I have Many, many problems with Steam and Valve corporation. From the way it’s set up to how they’ve handled (or refused to handle) support, and the general direction they’re headed in. And I’d like to say I wanna see more competition on the PC.
But one thing gives me pause.
Launchers. Every single company that distributes PC games seems to have their own. Ubisoft has Uplay. EA has Origin. Blizzard has Battlenet. Desura has… well, Desura. They all have their own steam-like service that tries to outdo Steam, and it’s all so self-defeating.
Every time I wanna play Hearthstone, I either have to launch battlenet, or click on the hearthstone icon to launch battlenet, and sit through the inevitable update before clicking the play button. Every time I wanna play a recent EA game on PC, I have to open Origin, navigate to the library, and start the game from there. I dread the day Ubisoft decides to ditch Steam and release their games exclusively on Uplay.
Steam is problematic as a store and as a service. But as a launcher, it serves its purpose. Games are stored in a library that can hold as many games as you want, and the list is easy to navigate. And it’s all in one place. Yes, you can store non-steam games in Steam, but many will still launch their own launcher (Ubisoft games on steam always launch Uplay, with rare exceptions). Having everything stored in different launchers is annoying, tedious, and simply serves to ensure that people only ever use Steam.
I’m not an engineer or a game designer. I don’t know how to handle this kinda thing better. But so long as every company insists on having their own launcher, Steam will always be the preferable and more accessible option. And that worries me.