>People who were on /v/ back then might claim they had nothing to do with it now, but they are wrong, the majority were completely complicit, there were Steam threads and groups all over the place spreading like a disease, people spewing "praise muh Gaben" memes all over the place.
It doesn't justify what happened then but you have to understand the rise of Steam in the context of physical stores basically abandoning PC games to fill their shelves with more console games. It varied by region but particularly in Europe and even moreso in the UK
you'd walk into any given vidya shop and where PC games once had an entire 'wall' to themselves + some buckets of second hand vidya they shrunk to two shelves with one made up entirely of Sims and WoW expansions then down to a shelf of those only with a single row of AAA shit. It was fast becoming almost impossible to buy physical PC vidya and remember at this point shit like (((Amazon))) one of the few sources of physical PC games nowadays, though they tend to be Steam-locked anyway
really didn't exist/weren't widely used and anyway mostly carried their own goods rather than stocking third party goods.
In this situation digital distribution seemed like a smart deal, since the games also came out way cheaper due to publishers cutting out a ton of middlemen (making physical games, shipping them out, physical retailers needing to pay their staff and rent etc) so even with Valve taking ~25% or whatever it is they could afford to drop prices to almost nothing every sale and still make a profit. Remember as well in the early years the DLC/microtransaction plague really hadn't set in and publishers themselves seemed to think that digital sales were a lesser experience for the customer and priced shit accordingly. Throw in the automatic patches and so on patch hunting combined with expansion pack installation used to be a real pain for some games
and fags thought of it as a service. Also at the time. pushed by Sony and Microsoft, the narrative was PC vidya was dying it was more that consolefags were much easier to persuade to overpay for repetitive AAA vidya and console piracy was much less visible
so Valve gained a false reputation for 'saving PC gaming'.
From there plenty changed:
>Valve got greedy or more likely revealed their inner greed all along
>rising AAA dev costs due to incompetent development practices made everyone greedier
>competitors to Steam showed up that didn't abuse DRM practices letting consumers see they could have the benefits of digital distribution without harming their rights
>AAA publishers started to do their own ecosystems (GFWL, R* Social club etc) which, while broadly unpopular, didn't have the carefully managed PR of Steam and let people see what was really going on
>when those shitty ecosystems died games became unplayable unless it was patched out or you pirated: this showed everyone the real downside of Steam
>the rise of F2P, DLC and microtransactions (along with those digital sales happening on consoles too) changed the publisher's opinion of digital sales: now they were determined to get full price out and massively inflate their profit margins
>F2P, DLC and microtransactions also required Steam to become less of a sales platform and even more of a closed ecosystem
>Steam simplified PC gaming so much the casual consolefag market started to branch out
>7th gen consoles had risen mostly on utilising retard-friendly online multiplayer, 8th gen couldn't coast on this and the casual consolefag market increased its filtering through to Steam and similar services
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