1C: UK retailers refuse to sell Steam-enabled games

By on June 21, 2011, 5:30 PM

Speaking with Computer and Video Games about the state PC game distriubtion, Darryl Still of 1C, a Russian developer and publisher, claimed that some UK retailers refuse to sell Steamworks titles. According to Still, certain big-box stores have warned publishers that they won't stock games with Steam integration, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Fallout: New Vegas.

Still's comment all but confirms a report by MCVUK last November that claimed "key" retailers were blacklisting Steam games to stifle competition. Not only are retailers bothered by online game sales cutting into physical sales, but they're also concerned about Steam's overwhelming grip on digital distribution because they're hoping to enter the digital market too.

"If we have a digital service, then I don't want to start selling a rival in-store," said a major UK games retailer. "Steam has made it so easy for everyone and they have lots of users. But how long do you wait before you take control of your own digital strategy? Like with iTunes, at some point it's going to be too late," said David Perry, CEO of cloud-based gaming service Gaikai.

CVG's interview shed some light on the difference between selling games via retail and digital outfits from a publisher's perspective. According to Still, if 1C sold a £20 game via retail, the company would make £7 per unit, whereas that figure doubles to £14 when peddled through stores like Steam. What's more, 1C would receive that money three or fourth months faster.

Along with raking in twice as much cash per copy, Still noted that the digital medium has other lucrative advantages over retail stores. For instance, you know those mega-discounts that seduce us every Christmas with $5 AAA titles? Cheap games obviously boost sales throughout the promotion, but they also stimulate full price digital and physical sales after the deal ends.

When the game returns to its normal price, "it does so with an uplift in full price sales both on Steam and at the retail stores…because there is usually a whole new base of consumers playing and enthusing about the game on the forums. This phenomenon contrasts completely with retail, where once a game is discounted, it is heading to the dump bins and then out the door."

Despite its dominance over the digial market, Still said Valve isn't controlling. "Because they come from a developer background their aims mesh perfectly with ours, which is principally to get our games into the hands of as many users as possible." "They work closely with us to make sure that the price and promotions we set maximizes the interest and revenue available."




User Comments: 33

Got something to say? Post a comment
spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

Another reason not drive to a retail store.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Reminds me of the music industry trying to fight the digital revolution, and we all know where this is going.

Guest said:

I don't use steam anyway. I don't understand why people buy from steam or origin. The fact that I have to log in every time I want to use their game PISSES ME OFF. If I can't download it from a site like D2D that does not have those stupid commie rules then I dont buy the game online. I don't trust steam or origin or any of their like not to mess my computer up somehow, or somebody hacks into steam and the second I play one of their games my computer is a zombie, no thanks.

P.S. - those horrible retail stores actually hire real life people from the real world. I know some of you forgot that your not Neo and there is no Morphious, but buying from a store is much better for your local economy (when I can, I do. More so for xbox games, pc games are getting hard to find.) You don't live in the World of Warcraft, get out, talk to people face to face.

Guest said:

@Guest - And them same stores are worse than pirates crippling the income to game developers by offering 2nd hand copies of games for only a few quid under the asking price of a new game and pocketing all of the developers cut.

If the developers make more money the games can be priced more competitivley just like you see on Steam sales right now. New games cost the same but wait a couple of months and you can support your developer and pay less too.

As for supporting your economy, you have no right complain about that unless you go to your local butchers / pharmacy / grocery shop instead of the supermarket. Bet you dont do and I bet you dont go to a bricks and morter computer shop for your components either.

Guest said:

Can't buy games available on Steam at a retail store, just buy them on Steam. I don't understand how this can help them? If anything it will force fans of the game to buy the Steam version which in turn inflates Steam sales. :s

howzz1854 said:

FYI, you don't need to have internet access through steam to play steam games. there's steam off-line mode which allows you to play your games with no internet. but i do agree with one fact that a complete digital copy is still better than one that's built into the digital distribution program. i much prefer D2D's business model. however, D2D has yet able to match Steam's blow out sales. and that's the main reason Steam has gain thus much ground. everytime D2D has a sale, steam beats it by a mile. money speaks, if i can get a game for less than $10 for a AAA title, i don't care if it's A, B, or C. i am gonna go with the cheapest and most affordable.

Guest said:

Good, another reason for me not to visit the rip-off merchants. Only Game stock pc games, and the choice is feeble at best. Down with GDI!

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

P.S. - those horrible retail stores actually hire real life people from the real world. I know some of you forgot that your not Neo and there is no Morphious, but buying from a store is much better for your local economy (when I can, I do. More so for xbox games, pc games are getting hard to find.) You don't live in the World of Warcraft, get out, talk to people face to face.

Thanks for reminding us about this. In our rush to adopt new technology, we ofter forget about the little people. We all know what the horseless carriage did to the blacksmith and stable boy.

Guest said:

My butcher's name is Steve, I do buy my own desktop parts (but comp USA is no more, I do try to go to my local staples or radio shack when I can), have looked into whitebooks but it really is a huge hassle. In reference to the fact that non-mom and pop stores don't help the economy... Maybe they bus in the workers for the stores in your town from other towns because for some reason they don't allow people from your town to actually work in it, but a whole lot of people from my town, work in... My town. I'm all for your idea of a mom and pop store but when a population gets to a certain point, big stores that can accommodate such a population are needed, that utopia breaks down at a certain point and real life takes over. All I was saying is that going to your local gamestop and buying games from them (price being fairly the same, if you can get a $60 dollar game for $40 go for it) will help keep them in business, and therefor keep the couple of ladies and gents that work there employed. I'm just looking out, I'm not a crazy lefty vegan or anything like that, and I will NEVER get anywhere near a Prius.

r8bwp said:

Well most of my games come from steam, purely because they tend to be in one place, easy to download and Cheap(most of the time).Logging on isnt a chore if you ask it to remember your password.

If your account gets hacked just send email with invoice and it all gets restored.

Only happened once couple of years ago.

cant quite imagine buying my groceries from all over the show, those days are gone! Same principle.for my games.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Can't buy games available on Steam at a retail store, just buy them on Steam. I don't understand how this can help them? If anything it will force fans of the game to buy the Steam version which in turn inflates Steam sales."

+1

This makes no sense to me either. They're forcing people to Steam.

Hankhendrix Hankhendrix said:

r8bwp said:

Well most of my games come from steam, purely because they tend to be in one place, easy to download and Cheap(most of the time).Logging on isnt a chore if you ask it to remember your password.

If your account gets hacked just send email with invoice and it all gets restored.

Only happened once couple of years ago.

cant quite imagine buying my groceries from all over the show, those days are gone! Same principle.for my games.

This may seem Cliché, but i made an account just to agree with you. (Long time onlooker) Steam provides a hub for everything pc gaming. You have your friends list, news feeds, forums, store+ epic deals, and of course the games, with a hint of cd free lovin. Steam also cuts out those greedy publishers, who effectively change the finished product and perhaps not to the developers intentions and also cut out the middle man, so more money for Mr Dev = More games, less dlc.

Please enter your counter argument below.

Guest said:

@howzz1854: To get to the Offline Mode you need to first be online. Then if you restart your computer or simply close Steam you will need to go back online to sign into Steam to then go to Offline Mode once again...

Hankhendrix Hankhendrix said:

You only need to log on once, to save your password, then you can use it offline whenever you like, except when you need to register a new game. (on a 3G dongle :P )

pcnthuziast said:

Never had a single problem with Steam and don't find it a hassle either since I login once after installing it and check the box that says stay logged in. I have about 50 games in my library and have saved hundreds over the years. Steam is an awesome service IMHO and I am very hard to please. I admit that buying a game through Steam that also requires GFWL sucks, but so far no MP games that I've bought use it so an offline account works for me. Origin is something I'll avoid like the plague since I have no respect for EA, but that's a can of worms I'll leave the lid on.

yRaz yRaz said:

These stores really know how to ignore what the consumer wants. People are saying you should buy in a store to support the local economy. What if these stores screw up the economy because they want to be anti-competitive? What if purchasing from these stores prevents us from getting great deals like the ones we see on steam in the long run? I'm not trying to argue, just some food for thought.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

"@Guest - And them same stores are worse than pirates crippling the income to game developers by offering 2nd hand copies of games for only a few quid under the asking price of a new game and pocketing all of the developers cut."

So..The next time your family has a yard sale, garage sale or some kind of sale (whatever you happen to call them in your country) or if they have a car they want to sell to buy a new one, they are gonna turn that money over to the manufacturer right? It the same thing with reselling games. Software developers are just mad because they can't "double dip" and get paid 3 or 4 times for selling one product item. If they want to resell an item, then they should do like used car dealerships do and offer a trade in price.

Now back on topic..

If brick and mortar shops want to shoot themselves in the foot...oh well. When they decide to get their heads out of their asses and want to compete for my business, then I may consider buying a game from a shop instead of online

Guest said:

Frist off I love steam I have well over 50+ steam games and another 20x box retail games. This is the issiue I have with both.

Steam Good

1) Steam is easy to get games and have them working.

2) Large amount of games too choose from .. stuff you never hear about.

3) Save money alot of times, deals / preorders or buy 3x get 1x free (need 4ppl do that) (+gas/time )

4) Steam only bouns .. Achivements / Large user base with fourm support to work out issues.

Steam Bad

1) no physical copy, so you would think with out them have to ship it to the store or make packaging it should be even cheaper.

2) No resale or Ebay. Once its on your steam account you would have too sale the whole account too get money for it.

3) this is the newest one ... everyone else wants their own verson of steam and will not put their games on steam ( EA ). I dont like this at all . I do not want A bunch of verson of vutral stores / login-s & passwords everywhere.

But for the most part the good ... way .. out ways the bad. I see ppl posting about steam messing up their system , games not working and all kinds of other rusbish, I would call this user error or lack of hardware. I know A bit about computers and my hardware will run everything 1920x1200 VHigh @ 40fps+ and I have never had issues with "steam" ... maybe some games haven given me issues /\ AVP /\ .. but that was not steams faught.

zillion said:

Besides the obvious benefits that have allready been stated i also would like to say that steam offers a lifetime downloads of your games, i dont know how it is now but a few years ago i bought an EA game and apparently u can only re-download for 1yr or then u would have to pay a fee for a longer period......WFT!!!

But the main thing about that is, u wont ever damage your games as u can with a physical disc and i have tried that so u canÂ't play that game anymore.

Also we are a few very good friends that all play alot of pc games, if i want to test a game a friend bought or let him test one of mine, we just swop steam acounts for a day.

I have also seen games that have been more expensive at my local retailer then at steam even if it just released, but the main problem is that when i see games at my local retailer which is turning 1yr old it still isnÂ't going down in price, despite they know they will never sell those games at that price and that they most likely have thousandÂ's more at stock just eating the annual profit.

...And the steam community is just all thumps up imo.

Guest said:

Steam can be a pain even on a good Internet connection.

I'm not a console fanboy but popping in the disc and being able to play straight away is a bonus.

Steam / DRM / whatever is a monster created by pirating PC masses.

Guest said:

@Darkshadoe

That would be fine if the game shops gave decent deals new title comes out £49.99 for new £47.99 pre owned, they keep it artificially high. Also if a game is not in the charts it is rarley avalible in the shop for new, you are forced to buy second hand. How are you supposed to support your developer without paying full price? OH YEAH STEAM IS AVALIBLE.

Plus a "Yard Sale" is not exactly a multi million copration that forces all other yard sales to close down and then offers the goods for sale at a couple of "dollars" below retail.

Guest said:

Steam though is a good system. I have used other systems and they lack too many features that steam offer. EA are trying to take on steam with the origin system but it still in its infancy to see if it will succeed as it stands at the moment it is still pretty poor.

backo said:

Yeah I am sure... So they will so they will not sell all the Valve games!? Meaning that when HL3 arrives (not saying that is going to be soon), or Portal 3, or any other of their games - the retailers will say "No thanks, we don't want to make profit of these games that sell well. Steam can have our piece of the pie".

There are a lot of people that buy a Steam enabled game and use Steam only as a gaming network.

I don't know but from where I am sitting this can only hurt the retailers and help steam.

On the steam subject - for me this is by far the best online service I have ever used.

ramonsterns said:

Guest said:

Steam can be a pain even on a good Internet connection.

I'm not a console fanboy but popping in the disc and being able to play straight away is a bonus.

Steam / DRM / whatever is a monster created by pirating PC masses.

Steam has never been a pain for me other than on days when a popular game is released and their servers get overloaded.

Also, stating not to be a console fanboy, then admitting lacking the attention span necessary to install a game doesn't help you in the least.

I've been using Steam since 2008 and I don't even mind it anymore. I just run the game from the icon on my desktop and it's like it was never there.

wcbert said:

I have games from Steam and GOG (Good old Games) too! It makes it easy to order games and they manage them. No CDs!

One of the things I like about Steam there are games from small gaming companies that I play that I know would never make to the game store's because they only have the most popular games from the biggest gaming companies.

My biggest fear in the future Steam will do away with the one time purchase of a games and make me rent the games, each month I have to a pay a fee.

tehbanz tehbanz said:

wcbert said:

My biggest fear in the future Steam will do away with the one time purchase of a games and make me rent the games, each month I have to a pay a fee.

I don't think we'll have to worry about that, however my biggest fear is the day steam goes belly-up how will we re-acquire our games? People always ***** about physical copies etc "you can scratch them" well you can also back them up! create .iso's and or burn them to other media.

I love steam, i love how it's all integrated, I love that i can see a friend playing l4d right click his name and be in the game in minutes, but all big companies come to an end at some point.

it will be interesting to see where the future will take us.

example1013 said:

tehbanz said:

wcbert said:

My biggest fear in the future Steam will do away with the one time purchase of a games and make me rent the games, each month I have to a pay a fee.

I don't think we'll have to worry about that, however my biggest fear is the day steam goes belly-up how will we re-acquire our games? People always ***** about physical copies etc "you can scratch them" well you can also back them up! create .iso's and or burn them to other media.

I love steam, i love how it's all integrated, I love that i can see a friend playing l4d right click his name and be in the game in minutes, but all big companies come to an end at some point.

it will be interesting to see where the future will take us.

Well since I already have the games on my hard drive, it's just about backing them up.

Zilpha Zilpha said:

ramonsterns said:

Guest said:

Steam can be a pain even on a good Internet connection.

I'm not a console fanboy but popping in the disc and being able to play straight away is a bonus.

Steam / DRM / whatever is a monster created by pirating PC masses.

Steam has never been a pain for me other than on days when a popular game is released and their servers get overloaded.

Also, stating not to be a console fanboy, then admitting lacking the attention span necessary to install a game doesn't help you in the least.

I've been using Steam since 2008 and I don't even mind it anymore. I just run the game from the icon on my desktop and it's like it was never there.

I love the comment about steam being created by the pirating masses - if anything it has lowered the amount of pirating done. A company looked at the trend and though, "well hells bells, folks sure do like their digital downloads of content, let's make it legal and see how much of that thar moolah we can make!"

Now people can get their digital downloads fast, easy, safe, and cheap. You can't beat that. I have bought a number of games on Steam and while I am not much of a PC gamer either, I appreciate having a decent selection on my lappy when I travel and can't really drag an x-box and TV around with me.

treetops treetops said:

I don't like having to go through steam to play multiplayer on some of my games. It runs in the background and takes up a lot of resources for being a game downloader launcher.

Leeky Leeky said:

I don't use steam anyway. I don't understand why people buy from steam or origin..

Convenience is a major factor. As is the ability to have a centralised, always accessible place online to download your games wherever you are.

For some not having manuals, discs (that get damaged and then are useless) and boxes for games hanging around is a bonus as well!

I also like having all my games accessible from one menu, and having my gaming buddies available inside Steam, alongside my games.

The mear fact I can download my game anytime I want, not worry about a damaged disc meaning the game is useless, and not have to worry about losing CD keys is a good enough reason for me to use it.

howzz1854 said:

Guest said:

@howzz1854: To get to the Offline Mode you need to first be online. Then if you restart your computer or simply close Steam you will need to go back online to sign into Steam to then go to Offline Mode once again...

incorrect.

i was just on a road trip with my laptop with all my steam games running off-line on trains, airplanes and never needed to be online to play the games. like others said, once you downloaded and installed the game. you don't need to be online to play the games you have.

gingerbill said:

retial shops only have themselves to blame , bit silly to try and blame there downfall on steam . And as others have said it makes no sense to then not sell a game so you will definetly buy it online. I assume they started this as some kind of empty threat hoping publishers would drop steam in favour of retail . Of course they are dreaming and i guess they will find that out very quickly.

The retail sectors lack of effort and promotion and knowledge of PC games is what killed it for retail . Theres the odd shop were there's a guy working in there who knows his stuff but on most occasions i would go in and ask would they be selling WOW data disk and they would say " whats warcraft?" .

My brother works for a very large internatioal retailer thats sells games , they didnt stock WOW , when he phoned up head office they said " never heard of it" . Thats retails problem . They have someone in charge of ordering games who has never heard of warcraft or valve.

Guest said:

I have been with Steam for seven years now and have a massive number of games (over 1000) with their service. I still buy physical copies of games for my PS3 and Wii but not for PC games. Retailers with this point of view are just damaging the industry. It should not be about competition, it should be about expansion. Get games into the hands of as many players as possible and get the developers their hard earned money so they can develop new games.

Steam is one of the giants of the DD industry and now that Direct2Drive is gone there is nothing that directly competes with it not even Origin or Impulse (aka Game Stop's app). Valve could easily monopolize the industry but they have not done so yet so fears like the ones posted in the article are unfounded BS imo by a business who wants an excuse to complain about their crappy retail sales.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.