I've made some rather negative comments about Steam in the past concerning DRM, but the fact that a person can access their games anywhere, on any machine, and theoretically on any OS, is a real plus about Steam. One could argue that it respects a consumers purchase by associating their purchase with that person, rather than a specific machine configuration. Those of you who keep an eye on PC gaming and have witnessed the farse surrounding Mass Effect (authenticates to 3 hardware configurations, with no way to revoke previous authentications... byebye PC upgrades) will understand the significance of this. It pains me, because I'm fundamentally against DRM like everyone else is, which is why it's hard to swallow to see DRM actually being used to add functionality for the consumer (access to your games anywhere). I'm torn with this one, and makes me wonder if some people were onto something with the GPL v2/v3 lark. I'm starting University in September, so the significance of being able to redownload my games when required, without having to bring my discs with me, suddenly has significance.
That aside, this could seriously boost gaming on Linux. The Steam crowd make a sizable chunk of the Windows gaming scene, this puts Linux into the position of being a viable alternative to Vista for many gamers, and it may kickstart many developers to create a Linux client (or at the least, something using Cider or whatever) by providing a service that makes it very cost effective to do so.
Last edited by Shakey_Jake33; 05-11-2008 at 06:47 PM.
That and the community is, in my opinion, one of the reasons there hasn't been much protest again steam after the anger when it was initially released. I really dislike DRM in all it's forms but at least steam gives you something in return which is why I would put up with it, although if I get given the choice I'd always go for the version without DRM.
Originally Posted by Shakey_Jake33
Steam is evil, SecuROM and friends as recently demonstrated are far, far worse. I will never, ever, ever purchase something with 'copy protection' like Bioshock, or the pre-rollback planned 'security' for Mass Effect and Spore. Steam can be annoying, but it hasn't yet commited the long laundry list of sins that other so-called copy protections have. Steam has no intrusive low-level drivers (looking at you, Starfarce!!), it doesn't phone home regularly to re-authorize (Hi SecuROM!!) and it doesn't have some bizarre machine ID locking mechanism (Hi again SecuROM, this time from Bioshock!).
While developers include such horrible POS 'protections', I will skip them entirely. No warez, since that just gives them two different types of ammo. I'll be 'ten million players worldwide' at the sales meetings and 'billions of pirates' when they're whining for more money, justifying the next round of ridiculous 'protections' or worst of all, whining on the US Senate Floor for the passage of "OMFG PROTECT BUSINESS FROM WORTHLESS PLEBES ACT 2009 PART II", where the goverment authorizes corporate security forces to shoot suspected pirates on sight.
Steam is the least evil thing we can expect. Yay!
I'll certainly never buy any game which which requires me to authenticate my machine configuration to use it. Bioshock and now Mass Effect do this, you get a set limit of authentications, which means if you upgrade your machine a lot (thus changing your configuration, thus requiring you to use another authentication slot), you're screwed. This screws over the legitimate consumer. That game you just bought is no longer an investment for your collection, but merely a per-user licence which they don't guarantee you'll be able to use outside of the product's perceived lifespan.
Steam, for it's DRM problems, does not do this, and at the very least, it's use of DRM (having to log into your account to use your game) does at the very least allow them to offer further genuine functionality in their service (access to your purchased content anywhere, at any time). So we can be glad of that. Ideally we'd not have to log in to use our own damn game, but at least there are positive benefits.
Well, you can use the Steam offline mode to play games on singleplayer or LAN once fully updated. A good thing about Steam is that you can give your account to trusted friends, like imagine you're doing a LAN party, and 8 out of 10 people do have Counter-Strike: Source, and all you guys want to play it. With other, Non-Steam games, people (you know them, don't you) use keygen's or other illegal methods, but they still need the disc to install the game. With Steam, you can ask another friend if you could get an account to play CSS with for one or two days, you can download the game and play it just fine. Another fine thing is that Steam uses only a few big files (.gcf, compressed game files) for all the games, so once you have downloaded/installed a game, have updated it, you can save these files to another place on your hard drive and when you've got a new OS installation, you just need to copy over the files to have the game installed and already fully updated, or burn it to a DVD for a friend. There are also no copy protections (there was one at the very beginning (Securom), but Valve said "that's sh*t, we're removing them"). Furthermore, Valve is the company I trust the most, they're making really great games, have the best support and listen to their customers. Steam is closed source, but so are the games.
No, I am not working for Valve
Valve were great in my book... until they blocked some people for importing Orange Box. That's lame, supposed to be free market etc. But as far as their service goes, I've taken to it.
While it's "less problematic", do keep in mind that it presumes that you have to log-in to authenticate. If it's done once per install, I suppose it's "mostly" okay- but it limits what you can/can't do. If you're not able to be on an ISP, does this mean that you can't run the thing, or does it presume you're legit until you get on the 'net (which would be an end-run means around the DRM...). Not knowing how Valve did this, I don't know what goes/doesn't go. If it handles it mostly the "right way", then it's evil, but it's not the same class of evil that most of the DRM forms seem to have gotten to these days.
Originally Posted by Shakey_Jake33
I believe you can go into offline mode indefinetly but you dont get any updates that way. I can honestly live with Steam. Unlike most DRM solutons it doesnt really block you from your rights as a consumer. (You can istall games on multiple machines, easy backups etc). Their anti-cheating policies can be a PITA though from what i've heard.
Originally Posted by Svartalf
Last edited by Raven3x7; 05-12-2008 at 12:09 PM.
I'm not sure what the limit is for how long you can run in offline mode, but after I emigrated I only had dialup access for some time and was in offline mode for weeks or months after I did the iniital update from the files I'd taken with me.
Originally Posted by Raven3x7
I pretty much only buy games from Steam these days; I dislike DRM of all kinds, but Steam is the least intrusive of all the current major DRM schemes, with the possible exception of dongles (and I already have too many USB ports taken up with those). There is the risk that Valve will one day go bust and Steam will disappear, but supposedly there's a 'kill switch' they can use to disable it. In some cases I've actually re-bought old games I bought on CD, because I've no idea where the CDs are anymore and being able to download the game anywhere is worth another $10.
The only problem I've had with Steam was one day when their servers were unavailable due to an outage at their end; having all the servers in one place was a bad decision on their part, hopefully they now have backup servers elsewhere.
Last edited by movieman; 05-12-2008 at 12:35 PM.
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