Jump to content

PCGamingWiki will use a Single Sign On (SSO) system to bridge wiki and forum accounts which is ready for testing. You may login using the 'Login with PCGamingWiki' button on both the wiki and the forum, which will soon be the only option. If you have any issues please message Andytizer on Discord.

Cyanic

Analysis: Why Steam isn't DRM

Recommended Posts

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.

 

I think you're misunderstanding something; both Desura and Humble Store have DRM-free downloads for Trine in addition to Steam keys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Why do you insist there is a difference between an installer and installed files? If you didn't have an installer from GOG, any games you've yet to download or lost crucial files for is also lost to you. If you want an installer from Steam, zip up the files you've downloaded and call that an installer. There is no distinction to make between installers and installed files. Remember installers are provided on GOG for your convenience. In all cases, an installation would be exactly the same if they had supplied you with a .zip file and maybe some instructions needed to set up the particulars (which would be analogous to the install scripts shipped with Steam games that need them). 

 

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.

Where are you reading that Desura and Humble Store purchased copies of Trine require Steam? Both clearly have the DRM-free badge on their respective store pages. The presence of the Steam icon in the far right of its availability chart only indicates that you will receive a key that you can optionally activate on Steam if you'd like. It may be true that the numerous retail versions may have some sort of DRM, but there are just as numerous sources where the game is DRM-free.

 

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.

In the perfect world, it shouldn't be. But it happens that developers want to put DRM on things. Whose choice is that? 

 

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

However, Andytizer said this:

Agreed that Steam isn't necessarily DRM. As a wiki perhaps we should take an official stance on this as there's loads of misinformation.

The line stating that Steam is DRM is unsupported by references. Although Steam is listed on the DRM page on the wiki under account-based DRM, much of the same can be said of other online distribution services. The only distinguishing factor is the restriction that an account can only be active on one computer at a time, but this restriction has no bearing on DRM-free games obtained from Steam. If you say this distinction makes Steam a form of DRM, I would remind you that restricting a game to run only on an account that owns it is only enforceable by the addition of DRM to the games, something Steam does not do automatically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may happen with every website in the world. Including GOG.

 

Now, you have installers ok. But with steam (assuming you did installed/downloaded) the game you would still have your files.

If you didn't downloaded the game.. well, why we should assume that you had done with GOG?

 

You are not understanding my argument.

 

How does downloading from a website differ from downloading from a client? In the end you still get your game files. It's not like Steam prevents you from downloading your games once you've purchased them.

 

The difference is the client itself being a requirement, the lack of clean files (i.e: no steam registry or api files) and the latter being a workaround and not an official way to access them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's nothing stopping Bethesda from pulling their games from Steam and forcing everyone to use GOG either. That still leaves you with reduced choices of where to purchase from, but would you complain about it? You're basically simplifying to any unnecessary software you are required to use at some point is DRM. By that logic, what if there was a site that offered DRM-free downloads, but only worked with Firefox? Would you consider Firefox to be DRM? What if the site required you to use a download manager, but after downloading, didn't need to be running to play the game. Is that DRM? Now, what if some game developers decided it'd be cool if the download manager was running while the game is running, and for some reason wouldn't allow the game to run if the download manager wasn't running? Now we're approaching games encumbered with DRM, but who's imposing the DRM? Not the download site, for certain. I'll reiterate, Steam is a platform that has no inherent DRM requirements, and developer/publisher choices do not change that fact. Developers and publishers are free to add DRM to their games on Steam; that still doesn't change the fact that none was required in the first place. If developers and publishers decided to distribute only via Steam, that's their freedom; no one is forcing them to distribute solely through Steam.

 

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.") 

 

I think you're misunderstanding something; both Desura and Humble Store have DRM-free downloads for Trine in addition to Steam keys.

 

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.

 

Why do you insist there is a difference between an installer and installed files? If you didn't have an installer from GOG, any games you've yet to download or lost crucial files for is also lost to you. If you want an installer from Steam, zip up the files you've downloaded and call that an installer. There is no distinction to make between installers and installed files. Remember installers are provided on GOG for your convenience. In all cases, an installation would be exactly the same if they had supplied you with a .zip file and maybe some instructions needed to set up the particulars (which would be analogous to the install scripts shipped with Steam games that need them).

 

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.

 

Where are you reading that Desura and Humble Store purchased copies of Trine require Steam? Both clearly have the DRM-free badge on their respective store pages. The presence of the Steam icon in the far right of its availability chart only indicates that you will receive a key that you can optionally activate on Steam if you'd like. It may be true that the numerous retail versions may have some sort of DRM, but there are just as numerous sources where the game is DRM-free.

 

 Just like with Garrett, I realized that too late after the post was last edited. 

 

In the perfect world, it shouldn't be. But it happens that developers want to put DRM on things. Whose choice is that?

 

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...

 

However, Andytizer said this:

The line stating that Steam is DRM is unsupported by references. Although Steam is listed on the DRM page on the wiki under account-based DRM, much of the same can be said of other online distribution services. The only distinguishing factor is the restriction that an account can only be active on one computer at a time, but this restriction has no bearing on DRM-free games obtained from Steam. If you say this distinction makes Steam a form of DRM, I would remind you that restricting a game to run only on an account that owns it is only enforceable by the addition of DRM to the games, something Steam does not do automatically.

 

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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference is the client itself being a requirement, the lack of clean files (i.e: no steam registry or api files) and the latter being a workaround and not an official way to access them.

It's not like DRM-free games don't use registry or dlls(which is what you was referring to with "api files" I guess).

On the contrary, lots of old games on GOG heavily require it (but I am far from condemning this)

 

And I'm not going to consider "navigating to game folder" as a workaround... I mean..really?

What could be considered a workaround then? Creating desktop icons? Installing a different web browser? :/

 

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?

No, because for the 10th time, we are discussing of DRM-free games on Steam, that for the eleventh time are actually not a legend and don't require anything running in background.

 

Now of course you will tell me again that the problem is not DRM on games per se, but rather the fact that omg we are screwed, if a game is on steam it won't be possible to buy on (say) GOG or gamersgate!

 

And this is even why I came with trine example

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.

I know that it has steam DRM, of course.

I just wanted to highlight that nobody is forced to release steam-only games. Simple.

It's just a matter of willingness and/or lazyness

 

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterexample

So, are you admitting that DRM-free games are not inherently incompatible with Steam?

 

 

 

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.

Wait wait wait... Did you actually read the first post?

Gosh! Of course you understand nothing. Could you please read it and notice how Steam, Steam DRM and Steam CEG are actually different things?

 

And please wtf? What's this conspiracy theory??

How could it actually do anything if client isn't even running?

Besides, I don't know for uplay but even some Origin games don't require Origin running (mass effect 2 being the first that comes to my mind)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not like DRM-free games don't use registry or dlls(which is what you was referring to with "api files" I guess).

On the contrary, lots of old games on GOG heavily require it (but I am far from condemning this)

 

Registry files are only created after installing the game on a certain machine.

 

And I'm not going to consider "navigating to game folder" as a workaround... I mean..really?

What could be considered a workaround then? Creating desktop icons? Installing a different web browser? :/

Why not get a direct link to download those files? You know, getting the game without any third party client being necessary (also valid as DRM)?

 

No, because for the 10th time, we are discussing of DRM-free games on Steam, that for the eleventh time are actually not a legend and don't require anything running in background.

You're required to install a client to get them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Why not get a direct link to download those files? You know, getting the game without any third party client being necessary (also valid as DRM)?

 

 

You're required to install a client to get them.

Yes, but as long as there is really no discrimination I don't see the point.

I mean, of course a client is an additional step I'm not going to argue that.

 

And I understand you see it as a an easily exploitable link in the chain and indeed it is.

But if nobody can guarantee us that Valve won't mess up with it, nobody can even assure CDP couldn't with its service.

 

I'm not saying that GOG gives a damn about its users (on the contrary as I said it's one of my favorite shops), but we can't just see wickedness here and there randomly. We need to be objective and those are all speculations.

 

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: 

Ok, I guess I went ballistic...

But how in the world could you claim that a program (and especially this program after 3 pages of heated debate) can still operate even when closed?

 

IIRC the worst that ever happened was origin (and/or uplay) scanning the hard drive for unknown reasons

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You seem to have a different definition of DRM than your opponents, Mirh. For the sake of clarity, what do you believe something, like a program, a block of code, or otherwise, must do in order for it to be considered DRM?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, I guess I went ballistic...

But how in the world could you claim that a program (and especially this program after 3 pages of heated debate) can still operate even when closed?

 

IIRC the worst that ever happened was origin (and/or uplay) scanning the hard drive for unknown reasons

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. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You seem to have a different definition of DRM than your opponents, Mirh. For the sake of clarity, what do you believe something, like a program, a block of code, or otherwise, must do in order for it to be considered DRM?

You have a DRMed games when your rights are restricted no shit sherlock

i.e., I consider basic rights: no access control technologies (like online/DVD check and no, steam require you to be online just for the obvious download process) and to some extent no executable obfuscation (even though I'm not really sure about this one... I just know that games like GTA:SA would ba a hell worse if schemes like denuvo had been used)

 

And especially, I don't consider a special client required for games to be downloaded as a DRM. As said plenties of times: if you think evil companies could abuse it and prevent you from downloading again games, that could even happen even if there was a free FTP server somewhere and they took down it from night to day

 

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.

Most of times (I believe when special DRMs are not used) games are just downloaded and ready to play, there's no additional step.

 

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.

Again, why you are claiming Steam is so bad because they could potentially block your games, whilst other clients would be better?

You are dependant on either GOG or desura whenever you have to reinstall every game.

And remember: previously downloaded installers aren't the answer since otherwise previously downloaded games would be

 

And if you are saying instead that the problem arise from potential trust issues, I should stress again that Valve has no power after instillation happened, as long as the game wasn't DRM protected

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have a DRMed games when your rights are restricted no shit sherlock

i.e., I consider basic rights: no access control technologies (like online/DVD check and no, steam require you to be online just for the obvious download process) and to some extent no executable obfuscation (even though I'm not really sure about this one... I just know that games like GTA:SA would ba a hell worse if schemes like denuvo had been used)

 

And especially, I don't consider a special client required for games to be downloaded as a DRM. As said plenties of times: if you think evil companies could abuse it and prevent you from downloading again games, that could even happen even if there was a free FTP server somewhere and they took down it from night to day

 

Most of times (I believe when special DRMs are not used) games are just downloaded and ready to play, there's no additional step.

 

'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.

 

Again, why you are claiming Steam is so bad because they could potentially block your games, whilst other clients would be better?

You are dependant on either GOG or desura whenever you have to reinstall every game.

And remember: previously downloaded installers aren't the answer since otherwise previously downloaded games would be

 

And if you are saying instead that the problem arise from potential trust issues, I should stress again that Valve has no power after instillation happened, as long as the game wasn't DRM protected

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip> 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.

 

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.

While I agree with your logic, I would like to add a small caveat: if a game on Steam is truly DRM-free, you can run it even if the Steam client isn't running (as in, the actual Steam system process isn't running) once post-installation is complete. A good example is the Steam version of Starbound. Even when Steam isn't running, you can run either its launcher, which, IMO, is useless when not running Steam since it doesn't have a built-in updater, or run one of the game's executables (with each executable using a different graphics API). Heck, it's self-contained and portable so you could move it to and play it on another Windows machine entirely!

 

That being said, though, the lack of self-updating capabilities means that the Steam version of Starbound in particular isn't all that useful to play without the Steam client - which can be said of any DRM-free game on Steam which lacks some form of updating.

 

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.

For those of you wondering "what's the difference? You still need the Desura client to download your games!", if you happen to own a game through Desura, you can look up the game you want to download in your online account via the web browser of your choice, select it, choose "Download" from the page which appears, and you can choose between using Desura to download it or a direct download. Ergo, as far as AgentBJ's logic goes, there is, indeed, a difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what I think about distribution systems and DRM:

  1. Requirement of a client: if you think about it, everything you do with the Internet requires a client of some sort. If you want to browse the Web, you use a browser. If you want to get your email, you can use an email client. If you want to chat on Skype, you download Skype. In the case of digital distribution, the client is whatever is being offered by the company. Just because it doesn't offer a way to download via a browser doesn't mean it's DRM. Clients are made because they do a particular job better. In the case of Steam, SteamPipe is very likely better at delivering content than downloading over HTTP, and rightly has a client for that purpose. Yes, you can't download through the browser, but the data wasn't packaged to be downloaded through a browser anyway. You'd have a royal pain if you're trying to download a 10GB game through a browser, even if it was cut up into chunks. Similarly, if someone decided to release a game solely through a torrent, are you going to go call your torrent client DRM? Some types of content are better delivered through a client, and others are better through a browser. Being able to access everything through a browser is a convenience, not a requirement.
  2. Being tied to an account: This is so commonplace, both with dedicated clients and without, that I fail to see what the problem is. Many online marketplaces for games use accounts to control what you have and don't have access to. Having it done on a client doesn't change anything. If you haven't bought it, then you don't get it. It's as simple as that. "But it's preventing me from playing this game I've downloaded if I don't have it running!" See the next point. Also, you can't resell your games, but neither can you at your favorite DRM-free online store, and you never complained about that being DRM.
  3. Clients that are not inherently DRM exerting DRM-like influence: I'll use HTML5 video DRM in this example. I don't know if it's commonplace, but certain HTML5 videos are delivered with DRM and consumed through your browser. Now, does that make your browser DRM? No, it's a component within the browser that is imposing the DRM. With Steam, a similar separation can be made, but instead of splitting it within the Steam client, I'll split it at the games. Just like in your browser you have the browser itself, and then the DRM module and DRM-protected content, on Steam you have the client, and then the DRM-protected game and whatever content it's holding. The first part may reach into the second part from time to time, but without the second part there is no DRM. And that's the case with Steam, that it is the games that choose to employ DRM, not Steam itself, which I've explained in the first post.
  4. Choice of platform for delivery: Let's take Twitch. Someone posts a video on YouTube and Twitch. Some time later, that person takes the video off YouTube, and set it to subscribers only on Twitch, and maybe give some of his YouTube subscribers a subscription to his Twitch channel (hypothetically, AFAIK you can't gift subscriptions). Now you can't watch it on anywhere but Twitch. Now does this make the entirety of Twitch DRM? No, because it's the uploader's choice for this to happen; Twitch didn't demand it. This is a similar situation to what can happen on Steam, where publishers take games off of other venues (like GOG) and make it Steam only, so you'd have to use the Steam client to download your game. But does that make Steam DRM? No, because it's the publisher's choice for this to happen, and Valve had no say over it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 '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.

I wouldn't call it bad analogy, since it was intended to mean an official FTP server that's authorized to distribute the content, not random servers around the world. I said FTP server because I thought it could win the most free content delivery method award hands down..

Providing that could be considered a nice method to sell DRM-free games.. the fact is that even that could be criticized with "they could take down the server"

 

And anyway, it's not Valve's fault if they come first in the market and as it seems their service is better and more run-in. You seem to imply that if Steam hadn't the market share it has (while still relying on the same policies it uses today) the problem you advance wouldn't exist.

Speaking of which, I thought that if developers weren't as lazy as they are, nothing should prevent, say Red Orchestra developers, from implementing a non-steamworks access to game servers.

Again, just to say that I'm not aware of any Valve practice that could be potentially claimed to anti-consumer. 

Contrarily to -say- EA that stopped to release games on Steam since 2012 for example (on the other hand half life is sold even on uplay, whilst assassin's creed is sold even Steam)

 

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.

For God's sake. Do you even read me? I said that unless the game has some DRM (which indeed I would consider as having DRM) no check is done otherwise.

And it's not like I want to boss the world. I tried, simply.

Prove me that the DRM-free games I downloaded from Steam were just a mirage, an illusion.

 

 

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?

I said I even accept specific account requirements to be DRMs.

The fact is that you refused to consider Origin, Desura or GOG log-in as a sort of restriction of user's rights. Therefore if we are not following the hard-way (where even closed source software may be possibly considered as a limitation) I think we should just stop with the common definition that just applies to any content copy/execute regulation method

 

The client handles a lot of aspects of your account that the website doesn't, let's not forget.

Such as? and please just refer to the aforementioned drm-free games.. nothing protected by some kind of already recognized protection scheme

 

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.) 

I have, and I'd really love the platform if just there were a bit more "big" games

Anyway, desura it's a bit like GOG, I know. Direct download installers with optional clients, bu

 

 

 

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.

THIS IS BECAUSE THOSE GAMES ARE INDEED PROTECTED BY STEAM DRM.

When I read this last part of your post, I acknowledged you really don't seem to have understood what we are talking about.

Please, I'd like you to read better the first post

 

That being said, though, the lack of self-updating capabilities means that the Steam version of Starbound in particular isn't all that useful to play without the Steam client - which can be said of any DRM-free game on Steam which lacks some form of updating.

*Fixed

 

Requirement of a client: if you think about it, everything you do with the Internet requires a client of some sort. If you want to browse the Web, you use a browser. If you want to get your email, you can use an email client. If you want to chat on Skype, you download Skype. In the case of digital distribution, the client is whatever is being offered by the company. Just because it doesn't offer a way to download via a browser doesn't mean it's DRM. Clients are made because they do a particular job better. In the case of Steam, SteamPipe is very likely better at delivering content than downloading over HTTP, and rightly has a client for that purpose. Yes, you can't download through the browser, but the data wasn't packaged to be downloaded through a browser anyway. You'd have a royal pain if you're trying to download a 10GB game through a browser, even if it was cut up into chunks. Similarly, if someone decided to release a game solely through a torrent, are you going to go call your torrent client DRM? Some types of content are better delivered through a client, and others are better through a browser. Being able to access everything through a browser is a convenience, not a requirement.

That's not really the point. And even if the client had some advantages, this doesn't justify possible restrictions there could be in place.

As long as the client doesn't put you in situations where its use is inherently a limitation it shouldn't be automatically classified as a DRM.

 

If there's even a game that doesn't require the client to run (and as long as you could even continue to play it after client uninstall) then A [client] doesn't necessarily imply B [DRM]. And with Steam this's the case.

With Origin, I remember Mass effect 2 used to download the goddamn DVD files that you had then to install. (result: you needed 30 free GB for a 15GB game..), but I hadn't to keep it open.. so I would say neither that should be considered as DRM.

On the other hand I have 4 games on uplay and all of them require it opened. Though they are all first-party Ubisoft game that were always meant to be played with it..

So I'm not going to say it's intrinsically crap. If somebody has a counter-example it would be appreciated

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not really the point. And even if the client had some advantages, this doesn't justify possible restrictions there could be in place.

As long as the client doesn't put you in situations where its use is inherently a limitation it shouldn't be automatically classified as a DRM.

 

If there's even a game that doesn't require the client to run (and as long as you could even continue to play it after client uninstall) then A [client] doesn't necessarily imply B [DRM]. And with Steam this's the case.

With Origin, I remember Mass effect 2 used to download the goddamn DVD files that you had then to install. (result: you needed 30 free GB for a 15GB game..), but I hadn't to keep it open.. so I would say neither that should be considered as DRM.

On the other hand I have 4 games on uplay and all of them require it opened. Though they are all first-party Ubisoft game that were always meant to be played with it..

So I'm not going to say it's intrinsically crap. If somebody has a counter-example it would be appreciated

 

Well, I was saying that distribution didn't have anything to do with DRM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Here's what I think about distribution systems and DRM:

  1. Requirement of a client: if you think about it, everything you do with the Internet requires a client of some sort. If you want to browse the Web, you use a browser. If you want to get your email, you can use an email client. If you want to chat on Skype, you download Skype. In the case of digital distribution, the client is whatever is being offered by the company. Just because it doesn't offer a way to download via a browser doesn't mean it's DRM. Clients are made because they do a particular job better. In the case of Steam, SteamPipe is very likely better at delivering content than downloading over HTTP, and rightly has a client for that purpose. Yes, you can't download through the browser, but the data wasn't packaged to be downloaded through a browser anyway. You'd have a royal pain if you're trying to download a 10GB game through a browser, even if it was cut up into chunks. Similarly, if someone decided to release a game solely through a torrent, are you going to go call your torrent client DRM? Some types of content are better delivered through a client, and others are better through a browser. Being able to access everything through a browser is a convenience, not a requirement.
  2. Being tied to an account: This is so commonplace, both with dedicated clients and without, that I fail to see what the problem is. Many online marketplaces for games use accounts to control what you have and don't have access to. Having it done on a client doesn't change anything. If you haven't bought it, then you don't get it. It's as simple as that. "But it's preventing me from playing this game I've downloaded if I don't have it running!" See the next point. Also, you can't resell your games, but neither can you at your favorite DRM-free online store, and you never complained about that being DRM.
  3. Clients that are not inherently DRM exerting DRM-like influence: I'll use HTML5 video DRM in this example. I don't know if it's commonplace, but certain HTML5 videos are delivered with DRM and consumed through your browser. Now, does that make your browser DRM? No, it's a component within the browser that is imposing the DRM. With Steam, a similar separation can be made, but instead of splitting it within the Steam client, I'll split it at the games. Just like in your browser you have the browser itself, and then the DRM module and DRM-protected content, on Steam you have the client, and then the DRM-protected game and whatever content it's holding. The first part may reach into the second part from time to time, but without the second part there is no DRM. And that's the case with Steam, that it is the games that choose to employ DRM, not Steam itself, which I've explained in the first post.
  4. Choice of platform for delivery: Let's take Twitch. Someone posts a video on YouTube and Twitch. Some time later, that person takes the video off YouTube, and set it to subscribers only on Twitch, and maybe give some of his YouTube subscribers a subscription to his Twitch channel (hypothetically, AFAIK you can't gift subscriptions). Now you can't watch it on anywhere but Twitch. Now does this make the entirety of Twitch DRM? No, because it's the uploader's choice for this to happen; Twitch didn't demand it. This is a similar situation to what can happen on Steam, where publishers take games off of other venues (like GOG) and make it Steam only, so you'd have to use the Steam client to download your game. But does that make Steam DRM? No, because it's the publisher's choice for this to happen, and Valve had no say over it.

 

 

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?

 

-Removed-

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

So, why Origin and uplay should be fine?

And you haven't answered me: did you try any DRM-free game on Steam? Because it seems not. Especially you still seem sure that the client is always needed and that it could block your games..

 

Besides, speaking of business: what actual limitations would it impose?

I mean, really: a generic DRM would force me to either have CD always in the reader, to do an online activation or to insert a CD-key.

Is there anything similar with Steam? Is there something that gets screwed with it? (of course I'm not talking of those games being protected by Steam DRM... which is surely a DRM)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- Browsers don't ask you for a log-in, except Chrome for Google content and even then, optional.

 

If you're going to access any paid content, it's almost certain you have to log in.

 

- E-mail can be retrieved on browsers and clients. Bad example.

 

That is true, but email does have its own protocol. A webmail interface is just a proxy to an actual email client.

 

- Skype? Also a bad example because of how many options we now have for voice-chatting and text-messaging, even on smart-phones.

 

Imagine your contacts as the content. Then you get into the same situation with game distribution, where some of your contacts are on many services, while some are only on Skype. Can you find me a popular voice/video chat service that doesn't use a client?

 

- Torrent data access isn't limited by which one you have. Another bad example.

 

You still need a client to download anything though.

 

- 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.

I don't think I've made any claims regarding Twitch in my first point.

 

None of that negates my claims about clients doing certain things better.

 

I suppose you wouldn't mind it if you could access content from Steam through many different clients rather than the official client? Even if all of them required you to sign in, and maybe prevented you from playing DRM-protected games if you're not signed in? I still see Steam primarily as a downloading mechanism, even if you don't get many choices in how to connect to the Steam network.

 

(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.)

 

The problem isn't so much pausing and resuming, but ensuring data integrity. If there's something wrong with one of the chunks you've downloaded, you have to download it again (which may be hundreds of megabytes long), unless you know exactly where the data is corrupted. Steam has everything in smaller chunks, too many to reasonably download manually, but at least if you needed to replace a chunk it's only a couple of megabytes instead of hundreds.

 

nor Amazon's game downloads

 

Just a note that that's not completely true. If you purchase anything with its Game Center Solution, you still need to use their downloader to download and play the game (it's DRM, BTW).

 

(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.)

 

That's two factor authentication, and is pretty common for systems where the security requirements are higher. That doesn't contribute to DRM in any way.

 

#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?

Simple: it's easier to maintain a single distribution channel than multiple. It's probably about consolidation, but DRM doesn't have to be the first thing that comes to mind. I'd go to Steam for automatically keeping everyone up to date and getting consolidated sales stats, not for awesome piracy protection (if I wanted that, I could simply throw on SecuROM or Tages). (Valve's in house DRM solutions are really weak compared to third party solutions.) As a sidenote, this reminds me about games that are only on Steam but have third party DRM. They're certainly not there for Steam to act as the DRM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, why Origin and uplay should be fine?

And you haven't answered me: did you try any DRM-free game on Steam? Because it seems not. Especially you still seem sure that the client is always needed and that it could block your games..

 

Besides, speaking of business: what actual limitations would it impose?

I mean, really: a generic DRM would force me to either have CD always in the reader, to do an online activation or to insert a CD-key.

Is there anything similar with Steam? Is there something that gets screwed with it? (of course I'm not talking of those games being protected by Steam DRM... which is surely a DRM)

 

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.

 

 

If you're going to access any paid content, it's almost certain you have to log in.

 

 

That is true, but email does have its own protocol. A webmail interface is just a proxy to an actual email client.

 

 

Imagine your contacts as the content. Then you get into the same situation with game distribution, where some of your contacts are on many services, while some are only on Skype. Can you find me a popular voice/video chat service that doesn't use a client?

 

 

You still need a client to download anything though.

 

I don't think I've made any claims regarding Twitch in my first point.

 

None of that negates my claims about clients doing certain things better.

 

I suppose you wouldn't mind it if you could access content from Steam through many different clients rather than the official client? Even if all of them required you to sign in, and maybe prevented you from playing DRM-protected games if you're not signed in? I still see Steam primarily as a downloading mechanism, even if you don't get many choices in how to connect to the Steam network.

 

 

The problem isn't so much pausing and resuming, but ensuring data integrity. If there's something wrong with one of the chunks you've downloaded, you have to download it again (which may be hundreds of megabytes long), unless you know exactly where the data is corrupted. Steam has everything in smaller chunks, too many to reasonably download manually, but at least if you needed to replace a chunk it's only a couple of megabytes instead of hundreds.

 

 

Just a note that that's not completely true. If you purchase anything with its Game Center Solution, you still need to use their downloader to download and play the game (it's DRM, BTW).

 

 

Simple: it's easier to maintain a single distribution channel than multiple. It's probably about consolidation, but DRM doesn't have to be the first thing that comes to mind. I'd go to Steam for automatically keeping everyone up to date and getting consolidated sales stats, not for awesome piracy protection (if I wanted that, I could simply throw on SecuROM or Tages). (Valve's in house DRM solutions are really weak compared to third party solutions.) As a sidenote, this reminds me about games that are only on Steam but have third party DRM. They're certainly not there for Steam to act as the DRM.

 

- 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? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

I'm not trying to imply anything.

But if you are using such services whilst Steam is the biggest scam of the century for you, then they must have something different, which I really can't spot.

 

"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.

I just read that if I wanted to give up the right to use the subscriptions that could not be reused again.

If I had to close even my GOG, EA, desura, uplay account the same would probably apply.

 

Anyway, for the third time, could you please try one of those DRM-free games on Steam I already mentioned lots of times?

Because I'd like your direct experience of the -pretty biased imo- claim:

"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."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyway, for the third time, could you please try one of those DRM-free games on Steam I already mentioned lots of times?

Because I'd like your direct experience of the -pretty biased imo- claim:

<snip>

 

Why would AgentBJ bother trying one of those games when they are statistical outliers - that is to say, so far from the rule as to be ignorable exceptions? To use a statistical metaphor, when less than 1% of your data is counter to the remaining 99+% of your data, you ignore the minority.

 

 

But if you are using such services whilst Steam is the biggest scam of the century for you, then they must have something different, which I really can't spot.

 

Let AgentBJ speak - and for goodness sakes, listen! He might be a hypocrite, or he might not (i.e. he bought the games on those services before he came to his current beliefs on the matter). Seriously, if you think Cyanic is somehow missing the point of this whole argument when he's been mostly in agreement with you, I think you need a meme.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, after this edit (and 3 months) I believe it's now time to resume the discussion.

 

The question is as always: 

is a (one time) client for downloading a vehicle for rights restrictions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well if you download game trough any service digitally you always need some kind of account or key to access the download. Humble doesn't require account but even that gives you download URL to email with unique key to download DRM-Free stuff. Only difference in Steam is that they download that stuff with client to dedicated folder and they want you to open the game with that client of course. 

 

Now with availability of course if someone sees steam on the list they can assume they need steam to download the game. It would just help to see that if they decide to buy trough steam that those files would work even without steam running. 

 

So I stay with my first post that in most cases steam is indeed DRM, but if game can be ran without it afterwards it's DRM-Free and that's why there's that list of DRM-Free titles on steam here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, after this edit (and 3 months) I believe it's now time to resume the discussion.

 

The question is as always:

is a (one time) client for downloading a vehicle for rights restrictions?

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

That's pretty much where it boils down to: does requirement of client application for download count as DRM? 

And I would still say that method of getting game files doesn't effect on does game have DRM in itself - they are seperate issues. I can download Sims 2 Complete collection with Origin, easily play it trough steam as non-steam game or put it on USB and play at friends house, at that point it definitely doesn't use Origin as DRM, but I still required Origin to download those files in first place. If game refuses to launch if that client isn't running and logged in with right account at that point it becomes DRM. 

 

I can understand perfectly dealing againts Valve as they basically have monopoly on PC gaming at the moment and with direct downloadable installers you do have bit more control over your purchares, but like I said, download method doesn't mean that downloaded product magically has DRM because it was downloaded or installed differently. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

And this is exactly the point where I always wanted to bring you.

 

You dig in yours heels and you seem only able to see Valve's wickedness.

Ok you need to use their client and they have definitively the power to prevent you from downloading your games.

Correct?

 

Now, supposing that they would do that.... could you explain how in the world this should be different from GOG disabling your account download your games ? And why in the first place they should (admitted that out of hundreds of thousands of accounts it ever happened once)

 

 

And for the love of everything that's holy.

Electronics Arts is the king of moneygrabbing. They don't even have the decency to try to hide that.

I'm still waiting since.. 2010 I guess? the Mass Effect 2 dlcs to cost less than 24€ (which today is more than the price of the whole trilogy -that stupidly still doesn't include them-).

And I don't know if you have seen this trend where everything EA touches become an incredibly enormous cow to milk.

You know, it's not really like they removed mod and dedicated servers support from battlefield games because it was technically difficult.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's pretty much where it boils down to: does requirement of client application for download count as DRM? 

And I would still say that method of getting game files doesn't effect on does game have DRM in itself - they are seperate issues. I can download Sims 2 Complete collection with Origin, easily play it trough steam as non-steam game or put it on USB and play at friends house, at that point it definitely doesn't use Origin as DRM, but I still required Origin to download those files in first place. If game refuses to launch if that client isn't running and logged in with right account at that point it becomes DRM. 

 

I can understand perfectly dealing againts Valve as they basically have monopoly on PC gaming at the moment and with direct downloadable installers you do have bit more control over your purchares, but like I said, download method doesn't mean that downloaded product magically has DRM because it was downloaded or installed differently. 

 

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.

 

And this is exactly the point where I always wanted to bring you.

 

You dig in yours heels and you seem only able to see Valve's wickedness.

Ok you need to use their client and they have definitively the power to prevent you from downloading your games.

Correct?

 

Now, supposing that they would do that.... could you explain how in the world this should be different from GOG disabling your account download your games ? And why in the first place they should (admitted that out of hundreds of thousands of accounts it ever happened once)

 

 

And for the love of everything that's holy.

Electronics Arts is the king of moneygrabbing. They don't even have the decency to try to hide that.

I'm still waiting since.. 2010 I guess? the Mass Effect 2 dlcs to cost less than 24€ (which today is more than the price of the whole trilogy -that stupidly still doesn't include them-).

And I don't know if you have seen this trend where everything EA touches become an incredibly enormous cow to milk.

You know, it's not really like they removed mod and dedicated servers support from battlefield games because it was technically difficult.

 

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

And this is what happens with Steam DRM-free games as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

When it comes down to physical disks, I know most games do come with steam key and files that require steam to be installed onto machine to begin installation. At that point I can agree that steam is acting like DRM for physical game version, but I was talking about game that has been downloaded trough steam and it's files are in your hard drive. If at that point I can run the game without any extra restrictions steam isn't acting like DRM anymore. 

 

I don't have interest to dig up, but almost every game that has physical copy tied to steam, uses steamworks as primary DRM. At least that makes most sense, otherwise they would simply print versions without steam keys so they won't have to pay to valve and risk getting them sold in grey market. Some games like COD also use it as multiplayer component, which I agree that GOG galaxy sounds interesting, but that's whole another topic. 

 

I still agree GOGs way is much more open and consumer friendly as all their stuff is without DRM and with neat installers that doesn't require anything extra, but with steam it's up to developer and/or publisher do they decide to or even can they use any form of DRM (e.g. flash/adobe air can't) in their games and they are downloaded trough steam client in all cases. It just comes down to wheter or not some users mistake note game being without any form of drm to that there would be directly downloadable installer or zipped package. 

 

This does however also bring up good question that does GMGs Capsule/Playfire/Vulcan/whateveritscalled a DRM either? I have few games in my library but I couldn't get anything to load so can't test right now, but I remember it just loaded regular .exe installer and I could play the game even after uninstallation of that piece of s. 

 

E: Got confirmation at IRC, that even all gamersgate stuff needs you to download DRM-Free games trough their dedicated client. Still most of those games are listed as DRM-free in articles. 

 

One complete download goes everywhere easily, no questions asked, and even after an account shut-down.

We came around full circle didn't we? If I have for example Fairy Bloom Freesia installed and suddenly Valve decides to shut down my account for some stupid reason, I can still play the game and copy it elsewhere because it only uses steam to gain achievements but is playable without them - same way GOG galaxy is supposed to work basically?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And this is what happens with Steam DRM-free games as well.

 

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.

 

When it comes down to physical disks, I know most games do come with steam key and files that require steam to be installed onto machine to begin installation. At that point I can agree that steam is acting like DRM for physical game version, but I was talking about game that has been downloaded trough steam and it's files are in your hard drive. If at that point I can run the game without any extra restrictions steam isn't acting like DRM anymore.

 

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.

 

I don't have interest to dig up, but almost every game that has physical copy tied to steam, uses steamworks as primary DRM. At least that makes most sense, otherwise they would simply print versions without steam keys so they won't have to pay to valve and risk getting them sold in grey market. Some games like COD also use it as multiplayer component, which I agree that GOG galaxy sounds interesting, but that's whole another topic.

 

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.

 

I still agree GOGs way is much more open and consumer friendly as all their stuff is without DRM and with neat installers that doesn't require anything extra, but with steam it's up to developer and/or publisher do they decide to or even can they use any form of DRM (e.g. flash/adobe air can't) in their games and they are downloaded trough steam client in all cases. It just comes down to wheter or not some users mistake note game being without any form of drm to that there would be directly downloadable installer or zipped package.

 

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? 

 

This does however also bring up good question that does GMGs Capsule/Playfire/Vulcan/whateveritscalled a DRM either? I have few games in my library but I couldn't get anything to load so can't test right now, but I remember it just loaded regular .exe installer and I could play the game even after uninstallation of that piece of s.

 

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.

 

E: Got confirmation at IRC, that even all gamersgate stuff needs you to download DRM-Free games trough their dedicated client. Still most of those games are listed as DRM-free in articles.

 

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.

 

We came around full circle didn't we? If I have for example Fairy Bloom Freesia installed and suddenly Valve decides to shut down my account for some stupid reason, I can still play the game and copy it elsewhere because it only uses steam to gain achievements but is playable without them - same way GOG galaxy is supposed to work basically?

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.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you are looking at steam as an complete package, completely black and white state and hating it really really bad. We aren't talking about download method, we aren't talking what ratio of games require steam as DRM, we aren't talking wheter or not dev/pub can take away your ownership to the game: we are talking about wheter game has DRM in it after it's being downloaded and useable on your machine. Yeah, thread started as wheter or not steam in itself is DRM and conclusion to that already is that sometimes as most games do require it running and logged in. 

 

So how does these two scenarios differenciate: 

- I see that Fairy Bloom Freesia doesn't feature DRM on Steam. I buy it, download it indirectly via use of their software which requires logging in, afterwards just playing the game without need of their client ever again unless I need to redownload or want achievements, cards or sync my save files. 

- I see that Fairy Bloom Freesia is DRM-Free on GamersGate. I buy it, download it indirectly via use of their software which requires logging in, afterwards just playing the game without need of their client ever again unless I need to redownload. 

 

I can relate to almost every point you have made, but they are your own subjective things not related to the matter. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

we are talking about wheter game has DRM in it after it's being downloaded and useable on your machine.

Requiring the installation of a software to download a game is DRM (that's why GOG, the Humble Store, etc... don't enforce one). DRM doesn't have to be tied to the files themselves, although that's the most common (and worst) case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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's insane. We should consider the ratio?

Why other games status should influence judgment?

There's a reason if we are rating games on a case by case basis...

 

Requiring the installation of a software to download a game is DRM (that's why GOG, the Humble Store, etc... don't enforce one). DRM doesn't have to be tied to the files themselves, although that's the most common (and worst) case.

Oh, finally. This already starts to be a good point.

We may definitively argue what rights a mandatory client break. And you might say that having to use something you didn't choose is already the actual limitation.

After I gave a read to mr Ricahard "Freedom" Stallman and after I adapted one of his sentence and I think I may summarize your idea with: one requisite for freedom is not having or running nonfree unnecessary (thus unwanted) programs on your computer. All the way down to the OS (and excluding libraries) I guess

 

Now, albeit of course that would be my ideal definition of DRM-free, I can't stop to think that what we are actually trying to distinguish are the game that you can transfer just with a plain USB pen whatever you want and that don't need an internet connection to be activated or whatever.

 

Yes, I'm practically mentioning the requirements a game has to satisfy to be able to run on school computers..

 

We may even call this under another name, but imo this is what people are really interested to know

 

I hope you'll see my point too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We may even call this under another name, but imo this is what people are really interested to know

 

I hope you'll see my point too.

So the plan would be to say that 'game X' is DRM-free, except you have to install and login with Steam if you buy from there? Seems to be a bit contradictory and redundant... When someone checks the availability table and sees DRM-free, he or she is not expecting to have to download and install anything other than the game itself.

 

People who are interested in DRM, like myself and many others, give some importance to what you have to install when you buy from a certain place. If the Steam client was not mandatory, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The Steam client is DRM. Steamworks is an even worse form of DRM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So the plan would be to say that 'game X' is DRM-free, except you have to install and login with Steam if you buy from there? Seems to be a bit contradictory and redundant... When someone checks the availability table and sees DRM-free, he or she is not expecting to have to download and install anything other than the game itself.

On the contrary, the redundancy I see here would be having to mention steam as a DRM for every game distributed through the service.

You already said all with the word "Steam".

 

Besides, if we deigned to mention DRMs for each specific game (without big generic pages like these), I believe the thing we should target to analyze is the game.

 

And probably few will see the subtle difference here, but I believe our point lies between:

  • considering a DRM something that it's imposed to you
  • considering a DRM something that limits you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the contrary, the redundancy I see here would be having to mention steam as a DRM for every game distributed through the service.

You already said all with the word "Steam".

I disagree. I think it's misleading to say that a game is DRM-free when you have to install a third party software and login with it in order to download and install a game.

 

Besides, if we deigned to mention DRMs for each specific game (without big generic pages like these), I believe the thing we should target to analyze is the game.

But DRM is not the game, it never was. It's what comes with it.

 

And probably few will see the subtle difference here, but I believe our point lies between:

I see both cases as DRM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can get on that train with though that requirement of extra program could be considered as DRM. However it's weird line to draw as like I said before every digital game requires some form of access tool to get the game, was it generated personal key, account or dedicated downloader. I just have to start putting gamersgate downloader on drm table now I know how it works as to this point I believed their page saying DRM-Free meant DRM-Free. 

But I would also like it to be noted if downloaded thing works without that extra program. Basically some way to tell that is it possible to just stick game to thumb drive and play at school. Putting DRM-Free icon next to service used to download game or with steams case adding note linking to that big list of DRM-free games? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But DRM is not the game, it never was. It's what comes with it.

So if the driverless version of starforce is embedded in the game executable.. how should we call it?

 

I see both cases as DRM.

And what about SafeDisc?

Its driver (secdrv.sys) comes bundled with windows, so it should be treated like any other "enforced" system components, like .NET or c++ libraries, which I'm far to call drm of course.

But the problem is that it is

 

So that's my point to consider DRMs just like limitations of the users rights (and hence the name)[1]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 63 Guests (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Forum Statistics

    1,176
    Total Topics
    6,648
    Total Posts
×