I can see things from their point of view, certainly. Why sell a game that, once installed, provides a back door for the competition? Valve has also been lobbying hard for third-party publishers (like Activision and EA) to start including Steam's native DRM solution, which again could shut out competing services (like Impulse's Goo DRM).
Then again, the ever-outspoken Derek Smart published a very detailed counterargument on Gamasutra as to why the boycott itself was rather foolish, essentially making Modern Warfare 2 a Steam-exclusive title. The "problem," Smart claimed, was that Steamworks, as a unified suite of services for multiplayer, auto-patching, storefronts, and authentication, offers much more value to the publisher and developer. Essentially, Steam rules because it's simply better. Steam boss Jason Holtman showed the same sentiment on Gamesindustry.biz:
To our minds, we think that if you're making a good game and it's got the services a customer wants it should get out in as many channels as possible. If you have a good portal and you're good at collecting money from folks, and attracting them, there's no reason why you shouldn't be.
And I think he's right, in that sense. I choose Steam because it's awesome, and the closest PC gaming has ever come to a platform like PSN or Xbox Live, with the added advantage of there actually being competition. While the potential for abuse is there (as Randy Pitchford complains), there's always an alternative. Should Valve start to throw its weight around too much, I might just choose Impulse, since it has Sins of a Solar Empire on it. Just, for God's sake, don't sell it on Games for Windows Live. Please.
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