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Author Topic: Steam: Savior or Slayer of PC Gaming?  (Read 11737 times)
wraith808
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« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2011, 07:09:29 PM »

Parallel conversation on G+ brought up an interesting podcast link

http://castroller.com/Pod...ohit,%20Duke%20University

From what I understood of the study from the podcast, the researcher has concluded that DRM is removed, then (a) many pirates will buy rather than pirate, and (b) the price of the non-digital formats will reduce in price, and (c) the decline in the sale of non-digital formats will subsequently reverse, and they will sell more of the non-digital formats.
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Daleus
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« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2011, 08:59:47 AM »

My experience with Steam has been mixed.

It started with Civ5.  I bought the media in a store and eagerly installed it only to find I had to connect to the 'tubes for some reason.

In my case, I live in a rural area and at the time had no internet options.  So I had to hump my computer into town, to a friends place, just so that I could validate the game or whatever the frack it is that made the online connection necessary.

Now that I have an internet connection, albeit I might as well not it's so crappy, it's less of an issue, but to be frank I play in "offline mode" because the game loads about 300-500% faster (I haven't really clocked this but usually I had time to take a piss and make a cup of tea before the game was ready to play.  The first time I went offline, I was getting up to go for the piss and the game was suddenly ready to play!)  Further, it will take me 6-10 hours to download today's average sized game.  Bite my ass - I could drive to another province to buy the game and come back, install and start playing in less friggin time.

On the plus side of the equation, I have been able to track down some older games I was never able to purchase when they were on the store shelf, and are now imposszible to find in a used bin.  There are also many many sales and if you missed it this time, if you're pateint you'll see it come around again in the rotation.

Overall though, I am not happy with the connect to the net requirement, just to validate a license which I just purchased and entered by hand into the damned game.  If that wasn't enough, why did you jerks make me enter the thing in the first place?

As for the wide variety of games available from Steam, well yeah there are many.  But frankly about half of them are the kind of bullshit you find on Facebook. Yuck! Quantity does not equal quality.

As for Steam as a "social media hub" it's slow, and incredibly badly designed.  Just try for the first time, to send an IM to a friend to invite them. Frustrating as hell to navigate the moronically unintuitive interface - more frustrating as I'm already bald and have no more fucking hair to pull out.

Apologies for the rant and language, maybe that's the ultimate review of Steam, all on it's own.

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Daleus, Curmudgeon-at-Large
cranioscopical
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« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2011, 06:39:21 PM »

So, Steam experts...

Computer A has game C with 300 hours of game play.

Computer B has the same game C but with only 5 hours of game play.

Both machines use the same Steam account/user/login

Can I use the Steam interface to back up a game that is installed on computer A and then use the Steam interface to restore that same game to computer B?
The backup and restore would be to/from an external drive.

I want computer B to end up with game C and 300 hours of game play, the same as computer A.

If so, are there any pitfalls to avoid?

Thanks for your advice!


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Chris
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« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2011, 09:42:55 PM »

Well, yes, you can, but the Steam backup function just copies game files, not any configuration files, savegame files or game modifications the game might have on computer A.

There are a few solutions to this. The fastest one would be replacing your savegame on computer B by the one on computer A, but this requires you to locate the savegame files, which it's not always an easy task. Another option would be replacing the game installation on computer B with the one on computer A. This is done by copying the game subfolder "steamapps\common\<name of game>" within Windows from computer A and dropping it on the Steam installation on computer B. This must be done when Steam is not running.

To make sure you get the game you are playing in computer A, it would be a good idea to move the game installation on computer B elsewhere on the filesystem outside the Steam main directory and delete it was once you have moved the game from one computer to another successfully. This way you ensure there's no unnecessary files lying around from the former installation, plus you have a backup copy to go back in case things go awry.
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lanux128
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« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2011, 09:56:37 PM »

Computer A has game C with 300 hours of game play.

Computer B has the same game C but with only 5 hours of game play.

is Computer B off-line when game C is played? in that case, you'd have to go online for the stats to 'catch up'. as Lashiec mentioned Steam backup function copies only the core game, the rest are to be copied manually (such as the save games). hopefully no registry entries are involved..
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2011, 10:37:20 PM »

Thanks Lashiec and lanux128.
I'll digest that now and get it wrong later  Wink

Much appreciated!
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Chris
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« Reply #31 on: August 29, 2011, 01:44:38 PM »

I kind of like more the aproach of GOG.com.

You:
- Buy the game.
- Download it.
- Install without any DRM crap.
- Play

Sure, some users will pirate it on the internet, but then again, the same will happen with the DRM ones. The irony is that the pirated version is most likely to run fine while the DRM one might work or not. That includes steam, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

I guess the different between GOG.COM and steam is that steam asumes that the user is a thief, while gog.com does not make that assumption. I don't know you, but I make a point of not buying from someone that treats me like a thief.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #32 on: August 29, 2011, 02:59:40 PM »

steam asumes that the user is a thief

Huh? huh

In what way(s) does Steam assume the user is a thief?
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iphigenie
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« Reply #33 on: August 29, 2011, 03:49:56 PM »

steam asumes that the user is a thief

Huh? huh

In what way(s) does Steam assume the user is a thief?

Let's see...
* I have to enter an email verification code at least twice a week, if not more often because I use two computers and multiple browsers. Sometimes these emails take a while to arrive and in between... no play

* I cannot run steam on two machines at once. Even though I have 100 games on Steam. Connecting on one immediately closes the other. I cannot download on one machine while playing on another, even though this is a common scenario since Steam forces all games on the same 1 partition and most of us have non infinite partitions...

* Offline mode doesn't really work reliably. I am currently staying regularly in a little hotel without room internet access and most of the time Steam finds a reason or another... some bit of information missing which makes it doubt I have used steam on the machine before. Perhaps one time out of 3 I can play when offline. Assumption: unless it can validate everything, I am not allowed to play my games

If I let my husband play one of my 100 games, I am a steam-criminal. I am supposed to buy a separate copy of each game... Sorry Steam but the natural unit of a game played is the household. Now we have always bought two copies of games we both wanted to play a lot, or play online. (we have 2 copies of all Half Life games, Portal, Portal 2, Dungeon Keeper, Kohan, Din's Curse, Defense Grid etc. etc.) but there are many games which we might just dabble in and it should be possible to NOT have to buy two copies...

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steeladept
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« Reply #34 on: August 29, 2011, 04:22:28 PM »

Sorry Steam but the natural unit of a game played is the household. Now we have always bought two copies of games we both wanted to play a lot, or play online. (we have 2 copies of all Half Life games, Portal, Portal 2, Dungeon Keeper, Kohan, Din's Curse, Defense Grid etc. etc.) but there are many games which we might just dabble in and it should be possible to NOT have to buy two copies...
I love this quote as there are so many truths to it in just 2 sentences. 

Unfortunately, Steam, and many companies like them, still seem to believe that the only gamers in a household are the 12-25 year old males.  Couple that with only 2.4 kids/household (in the US) and that makes 1 or less in that market per household on average.  And we ALL know that the US is representative of the world market, right?
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wraith808
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« Reply #35 on: August 29, 2011, 04:38:24 PM »

steam asumes that the user is a thief

Huh? huh

In what way(s) does Steam assume the user is a thief?

Let's see...
* I have to enter an email verification code at least twice a week, if not more often because I use two computers and multiple browsers. Sometimes these emails take a while to arrive and in between... no play

This is for security.  You can turn this off in your settings.

* I cannot run steam on two machines at once. Even though I have 100 games on Steam. Connecting on one immediately closes the other. I cannot download on one machine while playing on another, even though this is a common scenario since Steam forces all games on the same 1 partition and most of us have non infinite partitions...
An annoyance that I run across to be sure.  But how is this so different than when we had physical media?  And how is this assuming you are a criminal?

* Offline mode doesn't really work reliably. I am currently staying regularly in a little hotel without room internet access and most of the time Steam finds a reason or another... some bit of information missing which makes it doubt I have used steam on the machine before. Perhaps one time out of 3 I can play when offline. Assumption: unless it can validate everything, I am not allowed to play my games
I can't really comment, other than to say that the statement should be that it doesn't work reliably for you.  I use it quite a bit on my netbook and on my other computer previously mentioned.  Both of them stay in offline mode, and both of them have never had a problem with playing any game in offline mode- including MMOs.

If I let my husband play one of my 100 games, I am a steam-criminal. I am supposed to buy a separate copy of each game... Sorry Steam but the natural unit of a game played is the household. Now we have always bought two copies of games we both wanted to play a lot, or play online. (we have 2 copies of all Half Life games, Portal, Portal 2, Dungeon Keeper, Kohan, Din's Curse, Defense Grid etc. etc.) but there are many games which we might just dabble in and it should be possible to NOT have to buy two copies...

Not a Steam criminal- it just doesn't work in the way that we'd ideally like it to work.  But it's understandable when compared against the limitations of physical media that it would be this way.  I don't like it- but I don't see where the assuming I am a criminal comes in.  Their business model is not as I would like it (and this is the reason that they have a lot of games that GoG doesn't), but it is what it is.

At the end of the day GoG has chosen to limit their catalog by sticking to their guns on DRM, and I do appreciate it, especially for the unique offerings in its catalog.  But I also like the convenience of downloading and firing up Deus Ex on launch day, and not having to use media for it, so Steam offers me something other than the assumption that I'm a criminal, IMO.
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steeladept
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« Reply #36 on: August 29, 2011, 04:46:12 PM »

Wraith, I think in some of your responses you are assuming she is trying to run the same game in multiple places at the same time (hence your references to physical media).  However, I don't read that into it at all, and as long as they are not the same game, there is a HUGE difference in capabilities there.  Running two copies at the same time may be a no-no, but it shouldn't stop you from installing it on one machine while playing a different game on another machine, just because it is the same account.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #37 on: August 29, 2011, 05:08:59 PM »

Running two copies at the same time may be a no-no, but it shouldn't stop you from installing it on one machine while playing a different game on another machine, just because it is the same account.

It doesn't stop you from doing that. Put one in offline mode while you install the game on the other machine.

* I have to enter an email verification code at least twice a week, if not more often because I use two computers and multiple browsers. Sometimes these emails take a while to arrive and in between... no play

This is for security.  You can turn this off in your settings.


I don't think you can turn this off. I've looked and I couldn't find how. It's an annoyance I'd like to disable. That said, I only have to enter the verification code once per browser per computer. The only reason I can see why you would have to do this so often is if you are clearing your cache/cookies or maybe if you're constantly changing your IP address?
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steeladept
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« Reply #38 on: August 29, 2011, 05:56:11 PM »

Thanks for that info Deo, I don't use Steam so I didn't know one way or the other, but that is what I read from the original post I referenced.
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wraith808
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« Reply #39 on: August 29, 2011, 07:07:12 PM »

Wraith, I think in some of your responses you are assuming she is trying to run the same game in multiple places at the same time (hence your references to physical media).  However, I don't read that into it at all, and as long as they are not the same game, there is a HUGE difference in capabilities there.  Running two copies at the same time may be a no-no, but it shouldn't stop you from installing it on one machine while playing a different game on another machine, just because it is the same account.

Though Deo answered, I just wanted to say that I do that exact same thing, i.e. install on more than one computer.  I have it on my tablet, both of my gaming pcs, and am getting ready to install it on my work laptop.  Only one can be connected at a time, but I haven't brought my backup gaming pc nor my tablet online in forever, and I play on them pretty regularly.

I don't think you can turn this off. I've looked and I couldn't find how. It's an annoyance I'd like to disable. That said, I only have to enter the verification code once per browser per computer. The only reason I can see why you would have to do this so often is if you are clearing your cache/cookies or maybe if you're constantly changing your IP address?

I was talking from experience, not speculatively.  I have mine on (I have gotten a bit paranoid about my gaming accounts as of late and have authenticators on everything that will take it now), but it used to be that I hated it.  Especially since it seems to activate a lot more if you use your account in a lot of different places.

From within Steam.  View -> Settings will bring up this dialog.



Click the button the arrow is pointing to, and the following dialog will appear.



Click the radio button.  Then click next and follow the prompts.
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Deozaan
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« Reply #40 on: August 29, 2011, 08:28:09 PM »

Yay! Thanks wraith! cheesy

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iphigenie
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« Reply #41 on: August 30, 2011, 03:57:45 AM »

* I cannot run steam on two machines at once. Even though I have 100 games on Steam. Connecting on one immediately closes the other. I cannot download on one machine while playing on another, even though this is a common scenario since Steam forces all games on the same 1 partition and most of us have non infinite partitions...
An annoyance that I run across to be sure.  But how is this so different than when we had physical media?  And how is this assuming you are a criminal?

Well I have 100+ games in Steam, so I might be downloading for one of them, playing on another. Why is this not possible? Because Steam assumes that 2 computers = piracy

With physical media I of course could be running 10 different games on 10 different machines if it so struck me. I also could be playing Game 22 on my PC while my husband plays game 47 on his PC and perhaps a friend visiting or a nephew could be having a go at Plants versus Zombies. With Steam doing that could result in account suppression and losing all the games! I should buy an additional copy of the game for my nephew before he can play it - or make my nephew register (he's probably too young...) and send him a guest pass (if the game allows)

I have no problems with the requirement that I cannot play the same game on 2 computers in two locations at the same time, especially in multiplayer/online play. My husband and I routinely bought 2 copies of any game that clicked with both of us, even if the game didn't enforce it (Call it "doing our bit so the developer has a chance to do more great stuff". Doesn't work, though, publishers are stupid.)

But I should be able to play two different games in 2 different locations while logged in. Especially when I have bought 100. And especially when the games cost more than the retail version.
Heck, just launching raptr forgetting I have steam chat enabled can shut down the 12Gb download running on my home computer. How annoying!

I can't really comment, other than to say that the statement should be that it doesn't work reliably for you.  I use it quite a bit on my netbook and on my other computer previously mentioned.  Both of them stay in offline mode, and both of them have never had a problem with playing any game in offline mode- including MMOs.

Glad to know it does work - I will keep trying. The same things that causes the validation email reoccurrence must wipe whatever file Steam checks when starting a game or steam in offline mode - but since Steam won't say what files I need to protect, I cannot do much about it

The other one that &%ç me is that I can run steam shortly before I leave work, just to make sure all is ok, go offline. Then at the hotel I try to start a game and get "steam detected that there is a client update available, you must update before you can play". Of course by then I am offline... That's just mean  Cry

If I let my husband play one of my 100 games, I am a steam-criminal. I am supposed to buy a separate copy of each game... Sorry Steam but the natural unit of a game played is the household. Now we have always bought two copies of games we both wanted to play a lot, or play online. (we have 2 copies of all Half Life games, Portal, Portal 2, Dungeon Keeper, Kohan, Din's Curse, Defense Grid etc. etc.) but there are many games which we might just dabble in and it should be possible to NOT have to buy two copies...

Not a Steam criminal- it just doesn't work in the way that we'd ideally like it to work.  But it's understandable when compared against the limitations of physical media that it would be this way.  I don't like it- but I don't see where the assuming I am a criminal comes in.  Their business model is not as I would like it (and this is the reason that they have a lot of games that GoG doesn't), but it is what it is.

At the end of the day GoG has chosen to limit their catalog by sticking to their guns on DRM, and I do appreciate it, especially for the unique offerings in its catalog.  But I also like the convenience of downloading and firing up Deus Ex on launch day, and not having to use media for it, so Steam offers me something other than the assumption that I'm a criminal, IMO.

There's not just gog though. There's Impulse and Gamersgate and D2D and greenmangaming and the eurogamer store and many others. GG and Impulse are able to sell most of the games Steam sells without forcing this limit on the client (well Impulse is changing and focusing on North America only, so it leaves Gamersgate). In many cases they have the games before Steam does, especially many of the indie and smaller titles.

As for physical media, very clearly my husband could play Deus Ex while I play Section 8 Prejudice - and we could swap later - without buying two copies. Only if we like the game enough that we want to play it at the same time or both online do we need to buy two copies..

Don't get me wrong, I love digital distribution, I just think that Steam has some short sighted "single user" ideas that aren't adapted to the reality of gaming, and that makes a game on Steam less valuable than a physical game or a game in another download service. I'll explore in another reply what would make sense smiley
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iphigenie
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« Reply #42 on: August 30, 2011, 04:18:17 AM »

Sorry Steam but the natural unit of a game played is the household. Now we have always bought two copies of games we both wanted to play a lot, or play online. (we have 2 copies of all Half Life games, Portal, Portal 2, Dungeon Keeper, Kohan, Din's Curse, Defense Grid etc. etc.) but there are many games which we might just dabble in and it should be possible to NOT have to buy two copies...
I love this quote as there are so many truths to it in just 2 sentences. 

Unfortunately, Steam, and many companies like them, still seem to believe that the only gamers in a household are the 12-25 year old males.  Couple that with only 2.4 kids/household (in the US) and that makes 1 or less in that market per household on average.  And we ALL know that the US is representative of the world market, right?

It is incredibly short sighted and what is annoying is that Steam is announcing that it is looking into trade-ins (another teen focused feature) before it is looking into couple/household sharing or the issues people with large number of games face.

The average gamer age is above 25 (that is the average!) and the gender balance is about 45/55 many places. It is not uncommon to see couples in their 20s or 30s where both play games, and families with 2 or 3 generations of gamers...

The focus on teens is not uncommon in the US since they have high disposable income, and it might work for the movie theatre industry because teens need to hang out the way other ages don't. I think it hurts the games industry - and it is sad that so many games websites (and steam) focus on an adolescent image of gaming

Let's look into "perfect steam":
- allows me to designate people as "in my household" so they can play my games but under their user name (for achievements and chat while they play)
- totally happy to have to jump through some hoops for this, at the point of account "tie-in" and approving computers who can be used
- also ok to have some sort of limit above which one must explain via support that indeed one has an 8 people household..
- games have to be installed while logged in on owner's account, but can then be played by a tied-in user
- doesnt allow the same game to be played in multiple locations at the same time unless we have two licenses for the game. but instead of disconnecting the person already playing, it might prompt the person trying to play that they might want to buy another license
- can give a person guest access to games on a designated registered computer
- allows for children accounts with some form of parental safety

This would then mean you can have a game shared in a household the way a physical/console game might be, without losing the advantage of the steam social graph.

And on another note, further features of "perfect steam":
- allows installing on multiple partition
- tells us where the saved games/user settings are on each game so we can back them up (or, better yet, comes with a built in backup option for the saved games and configs. the normal backup does not back these up, just the game files)
- allows us to show/mark which games we already own. I don't mean that we then can download them in Steam, but just that our friends know we have them and don't gift them again to us...
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wraith808
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« Reply #43 on: August 30, 2011, 07:08:06 AM »

Well I have 100+ games in Steam, so I might be downloading for one of them, playing on another. Why is this not possible?

It is.  If one is in offline mode and you're playing, and the other is connected and you're downloading, doesn't that solve the problem?  I do it all the time.  Like I said, one of my gaming machines is never connected; however, I do play on it.  In a lot of cases, it's because my other machine is downloading something, and I don't want to play on it while it's downloading.  And truthfully, I prefer the steam way of doing things (i.e. consolidation) even if it doesn't lend itself to playing multiple copies.  That's why I buy from them whenever possible, because I don't have multiple packages/launchers like GG or D2D.  And it does seem that on quite a few games, when compared to these other services, the DRM that's on the individual packages on GG/D2D isn't present on Steam.

Again, I'm not saying that some of the features that you ask for might not be nice to have.  But I do like a lot about how they are doing things now, including:
  • how everything is consolidated under one platform
  • the fact that having its own DRM system makes many that would include other DRM change their mind
  • the fact that there is even an offline mode that makes working around some of the limitations easier
  • the fact that they've even added the social media features.  no other platform has them integrated to the degree that steam does

Are there things that can be improved?  Yes.  But to ignore the advantages given thus far, especially as its evolving undercut the efforts that have been made, that I for one appreciate.
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wraith808
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« Reply #44 on: November 29, 2011, 06:15:14 AM »

GG and Impulse are able to sell most of the games Steam sells without forcing this limit on the client (well Impulse is changing and focusing on North America only, so it leaves Gamersgate). In many cases they have the games before Steam does, especially many of the indie and smaller titles.

I just had the strangest experience with GG... though I like it, I suspect you won't.  I bought Darksiders on sale for $4.99 from GG.  Then I downloaded their installer, and it downloaded all 13.1 GB of the installer, and started it up.  I ran the installer, and was a bit perturbed when it didn't ask me where.  But then at the end, I realized why.  Steam started, and asked me for my activation code.  I entered it, then steam took over, and installed Darksiders into Steam from the files that GG had downloaded.

Giga-what?

I did a double take at that... and I wonder what that means... but it's truly installed in my Steam account.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2011, 06:26:51 AM by wraith808 » Logged

Lashiec
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« Reply #45 on: November 29, 2011, 12:40:15 PM »

GamersGate has been selling games that use Steamworks for quite a while, thus requiring the use of Steam for installation, authentication, etc. Such requirement is listed on the game's page in the DRM section. If it reads "Requires a 3rd party download and account", most likely it's referring to Steam. Valve isn't taking over GamersGate or anything like that, it wouldn't make much sense either.
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wraith808
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« Reply #46 on: November 29, 2011, 01:40:11 PM »

GamersGate has been selling games that use Steamworks for quite a while, thus requiring the use of Steam for installation, authentication, etc. Such requirement is listed on the game's page in the DRM section. If it reads "Requires a 3rd party download and account", most likely it's referring to Steam. Valve isn't taking over GamersGate or anything like that, it wouldn't make much sense either.

Darksiders doesn't use Steamworks though.  It uses GFWL (or whatever it's called today).  I see that they changed to use Steamworks- no wonder I couldn't authenticate with my GFWL account.  I was looking forward to getting achievements... Sad
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Renegade
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« Reply #47 on: November 29, 2011, 01:44:08 PM »

Reading through, it seems like Steam is more like a disease than a cure. Apparently, it creates more problems than it solves. Am I reading the above wrong?
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wraith808
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« Reply #48 on: November 29, 2011, 02:02:14 PM »

Reading through, it seems like Steam is more like a disease than a cure. Apparently, it creates more problems than it solves. Am I reading the above wrong?

I don't think it creates more problems than it solves, but then again, other people have other opinions.

I think that the ideal solution would be a third party platform that you register your purchases with, no matter where you get them from.  But that will never happen, though it seems that steamworks is making that happen for some games.  As long as you can (1) re-download/re-install your purchases (2) play them offline and (3) there is competition on pricing, I'm happy. smiley
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Deozaan
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« Reply #49 on: November 29, 2011, 04:27:40 PM »

Years ago if there was a PC game I thought I might want but didn't know if it was worth (or I didn't have) the $50, I'm not proud to admit it, but I would likely pirate it.

These days I just wait for the inevitable Steam sale and buy it when the price is right for me. I've even bought games on Steam that I pirated and played years ago and don't really play anymore, but I bought them anyway because I loved them and the price was right for me. I don't even know how many games I've bought for the Nth time (where N > 1) just because it suddenly became available on Steam and at a great price, too.

I really like Steam. Yes it's true that sometimes I get really mad at Steam because there are some things they do that can be absolutely infuriating. Steam is not perfect and there are many use-cases that I don't have to deal with (such as not being the only gamer in this household) which admittedly would indeed be annoying. But they do so many things right (in my opinion) that it's hard to stay mad at them or not use their service. Steam is just too convenient and the prices are too good. I like it so much that these days I almost don't like buying PC games anymore if they aren't available/redeemable on Steam. And that is, perhaps, another problem in and of itself.
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