Stop Giving Money to Game Publishers That Don't Care About You

Some game publishers seem to be stuck in a time loop

Game publishers are the movers and shakers of this business and whatever they say goes. Unfortunately, many of them are caught in a past from which there is no escape. It's called retail and it's still the dominant force in the gaming industry.

The most important thing Valve managed to do with Steam was to provide a platform that would allow publishers to launch a game all over the world at once. In the “old” days of retail, that was very difficult to do. Some companies chose to go the extra mile and make the game available all over the globe, like Blizzard for example.

People were standing in line to buy the game they wanted, but other companies opted for the other solution. Separate launches for different time zones. This is not a difference of hours, but days. That's why we have, even today, games launching on Tuesday in the United States and on Friday in Europe.

The companies that still follow this model are stuck in an alternate reality in which they think that digital and retail are pretty much the same thing, while complaining about the high piracy rate. This means that people in the US are playing something, posting online on forums and YouTube about how great the game is, and the rest of the world has to sit quietly for days until the game reaches their side of the planet.

Believe it or not, but this is not the worst part of the problem. Game publishers are so far behind the actual world that they don't even let their games be available for everyone. This is really obvious on Steam, where you can't buy a number of titles because you are not in the right part of the world.

It's not fully understood why a company would choose to renounce an income that is sure to arrive, but it all has to do with retail, that beautiful word that should be shelved into the same place with PS2 keyboards and gamepads that used the game port connector.

It's likely that one of the reasons for this strategy is that, in the regions where a game is not available on Steam, it's only sold in its physical form and some kind of exclusive deal is in place. At least I hope this is the reason, because any other motivation would be even dumber than this one.

One of the companies that were an adept of this strategy was Ubisoft. They have a game called Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, which they launched in 2006. I was able to purchase it a couple of years back because it hadn’t been available in my neck of the woods until then.

Bethesda is also hiding some of its games from numerous Steam users. I wanted to buy Rage, but it didn't show on Steam. I got it from another website and activated it on Steam, which worked just fine. The same happened with Quake 4.

And this brings us to today’s topic, Namco Bandai Games. They are offering the very successful Dark Souls II, but also the first game. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition was just on sale on Steam, but I couldn't buy it and I suspect that there are many other users who had the same problem.

We have a publisher that lets you buy the sequel, but not the first game. Until someone gives me a fantastic reason for this business decision, I won't spend my money on Namco Bandai Games. It's like I'm enabling a bad habit.

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