Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I buy quite a few games through Steam, and it's a terrific service, with one exception. Only rarely do I try to buy a new game, and them I'm reminded that when it comes to high-profile releases, Steam is still absolute shit.

Today is a good example. I pre-purchased Mass Effect 2, and then I'm taken to the screen that tells you you're about to install the game. Fine--I assume there's some preloading going on before the game unlocks tomorrow. So I click through all the screens, Mass Effect 2 jumps up to the top of the screen (because it's installing)--then it stops.

No message. No information of any kind. Fail.

I try a few more times, and it refuses to start. Again, no information about what went wrong.

Fine. So I start searching, and very quickly, it's apparent that the Steam client has to be updated to allow the game to pre-load. Why? Who knows? I didn't get any kind of notification that the client needed updating (I only open Steam up to buy or play a game, because I don't want it as an open task all the time), so I never would have known. It would be logical to think that I'd get notified of a client update when I started Steam up, but no.

Fine again. So I update the client and restart Steam--and see that Mass Effect 2 HAS been downloading, but it hadn't been showing up on my games screen properly.

First word: cluster.

There have been problems (for me, at least) almost every time I try to pre-order something that's popular. Either the game doesn't download properly, or activation doesn't work properly, or the game doesn't unlock when it's supposed to. This has been happening for me from the day Steam launched, and I've had three different computers in that time. 


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