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Steam Under Fire for Sudden Complaints Regarding Their Near Monopoly

Payton Rehl, Staff Writer

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Valve, an internet giant, has recently come under fire for holding a near monopoly over PC video games on their widely-used platform, steam. The outrage, first sparked by the internet-news platform, Polygon, has been caused by further investigation into their business policy and tactics and has shed Valve in a different light to PC users. Whereas before most users regarded Steam with a friendly stance in the PC game market place, some now are taking further looks into whether they truly are a fair company.

Most of the complaints for Steam originated near its launch, where Valve pushed a requirement that forced people to download Steam to play their popular game, Half-Life 2, even when it had been purchased physically.  While many would agree nowadays that such a move would garner protest, Valve was legally protected to do so, and as long as one had proper connection to the internet, it would be a mere inconvenience to work around.

From there, Steam built up an impressive library of games, from professional AAA games to the homemade indie games, attracting users who over time could build a massive collection of games that could all be accessed from one source. Eventually, Steam took over as the largest online distributor of PC games, outpacing other main platforms such as Uplay, Origin, and Good-Ol-Games, and is profits from 10% of the $32 billion PC-games market.

However, while Steam does control a significant portion of the market, there is still much debate over whether Steam is an actual monopoly. Nonetheless, angry users point to other signs of ill-business practices, such as their 30% profit from each game sold and their rigid and despised return policy, both of which are still completely legal and standard business practices when it comes to all retailers.

In the end, Steam might just witness a shift in reputation, and while the majority of their userbase has gone unphased, the impacts could be huge, even with the possibility of the decline of the platform if left unnoticed.

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Steam Under Fire for Sudden Complaints Regarding Their Near Monopoly