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Why is Steam suddenly bad?


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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 12:25:24 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2009 12:37:00 AM PDT
R. J. Satori says:
You cannot disable automatic updates when first installing a game from DVD.

While you may not notice it on a high-speed connection, watch your bandwidth usage with a monitor. Steam may not "pop up" advertisements, but it downloads them constantly so long as there is any available bandwidth and there is any advertisement that you haven't already downloaded to your machine. The Steam client greedily claims priority over bandwidth, for that matter -- easily observed when you aren't lucky enough to have much in the first place.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 1:15:07 AM PDT
Noliving says:
Yes you are correct that you can't disable automatic updates when first installing a game from a dvd. I have watched the bandwidth monitor usage before, multiple times, I have yet to see it download anything when I have the pop up feature disabled even when they have pop ups available.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 3:09:38 AM PDT
TheNilvarg says:
That's patently false. Un-American would be the government regulating software. This situation is a private entity choosing how their private property is used. The right of a private entity to have control over his/her property is a fundamental American principle. Remember. You don't own a game. You just purchase a license for personal use of it.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 3:38:33 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2009 3:58:52 AM PDT
R. J. Satori says:
Would you say that about a book, Nilvarg? Do you not consider that you own the books on your bookshelf, with the right to sell, copy, highlight, footnote, illustrate, or even take an xacto knife to and rearrange into something that suits you better?

The idea that software is some magical property that the creator or owner or publisher of has the right to control all copies of once SOLD (who ever signed a licensing agreement before laying down their cash for a video game at Wally World? What clerk ever demanded agreement to said limitations before accepting a customer's cash?) to private individuals is something else that could do with challenging.

You bring up government regulation out of the blue as well. Quashing abusive business practices does not equate to government regulation.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 5:43:38 AM PDT
Bryan says:
hmmm. I have to disagree. There is nothing non-invasive about steam. Fighting piracy is a "spy vs. spy" comedy. The difference with Steam AND securom vs. without them is that all of the people who pay for their software get to participate in the comedy real time. The bottom line for for this game purchaser is that I don't have a problem with game registration and reasonable verification that my copy of a game is genuine but I don't want to have the situation where I have active code on my PC constantly monitoring my games. It is a presumption that I would pirate if not for constant monitoring. I resent it and they have to find another way. I own all the steam games I will ever own. GTA4 will be the only securom game I ever own. There are several games I'd love to play I won't buy for these reasons.

So to sum up, I don't really care about the argument about the different merits of the two schemes. They are both flawed. They put the load of securing their product on my PC's resources.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 10:56:17 AM PDT
H. Le says:
TheNilvarg,

"Un-American would be the government regulating software"
-Yes, and also if the government allows software companies to infringe upon the Customers' rights unchecked. That is, there must be an effort to maintain a balance between both parties.

"The right of a private entity to have control over his/her property is a fundamental American principle".
-True, that is why I am stockpiling medieval weapons along with firearms and ammunition (seriously) to protect my property - to the death if need be. However, if I put up my property for sale, and someone else bought and paid for it legally; now it is his/her property... it is no longer mine !

"You don't own a game. You just purchase a license for personal use of it."
- No I do not own the *copyrights* of the game. But I certainly own the media that contains the game if I buy it legally, and can resell it or give it away if I want to - as it is my rights to do so; these rights are protected by the First Sale Doctrine. In addition, the EULA cannot precede the First Sale Doctrine - a sale is a sale. I can choose to agree with EULA or not out of my own good and free will - as long as I do not infringe on the publishers' copyrights... or I can choose not to buy the game at all in the first place.

Please remember that in a free economy, the Customers also have established rights and power - especially if the Customers are Amazon Prime Members who has the power to buy with just *one click* ;-)

PS. By the way, you wrote a very... `interesting'... review on Steve Knopper's Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of The Record Industry in the Digital Age. Do you see any similarity between the music industry and the video game industry ?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 12:02:13 PM PDT
They let me download and install a product I have purchased as many times as I want to. I can not tell you how many times I have had to buy a game again because I lost a cd. I know it is DRM, but guess what I bought DRM I-tunes as well. I have no problem with some forms of DRM, others I hate. I did not like Apple's DRM very much or Spores DRM at all. Steam I can live with. I live in the US, I have a high speed internet, and it is extremely convinent. I adhore the piracy of PC gaming, but know it will happen. I wish more companys would be like Stardock because they allow me to do the same thing but minus the online connection required.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 12:22:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2009 12:27:36 PM PDT
H. Le says:
James D. Wyman,

Personally, I am OK with Steam as well. But NOT the Spore type DRM that uses SecuROM 7.x and Limted Activations that you metioned -even if it comes with de-authorizing tool.

As for Apple DRM, Apple already announced that it will drop DRM from itunes ! Looks like it will cost a few cents more per song, but I think that is a reasonable deal in exchange for higher quality download (without DRM).

Here is a quote:

"(A)t Macworld 2009, Apple announced plans to sell all of its music catalog on the iTunes Store without DRM technology by the end of April. That means songs purchased from the iTunes store will play on any music player that supports AAC files, rather than just iPods."

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10157000-37.html

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 2:19:29 PM PDT
I think I'm in the minority when I say that Steam, DRM, Securom, whatever is really not a big problem. I respect other people's opinion about it. You can say whatever you want, but so can I. I've never had a problem with Steam or securom. They've never affected my game playing habits or experiences. Therefore, my reviews are based solely on the game (how it's designed, how fun it is, how good the graphics are, how good the story is).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 4:59:34 PM PDT
Dreaming.. says:
"I think I'm in the minority when I say..."

Thankfully you are.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 6:02:48 PM PDT
Bryan says:
Amen. Why willingly be presumed guilty of piracy and be OK with it? Next it will be OK for everyone to be searched before leaving Wal-mart because some people shop lift there.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 6:52:32 PM PDT
Noliving says:
Technically marty you already are searched when you leave wal mart or those stores to see if your shoplifting. You see scanners near the entrances that go off when you pass them? That would be you being searched.

Posted on Apr 8, 2009 7:13:03 PM PDT
Brian W. says:
For anyone who buys the software industry's line of "you don't own the software you buy", I'd like to paste part of a discussion between a pro-"you don't own software because the EULA says so"-lawyer and another poster who argues otherwise:

Lawyer: "In this context, a EULA is a unilateral contract. In unilateral contracts, there is no requirement that acceptance be communicated to the offeror. The offeree accepts by performance, and the offeree's performance is also treated as the consideration for the offeror's promise. For example, with a click-wrap license, your performance is objectively manifested by your clicking "I agree" (or whatever the button says) when presented with the EULA, and gaining the benefit of using the software."

Other poster: "Definition of a unilateral contract: an agreement to pay in exchange for performance, if the potential performer chooses to act.

"There was no agreement before the sale was made. There was no negotiation before the sale was made. No promise was offered and no terms were set forth before the sale was made. You argue that EULAs are contracts, but the very act of buying software before reading, agreeing to, or even being aware of any terms that might be included shows that there was no "meeting of the minds". Also the only "offer and acceptance" was 'I give you $50, you give me that game'. Furthermore, "good faith" can't possibly be established before the sale since the buyer has no idea what terms exist."

Link to the full discussion: http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/174096756/m/697004397931

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 8, 2009 8:30:15 PM PDT
H. Le says:
Another supplement to Brian W's post above: The Court case of Softman V. Adobe is one of the copyrights cases where the Court clearly ruled that when one purchases a software, one really purchases the software - NOT the license - regardless of what the EULA wants the Customers to believe.

Some quotes:

"Adobe used to try to support their position was that they do not sell their software, but instead merely "license" it. The judge dismissed this argument stating, "It is well-settled that in determining whether a transaction is a sale, a lease, or a license, courts look to the economic realities of the exchange." The judge then pointed out many ways in which the economic realities plainly indicated that Adobe's software is sold, not licensed...
...Clearly this is at odds with the view that software is licensed. As such, the judge ruled that Adobe was selling their software, not licensing it. Most other commercial software sold at retail is still sold in exactly the same way that Adobe was selling their software in 2001. Yet more evidence that most software is sold, not licensed.

Link to the quote above: http://cryptome.org/softman-v-adobe.htm

"Softman didn't make any copies, they just bought bundles of Adobe software and resold the individual programs separately. Adobe said that's not allowed because their sale of software to Softman isn't really a sale, but a license. But the judge says if the transaction has the form of a sale, it's a sale.
"The Court understands fully why licensing has many advantages for software publishers. However, this preference does not alter the Court's analysis that the substance of the transaction at issue here is a sale and not a license," Judge Pregerson writes. If you put your money down and walked away with a CD, you bought that copy, EULA or no EULA."

Link to the quote above: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/5628

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 12:20:37 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2009 12:22:26 AM PDT
M. Moore says:
Brian W and H Le, some excellent point of views.

I am still gonna go with Steam here, but only because I feel Steam is a very cutting edge piece of technology, just like iTunes is.

However, I feel that something does need to be done about Steam's current online verification check every time you launch a game purchased (and downloaded) over Steam.

This is why I STRONGLY urge Steam to start shipping the game box along with the instant electronic delivery. This whole fiasco that is pissing everyone off about Steam would instantly stop.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 2:25:55 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2009 2:40:12 AM PDT
R. J. Satori says:
"This is why I STRONGLY urge Steam to start shipping the game box along with the instant electronic delivery. This whole fiasco that is pissing everyone off about Steam would instantly stop."

How do you figure that? You do know that if you buy a Steam game on DVD you get all the same hassles, right? Nothing different at all -- you can't even count on not having to download several GB of data before you can run the game (if you ever can run the game). Nor are you able to re-sell or transfer the game.

The only difference is that you have a DVD and a box. You won't even be able to re-install from the DVD without re-authenticating the software, if Steam even allows you to re-authenticate instead of banning your account for suspicion of piracy, and downloading patches (it seems there is almost always an initial patch involved out of the box, probably a vital omission to ensure that you can't just buy the DVD and crack it to be functional without going through Steam).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 5:16:01 AM PDT
And the alternative is what? Xbox360? PS3? How is the DRM / online activation any different in these cases? Let's face it folks, internet multiplayer is the future and this requires your console/pc to be plugged into the internet and authenticate to a publisher/developer server for you to play.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 5:29:51 AM PDT
Bryan says:
Maybe....but at least I dont have to call wal-mart everytime I want to use the item I bought or fax over the sales reciept.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 6:15:03 AM PDT
Bryan says:
I bought the retail release of Red Orchestra at Wal-mart. When I got home with the disk, I had to go online and download nearly a 700mb of updates in order to play. Made me angry at the time because I had Hughes-net with a 299mb cap on daily bandwidth. I bought the game to play offline anyway because of my 7000ms ping at the time. So basically, I bought a disk with steam on it and a a RO splash screen. While I agree with the sentiment, a disk doesn't guarantee the experience will be any different by itself.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 8:50:18 AM PDT
Dreaming.. says:
Such a question can only come from an immature mind, not you say that you seem to be a teenager...

Afaik on console that are lots and lots of single player games that don't require any kind of activation, or have any DRM on them, what a poor argument to justify your evident lack of judgement.

So, itunes is dropping DRM, because there are people out there fighting the good fight, and you suggest we all should embrace DRM just because of multiplayer gaming?

There was a time when consumers used to have the power behind their money, then we gave it away because bending over and taking it on the rear is the way of the future....

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 8:54:46 AM PDT
H. Le says:
securom_is_a virus (nice screen name BTW),

Even though it is obvious that I do not like DRM, if you read back on my previous posts, I am OK with Steam as well after weighing both the pro and con aspects of Steam (I am just wary of some wannabe lawyers keep telling me that I do not own the physical game disk that I bought and paid for).

IMO, Steam can better serve its potentential Cusrtomers by being more honest in full disclosure of its so called 'service'. That is, make it clear that Steam is a gaming service provider (NOT a retail store) where potential Customers will need to run Steam on their PCs in order to play Steam game.

Also, as I mentioned earlier in aother posts, for Customers who actually purchase a hard disk, Steam should be only be involved in the authentication process where Customers log on to Steam to register the game and get the activation code in return - without being forced to download and run Steam on their PC.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 9, 2009 9:50:14 AM PDT
H. Le says:
Francis E. Reyes,

MMO or consoles only are the way of the future? Do you mean there is no other way?

Let's face it. Throwing out the word "option" and then narrowing down that option to strictly fit your own viewpoint is really no option at all. Here are some more realistic DRM options already employed by other game developers/publishers to take into consideration:

- Paradox: Internet connection is required for the full version of Mount and Blade, but not necessarily on the same PC that the game is installed. Just log into the publisher's website on ANY internet capable PCs, enter hex code provided when you installed the game... and get the activation code in return.

- Southpeak: for all of their games, Customers have the option to choose between internet activation; or call the automated toll free line to key in the CD code... and get the activation code in return.

- CD Projekt : Register the original DRM'ed version of the Witcher. Download the free of charge enhanced version patch... and DRM is gone !

Last but not least, even EA - the DRM grand poohbah whose wicked DRM rain dance brought down the crap storm instead of rain on the entire gaming industry - is seriously considering better DRM option as announced for The Sims 3 release.

* Please keep in mind that having 'better' DRM does not mean effective DRM - as all the games from the publishers listed above (and Steam also) are already pirated. However, less pissed off Customers may very well translate to more sales.

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 7:37:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2009 7:47:07 PM PDT
M. Moore says:
RJ Satori- It's as if your true motive is to figure out why everyone is trashing SecuROM and not Steam. So I'm gonna explain my personal opinion why I think SecuROM is trash:

SecuROM installs an entry in your PC's registry file. After it installs itself in your PC's registry, it HIDES itself with another registry entry, which is UNREMOVABLE without a very specific removal tool released by Microsoft. Not only that, the unremovable registry entry is all hacker-lingo'ed out, as if to scare the user. Guess what? It does. And along with the "FU" messages from SecuROM every time it thinks it is detecting piracy, it makes the PC user feel helplessly a$$-raped.

To me, SecuROM is a bunch of hired hackers who are trying to show off their eL1T3 h4cK3r sKiLLz. When I see that, I want to boycott PC games protected by SecuROM immediately.

Steam has potential. It's ok if their current authentication system is kind of DRMish. They can change. As for SecuROM, I doubt egotistical, paid hackers will ever change.

Posted on Apr 10, 2009 8:26:16 AM PDT
Cosmo says:
I'm a solid PC gamer. I recently bought the Last Remnant and TW Empires, only to discover that I needed to load Steam to play. This is total baloney. There is no way I should be required to ask Steam if it is okay to play a game I paid for. If Steam doesn't like me for any reason, I don't get to play.

Ya, piracy is bad for the PC gaming world. But the fixes some publishers come up with are far worse. Honestly, Starforce? A rootkit on my computer so I can play a game for a few hours? Are you kidding?

So, I see Steam-required games as the death knell for PC gaming. I have no intention of ever knowingly buying another game that requires Steam. I'm sorry I spent the money on Remnant and Empire. I usually buy 10 to 12 PC games a year. Now, in addition to adding Starforce and other rootkit anti-piracy checks to my due diligence, I will add Steam. Like others, I never pre-order PC games.

Like other posters here, I find it ludicrous that publishers are hiding the fact that a game is Steampowered. If they love it so much, why isn't it out there in front? Where's the big banner across the box shouting out STEAMPOWERED? Nah, it's down there in little, itty bitty teeny tiny type--sort of like they're don't want you to know. It doesn't show up in the game specs. Naughty, naughty.

So while publishers think this is great and will help their sales, they aren't reading forums about how much people dislike Steam and refuse to buy games that are STEAMPOWERED! 'Tis a pity. PC gaming was so far superior to console gaming.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 3:15:07 PM PDT
Collin Ainge says:
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Initial post:  Feb 15, 2009
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