Jimquisition: Salt Of The Earth - A Steam Fail Story

GamemasterAnthony

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Makabriel said:
GamemasterAnthony said:
Hmmm...I wonder what would happen if someone dared to, I don't know...threaten Muxwell with litigation for violating people's rights to their opinions? Seriously...I say hit these idiots with the potential for the worst case scenario and they may stop this bullcrap.

What do you think, Jim?
You have no rights on a private forum. They can delete anything they want to. Doesn't mean there won't be retaliation by the users, and make you look like a complete [email protected], but thems the breaks.
I...honestly...am not too sure about that. Muxwell's actions, while probably within his rights within the bounds of a private forum, could be construed as something else in the eyes of the right people...

FRAUD

*gets some weird looks* Hear me out.

Let's be honest here: What EXACTLY was the point of deleting negative comments about the game? The only purpose I could see would be to make the game look better than it actually was so people would buy it. Essentially artifically inflating the "goodness" of the game to intice people to buy what is basically a defective product. Any good prosecuting attorney could easily take Muxwell's actions and not only make a good case for fraud, but also open the door to further investigations against other developers on Steam. Not exactly something Steam wants, to be honest.

Even worse is that Steam could be caught in it! Because Steam allows guys like Muxwell to delete negative reviews, the same prosecutor could say that Steam "allowed" it to happen and thus were culpable...possibly even being called an accomplice after the fact. (Sounds extreme, but I've seen a few news stories where something like that had taken place...usually involving employers who let their employees do whatever.) Only way Steam could avoid be named in such litigation would be if Steam itself brought charges against Muxwell and others who engaged in such practices.

Truthfully...I don't know if this COULD happen. I'm no law expert nor do I pretend to be. I'm just seeing the worst case scenario here. Now that what Muxwell did has been made public, I can't help but think that there will be SOME kind of backlash as a result...legal or otherwise...that will hurt Steam as a result. Just my 2 Zenny on that.
 

Keava

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Hutzpah Chicken said:
I'll take note that when I can release my first game to first let Jim tell me how shit it is BEFORE I put it on Steam. Second, to skip that whole Early Access crap. Third, not to put it on the market until it is fully functional. Finally, sell it at $5 because I know most people (myself included) wait until a game is $5 or less on Steam.
You know, with that last point actually, it's the reason why some developers bloat the price in first place? They know, that with how frequent the Steam Sales are, they will sell it for 5$ eventually, but it doesn't hurt them to try and sell few units for 15$. If they started at 5$ then during sale, which also gives a game additional exposure they'd have to sell it for just 1.99$ . It's all just part of the plan.
 

Gilhelmi

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Oct 22, 2009
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GamemasterAnthony said:
Hmmm...I wonder what would happen if someone dared to, I don't know...threaten Muxwell with litigation for violating people's rights to their opinions? Seriously...I say hit these idiots with the potential for the worst case scenario and they may stop this bullcrap.

What do you think, Jim?
I am sure someone posted this before to respond to you, but it needs saying again...


(dang that is bigger then expected)

Like the XKCD pointed out. Private companies do not legally have to give you Rights to Free Speech. Most reputable places (like the Escapist) do because free thought and discussion helps with creativity, but they do not have to by law.

Government owned/funded organizations do however (unless the speech is being 'disruptive' then they have to prove that it is, in theory). In short, the First Amendment only protects us from the Government (again, in theory, I could go on for a long time about how the current administration is trying to suppress political dissent, but then I would be getting way off topic. Maybe later in R&P).
 

jklinders

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Stories like this sadden me a bit.

Steam at one time was a refuge for small quality indie devs to sell their games on. Letting the floodgates open so that every brain damaged ingrate can sell a "game" on there is going to hurt the good indie devs and in the long run Steam as well. I remember still the smooth quality and ongoing support for "Space Pirates and Zombies," for example. Check it out at least, made by a 2 person team with a lot of love behind it.

Now with all the dreck filling Steam up who the hell is going to give guys like this a chance?

Steam could if it wanted to, fix this with 2 simple steps.

One, retain some kind of mod authority over the devs sub forums, they are given to them with Steam's permission after all and if they violate simple terms of use they could lose their mod authority.

The second being, have their own QA team vet the fucking things before the devs are allowed to ask for money.

If both of these are done responsibly, that might restore a bit of confidence, but my money is too scare to risk on these indie titles now until I see outside positive feedback these days.
 

Madman123456

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Go buy any games that allows for big mods, Bethesda games being the prime subject here and go download mods from a platform that has a rating system. Some mods will turn many of the game play aspects around and some tell new stories in new lands.

With the steam greenlight games you might burn your money with something like this "earth" game.
With mods you'll get more bang for no bucks at all.
 

direkiller

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Kururu999 said:
You know it is in fact possible for someone to not know who you are.
yes, but that's no excuse when his twitter,you tube, and Destuctoid/escapeist employment are the first things to come up on google when you get half way into his name.
 

nevarran

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It's all Steam's fault. People go there trusting that they won't be scammed. Surely there will be bad, poorly made games. But nothing of such magnitude.

But like I said before, Steam takes his own, even when gamers end up being screwed.
 

NortherWolf

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Thanatos2k said:
NortherWolf said:
So, let me get this straight. One asshole releases a shitty product. The fault is his, but the real villain here, the mastermind of madness, the dictator of darkness...Is VALVE! They(or , Steam as they've apparently renamed themselves) are the true blight upon PC gaming! They, as the owners of a gaming store should enforce draconian rules so as not to sully the genepool of the master race!

Why, of course this is so, just the other day I tossed excrement at a Game Shop employee for daring to carry a bad game. It is my duty as a Member of the PC Master Gaming Race after all. We cannot allow free choice...

Shame about you Jim, thought you had some good stuff for a while, but your "STEAM NEEDS TO ANSWER!" stuff is a bit tiresome. Steam is a damn store, the only thing Valve need to answer is refunds and keeping obvious scams gone. But people here seem to want for steam to crash so they can roll around in their own smug filth and go "Told you so! Filthy pleb!"
If crime is high in a city, in order to lower crime do you blame the criminals or the police?

Valve is the police here, if you didn't get the analogy.
I did. It's probably the most inept one I've ever heard, but I did.
Because, ding ding ding ding! They're not the cops(too little random beatings for that) and it's not a city. It's a game shop. Filled with games. Some of which are shit.
I've bought shitty games in my days, and I refunded them or just tossed them in a box somewhere. Hell, I keep some shitty DnD Fighting game for the PSX around so I can remember that sometimes, it pays off not to buy everything you think could be awesome.
So, again: The only thing I think Steam should do is what a poster below me said; pick out the obvious lies and deal with them. But if Joe Idiot fucks up in a buy, it's not the store that's at fault. It's the idiot.
Or wold Game Stop/Game be forced to, for example, grovel because they sold ME3, a game that some consider the Spawn of Cthulhu?
 

Infernal Lawyer

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*sigh* well, another day, another reason not to so much as peek at the Steam Store. I have a big enough backlog of stuff that I really, REALLY can't be arsed treading through the minefield of crap anymore. I'm already sick of having to do research just to figure out if a game is even physically possible to run (and no, I'm not talking about just my computer either) without being reminded that it could be a bunch of lies fixed by the developers anyway. I'm tired of being told it's my own fault for expecting a game, that I bought from what I thought was a reputable source, for actual money, to not set my computer on fire.

This kind of crap is bad for the industry. It turns people of Early Access, it turns people off Steam... Hell, I'd say it turns people off even fucking PAYING for games.

Yeah, you know what, I will out and say this shit legitimizes piracy. It almost makes more sense to just torrent a game you're considering rather than wasting your time looking up reviews you hope aren't orchestrated, just to find out if the game is in a playable state or even fucking WORKS.

The AAA market is guilty of a lot of things but they don't get away with selling five hours of throw together crap on the Unity Engine and empty promises.
 

Adeptus Aspartem

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Requia said:
have you actually played *any* early access games while they were in early access? Minecraft was in better shape than 99% if finished products by the time it hit beta. Kerbal is a bit of a mess but at least it's a unique mess, only one other orbital Sim out there and it doesn't let you make your own ship.
Is the passive-aggressive tone necessary? You think i never tried EA and then decided it's bad.
Yes, on a few occasions. Minecraft being one of them, but back then Minecraft was "meh" since there wasn't a whole lot to do. IIRC they haven't had any or just a few opponents.
And that was probably my best expirience with early access, so go figure. Still, i'm not a big minecraft player and the lack of agenda besides "go and dick around" makes it more of a toolbox than a game to me. I bet nowadays with all the player made content and servers it's completly diffrent, but that's another topic.

But see, my point was and still is: If i get full fledged games which deliver dozens of hours of gameplay for 10 bucks then i don't see point in spending +20 for an unfinished product as a golrified alpha-/betatester.
Same goes for the AAA industry. Why should i pay 70 bucks per game nowadays? Specially with how the AAA-industry behaves. Bugridden, rushed, over-monetized games with no respect towards and commuication with the fanbase.
That's probably also the reason why i usually buy 1~2 AAA-games per year, the rest is F2P or indy games.
 

Sir Shockwave

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Scrumpmonkey said:
This is getting towards falling foul of at least UK product description laws. The law is woefully behind the times (otherwise the worst 'free to play' games would probably have fallen foul of this) but there is supposed to be some basic expectation of accurate description and functionality when a product is purchased.
Unfortunately - much like eBay - Steam does not recognise international law when it comes to this sort of thing.

As a quick example, I once spoke to Steam about getting a refund on God Mode (a game which while more playable than Earth: Year 2066 was still bad) and got no dice with it. Even after citing the UK's "Distance Selling Regulations 2000", Steam refused to issue a refund, citing that the law did not cover Digital products.

And yet, this is despite...well...

 

vagabondwillsmile

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xaszatm said:
Imperator_DK said:
Well, who exactly is buying PC games through digital distribution without doing a quick ~20 second Google search about the title they're about to buy for $20?! A developer who delete negative feedback on one platform will obviously find it multiplying on every other one.

The consumer empowerment this information highway entail renders digital supply side hijinks virtually moot. I for one would rather have an open platform with a sea of shit, if this enables a rare few islands of unusual niche gems to spring forth. It's not like it'll take me long to find out about any PC title which catches my eye[footnote]If I'm on a digital console store, I'll have to boot up my PC though. And if I'm at a physical store, I'll have to whip out my smartphone. Oh, the stress![/footnote].

Shitty shovelware has always been put out there, but never has it been easier to find info on it. While the developer put out an unfinished game - the this being a condition of Early Access - game, no false advertising appear to have been involved.

Bottom line is, if you can spend $20 without spending 20 seconds researching what exactly you're spending it on, then your complaints are hard to take seriously.
KennardKId5 said:
Do people not realize that nobody is playing this game? The issue is completely moot. Everybody realizes that this game is a shitstain, and they have enough common sense to not throw money at it. When the game's store page has a grammatical error, people know to stay away. The steam charts report a maximum of three simultaneous players.

And it's easier than ever to figure out if a game is good or not. GOOGLE IT. If the game has any amount of players, somebody will have uploaded gameplay or a review to a site. There's no reason to rely wholly on the Steam forums for info- though I do agree that developers shouldn't have God-Mod powers.

And if nobody has ever made a single review or made a post on a forum about it, DON'T PLAY IT. If nobody in the entire world has played it, why should you be the guinea pig? There are surely better games out there that are cheaper and more fun.

I'm trying to get this point across to Mr. Sterling, Mr. Bain, and everybody else who agrees with them; it's not Steam's fault that you can't think for yourself. Word of mouth still works. By God, check at least one review before you spend your money. Even if Steam implements QC, bad and broken games will still exist. We all need to learn how to make intelligent purchasing decisions.
I've been spending the last hour trying to focus my anger at these two posts into coherent thoughts. I've been failing because I can't seem to base my arguments around a thesis so this will be long and slightly incoherent. I realize that this puts my respect at a dubious position, but from reading your posts, I'm don't think it would have mattered any way.

Quite simply, you are wrong on everything. Why are you placing all the blame upon the consumer? It is their fault that such a poor game made it on Steam? Oh, so the next time contaminated meat poisons people, be sure to blame the people who bought the meat. After, why didn't they know about the quality of their steak? It is their fault they are incredibly sick. Or better yet: the next time someone causes a mass shooting, blame to victims! After all, they MUST have known how crazy the killer was. Why didn't they stop him/her?

Now, is the above an unnecessary equivalence? Maybe, but hopefully the point I'm trying to make is getting through your skulls: the consumer isn't wrong here. While it certainly may be true that only a few has bought this game, why would the blame be on the consumer if they did buy this? Because they didn't research beyond the Steam Store page, something that you say will take only 20 seconds? Well why should they? Why should people be required to jump through hoops in order to find out if a game is functionally a game? And yeah, it might take you and I a few seconds to see whether or not a game is a scam, but we aren't the average consumer.

The average person is simply going to trust the Steam Store page because that should be good enough. As it should be! The average consumer should not have to know there are sites you need to trust. They should not have to wade through multiple reviews, forums, and discussions just to know if a game is working like a game! Mainly because such crap games SHOULD NOT EVEN BE SOLD IN THE FIRST PLACE! And no, I'm not talking about games I don't like. I'm talking about games that aren't even functional. But no, NO! The "free market" (which, by the way, you should really look towards the history books if you want to see how a truly free market acts) must be kept for the betterment of everyone!

OT: It is stuff like this that shows that Steam does need quality control. If nothing else, make sure that broken games like these gets removed from Steam so it doesn't eat up front page space and wastes the consumer's time.
The key problem I see is that digital content creators, specifically of games, are realising that their products are less and less subject to the expectations of intended use than previously thought. When we shop for cars, we expect it to have wheels. When we shop for a juicer, we expect it to have blades. When we shop for phones, we expect to be able to call people. You get the idea. With material products like this, we can objectively determine their use, and recognize missing elements as rendering the product useless. Over time however, digital content creators have systematically whithered away at the application of this notion to their products, devaluing the objective elements. Years of pre-ordering, alpha and beta testing, patches, fixes, increasingly buggy, incomplete, and shoddy AAA or mainstream releases, anti-consumer practices - it's all culminating to this now very savvy strategy of putting in as little effort as possible yet reaping maximum reward.

Consumers are either being beaten into submission or - far worse - recognizing and defending such practices as the marketplace at work. Buyer beware (like the people to whom you are replying). These practices persist and increase because the usefullness of digital content - especially for amusement - is subjective rather than objective. Unlike a car without wheels, a buggy-ass game will have varying degrees of usefullnes depending on the desires and tolerances of players.

Subjective usefulness is what's being exploited. But there is a key distinction to make. Usefullness is not the same thing as enjoyability, amusement, etc. There are crappy games everywhere, in both physical and digital storefronts. But for the most part, they provide the function laid out in the product description. Barbie games are crap but they function (the Plymouth Neon was crap, but drivable). With things like Green Light and Early Access though, finished product price is asked in exchange for incomplete product functionality. 2066 isn't even worth $10 complete, yet it's asking twice that at alpha/beta. Where previously, a market would never consider such a travesty, the Steam store front is now complicit in the exploitation. How there are even people that can't see the problem is beyond me.

There was a time when "Buyer Beware" was a barbaic notion and was heavily targeted in consumer advocacy, legislation and case law. But the law has a really difficult time keeping pace with technology. And some conumers evidently can't wait to get clubbed and dragged around by the hair. There are plenty of devolopers out there that would love to welcome you to the dark ages.
 

Hutzpah Chicken

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Keava said:
Hutzpah Chicken said:
I'll take note that when I can release my first game to first let Jim tell me how shit it is BEFORE I put it on Steam. Second, to skip that whole Early Access crap. Third, not to put it on the market until it is fully functional. Finally, sell it at $5 because I know most people (myself included) wait until a game is $5 or less on Steam.
You know, with that last point actually, it's the reason why some developers bloat the price in first place? They know, that with how frequent the Steam Sales are, they will sell it for 5$ eventually, but it doesn't hurt them to try and sell few units for 15$. If they started at 5$ then during sale, which also gives a game additional exposure they'd have to sell it for just 1.99$ . It's all just part of the plan.
Side projects and hobbies to me don't need to make lots of money. Besides, most people can scoop up a $1 game for free after they sell some of their strange TF2 weapons or Purple level skins in CS:GO.
 

Sir Shockwave

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Scrumpmonkey said:
UK and EU law is not not explicit about digital products because it essentially pre-dates them but Steam and other services are getting DANGEROUSLY close to someone putting a test case through the EU or UK courts that would create a legal precedent that would essentially update the law. I don't think any higher EU or UK court would rule against the 7 day refund of digital goods, especially when they have been made identical to physical good (see; boxed games requiring steam-works with a steam download option)

Valve's refund policies (and to an extent the microtansaction model too) are operating on borrowed time. Once legislation catches up things could get a whole lot more difficult for an non curated store. The reason physical stores curate is to PREVENT refunds and create some kind of baseline quality. They have to do it.
I agree, I just wanted to point out that Steam most likely just does not give a shit about international laws.

But they do need some sort of Refund policy. It says a lot when freakin' ORIGIN of all things has something like this in place.

Scrumpmonkey said:
Actually Ebay has been much better lately. On my ebay account I'm technically a business seller now and as such i HAVE to accept refunds. Ebay in general has been pressured to having to respect UK consumer law much more than something like Steam has. I suppose for Ebay though it is a case of survival, if their reputation tanks again they could easily lose a lot of ground.
Unfortunately, my story didn't have a happy ending. I sent an item for return - the problem was, the seller lived at a PO Box address. Ebay's policy requires returned items to be sent via something with a Tracking Number. Unfortunately, Royal Mail could not comply with this because the seller lived at a PO Box address - it was either untracked shipping or nothing would happen. After some schizophrenic back and forthing from eBay (and the fact that I never received the refund), who toggled between "yes we can help you, it's clear this guy took your money and ran" and "no we can't do anything because you didn't send it as Tracked", the best I could do was file with Royal Mail and claim the item was lost.

Royal Mail could only part refund it.
 

DrOswald

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canadamus_prime said:
DrOswald said:
canadamus_prime said:
DrOswald said:
canadamus_prime said:
DrOswald said:
canadamus_prime said:
GonzoGamer said:
canadamus_prime said:
Holy shit. That's just sad. Steam really needs to get it's act together or it's not going survive. If stuff like this continues Steam is going to earn itself the reputation of the place where all the shit is and people are going to look elsewhere. ...at least I hope so.
The thing is, I think most every Steam user knows better than to buy crap like this.
I'm kind of seeing this differently I guess; the attachment of so much shovelware to me says that the PC market is becoming more popular. I've seen (finished) games that are even more broken than this piece of crap on the ps2. QC isn't just something that needs to be addressed in Steam, something needs to be done across the industry.
Well yeah I suppose that's true, but I don't know of anywhere else in the industry where it's as bad as this.
Almost all of Steam's QC problems can be traced back to greenlight. Earth 2066 was a greenlight game, War Z was a greenlight game, etc. And steam is in the process of getting rid of greenlight. But they need something to replace it with before they can do that.

Steam's greatest sin was their idealistic approach to game approval - let the gaming community decide what gets on our market. It turns out we are really, really bad at it.
Well it would've been helpful if Steam would've screened what was actually allowed on to Greenlight in the first place. So hack developers wouldn't be able to Greenlight hot air and promises. Maybe requiring devs to have at least a playable demo before being allowed on Greenlight would've improved things. ...maybe.
Maybe, but a playable demo is a lot harder than you think. Speaking as a professional programmer who makes games in his spare time, making a playable demo that isn't complete shit is really, really hard. It will take months of work, hundreds of man hours of programming and game design, and a huge amount of initial capital investment (around $1000) to do things like buy sound effects, hire artists for assets, buy necessary software and equipment, etc. And that is for a very small and simple game. Asking people to put that amount of investment into a game before they even know if they are going to be allowed to sell it is a big problem. Steam greenlight was made to give the little guy a chance. Requiring a demo instantly destroys that goal.
Well maybe submit the finished product then. They need to require more than a lick and promise that's for sure.
Require them the complete the entire game before they know if they are even going to have a chance to sell it? Yeah, that surely makes it work for the little guy.

Jehk said a good solid design doc should be required with each. I would agree with that one.
Well as I said, something more than a lick and a promise should be required.
And I am just pointing out that it is a difficult and complex issue with no easy solution. If you make the requirements too stringent you shut out potentially great games, if you make the requirements lax you open up the system for abuse. And there may not be a happy middle ground here. The middle ground might just make it easy enough to abuse but too hard to actually use for the weekend indie developer. I mean, if Earth: Year 2066 got accepted though greenlight then I don't think any amount of requirements are going to fix the problem. This is a game that claims it is going to have great writing only 4 sentences after telling us "You need to find food and armors to make your health well." If that isn't a red flag I don't know what is.
 

sageoftruth

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Just curious. How can one tell when an early access game will never amount to anything good in the long run?
 

Thanatos2k

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NortherWolf said:
Thanatos2k said:
NortherWolf said:
So, let me get this straight. One asshole releases a shitty product. The fault is his, but the real villain here, the mastermind of madness, the dictator of darkness...Is VALVE! They(or , Steam as they've apparently renamed themselves) are the true blight upon PC gaming! They, as the owners of a gaming store should enforce draconian rules so as not to sully the genepool of the master race!

Why, of course this is so, just the other day I tossed excrement at a Game Shop employee for daring to carry a bad game. It is my duty as a Member of the PC Master Gaming Race after all. We cannot allow free choice...

Shame about you Jim, thought you had some good stuff for a while, but your "STEAM NEEDS TO ANSWER!" stuff is a bit tiresome. Steam is a damn store, the only thing Valve need to answer is refunds and keeping obvious scams gone. But people here seem to want for steam to crash so they can roll around in their own smug filth and go "Told you so! Filthy pleb!"
If crime is high in a city, in order to lower crime do you blame the criminals or the police?

Valve is the police here, if you didn't get the analogy.
I did. It's probably the most inept one I've ever heard, but I did.
Because, ding ding ding ding! They're not the cops(too little random beatings for that) and it's not a city. It's a game shop. Filled with games. Some of which are shit.
I've bought shitty games in my days, and I refunded them or just tossed them in a box somewhere. Hell, I keep some shitty DnD Fighting game for the PSX around so I can remember that sometimes, it pays off not to buy everything you think could be awesome.
So, again: The only thing I think Steam should do is what a poster below me said; pick out the obvious lies and deal with them. But if Joe Idiot fucks up in a buy, it's not the store that's at fault. It's the idiot.
Or wold Game Stop/Game be forced to, for example, grovel because they sold ME3, a game that some consider the Spawn of Cthulhu?
It's as much the store's fault for carrying poor products than it is the people who buy them from the store. Actually it's probably more the fault of the store because the products will try to deceive the customers into thinking they're good, through fraudulent trailers and promotional materials, fake reviews and ratings, and deletion of all criticism.

Games are a black box - you never really know if they suck or not until you play them. Well maybe not a completely black box, if you put your eye up to it maybe you can see inside sometimes without opening it, or ask someone nearby whether the contents of the box are crap or not, but once you open the box there's no refunds, so the people selling the box are to blame for knowingly selling it to you knowing it contained crap.