That's not how competition works? It's fascinating and horrifying watching Gamers™ learn in real time how corporations with obscene amounts of money don't play fair and the free market is a load of bullpucky.
The platonic idea of competition they have is someone coming along and building a better service than Steam, they didn't imagine Tencent coming along with more money than the human mind is capable of understanding and buying exclusivity to force people to use their service.
"The service is worse you say? Who cares? We've got more money than god."
And you know what, it might be funny to poke fun at the Gamers™ collectively losing their shit over Epic exclusivity deals, but this could be a very teachable moment. Tencent are a legitimately terrifying company, their practices are... very not good. 😬
If I was in charge of what more lefty/progressive internet types should be doing, I'd say more content like @FoldableHuman's latest video would be positively essential right now:
I'm very serious about this btw, because The Gamers™ are having a lot of anxiety about Epic/Tencent, and as I see it, they're recognising something is wrong and it's scary to them, but don't have the vocabulary or framework to express why that is.
So, why not help them out...?
And I'll be honest here, if there's one criticism I have of leftist spaces, there can be a degree of snobbery to those who haven't done their homework. Maybe we should meet people where they're at?
"Why yes, what Epic/Tencent are doing is a rather concerning prospect...
Because you know what? They are right, that isn't how competition works.
In fact, Epic/Tencent have no interest in competition! Their business plan is to force Valve out of business, so that when steam doesn't exist any more, they're the new monopoly and can make *ALL THE MONEY*
And what happens then, if Valve goes out of business and Steam shuts down for good? What happens to all those games you've bought over the years? Epic/Tencent won't care. In fact they'll probably be delighted because they can sell you games you used to own on their service!
What happens to games that were on Steam, but can't get on Epic's storefront? Are we going to be facing a potential digital dark age with a whole load of PC gaming history just dying with Steam? There's big questions here, and we should all be talking about it more.
And folks who often point out that "well, Valve aren't exactly some mom & pop store!" are missing the point.
None of this is to say that Valve are any better, that doesn't come into it; it's to use Epic/Tencent as a starting point for a further, bigger conversation.
So when I see The Gamers™ having their little heated gamer moments over yet another Epic exclusivity deal, even if it comes from a more reactionary place, the last thing I want to do is sneer at them. I want to tell them:
"Yes, you're right! Let's pull that thread together!"
In this one thread, I've broached issues of digital ownership, games preservation, and disruptive business models that seek to crush thriving businesses to consolidate market share. This a golden opportunity, so use it and talk to people!
You might see someone kicking up a fuss about having to use yet another launcher, I see someone saying "There's something wrong with capitalism!"
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