24 votes

Razer closes its game store after 10 months

32 comments

  1. [3]
    calcifer Link
    Looks like the folks at Razer didn't read So you want to compete with Steam.

    Looks like the folks at Razer didn't read So you want to compete with Steam.

    17 votes
    1. [2]
      heydabop Link Parent
      Sounds like Epic might have read it though? I think they've been able to snag 1 or 2 exclusive deals with non-indie companies to publish on their store instead of Steam (albeit I think it's just...

      and most importantly, all the developers, and therefore all the games, are on Steam.

      Sounds like Epic might have read it though? I think they've been able to snag 1 or 2 exclusive deals with non-indie companies to publish on their store instead of Steam (albeit I think it's just for a year or something). That and they're not a startup and probably have money to throw into their store for a while to wait on momentum. They also at least have a decent number of people interacting with their store daily just from Fortnite launches.

      Granted maybe those exclusive deals will result in minimal sales and there won't be any more (which tbh seems likely), but it'll be interesting to watch over the next few months.

      EDIT: Just got to the part about revenue changes share not being enough...

      3 votes
      1. calcifer Link Parent
        Epic has definitely figured it out as they do have multiple super powers: For the developers, an unmatched revenue share from a major publisher and for the gamers, games that they want and can't...

        Epic has definitely figured it out as they do have multiple super powers: For the developers, an unmatched revenue share from a major publisher and for the gamers, games that they want and can't get anywhere else.

        I know people on reddit (and some here) rage about how store exclusives are this and that and so on but the simple fact is, most people don't care. They just want to play the games they want to play. That's why I think Epic will be very successful.

        2 votes
  2. [14]
    nothis Link
    I hear the word "competition" thrown around but it won't be competition until license purchases are no longer tied to one company's digital distribution account. I'd spend a month using Epic's...

    I hear the word "competition" thrown around but it won't be competition until license purchases are no longer tied to one company's digital distribution account. I'd spend a month using Epic's launcher or Origin or Ubisoft's or GoG (or, or, or...) and see if it's any better or just good enough to comfortably move away from Steam as the quasi-monopoly. But they have all my games! They literally hold hundreds of games, thousands of Euros worth of value hostage. If I buy a game on some cute, new, digital-only store, I'll lose it, if they ever close (and they do), I'll have to increase the amount of small, constantly updating background-apps in my task bar from 5 to 6 (and it would be 20+, if I tried every single of these stores). If I buy any other software, it would be unthinkable that, on top of whatever DRM the software itself runs, I can only install it while running the app of the online store, logging in, and losing everything if they close down. It's inherently anti-competitive and all we have are multiple companies competing for that monopoly, not for better choices. Since I learned about United States vs. Paramount, I can't shake how similar the issues seem (this was a lawsuit that broke down movie studio monopolies in the 40s, disallowing them to own both production and theater chains). But good luck waiting for an antitrust case in the year 2019.

    So yea, it's a little hard for me to mourn the death of another attempt at competing with Steam. The problem isn't a lack of locked-in digital distribution platforms, the problem is that digital distribution platforms are so locked-in.

    IMO the only thing that makes sense for this business model in the long run, is flat rate access to a complete library. It's no coincidence that music (Spotify) and video (Netflix) are moving in that direction.

    9 votes
    1. [9]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      Right now, I'm wondering how would one go about accomplishing tying games to a person/entity, rather than their shop account. One thing that springs to mind is using some sort of a basic, unified...

      Right now, I'm wondering how would one go about accomplishing tying games to a person/entity, rather than their shop account.

      One thing that springs to mind is using some sort of a basic, unified Internet identity to tie everything you have on the Internet up into a single account. It's a neat idea, with a lot of advantages, but also a lot of potential drawbacks, including those of privacy and security. It's currently being experimented with by Tim Berners-Lee and his team with something called Solid (which I still have no clue about the nature of, but it's apparently been gaining traction). Lennart Ziburski's design project Cloudfall argues for a similar thing, but limited in scope to mobile devices.

      And... how else? Whether centralized or decentralized, a unified platform for Internet activities seems to be a requirement in order to ensure a more personal, private management of one's (often inevitable) interactions with the Internet. Attaching game purchases to that seems like no stretch at all, given that many of Steam users don't just hang out on the service for one game.

      Attaching it to credit cards – or, worse, one's bank account directly – seems like a recipe for disaster, considering how much information you're giving to banks while relying on both their discretion and their infallable security, neither of which is currently a guarantee.

      Attaching it to one's government identity (passport, SSN, what have you)? Same issues, plus a need to connect payment methods to that.

      4 votes
      1. [8]
        nothis Link Parent
        I mean, the licenses wouldn't have to be tied to anyone. Just register it with the publisher and make them one-use-at-a-time. What needs to be avoided is one dude buying a license and then just...

        I mean, the licenses wouldn't have to be tied to anyone. Just register it with the publisher and make them one-use-at-a-time. What needs to be avoided is one dude buying a license and then just selling it or giving it away for free to others, right? Just make it so, that it's tied to one account at a time (any use disables the other ones) and we're fine.

        1. [7]
          ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          It sounds like you're contradicting yourself: saying that tying it to a single account is required to avoid misuse, right after saying that tying it to any account isn't necessary. Perhaps I'm not...

          It sounds like you're contradicting yourself: saying that tying it to a single account is required to avoid misuse, right after saying that tying it to any account isn't necessary. Perhaps I'm not seeing something. Could you elaborate on that?

          1. [6]
            nothis Link Parent
            Hmm, when did I say that accounts aren't necessary? They're probably necessary to manage licenses. But licenses should be easily transferrable. Also they don't have to be tied to a person. What...

            Hmm, when did I say that accounts aren't necessary? They're probably necessary to manage licenses. But licenses should be easily transferrable. Also they don't have to be tied to a person. What matters is how many people can use the software, you could limit that by only letting it run on one account at the same time but still making it transferable later. Basically, all I'm asking is to make licenses transferable. So, less between digital distribution platform/store and the user and more an abstract license issued by the developer/publisher to play/download a game that can be redeemed on any platform you want.

            3 votes
            1. [5]
              ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
              I see now. This still leaves me wondering: what kind of an account? How could one attach their game library to themselves with, if necessary, not exposing their identity?

              I see now.

              This still leaves me wondering: what kind of an account? How could one attach their game library to themselves with, if necessary, not exposing their identity?

              1. [4]
                nothis Link Parent
                I guess I still don't get why the person's identity is so vital? You can make a Steam account, right now, and buy a bunch of Steam store cash cards at the supermarket and remain perfectly...

                I guess I still don't get why the person's identity is so vital? You can make a Steam account, right now, and buy a bunch of Steam store cash cards at the supermarket and remain perfectly anonymous. Ownership is proven through the license key and account passwords, if you lose either, you lose your games (as it is now). Why don't you think this isn't enough?

                1. [3]
                  ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                  Because a Steam account is limited to Steam. What you seem to be talking about – correct me if I'm wrong – is making sure it's the person that purchases the games that gets to keep them, not...

                  Because a Steam account is limited to Steam. What you seem to be talking about – correct me if I'm wrong – is making sure it's the person that purchases the games that gets to keep them, not Steam, or Origin, or Epic Store, or GOG, so that the person could register/transfer games between different game-publishing platforms.

                  The way I see it, this has to be handled by a meta-account of some sort. The way I see it, it need be inevitably coupled with the person it's registered for, so that the verification would go about with a certain security ("That is, in fact, the person that purchased the games from us, yes – VulpisIsNotAFox, yes. Let them have our game in your library").

                  But I see what you're saying. If one can register a Steam account, why can't one register something like a meta-account with the same ease? Just provide a metaname and a password, and have your games everywhere you wish. People make email accounts just as easily, and may remain as anonymous about them as the service allows it.

                  I guess I'm viewing it through the lens of the idea of Solid, the MIT project led by Tim Berners-Lee, where your personal data is stored on your devices, privately, and you choose the parts to share with the apps and services. I'm thinking: this is the level of security – where the account data is stored privately, on the device of your choosing – this sort of data management needs, and not a cloud service (which I'm growing increasingly distrustful towards, considering all the breaches and leaks).

                  Imagine thousands of dollars' worth of games stolen because of a small hole in the security of the meta-account hosting service.

                  1. [2]
                    nothis Link Parent
                    Ah, okay, that was something I was thinking about as well. Maybe it's naive to think that the devs/publishers themselves would handle licensing but basically, a "license" is just a random number...

                    The way I see it, this has to be handled by a meta-account of some sort.

                    Ah, okay, that was something I was thinking about as well. Maybe it's naive to think that the devs/publishers themselves would handle licensing but basically, a "license" is just a random number that represents a permission to download/play a game, not terribly different from a classic "CD-key". It, of course, would have to be stored somewhere. Currently, licenses seem to be "Steam licenses" or "Origin licenses" and such, tied to one digital distribution platform. What I think would be more fair would be for licenses to not be tied to any platform but just the game (i.e. its publisher/developer) itself and any platform offering that game would have to accept it. Maybe you'd need a meta-account to handle that, maybe you'd need a separation of store and download services and such.

                    I'm working backwards from this assumption: Buying a game on Steam and losing that game if you completely switch to a competing digital distribution platform (because the license is tied to Steam) is unacceptable. I honestly don't know what the technical implementation of a solution to this problem would look like but I'm sure it's possible. The reason I don't see it happening is more a business problem, who wants to give up that grip over someone's game library?

                    1 vote
                    1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
                      I'm no expert on this, but it seems to me that, if a group of big online game distribution platforms – with Steam at the helm, presumably – makes it so a big part of its community is satisfied,...

                      The reason I don't see it happening is more a business problem, who wants to give up that grip over someone's game library?

                      I'm no expert on this, but it seems to me that, if a group of big online game distribution platforms – with Steam at the helm, presumably – makes it so a big part of its community is satisfied, they improve the atmosphere in the whole field. Better-satisfied customers means better business for everyone, because people are more willing to engage with the platforms much, or at all.

                      Maybe I'm wrong. In case I'm not, the way I see it, setting this up the way we're discussing would mean that services would have to compete for the customers more actively – not just with the exclusive titles, but by making the experience more satisfying overall. UI, UX, sales, community support etc. etc.. How would we all get there? I don't know. It seems like a good place to go, though.

    2. [4]
      Deimos Link Parent
      I think Microsoft is probably the closest to experimenting with that right now. The library certainly isn't complete at all, but they've made some of their really big-name releases available...

      IMO the only thing that makes sense for this business model in the long run, is flat rate access to a complete library.

      I think Microsoft is probably the closest to experimenting with that right now. The library certainly isn't complete at all, but they've made some of their really big-name releases available immediately on Xbox Game Pass (which works on PC too): Forza Horizon 4, Sea of Thieves (which didn't come out that well but had a lot of hype), Crackdown 3, etc.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        KapteinB Link Parent
        EA has a pretty good deal as well, with their EA Access. I was annoyed the base subscription didn't include Battlefield V though. Did some quick math and ended up buying the base version of BF5...

        EA has a pretty good deal as well, with their EA Access. I was annoyed the base subscription didn't include Battlefield V though. Did some quick math and ended up buying the base version of BF5 instead of upgrading to the premium version of Access.

        I'm currently considering replacing my PS4 (which to me is mostly a Netflix/YouTube machine at the moment) with a Xbox One so I can subscribe to Game Pass. Then maybe I'll either cancel my Access subscription, or change it for an Access subscription for Xbox (because annoyingly (and confusingly) there are two completely different (but identical in content and name) Access services; one for PC and one for Xbox).

        I have a lot of faith in gaming subscription services, but like video streaming services they are all betting on exclusive content, which isn't very consumer friendly. I'll probably end up alternating between subscriptions whenever I want to play different games, like I do with Netflix and its competitors when they release new seasons of shows I watch.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          TheJorro Link Parent
          To be fair, Origin Access never provided such immediate access to new titles. It was always last year's FIFA available for subscribers. The new Origin Access Premium was created to address this...

          To be fair, Origin Access never provided such immediate access to new titles. It was always last year's FIFA available for subscribers. The new Origin Access Premium was created to address this gap, which is why it's priced significantly higher than the now-base subscription: it gives you immediate access to all new EA titles.

          1 vote
          1. KapteinB Link Parent
            I do believe I got access to Battlefield 1 on release day with the base version of Access.

            I do believe I got access to Battlefield 1 on release day with the base version of Access.

  3. [14]
    alyaza Link
    short article and the PC Gamer article isn't much longer either, but this is the first i've heard of razer's efforts to expand into digital distribution so i feel like that demonstrates part of...

    short article and the PC Gamer article isn't much longer either, but this is the first i've heard of razer's efforts to expand into digital distribution so i feel like that demonstrates part of why their web store is closing. wonder if we'll see any more of these services close their doors in the future given the massive increase in competition that's going on right now.

    5 votes
    1. [13]
      ThePariah Link Parent
      I really hope so. All of these different storefronts with their own logins, refund policies, technical problems, etc. are just bad for the consumer, and I'm sick of it. -If ever given the option,...

      I really hope so. All of these different storefronts with their own logins, refund policies, technical problems, etc. are just bad for the consumer, and I'm sick of it.

      -If ever given the option, I WILL use Steam. Period.

      -GOG is great for older titles, and it's really nice to be able to have DRM copies of your games.

      -I have Origin as well... I fucking hate it. Even though they say they have an offline mode, I've never been able to get it to work. I only use it for the Mass Effect Trilogy on PC and The Sims 4.

      Thankfully, EA as a company has been churning out nothing but garbage I'm not interested in for the most part for a while now, so I barely have to touch Origin...

      1 vote
      1. [7]
        calcifer Link Parent
        You say this: but then also say this: Isn't a monopoly that controls nearly the entire PC gaming landscape much worse for the consumer than a multitude of stores?

        You say this:

        All of these different storefronts with their own logins, refund policies, technical problems, etc. are just bad for the consumer, and I'm sick of it.

        but then also say this:

        If ever given the option, I WILL use Steam. Period.

        Isn't a monopoly that controls nearly the entire PC gaming landscape much worse for the consumer than a multitude of stores?

        6 votes
        1. [6]
          ThePariah Link Parent
          I'm not arguing that Steam should completely own the market. Ultimately, as things currently stand, the competition simply can't compete because they are unwilling to accept some of the practices...

          I'm not arguing that Steam should completely own the market.

          Ultimately, as things currently stand, the competition simply can't compete because they are unwilling to accept some of the practices that Steam has given us, namely, user reviews and a decent refund policy.

          Steam is far from perfect, but until the competition starts developing platforms that actually offer something beneficial to the users, rather than just hoarding their IPs on them to maximize the amount of money they can get out of us, most of these other storefronts are just making life harder for the majority of PC gamers.

          GOG is really the one notable exception, but even they lack a lot of Steams nicer features, and their catalogue of old games, while valuable, can't compete with services that get most if not all of the new releases available on them.

          2 votes
          1. [5]
            calcifer Link Parent
            Wait, now you are saying you don't use other platforms because they are not as developed as Steam, which implies you would use them if they got the features Steam has. Doesn't that contradict with...

            Wait, now you are saying you don't use other platforms because they are not as developed as Steam, which implies you would use them if they got the features Steam has. Doesn't that contradict with your statement below?

            If ever given the option, I WILL use Steam. Period.

            3 votes
            1. gyrozeppeli Link Parent
              Even if they did, steam has a much larger community. I don't want to install six different applications and have games split across multiple storefronts. Steam pretty much gets everything and...

              Even if they did, steam has a much larger community. I don't want to install six different applications and have games split across multiple storefronts. Steam pretty much gets everything and that's why it's been great. No one is saying steam is perfect, but it really is much better than any of the other alternatives.

              (Ideally there wouldn't be a monopoly, but it is the way it is.) Steam has been good most of the time, and they have innovated/added new features over time, and changed the refund situation. GOG is a good alternative if you don't want the DRM, but I've never cared enough since the games I play are mostly multiplayer anyway.

              1 vote
            2. [3]
              ThePariah Link Parent
              You're assuming a lot. My quote that you seem to love so much is a reflection of how I feel currently, not forever and ever. The fact of the matter is, Steam works well, most of my PC library is...

              You're assuming a lot. My quote that you seem to love so much is a reflection of how I feel currently, not forever and ever. The fact of the matter is, Steam works well, most of my PC library is on it, and for the most part, cannot be accessed by all of these other launchers that I would be forced to bloat my hard drive with if I truly cared about getting all of the new releases.

              Thankfully, most of the publishers opening these stores are ones that I no longer support, generally speaking, with their track record as companies as a whole. So sure, I could be convinced to use other launchers, but it's not likely unless these companies make fundamental changes to their business practices.

              Now let me as you a question. Do you like having all of these different game launchers divided by publisher on your PC?

              1. [2]
                calcifer Link Parent
                ... wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't written with so much conviction (capitalized will, "period"). It makes the rest of your comment seem hypocritical as on one hand you criticise others for not...

                My quote that you seem to love so much

                ... wouldn't be a problem if it wasn't written with so much conviction (capitalized will, "period"). It makes the rest of your comment seem hypocritical as on one hand you criticise others for not having everything Steam has and in the same breath make it clear you wouldn't use them even if they did. Am I reading that wrong?

                Do you like having all of these different game launchers divided by publisher on your PC?

                It's not a matter of liking for me. I use whatever launcher that allows me to play the game I want. It doesn't offend me that a developer chooses not to support the existing monopoly. If it's a game I want and if the store isn't too obnoxious (weird DRM and such) I'll buy it and play it just the same.

                Of course, none of this changes the fact that most games I own are on Steam, but that's mostly due to historical reasons (I have a very old account). Nowadays, any platform is fine really.

                1. ThePariah Link Parent
                  Well, my apologies if you genuinely found how I wrote it confusing. I am a person of conviction, for one, but more than anything, I occasionally capitalize words as part of my inner voice. But...

                  Well, my apologies if you genuinely found how I wrote it confusing. I am a person of conviction, for one, but more than anything, I occasionally capitalize words as part of my inner voice.

                  But that's aside from the point, and I'd like to move on from it. I've already clarified my stance as to whether I could be convinced, in theory, to willingly adopt other digital distribution platforms.

                  And if having to deal with a multitude of different launchers isn't a problem for you, great! I'd rather not be annoyed by any of this business either, but that is not the case, and I am far from the sole person voicing this opinion.

                  1 vote
      2. [5]
        markh Link Parent
        Interestingly, more competition should lead to better stores. This seems like a race to the bottom. I don’t play games much anymore. Is Steam still the gold standard?

        Interestingly, more competition should lead to better stores. This seems like a race to the bottom. I don’t play games much anymore. Is Steam still the gold standard?

        2 votes
        1. Heichou Link Parent
          Steam absolutely is still the gold standard, and I have no idea why people think Steam has any kind of monopoly when it's only a distributor (if you ignore the games they put out 10+ years ago)....

          Steam absolutely is still the gold standard, and I have no idea why people think Steam has any kind of monopoly when it's only a distributor (if you ignore the games they put out 10+ years ago). Most other clients are more like loyalty apps. EA's Origin and Ubisoft's Uplay launchers only play games from their respective publishers, so there's a severe lack of content on both. GOG, while having DRM free games, has a clunky launcher and sells mostly older games. Absolutely nobody can beat Steam, and I wish everyone would just stop trying. I have enough clutter in my directories. Don't even get me started on the Epic launcher

          4 votes
        2. ThePariah Link Parent
          There was a much better comparison graph than the one I have, but this compares the services Steam has vs. the recently quite controversial Epic Game's store. Courtesy of Reddit. And truth be...

          There was a much better comparison graph than the one I have, but this compares the services Steam has vs. the recently quite controversial Epic Game's store.

          Courtesy of Reddit.

          And truth be told, most of the other distribution services lack most of the features listed here as well. So yes, Steam is still the gold standard.

          2 votes
        3. [2]
          Maven Link Parent
          Competition doesn't really work in networks because the biggest network has exponentially more power than smaller ones. You end up with a single shark gobbling up a bunch of minnows. And of...

          Interestingly, more competition should lead to better stores.

          Competition doesn't really work in networks because the biggest network has exponentially more power than smaller ones. You end up with a single shark gobbling up a bunch of minnows. And of course, from a user perspective, this is good. Nobody wants to deal with a dozen stores, even if all of them are fully-featured. It's just a huge hassle for no payoff. Of course, the other stores aren't as good. Most of them are just thinly veiled heaps of buggy DRM who only survive by staking out exclusives. They know they can't actually compete.

          2 votes
          1. Kirisame Link Parent
            I'd be more okay with th competition if these services had some level of interconnectivity; I'm not sure how the details would hash out, but storefronts and their communities being federated like...

            I'd be more okay with th competition if these services had some level of interconnectivity; I'm not sure how the details would hash out, but storefronts and their communities being federated like email is would be pretty neat. I'd be much more willing to embrace a competitor store if I could still reach my friends on Steam!

            But there's no incentive I can see for any sharks to attempt or cooperate with this at the moment.

            2 votes
  4. Hypersapien Link
    I had never even heard of this. Razer generally makes hardware, don't they?

    I had never even heard of this. Razer generally makes hardware, don't they?