So, Steam Sale right now. Everyone is in a buying fenzy, Steam is so cool, and etc and etc...

But I have to admit I'm not that much into it.

Steam has too many games. There's a GamaSutra article stating how more games were released on Steam during the first 20 weeks of 2014 than during the entirety of 2013 . And those releases have absolutely no kind of quality control or curation; in fact, Steam has made available for sale unfinished and bugged games, under the "Early Access" system. Sometimes his has led to players complaining about the low quality of the games, usually being told by fellow games to shut up because they knew what they were getting themselves into; a few times, the issue is so glaring that Steam actually takes action and removes the game from sale (War Z is among the best known example, however it's far from being the only one), but not before players paid for and were frustrated by some products.

So, we know Steam has a lot of games. We know those could be broken, bugged and generally unplayable, and more often than not if you buy one of those all you will get is a "too bad, sucker". The result is that many of the Steam pages – the "new releases" tab, the "coming soon" tab and the "deals" tab – are useless as far as game discovery goes. All of them have very long lists of mostly unknown game, without any kind of quality assurance or even a hint that they are not simply too bugged to be playable. Considering how Steam is often used by indie developers as the main (or only) venue to sell their games, the result is that even the good, polished indie games get lost in a sea of potentially sucker traps.

One way out of this, in theory, would be the "best selling" tab. Good games sell, so the highest quality games would be found there, right? Wrong. Hype, marketing, sleazy tactics (War Z's similar name to Day Z is a good example) and many similar factors can lead to a bad game selling far more than a good one. This is very often seen in Apple's AppStore, in which the top selling apps for each category are often scam apps or extremely bad products (see all the "wonderful" Flappy Birds clones), and in which there are even companies who work into creating fake ratings to push an app into prominence.


Of course, Steam has a lot of great aspects, too. As someone who's not American, and in a country in which many games are not released, being able to buy games that would never have been released here is great, more so without having to pay import fees that are often more than twice the cost of the original game.

But I believe the amount of choices given by Steam is actually an illusion. If you walk in a store filled with almost endless rows of products, but you are told that many of those are half broken, and that it's only possible to tell the difference by carefully browsing one by one (and sometimes not even then)… Are you really going to bother looking around? Or would you rather have less choices, but knowing that everything you see is a high quality product?