Digital Heartache

Since I’ve started getting back into PC gaming there’s one program that is seemingly ever present on my desktop, Steam.

I remember my first encounter with the software, back when Half Life 2 was first released. I got off to a rocky relationship with it but eventually we grew to love each other. That was a long time ago though, and Steam has changed somewhat since then.

These days it’s one of the PC’s brightest stars in its arsenal, a library for your games, and a home to many of your gaming communities. As well as all that it’s also one of the global powerhouses in the digital distribution world. Much like a virtual game store it’s easy to sit and browse its shelves, find a random bargain and hit purchase.

I’ve had my doubts over digital distribution; I’m more of a hands-on type of person that much prefers having an actual box,with manual, sat upon my shelf.

Of course, I understand the call of shopping digitally, no disk swapping is great and having my entire game library with me at all times no matter what computer I’m on is simply brilliant.Steam

Recently Steam had one of their mega sales on, during which I picked up the THQ mega pack for the low cost of £26. It was a bit of a bargain considering it houses the complete sets of Dawn of War, Company of Heroes and Red Faction, and a lot more to boot.

With my Steam list now greatly expanding I set about getting the first of the games installed, Company of Heroes would be my first bet. However, it seems I wasn’t the only one with this in mind as download servers started to crumble under the pressure of gamers across the world putting their internet connections to full use.

In the end I went to bed to the sound of my PC humming along through the night, but in the morning my download had completed. It took around eleven hours in total, a process that would usually take no more than one. It certainly put a sour note on what should have been a happy nights gaming.

Digital distribution is here to stay, there’s no denying that and while I am a bit more favourable towards it compared to years gone by, there’s still a long way to go before I fully embrace it. As it stands there are far too many variables that can come unstuck, and that can leave the user with a nasty taste in their mouth and turn a happy gaming experience into a sour one.






3 responses to “Digital Heartache”

  1. MarkuzR avatar

    I’ve been very cautious with my new gaming PC (thanks to you and Dan for the OS advice)… it has no Wifi card and, although it has a high speed LAN port, I don’t intend to ever connect to the net with it. It’s my hope that whatever patches are necessary will be downloadable on my main PC and transported using a stick or passport drive.

    I’m not really into online gaming, and when I tried Steam to try out Risen I spent ages downloading the 1.2Gb demo and after a dozen attempts to get it running I gave up. I downloaded the standalone demo and it worked first time. To me, that immediately put me in a very negative position towards Steam.

    That’s not to say I won’t ever use it again, but I don’t think it’ll be until there’s something there that I can’t get anywhere else. 🙂

  2. MrCuddleswick avatar

    I like Steam. Seems like a lifetime ago I installed it on Half Life 2 release day.

  3. Lorna avatar

    I’ll still always love to own the physical media which is what largely puts me off things like Steam. Plus our net connection is dire…

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