Poll Question 182 – Has Steam changed your purchasing habits?

23rd July 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

This week’s question is another that started as a forum thread called: The Power of Steam. MikeS noticed he had 94 games on his Steam account but thought of himself as a casual gamer.

I only have 30 games but I doubt I have even finished half of those. That’s not as bad as it sounds because a lot of those games came free when I bought something else; games like TF2, DOD: Source etc.

However, that’s not to say I haven’t bought games I haven’t played yet because I definitely have. I bought them for rainy days, which let’s be honest, happen enough for us to play those games but something always gets in the way.

There’s no doubt that for me I have bought more games than I would have normally, but only because of the sales. The only games I would buy full price are the Half-Life games and my days of buying from Ebay are over – not because of any bad experiences but because I never play those games.

My big problem with Steam is that I can’t “Gift” the free games I get when I buy another game. I’m sure that would help Valve in the long run because I would gift them to friends who would probably have never bought the games anyway, so they could be gaining new customers.

It would also be nice to be able to split and merge accounts, but that’s really off topic – sorry.

So, back to the topic…Has Steam changed your purchasing habits?

The Poll


  1. Zonbie

    Since the games are RIGHT THERE and ON SALE NOW and I can see the timer ticking away the minutes to the end of the sale, I feel compelled to BUY NOW or FOREVER REGRET.

    Then I never install the game because my computer does not have the power to play them. I consider it an investment because one day I will get a new computer that CAN play those uber-games…and they will always be on Steam, waiting for me. Beckoning me…carressing my mind’s most vulnerable spaces…and yanking my balls out through my wallet.

    1. David

      You just described my Steam experience almost exactly. I have to remind myself to not buy games on it, so I can save up to actually get a PC to play the games.

  2. Mikko Sandt

    I never buy new, full-price games via Steam, except for Steam-exclusive HL titles of course. Not only are they more expensive than retail but you’re also stuck with Steam.

    I’m not against Steam or anything. Steam sales are great but there’s no point in purchasing new, full-price games via Steam unless you haven’t got a choice.

  3. jgoodroad

    I used to by games the old fashion way, by going down to the local game shop, I have played (and beat) many games (far over a 100 by now) and so my collection was large, so when I discovered steam I simply stopped buying from the shops… so my habits really didn’t change… If anything I have bought LESS games because of the limits of my hamster-powered computer…

  4. I dont purchase my games online, but Steam (Valve) changed by habits that I only buy their games lol. Last time I gave out money for a non Valve game, I was deeply disappointed…

  5. MikeS

    I hardly ever bought games before Steam came along. This was partly out of ignorance of what was out there, and the wasted expense of buying games that I probably wouldn’t play for long. The ever-growing Steam catalog, the twice weekly sales and the occasional week-long sales means I have dared to take more of a gamble. I’m currently playing Flatout: Ultimate Carnage. I have notched up over 50 hours of gameplay and it cost me £1.70. Amazing value! Mirror’s Edge was another such bargain, as was World of Goo. Purchases like these make up for the occasional mistake i.e. those impulse buys I installed in less than five minutes.

    1. MikeS

      I meant uninstalled, not installed. Obviously. 😛

  6. Polo

    Sorry to break ‘the mould” here, but Steam is a veritable PITA.
    1) Why should anyone have to have an internet connection to play a legitimately bought game ?
    2) Why should anyone be subjected to ‘steam Updates” which continually “break” mods – which are hosted and therefore recognised by Steam ?
    3) Why should anyone, who is regarded by Steam as a ‘member held in high regard’, or some other such ridiculous statement, be blocked due to their own ineptitude, eg; Updates screwing your account details on a regular basis ?
    4) Why should it be the case (with #3) that the onus is upon the innocent member to pursue and prove that the problem is with Steam ?
    5) Why does it take ten (10) working days to get a “help” reply from Steam ?

    Oh yes, nearly forgot……………
    You can buy games far cheaper than the Steam so called “offers’.

    The only reason I have Steam, is because I love Half Life and all the derivatives and mods.

    I honestly think that Steam sucks monumentally.
    They have done nothing at all to endear me to them from day one.
    I tolerate it – just !!

    1. AzzX

      @Polo: 1) Why should anyone have to have an internet connection to play a legitimately bought game ?

      1 Well you need it to buy the game to start with….

      2 Being always updated is fantastic. The Source engine is evolutionary literally in this regard. Mods breaking is as negative as it gets though the teams that update reap the benefits.

      3 Never had such an issue or even heard anything legiit along these lines.

      Retail also cannot compete with Steam, especially during the sales.

  7. foxholeboy

    Damn has it! I pretty much buy any game that’s around £3, steam is gonna bankrupt me!

  8. Grey Acumen

    Price Paid:
    Half Life(2) – 9.99+0.98
    Opposing Force(2) – 0.99×2
    Blue Shift(2) – 0.99×2
    Orange Box – 32.09+9.99+4.99(paid for portal individually, then got OB on sale later)
    Indie Games Big bundle – 29.99
    Garry’s Mod – 4.99
    Assasin’s Creed – 5.00
    Secret Monkey Island – 2.49
    Mirror’s Edge – 5.00
    Zeno Clash – 5.10
    Prince of Persia(sot, ww, ttt) – 14.97
    Beyond G&E – 4.99
    Star Wars Republic Commando – 5.00
    Jade Empire – 3.75
    Sam & Max S1&2 – 14.99
    Psychonauts – 2.00
    FarCry – 4.99
    Trine – 5.00
    Mount & Blade – 4.99
    Spellforce 2: Gold – 7.50
    Spellforce: Platinum – 3.74
    Deus Ex Collection – 5.00
    Elder Scrolls: Morrowind – 5.00
    Elder Scrolls: Oblivion – 8.50
    Mass Effect – 5.00
    Second Sight – 3.39
    Max Payne 1&2 – 3.74

    Total Paid: $216.12

    Full Price if Individually Purchased:
    Half Life(2) – 9.99×2
    Opposing Force(2) – 4.99×2
    Blue Shift(2) – 4.99×2
    Orange Box – 84.95×2
    Indie Games Big bundle – 114.90
    Garry’s Mod – 9.99
    Assasin’s Creed – 19.99
    Secret Monkey Island – 9.99
    Mirror’s Edge – 19.99
    Zeno Clash – 14.99
    Prince of Persia(sot, ww, ttt) – 29.97
    Beyond G&E – 9.99
    Star Wars Republic Commando – 9.99
    Jade Empire – 14.99
    Sam & Max S1&2 – 89.90
    Psychonauts – 9.99
    FarCry – 9.99
    Trine – 19.99
    Mount & Blade – 29.99
    Spellforce 2: Gold – 29.99
    Spellforce: Platinum – 14.99
    Deus Ex Collection – 19.98
    Elder Scrolls: Morrowind – 19.99
    Elder Scrolls: Oblivion – 24.99
    Mass Effect – 19.99
    Second Sight – 9.99
    Max Payne 1&2 – 19.98

    Maximum Total Paid $784.48

    You can provide links to places where you can buy the games cheaper than what Steam sells them at, but you’re not going to negate the point I just made. Even then, there’s still the convenience of not needing to go outside, not needing to hunt around the internet, and also once you purchase it, you have the convenience of being able to play within a few hours, depending on the size of the game.

    Honestly, you can say all you want about how steam is a horrible service. It’s not, but that can be done as a completely different service and I already have an post floating about online which addresses the real problems Steam has vs the things that are only problems if you’re not willing to do even the slightest bit of research, along with the additional advantages it brings with it.

  9. ANonEntity

    Yes, All the games I bought the past year alone, are with Steam…..lol!

  10. Barnz

    I rarely buy anything from Steam these days. Although I like getting games for a low price, I can’t see myself getting any game on Steam. I try to stick to a genre when buying something.

  11. john

    when games stopped having owners manuals and you have to print it out now, steam works ok. I did buy fallout 3 and got a book with it. yea… but for the one and only world of half life, its steam. I sometimes do worry about them loosing my account info and all my games are gone.
    so far so good.
    did buy the orange box, half life 2 and a used copy of return to castle wolfenstein pc. via box from store.
    bought bioshock, fallout collection 1,2. on steam. got episode 2 via steam and gifted away the other games that came with it. if I remember right.
    one thing, which I thought was great. .
    steam grandfathered my half life 1 collection in long time ago.

  12. Nrmartins

    Yea it did I JUST buy through there now, from stalker to hl2 .

  13. 94! Crumbs!
    Then I looked at my list: 54.
    This goes back to Special Offer packages when ID Software and others first appeared on Steam when I bought all the Dooms, Quakes, Heretics, Hexens etc.

    The great thing about Steam besides Sales and package deals is that you can often see trailers or get demo versions.
    Test drives before you buy.

    An important advantage is that you get updates and patches when you open Steam. This is a huge bonus compared with discs.

    If RAGE (ID Tech 5 Engine) and Crysis 2 (Cryengine 3) are offered by Steam then I’ll be buying and at full price.

    Buying games on disc seems like going back to the dark ages.
    So yes, Steam did profoundly affect my buying habits.

  14. galocza

    i cannot add much to Phillip’s starting post, I do the same. I have 118 games, many of them bought on sale, or because of sentimental reasons (xcom, doom, hexxen, ut – classics) or in a pack. I bought tons of adventure games, this is a genre I respect very much and I played a lot in the past – but I dont have the time or the patience anymore. yes, saved for rainy days – that never seem to come 8).
    steam with its sales and packs is a very clever system, I dont think that theres more than a dozen games that I played through or played enough to justify the purchase…

  15. ebsiman

    Yes, Steam changed my purchasing habits. I get a lot of great deals purchasing games on EBay. But one time not too long ago a game would not install because it had previously been installed on another Steam account. So now I need to make sure when the EBay ad says “new” that it really means never installed. Not just that the condition is “like new”.

  16. Zekiran

    Absolutely has changed my habits. I walk through a store and see their prices and just chuckle at the people who would pay full price – or even a retail SALE price – for some of them, knowing that “last week it was half that sale price” or even less.

    I do wish that during some of the “event” sales, when things are dirt cheap but only for a day or so, they’d tell us which games WILL be on sale, so we can anticipate them and plan accordingly at the start of the sale days.

    But really, yeah. I don’t bother with physical sales any more. Steam is just too dang convenient for that.

  17. b1k3rdude

    As long as there is a hole in my arse I will never buy any games(other than HL) on steam, why I here you ask…

    1. you cant sell the game on when your finished playing it.
    2. the attitude from steam support is in a word quite frankly, shit!

    If they remedied the above then I would probably buy all my games on steam, but I can’t see Valve doing that before hell freezes over.

  18. Mikko Sandt

    Competition would probably improve customer support but it’d be majorly stupid from a business point of view to allow Steam users to sell “used” games, games they don’t even own.

    1. b1k3rdude

      “games, they dont even own” brain washed much…

      That’s what’s wrong with the situation, a publisher dictating they still own the copy of the game/movie/cd people paid their hard earned money for. Games should be treated as an actual commodity, not as a limited-life rental disguised as a “purchase”. If players pay real money they should be able to sell that game at some point in the future.

      I sincerely hope steam changes, or fails if it dosent. There are still enough people who refuse to buy anything on steam/digital distro bar the HL series. But I concede it could be worse, they could be pulling crap like Ubisoft or the ill fated $10 nonsense proposed by EA. Falling by the weigh-side will be an eventuality, unless publishers stop trying to fleece their customers.

      One the best models I have seen on the PC is DLC implemented by the likes of Bioware & Bethesda. Its a win-win situation for both the publisher/developer and the end users… We buy a retail copy of the game (which we can sell on) and we can choose to buy DLC (which can also be sold on, albet not easily). The publishers (can/do?) make a big chunk of its turnover from the DLC placates the – which as I understand it is the main reason for copyright protection in the 1st place

      But I refer you guys to an article I recently read, which all devs/pubs should adhere to but many don’t –

      The Seven laws of DLC – http://www.gamecritics.com/brad-gallaway/the-consumers-seven-laws-of-dlc

      but like one person said and I agree with, I have one main rule for games – “Is it worth the money?”

      If developers decide to cripple their core game, by holding critical content/features back for DLC, Im not going to buy that game as its bordering on fraud.

  19. Mikko Sandt

    I didn’t say I like the principle. However, it makes sense from a business point of view and they have and should have every right to dictate the terms of their business model. It is also fair since one doesn’t have to buy anything from them if one doesn’t like the terms.

    If Steam had more competitors, the situation would improve.

  20. OH YES!.. Made it easier.. However, they should make it 100% possible to add non-steam games. There is an op for this but it works maybe half the time..

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