Steam "Store Within a Store" at GameStop, GAME UK, and EB

Subject: Systems | October 5, 2015 - 07:39 PM |
Tagged: valve, steam os, steam machines, steam, pc gaming

According to SteamDB, Valve has struck deals with GameStop, GAME UK, and EB Canada to create “store within a store” areas in North American and UK locations. The article does not clarify how many of stores will receive this treatment. It does note that Steam Controller, Steam Link, and even Steam Machines will be sold from these outlets, which will give physical presence to Valve's console platform alongside the existing ones.

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The thing about Valve is that, when they go silent, you can't tell whether they reconsidered their position, or they just are waiting for the right time to announce. They have been fairly vocal about Steam accessories, but the machines themselves have been pretty much radio silence for the better part of a year. There was basically nothing at CES 2015 after a big push in the prior year. The talk shifted to Steam Link, which was obviously part of their original intention but, due to the simultaneous lack of Steam Machine promotion, feels more like a replacement than an addition.

But, as said, that's tricky logic to use with Valve.

As a final note, I am curious about what the transaction entailed. From what I hear, purchasing retail space is pricey and difficult, but some retailers donate space for certain products and initiatives that they find intrinsic value in. Valve probably has a lot money, but they don't have Microsoft levels of cash. Whether Valve paid for the space, or the retailers donated it, is question that leads to two very different, but both very interesting in their own way, follow-ups. Hopefully we'll learn more, but we probably won't.

Source: SteamDB

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October 5, 2015 | 08:05 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Boy, you have been busy today. If retailers were to provide space for valve without a fee it is because it makes good business sense. I would not call it a donation.

October 5, 2015 | 09:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

With M$'s DRM and cloud ready to put GameStop type retail outlets out of business, not charging for the Steam Box hardware and accessories store placement may be the only way for the little retailers to survive. M$ is already busily buying up more gaming engine IP, and Valve/others needs to look for the Steam OS, and its open source software ecosystem to stay alive. Hopefully Steam and the associated games makers can keep M$ from vacuuming up the remaining small entity produced proprietary middle-ware IP that is still out there, and keep the entire Steam OS ecosystem/Middle-ware/gaming engine/graphics API software ecosystem for gaming outside of M$'s control.

GameStop/others must see an opportunity to make retail Steam Box income, in addition to other console systems and not be dependent on simply proprietary gaming consoles that may or may not be of any future advantage should M$/others begin closing things up further.

Valve making deals with these gaming retailers is probably good for both, and should help the Steam Boxes to become more viable for the consumer to try out, and the retailers could also offer assistance with Steam OS related problems for newbies that could use brick and mortar retail location's presence and store guarantees should problems occur. Hopefully some of the MicroCenter, and Frys/other retail outlets will also be offering Steam Box support and various OEM/custom Steam Box builds. I can not blame Valve for remaining silent considering the treatment that they receive from some of the gaming press, and the amount of money the big Monopoly interest has at its disposal to keep Linux gaming from being treated properly in the press.

I think these retailers are realizing the same thing that Gabe realized when he steered Valve towards creating an open source Steam gaming OS/ecosystem outside of any one Monopoly interest’s software/OS ecosystem control.

October 5, 2015 | 11:28 PM - Posted by Dr_Orgo

Seems like a straightforward partnership. Valve benefits from a real world presence and hands on time for potential customers. Retailers need any reason they can get to have customers not just by electronic copies. Also, Valve has a lot of money, so they can afford to purchase the space as needed.

I hope they have the Steam controller as demos in store. It has potential to replace a keyboard + trackpad for controlling a living room PC. It's different enough though that I'd want hands on time before purchasing.

October 6, 2015 | 05:57 AM - Posted by Tucker Smith (not verified)

It's curious in the sense that these retailers traditionally make little discernable profit of hardware. Or new software, for that matter. Used items are so powerfully profitable for them. Steam cannot offer them that. Unless there are standardized Steam machines to eventually be offered which can be price-controlled by corporate overlords or a proflieration of various hardwares which can be resold, I'm unsure what the brick-and-mortars have to gain. Although having no Steam presence or acknowledgement other than the gift cards on a disorganized spinner rack seems to be, at this point, willful ignorance of a now very major player in gaming. Maybe now I can wait until SteamVR matures a little and can be had used and abused for 15% off the new price.

October 6, 2015 | 10:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The stores are selling the non-upgradeable gaming consoles so why not the Steam Boxes there will be OEM steam boxes, and there will be custom steam boxes. Why not sell The Steam boxes in your store and sell steam memberships and re-loadable gift cards cards these outlets could sell those and various Steam Box OEM hardware, along with graphics cards, etc. as most of the Steam Boxes will be upgradeable.

Most Steam Boxes are just PCs made of off the shelf components. The console type of experience/ecosystem is delivered by the Steam Client, while Steam OS is just a Debian based Linux distro. Used games is what put these stores in business, but used consoles also along with now the Steam Boxes, and related hardware, in addition retailers can now begin selling New/Used Video Cards for the Steam Box upgrade market, something not available for the proprietary gaming consoles.

Maybe even those 3d printer stores could begin selling Steam Boxes, I'll bet that if some of the printer stores had Steam Boxes and some related hardware for sale that they would still be able to stay open, instead of just selling 3d printers they could sell Steam Boxes, accessories, and video cards, and even Linux OS classes like the 3d printer classes, at least some could have remained open. The 3d printer makers had the store fronts they could have sold associated computer hardware and software and probably remained open.

The Boutique gaming PC makers will be offering Steam OS based systems as well. Steam OS is totally open source, and Valve has its Steam client running its gaming services so many can use Steam OS and not have to be under any one monopoly interest’s control, with Steam OS becoming just another part of a standard gaming infrastructure that is open to all to improve upon, with any improvements available all others. Steam OS moves gaming in a better direction with no dependency on closed graphics API's or other proprietary OS lock-ins. Vulkan will allow for the same features as the proprietary OS based graphics APIs, and the games industry will not be forced to be dependent on any single OS/graphics API for its survival.

Hopefully there will be some Steam OS based Gaming Tablets and users could use some alternative OS choices in that market also. These Games store retailers should pool their resources and help Valve to brand some Steam OS based tablets, and that would really get people into their stores, for that and the Steam Boxes. I have avoided getting any Tablet based device because I'm not willing to go with any sort of Android only based Tablet with any dependency on the Big Ad pusher's ecosystem any more than I would with any M$ OS after windows 7.

The very Idea of the Steam Boxes, and the Steam OS/client ecosystem is to keep the gaming industry free from any single corporate overlord's control, and make the OS just another part of the open standards based systems/API/software that the entire games industry utilizes. Going Linux based is going the free the games industry to innovate rather than stagnate behind some singular corporate overlord's closed ecosystem business model.

October 6, 2015 | 06:45 PM - Posted by Tucker Smith (not verified)

I guess, then, we'll likely see retailer-branded Steam Machines. 3 GameStop-flavored units at $400, $550, and $700 or such. Which they'll be able to buy back for $75, $150, and $225 and resell at $300, $450, and $600 which may still prve to he upgradeable.

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