Revisiting the Steam Library and Finding Non-Functioning Games

As a “winner” of a Newegg Shuffle, the experience of building a new gaming rig in 2021 has been realized. The addition of a Razer Wolverine gamepad for the system in question has resulted in finally loading some of the games which were purchased or downloaded previously yet never launched. Prior expectations based on many successful launches of hundreds of games is that “it just works”. There were two specific titles in the library that did not work yet did not incur any errors during integrity checks. Implementing the fixes through the installation of runtimes or DLL files which were left out of the install routine was an exercise filled with equal parts frustration and disappointment. From the frustration perspective, the expectation that the digital store operator or publisher would include the necessary dependencies to facilitate a simple and consistent experience when purchasing games. The disappointment angle is encapsulated by the fact that, two to three years after making the product available, the associated publishers and store are still leaving it up to the end user community to fix the issues at hand. A breakdown on the workarounds involved are provided below.

Devil May Cry 5

This well-regarded Capcom title hit Steam on March 8, 2019. It’s a pretty sizable download yet is literally missing two files which prevent the game from actually running. The behavior encountered involved hitting the Play button, ten seconds would pass, and then the play button reappeared after the game failed to load. A file integrity check within Steam said all was well. Two days after the game launched, a user in the Steam Community forum (Gerfodger) posted the solution to fixing the issue. The two missing DLLs (mfplat.dll and mfreadwrite.dll), which are NOT included in the root folder for Devil May Cry 5, have to be acquired externally and placed within the root folder for the game. As of July 2021, neither Capcom nor Steam have decided it’s worth their time to add these files or include them as part of the integrity check. While the game is BEAUTIFUL running at max detail at 1440p, the neglect for fixing this errata over two years after release is inexcusable.

Toki

This remake of an old-school arcade classic is on sale at Newegg for $1.49 USD until July 7th, 2021. The enhanced graphics were enticing enough to revisit this classic. The download was incredibly small yet the game would not load. The consistent behavior involved a persistent black screen. As this title launched on July 7, 2019 and there weren’t any breadcrumbs in the Steam Community forums for the issue at hand, a support case was opened with Microids. Before opening the support ticket, their solutions page was perused as part of the troubleshooting process. If you look at the page, Toki does not have its own dedicated heading and there are no entries under the Support PC section relating to a black screen condition. Response times were solid and the suggestion provided involved installation of the Microsoft Visual C++ redistributable package. Had this fix been published under Support PC instead of Yesterday Origins, it would have resulted in one less ticket for Microids support system. While the package does fix the issue, the link provided in the KB article is not compatible with a fully updated version of Windows 10. The recent and required files to get Toki to run can be obtained here.

In comparison, the console iterations of these games require none of this effort to enjoy. Game developers and the associated digital stores where they peddle their wares need to be cognizant of the fact that not everyone has an Internet service tier which minimizes the impact of downloading (or re-downloading in the event of troubleshooting) tens or hundreds of gigabytes to play a game. Selling a game that is missing the necessary files required for operation should not be a reality in the age of automation and AI. Steam takes a thirty percent cut from the sales transaction while the developers retain the balance of profit from the sale yet neither party is vested in validating and optimizing the customer experience to ensure the product works as intended.

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