I recently joined this site and promptly gave up on using it due to numerous problems adding my library. I think that the problems I experienced are likely also driving away other potential users, given that the people who look for a site like this are trying to track and organize their collections.
The first issue I noticed was with the Steam import. A large number of games (a full 242!) ended up impossible to match to any game on Grouvee on the import_help page. (I emailed this list to support as instructed, but figured I’d also post here since I found some more issues.) This is roughly ~10% of my library that is impossible to add. The typical problem is just that they don’t exist on Grouvee. Grouvee needs some way for users to submit a game addition, like sites like Goodreads or Criticker have.
But as I looked at the imported games more closely I found more problems. Some games that were imported have a potential match on Grouvee, but the Grouvee page lumps multiple distinct games together. This is extremely common with games that had a handheld verson and a home console version released at the same time under the same name but that are totally different and made by different developers. Some examples of this happening include Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Corvette (2003) (Corvette (2003) | Grouvee). Users (or power users, like Goodreads librarians) need some way of splitting games or flagging them for review.
Problems like that tie into a variety of other problems.
- Some games do not attempt to import from Steam at all (not even ending up on import_help), whether they exist on Grouvee or not. Examples:
- Conflict: Desert Storm (2002) and Sherlock Holmes: Secret of the Silver Earring (2004) exist on Grouvee but do not attempt to import from Steam.
- Pretentious Game, Project D Online, Sherlock Holmes: The Mystery of the Mummy, and War in a Box: Paper Tanks do not exist on Grouvee and do not attempt to import.
- Some games import and map to a Grouvee game, but do so entirely incorrectly. For example, emulated Sega Genesis games on Steam add a library entry for “Sega Genesis & Mega Drive Classics.” This is the emulator itself, and all games are functionally treated as DLC within the Steam database. This entry maps automatically to the Sega Genesis Collection (2006) for PS2 and PSP, which is completely incorrect. (It’s also worth noting that I can’t permanently remove this entry. Every time Grouvee syncs with Steam, it gets recreated.)
- Some games are lumped together or potentially lumped together in potentially incorrect ways even when not suffering from the handheld issue described above. For example:
- “Zombie Driver” and “Zombie Driver HD” are mecahnically different games with different Steam appids. Both import to the same entry.
- “Costume Quest prototype” is a different game than “Costume Quest.” The former has no entry and doesn’t seem to import; the assumption seems to be that they are the same.
- The other Double Fine prototypes (there are at least 13) are all not imported. Some exist, but without the prototype qualifier in their name, indicating a future potential incorrect lumping. Others are already incorrectly lumped, like Costume Quest and Spacebase DF-9, but Hack n Slash is not, showing inconsistency across the site. Others don’t exist on Grouvee at all, like Mnemonic.
- Sometimes games are clearly editions of the same game, but the editions are still significantly different. These are usually lumped together with no way for users to differentiate. Examples:
- Games that have a free-to-play edition and a not-free-to-play edition are not usually discriminated. Examples include Gotham City Imposters and Aerena, which have multiple functional versions on Steam.
- Games with base games, expansions, remasters, and compilation editions are not treated consistently anywhere. See, for example, the entries for the Age of Empires games and expansions. This may be a decision not a bug, but the inconsistency and inflexibility is severely limiting.
- Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened doesn’t import from Steam but it isn’t obvious what’s wrong with its entry. My guess is that the problems are caused by the existence of both “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened” and “Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened - Remastered.” The former exists on Grouvee. It’s not obvious how these related but substantially different games should be dealt with, as mentioned in my previous points.
The combined effect of these issues is that this site is pretty unusable for someone trying to organize a large and complicated library. My guess is that this site is currently losing those users who have the most potential to be highly active on the site, because the site cannot be used with their collections in a reasonable way. Such users probably stick with Backloggery and the like, which is flexible but lacking the features Grouvee aspires to have. In my opinion, fixing the issues with how the database handles games should be a high priority, as it trickles down to all other features and is necessary to retain many users. The problems I’ve found are just from spot-checks. If I found that many issues spot-checking for half an hour, there must be many more that I did not list. Hopefully this is dealt with at some point.
I hope this didn’t come off as overly critical, and that it is useful in the site’s development.