If you’re a PC gamer and you don’t know about Valve’s digital distribution platform, Steam, you may need to come out of the age of 1989 IBM computers and get with today’s program. Steam is the largest digital distribution service in the world, and they cater to a huge variety of gamers with a catalog of games that spans countless titles from just about every big-name publisher in the gaming industry.
While Steam is hailed by many as the best in the business and it offers many great deals and services, there are a few things about Steam that also makes it suck…royally. Now this isn’t just some bash-e’m-up list, but these are the top 5 things that really do make Steam suck.
No. 1: Auto-Updates
This is a pretty cool feature: all your games are automatically updated to stay fresh and current with whatever new changes a developer adds to the game. Awesome right? Sort of.
The biggest problem with auto-updating is that Steam doesn’t give you the option to ask whether you want some games to auto-update or not. For some titles that may rank as a favorite it’s nice to know that it’s already up-to-date but it would be nice if Steam asked you before just automatically updating. For some games with custom mods an auto-update can sometimes result in replacing custom files.
A more viable solution would be if users actually get to see what’s being updated and more importantly, why. I don’t know about anyone else but before I let Windows do any updating I’m always curious to see what it wants to dump on my PC and why it wants to dump it there.
No. 2: Downloads Auto-Pause When Starting Another Game
I’m used to having multiple things running on the PC at any given time. And oftentimes I’m trying to blast through one game in order to get to the next, so there’s always something downloading. I imagine I’m not the only one who does this. So why on Earth does Steam automatically pause all downloads once you enter a game?
While it makes sense to pause a download for an online-only game, or maybe to pause the download while you’re watching a video through the Steam browser, it never made sense to me why Steam would pause a download unless I wanted it to. Basically, it means users have to stay vigilant and Alt-Tab back to the Steam browser to resume downloading.
No. 3: Steam Client Launching When Running The Native Exe
Why is it that when it’s time to run a game without Steam the native .exe for the game still opens the Steam client? It’s understandable that the desktop icon opens up the game and the Steam client but is it too much to ask for that when running the game from its directory to maybe not open Steam?
Technically this is tied to the whole piracy/DRM thing, and removing the need to open the Steam client while running the native .exe for a game would basically mean that anyone could copy and paste the game’s executable and run it from any PC. At the same time, though, trying to run a game without the Steam client seems to be more of a hassle than what it’s worth.
No. 4: Not Being Able To Choose Installation Destinations
Game’s these days are huge, there’s no denying it. While console versions of most games (or at least Xbox 360 versions) are compressed and optimized like most people wouldn’t believe, the PC versions of games are not compressed and rarely ever properly optimized, leaving gamers with mammoth sized products that vary anywhere between 4GB and 25GBs worth of data.
As most gamers can imagine, having more than a handful of games exceeding 10GB can fill up the hard disk space rather quickly. The only problem is that if you get all your games through Steam there’s the problem of having to keep all the games within the Steam directory. This means that if the drive with Steam on it starts filling up then you’ll either have to play hard-drive-Tetris with the games installed or move the entire Steam directory onto a new hard disk.
No. 5: Not Being Able To Play While Another Game Is Launching
This is probably the one thing that makes Steam suck more than anything else on this list: not being able to run or launch any game installed through Steam when another game is installing, launching or actively updating.
If a game is synching with the cloud, preparing to launch or installing some other feature you’re basically at the mercy of said updates. It once took about 10 minutes for Steam to do some sort of cloud synching (again, there was no way of knowing exactly what it was doing or why, but it took about 10 minutes for it to synch a Half-Life 2 update) all the meanwhile there was nothing to do in the meantime. When trying to launch games Steam quickly notified me that another game was updating and that playing a game while another game was updating was not possible. When trying to execute the game from its native directory it tried running through the Steam client once more, with the same notice popping up.
If Steam isn’t going to tell users what it’s updating it should at least ask first whether gamers want the update at that very moment. Auto-updating isn’t bad but when it impedes on playing other games then it starts to get annoying.
Given that Valve seems to continually add new features to Steam (albeit slowly) maybe a few of these peeves will get resolved for those of us who like having a little choice in how programs run on our computers.
Is your Steam stuck in Offline mode? lt;- This guide might help you out.