updated 02:35 pm EST, Thu November 11, 2010
UK game retailers threaten to boycott Steam games
Driven by fears of its developing an unassailable monopoly, big games retailers in the UK have said they will boycott selling games that support the Steam digital games distribution platform. According to a Thursday MCV report, retailers' concerns are growing that selling games with Steam will bring gamers to buy games using the download service exclusively. It;s estimated the US studio Valve that runs Steam commands 80 percent of the PC download market.
At least two major games retailers will reported give publishers an ultimatum to either remove Steam from their games or else face a retail ban.
The CEO of Gaikai, a cloud based gaming service, David Perry believes Steam could become the equivalent of iTunes in its industry.
"Steam has made it so easy for everyone and they have lots of users," he said. "But how long do you wait before you take control of your own digital strategy? Like with iTunes, at some point it's going to be too late."
The service recently launched for Macs and has become a key online access point for some of the largest game developers, including Valve itself as well as Activision, EA, Ubisoft and other top-tier companies. Retailer threats may be difficult as they might not have the option of refusing to stock major titles. Sony's PSP Go may have been a harbinger of the possible effects, as its slow sales may have been attributed to retailers refusing to stock systems as punishment for letting customers the same games online as they could pick up in store.