UK Retailers are claiming that Steam's online dominance is killing competition, saying that Steam's integration into major games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops freezes out other digital distributors, and encourages gamers to buy through Valve instead of returning to stores. Some UK retailers are even threatening to stop selling products that use Steam, demanding that publishers release Steam-free versions of their games.
Speaking to MCV , the digital boss of a major UK retailer said “If we have a digital service, then I don't want to start selling a rival in-store. Publishers are creating a monster – we are telling suppliers to stop using Steam in their games.” Head of Sales at a rival digital distribution store agreed, saying “At the moment the big digital distributors need to stock games with Steam. But the power resides with bricks and mortar retailers, they can refuse to stock these titles. Publishers are hesitant, but retail must put pressure on them.”
Insiders have reported that Steam holds 80% of the download sector, and there is concern among some that the success of the service could lead to a dominant iTunes style service that controls the market. Gaikai CEO David Perry told MCV that “Steam has made it so easy for everyone and they have lots of users. But how long do you wait before you take control of your own digital strategy? Like with iTunes, at some point it's going to be too late.” The director of a rival digital distribution platform told MCV "Steam is killing the PC market and it is no wonder digital retailers are failing. Steam is locking down the market.”