MMO business roundup: Steam, toxicity, Kartridge, contracts, dopamine, and guns

What’s going on in the online video games business this week? Let’s dig in.

Steam, toxicity, and Kartridge

The Center for Investigative Reporting (via Motherboard) has a scathing piece out on Steam toxicity this week. Valve has traditionally maintained a hands-off approach with Steam groups, which means that the groups can easily become a toxic cesspit. The platform is accused of being loaded with hate groups, many of which support racist agendas or promote school shootings. Motherboard notes that Valve has refused to respond to questions on this topic since last October.

Meanwhile, Kongregate is launching Kartridge, a potential Steam competitor that says it will embrace indie “premium” titles and small-fry developers. “Our initial plan is that the first $10,000 in net revenue, one hundred percent will go to the developer,” Kongregate’s CEO says. “We’re not coming in just to build another store. No-one needs that. This is about building a platform that is focused on creating a very fair and supportive environment for indie developers” – as well as on social and community tools.

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Wild West Online shows off the old-timey guns coming with its beta

Here’s a grand surprise for you: Wild West Online will feature old-timey weapons. It will, in fact, involve a fair amount of shooting things. Animals, gankers, bottles, sure, but most likely the broad sides of barns. But seeing as how the name of the game implies a certain degree of fidelity to a period of history, it would look a bit weird if these cowpokes and bounty hunters pulled out futuristic ray guns and NERF rifles.

Thus, the designers of the game are dedicated to putting weapons in the game that match the historical era and what weapons were genuinely available at the time, with a helpful gallery on Facebook (replicated below). If you were wondering what sort of guns you could use while either working for or against the law, well, now you know that you’ll have several options. Some of them more successful in a real-world context than others, but hey, video games lets inefficient but cool weapons have another day in the sun.

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