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Friday, February 01, 2008

Steam Support Is A Joke

Seriously, Valve should be embarrassed.

First, you don't get an automatic support account with your Steam account. Apparently they think Steam will work so fine you don't need one.

Secondly, they're wrong.

Thirdly, when you click "Contact Support" on the page "Contacting VALVe Billing And Support" - you see this:

You don't have to be a seasoned interface designer to realize that's a whole page of fuck up right there. Oh, and that "Contact VALVe Billing And Support" page has been rated a whopping 21%.

So basically when Steam devours your game whole because even after being uninstalled and reinstalled - the entire game is stuck at 100% validation and won't launch, the best Valve can muster to help you out is to have realize that you don't get a link to complain, or an email to complain to or any kind of thing to complain or try to demand a resolution.

Oh no - you get to ask a question.

Gee. Thanks Valve. So I asked my question:

Honestly, how can you be a company of Valve's stature and consider this to be an acceptable level of support for customers? Is this the basis for a whole new platform for which people are to buy and play games? When my game won't load because Steam updated it, broke it, and refuses to run it even after reinstalling it ... I have to register a new account and wander my way through some insanely horribly designed support pages in what was your apparent hope that I'll just blunder upon a solution myself and not cost you a dime?

Seriously? You just broke a game I paid perfectly good money for and the best response I get from Valve, ... oh, sorry VALVe, is to ask a question via some random form?

How about I go into your house, take something valued at $50 and then smash it? How about when you ask why I did that, I simply offer you a stack of forms and tell you to figure it all out and please, please, don't try to call me because honestly that would be quite the bother to me. Really, you should be thinking of me in that kind of situation, right?

So I'm asking you a question. How can Valve honestly have tech support this bad? And while you are considering that with all the muster you can, let me give you a follow up:

I am going to go uninstall Steam completely. Then I will reinstall it. If the game I paid for doesn't load up - do you think I'll ever install Steam again?

Would you? Maybe. Because maybe you know something I don't. But because your customer support is this shoddy - neither of us may never know.

Now, I should give their support one bit props. Because when I submitted that question, the second FAQ listed on their "Thank You For Bothering Us As Little As Possible" page was How Do I Uninstall Steam.

Wonder why that over comes up...


sterno said...

So what you're saying is that I should just get used to the fact that TF2 crashes rather consistently on my system and I'm lucky to play for 15 minutes straight?

This, incidentally, is why PC gaming is on a slow decline. Never had to consider getting tech support for any PS3 game.

Josh said...

Yikes. And you've got a better box than I, I think. I've had some problems and ended up running TF2 in windowed mode, which oddly seemed to straighten them out.

I would say I wouldn't expect a quick response from, VALVe. I googled to discover what others tried. It did finally launch up this morning, though.

And yeah, that was one reason I was so annoyed last night. It's not like this is a singular thing. Like when Sony refused to even talk about a PlanetSide bug unless your forum post was in a precise format and included every log file under the sun.

And even then I never got a solution. Or even much of a response.

Oh right, I got banned for complaining about tech support...

jafo18 said...

I'd hate to say "I told you so" to people with trouble with DRM-contaminated digital-only media (like iTunes, Steam and Live!Marketplace), but I can't help it.
You simply are at the mercy of those who provided the software and practically everyone of their contracts has a "you are screwed"-clause that allows them to get away with situations like this.

So why is Steam support a joke ?
Because the average person is blind to the problems the system has and Valve would have to re-design the entire system to get something user-friendly.

Josh said...

I'm pretty certain that for the majority of Steam users, they aren't running into these problems. PC game problems are often the plague of the minority anyway.

However, the truly atrocious level of Steam's support site is inexplicable. It is essentially unusable. That's not a factor of a DRM system, I know - I've used iTunes' plenty. Apple has a kick ass support site. Apple has a 800 number you can call even if you don't have AppleCare.

Steam's support site is a factor of Val, errr, VALVe's myopic view on Steam. It's clear they spend all their time on projects like SteamWorks and as little as possible on customer relationship management.

Josh said...

Oh, and no response yet from VALVe.