When I think of gaming on PC, one of the first things that comes to mind is Steam. Valve’s client is the flagship of gaming on computers, and we already have it standardized in our lives, but several similar programs live in this ecosystem. On the other hand, other stores, such as GOG or Epic, have also created their own clientele, which, although it has not curdled so much, has a place in the panorama. But there is a third type of player on this platform, one that doesn’t quite convince gamers.
I’m talking about the typical launchers used by companies like Ubisoft, Rockstar or Electronic Arts, those that, far from giving you access to many games from a lot of different companies, alienate the competition to create their own space. It has happened to all of us at some point, we see a succulent offer for that game we wanted to try and… it turns out that it is exclusive to your client. And, well, sometimes we went through the hoop if the offer is good and the desire, enough.
A few days ago, we broke the news that PlayStation could be preparing its own client to separate its branded games from the rest, and I personally saw quite a few people unhappy with the matter. “I want to play Marvel’s Spider-Man, but do not install another launcher” was something that was repeated constantly, and this led me to ask myself “If nobody likes these clients, why do companies continue to use them?” Well, well, it turns out that there are several compelling reasons for it.
Intermediaries are expensive
When you buy something on Steam, you’re not just giving money to, say, Rockstar, but Valve takes a percentage of these sales. By buying directly from the game developer and distributor, they get to take 100% of what you spend on their games. Deals are a big part of this, making you buy a game from their client because it’s cheaper than other stores, in the hope that your next purchases from them will be without no other company between.
It also helps against piracy
By being able to control the entire gaming environment, these launchers allow companies to use security measures that they may not be able to carry out in other stores. Not a perfect solutionand games that aren’t on Steam get pirated constantly, but it’s a more low-level barrier to fighting these forces.
More control over your environment
This can mean many things. By owning their own platforms, they can control which ads, how many or where you see them, something that benefits each company. On the other hand, this allows them to create their own standards, offers and interfaceshighlighting what they want instead of having to adapt to someone else’s desEsports Extrasor management decisions.
In addition to this, on a purely technical level, it is easier to be able to deal with certain aspects of the distribution of video games and their content directly, without having to be at the mercy of third parties. This is an aspect Increasingly important of our industry, since digitization is becoming more prevalent in video games every day.
Your data is very valuable
Today, it is well known that information it is more than valuable. In the information age, your consumption habits, what you like to play, when, how much, with whom… all this allows companies to build better business strategies and know who they have to sell what to and how to do it.
In the end, what happens is that companies see this type of project as an investment in the future. As consumers, we tend to see every movement of companies as something that seeks immediate revenue, but some strategies are planned to consolidate in the next five years, or even more. Be that as it may, while some of the big names are committed to their method, others, like Activision, propose a hybrid strategy.