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Cyanic

Analysis: Why Steam isn't DRM

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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.

 

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.

 

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...

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.

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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.)

I gently ask you to stop spreading FUD and put your angry somewhere else.

It must be the 3 times I tell you Steam client isn't necessarily required after download and you are just diverting the discussion from its philosophic core

 

Thank you.

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I don't think there's much point in changing an entire standard only to cater for some very minor exceptions, considering that pretty much most titles present under the Steam library fully utilize it's DRM capabiltiies. In the end, this honestly just makes everything more confusing than it should be, considering the fact that so far only GOG.com and the Humble storefront have been providing a truly DRM-free experience, moreover, most can just download the game they paid for, install it and do whatever they wish with it, without being bound to the same restrictions Steam has to cater to, such as the basic ability of being able to share any games with everyone, not being necessarily bound to the account system once downloaded. Once the game is downloaded, it is forever obtained, contrary to Steam where, for example even sharing games has it's own limits.

 

Compared to GOG.com and the Humble Store, Steam utilizes a far more restrictive system, and it couldn't possibly ever be considered as being a DRM-free solution seeing as it simply makes no sense when most users do not even have access to some rather basic benefits which such releases should always provide, even if certain titles do lack certain DRM systems, they are, however, still tied to the Steam client, which is ultimately a wall for the consumer.

 

I do not honestly believe that there is any point in focusing on some of these situations, which are for the most part extremes, it's either one way or the other, Steam will never act as a non-DRM and DRM solution, simply because it was never built as such to begin with. I also believe that this whole discussion has been taken to a point where any new arguments make it clear that there is no reason for this talk to go on, as it wasn't exactly going anywhere anyway, the current standard works fine and Steam should still be marked as a DRM, unless somehow Valve can manage to completely revise their older system, to adapt it and offer a truly DRM-free experience.

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If PCGamingWiki got it correct in the first place this discussion would be a lot less hostile (worst case you can just separate the service and execution DRM...). The current "standard" is nonsense and at best heavily misleading, and why I avoid editing here. Back a while ago I tried "DRM-Free Steamworks title" for one, and that got taken out fast, then I was suggested something along the lines of "Does not require Steam to be running" or similar, and that got taken out. THEN I was suggested to put it on that giant inexcusable mess of a page that is "The Big List of DRM-Free Games on Steam" (which is bound is be inaccurate as games receive constant updates and swing the execution DRM pendulum back and forth), and then someone else mentioned that it wasn't worth putting there anyway. I mean, if you don't even have your current editing policy straight on this basic issue, why bother to help editing besides quick hack edits in the first place?

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One solution would be to add a variant of the Steam DRM ID for games that don't check for Steam. ​I previously made a basic example of this at User:Garrett/Availability/sandbox. I'm not totally sold on this, but something like this is probably preferable to using the normal DRM-free icon since Steam does not provide a direct download link.

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If PCGamingWiki got it correct in the first place this discussion would be a lot less hostile

Actually, we always had this position (inherited by Flibitijibibo lists and well.. personally I'd say even basic logic.)

Your counter examples can say something isn't [always] true, and my counter-examples can say something isn't [always] false. It simply depends case by case.

 

But discussions are good, there's no problem in this.

 

Back a while ago I tried "DRM-Free Steamworks title" for one, and that got taken out fast, then I was suggested something along the lines of "Does not require Steam to be running" or similar, and that got taken out. THEN I was suggested to put it on that giant inexcusable mess of a page that is "The Big List of DRM-Free Games on Steam" (which is bound is be inaccurate as games receive constant updates and swing the execution DRM pendulum back and forth), and then someone else mentioned that it wasn't worth putting there anyway.

Then tell your developer he's a irresolute man.

Steam doesn't force you to download updates which ruins your drm-freeness, and even if it did, again, client is only required at download time.

And controlling you at download time is something which I don't think we are going to consider as DRM.

 

and by the way, wiki wouldn't make sense if we had to cry every time somebody release a patch that radically change a game.

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One solution would be to add a variant of the Steam DRM ID for games that don't check for Steam. ​I previously made a basic example of this at User:Garrett/Availability/sandbox. I'm not totally sold on this, but something like this is probably preferable to using the normal DRM-free icon since Steam does not provide a direct download link.

Maybe a different color, but it might look like ass.

 

Meh? It might end up clashing too badly, maybe the DRM free colour could be used.

hKyUXCp.png

 

Edit

(It's too shite, it would end up looking incosistent, meh, just add a note or something)

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Then tell your developer he's a irresolute man.

Oh, I meant someone else reverted it on the wiki, nothing changed in the game (Garrett was one, full disclosure, but he helped me out a lot early on editing, so...), Sorry for the confusion. Also apologies if the post was too harsh; was meant to be blunt and straightforward, not condemning of anyone (thanks to anyone who helped me out here).

 

DRM-Free seems to stick on Origin for some reason, even though it works the same way more or less (or as they call it "DRM-Free Technology"). 

 

The color idea by Ratchet isn't bad, though you would of course want a tool tip and it linking to an explanation. Though I'm sort of partial to Garrett's idea as it works in the case of a removal from Steam better - or you could combine the two in a fashion.

 

This post was partially inspired by this edit by an anon:

http://pcgamingwiki.com/w/index.php?title=The_Witcher_3%3A_Wild_Hunt&diff=170099&oldid=169970

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The color idea by Ratchet isn't bad, though you would of course want a tool tip and it linking to an explanation. Though I'm sort of partial to Garrett's idea as it works in the case of a removal from Steam better - or you could combine the two in a fashion.

It's a bad idea imo.

First, this is like recognizing downloaders as a kind of DRM.. which in turn would move the "DRM boderline" from the game itself to the service behind.

Basically everything would fall under DRM definition then.

 

Then we'd need different colors for origin, gamersgate, amazon, uplay... and even though "filling" vector images is quite simple, I'm not sure if tens of icons with different shades would make good to readability.

 

Said this, afaik games tends to become DRM-free with time, rather than DRMed. We even have a specific Steam list for these cases

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After writing about Steam DRM, I came to a realization about Steam. I noted on the wiki article reasons that developers use Steam DRM. Two in particular stands out for the purpose of this discussion: piracy curbing, and ensuring Steamwork API is initialized. Neither of those two reasons are forced by Steam itself. This is evidenced by the presence of many games on Steam that have no DRM whatsoever, and not even integration with Steamworks. If DRM was forced by Steam, those games wouldn't exist in their DRM-free form. Steam itself is a content delivery system, storefront, and community. The only reasons it can feel DRM-like is because of the choices made by developers and publishers.

 

With regards to curbing piracy, this choice is made by the developers and publishers. DRM is more effective than nothing, and for this purpose games can have Valve's DRM schemes (Steam DRM or CEG) or third party DRM applied. Steamworks can also be a form of DRM, ensuring that Steam is running with an account that actually owns a game. This is developers and publishers explicitly adding DRM. This can be done to games where their executables are originally DRM-free, and can be found DRM-free on other platforms in addition to Steam. In fact, developers can choose to wrap Steam DRM protected executables with another DRM scheme. It's completely up to them.

 

Steamworks integration is a somewhat more interesting approach to DRM. Steamworks in itself is not DRM. It is the developers' insistence that the APIs be available and their reluctance of adding error handling code or code to allow games to run without Steamworks being available that leads Steamworks in becoming a kind of DRM. It is perfectly within the realm of reality to create games that takes advantage of Steamworks features while still working properly when Steam is not found. Examples of such games include Psychonauts, Scribblenauts Unlimited (less custom objects), and various UDK games. In the cases where no additional DRM is present but the game has Steamworks integration, the only reason those games are not DRM-free is because the developer didn't put in any effort to make it DRM-free. Perhaps they wanted a little bit of piracy protection too.

 

In conclusion, you can't call Steam, the platform, a type of DRM. It is not like conventional DRM schemes where the executables have been modified so they can only run being intact and with the DRM system active. Steam poses no such requirements, and it is only through developers and publishers' choices where games become dependent to Steam.

 

Edit: After further discussion, I would like to add that Steam being the sole distributor of some games does not make it DRM either. Again, it is the developer/publisher's choice to distribute solely through Steam, and that Valve does not demand exclusivity. Similarly, lack of refunds and resale is not sufficient to prove that Valve is using technological measures to prevent said refunds and resale. It could simply be that no mechanisms for refunds and resale have been implemented, or that policy dictates so.

I agree, while some people consider it DRM its actually not traditional DRM. However I think a lot of people seem to think that needing steam to launch game = DRM. 

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I agree, while some people consider it DRM its actually not traditional DRM. However I think a lot of people seem to think that needing steam to launch game = DRM. 

Except that is indeed DRM.

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