(Yet another) Rant: Steam, and similar DRM/Corporate schemes

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

If this post gets at least one reader (which it probably won’t, let’s be honest), controversy might follow, Steam fanboys will keep nagging and trolling me, throwing at me insults and complaints without taking 1 look in the mirror. (a.k.a. Steam) They all seem to do. I’m not trying to create a spark or trying to get an angry mob after me, I just want this off my chest, I am only laying out the facts for you, you can choose what you think of it after. As the Oracle from the Matrix once said: “You have already made the choice, now, you’re beginning to understand that choice.”.

I ranted here previously, about digital download games. Well, since then, my opinions have changed ever so slightly, I’m okay with services like GOG, not as a replacement to physical, but as a companion, for indie games and such! On the other hand, I don’t think I’ll want to buy any physical game that uses Steam, Origin or UPlay DRM ever again!

I’m not going to complain about Origin and Uplay, it’s pointless, as, let’s be honest, Steam inspired them, they’re just copies, Steam is the real culprit! It’s not just Steam either, it’s it’s fanboys, I’m sure there exist Steam users who are smart, and know what they’re talking about, I have a few freinds who are hardcore Steam users, and they’re okay.
Most Steam users I’ve seen online, are a bunch of stupid, hypocritical, inconsistent ar*eholes! I’ll get to them later…

Steam and similar DRM don’t accept used sales. Now, I’ve seen a lot of PC gamers complain about the Origin, Uplay and the Xbox One (the latter not anymore) for doing this, when Steam has the exact same restrictions!

Steam requires an online verification to install games, Steam requires an online check-in every week or so (not as bad as Xbox One, but it still means you’re screwed if you lacked internet), it blocks used games, and companies have full and total control over what you can and can’t do with your games. They can even just take the game away from you, without reason, and you can’t have a say in the matter, and you can’t sue them either, because Steam have made it so you can’t do that!

I am willing to bet that this the main, if not the only reason more publishers have become interested in the PC, it’s a publishers wet dream to have full control over the consumer! Steam, and similar “services”, makes that dream come true!

When buying a physical game that uses Steam DRM, as my friend once said to me, and he makes a good point, the code inside is more valuable than the disc, the disc is useless, you don’t even need it to install the game, you can enter the code without the disc inserted, Steam will register it, and download the game. Once the code is used, you’re just as well burning the game, it’s that useful!

Worst of all, people want their physical games DRMed, which makes no sense whatsoever! Do these people want their physical games to become useless after the code is used!?

Steam also does nothing to stop piracy, it’s very easy to obtain a cracked .exe of a game, and a cracked client, even Gabe Newell apparently said that pirates are a “non-issue” (but used sales are!?), so all the Steam DRM does is forbid buyers from sharing their games, and it eliminates used sales. In other words, it punishes the good paying consumer!

You see, my point about the physical/digital debate is game ownership, where you own your games on physical, but not digital, it turns out, you don’t even own the game when buying physical, at least not if it has Steam, Origin or Uplay DRM. They’re licensed to you, and you know a fascinating fact about Licenses? They Expire! They are not permanent things, they can expire over-time, or it can be revoked from you for any reason. So esentially, when you buy a game from Steam or Origin, you’re only renting it, because you can’t keep it forever, can you?

Don’t believe me? You can read the Steam Subscriber Agreement.
Like probably the majority of youse, I breezed through it thinking it wouldn’t concern me, and accepted, but give it an actual read, you’ll be shocked at it’s contents! More specifically, read sections 2.A and 2.F.
Actually, Don’t bother! I’ve done it for you! I’ve even highlighted the important parts, because I’m nice!

2. LICENSES

A. General Software License

Steam and your Subscription(s) require the automatic download and installation of Software onto your computer. Valve hereby grants, and you accept, a limited, terminable, non-exclusive license and right to use the Software for your personal, non-commercial use (except where commercial use is expressly allowed herein or in the applicable Subscription Terms) in accordance with this Agreement, including the Subscription Terms. The Software is licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Software. To make use of the Software, you must have a Steam Account and you may be required to be running the Steam client and maintaining a connection to the Internet.

…and here’s section 2.F:

F. Ownership of Software

All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the Software and any and all copies thereof, are owned by Valve US and/or its or its affiliates’ licensors. All rights are reserved, except as expressly stated herein. The Software is protected by copyright laws, international copyright treaties and conventions and other laws. The Software contains certain licensed materials and Valve’s and its affiliates’ licensors may protect their rights in the event of any violation of this Agreement.

You can say what you want about Microsoft, and I’m not a fan of them either, but at least their Games for Windows games doesn’t require an online activation, you only need it to play the game online (You can create an offline profile), and even then, the key is tied to the physical copy, not on any account. By the way, I’ve tried this with Street Fighter X Tekken, I turned off the internet, and installed it, and right enough, I had no problems installing and playing the game! (Where as Steam, which is clearly superior, reuqires online verification just to install it and you can’t do anything with your Steam games)

If you don’t believe me read this!

They even reversed the Xbox One’s DRM policies after complaints. What has Valve done when people complained to them? Absoluletly nothing!

It’s ironic as well, Microsoft are bad guys and Valve are gods!? Sure, Microsoft have their slip ups, but at least they make up for it later on, Valve just bury their problems and pretend they don’t exist, fooling the unsuspecting consumer, and it seems to have worked!

I’ve seen Steam users complain that the Xbox One stops the ability to share your software, the fact you are screwed without internet, and that it restricts it’s audiences to the very rich! When Steam has the same restrictions, when I see someone complain about Steam for the exact same problems, they seem to always put the blame on the user, and defends their precious Steam!

For example, when someone complains that they can’t share their games with another user, or use the game on another machine/account, here’s a comparison of what the average steam user says:

Xbox One: “Microsoft are a bunch of cheap, greedy b*stards! They just want more money, by treating us like criminals, taking away out freedom, and kills game ownership!”

Response to someone saying the exact same thing about Steam: “Fuck you! Do you want to give the game to another person and cheat the developers out of their money!?”

How many times have we heard both of those kind of comments from “PC gamers”? I see them a lot! They can’t have it both ways! Are used games good or bad? Make up your mind!

Also, in response to the latter quote, which I get a lot myself, I only give a DRM-free game away if the other person isn’t interested or ever plans on buying the game, either that, or I accidentally buy a second copy of a game new. (which is rare, but has happened a couple of times.) Either way, it wouldn’t make a difference to sales whether or not a gave it away or traded it in…

Steam users also seem to talk about installing games anywhere as an advantage, which is a very poor arguement! You can do the exact same thing with a DRM-free physical games, and every download client on this planet, in fact, I’d be scared if you weren’t able to do that with Steam!

What’s that? Steam has an Offline mode? Well, you need be online to go offline, having online as a requirement in order to use a feature you’re only going to use when you can’t get online… It really defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? Also, I’d like to see youse try to install a disc game offline, you can’t!

Steam does achievements and leaderboards? So does Games for Windows, and even Raptr, which is an overlay for games, does something similar. I’m not fussed about achievements anyway, they’re nice, but they’re not something I need.

Really, the only great thing about Steam is it’s workshop, it makes installing mods much easier, and you can easily uninstall them, that, I have to admit, is awesome!

That however, doesn’t make up for everything bad about Steam, if I have to give up my digital right to make installing mods a bit easier… I’ll stick with the traditional method if you don’t mind…

I think everyone needs to wake up, and realize the PC is not the awesome platform it used to be, Valve are not the gods of gaming, they are killing the physical market, they are allowing publishers total control over us behind our backs! They are turning the PC platform into a corporatised rental service, if Valve were any better than EA or Ubisoft, and want to prove it, they would put an end to it all… because right now, getting a PS4 or even an Xbox One sounds quite appealing…

I used to love Valve, I have many memories playing the Half-Life games, and as much as I’d hate to admit it, I had fun with the Portal games and Team Fortress 2, but they’re destroying the very market that made them…

I just hope that Mortal Kombat complete edition won’t have any DRM, in fact, I reckon there’s a chance, I might do another blog entry about why right after this, yeah, some good news to drown out the bad, I’ll see youse then!

-Cobra!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Nel cuore della Scozia

In viaggio tra Edimburgo e le Highlands

Island Voices - Guthan nan Eilean

Slices of Life and Work in the 21st Century Hebrides - for language learners, and anyone else!

MUNGUIN'S NEW REPUBLIC

This site supports Scottish Independence

National Day Calendar

Fun, unusual and forgotten designations on our calendar.

Scotland Moves on

independence plain and simple

The SKWAWKBOX

Communicating on stuff that matters

yesdayscotland

Modern technology for peacefully resolving mass conflict

Wee Ginger Dug

Biting the hand of Project Fear

Cobra!'s Scrievin Site an Dream Diary

Whaur a mak up short stories fae Scrievin Prompt an whaur A store ma Dream Journal

Gamerstorm Developers Blog

Where our Developers talk about stuff!

World War 1 Live

Live-blogging the Great War

Scottish Games Network

The home of the Scottish Games Network

SHENMUE.DE

Das deutsche Shenmue-Fanblog

The Asexual Agenda

Furthering upper-level discussions of asexuality

Cobra!'s Retro Room

A blog documenting my gaming life.

Movie Night

YouTube's #1 Movie Review Show (in blog form!)

The Zandig Special

CZW Reviews, Rants and Rory Mondo

%d bloggers like this: