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Letting off some Steam: Slow and Clunky App Stores

steam 300x300 Letting off some Steam: Slow and Clunky App Stores“App Stores” are simply web browsers with a fancy front-end. They are all the rage, but Steam is far from a bandwagon jumper. The folks at Valve pioneered the digital storefront for gaming, but why is their store such a pain in the butt to use?
I’m not an avid Mac/PC gamer, but I probably play one or two games per week. I certainly don’t need Steam running all the time. Oh, it tries to run all the time, but I stop it from autolaunching. So when I want to play a Steam game, I click the Steam icon. It bounces in the dock for a while, and then I get to look at a login dialogue as it forces me to sign into my account before it does anything. Once I get past that, I am usually treated to a “Steam wants to update” dialogue box. I sigh heavily, and I update Steam.
Buying a game is even more of a hassle. Because they’ve implemented new security measures, you can’t just log in with your username and password. You have to retrieve a special key they send you in your email. That would be fine, but they didn’t send me my darn key. I had to exit out of Steam, launch Chrome, and then log into their website to buy something. How do they expect normal human beings to give them money when they make it so damn difficult?
I’m trying not to be too hard on Steam right now. They have the right idea, a ton of great content, and a pretty impressive userbase. I just wish it had the same polish as an Apple App Store.