Jump to content
Cyanic

Analysis: Why Steam isn't DRM

Recommended Posts

 And yet in a majority of cases, including DRM-free games like Crusader Kings II, you're funneled to the service to get what you paid for. Until that changes, Valve's client is very much DRM by itself.

 

I make that case for Steam and not for GOG precisely because GOG's installers and data can be stored offline, recovered at any time if stored this way, and access post-install is never limited by a client account log-in. Also posted back here was my reasoning for saying that: http://community.pcgamingwiki.com/topic/1075-analysis-why-steam-isnt-drm/?p=4910

 

 

 

As I've said multiple times already, if Steam is the only way to get access to what you buy in a majority of cases, regardless of how much DRM there is in the data you get, the client itself is DRM. It may not be Valve's doing, but it is someone's and that makes the client a form of DRM.

 

-----

 

Before you respond further, think about this: Let's say both Steam and GOG are to shut down in a week. Now, considering that, which service lets you keep the full installers of the games you bought from them somewhere offline? Not data packets. Installers. 

I consider that I would still be able to play my games and transfer them between my computers.

With GOG, of course, this applies to all games. With Steam only with those publishers allowed DRM-free versions on the platform.

Does it mean that Steam itself is a DRM? No as usual, there will always be good publishers and rogue publishers.

 

The DRM tools Steam has were made by Valve, and are offered by them to whoever uses their service/client. The definition you used doesn't account for that, and it gives me the impression that you're implying Valve's approach to the DRM they make and offer should not be related to their client. If the Steam-DRM systems like CEG and Steamworks were made by a third-party that Valve had endorsed while solely operating their client service, you'd have a point by using that definition.

 

As I've pointed out already, the DRM being applied to many Steam games, beyond the user account alone, are Valve's own creations.

So.. if DRM was applied to few games could a rose it be called differently? :/

That's not the point. The point is that nobody is enforcing anybody.

 

The '...after sale' part of that definition also holds true with Steam sans the DRM. If the client wasn't DRM by itself, it would never be necessary for any PCGamingWiki contributor to type the phrase "All versions require Steam" underneath the table showcasing where to buy these games digitally.
 
As such, I don't consider publisher/dev choice about whether to use Steam DRM or not to be an excusal of the Steam client itself as not DRM. If it never was DRM by its lonesome, buyers would have a choice about where to download games they buy on other sites and there would be no reason for PCGamingWiki to have to display the phrase "All versions require Steam" underneath the Availability charts.
 
That phrase is there because the respective publisher/dev make the choice to make buyers dependent on Steam, despite the many other options available for distribution, DRM-free or not.

Developers are lazy. That's why almost everything tends to be standardized (be it the physics/audio engine or the multiplayer framework)

Now, tell me that this even applies to games like Trine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I make the distinction because there is one to be made, and it means the difference between depending on a client more than once versus downloading my purchases once and using them as I need offline; ignoring the install script possibility, specific installers are not used as much now due to widespread client use, and those software programs can be considered installers themselves.

Installers are not used as much because they're becoming unnecessary. There are numerous games I downloaded from ShinyLoot that merely came in a .zip file with the game files.

 

What's the major distinction? Steam we don't own. GOG purchases? Those we own, and they're as close to disk-based purchases, without further tampering, as anyone can get in digital-only form.

 

Your mention of 'registry' files is another fair distinction between these two, as is the idea of having to 'emulate' Steam to allow playing a game. In the latter case, you're circumventing something that, without access to the emulator or the client, would leave your game unusable. (DOSBox, even though GOG games install it in many instances, I don't count in this regard because the extent of its use is to get old games running on modern systems.)

We were talking about DRM-free games, right? You can only make the comparison while talking about DRM-free games, where your argument about Steam emulation doesn't apply. As for games with Steamworks/DRM, I've already said that was the developer's choice, and not anything forced by Steam. And it's not as if games from GOG can't depend on Registry entries. I'd prefer to know what's getting installed rather than with an installer hiding it from me.

 

As for "Steam does not prevent you from accessing your installed game files," it never will have the capacity to do this unless Steam all-of-a-sudden allowed Valve to remotely restrict your control over those files, so it's a moot point to attempt to make.

That was in response to "That distinction matters because when you are dependent on Steam, which loads data for you in specific locations as a form of installation, for a majority of your games, that means you're dependent on them for access to your legal purchases every time a new install is requested." It sounded as if you were claiming that it would somehow be difficult to obtain and transfer the game files once they were downloaded.

 

You don't make something 'appear DRM-like'. Either it is or it isn't. And in this case, it is. If it's the choice of the developer or Valve (who created the service and respective tools) is completely irrelevant.

There's no technical reason for Steam to be DRM, and it wouldn't be if developers would behave. Compare that to common DRM solutions, where their entire purpose is to control the use of the software they protect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's no technical reason for Steam to be DRM, and it wouldn't be if developers would behave. Compare that to common DRM solutions, where their entire purpose is to control the use of the software they protect.

 

Same thing here. It's not like Steam informs or gives you a choice for an actual DRM-free download not dependable on its client and/or servers for the games some declare to be DRM-free there. It is DRM. Blaming it on the devs, Valve or both doesn't change that fact.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same thing here. It's not like Steam informs or gives you a choice for an actual DRM-free download not dependable on its client and/or servers for the games some declare to be DRM-free there. It is DRM. Blaming it on the devs, Valve or both doesn't change that fact.

 

Sorry, I'm having trouble understanding you. Are you saying Steam should be considered DRM because even for DRM-free games distributed on Steam you can only download them with the client?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, I'm having trouble understanding you. Are you saying Steam should be considered DRM because even for DRM-free games distributed on Steam you can only download them with the client?

 

I'm saying that the requirement of using their client to download/install the game you rented bought is DRM since it's a form of control over the use of the software you paid for. The fact that they don't offer a simple and clean way to actually download a DRM-free installer/files is proof that they are not ignorant or innocent about this issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider that I would still be able to play my games and transfer them between my computers.

With GOG, of course, this applies to all games. With Steam only with those publishers allowed DRM-free versions on the platform.

Does it mean that Steam itself is a DRM? No as usual, there will always be good publishers and rogue publishers.

 

You're ignoring the fact that access to your legal purchases on Steam can be yanked at any time by request of the companies that put them on there, which is control of product post-point-of-sale, a DRM quality, and there are cases of games on GamersGate and other sites that are retroactively made Steam dependent.

 

Need I bring up Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics and what happened during and after the IP transfer to Bethesda, or how Medieval II: Total War, Crusader Kings II, and others are no longer being sold non-Steam-dependent on GamersGate anymore?

 

So.. if DRM was applied to few games could a rose it be called differently? :/

That's not the point. The point is that nobody is enforcing anybody.

 

And yet it is becoming more necessary with each passing year, turning Steam more into a digital monopoly despite the existence of GOG. And that leads to...

 

Developers are lazy. That's why almost everything tends to be standardized (be it the physics/audio engine or the multiplayer framework)

Now, tell me that this even applies to games like Trine.

 

No, they're not. (Bethesda notwithstanding, obviously.) One, or many, within the dev/publishing companies that release Steam-only games have to make a conscience choice to, starting from a DRM-free build, only offer the game through one client and then distribute keys to other sellers. That's not laziness, that's business choice, and by going that route, yes, the client becomes the DRM because it's the only software through which you're allowed access your legal purchase.

 

Because I'm about to become a self-publishing author, here's a similar situation using that media field: If the only way I made my book available for sale was through Kindle, Amazon's service, and I didn't offer it on other services, offer physical copies, or DRM-free downloads elsewhere, that would be the same situation. Kindle may not be DRM by itself, but by forcing buyers to use it, however popular it is, I've made it into DRM by making it the sole way to get and read legal copies. (Kindle also allows removal of e-books post-sale, even from the devices they're loaded on. How's that for unsettling?)

 

Now, if these dev/publishing companies outsourced their game creation and distribution choices to a third party, kind of like what Gearbox did with A:CM, and then accepted whatever they were given back, you'd be right. Their decisions were not made by them in those instances, but I've yet to hear of that kind of thing.

 

Installers are not used as much because they're becoming unnecessary. There are numerous games I downloaded from ShinyLoot that merely came in a .zip file with the game files.

 

I'm aware, and Humble does this sometimes. Them I have no issue with because, post-sale, we own that game data and I make a habit of backing up my DRM-free Humble purchases.

 

We were talking about DRM-free games, right? You can only make the comparison while talking about DRM-free games, where your argument about Steam emulation doesn't apply. As for games with Steamworks/DRM, I've already said that was the developer's choice, and not anything forced by Steam. And it's not as if games from GOG can't depend on Registry entries. I'd prefer to know what's getting installed rather than with an installer hiding it from me.

 

No, we were discussing the differences between the Steam client, which does a number of things related to game access and installation, and GOG's installer+data packets model, which is a digital-only variant of disk-based installers.

 

The Steam emulation point applies in this situation because it's something that, given the loss of the client that some games depended on, would have to be worked around to let you use what was a legal purchase. 

 

As for that last pair of sentences, the initial release of Defender's Quest on GOG, which installed Adobe Air to the dismay of a number of buyers, would be an example in favor of what you're claiming. GOG pulled the game and the devs fixed it within a few days, but as for me, I've seen no instances of registry files being added by games I buy from GOG. 

 

That was in response to "That distinction matters because when you are dependent on Steam, which loads data for you in specific locations as a form of installation, for a majority of your games, that means you're dependent on them for access to your legal purchases every time a new install is requested." It sounded as if you were claiming that it would somehow be difficult to obtain and transfer the game files once they were downloaded.

 

And in turn, are you claiming that this is possible with all games offered by Steam? If so, then why the dependency on the client in the first place, or your statement that you might need to emulate Steam if the client suddenly became useless?

 

There's no technical reason for Steam to be DRM, and it wouldn't be if developers would behave. Compare that to common DRM solutions, where their entire purpose is to control the use of the software they protect.

 

Aside from what I've already pointed out in this post, among others, it sounds like you're claiming with this that because Steam is a client gateway to data you legally purchased, rather than software built into a game's code, it's distinguishable from DRM like SecuROM. 

 

That logic, if true, doesn't work here. Steam, as I said, lets devs/publishers remove game access remotely at their decision, or Valve's, regardless of the use of Steamworks, CEG and the like, and it is not comparable to a similar situation on GOG. Why?

 

Because your account is not a listing of data you can own, like a disk, at all times post-sale after one download. This is why I make the distinction between Steam's client and GOG's installers, because GOG's installers are, given the availability of everything you need to make them work, self-contained. In contrast to Steam downloads. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm saying that the requirement of using their client to download/install the game you rented bought is DRM since it's a form of control over the use of the software you paid for. The fact that they don't offer a simple and clean way to actually download a DRM-free installer/files is proof that they are not ignorant or innocent about this issue.

The fact is... that you would have a real problem just whenever steam would be down.

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?

 

No, they're not. (Bethesda notwithstanding, obviously.) One, or many, within the dev/publishing companies that release Steam-only games have to make a conscience choice to, starting from a DRM-free build, only offer the game through one client and then distribute keys to other sellers. That's not laziness, that's business choice, and by going that route, yes, the client becomes the DRM because it's the only software through which you're allowed access your legal purchase.

Yes they are. Trine is a damn example of how to publish a game on different platforms.

Whilst even a crappy game as GTA:SA is an example of DRM-free game on steam.

And yes, I'm able to play it without steam opened. And yes, technically afaik it's the first ever drm-free version of the game. And it's on the Valve's platform.

 

That logic, if true, doesn't work here. Steam, as I said, lets devs/publishers remove game access remotely at their decision, or Valve's, regardless of the use of Steamworks, CEG and the like, and it is not comparable to a similar situation on GOG. Why?

 

Because your account is not a listing of data you can own, like a disk, at all times post-sale after one download. This is why I make the distinction between Steam's client and GOG's installers, because GOG's installers are, given the availability of everything you need to make them work, self-contained. In contrast to Steam downloads.

You know what "I can play certain games with client closed" means, right?

And you understand that you are free as wind to copy wherever you want the damn installed files.. right?

 

The Steam emulation point applies in this situation because it's something that, given the loss of the client that some games depended on, would have to be worked around to let you use what was a legal purchase.

Case closed.

Steam badness depends on whoever publish the game

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm saying that the requirement of using their client to download/install the game you rented bought is DRM since it's a form of control over the use of the software you paid for. The fact that they don't offer a simple and clean way to actually download a DRM-free installer/files is proof that they are not ignorant or innocent about this issue.

 

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.

 

You're ignoring the fact that access to your legal purchases on Steam can be yanked at any time by request of the companies that put them on there, which is control of product post-point-of-sale, a DRM quality, and there are cases of games on GamersGate and other sites that are retroactively made Steam dependent.

 

Need I bring up Fallout 1, 2 and Tactics and what happened during and after the IP transfer to Bethesda, or how Medieval II: Total War, Crusader Kings II, and others are no longer being sold non-Steam-dependent on GamersGate anymore?

And does Steam prevent you from playing Fallout 1 and 2 (obtained from Steam) if you don't have the client running? Reports around the Internet say no. If you have the game installed before it was pulled and it contained no additional DRM, you could still continue playing it. In this case Steam did not pose any additional restrictions on what you can do with the game, merely having downloads redirected through the client.

 

The Steam emulation point applies in this situation because it's something that, given the loss of the client that some games depended on, would have to be worked around to let you use what was a legal purchase.

If any emulation was necessary, it was because of developer/publisher choices. Does that make Steam inherently DRM-encumbered?

 

And in turn, are you claiming that this is possible with all games offered by Steam? If so, then why the dependency on the client in the first place, or your statement that you might need to emulate Steam if the client suddenly became useless?

Of course it's possible to transfer the data with any game on Steam. They're just files. I lay no claim to whether or not they can be played without Steam, as any such dependency is by developer's/publisher's choice.

 

Aside from what I've already pointed out in this post, among others, it sounds like you're claiming with this that because Steam is a client gateway to data you legally purchased, rather than software built into a game's code, it's distinguishable from DRM like SecuROM.

That is correct. There is no requirement for a game's code to be modified to work with Steam, while for other DRM solutions the code must be modified for the DRM solution to be used. To clarify what I mean by modifying game code, I don't mean modifying the source code, but the compiled code. Many DRM systems work by modifying the compiled executable so that the original code is obfuscated and requires the DRM solution to run. On Steam, such modifications are not required unless the developer chooses to use Steam DRM, CEG, or another DRM solution.

 

That logic, if true, doesn't work here. Steam, as I said, lets devs/publishers remove game access remotely at their decision, or Valve's, regardless of the use of Steamworks, CEG and the like, and it is not comparable to a similar situation on GOG. Why?

 

Because your account is not a listing of data you can own, like a disk, at all times post-sale after one download. This is why I make the distinction between Steam's client and GOG's installers, because GOG's installers are, given the availability of everything you need to make them work, self-contained. In contrast to Steam downloads.

Note I keep on using the qualifier "DRM-free". There is no analog on GOG for Steam games with DRM, and any comparison between games that contain DRM and those that do not will be unbalanced. If we only focus on DRM-free titles, all such downloads on Steam are also self-contained. Although you may need to do some installation steps manually, there are no requirements for an external program to conduct that installation. For any game with DRM, there is no requirement for them to have DRM directly imposed by Steam. If Valve all of a sudden required every game on Steam to be DRM free, no changes whatsoever will need to be made to the Steam client because it is not DRM or have an inherent need to enforce DRM.

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?

 

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?

 

Yes they are. Trine is a damn example of how to publish a game on different platforms.

Whilst even a crappy game as GTA:SA is an example of DRM-free game on steam.

And yes, I'm able to play it without steam opened. And yes, technically afaik it's the first ever drm-free version of the game. And it's on the Valve's platform.

 

http://pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/Trine - And yet, looking at this site's entry for it, and GameCopyWorld's, Trine has Steam DRM for that platform and SecuROM through retail. The Desura and Humble stores both funnel buyers to Steam, even though Desura is also a client service and Humble at one point in the past allowed a DRM-free download directly from them.

 

The San Andreas example you had is also the only example of the Steam version being patched to DRM-free that I can find, whereas I have named at least five games which have done the opposite.

 

You know what "I can play certain games with client closed" means, right?

And you understand that you are free as wind to copy wherever you want the damn installed files.. right?

 

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.

 

Case closed.

Steam badness depends on whoever publish the game

 

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.)

 

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.

 

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.

 

And does Steam prevent you from playing Fallout 1 and 2 (obtained from Steam) if you don't have the client running? Reports around the Internet say no. If you have the game installed before it was pulled and it contained no additional DRM, you could still continue playing it. In this case Steam did not pose any additional restrictions on what you can do with the game, merely having downloads redirected through the client.

 

Steam doesn't in their cases, so what's stopping Bethesda from restoring GOG's ability to sell the version they already had? If Steam alone isn't DRM, this shouldn't be happening.

 

If any emulation was necessary, it was because of developer/publisher choices. Does that make Steam inherently DRM-encumbered?

 

Are you allowed to download games that need it without the client installed, yes or no?

 

Of course it's possible to transfer the data with any game on Steam. They're just files. I lay no claim to whether or not they can be played without Steam, as any such dependency is by developer's/publisher's choice.

 

As I said, if you have no choice but to use the client, even though the game is DRM-free, the client is the DRM.

 

That is correct. There is no requirement for a game's code to be modified to work with Steam, while for other DRM solutions the code must be modified for the DRM solution to be used. To clarify what I mean by modifying game code, I don't mean modifying the source code, but the compiled code. Many DRM systems work by modifying the compiled executable so that the original code is obfuscated and requires the DRM solution to run. On Steam, such modifications are not required unless the developer chooses to use Steam DRM, CEG, or another DRM solution.

 

It's unnecessary software in either case, unlike drivers and the like, and it's being made into necessary software more and more each year, despite the existence of GOG, Desura, Humble, GamersGate and DRM-free games being sold with it.

 

Note I keep on using the qualifier "DRM-free". There is no analog on GOG for Steam games with DRM, and any comparison between games that contain DRM and those that do not will be unbalanced. If we only focus on DRM-free titles, all such downloads on Steam are also self-contained. Although you may need to do some installation steps manually, there are no requirements for an external program to conduct that installation. For any game with DRM, there is no requirement for them to have DRM directly imposed by Steam. If Valve all of a sudden required every game on Steam to be DRM free, no changes whatsoever will need to be made to the Steam client because it is not DRM or have an inherent need to enforce DRM.

 

Same as the response I gave two instances above. If we always had a choice about how to get games we buy, and were not so dependent as a PC market on this one service, I'd agree with you.

 

I'm not one to allow Valve's service leeway here; they control a lot of game and data access, by choice or not, so they have market control. And, frankly, I don't trust a sole company in their position with digital distribution as widespread as it is. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.)

 

Steam doesn't in their cases, so what's stopping Bethesda from restoring GOG's ability to sell the version they already had? If Steam alone isn't DRM, this shouldn't be happening.

 

Are you allowed to download games that need it without the client installed, yes or no?

 

As I said, if you have no choice but to use the client, even though the game is DRM-free, the client is the DRM.

 

It's unnecessary software in either case, unlike drivers and the like, and it's being made into necessary software more and more each year, despite the existence of GOG, Desura, Humble, GamersGate and DRM-free games being sold with it.

 

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

  • Found PCGamingWiki useful? Please consider making a Donation or visiting our Patreon.
  • Who's Online   2 Members, 0 Anonymous, 328 Guests (See full list)

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Forum Statistics

    1,386
    Total Topics
    7,490
    Total Posts
×
×
  • Create New...