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Why is Steam suddenly bad?


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Posted on May 10, 2012 12:51:17 PM PDT
Winter says:
Coming back to the original topic, I've had *mostly* positive experiences with Steam--just a couple of bumps in the road. I got the idea behind Steam when it started out: I was irritated at how difficult it was to find patches to the Half-Life games given Sierra/Vivendi/Universal/Who-Bought-Us-This-Week's desire to save money on bandwidth by making you go to someone else for your fixes. Steam was supposed to be a content distribution channel between Valve and the player, but since then it's become a lot more.

The downside is, when they partner with a company like Ubisoft (who's been rather naughty with DRM these days), the partner gets to dictate the terms. So before I buy a game off of Steam that isn't a Valve title, I always check the fine print to see if it's going to use Macrovision or SecuROM (with no disc? Seriously?) or have one of those "you must be connected to the Internet at all times or we'll call yer mom and tell her what a pirate you are" rules.

Skyrim's my pet case lately: my desktop syncs with the Cloud and uploads my screenshots, while my laptop can play the game with no Steam involvement whatsoever: if I connect to Steam or I don't, it works. I love the way they've published the Skyrim creation kit, and how easy it is to "subscribe" to user-created content that it'll drop into the world and keep it in sync as the creator updates it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 2:28:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2012 2:30:45 PM PDT
I had forgotten that games used to give you the option to only partially install. Whenever I reinstall those titles now I don't even pay attention anymore and fully install, since I have the space to put them. You are also correct about the spinning of the drive before checking. My family's first computer had problems recognizing titles that did that and it caused a number of headaches. We eventually got games to work, but it took a great deal of opening/closing/restarting before it happened. For the most part though, I still would prefer disc check over other forms if DRM must indeed be used. Well ... that is disc check that does not involve Secu-ROM. Every single game I have owned with Secu-ROM disc check has bugged out and refused at some point in time to recognize that there was a legal copy of the game in my drive. Dreamfall:The Longest Journey did this, Oblivion GoTY did this, as has pretty much every other game I have owned with that feature. Other then that though, I have very few problems with titles using disc check, but not Secu-ROM.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 4:10:58 PM PDT
Nettacki says:
Alright then, I will respect your wishes. Sorry for acting a little out of line.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 4:14:18 PM PDT
Nettacki says:
To be perfectly honest, I never had any major problems with SecuROM/TAGES/most other forms of DRM. Though I can see where some people are coming from, in the end, if it doesn't get in the way of my fun and convenience, it's good enough for me.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 5:06:31 PM PDT
WolfPup says:
Oh yeah, partial installs!

I guess actually a lot of PS3 games do that now, and at least one PSP game that I played had the option for 2 or 3 different levels of install (biggest took up a bit over 1GB I think, though it also still pulled from disc).

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 7:24:08 PM PDT
M@sterCh1ef says:
pc gaming in general is a problem, just keeps going downhill.

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2012 5:26:36 AM PDT
R. J. Satori says:
Heh... what?

Nahh. I don't care for the marketing-driven game designs, but that is certainly not limited to PCs. If anything, it is the larger PC game publishers emulating what' has been done for years on consoles.

In the last few years there have also been good signs of a growing indie game market. That is a very good thing for both console and PC gamers, though it annoys me to no end that so many indie developers feel they have to make exclusive distribution deals with the likes of Valve. XBL on MicroSoft's console, sure, it's a closed economy, but there's no good reason to sign away the market freedom that the PC platform exemplifies.

Posted on May 11, 2012 11:06:37 PM PDT
J. Schwarz says:
I will never buy a Steam game and hope they go out of business. When I buy a game I want the disc and want to play it again in years to come without worrying whether Steam will still be around. How did Steam ever get between a gamer and the game he bought? Only because we allowed it. Now I find I almost never play anymore PC games, and this is exactly what the companies wanted. They want the control, and I say screw them, they aren't controlling my game, I just won't play. Remember they need your money, you don't have to jump through their hoops to play a game you bought. To me Steam was always bad.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 2:38:34 PM PDT
WolfPup says:
Totally agree with you, but if you haven't, check out GOG.com. They're the same company that makes The Witcher, and all their stuff is not only activation free, but DRM free.

They've recently started expanding into newer games, even some stuff launching at the same time as Steam. I've been using them since before their official launch and love it. While I'd love physical discs so I don't have to worry about storing the stuff, so long as you're able to you actually own everything you buy from GOG.

Just picked up Alan Wake and it's (not yet released) expansion this weekend and I'm downloading them right now :)

Posted on May 12, 2012 4:12:46 PM PDT
J. Coyne says:
I don't know if you guys realize this, but third party DRM programs like SecuROM and limited installations are NOT Valve or Steam's fault! They are added to the game by the DEVELOPERS and are thus non-negotiable through Steam or Valve. If you want to complain about these DRM measures then talk to the game companies themselves. Additionally, Steam has served me very well over the years and I like it as a game distribution service. I don't sell my games as sometimes I like to replay them later on, and reselling the game doesn't support the developers who are sometimes very good people. In short, most of those nasty DRM issues caused my SecuROM or limited installations are not Steam/Valve's fault and they shouldn't be hanged for it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 4:40:48 PM PDT
Bryan says:
Except that Steam is a form of DRM all it's own. Another EULA added to the EULA for whatever game. Already covered in this thread.

Posted on May 12, 2012 11:54:38 PM PDT
theres nothing wrong with steam persay, just the knuckle draggers that dont like drm cause it makes piracy and cheating harder (take steam only online games, vac will catch you cheatin, and you will have to buy the game, all be it if you wait youll catch it on sale for 75% off)

you cant resell games, but you see them 75% off a couple times a year when theyre looking to sell to the holdouts.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 12:33:34 AM PDT
WolfPup says:
<<<T. Lagerquist says:
theres nothing wrong with steam persay>>>

As you well know, there most certainly is.

<<<just the knuckle draggers that dont like drm>>>

Ah, random insult. Yes, you're a "knuckle dragger" if you like owning things you paid for.

<<<cause it makes piracy and cheating harder>>>

"Cheating" has nothing to do with stealing, and DRM has little or nothing to do with stopping theft. Before you call people "knuckle dragers" you might want to learn about the issue...

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 3:46:16 AM PDT
Ray H. Early says:
I agree with most of your comment. However games requiring steam do say on the back of the boxes that it requires steam. Maybe if it were printed larger on the front of the box it would be more helpful to consumers.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 4:45:53 AM PDT
Bryan says:
Agreed. The statement was bait and added nothing to the conversation..

Posted on May 13, 2012 10:23:10 AM PDT
Pecos Bill says:
I would love to see DRM go away. It did for music. But I suspect it's something we're just going to have to live with for the foreseeable future, and Steam is about as good as you can hope for when it comes to DRM.

Most developers won't release games with no copy protection. Stardock does, but Stardock makes strategy games that frankly don't have a wide appeal and I'd bet the majority of their customers are 30+ years old. Games that appeal to kids/teens/poor college students will be relentlessly pirated to the point that there are more pirated copies out there than legitimate copies. People who might pay 99 cents for a song that they could pirate for free might not do the same thing for a $50 game that they can pirate for free. (Lowering the price of games might help cut piracy, but they cost millions to produce, so selling them for $2.99 may not be feasible.)

So we get DRM.

Steam DRM is about as good as it's likely ever going to get. At least with Steam, it's a big thing that's not likely to die. I feel a lot less confident about my Heroes of Might & Magic 6 DRM, which is both intrusive in the game and appears to come from Ubisoft, meaning that if Ubisoft one day shuts down their servers (or goes out of business), I guess I can never play that game again.

This is true for Valve/Steam as well, but at least it's a bigger dog; less likely to go away.

Posted on May 13, 2012 10:44:06 AM PDT
Bryan says:
"People who might pay 99 cents for a song that they could pirate for free might not do the same thing for a $50 game that they can pirate for free."

Thing is, pirates only pirate because there is no downside for them. People steal music by torrent because it's "free" they would never pay 99 cents for most of the songs they steal. If people who make torrents available on the web are penalizeded for piracy, they will stop. My friends laugh about their use of games for free that I pay for. No, I don't want to see them go to jail but yes, I would like to see them get a fine for the retail price of the game. Don't all of you get tired of "working around" the issue of piracy? Steam has a lot of attractive features. Wouldn't it be nice if DRM was removed from it?

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 12:21:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2012 12:30:01 PM PDT
R. J. Satori says:
Except for those that did not.

And any that were sold without labeling by mail (online).

Valve, I believe, set out to damage brick-and-mortar retailers, taking advantage of their good faith and return policies with backdoor store application installers, single-use online keys, and even broken installers on the physical media.

The individual customers like myself who were put out by the matter were really just collateral damage in a dirty volley by a virtual storefront against unsuspecting traditional competitors. Valve, true to form, were doing something demonstrably unethical... and as always, it made them a little richer.

When retailers moved to fight back by refusing to carry products that did this, all the squeeing Valve fans had no sympathy for their plight.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 5:51:39 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2012 5:58:24 PM PDT
sysgen says:
Cry me a river. Defending the retail practices and policies of Brick and Mortar stores? The same stores that buy back games from casuals for a pittance and then charge $55 used instead of $60 for new and take 100% of the profit for themselves without publishers or developers getting a dime. A different discussion but no sympathies on how Steam or any other dds has neutered them.

http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/07/06/paradox-sales-are-90-digital-we-don%E2%80%99t-really-need-retailers-any-more-says-ceo/

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 8:14:26 PM PDT
R. J. Satori says:
Leave it to the company shill to pipe up defending unethical competitive practices by blaming the victims.

Posted on May 13, 2012 8:44:27 PM PDT
sysgen says:
That's it? Shill? You disappoint me. I'm quite sure you've used that one already during our last engagement. You remember; when you said "I prefer Starforce over Steam". I suggest a reread on Trolling for Dummies. You know the one. The one subtitled "A Reference for Idiots".

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 9:36:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 13, 2012 10:42:19 PM PDT
R. J. Satori says:
Hey, personally I do prefer Starforce over Steam/Steamworks (as related to my experiences with both). I'll take the raping that hurts less, thank you.

Now I'll grant, part of my reasoning is that a Starforce DRM can be bypassed at install, so I wouldn't have to deal with it at all, while Steamworks came with installers that simply would not function without not just connecting to the Steam network but downloading the entire game as if I didn't buy the thing on DVD at all. That is, the installer was not just "encrypted," but may not even have included the actual or complete software. So, while Starforce broke my virtual drive software (yes, it did), I was able to install the associated game, give it a day's evaluation before writing it off as not worth the hassle, and uninstall (uninstall was a pain as well, but it only put me out briefly). Steam's setup put me out months just trying to claim what I had paid for (and did I mention that after all that time the data was corrupted and I NEVER was able to install?).

I'm not here to impress you, either.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2012 11:18:16 PM PDT
Nettacki says:
All the Steamworks games I've bought on disc installed straight from the disc, no need to download anything else (except maybe a patch or 2). Which games have you bought that made you download the entire thing again?

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2012 12:04:08 AM PDT
Nettacki says:
Actually, I just have a couple more things to ask you:

1. What's your source on the whole "retail copies w/ mild DRM distributed illegally" thing? Nothing I've read actually supports that statement.
2. Even if that's true, I'm still wondering if you realize that, DRM or no DRM, high price or low price, people still pirated the game anyway compared to those that bought it legitimately? PS: I know a pirated copy =/= lost sale, but it's definitely a percentage of one.

Posted on May 14, 2012 5:43:45 AM PDT
mc-Hotsauce says:
R. J. Satori: sorry but you must be doing something wrong...
if you have a disc and try to install, what is the pop up saying?
1. install from disc
2. enter cd key

if you get #2 first you clicked ok to quick on an earlier pop up.
steam is there to validate the cd key and that is it.(every time you want to play)
i have never encountered this empty dvd-rom and a key in a box thing you and many others have had problems with...
idk maybe steam really does hate you...j/k
:)
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Discussion in:  PC Game forum
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Initial post:  Feb 15, 2009
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