Should Microsoft bring more games to Steam? Here are the pros and cons
There are good and bad things that can result from bringing more Microsoft exclusives to Steam.
Last week, Microsoft and THQ Nordic worked together to bring five Microsoft exclusive titles to Steam, Valve's PC gaming service. This has spawned a discussion in the gaming community about whether or not Microsoft should continue this direction with other titles. Here are the pros and cons of that happening.
Pros: Outreach, profit, and PC authority
If exclusives, especially popular ones like The Master Chief Collection or Gears of War 4 came to Steam, they would likely gain a lot of traction. Earlier this year. PC Gamer reported that Steam had 18 million players online at once, and Steam's own site advertises 100 million active accounts. Considering this is almost double the active user base of Xbox Live, bringing these games to Steam is a huge opportunity for franchise outreach.
Selling to this many people also opens the door for Microsoft to make a large profit, too. This is especially true for anything Halo related, as PC-only gamers have been waiting to play Halo 3 and beyond ever since the release of Halo 2 Vista in 2007. Lastly, moving exclusives to Steam could help Microsoft repair their damaged relationship with PC players, who, for good reason, have been extremely dissatisfied with the Microsoft Store.
Read: Mod support for Xbox could be coming
Cons: Royalties, weaker console authority
While the opportunity for profit is there for Microsoft, Valve does force publishers to give a portion of sales revenue to them, and that's a large factor. A legal case involving SEGA and THQ in 2013 revealed that the specific amount Valve takes is 30%. There's no information on whether or not that has changed, but there isn't reason to think it has.
Additionally, this would weaken Microsoft's authority in the console market. Xbox One is already losing the battle with PlayStation 4 in terms of exclusives, so bringing the ones it does have to Steam would effectively be making the issue worse. It could be argued that Xbox already does that with Xbox Play Anywhere, but mainstream knowledge of the Microsoft Store's existence is in short supply, and those that are aware of it, generally know how bad it is.
Read: Xbox can play the long game with exclusives, but not forever
Conclusion: Bring them to Steam down the line
Ultimately, I think Microsoft should bring exclusive titles to Steam a few years after they release on Xbox. While Valve's royalty fees are unfortunate for Redmond, exposing franchises to over 100 million active users is worth it in the long run, both financially and authoritatively. While it is true that more Steam releases will weaken the Xbox One's competitiveness, most games don't remain system sellers two or three years post-launch anyway.
Besides, Microsoft has been leaning towards a multiplatform focus for a while now. They should capitalize on the potential that Valve's service brings to the table.
What do you think Microsoft should do in regards to Steam? Let me know in the comments.
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.
By Jez Corden
And how is this good for gaming and gamers?
Isn't competition good for consumers?
unless ofc you're not a consumer and your priority is MS.
- then you can download the digital copy from the store on the console. However to prevent people from attaching the games to their gamer account and returning the disk for another game or refund so to run the game therefore you to play the game you will have to have the disk in the console - therefore effectively no different than how you normally use a game disk on a console. The other measure is to have a disk check - meaning once in a while you will have to run the game with a disk. Any other method of DRM is cumbersome and only affects gamers not pirates. The other alternative is to sell games via usb or a gamer key but that has soo many other issues with that methodology.