Monday, January 2, 2012


I've decided to use my first post on this new blog to address an issue that is currently really bothering me. This holiday season has been marred by a lot ungrateful, entitled people getting bent out of shape because they received free stuff, but apparently not good enough free stuff.

As of yesterday, the annual Steam Holiday Sale is over, and there is a huge crowd in an uproar.  On top of the sale, Valve introduced a new feature this year called the Great Gift Pile.  The idea was that each day a list of holiday-themed achievements would be released, each for different games.  If you earned these achievements, it would get you either a lump of coal, a discount coupon, or if you were lucky, a free game.  Coal could be crafted into coupons and games, or alternately used as entries in the grand prize:  EVERY GAME ON STEAM.  You could also trade coal, coupons and games, if you happened to get something you didn't want or already had.  Users were not obligated to play, and if you did, it did not cost you a penny unless you chose to buy a game just to earn the achievement. 

All throughout the sale, people complained.  While you stood a chance of getting big titles like The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim,  Batman: Arkham City, or DOTA 2, they were slim chances.  It was more common to get coupons, and they could be for anything.  For every 50% off of a big publisher, there were tons of 50% off of some no-name indie developer (I got one for 50% off of bitComposer, whose only game of note is the sequel to S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Call Of Pripyat).  The absolute most common coupon was a percentage off of Valve games.  People bitched and moaned about getting crap coupons.  Never mind that this was FREE, and Valve was never obligated to give us anything in the first place.

And then the big announcement came.  Less than 24 hours before the end of the sale, Valve made a post on their forums stating that they had run out of 3rd party developer games and coupons, and from that moment on could only give out Valve coupons and games. 

People threw fits.  The forums erupted with angry posts by people swearing they would never support Steam again, that they felt betrayed, that Gabe Newell was an asshole, that Valve had screwed over their user base.  People were furious that they'd spent so much money buying all of the games "required" for the contest (most of which were discounted to around 75% off, usually not costing more than $2.50).  

Are you fucking serious?  Is this the sense of goddamn entitlement people have nowadays?   What the hell is wrong with people? 

There is NO excuse for this behavior.  None whatsoever.  This was a fun, free game.  People knew it was a gamble.  But there was no mandatory entry.  In fact, on Day One of the sale, they gave you a free present just to get you started!  Mine was a free copy of Portal 2.  Valve didn't have to give that to me, and I was tickled pink to find it waiting for me.  No one put a gun to my head and said "BUY ALL THESE GAMES OR ELSE".  I bought them because it was cheap and fun, and maybe, just maybe I'd get a chance to win something neat.  Apart from Portal 2, I didn't.  But I still had fun!  

Deductive players figured out that the ulterior motive of the sale was to expose people to indie games that they might never have played before.  The vast majority of the achievements were in smaller games that normally cost $10-15, all marked down to about $2.50.  Without this sale, I probably would never have checked out games like Dungeon Defenders, S.P.A.Z., X3, Dungeons Of Dredmore, or Sequence.  These great games stole the show with the sale this year, and were the highlight of my gaming this holiday season.  

The fact is, Valve doesn't owe us shit right now.  They gave us a phenomenal Holiday Sale full of incredible prices.  Even Skyrim, which came out one month before the sale, went 33% off.   Arkham City was 50% off.  And on top of that, they gave us a fun contest that gave us all loads of free stuff we didn't even ask for.  If anything, PC gamers of the world owe Steam a huge thank you.  Those who bitched about the Gift Pile owe them a huge apology. 

I leave you with my sarcasm-laden Reddit comment on the whole issue:

"Those scam artists at Valve gave me a bunch of awesome games at amazing sale prices, and then had the fucking audacity to offer me free shit. But there was a hook. There's ALWAYS a fucking hook. To get the free shit? I had to PLAY VIDEO GAMES. I mean can you believe these assholes? And if that weren't bad enough, those bastards went and dropped the price on those games, sometimes down to as much as $2.50! They wouldn't even give me the respect of letting me pay full price! And then the about adding insult to injury. If I didn't like the free shit they have me? They slipped in this way of trading it with other people for free shit I DID like. 

All that, and the assholes didn't even charge me for their services. Fuck you, Valve. You ruined my Christmas!"

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