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Everything posted by AgentBJ

  1. If Steam is not a complete package, Steamworks and CEG would be code made by companies other than Valve but brought into use by them, would they not? Also, I don't split hairs when a client is required to be installed in order to get game data, or start an install. (The GamersGate, and Amazon, .exe files can be stored for future downloads, but once the game is downloaded, they can be deleted without repercussions/restrictions to game usage. They're simply gatekeepers for the data. Unlike Steam where the client must be left installed, and where it functions as the installer itself.) If Origin and uPlay are termed as DRM under all circumstances, Steam should be as well. They're all clients that must be installed to get access to and use legally purchased products, download or disk. Desura's the exception. Like I said, I don't split hairs regarding clients. (What ratio of your games allow that, dare I ask?) If all you need is the website, a torrent file, or a downloader file, to get a game, versus an installed client on your system or something like the GFWL program, then I'd say you're not dealing with DRM. Just a gatekeeping system, which is an industry standard. DRM that is within the game data is another story, but this is about Steam, not those kinds of DRM.
  2. And, in turn, here's the rub: What's the ratio of those to the ones that require Steam to be running at all times? Only two of my Steam bought games allowed it versus the 18 that didn't. Again, outliers that are the exception to the rule. That said, this thread is about whether Steam, as a whole, not as parts, is DRM. It is, by your own explanation just now. Looking for exceptions is fine, but don't excuse the whole service because of them. It only makes sense for multiplayer-centric games. Not single-player only ones, like Fallout: New Vegas, Skyrim, or Mass Effect. A dogmatic insistence on Steam for any game like those is a red flag to me. And here we come to the most detested part of the 'Steam is not DRM' argument for me: "Devs can choose to make it act like that, so it's not DRM by itself." That's laying blame where it doesn't fully belong, and willfully ignoring aspects of the service in favor of exceptions. After all, which development studio programmed Steam, and its partner software, to be functional as DRM, regardless of the whims of third-parties? Never used Green Man Gaming, and I don't plan to until they offer more DRM-free alternatives to all the Steam keys they sell. No, GamersGate uses downloader .exes that require a log-in after running the file to access the data it is tied to. They don't use a dedicated client. Not quite. Galaxy is built into some games with multiplayer, not a stand-alone service. At least not yet. If this happened with a Steam game, you'd have to find some other netcode/LAN handler, like Hamachi. And I'd be more concerned about the sellers of such a game taking away your ownership rights via an active account instead of Valve shutting your account down. (Let's just say I've been on the receiving end of this with Creative Assembly, and Paradox is steadily climbing my most hated dev/publisher list for taking away DRM-free access rights for some of their games from legal buyers on GamersGate.)
  3. I would say it does. Remember, DRM is third-party software that restricts access and usage of software, irrespective of other benefits and outliers. Steam is exactly that by how it operates with digital sales, and how if you chose to buy physical disks in stores these days, odds are you must use Steam in some fashion before any installation takes place. Now, if Steam worked the same way GOG's Galaxy service and website do now, and if by buying disks you had the option to get around using it, I'd agree with you that it's not DRM. If Valve's the one with the most distribution power, they deserve the most scrutiny about their client, as does any other company who chooses to use them and only them. After all, what they do, others in the industry tend to mimic. (Although, after that BBB F rating, we may see some improvements where it counts.) I will say I'm disappointed, but not surprised, at how you're trying to spin my views from my last post. If I'm only seeing Valve's evils versus EA's, then I would have no qualms about buying everything I could through them where it wasn't possible with GOG, wouldn't I? Unless this went past you before: "Think about their current collective library sizes, and then think about how difficult it would be to refuse to use such a service if they did something you hated, yet were the distant gatekeepers of hundreds or thousands of dollars of your legal purchases. (Origin has 11 of my games. Steam, when I stepped away, had 20.)" As for GOG, and Humble and Desura, I'll end up repeating myself unto oblivion if I go into a full reply, so I won't bother beyond this: One complete download goes everywhere easily, no questions asked, and even after an account shut-down. While we're at this though, would you mind not using the publisher as a scapegoat when it comes to explaining bad business and DLC practices, especially with EA? Beyond that, I'd like to know how you can say, with 100% certainty, that it's always EA making these companies do what they are, versus EA only approving their choices and then getting the flack from it? If you remember Greg Z's statement upon leaving Bioware, about how much rope EA gave them to hang themselves, you'll get why I see devs and publishers as separate problem-makers, not solely the publisher.
  4. Easy answer: Do you have the option to use it or not in order to get the same data you could get with a direct download/DRM-free option? With Steam, no. Desura, GOG and Humble? Yes, yes, and sometimes. Secondary answer: Is it required to be running at all times, even for single-player only games that would have no use for the online functionality the client offers? It's becoming more common, so yes, Steam is DRM in that sense too. Now, if Valve made it so you can get DRM-free downloads without using the client, you'd have a case for it not being DRM, and for that DRM type change on the San Andreas page. (It's misleading if you ask me.) EDIT: By the way, to answer that challenge you put forward months ago that I never got to, Expack already said why it would be a waste of time for me to bother with those few DRM-free games on Steam. They're ignorable exceptions, and beyond that, none of them, when bought through Steam, can be direct downloaded without the client. As such, it's an irrelevant argument that ignores the existence and nescessity of the client. What's more, I've refused to use Steam for three years, and I won't do otherwise until Valve gives me reason to use their service without fear of loss, or reclamation, of my legal purchases by the devs and publishers who use that service. (They can call them licenses all they want, but unless I have to give those games back within a certain timeframe of purchase, like a rental, I own that data post-sale.) You also want to know why I use Origin but not Steam? Think about their current collective library sizes, and then think about how difficult it would be to refuse to use such a service if they did something you hated, yet were the distant gatekeepers of hundreds or thousands of dollars of your legal purchases. (Origin has 11 of my games. Steam, when I stepped away, had 20.) I don't have this problem with GOG, even though I've spent well over a grand with them, since they sell data packets that work like disk installers and don't require any extra software to obtain in the first place. The downloadable extras are a bonus.
  5. If you're trying to imply that EA and Ubisoft using clients on their games is not fine, then the same should apply to Steam and all companies that force its use. You can't have it both ways. Either an installed client is DRM, or it's not. "Is there something that gets screwed with it?" - "You may cease use of a Subscription at any time or, if you choose, you may request that we terminate your access to a Subscription. However, Subscriptions are not transferable, and even if your access to a Subscription for a particular game or application is terminated, the original activation key will not be able to be registered to any other account, even if the game or application was purchased in a retail store." I would say this part of the ToS would apply pretty well, seeing as the deletion of keys/games from your account means even the physical disks are useless post-sale. - Then why type that sentence? - If it's true, then that's all that needs saying. - If your friends are willing to game with you long-term, they'll use what they need above and beyond the default. - You're still not limited by one service, or a log-in. Bad example, as I said. - You did later on, hence the inclusion. - Are you trying to imply Valve cannot do something Amazon and GamersGate have made standard with their game downloads? Or that Desura and GOG have done with their games? - GCS has seven games to its name, only one of which can be played outside of Fire devices. So, no, it isn't DRM. More like platform restrictions. - If Steam is not meant to act as DRM, why do so many newer games on disk funnel you back to Steam, or Origin or uPlay, to activate them and sometimes download them instead of using the installer? Isn't buying a disk for installing directly to your system, without having to use clients?
  6. OK. #1 - Too broad of a claim, and your examples are fallacious/hyperbolic to boot. - Browsers don't ask you for a log-in, except Chrome for Google content and even then, optional. - E-mail can be retrieved on browsers and clients. Bad example. - Skype? Also a bad example because of how many options we now have for voice-chatting and text-messaging, even on smart-phones. - Torrent data access isn't limited by which one you have. Another bad example. - Twitch is a preferred live-streaming service for games thanks to fewer hurdles related to copyrights versus YouTube, among other things. The smartphone/tablet apps for it are also numerous and meant to get around how poorly the service would stream on a smartphone/tablet browser. Still optional but there you go. As for Steam, it's an exclusive content provider for a considerable amount of purchased content in one entertainment sector, which is the key here: Purchased content. Steam's actually very similar to Amazon's video content in that regard, even more so since you have to download a piece of software and access your account through it to authorize and process your downloads, as I've had to do with the TV episodes I've bought from Amazon. (By the by, Pause Download exists on both services and GamersGate's download system, so moot point about the downloading thing unless you're on a slow connection like me but aren't very patient.) And as I'll say in #3... #2 - Never said it was a problem by itself, way back here: http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/topic/1075-analysis-why-steam-isnt-drm/?p=4896. Reselling? Less of an issue with me than refunds for unfit-for-purpose games, also stated in this post: http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/topic/1075-analysis-why-steam-isnt-drm/?p=4910, and lending to friends, both of which I can do with GOG purchases. (I've yet to run across a game I wanted a refund for with GOG, but still nice to know they're that confident in their products/game offerings.) Valve however doesn't have refunds as a company policy, despite how much they make in sales alongside how many broken-at-launch games they allow to be sold through their service. Yes, that's a fault of the devs/publishers, but it wasn't their personal approval that got them on Steam. That was Valve's decision. #3 - Actually, they are. In Steam's case, you have to use the client you claim to be not-DRM to download anything purchased from the service on your account, DRM-free or not. This isn't true with Desura, nor GamersGate, nor Amazon's game downloads but it is with the Origin and uPlay clients, both of which are considered DRM here. (Steam also asks for approval of a new system to access your games, which I didn't have to do with Origin between my systems.) If Steam's client isn't DRM, or an extension of/part of another, considering CEG and Steamworks, it should not be the only way to get your game data from the service, nor should it, at any time, be able to keep games from being launched without a log-in. #4 - Yeah, you're ignoring something here: Many of these access changes are made months or years after the other versions were on sale in other storefronts along with Steam. That kind of business decision makes no sense to me, so it can't be for market penetration reasons. Likely consolidation ones. If Steam isn't DRM, what prompts that kind of change? I'll make my response short: If Valve allows direct downloads from their website like Desura, GOG and GamersGate, and the client is only necessary for things related to multiplayer netcode or the Steam DRM, I'll agree that it isn't DRM. Much of what Valve doesn't allow that I've focused on are things their competitors have done.
  7. 'Evil' is an excessive label here, as is 'anti-consumer.' However, that comment about FTP servers? Bad analogy because there are hundreds of those on the Internet. PC gaming? We've got around seven major names (Steam, Origin, uPlay, GOG, GamersGate, Humble and Desura), with Valve being the majority holder of data access. That's not 'penalties of the times' as much as consolidation to one, or very few, services in one entertainment sector. And as some of these companies have shown, they'll change your ability to access games you bought on other sites, on their whims, usually for little to no foreseeable reason. See also: Bethesda, Creative Assembly and Paradox Interactive. (In GOG's case with the Fallout series, I'd already purchased the games before Bethesda stepped in, and my proof of ownership hasn't been taken or altered. Not so in GamersGate's case with my Medieval II: Total War purchase, which also took my CD Key record.) As for, "I don't consider a special client required for games to be downloaded as a DRM," okay then why did you say further down that there's no other step when Steam validates your install during the first usage of any game's .exe file? Without that step, which takes the client being active and your account logged into, your game won't run. Further, if the client is required downloading game data and yet does nothing without an active log-in to your Steam account, how does that mean it isn't DRM? The client handles a lot of aspects of your account that the website doesn't, let's not forget. I may not have mentioned Origin and uPlay very often, but don't take that as me not being aware of that fact. (I use both for 5 and 2 games respectively.) What separates GOG and Steam is the requirement of a program that is useless by itself without an active log-in, but which you have to have to fully use, or access, your games. (I'm assuming you don't have a Desura account because that's a false claim about the client.) As for your 'trust' comment, keep in mind that in Valve's TOS, it says this in Section 10, Part B: "You may cease use of a Subscription at any time or, if you choose, you may request that we terminate your access to a Subscription. However, Subscriptions are not transferable, and even if your access to a Subscription for a particular game or application is terminated, the original activation key will not be able to be registered to any other account, even if the game or application was purchased in a retail store." The use of 'subscriptions' rather than 'purchased games' is the worrying part; the amount of business being moved to Steam with those terms detailing what you buy from them says to me that game ownership is still a foreign concept to sellers versus buyers. Gabe's statements about Valve wanting to turn Steam into a self-publishing platform notwithstanding, but very much considered. As I said back here, - http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/topic/1075-analysis-why-steam-isnt-drm/?p=4975 - if ease-of-use and market penetration were the main reasons for this move to Steam, then there's no reason to load retail disks with Steam-locked installers, to say on the boxes "Steam Account and Online Verification Required", or to restrict a buyer's ability to access the game to one client/service.
  8. To put it mildly, and I never said what you're claiming in the second line. Only that the program can keep you from playing games, I.E. other software, on your system without an active log-in. That's a DRM quality: Post-sale control and or restriction of software use. (Steam scans your software and hardware as well if you allow it to, let's not forget.) As for why I consider Steam's client to be DRM, and why I think it should always be considered such: Without it, it's impossible to get access to, or download, your legal purchases, DRM-free or not. And unless I'm mistaken, Steam games, once downloaded, have to have their installations finalized. However you look at it, being a Steam user means being dependent on the client for something, usually something related to your account and the games recorded as purchased on it. I've yet to see Desura demand this of me for my purchases, which is part of why I don't consider that client DRM like Steam; I say that also because Desura's developers have not made tools exclusively for it that can function as DRM. It is strictly a content delivery system, and once that is done, how much you wish to use it is up to you. If the Steam client never was DRM by its lonesome, it has been made into a host for such systems thanks to Valve's creation of Steam DRM and CEG.
  9. Considering the hysteria (or is it?) you let your post run wild with, a response more in-depth than this would be a waste of time:
  10. If Bethesda restored GOG's ability to sell the Fallout titles they'd been selling for years already, not at all. Their download assistant software is elective to use and the other examples you tried are nonsensical, except where browser compatibility and newer tech like HTML5 are called for. As such, we'd rightly call the people who made those kinds of moves foolish. As for, "Now we're approaching games encumbered with DRM, but who's imposing the DRM?" Who makes the choice of what service(s) handle access? If, as you say, "...developers and publishers decided to distribute only via Steam, that's their freedom; no one is forcing them to distribute solely through Steam," then there was a reason, to them, to restrict access to just that platform, or retroactively change access to that service alone. If it were ease-of-use and market penetration, we would not have retail copies that funnel buyers back to Steam or cases like the Total War games and Crusader Kings II on GamersGate being made Steam-dependent and their original versions removed from the site. Multiplayer I could see as a reason, given the slow death of Gamespy and the like, but many Bethesda games, Fallout and TES, are single-player only. Modding? Unlikely. It's too new of a change to Steam and too well established outside of Steam. That and most opinions I've heard about Workshop are not favorable when things like Nexus are still going strong. If it was more fair pricing due to fewer physical copies to make, then physical disks in stores would not cost the same as the digital version. (Not quite a dead horse to me, because if that wasn't true, we wouldn't see so many people saying, "Oh, I'll get it on sale.") Yeah, I realized that a while after I stopped editing the post. However, I do stand by what I've said in instances where this isn't the case. Because there's a distinction between simple files and an executable which moves them where they need to be. On that note, the .bin files from GOG are not executable by themselves; CDProjeckt uses that installer system because of the fixes older games, and sometimes newer ones, need to run on modern systems that they've put in place. Convenience, yes. Unnecessary? No. Where I make the distinction also is direct download versus client access, and I've said that before. Just like with Garrett, I realized that too late after the post was last edited. I never liked that 'perfect world' phrase; too easy an excusal of problems. Otherwise, it has always been the publisher/dev choice to add DRM, as well as which services have, exclusive or not, permission to sell keys and allow data access, which leads to... And here is where I have to recall this point I made several posts ago: "One, or many, within the dev/publishing companies that release Steam-only games have to make a conscience choice to, starting from a DRM-free build, only offer the game through one client and then distribute keys from that client to other sellers. That's not laziness, that's business choice, and by going that route, yes, the client becomes the DRM because it's the only software through which you're allowed access to your legal purchase." The distinction I make from GOG in Steam's case, as well as Origin and uPlay, is if game data access via a client if required or not. In their cases, it is, and because of that, DRM-free status of the game or otherwise, I see them as DRM. Again because there is, by the choice of the companies that put those games on the market, no other way to initally access these DRM-free games.
  11. Difference being if you have everything you purchased from GOG stored offline, the site going down wouldn't hurt you. You have the installers and the data packets. If Steam had this happen, every game you'd yet to download, or that you lost crucial files for, would be lost to you. Both services need servers for data access by users, it's true, but one needs to install a client to allow you access while the other only demands the installer and data downloads from their website. Make sense? http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Trine - And yet, looking at this site's entry for it, and GameCopyWorld's, Trine has Steam DRM for that platform and SecuROM through retail. The Desura and Humble stores both funnel buyers to Steam, even though Desura is also a client service and Humble at one point in the past allowed a DRM-free download directly from them. The San Andreas example you had is also the only example of the Steam version being patched to DRM-free that I can find, whereas I have named at least five games which have done the opposite. It means you're willing to not acknowledge this part of what you said: "...with client closed." That distinction shouldn't be as necessary as it is. If that was true, this site would not have a DRM listing within the first few lines of text on this page: http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Steam By making it essential, despite DRM-free games being sold on it, the client becomes the DRM. It's extra software that needs to be installed and log-ins processed through, just like Origin and uPlay. (Desura never requires client execution after your games are installed with it, so I make an exception for it here.) I think that first part is obvious, but: Direct download versus third-party software installation for access. The last part is hyperbole, and non-sensical; What Steam, like Origin and uPlay, can do is block you from playing games installed on your hard drive without the client running and your account accessed. Steam doesn't in their cases, so what's stopping Bethesda from restoring GOG's ability to sell the version they already had? If Steam alone isn't DRM, this shouldn't be happening. Are you allowed to download games that need it without the client installed, yes or no? As I said, if you have no choice but to use the client, even though the game is DRM-free, the client is the DRM. It's unnecessary software in either case, unlike drivers and the like, and it's being made into necessary software more and more each year, despite the existence of GOG, Desura, Humble, GamersGate and DRM-free games being sold with it. Same as the response I gave two instances above. If we always had a choice about how to get games we buy, and were not so dependent as a PC market on this one service, I'd agree with you. I'm not one to allow Valve's service leeway here; they control a lot of game and data access, by choice or not, so they have market control. And, frankly, I don't trust a sole company in their position with digital distribution as widespread as it is.
  12. You're ignoring the fact that access to your legal purchases on Steam can be yanked at any time by request of the companies that put them on there, which is control of product post-point-of-sale, a DRM quality, and there are cases of games on GamersGate and other sites that are retroactively made Steam dependent. Need I bring up Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics and what happened during and after the IP transfer to Bethesda, or how Medieval II: Total War, Crusader Kings II, and others are no longer being sold non-Steam-dependent on GamersGate anymore? And yet it is becoming more necessary with each passing year, turning Steam more into a digital monopoly despite the existence of GOG. And that leads to... No, they're not. (Bethesda notwithstanding, obviously.) One, or many, within the dev/publishing companies that release Steam-only games have to make a conscience choice to, starting from a DRM-free build, only offer the game through one client and then distribute keys to other sellers. That's not laziness, that's business choice, and by going that route, yes, the client becomes the DRM because it's the only software through which you're allowed access your legal purchase. Because I'm about to become a self-publishing author, here's a similar situation using that media field: If the only way I made my book available for sale was through Kindle, Amazon's service, and I didn't offer it on other services, offer physical copies, or DRM-free downloads elsewhere, that would be the same situation. Kindle may not be DRM by itself, but by forcing buyers to use it, however popular it is, I've made it into DRM by making it the sole way to get and read legal copies. (Kindle also allows removal of e-books post-sale, even from the devices they're loaded on. How's that for unsettling?) Now, if these dev/publishing companies outsourced their game creation and distribution choices to a third party, kind of like what Gearbox did with A:CM, and then accepted whatever they were given back, you'd be right. Their decisions were not made by them in those instances, but I've yet to hear of that kind of thing. I'm aware, and Humble does this sometimes. Them I have no issue with because, post-sale, we own that game data and I make a habit of backing up my DRM-free Humble purchases. No, we were discussing the differences between the Steam client, which does a number of things related to game access and installation, and GOG's installer+data packets model, which is a digital-only variant of disk-based installers. The Steam emulation point applies in this situation because it's something that, given the loss of the client that some games depended on, would have to be worked around to let you use what was a legal purchase. As for that last pair of sentences, the initial release of Defender's Quest on GOG, which installed Adobe Air to the dismay of a number of buyers, would be an example in favor of what you're claiming. GOG pulled the game and the devs fixed it within a few days, but as for me, I've seen no instances of registry files being added by games I buy from GOG. And in turn, are you claiming that this is possible with all games offered by Steam? If so, then why the dependency on the client in the first place, or your statement that you might need to emulate Steam if the client suddenly became useless? Aside from what I've already pointed out in this post, among others, it sounds like you're claiming with this that because Steam is a client gateway to data you legally purchased, rather than software built into a game's code, it's distinguishable from DRM like SecuROM. That logic, if true, doesn't work here. Steam, as I said, lets devs/publishers remove game access remotely at their decision, or Valve's, regardless of the use of Steamworks, CEG and the like, and it is not comparable to a similar situation on GOG. Why? Because your account is not a listing of data you can own, like a disk, at all times post-sale after one download. This is why I make the distinction between Steam's client and GOG's installers, because GOG's installers are, given the availability of everything you need to make them work, self-contained. In contrast to Steam downloads.
  13. I prefer to simply not buy a game that forces me to use a service I'd rather not use. Games are not essential to own, and if refunds remain off the table in spite of numerous buggy releases, better to avoid spending the money at all, I say. As for the rest of this part, if Valve was not the creator of the DRM-systems Steam is know for, and if Steam wasn't being used more and more as the sole place to get so much game access, despite some games being DRM-free otherwise, I'd agree with you. Until such time, I have to consider the service, which is software that must be installed on your PC, as much DRM as Origin and uPlay. I make the distinction because there is one to be made, and it means the difference between depending on a client more than once versus downloading my purchases once and using them as I need offline; ignoring the install script possibility, specific installers are not used as much now due to widespread client use, and those software programs can be considered installers themselves. What's the major distinction? Steam we don't own. GOG purchases? Those we own, and they're as close to disk-based purchases, without further tampering, as anyone can get in digital-only form. Your mention of 'registry' files is another fair distinction between these two, as is the idea of having to 'emulate' Steam to allow playing a game. In the latter case, you're circumventing something that, without access to the emulator or the client, would leave your game unusable. (DOSBox, even though GOG games install it in many instances, I don't count in this regard because the extent of its use is to get old games running on modern systems.) As for "Steam does not prevent you from accessing your installed game files," it never will have the capacity to do this unless Steam all-of-a-sudden allowed Valve to remotely restrict your control over those files, so it's a moot point to attempt to make.
  14. And yet in a majority of cases, including DRM-free games like Crusader Kings II, you're funneled to the service to get what you paid for. Until that changes, Valve's client is very much DRM by itself. More so because, in cases like Crusader Kings II and Medieval II: Total War, the respective publishers have retroactively forced sellers to change the game listings to Steam-only, even though the games are DRM-free otherwise. Certainly not, like I said back here: http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/topic/1075-analysis-why-steam-isnt-drm/?p=4896 - " The account-locking alone is not enough to call something DRM in my view." It's when your choice of how to get what you buy is restricted to a single client, when the game is DRM-free otherwise. (The FAQs from Steam don't help your case here because the exclusivity is put in place by devs/publishers, hence they're making the Steam client, and your account, into DRM.) I make that case for Steam and not for GOG precisely because GOG's installers and data can be stored offline, recovered at any time if stored this way, and access post-install is never limited by a client account log-in. Also posted back here was my reasoning for saying that: http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/topic/1075-analysis-why-steam-isnt-drm/?p=4910 Considering I used to work for Gamestop, we made exceptions very rarely in terms of PC game returns, but I worked for them from 2008 onwards, when you could make that case about software returns more easily. Thing is, that was before Steam was a standard on PC game releases, and after we had stopped taking PC game trades. (They didn't sell very well, even if they only needed the CD Key, so we stopped taking trades of them.) As I've said multiple times already, if Steam is the only way to get access to what you buy in a majority of cases, regardless of how much DRM there is in the data you get, the client itself is DRM. It may not be Valve's doing, but it is someone's and that makes the client a form of DRM. ----- Before you respond further, think about this: Let's say both Steam and GOG are to shut down in a week. Now, considering that, which service lets you keep the full installers of the games you bought from them somewhere offline? Not data packets. Installers. That distinction matters because when you are dependent on Steam, which loads data for you in specific locations as a form of installation, for a majority of your games, that means you're dependent on them for access to your legal purchases every time a new install is requested. If Steam were to shut down, it would be very difficult to move your games to another system, because the way you got them was with a piece of software Valve made that did the installs, not the installer that came with the game itself. And I've yet to see them address that fact, which is very worrying with how much money they pull in with that service.
  15. The DRM tools Steam has were made by Valve, and are offered by them to whoever uses their service/client. The definition you used doesn't account for that, and it gives me the impression that you're implying Valve's approach to the DRM they make and offer should not be related to their client. If the Steam-DRM systems like CEG and Steamworks were made by a third-party that Valve had endorsed while solely operating their client service, you'd have a point by using that definition. The '...after sale' part of that definition also holds true with Steam sans the DRM. If the client wasn't DRM by itself, it would never be necessary for any PCGamingWiki contributor to type the phrase "All versions require Steam" underneath the table showcasing where to buy these games digitally. Lastly, if the platform is not DRM by itself, then what is preventing Valve, a very well-known middleman company that is profiting from games being sold on a service they own, operate, and produce tools for, from making refunds a company and client standard like GOG and Origin do? They will turn down games from going onto their service, as TechRaptor just revealed while I was typing this up -- http://techraptor.net/content/valve-removes-hatred-steam-greenlight -- so they have final say over what goes onto their service. Me, I don't trust one company, irrespective of how others may interpret things, becoming a majority distributor of so much media in one entertainment sector. (The Civ V demo caught me by surprise too, but I've played enough to not want any of Firaxis's new stuff, and Valve having such control over so much gaming data...what assurance is there that their users are not at risk of being burned en-masse by something they chose to do?) As I've pointed out already, the DRM being applied to many Steam games, beyond the user account alone, are Valve's own creations. As such, I don't consider publisher/dev choice about whether to use Steam DRM or not to be an excusal of the Steam client itself as not DRM. If it never was DRM by its lonesome, buyers would have a choice about where to download games they buy on other sites and there would be no reason for PCGamingWiki to have to display the phrase "All versions require Steam" underneath the Availability charts. That phrase is there because the respective publisher/dev make the choice to make buyers dependent on Steam, despite the many other options available for distribution, DRM-free or not. As for reselling, as much as companies would like to say otherwise, the less ability consumers have to sell off/get credit for things they don't want anymore, the less, on average, we'll be willing to spend on these things because there's more risk involved in buying things you can't ever resell, much less get refunded for. And let's not forget how common digital distribution is becoming in gaming, so if these two things continue to conflict like this, well, we'll continue to see more homogenization and yearly releases. On that note, I find it very unsettling that the gaming industry is one where it's normal among major game makers/sellers to think that the idea of allowing reselling, something which has been allowed for decades in gaming, will harm them. It will if they're offering products that don't work or have poor value to many of their potential buyers. That's how competition works in the free market system of New versus Used/Second-Hand.
  16. Don't require it, but they give a key for them anyway. (The Divinity Anthology also did that.) Never understood that logic, but it helps showcase what Steam keys are really worth. What goaded about the ES release though was they printed the floppy version of Arena to the disk versus the CD-ROM version, and the Daggerfall disk contained the DaggerfallSetup installer that someone outside the company made, likely for no profit. As for the GamersGate situation, that was why I brought up that idea of companies taking away versions of games and making Steam the only option afterward. My copy of Medieval II: Total War was affected that way, so I got the UK disk instead. Well worth it, I say.
  17. This I disagree with, full-stop: "I'd like to remind you that my primary argument was that all of the things you are claiming is wrong with Steam (less refunds and reselling) are due to the decisions of developers and publishers rather than being intrinsically required by Steam (i.e. Valve is not trying to force Steam to be a DRM platform). I'll also reiterate that I consider distribution to be a minor factor for the end enjoyment of a game, that it does not matter how you've obtained a game so long as you are able to actually play the game." Refunds are something Valve will have to allow in the future, given how many games are bought and sold digitally these days, especially with them; as a retailer, even one of digital media, what they allow to be sold on their storefront is their responsibility, along with the dev/publisher of that game. If a company allows something to be sold that turns out to be faulty, after they give a refund, they take those losses to the company that made the product and get their money back. That's how all retailers work; refusing refunds, for what logic I don't know, will only be allowable for as long Valve keeps their users occupied with other things. And that's what worries me about clients as big as Steam and the parent companies behind them when they refuse customer service practices like that. I remember Gabe talking about the chances of Steam being a self-publishing service, and speaking as a self-publishing author, that's only possible in the sense of how easy it is to get something on the client to sell. So long as Valve makes a profit on things that get sold/bought with the client they made and own, they have liabilities and obligations to their users. As for reselling, the ability to refuse the reselling of digital games does not lie with the publishers/devs who use Steam. Why? Because the client is not their property. Yes, they can choose what kinds of Steam-DRM to anchor their games with beyond the Steam default of account-locking, but they're using tools Valve made and offered. If Valve did allow key reselling between users, the only way I can see publishers stopping it is a full removal of the product from the storefront, which, given Steam's widespread use these days, would cost every legitimate future buyer, and current owner, access to the product. (See also: the removal of Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics from GOG and its current availability, for those who didn't get it there, only through Steam.) On that note, here's a question: Because devs/publishers can make Steam the sole way of getting their game, what assurance is there that Steam will never become a client that is a necessity for gamers to use? What's stopping publishers from pulling their games from every other service and forcing users to go through Steam, like Bethesda seems to do currently? (Look up their ESAnthology release to see what I mean.) You may consider distribution to be a minor factor here, but that means you're willing to ignore how dependent PC gaming is becoming on that client/service for game access, even when it's possible to not depend on it, and when alternatives for purchasing and owning those games are not offered or allowed. That kind of thing I consider problematic and more important to pay attention to as a PC gamer versus the "goodwill" of Valve, sales, or mods. (The latter two will always be around and the initial one is subjective in my view, given what I've stated already in these posts.)
  18. If you were trying to imply that having Steam running for everything you buy that uses it in some way is perfectly fine, you're displaying part of the reason why I let my account linger since 2012 and have yet to buy a game that requires Steam. This strange mindset that some gamers have that client dependency, in the case of Steam, is perfectly fine and few, if any, PC gamers should question it or refuse it. Otherwise, the way that second sentence was worded...that was a poor attempt at devil's advocacy; "Have you considered the idea that doing such a thing could be seen as piracy?" That's devil's advocacy. Asking questions to test the strength of an argument/point, not depending on subjective suggestions as a response. Still, I'll elaborate: I used that example because, sans GOG purchases, most of my PC gaming library is made up of disk-based games that can be installed on multiple PCs, and handed to friends/colleagues of mine to do likewise if they ask me to try them. (Part of being raised in the late-90's/early-00's gaming period, and being a tabletop gamer as well.) The games I own thanks to GOG are looked at the same way, and I don't consider it "piracy" to treat those purchases the same way I do my disk library. It is only seen as piracy now because of how easy that word is to toss around in relation to poor sales (I'm reminded of Greenheart Games' 'piracy experiment' every time that word comes up), how big gaming budgets have become and how dogmatic some companies are with stopping reselling, trading and borrowing versus occasionaly looking at themselves for answers why their products are not selling as well as they want, or only selling well during deep price-cut periods. As for 'unfit for purpose', to me that is when the netcode is very poor, at launch or otherwise, to the point of making the game unplayable via multiplayer (Rome II: Total War and Battlefield 4), the single-player/main game is excessivly buggy, unstable or so lacking in features that it feels unfinished (Rome II and Battlefield 4 again, and Skyrim on both the PC and PS3), or the installed/required DRM blocks you from playing the game or starts messing with your computer in harmful ways. (Alpha Protocol and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory) You're ignoring a difference between GOG's installer system and Steam's. The former only needs the installer and the data packets, and sometimes patches, to be downloaded from the site; after you're done with them, save them to an external drive for later access. (All my purchases are backed-up this way.) The latter, sans making your own offline installer after you're done, requires client installation and account access to get and, from what I've tried, place the data every time a new install is requested. If it didn't serve as DRM by itself, then there would be no instances of games where, no matter how you buy it, disk-based and IndieBox included, you must use it to access your game. (I was a subscriber to IndieBox before I found out most of their game offerings require Steam to install. Even MouseCraft, which has a GOG variant.)
  19. Three things here. #1 - When you double-click on a game executable from GOG and one from Steam, which one opens a client? #2 - If your respective GOG/Steam account log-ins are not active, which one blocks you from playing the games installed on your personal hard drive until it is entered? #3 - Which service allows you to store installers and data offline? GOG is only needed when you need data or the community features. Steam requires it nearly all the time, even after you've installed a game on your hard drive. Hence, GOGs offerings are DRM-free versus Steam's client, or Origin's, or uPlay. The account-locking alone is not enough to call something DRM in my view. Every GOG game you buy can be freely offered to one or more friends, but not your Steam games, unless your friends have your log-in info and you've allowed their IP addresses and computers to download your games. Of course, if they're logged in, you can't also be. GOG also has a refund policy in place for malfunctioning games, something Valve is unwilling to impliment officially, despite how much money they pull in from everything their service charges you for. They are a retailer, like Gamestop, Amazon and etc., so if you bought something unfit for purpose from them, they should honor a refund for it. The only area where GOG lags against Steam is multiplayer, which is why I'm interested to see Galaxy come more into use. If it does allow cross-client play, as they claim, I'll be very pleased.
  20. "If DRM was forced by Steam, those games wouldn't exist in their DRM-free form." - Crucial oversight here: You're ignoring games that, even when purchased elsewhere, have to be registered with Steam. I.E., you have no choice but to use the client to access what you just bought, even if just for downloading the data. So there is dependency at play in many cases. The instances of leniency don't excuse the necessity of activations and subsequent account-locking. "The only reasons it can feel DRM-like is because of the choices made by developers and publishers." - Then, frankly, Steamworks and Steam both deserved to be called DRM, because abuse and dependency exists with both of them. Let's also not forget that Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics were DRM-free on GOG before Bethesda got their hands on the IP, and they're still not being sold on that service despite being restored on Steam. So, don't excuse the service as a whole when there are examples of companies forcing it to be used as DRM. That makes it sound as if Valve never made the tools these devs are using the way they are. Steamworks had to come from somewhere after all. "In conclusion, you can't call Steam, the platform, a type of DRM." - Actually, yes you can, and you should, because every game that requires Steam must be attached to an account to be accessed. Even if said game is DRM-free once you attach it to your account, you had to use Steam to get it versus use a DRM-free download from the site/client you bought it through. Amazon, GamersGate, GreenManGaming, etc. And let's not forget that no one can sell the games they attach to their Steam accounts, even though what is often sold on other sites are access keys, not data. So, for a multitude of reasons beyond executable wrappers and Steamworks, Steam as a platform is DRM. Never forget the "Rights" portion of the DRM acronym.
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