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Steam alternatives?

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Steam alternatives?

Post by AWS260 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:14 pm

Now that Steam has officially opened the floodgates to offensive and hateful content, I'd like to explore alternative platforms for my future game purchases. I've been exclusively a Steam user for years (with the exception of EA's Origin for the Sims and Battlefield).

Are any of the other digital game portals essentially equivalent to Steam, in terms of carrying virtually all major releases and providing a single app for purchasing, downloading and launching games? I don't care about virtual hats or virtual trading cards, and I could take or leave the community features.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by $iljanus » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:40 pm

GOG may be a good fit for you. Look into their GOG Galaxy app.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Archinerd » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:47 pm

I have a feeling GOG is going to be getting a bigger chunk of the market after this news.
There's still going to be a large number of people who are indifferent, don't care or unaware of what just happened too.
At least until they see Goat Fucking Simulator in their discovery queue.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Max Peck » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:23 pm

You can also purchase Ubisoft titles directly through Uplay.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Paingod » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:29 pm

AWS260 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:14 pm
Now that Steam has officially opened the floodgates to offensive and hateful content...
I honestly don't see it that way, and have never thought Steam needed to filter what games I saw there.

The catch is my 9 year old with his own Steam account. I don't know if there are Steam Parental Controls, but we've never felt the need to find them since he can't buy anything himself and we gift all his games to him after checking them over.

GOG is another option, but they'll run into the same wall eventually and will have to decide to censor or not by policy, if they haven't already.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by AWS260 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:48 pm

Paingod wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:29 pm
AWS260 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:14 pm
Now that Steam has officially opened the floodgates to offensive and hateful content...
I honestly don't see it that way, and have never thought Steam needed to filter what games I saw there.
Oh, I don't care what I see. But I do care if Valve is profiting off of sales of Nazi Simulator 2019. If they're willing to make money from content like that -- and their announcement specifically mentions racism as something that they don't want to police -- then I don't want them making money from me.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by LordMortis » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:49 pm

I've been debating switching my primary buying habits from Steam to GOG but I'm lazy and I like my single source for playing. Steam looked like they were going to win early on so they became my primary but....

They no longer take my credit card directly and won't work with me on it. I have to 3rd party purchase though paypal.
Most of my games now want to do synching with take up crazy resources and often require me to internet connected to even start a game.
Steam allows some vendor to sell limited installation rights
And then I had several months of problems with my Internet dying because Steam was spazzing out my network connection. I eventually had to change the way my NIC works and turn off the "allow other network users to control or disable shared Internet connection"


Who knows maybe this will be the catalyst for change. I'm very lazy and Steam now have the rights to probably 100 games or more of mine. Definitely at least 50.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Carpet_pissr » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:02 pm

So what you’re really asking is if there are Steam-like alternatives that filter content based on your preferences. Probably narrows the field a bit.

I do wonder about the issue Kasey mentioned earlier: If an indie dev with a ‘clean’ record made “School Shooter ‘18: Toddlers Must Die!” it sounds like Valve would host it.

I also bet once this gets out that someone, again with a clean Steam dev record, will make something horrific to test the limits of their policy.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Lorini » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:34 pm

The problem with Gog is for later titles, they often don't get patches very quickly so your game will be behind. They also don't have an early access program for those of us who like to try games early.

Yeah and Steam's problems are related to size and automation, there's nothing saying the alternatives won't eventually have the same issues.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Rumpy » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:48 pm

Yeah, GOG is pretty good. I think they are a healthy alternative. Good balance of new and old games.
Lorini wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:34 pm
They also don't have an early access program for those of us who like to try games early.
They do though. They have plenty of early-access games on GOG. It just might not be as advertised, but they are there. Usually labeled as 'in-development." If you go to the website or galaxy client, under store> Browse all games > Features> In Development and it shows you all games available that are in development.

https://www.gog.com/games?feature=in_de ... ity&page=1
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:20 pm

I honestly don't think Valve had a winning position they could take on this one. It's their own mess; they made it when the opened the Steam store to everyone, but I wouldn't want to be the one to try and write the policies about what's acceptable and what isn't.

I agree about Nazi Simulator 2019, but there are legitimate games that let you simulate being a Nazi (many strategy games do.) We want them policing racism, but there are legitimate games with racism, too (play some Mafia 3.) We wanted a world where games were taken seriously as an art form and could explore real issues. We've got games about surviving rape. We've got games about children dying of cancer. That's awesome. That's what we wanted. Ban all hate speech? Then can we have a game that really explores racism? What if someone developed a game about school shootings that explored the issue the way That Dragon, Cancer explored cancer and death? The only answer would be to judge the games on a per-game basis, but that would mean playing the game through, or making every game go through an ESRB-type process to look for 'offensive content' with a 'know it when we see it' dynamic. And that's assuming that the person reviewing the cake decorating sim wasn't homophobic, or the person reviewing the self defense game wasn't intensely anti-gun. With 7,000+ games per year, plus a 20,000+ library already in place, I'm not sure that's possible, either.

Honestly, I don't think Valve was right in their decision, but I'm not sure what the right decision was, either.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Sepiche » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:45 pm

On the upside... no more having to download patches to remove censorship in certain games. :oops:

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by AWS260 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:12 pm

Thanks for the advice. I've installed GOG Galaxy, and was reminded that I already have a GOG account, with Freespace 2 and Master of Magic.

I copied over my wishlist as best I could. There are a fair number of games on Steam that don't appear on GOG. Looks like it's a mix of big-publisher titles like Rise of the Tomb Raider -- I assume they don't like GOG's DRM-free policy -- and small indies (e.g., Burly Men at Sea, Engare).

I also sent an email to Valve expressing my opinion on their new policy.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Smoove_B » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:32 pm

Have you used GOG Connect yet? It will automatically try to take any of your STEAM games available (it seems to cycle) and sync them to your GOG account, giving you a DRM-free copy.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Skinypupy » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:45 pm

Max Peck wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:23 pm
You can also purchase Ubisoft titles directly through Uplay.
Purchase? Yes. Actually play? Not so fast...

I've had so many issues with Uplay that I absolutely, 100% refuse to buy a game associated with it.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Victoria Raverna » Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:26 pm

I'm surprised that people in US are going to stop buying from Steam because Steam now doesn't support censorship.

I thought people want free speech?

Isn't it a good thing that Steam no longer force developer to censor their games?

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Paingod » Fri Jun 08, 2018 7:36 am

Smoove_B wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:32 pm
Have you used GOG Connect yet? It will automatically try to take any of your STEAM games available (it seems to cycle) and sync them to your GOG account, giving you a DRM-free copy.
Don't forget to do this on the regular. The games Steam is willing to share with GOG seems to fluctuate. I've done this several times, and this last time it added another 4 titles.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by coopasonic » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:03 am

Victoria Raverna wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:26 pm
I'm surprised that people in US are going to stop buying from Steam because Steam now doesn't support censorship.

I thought people want free speech?

Isn't it a good thing that Steam no longer force developer to censor their games?
Some people in the US.

It seems the reason steam is doing this is because they can't make everyone happy so they are just throwing their hands up in the air. No matter what steam does about content, someone is going to complain. I am sure game in even worse taste than we already have are going to pop up. I don't know what will happen with them. It will be interesting to see.

For my part, there is no platform that compares to steam in terms of game availability. I am not going to walk away from my ridiculous library over this. Also, GreenMan doesn't generally sell GOG keys. :P
Skinypupy wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:45 pm
Max Peck wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:23 pm
You can also purchase Ubisoft titles directly through Uplay.
Purchase? Yes. Actually play? Not so fast...

I've had so many issues with Uplay that I absolutely, 100% refuse to buy a game associated with it.
Anecdotal, but I have 20-ish games on Uplay and I may have had a problem a couple times in the years I have been using it and never for very long.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Smoove_B » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:11 am

coopasonic wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:03 am
I am sure game in even worse taste than we already have are going to pop up. I don't know what will happen with them. It will be interesting to see.
FWIW, at some point yesterday they did remove "AIDS Simulator" a FPS game that was about killing Africans. I don't know what the exact answer is here, but it probably involves actual humans monitoring content and taking a hard-line on what the overwhelming majority would consider objectionable. I don't think giving people tools to hide objectionable content is the answer; racist propaganda games shouldn't be in a "hidden corner" of STEAM.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Paingod » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:19 am

The more I think on it, the more it seems that Steam badly wants to be like Google and claim your search results aren't their problem. The issue is that they're not just a search platform, but a direct content provider and do have some degree of liability in what happens. Even if they have to add a few people to act as "rationality buffers" they should be doing it.

If you walked into a GameStop and saw a rack littered with Porn magazines, Nazi propaganda, and live grenades - you'd be right to ask the store manager what the f&#$ was wrong with them. If they just shrugged, you'd be more right to never shop there again.

Steam isn't able to say "Hey, we're not supporting this - we're just not restricting it" - because they're literally unpacking the boxes and stocking the shelves with it.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by AWS260 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:35 am

Paingod wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:19 am
Steam isn't able to say "Hey, we're not supporting this - we're just not restricting it" - because they're literally unpacking the boxes and stocking the shelves with it.
And making money off of it.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:02 am

Smoove_B wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:11 am
I don't know what the exact answer is here, but it probably involves actual humans monitoring content and taking a hard-line on what the overwhelming majority would consider objectionable.
It could be that their 'troll' clause will be treated the way ours used to be. Something that is done with the clear intent of disturbing and offending people purely for the reaction.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Smoove_B » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:01 pm

According to Blues, these games have all been removed since the announcement:

Blackscreen Simulator
Suicide Simulator
AIDS Simulator
Glitch Simulator 2018
ISIS Simulator
Asset Flip Simulator
Triggering Simulator
Hadn't heard of any of them, but I can appreciate why Valve making money off things like this doesn't look good. Where I guess they're going to run into pushback is when you have legitimate games that are pushing boundaries or exploring topics that some might find objectionable.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by AWS260 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:27 pm

Human nature being what it is, it won't be long before some submits a game that is genuinely meant to appeal to racist fantasies -- not trolling, but tapping into a market that unfortunately exists. Valve's statement is pretty clear that they would allow, and thus profit from, this type of content.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:02 pm

Perhaps. They've given themselves a lot of wiggle room in their statement. We'll see how they actually implement it going forward. I won't damn them for something until they've actually done it.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:50 pm

Smoove_B wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:01 pm
According to Blues, these games have all been removed since the announcement:


Asset Flip Simulator
Hadn't heard of any of them, but I can appreciate why Valve making money off things like this doesn't look good. Where I guess they're going to run into pushback is when you have legitimate games that are pushing boundaries or exploring topics that some might find objectionable.
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For the low cost of $4.99, you too can wander around a barren landscape doing nothing. That’s the premise of Asset Flip Simulator, a new game released to Steam on May 4. Boot up the game and it drops you into a desert landscape. You’ve got a health bar but no weapons. Wander around. That’s it. That’s the whole game.

Want to add a little spice to the scene? For $9.99, you can add assets to Asset Flip Simulator and turn the game into a crappy first person shooter that looks like it’d be at home on the first PlayStation. Other DLC includes donations to the developer ranging from $1 to $5.

Asset Flip Simulator highlights a huge problem with Steam. Its quality control sucks and it's full of shovelware and asset flips, meaning games that buy ready made 3D models and other assets from game development marketplaces like Unreal or Unity.
...
Thanks to stores Unity and Game Guru, which are loaded with stock assets that allow developers to build their game without original art assets, it’s easier than ever to make a video game. This is generally a great thing because it allows more people to make more games, but often people upload cobbled together, barely-functioning games.

Steam has attempted to curb this problem. It set the cost of uploading a game to its store at $100—a fee developers can recoup after a game makes $1,000. Steam has also gone through and delisted thousands of garbage games. But the problem persists.

Asset Flip Simulator was “developed” by BunchOD00dz and published by ArcaneRaise. It seems pretty clear that they're trying to make a point. “From the esteemed asset flippers and shovelware pumpers that brought you gems such as ISIS & Suicide Simulator, comes another zero effort cash grab aimed at the fat wallets of edgelords and memesters,” the description of Asset Flip Simulator reads. “Do you enjoy wasting your time and money on the Internet? Look no further!”

The game’s discussion board is mostly empty, but one user did have a question. “Serious question. Why do any of this?” Steam user Kaluth asked.

“Minimum effort, maximum money. EZ question, next please,” BunchOD00dz replied.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Lorini » Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:08 pm

Google curates search results now and have been doing so for a few years, so they are not a good example.

This change doesn't bother me much because there's so much real world racism out there that truly matters that if some idiot wants to make a game that is racist, what's new.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Lordnine » Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:55 pm

Blackhawk wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:20 pm
I honestly don't think Valve had a winning position they could take on this one. It's their own mess; they made it when the opened the Steam store to everyone, but I wouldn't want to be the one to try and write the policies about what's acceptable and what isn't.
It doesn't need to be a complex policy to explicitly police content. Most of these games resort to controversy because it's the only way to get people to notice their zero effort titles. Valve is being lazy and cheap. Hiring 10 minimum wage employees and having them each "play" 10 submissions a day would remove 90% of the garbage (offensive and otherwise) on Steam. Here's a simple check list. Fail if any of them are true.

1. Does the game have a working .exe file? (Amazingly, Valve doesn't event check for this.)
2. Does the game consist entirely of unmodified assets? (You can find numerous identical "games" on Steam because they are just uploaded asset packs intended to teach designers how to make games.)
3. Do you start "earning" achievements immediately when you start the game? (most of these games sell on the back of achievement spam, so if you simply block this practice they would largely go away.)

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:28 pm

Lordnine wrote:
Fri Jun 08, 2018 2:55 pm
Blackhawk wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:20 pm
I honestly don't think Valve had a winning position they could take on this one. It's their own mess; they made it when the opened the Steam store to everyone, but I wouldn't want to be the one to try and write the policies about what's acceptable and what isn't.
It doesn't need to be a complex policy to explicitly police content. Most of these games resort to controversy because it's the only way to get people to notice their zero effort titles. Valve is being lazy and cheap. Hiring 10 minimum wage employees and having them each "play" 10 submissions a day would remove 90% of the garbage (offensive and otherwise) on Steam. Here's a simple check list. Fail if any of them are true.

1. Does the game have a working .exe file? (Amazingly, Valve doesn't event check for this.)
2. Does the game consist entirely of unmodified assets? (You can find numerous identical "games" on Steam because they are just uploaded asset packs intended to teach designers how to make games.)
3. Do you start "earning" achievements immediately when you start the game? (most of these games sell on the back of achievement spam, so if you simply block this practice they would largely go away.)
I was talking about the issue that started this thread - blatantly offensive content. These solutions are for a different problem (quality vs. shovelware.)
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Lordnine » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:00 pm

My point was that most of the offensive content really only came about because Valve does nothing to prevent shovelware as you put it. No one is spending thousands of dollars to develop school shooting simulators. These games are “designed” by buying an asset pack and then slapping an offensive title on them to stir up controversy.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:27 pm

Ah, that's a fair point. Prevent throwaway games, eliminate the affordable outlet for the garbage content.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Grifman » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:41 am

Victoria Raverna wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 11:26 pm
I'm surprised that people in US are going to stop buying from Steam because Steam now doesn't support censorship.

I thought people want free speech?

Isn't it a good thing that Steam no longer force developer to censor their games?
I want freedom of speech. I want Nazi’s and UNICF to both be able to say what they want. But that doesn’t mean one wants to support a platform that might enable Nazi speech. Understand?
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:58 am

There is also a vast difference between a store choosing what ideas to support and government censorship. Most people don't complain when Wal-Mart doesn't carry Nazi flags and KKK hoods.

I don't want these games banned by law, but that doesn't mean I'd be unhappy if Valve (a private company) refused to do business with these creators and help to spread their ideas.
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Fitzy » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:51 pm

I don't have a solution, but I am sympathetic to Valve's choice. I write and sell "adult" stories and have to watch carefully what I write. Certain subjects are banned, but the exact line is unknown on most platforms. Even subjects that are supposedly outright banned are not, spend 5 minutes on Amazon and you'll find numerous examples in the erotica section of "banned" subjects.

So why not setup specific guidelines for what kind of games can be allowed? Well, they could, but the more specific Valve gets, the easier it is to go around. Say "no nazis", well my characters aren't nazis, they are ultra nationalists. No KKK, it's not the KKK, just the JJJ running around in ghost outfits. It becomes wack-a-mole.

So Valve could do what they were doing, go vague. This allows them to ban whatever they want. But sometimes they ban a game "about porn" that isn't actually porn. Which of course brings in bad press. Which may or may not result in people leaving. Or people see one game about nazis banned, but nazi treasure hunt adventure gets through.

Vague is too arbitrary, specific is too easy to get around.

And it's worst than that, everyone is going to have a different idea of where the line should be.

How about GTA, which is by many standards racist in its depictions of minorities or is it making a statement by parodying racism?

Should Kingdom Come Deliverance be banned due to being a racist and sexist game or does it get a pass due to false "historical accuracy"?

Sexism, adult games, inaccurate depictions of minority cultures, violence are all going to have different standards from different people.

They can open it up to anyone and provide tools for people to experience Steam as they want, which still doesn't solve the problem of people not wanting to support a company that profits from games that go beyond their lines in the sand.

Steam could also choose to go with publishers only, ending Steam as a platform for independent game developers. This would only bring in the controversies of the major studios, of which there are plenty.

I don't see a simple answer. I do have a lot of sympathy for Valve/Steam or any other online store trying to find the right balance.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by gbasden » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:41 pm

Skinypupy wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:45 pm
Max Peck wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:23 pm
You can also purchase Ubisoft titles directly through Uplay.
Purchase? Yes. Actually play? Not so fast...

I've had so many issues with Uplay that I absolutely, 100% refuse to buy a game associated with it.
I've had absolutely no problems. I've recently been playing Assassins Creed solo and Ghost Recon with friends and it's been rock solid.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Rhad » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:24 am

Just a couple of weeks ago steam was going to ban a bunch of games just because of nudity or 'adult' content. I would much rather they don't ban things because some group finds them objectionable. They have already shown they cant be trusted to make such choices in a rational manner.

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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by gbasden » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:12 am

Rhad wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:24 am
Just a couple of weeks ago steam was going to ban a bunch of games just because of nudity or 'adult' content. I would much rather they don't ban things because some group finds them objectionable. They have already shown they cant be trusted to make such choices in a rational manner.
I tend to agree. OTOH, my biggest beef with Steam is that I can't find decent games unless I already know about them because of the shovel loads of crapware on the service. I'm not sure how I can argue against censorship but for quality standards, but there you go. :)

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Fitzy
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Fitzy » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:39 am

gbasden wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:12 am
Rhad wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:24 am
Just a couple of weeks ago steam was going to ban a bunch of games just because of nudity or 'adult' content. I would much rather they don't ban things because some group finds them objectionable. They have already shown they cant be trusted to make such choices in a rational manner.
I tend to agree. OTOH, my biggest beef with Steam is that I can't find decent games unless I already know about them because of the shovel loads of crapware on the service. I'm not sure how I can argue against censorship but for quality standards, but there you go. :)
Yeah, I don't see how it's possible for people to sift through all of the games randomly or through searches. It's been years since I looked for a new game on Steam without knowing the title. I use forums, game review sites, a couple curators on Steam, and other word of mouth. But never go to Steam and type in RPG or something anymore. It just won't work.

I do like their curator thing and I've found a few that mostly match my play style.

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Lorini
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Lorini » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:45 am

I"m going to become a Steam curator soon, I'll post when I do.
Steer into the drift.

Madmarcus
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Re: Steam alternatives?

Post by Madmarcus » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:35 pm

Fitzy wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:39 am

Yeah, I don't see how it's possible for people to sift through all of the games randomly or through searches. It's been years since I looked for a new game on Steam without knowing the title. I use forums, game review sites, a couple curators on Steam, and other word of mouth. But never go to Steam and type in RPG or something anymore. It just won't work.
Don't take this as a personal attack but I think it is weird to expect to be able to find an interesting new game via random searching. As with books, movies, and music I feel that the default has always been that I need recommendations first.

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