers randomly, which means I can’t focus on any particular offer. I really preferred the old way of presenting sales on Steam, it was much more eye friendly.

The store browse function also sucks. Here’s an example, when you go to the RPG category in the store and want to sort the titles by the lowest price it always shows those damn free to play games first which you can’t even hide, after clicking through every crappy free to play game the store suddenly hangs you have to start over – we all know how big is the Steam store load during the sale, I couldn’t even drop any cards yesterday from that queue thing.

It seems that the store is getting DDoSed too easily, few years ago it was really slow for first couple of hours tops – yesterday it was unusable for the whole night. But that’s not really such a big problem comparing to what I’m about to list below, check it out. I’m sure they can afford to expand their servers farm easily, they just don’t care.

Steam Rage

Here are some things that I miss from the old sales:

  1. There are no flash sales that would keep me check the store every day, that was actually fun to see what games were on sale on that particular day.
  2. No mini-games! Come on! That was fun and rewards from them were pretty decent.
  3. There are no special event achievements in games. If you don’t know what I mean there was this one big winter sale on Steam once a couple of years ago were you had to gather coals by doing certain achievements in games, all of those games had special winter sale content in them, like maps, items and the earlier mentioned achievements. That was a lot of fun too!
  4. Most sales are crap. Majority of them are never larger than 50% anymore. We need bigger discounts!
  5. No special community tasks (such as leaving comments, adding friends, writing reviews, playing multiplayer in some game etc. to get something in return) for people to do is also a bad choice.

What do you think about recent Steam sales?

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This is what makes people angry – especially the older gamers I think. Steam sales are particularly bad for people like me who own a lot of games that we bought over the years on… Steam sales. That’s why the catalog is no longer attractive to us and the most recent titles that we would want to buy aren’t discounted enough to even compete with the alternatives around the world. I remember that even the recently released games had some sort of discount during the sale time, now new titles don’t even have one like Ori and the Blind Forest.

Hopefully sales on Origin, Good Old Games, UPlay and other big platforms will be improved in the future. The recent ones aren’t even that bad considering you could get Battlefield games a lot cheaper on the EA’s store for example.

What do you guys think?

Valve’s Steam controller is selling badly

According to the latest data, Valve has sold around 500 000 Steam controllers which isn’t exactly the best number. They have been officially selling the controller since November 2015. It’s been over half a year and what’s even worse the number also includes all of the controllers sold with Steam Machines (all of them have at least one controller bundled).

Valves Steam controller

It appears that Valve’s hardware isn’t popular at all and it’s Steam OS is nearly dead. How do other controllers sell? In last 6 months around 10 000 000 PS4 controllers were sold.

Do you have a Steam Controller?

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By | 2016-10-14T13:48:42+00:00 June 9th 10:45, 2016|Categories: Entertainment, Games, Hardware, News, OMG!1, Publishers & Developers, Software, Valve|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Former Valve employee files lawsuit over wrongful dismissal

Remember that community translation drama on Steam? Former Valve employee files a $3.1 million lawsuit over wrongful dismissal. The suit also alleges employee misclassification and a hostile work environmentRead the suit here – it claims that the employee’s primary responsibility was translating content into Spanish, although she also served as a liaison with law enforcement in Spanish-speaking countries and worked in customer service as well.

In 2012, she elected to undergo gender transition surgery, which required a move to Los Angeles. Valve accommodated the request and allowed her to work from home, but only under the condition that she be reclassified as an independent contractor, rather than a conventional employee. Her duties would remain the same.

At some point after moving to Los Angeles, the plaintiff filed a complaint with Valve’s human resources “about their unfair business practice of utilizing people interested in their products to provide translation services for free.” The people in question “worked hours upon hours based on promises that their work could lead to a paid position,” but it never actually did.

Shortly after filing a written complaint about the practice in January of this year, the plaintiff was fired, allegedly because her job was being moved back to Washington. But when she offered to relocate, the suit claims, she was refused.

“The real reason for termination was that Plaintiff was complaining about the hostile work environment and illegal business practices as stated above,” the lawsuit states. “Moreover, Plaintiff was terminated due to her transgender status. While Defendants accommodated her at first, her direct supervisor, Torsten Zabka, referred to her in a derogatory fashion. He referred to Plaintiff as ‘it,’ which is highly offensive to a transgender person.”

The transgender slurs are obviously the most visibly troubling allegation in the suit, but as Game Informer points out, the claim of misclassification could be what really bites Valve in the ass. The classification left the Plaintiff facing higher tax and insurance rates, and ineligible for unemployment and disability benefits, but it could also expose Valve to some serious unpleasantness courtesy of the IRS.

It’s not enough to simply declare that an employee is an independent contractor and call it a day; specific guidelines must be met in order for the classification to be valid, and as the IRS website warns, companies who do so with “no reasonable basis… may be held liable for employment taxes for that worker.”

More info should be available in the original article on PC Gamer soon I guess.

By | 2016-10-14T13:48:45+00:00 May 25th 14:50, 2016|Categories: Entertainment, Games, News, OMG!1, Publishers & Developers, RAGE NEWS!!!1, Software, Steam, Valve|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

Few words about Valve’s employee Torsten Zabka

Here is some really bad info from reddit/r/Steam guys, Victor, a translator and ex-moderator from the Spanish Steam Translation Server team, posted a really concerning message regarding Steam Translation Server program:

“Valve employee Torsten Zabka, also known for being the Head Admin and creator of STS, has been harassing, lying, discrediting, creating an oppressive, intimidating environment, and overall doing questionable things that have finished with several mods being kicked, a strike of the whole Spanish team that’s still going, and another Valve employee being illegally fired for complaining about these unlawful activities. We would like to share the story with you.”

Steam Rage

And more:

“There has been a huge mess involving Valve’s employee Torsten Zabka and the Spanish team of Steam Translation Server that has resulted a strike from the whole team, and 2 valuable colleagues being expelled, one of them being a Valve employee that also got fired. We want to share the story to reach Valve’s attention and show the community that not everything around is pretty.”

Basically Torsten Zabka told them something about future employment at Valve just to make those guys more productive in translating Steam and it’s contents for free and after many years he told them to fuck off after they’ve contributed so much.

More information in this thread, this is just pathetic behavior. I hope they will fix the whole situation asap…

Steam: Subscriber Agreement 2016 Update

On January 1st 2016 Valve updated their subscriber agreement. Here are the most important parts:

Steam News

Valve is now selling hardware in the European Union (the Steam Controller and Steam Link). Hardware distribution in Europe will be the primary responsibility of Luxembourg subsidiary, known as Valve SARL.

Digital content and services in Europe move back under our US company, Valve Corp., just as they were before the Luxembourg office opened in July 2012. This is pretty interesting, the company claims that in practice, this changes nothing for our European customers.

Valve claims to continue to operate with respect to relevant European laws, such as local data and consumer protection, and continue to provide the same services they have for years.

Those who simply want to keep playing their games and are not making a purchase at this time are free to simply ignore the SSA update for now. It only takes effect for users who explicitly confirm it, usually during a new purchase.

A full copy of the updated 2016 SSA is available for viewing here.

By | 2016-10-14T13:49:11+00:00 January 2nd 10:55, 2016|Categories: News, Privacy, Steam Updates, Weird Stuff|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Here is why Steam customer service is still terrible but will get better this holiday season

In recent Kotaku interview with Erik Johnson about the current Steam Support, Valve employee told that progress is being made on Valve’s side of things, it’s just not visible yet:

“We started by realizing we had a lot of software to write to build a new support system,” Johnson explained. “The first feature that came of that was the ability to get refunds of purchases made on Steam. That made the most sense to start with. If a customer buys something they don’t like, they can get their money back in a pretty transparent way. We think that’s a good feature, but we don’t think it was the fix for support. It had a lot more work behind it that was long-term thinking than just refunds.”

Steam News

And the interview continues:

“The second software problem that we’re getting through now is how to deal with account security and account theft,” he said. “So we’ve been updating the mobile apps and dealing with two-factor authentication. It’s a surprisingly complicated and prevalent issue inside of Steam, and we have some unique challenges in there. A lot of the load of customer support is a function of the number of transactions you make. Our own games like DOTA and Counter-Strike and TF2 have a lot more transactions than a typical game, so that’s created a lot of load on the system. The ability to trade items and sell items directly on the marketplace, that creates more support load. So all of those are kind of self-inflicted things.”

But that still doesn’t get to the point of why Steam support, has more than it should in common with a bunch of shit. Read more below to find out.

We’ve hired a couple different companies

[to help with support],” said Johnson. “The thing that’s interesting is, you go out to third-party support providers, and—at least in our experience—most of them wanted to sell you ways to reduce the number of people currently waiting in support, but they weren’t very good at selling you ways to solve customer support issues. I think we’ve all had that experience of, ‘I get it. You’re trying to get me off the line.’ We’re not super interested in providing crappy support in volume.”

Valve started to train it’s own people, but training takes time.

“It’s meant that training people in third-party has taken longer than we expected,” explained Johnson. “It bugs us, but it is what it is. We think we’ll have the support wait time down to an acceptable point by Christmas time. That’s our goal. It’s a function of training up more and more people answer customer issues. We’re not there yet. It’s getting better internally; it’s just that it hasn’t yet translated to great support for users. We’re gonna get there, though.”

If Valve’s timeline (not Valve Time ;D) proves accurate, it’ll certainly be a nice winter holiday (winter sale?) present.

TL;DR

Valve didn’t have enough support employees to process refunds and help requests, tried to hire 3rd party businesses but they were crappy, started to train it’s own people and it will probably be a lot better for the winter Steam sale.

Source: Kotaku

By | 2016-10-14T13:49:30+00:00 October 17th 01:20, 2015|Categories: News, Software, Steam, Steam Alternatives, Steam Flaws, Valve|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Steam: Game Bans system is now live allowing developers to ban from individual games on Steam

Game Bans system is now available on Steam but don’t worry, those bans have to be requested by the developer. This allows the game makers to maintain their own games in ways that Steam couldn’t. Developer is also likely to have the time and resources to ban cheaters in hackers from its own title. It takes the burden of ban appeals off Valve’s Steam Support team.

Steam Logo

There are some concerns though, because you know some devs have horrible history of community management on Steam.

By | 2016-10-14T13:49:54+00:00 April 30th 14:14, 2015|Categories: Games, News, Steam|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Valve listens… at least for now.

Here’s good news guys. Few days ago Gabe Newell showed up on reddit, acting like he doesn’t know what the big deal is about.

Gabe Newell

On Thursday I was flying back from LA. When I landed, I had 3,500 new messages. Hmmm. Looks like we did something to piss off the Internet.

Yesterday I was distracted as I had to see my surgeon about a blister in my eye (#FuchsDystrophySucks), but I got some background on the paid mods issues.

So here I am, probably a day late, to make sure that if people are pissed off, they are at least pissed off for the right reasons.

People went very vocal in comments stating that they don’t want purchasable modifications, not only Skyrim but in general.

So yesterday at late night (European time zone) Valve announced that they are removing the paid mods from the Workshop and that everyone who bought mods will get a full refund immediately.

ROO4w7f

Now community is divided between those who lost all hope in Valve (about time?) and those who went back to praising them as saviors of the PC gaming.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good that they listen but remember that every business just wants to earn money and they have realized how wrong they have fucked up this time and reverted it. Did you know that because of that messed up idea Skyrim lost over 10% of positive reviews on Steam? I’m sure Bethesda wasn’t happy.

We’ve won this one guys, we’ll see what comes next. Too bad they didn’t listen when they started charging us more for games in Europe in 2008…