Some UK retail chains are drawing a line in the sand on the digital distribution front, by refusing to stock PC titles that come packaged with a Steam client. The Russian publisher 1C said that at least one major outlet sent a message to game publishers that Steamworks-enabled PC games would no longer be stocked.
1C publishing director Darryl Still called out the rivalry in an interview with CVG. "Their [Steam's] confidence in their offering, which pays no heed to any rival in-store activities, compares favorably to that of the retail chains -- who recently sent a command to publishers that if they include Steamworks in their title it will not be stocked," said Still. "Those guys need to grow up, stop bullying, and focus their attentions on making their offerings as attractive as the people they are obviously looking over their shoulders in panic at."
Ouch. Still also compares the profit margin and timing of digital distribution versus retail. He claimed that a game sold through a digital partner can make twice as much money, and that money will go into the company coffers three or four months sooner than it would from a retail chain.
This echoes a report from MCV in November of last year. At the time, two unnamed UK retailers threatened to stop selling Steam-supported games. Now, it appears some retailers are making good on those threats, as the rivalry continues to heat up.