Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Why Steam on Windows 7 Disappoints Me

This actually isn’t a post against Windows 7.  In fact, you will find
very few of those among this blog, if any at all.  This is actually a
post voicing my disappointment with the very popular Social Network Gaming Software, href="">Steam.

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One of the first things quickly and easily noticed is that it uses its own Window customization. 
This really isn’t such a big deal for me.  Sure, it’d be nice if it could do the whole aero thing
and fall back on this, but this looks pretty cool, so I’m not really going to fault them for this.

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Next is actually mostly a good thing.  Steam has this very nice jumplist for
Windows 7, something not a lot of other programs have really taken the time to integrate just yet. 
You can see video games I have recently (attempted to anyway) launched from Steam, their own quick links to
important parts of their client, and an optional (disabled by default) ability to change your current status
from the jumplist.

The one problem I have with this jump list is that the tasks have no
icons.  You could easily find some sort of icon for each of their little tasks.  A
shopping cart for Store, a generic user-like figure for community, etc etc but there is nothing there.

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Then of course, there is my ultimate pickle with Steam.  As
I’m sure you can tell from the above screenshot – Steam has NO PRESENCE in the Windows Games Explorer. 
This is awful!  The Games Explorer has been around since Vista, and yet Steam has yet to embrace

There could (and should) be (at the very least) a high resolution steam icon under
Game Providers.  It’s not very difficult to make, and the “News” feed you see from Games for
Windows LIVE is a simple RSS feed.  They could either populate this with the news from their site,
or just a list of new releases, creating a steam:// URI (if it doesn’t already exist) to open up links in
their own client.  Instead, they don’t even touch this.

As for games, I don’t
know if they show up in the Explorer or not.  I don’t have any spare cash lying around, so I
haven’t been able to check for myself – but somehow I doubt that the games appear there (though, I could be
wrong – can anyone vouch for this?).

Hopefully, these issues will be addressed in a
future version of Steam, and embraced by Rival companies. (I’m looking at you On Live.  Yes, I
expect this from you as well).

What are your thoughts on the matter,


  1. Steam was a games provider on Windows 7 during the early release phase of Windows 7;
    complete with jump lists and self creating icons, the integration was seamless and beautiful and I must say,
    a joy to see integrated so nicely into my new operating system.
    "Finally", I thought to myself,
    "They did it!"; It even a live feed like you mentioned above.

    From what I've heard
    Microsoft and Steam  both disagreed in the later stages of development and took it down due to contractual
    issues between the two companies. Steam didn't want its user base surfing Games for Windows, and Microsoft
    was asking too much for early integration into their useless explorer. I mean lets face it, games explorer
    without Steam integration is useless and an insult to better judgement.

    I wonder what
    they even offer in Games For windows... Do i have to buy Minesweeper now?

    wanted free bank for Steam being able to integrate into the Games explorer and at the same time, thought it
    could sleaze ball its way into free sales by giving Steam users another game provider to browse while
    customizing their Steam games.

    After the deal fell through and Steam realized it would
    have been a grave mistake giving their customers an option to choose other game providers, the deal fell
    apart and Microsoft fell back on glimmering hopes that their Games for Windows would somehow one day
    miraculously compare to their powerhouse counterpart.

    They  pushed steam out during
    the first few update phases of Windows 7, and its unfortunate, but to say it was never integrated is a
    common misconception.

    If you had a stake in Steam you wouldn't want another over-night
    game providers icon sitting next to your masterpiece would you?

    Steam is a service
    that took decades of trail and error to hone and millions upon millions of dollars to develop; Games for
    Windows on the other hand showed up to the party as a mutated version of XBOX Live, and basically became
    available overnight.

    I'm willing to bet millions of Steam users would be first in line
    if Valve ever decided to release its own gamer-optimized operating system as well.

    to conclude, Steam had and still has the integration all worked for Windows because I've seen it work
    flawlessly on my very own PC. Microsoft either humped Steam out of a spot on the Windows "Game Providers"
    list, or Steam pulled once they realized the fancy little trick Microsoft was trying to pull

    "Game Provider" is what is should read to date.


  2. The one part of you argument that's lacking is that any game service provider can
    integrate into Games Explorer for free, I do believe.  (Or at the minimum the cost to sign code for

    Games Explorer was supposed to be a central place on Windows 7 for ALL games
    and game providers on the system.  Steam, Games for Windows, any other company that wants to.

    the Games for Windows icon would be sitting there, just like the "More Games from Microsoft" icon does, and
    just like Steam could and any other provider could.

    Why Steam pulled their integration
    if they had it doesn't make sense to me, and is not something I can know.  I wish they hadn't, as if they
    really had all those wonderful Windows 7 features it would've looked and worked great.

    Games for Windows is simply Microsoft's store for publishers that like to do Windows Live/Xbox Live
    integration and that like to pay Microsoft that extra bit of cash for the "Games for Windows" icon that used
    to be on some software boxes - you know, before digital became the big hit and it stopped mattering.