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Op-Ed: Hey Steam! Games not loading isn’t our problem. It’s yours. Fix it.

My advice to Steam is fix this mess before it becomes fatal to the brand image.

Xbox Cloud Gaming service is making popular battle royale video game 'Fortnite' free to play on an array of devices powered by Apple, Android or Windows software
Xbox Cloud Gaming service is making popular battle royale video game 'Fortnite' free to play on an array of devices powered by Apple, Android or Windows software - Copyright AFP Ishara S. KODIKARA
Xbox Cloud Gaming service is making popular battle royale video game 'Fortnite' free to play on an array of devices powered by Apple, Android or Windows software - Copyright AFP Ishara S. KODIKARA

Seems a lot of people have been having real problems with their Steam games not loading. This has been going on for quite a while, years, in fact. I’ve had that problem before and I’m having it again.

The look is terrible. This is the world’s top games site. Doesn’t compare well with the hard-copy versions of games 30 years ago. Does nothing for buyer confidence, either.

It is that bad. I felt the need to let off a bit of steam, excuse the expression.

This is the situation:

Many games on Steam seem to have exactly the same issues.

There are “fixes” available online. They’re all the same and they can be very time-consuming.

Steam support tried hard, (and due credit to them for the help), to help me by giving me the same fixes.

They didn’t work.

To simplify the many issues involved:

Saving and loading are fundamental to all digital technologies.

There are no good or even rational reasons why they should fail.

The story is supposed to be “Load game, play game, save game, open game later”. Nothing else is necessary.

I’ve seen this sort of dysfunction before on an agency database which saved data in the wrong places, wiped new data, etc. The system cost us millions and it never worked properly.

…But it didn’t go on for years on end. It was a systemic error in the saving and loading processes.

You can spend hours or days on a game which is then lost because it won’t load. This leads to a couple of unavoidable points to be made:

I didn’t pay to go on hours-long useless forensic-level rummaging epics around my own system which results in the game still not loading.

Nor do I see why I should have to try to fix something that is clearly based on someone else’s system issues.

I don’t know how old the Steam system is, but it’s showing classic signs of not handling data. Older games like Age of Empires seem quite OK on Steam.

Allowing for the quirkiness of more recent games, it’s quite possible there are some added bliss for users from the guys who think game testing is a waste of time.

That said, it’s extremely unlikely that everyone’s so blasé about high-value games.  They should run properly, and not be a problem for saves and loads.  

This IS a problem. It’s a lousy user experience to start with. If so many different games are having the same problem, it’s more likely to be system issues than anything else. This is not quite a no-brainer, but close.

Buy another game that doesn’t run or will never load? No thanks. My advice to Steam is fix this mess before it becomes fatal to the brand image.

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Disclaimer
The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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