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Analysis: Why Steam isn't DRM

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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.

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 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

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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?

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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. 

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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

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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.

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<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.

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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.

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 '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

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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.

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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.

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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)

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- 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.

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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? 

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