I have never really been a big PC gamer, sure I have dabbled here and there and had a slight addiction to counter-strike back in the day but that was it. Now part of this is because ever since the NES I always had the latest and greatest consoles. A tradition I intend to continue when the PS4 and XBOX ONE is released. The other part of this was because I never had a computer with enough juice to play a lag free game. The computers I have owned over the years hinders the experience, I would have no part of that. This is up until now when I bought my most recent laptop. Now don’t get me wrong this is no gaming PC, but it does allow to enter into a whole new world (who thought of Aladdin just now) of gaming. That world is called Steam. And boy am I having a good time with it. To the point where I am thinking about buying a dedicated gaming PC. Steams’ online store is the best online store I have ever encountered. Hands down. It got me thinking, “Could the console makers replicate Steam and make their own online marketplaces just as fulfilling?”
Steam is a place full of wonderful big studio titles and delightful indie games, but the thing that really makes it stand out is its pricing structure. The sales are plentiful and happen often. They have weekly deals, weekend deals, free game of the day deals. I bought Allan Wake for 3 dollars for crying out loud. That’s awesome. Even if tried to pick that game up second hand at the local used game store it still would have cost me AT LEAST $10.00. Steam gives you the same feeling that you get when you go to your local Costco and buy way more things than you need because it’s just such a good deal. It’s great for publishers, a lower price will sell a game that wouldn’t move other wise, and in greater numbers too. Its also great for customers because , well who doesn’t like cheap. It also breaths new life into old games and introduces them to whole new audience who might have otherwise not experienced them and might have missed out on some really great games. Jumping into the XBOX live marketplace after feels like a rip off, and that’s a shame.
How do we get that same level of value that PC gamers have been enjoying for awhile? Well this is the tricky part. Console makers have to think about their retail partners. Especially places like Gamest, EB Games and GAME in the UK. In all honesty I think console makers would love to cut out the middle man. Take a second to think about all the controversy surrounding how the next-gen consoles will deal with used games. That could be the first step in a move to a steam like online store. But whenever that conversation comes up people start yelling foul. Maybe that type of move could help change the industry for the better in the long run. There is no way that Microsoft, Sony and to a lesser extend Nintendo don’t see Steams rise in popularity. If the big 3 don’t change with the times they will get left behind. I have already heard more than a few people say they are skipping the next-gen and just moving fully to PC gaming.So what do you, good reader think? Would a move to a Steam-like store in consoles appeal to you? Sound off in the comments.