GAME (UK) and Steam

Daverson

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Did a quick search for this, and couldn't find anything, so I guess there isn't already a thread about this, apologies if there is.

So, a few folks might remember this [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.295811-UK-Retailers-Accused-of-Blacklisting-Steam-Required-PC-Games#11678136] a while back, well, it gets worse.

From Facepunch: [source] [http://www.facepunch.com/threads/1119494-Game-UK-Why-these-guys-are-ruining-your-consumer-experience-on-Steam-in-the-UK]
When reading this article please don't think this only applies to preorders. I've seen a few places thinking that this is the case. This actually affects the ability to buy the game on Steam for at least up to a month from release as well as preorders.

In the UK we have a gaming store called Game (UK) and for as long as I can remember they've been around for years now (my earliest memory of first seeing them was when I was roughly 4) and they've never been that great, but they were okay.

Now for many years most people went to Game to buy their Console and PC games. When it comes to consoles Game really have quite a thing rolling, even their smallest stores have their walls lined with console games and often even basic peripherals. Often they have demo console machines everywhere with the latest games on that you can play and their second hand baskets (or bargain bins) often have plenty of games in there, albeit not the best.

What's fairly sad is that Game have never really been a PC supporter as such even with an evergrowing market. For years now they've kept the PC games (usually) in the back of the store with a small segment and usually their "top 10" of games. What's even worse is that these "top 10" games are built off Games' own sales figures. This means that games such as The Sims 3 and the vanilla version of World of Warcraft remain in the charts regardless of what new releases come out. This alongside selling PC games that are ten years old (no, seriously, you'll find games from 99-2001 easily) it doesn't make for a decent consumer experience and as thus a large portion of people that buy PC games don't buy them at Game.

Now since roughly March this year UK Gamers have noticed that many games on Steam are "not available in your region" and it's left many wondering why this is occuring. The first game to be officially affected by this was Brink (http://store.steampowered.com/app/22350/ ) including any DLC pages related to Brink. Thankfully thanks to a minor bug with Steam many PC users were still able to preorder Brink up until roughly two weeks before the games launch when Brink suddenly became unavailable with no response from Valve or Bethseda (as they were publishing it) as to why this was the case.

Some time around the start of this year Game started talking to multiple publishers regarding their games being on Steam. This was somewhat out of the blue and surprising however their Goal was effectively to gain some monopoly or power over Steam. Heck their message was a pretty straightforwards one. They basically want (at least) one month from release date where the game cannot be purchased by those in the UK on Steam.. And this applies to all games released by that publisher. This doesn't include the time the game is up for pre-order either. If the publisher doesn't agree to (what I presume is a bluff as other publishers haven't done this) then they'll supposedly refuse to stock and sell that publishers games via their stores.

What makes this worse is that UKers can't even place a pre-order on Steam for that game. We can only look at media related to the game (not including demos) only if they have their own pages.

...


I'm actually starting to wonder if this sort of thing is actually illegal (anti-comp laws etc) and so I'm starting to do some research into the issue, although I'm not a lawyer so any support anyone feels like giving would be great .
This really isn't fair on us in the UK because at the end of the day, it's Games own fault that many people don't want to buy their games from their stores. If they weren't so stupidly priced or daft about making the consumer experience actually worthwhile they would probably find that people would possibly start even buying from them again.

I can provide some insight into which publishers and games are affected by this below (I'll keep the list updated as time goes on and if anyone else knows any other games affected, PM me or post below) -

Publishers that have agreed to this -
- THQ
- Bethseda

Currently affected titles I'm aware of -
- Space Marine
- Saints Row the Third
- Skyrim

Games that have been affected by said actions -
- Brink (confirmed, one month)
- Red Faction: Armageddon (confirmed, unknown duration)
- Homefront (confirmed, unknown duration)
- Darksiders (confirmed, unknown duration)

Titles thought to have been affected but are currently unconfirmed -
- Metro 2033 (unconfirmed, unknown duration)


Effectively I'm trying to spread the word and knowledge that this is what's going down and this really isn't acceptable. I'd appreciate it (and I'm sure many others would) if you spread the word and hopefully we can see if they (Game UK) are really allowed to do this. It's a slippery slope if this isn't stopped soon or else we may end up with many games eventually not even making it to Steam due to stupid things like this.
tl;dr version: GAME have apparently* been blackmailing publishers into not selling their products via Steam in the UK until at least a month after the official launch date.

(*they've been quick to "categorically" deny it, of course, probably because this sort of thing is illegal in the UK.)
 

TimeLord

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My local GAME still sells Brink for PC...
It also sells all the DoW2 games that require Steam.
 

Woodsey

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If this proves true, they are fucking morons. People don't go to them because they're a rip-off and they have a shit selection.

TimeLord said:
My local GAME still sells Brink for PC...
It also sells all the DoW2 games that require Steam.
"been blackmailing publishers into not selling their products via Steam in the UK until at least a month after the official launch date."

Delaying, not permanently removing.
 

Rawne1980

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But this is an outrage.

How will I get my games now.

Oh wait.... I don't use Steam anyway.... In fact I buy from GAME if i'm in town (or Amazon if i'm feeling lazy).

I find a bit of bullshit in the quoted section though. The GAME in our town has quite a large selection of PC games and the top 20 chart it has are the ones that are charted everywhere.

WoW hasn't been on it's shelves for 2 years (it may be shoved in a corner but the last time I saw it was when my wife had to hunt it down).
 

Daverson

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TimeLord said:
My local GAME still sells Brink for PC...
It also sells all the DoW2 games that require Steam.
I think you misunderstand, this isn't a case of:
Blackmailer: If you make a game using Steamworks, we won't sell it.
Publisher: Oh noes!

It's a case of:
Blackmailer: If you sell your games on steam as pre-release or at release (the time when a product will sell at highest rate), we won't stock any of your products. (PC or Console)
Publisher: Oh noes!
 

devotedsniper

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I never really liked Game, their staff never really seem like the gamer sort, where if you go to Gamestation (which i believe is now owned by Game?) they generally all look like gamers, their prices are usually cheaper too, along with their stores generally looking better (where Game always has that excutive, powerpoint feel to it, look at there poster ads on the windows compared to Gamestation to get what i mean).

I think if this were to happen i'd probably pre order on steam and probably resort to downloading it elsewhere till i could get it off there (which if the above is true, this will be happening for Skyrim and Saints Row), Game has always been a tad expensive to be honest.
 

Zykon TheLich

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Meh, I don't really care, I don't buy from Steam or Game

Rawne1980 said:
I find a bit of bullshit in the quoted section though. The GAME in our town has quite a large selection of PC games and the top 20 chart it has are the ones that are charted everywhere.
Yeah my local game has quite a big selection too ... all at £5-£10 more than I could get them for on Amazon.
 

Rawne1980

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scumofsociety said:
Meh, I don't really care, I don't buy from Steam or Game

Rawne1980 said:
I find a bit of bullshit in the quoted section though. The GAME in our town has quite a large selection of PC games and the top 20 chart it has are the ones that are charted everywhere.
Yeah my local game has quite a big selection too ... all at £5-£10 more than I could get them for on Amazon.
Didn't say it was cheap I just said it had them.

We live in a shit hole of a town and only have 2 game shops GAME and Gamestation so our choices of where to buy from when in town is severely limited.

Like you said Amazon seems to be the cheaper option so usually get them from there but I tend to drift into GAME when my wife and kids want to go shopping. It's either that or I have to cope with walking around clothes shops and I really dislike clothes shopping.
 

Zykon TheLich

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Rawne1980 said:
Didn't say it was cheap I just said it had them.

We live in a shit hole of a town and only have 2 game shops GAME and Gamestation so our choices of where to buy from when in town is severely limited.

Like you said Amazon seems to be the cheaper option so usually get them from there but I tend to drift into GAME when my wife and kids want to go shopping. It's either that or I have to cope with walking around clothes shops and I really dislike clothes shopping.
I didn't say you said it was cheap, I agreed with you on the choice of games and then made a little aside.

SgtFoley said:
So what your saying is that Game stays pretty competitive with steam then. I couldnt resist mate.
Yeah... I had always thought that one of the bonus' of digital distribution was that it was supposed to be cheaper, but there you go.
 

Ferrious

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"I've never heard such a shocking and tragic injustice I cared so little about!"

Sorry, couldn't resist. In seriousness though, this is an outright disgrace. Game is an unfriendly, poorly-stocked and over-priced store. There are about 20 titles in my local Game, and there's nothing worth buying. I don't buy anything from them, primarily out of principal: Misleading used-game advertising, poor staff advice and some horrid sales talk in store have led me to avoid them like the plague.

But this is a step too far - affecting units sold via other distribution channels isn't on. You already have the used game market propping up your margins and taking money out of the game studios I like, how about you leave Steam alone?

That said, I'm waiting to see how this pans out, because if it's true, it is most certainly illegal over here.
 

PatrickXD

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Erm, mind taking a peek at the GAME homepage for PC games?
Those brand new games listed?
Yeah, those are the ones sold in the shop, too. Sure they sell other games from years ago, but all those awesome new games you might want are sold too.
However, the games are more expensive than amazon etc.
On topic with the blackmailing, if it is true which it very much seems to be, I will definitely not buy any more PC games from GAME.
 

Omega500

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Well now i Understand why I carnt pre order Skyrim.

Ive never liked game all the staff make you feel so unwelcome and the manager of my local one acts and struts about like he is the man He looks like a car salesman
 

Total LOLige

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I hate GAME they refuse to sell me 16+ games unless I have an I.D. Gamestation on the the hand will without an I.D, except if I get served by a guy that used to work at GAME. "Ummmmm.....I'm gonna have to see some I.D dude."
Steam goers I will hate GAME twice as much just for you.
 

Sneezeguard

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Doesn't really bother me I don't pc game as much as I used to and I prefer Gamestation to Game, In Game you get those 30 something mothers looking for the latest shovelware for their 5 year old child, it feels kinda weird non gamers in a gaming shop. In Gamestation it doesn't really happen as much and is aimed a bit more towards an older teen/gamer market which I'm more comfortable with.