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What's the Best Video Game Download Service?

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the usenet-and-bittorrent-don't-count dept.

The Internet 227

ThinSkin writes "Who needs a brick-and-mortar game shop when you have the world wide web of video game download services? Joel Durham Jr. over at ExtremeTech examines some game download services to decide once and for all which virtual storefront has the best deal for gamers. Among the services reviewed are: Steam, Impulse, Direct2Drive, Good Old Games, and WildTangent Orb. The most popular site in the roundup, Steam, was also the most favored because of its wide selection of popular titles, while Direct2Drive also scored top marks because it has 'just about every title in the universe.'" Which service(s) do you like the most, and what have your experiences with them been?

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Bah,. (5, Insightful)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131363)

Great. Another pointless "top X" list spread across twelve ad-ridden pages. Who accepts this crap? Editors? Hello?

Anyways, I disagree with their final decisions too. Their top two are Steam (bloated DRM-ware) and Direct2Drive (also bloated DRM-ware) while giving Impulse (no DRM inherent) third place. In fact, they don't even list DRM as a con of Steam or Direct2Drive (or "no DRM" as a pro of Impulse).

Give me Impulse over Steam or D2D any day.

Re:Bah,. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131409)

I believe the correct answer is your favorite torrent tracker. Skip this article it is useless, forget this discussion and forget all the comments. No service will ever top the pirates. Ever. And you can write that in stone and quote me for eternity.

Re:Bah,. (2, Insightful)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131473)

Bollocks. I don't mind paying for a game, provided the game doesn't cause more hassle than I can get enjoyment out of it. I'm happy to buy a game if I can install it and play it, without having to worry about whether this game or that's arcane copy protection prevents me playing it on my {insert setup here}.

If noone ever buys the game, they'll stop making them. Duh.

Re:Bah,. (4, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131487)

I'm happy to buy games, I refuse to rent them. Especially if it's misadvertised as buying.

Re:Bah,. (5, Informative)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131591)

For 99% of games available on Steam, if the game will work on your setup so will Steam.

Steam also doesn't limit your ability to have the game installed on any number of computers. It also provides a myriad of features that many people like.

The motivation behind it may be DRM, but it provides a better experience than any other platform, with essentially none of the negative effects of DRM.

Re:Bah,. (5, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131815)

I love Steam. It's actually easier than piracy. (FINALLY!) Find a game, purchase, download, done. Never have to worry about disks. Can install on multiple machines. Honestly, with the system issues I've had the last year with reinstalling the OS on several machines, Steam made life SO much easier with just setting it downloading and leaving it. No finding disks. No disk swapping. No trying to find the misplaced manual with the serial number on it. Nada.

Stardock's Impulse service may prove in the end to be better than Steam due to lack of DRM, but the fact is Impulse is a diabolical piece of software currently.

Re:Bah,. (5, Interesting)

Mooga (789849) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131995)

I agree that it's actually easier then piracy. Not that piracy is hard, but Steam just makes it so easy. It auto-installs everything and WORKS with no problems.

My only issue with Steam is that you need to have steam running which could effect game performance on weak computer. If you have a nice rig, don't expect any issues.

That list is pointless though. They give everything a high ranking and doing explain much. "They offer AAA games and it work". What about things like customer support? Valve has a cryptic customer support system. Basically you write a note and you hope they get to it within a few weeks. No phone calls, only the message system.

Sure the systems work, but why write an article if you don't actually get down to the dirty issues. What about the whole "WildTangent is spyware" issue? The lack of information makes the article useless.

Re:Bah,. (2, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132271)

I've never had cause to deal with Steam's support. I did deal with Direct2Drive's recently. I don't have anything through them, but was curious how the Spore DRM would work and had a few other questions, so I sent an email asking about four questions. I received a response which answer one of them. So I figured I'd escalate to one of their managers. It tells you how in their information, so I did everything it said.

And that was a month ago and I've heard nothing.

Only issue I've had with Steam was with GTR-Evolution recently. According to friends it works just fine in offline mode. My internet has been crappy lately so I've been unable to use Steam online, and GTR-Evo flat out refused to start without the internet. Ironically this has forced me to download the cracked version so I can actually play if my crappy internet goes out.

Re:Bah,. (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132505)

Oh I know. IGN support sucks and their accounts payable department is even worse - they have this bad habit of taking as long to pay my invoices as they do to reply to your customer service enquiries.

I'd be surprised if you EVER got a response.

Re:Bah,. (1)

Reliant-1864 (530256) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132985)

I had to deal with steam support just recently. Yesterday, I was considering asking the question on what alternatives there are to Steam for purchasing & downloading retail games. This article answered my question.

On Steam, I joined up last week and tried to make a purchase on Saturday. My purchase was declined (I tried CC, Clickandbuy, and Paypal). I didn't get a reply until Tuesday, and they resolved the issue. The only hard part to Steam support is navigating their support system.

What really got me interested in Steam is that I saw the X-Com collection on their site, advertised as being XP compatible

Re:Bah,. (1, Insightful)

neoform (551705) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134247)

Downside of steam:

You need to be logged in to the internet to use any of your games. Even if they're single player games. There have been a number of times where I had lost my internet connection for a day or two and was unable to play those games, that was annoying.

Re:Bah,. (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134361)

that's why you mix with a couple non-steam games. Or.. move to the northwest, into a smaller town. Cable-One here in Idaho does fairly good. My apartment complex forced a switch over to some DSL company that sucks, and I miss the near perfect 100% uptime with full purchased bandwidth. (By near perfect, I don't mean a mere 98% either.. Out of the year of experience I had with them, their service went down once, maybe twice, and only for a couple hours tops.)

Re:Bah,. (4, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134435)

Downside of steam:

You need to be logged in to the internet to use any of your games. Even if they're single player games. There have been a number of times where I had lost my internet connection for a day or two and was unable to play those games, that was annoying.

This keeps coming up but you don't need to always be online. There is an option (I'm not at home right now) that prevents you needing to be online to access your Steam client. Has this changed in the last few months?

Re:Bah,. (2, Insightful)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133719)

Except you can only be logged into your Steam account on one computer at a time.

Impulse doesn't care.

Re:Bah,. (1)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134339)

Well...kinda. You can only be logged onto your Steam account from one IP at a time. You can actually have an entire 64-person LAN party playing CS:S or TF2 on one account. Whether this is intentional or not, it's been that way for years and Valve's made no effort to correct it (which would be easy enough to do; have LAN servers check for keys like online servers do).

Re:Bah,. (2, Insightful)

harl (84412) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134033)

Steam has the worst possible DRM. If you went into a brick and mortar store and they said they reserved the right to take your "purchase" back at any time would you still buy it?

From http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/ [steampowered.com]

2. In the case of a one-time purchase of a product license (e.g., purchase of a single game) from Valve, Valve may choose to terminate or cancel your Subscription in its entirety or may terminate or cancel only a portion of the Subscription (e.g., access to the software via Steam) and Valve may, but is not obligated to, provide access (for a limited period of time) to the download of a stand-alone version of the software and content associated with such one-time purchase.

Re:Bah,. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25134035)

For 99% of games available on Steam, if the game will work on your setup so will Steam.

Not strictly true they have lots of titles that would run on Linux, but which arn't available as a Linux version over steam (even though, steam is wine compliant)

I pirate (occasionally as i rarely game any more) for 3 reasons.
1) to see if the game installs/works/is worth playing (steam often has free demos)
2) because its more convenient than going to the shops (steam is probably easier than pirating)
3) because DRMd versions often dont work with wine. (no problems with steam so far)

As steam is pretty much even with the pirating system and id rather see sequals of good games on PC rather than them all porting shit versions to consoles, i generally do buy games through steam instead of pirate them

Re:Bah,. (1)

Cougem (734635) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132839)

Whilst I am very much anti-DRM, I do slightly agree with this person, with regards to steam, anyway. Steam's DRM, whilst definitely there, is packaged up and used more as a method of validating downloads, or whatever. I know you have to sign in etc. every time you use it, but it will still allow you to install the software on any and every machine you want (although of course, only playing it on one at a time). It is a well worked piece of software, with benefits such as a community, player tracking etc. Yes, there is the worry that Steam will eventually close, but frankly with my incredibly old games I find myself just torrenting new copies, rather than trying to get my old CDs out, anyway, so nothing lost. Basically, if I actually want to pay for a game, I Steam now for speed and ease of use, and will torrent later if I actually ever feel the DRM is compromising my experience.

Re:Bah,. (0, Offtopic)

teh moges (875080) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132513)

quote me for eternity
- Anonymous Coward

Re:Bah,. (5, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132723)

I provide people who buy games with a direct, no queue, no fuss link to an installer exe. They can use a download manager or grab it however they like, they can then install it, or burn it to a disk for backup, they don't need an internet connection on the machine where they install it, and they don't need an account with me, or have anything else installed on their machine or running in the background. There is no DRM or limitations or restrictions.

The download is direct and fast from my website, and in case of tech support, you email me, the games creator directly. I always reply within 24 hours, normally within 8.

There are no middlemen, just a payment provider, so 90% of the money goes direct to the creator.

Explain to me how the pirate system beats mine? ...unless perhaps you don't care about anything but getting commercial software for free?

Re:Bah,. (2, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133831)

Selection :) You don't offer 90% of all games ever made.

Look at the upsides. (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134243)

He might not offer 90% of all games ever made, but I bet there aren't any trojans hidden anywhere in his games.

How 'bout a spoiler warning! (1)

RoverDaddy (869116) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134475)

Next time WARN me if you're going to give away game information!

*stops trying to open the horse in cliffski's game*

Re:Bah,. (1)

NovaHorizon (1300173) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134509)

honestly dude.. for me, it's the online purchase. (I'll buy hardware online, but for some reason.. I'd rather have a disk and nice printed box for my games)

I only pirate a game if I already have my mind set on buying it, and need to make sure my system is able to run it smoothly, and/or until I can finally afford it (low income FTW!).

I personally haven't even tried to pirate your games, though I did try starship tycoon, and democracy 1. Your starship tycoon needs a better demo dude.

I spent like 2 hours restarting till I finally beat the demo mission within the allotted time, then suddenly felt that the full game probably didn't have much more to offer then the experience I had just had (fun up till that point though, I'll give you that.)

As for Democracy.. just didn't end up being my style. The demo for it seemed fine though. Gave a good idea of what the game would be like, and I felt jipped when I found out what the limit was. Jipped in the good way though, where I was curious on if I would have beat that setup.

Anyhow, I normally don't post this in depth on ideas unrelated to the article, but I remember you wanted feedback a short while ago from why people pirated your games.

P.S. If you're making over $500 a month off of just game sales though, don't complain too much. It doesn't have a whole lot of marketing after all, and I never even heard of your website or your games prior to your /. article. Move to a small town, and you can find a place to live for less then $500 a month.. then you don't have to worry about anything but making your next game.

Re:Bah,. (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131445)

In fact, they don't even list DRM as a con of Steam or Direct2Drive (or "no DRM" as a pro of Impulse).

There have been a few sites and a lot of magazines that will not dare attack DRM yet, worried about others (publishers) seeing them as encouraging piracy and pull sponsership.

Every pirate hates DRM but not everyone that hates DRM is a pirate.

Re:Bah,. (2, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131513)

I dont' think pirates care about DRM; it doesn't affect them.

Re:Bah,. (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131783)

It does affect them, it just doesn't stop them.

Re:Bah,. (3, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132461)

I'm not sure I agree. Let's examine a game's path from store shelves to your hard drive *queue cheesy music*

1a) Game is purchased
1b) Game is somehow acquired pre-release
2) Game (images or discs) are transferred to one of a few skilled crackers/hackers (the line is fuzzy here) who enjoy breaking DRM for the challenge and pseudonymous credit.
3) Crackers break game for fun, and probably don't really play it. (This is why the DRM that sabotages you after only 20+ hours of play is actually not as brain-dead as most of it). Some do though.
4) Game is transferred to script kiddies/people in non-fascist countries. People who don't know/don't care/aren't affected by DMCA and foreign friends.
5) Product reaches final consumers, often before if not at the same time as the retail rental version from which it was produced.

I'd argue that the only people affected by DRM are primarily in it for the fun and rush, so really DRM only /helps/ piracy.

Re:Bah,. (2, Informative)

Reliant-1864 (530256) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133009)

In reference to number 3, a lot of games have been re-using DRM methods from other games. Once a game has been cracked once, cracking the same DRM in another game is trivial. Play time is what allows a mid-game break to slip through the cracks. What makes the mid-game break more effective is that it's often unique to the game and commingled with the game code, so it takes a lot more cracking work to break it. With Mass Effect, within hours the cracking groups knew there was a mid-game flaw, but it took them almost a week to actually crack it. Ironically enough, this still allowed to crack to get out before the European release of Mass Effect, rendering the DRM 100% ineffective for the EU market, but effective for the NA market, where it delayed a working cracked version for almost a week while the retail version was on the shelf.

Re:Bah,. (3, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131537)

On the contrary, I'm a pirate and I love DRM. Gives me further moral justification for my stance of downloading a game before I buy it. A practice which has probably saved me thousands in "I wish I hadn't bought that"s over the years.

Re:Bah,. (3, Interesting)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131787)

Steam being bloated? Steam takes up under a hundred meg of the 12 gig of steam games I have installed.

Have a louder cry about the DRM. I'm sure you'd love games costing several million dollars to develop shoved up on FTP with an honesty box, but someone with any brainpower whatsoever would realise that its fucking retarded.

The entire friction the steam DRM setup gives me is having to type a password once, and then tick the "remember me" box. Its a hell of a lot more convenient than CD-keys, its a hell of a lot more convenient than CDs, and I can happily play games offline (despite what the whingers say).

The biggest selling point is they have put in just enough protection to attract A-list games for distribution, rather than the rather crappy lineup Impulse offers.

I guess it also means that in ten years when valve shuts down and the person that buys their platform, decides that out of maliciousness they don't want to continue offering the service, and also that at that stage I am too poor to afford 3D Virtual Lesbian Extravaganza on my VR rig, then I might be saying "Well, damn, I can't play TF2 against the other three people that are still trying to play it". But thats fairly unlikely.

Re:Bah,. (5, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132245)

It's important to explicitly call out the properties of DRM that make it bad. DRM is out there to prevent the player from willy-nilly installing on everyone's PC's, which can be bad as it prevents you from switching computers or backing up your own games. Steam actually facilitates transferrence, as you can download any purchased games on any computer you log into. You don't need a CD to play, you don't need a CD to install on another computer, you can play your games on all the computers you have available.

Steam only runs with your games, doesn't take up a lot of CPU time, and has been stable for several years now. The one outstanding question is "what happens if Valve shuts down," but they have promised to unlock everything in such a case.

If we shout that DRM in all forms is terrible, none of the companies will or can listen. If we work towards removing the problematic portions of the system, we might get a compromise setup that is better than we started with.

All consoles since the NES have had DRM. But because they were actually sane DRM, nobody but pirates and developers ever encountered it. Let's work towards that again.

Re:Bah,. (2, Insightful)

Spinalcold (955025) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134239)

I like the convenience of Steam, it's just so slow! No one else has really complained about this, so it could, for some strange reason, just be my setup, but even after a fresh install it takes forever to after booting Steam to verify each game is updated and download the updates. Then, the games take a long time to boot, the only think I can think of is that Steam is slowing the booting process down. Eg. Starcraft boots in a few seconds, Halflife takes a minute for Steam to boot and verify updates and another 30 seconds to launch the game. It's not that much time, but for new games it is, TF2 takes way too long to boot.

Re:Bah,. (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132543)

I'm sure you'd love games costing several million dollars to develop shoved up on FTP with an honesty box, but someone with any brainpower whatsoever would realise that its fucking retarded.

You know, back in the old days, games were released without the ridiculous protections and they still sold... and some argue (I don't) that games back then were better quality anyway. And who said the only method of digital distribution was an honesty box? Apogee's method was brilliant - games were episodes and you could pick up the first episode for free, and buy the rest off them.

The entire friction the steam DRM setup gives me is having to type a password once, and then tick the "remember me" box. Its a hell of a lot more convenient than CD-keys, its a hell of a lot more convenient than CDs, and I can happily play games offline (despite what the whingers say)

Tell that to my laptop, which despite having logged in recently still insists on replying to my clicking of the "Go Offline" button with "Can't connect to Steam network" and exiting. No, Steam's offline mode doesn't work. I also disagree with Steam's insistence on shoving "Update News" (read: glorified advertisements) in my face whenever it feels like it - though that's not the DRM, that's just Steam in general. And I don't like how I must have Steam running to play games.

Oh, and Steam has more than just DRM in it - it's also got the ability to disable games you've already bought and downloaded, such as in the case where certain games have been released and due to the ridiculous pricing differential between the South Pacific region and Asia, people bought the game from Asia instead and had Valve retroactively disable it on them because they didn't pay the Australasia Tax (markup of around 100%-150%)

No. Fuck Steam.

Re:Bah,. (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133337)

STEAM's offline mode does work. I don't know why people keep preaching that. Have you updated STEAM at all? Have you just tried to reinstall STEAM? I've never had any problems with it.

Also, the whole pricing and region issue thing makes sense if you'd take a second to yank your head out of your ass. There's a few mitigating factors that you need to consider.

The first being that in certain regions, games are censored in certain ways. If you have a game from a different region, it bypasses that censorship. That can potentially go badly for STEAM, as that government can be all like, "WHY ARENT YOU THINKING ABOUT THE CHILDREN LIKE WE FUCKING DEMAND!!???".

Another important factor is that Valve is a business and they need to make money. The cheaper stuff in those regions is specifically for those regions so they can have market penetration there. So essentially, games are priced differently for each region for a reason. They have to find a balance between making money and getting market penetration. So if you want to be pissed off about a company fucking over people who were trying to fuck them over, be my guest.

Re:Bah,. (1)

FlyveHest (105693) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133449)

And also remember, its not Valve / Steam that sets the pricing for the different regions, its the publisher.

Steam just makes it possible to price products differentely in different regions. (Sometimes, making no sense at all, I could buy COD4 from a brick and mortar shop for 20$ lower, incl shipping, than if I bought it from Steam)

Write to the publishers and complain about the pricing.

Re:Bah,. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25133041)

100MB for a download client? That IS massively bloated.

Re:Bah,. (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134321)

A download client with a chat function that has voice capabilities, a browser for rendering the catalog, and a media player for game trailers and other videos.

Steam isn't just a download client. It also gives the best (imo) community service to every game sold on it. I'm back playing Titan Quest again because it makes it easy to connect with people I play with regularly without leaving the game.

Re:Bah,. (1)

Pyrion (525584) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133737)

Leave Steam running for a week or longer and then check its memory usage.

Re:Bah,. (1)

hellfish006 (1000936) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133945)

actually Valve has stated that they will unlock all the games you have downloaded from their DRM scheme if Steam is ever to be shut down. So really, you could continue playing TF2 or maybe 3 by that point.

Re:Bah,. (2, Insightful)

lowlymarine (1172723) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134447)

I guess it also means that in ten years when valve shuts down and the person that buys their platform, decides that out of maliciousness they don't want to continue offering the service, and also that at that stage I am too poor to afford 3D Virtual Lesbian Extravaganza on my VR rig, then I might be saying "Well, damn, I can't play TF2 against the other three people that are still trying to play it". But thats fairly unlikely.

Because no one still plays online shooters from 10 years ago [gamespy.com] anymore, right?

What's DRM got to do with it? (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132215)

Seems the primary criteria would be, can I conveniently download, install, and play the game I want to play?

As long as Steam's DRM doesn't interfere with that (it doesn't) it should be a non-issue.

Re:What's DRM got to do with it? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25132809)

On the other hand, D2D's DRM does interfere with that -- at least, if you want to play any player-created content.

Pity the fools that bought Oblivion from D2D; they were unable to use any mods, which are half the point of the game.

Steam doesn't pull crap like that, thankfully.

Re:What's DRM got to do with it? (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133371)

It sort of, kind of, can, but it's really not attributed to STEAM. Publishers sometimes have completely different versions for STEAM and other download services which can ruin such things, or so I've heard.

Re:Bah,. (3, Informative)

Mascot (120795) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132301)

I guess you didn't notice many (most?) Impulse titles includes activation/hardware lock-in (as in you cannot move the files to a different computer unless you have Impulse there to log on and activate).

In other words, pretty much like Steam.

Re:Bah,. (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132677)

Steam is good for building up a library of games you can share easily from computer to computer and hopefully over a long period of time 50+ years. None of the other companies have the sort of character of Valve to last that long. I have no inherent problem with DRM if there is no malicious, invasive or outright trojan horse/spyware installed. Yeah, you can get the older games they sell on there for like 20-40% of the price you pay at Steam but games on CD/DVD media last me like 5 years tops. You are buying a service to download that game on computers across generations perhaps. It is a matter of preserving our gaming culture, years from now you grandchildren will be visiting and you will totally want to indoctrinate the little bastards with some demented video game you enjoyed their age. Would I like it if Steam hosted Indie and Open Source games for free; yeah, but I also have 4 terabytes of Raid 5 media with cracks as a backup. By the way I just broke down all my old computers I was not using and only kept the power supplies and motherboards. The metal in some of these old IBM servers was insane like over 60 lbs in one. I had been moving them around for 6-7 moves without thinking. Recycling needs to gain some cred in rural and red state US. There are towns of 5,000 like Alturus, California that have like 10-20% of all waste end up being recycled. It is getting to the point where we could pry mine some of the older landfills. God knows what we will find though; we could suppose things like, a lot of dead bodies in plastic bags, naked pictures of your parents getting it on and the like. Mmmm, lentils.

Re:Bah,. (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133357)

Impulses library is lackluster. Not only that, games that have DRM on and go through that service will still have DRM on them.

Steam and Virtual Console (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131375)

That's it.

Re:Steam and Virtual Console (1)

sycotic (26352) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132249)

Agreed!

turd post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131381)

eat my shit, you shit eating fags

Re:turd post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25133701)

ok.

*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (3, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131387)

TPB [thepiratebay.org]

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131853)

Some of us prefer not to steal games, thanks.

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25132797)

mod "+1 uninsightful"?

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133993)

Order it from Amazon... Then download it anyway. Many of the games I own have never had their discs taken out of the box. :)

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (2, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132745)

Explain to me why you would take a game without paying it from there rather than buy it direct from a developer that uses no DRM?

unless of course you don't give a fuck about anyone except yourself, want to save a few dollars, and wish to encourage even more developers to abandon PC gaming entirely?
In which case, good work! things seem to be going according to your plan!

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (5, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132843)

Yes, I suppose TPB is a convenient place for children and the morally immature to violate copyright law. Some of us, however, are adults, and have grasped that if something costs money then either you pay for it or you do without. For us, services like Steam are quite useful.

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (-1, Troll)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133181)

Yes, I suppose TPB is a convenient place for children and the morally immature to violate copyright law. Some of us, however, are adults, and have grasped that if something costs money then either you pay for it or you do without.

I'm selling a roughly 80/20 nitrogen-oxygen gas mixture (with traces of other chemicals) for $1,000 per litre. If you don't want to pay for it, you'd better do without, otherwise you're morally immature. Don't even think about just taking it for free from the atmosphere!

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134051)

Yes, I suppose TPB is a convenient place for children and the morally immature to violate copyright law. Some of us, however, are adults, and have grasped that if something costs money then either you pay for it or you do without.

I'm selling a roughly 80/20 nitrogen-oxygen gas mixture (with traces of other chemicals) for $1,000 per litre. If you don't want to pay for it, you'd better do without, otherwise you're morally immature. Don't even think about just taking it for free from the atmosphere!

Regardless of whether you agree with the GP's opinion, your analogy is obviously flawed. Air exists already and is necessary for life. A given game wouldn't exist without the effort of the developer, and isn't necessary for life.

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25133331)

YEAH! That's why I pay $10 a month for usenet access.

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25133653)

Some of us are really mature enough to not believe that copyright and patent laws are good for society, so..

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (3, Insightful)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133853)

Or we avoid all limitations, and buy the game AND download it from TPB. Best method if you ask me.

Re:*tosses article out the window*.. 3 letters (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134515)

I generally don't pirate games (though I do legally buy more than I should).. but there are cases I'll do it (at least I finally figured out why I was having such problems with torrents.. hai2u comcast!)

Some games can't be found anywhere. With consoles, there's a thriving used game market. Computer titles? Much much much less so -- so much less so that you could spend years searching for X and never find it (or pay MORE than original retail... wtf no thanks), or just grab a copy and "pirate" the no-longer-available title.

That, I will do.

With the ease of digital distribution these days, there's no excuse for Abandonware. Put that shit for sale somewhere, even if it's 15 years old. Somewhere! Or I'll just pirate it if I want to play it.

Sadly many of the old titles from my 286 don't really show up on torrents or abandonware sites too often. BOO.

torrents (1, Informative)

niteice (793961) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131401)

BitTorrent.

I love steam, but... (2, Informative)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131415)

I'm terribly worried about account security. I think it's an issue they need to work on. They need to put in place some sane policies regarding account security.

If your account gets stolen, you may end up losing hundreds of dollars in games.

I've bought from D2D before, no complaints really, but steam has a convenient application to store your games in and downloads are always available.
I've bought from ubisoft direct download store. Sort of lacking in value though.

Never heard of any others.

Re:I love steam, but... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131577)

I'm terribly worried about account security. I think it's an issue they need to work on. They need to put in place some sane policies regarding account security.

If your account gets stolen, you may end up losing hundreds of dollars in games.

I've bought from D2D before, no complaints really, but steam has a convenient application to store your games in and downloads are always available. I've bought from ubisoft direct download store. Sort of lacking in value though.

Never heard of any others.

I had my Steam account stolen a couple months ago and their account security policy seemed to work fine for me, I think it was a grand total of maybe two hours between when I opened a support ticket to when I was able to use my account again.

Opened a ticket, said "I think I had my account stolen, bought all my games on disposable credit cards except for BioShock which I used my real credit card ending in XXXX, please send me a new password." About two hours later my OS reinstall to be sure I didn't have any keyloggers or anything to get it stolen again was complete and my Steam support ticket had a reply to it with a new password.

Unless you either buy games retail and add the keys to Steam and then throw your product keys away, or don't know how you paid for your games, or don't know what your Steam account name is it's pretty hard to lose anything if your Steam account is stolen.

ONTOPIC: Only download services I can recommend are Steam, TPB (I just got added to the trusted uploaders list, yay!) and Impulse.

Re:I love steam, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131613)

Don't forget "anti-cheat" measures. I have not had issues, but some people claim if you have Visual Studio installed or some type of programming/debugging tools, some people have said Valve's anti-cheat stuff considers that as hax, then bans your account from anything online.

I don't like the fact that I can in theory lose hundreds of dollars in games just because some snooping program thinks something like an Eclipse IDE is a hacking tool.

Of course, Steam is nice... as long as Valve cares to maintain the servers. Valve can just shut them all down and give everyone the middle finger at any time.

Re:I love steam, but... (2, Informative)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131817)

I'm pretty certain VAC works of known hacks, not hack-creating possibilitys or heuristics.

Mainly because theres a large amount of hacks doing obviously dodgy things to the running game that don't get picked up... until they are specifically put on the "detected" list.

Also I tend to leave my whole dev suite running when I want a quick game of TF2 :P

Re:I love steam, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25132025)

Don't forget "anti-cheat" measures. I have not had issues, but some people claim if you have Visual Studio installed or some type of programming/debugging tools, some people have said Valve's anti-cheat stuff considers that as hax, then bans your account from anything online.

I've never heard that one before. And until my Windows XP install finally FUBARed after a full 5 year run I had many flavors of Visual Studio along with various other development tools and debuggers installed.

Not once did I ever have any problem getting online with Steam. Never had any problem with using games online. No VAC bans, nothing of the sort. My account is still in good standing since I created it.

I agree with ozphx. Unless you've got stuff dicking around with the game processes or their network data streams there's no reason for VAC to raise any flags or alarms.

New Service (4, Informative)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131417)

http://www.playgreenhouse.com/ [playgreenhouse.com]

It is affiliated with (and I believe run by) the Penny Arcade guys. They sell games cheap, don't push DRM, and try to find games that offer Windows, Mac and Linux versions. They seem to offer trials for everything as well.

Re:New Service (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131563)

3 games eh?

Re:New Service (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133379)

It's relatively new, and it seems like it will stay small. One new game per month? I don't know what Jerry and Mike were thinking there, but whatever.

Uh, Xbox Live? (3, Informative)

EGSonikku (519478) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131477)

Is this limited to just PC? Because, yeah, I know it's popular to hate on the Xbox 360, but Xbox Live Arcade has some pretty nice stuff on it, especially lately. Castle Crashers, Geometry Wars 2, etc.

And then there's the Wii with WiiWare and I think the PS3 has some stuff too ;-)

Re:Uh, Xbox Live? (2, Informative)

Nato2k (656189) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131523)

I definitely agree, there are some great games on XBLA. Wii Virtual Console as well. XBLA is nice because it has more of a broad variety of games.

Re:Uh, Xbox Live? (1)

solcott (1002711) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131907)

Is this limited to just PC? Because, yeah, I know it's popular to hate on the Xbox 360, but Xbox Live Arcade has some pretty nice stuff on it, especially lately. Castle Crashers, Geometry Wars 2, etc.

And then there's the Wii with WiiWare and I think the PS3 has some stuff too ;-)

Don't talk such rot, everybody knows there are no games on the Playstation 3. :-) But yeah, TPB is great for WiiWare.

Re:Uh, Xbox Live? (1)

EGSonikku (519478) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132263)

Wow, modded -1 troll? I guess the hate is alive and well on /. :P

Do I get modded up to break even if I posted this comment from my Linux laptop? :P

Re:Uh, Xbox Live? (2, Informative)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134271)

I think they left out a lot when leaving out the consoles. Because other than Steam, I've never heard of any of these download services. One of them is still in Beta, and hence, didn't even get a rating. When I read the summary, I immediately thought of WiiWare/Virtual Console. It's a great service, with some really top notch games. I've heard really good stuff about XBox Live Arcade also.

GOG (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131511)

I mean, I've got brand new copies of my fallout and fallout 2 disks, which have been ruined in between many moves.

Re:GOG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131545)

It's in beta right now but GOG is freaking awesome. I just bought Fallout 1, 2 and Giants Citizen Kabuto for 19 bucks. Web based download, no DRM, wallpapers, soundtracks, manual, all kinds of stuff. I hope they get off the ground as 6-10 bucks for old games with the download convenience is something I'll happily pay for.

Maybe this says something... (4, Insightful)

Thrull (1200785) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131525)

I use Steam and I actually sometimes look at the store tab with the intent to buy something, because it's easy. Lots of good independent games, and allows me to install on other computers with no major fuss (cept for Bioshock, curse you EA). The games are almost always cheaper too.

I used the older version of Impulse (Stardock Central) and it seemed to work well enough, although the selection of games is low quality compared to Steam.

And I know they rated Direct2Drive pretty high, but even they note:

"You can't patch D2D games with downloadable patches; they require their own special patch procedure."

If Direct2Drive has to rework every patch for every game they've ever offered to work with their locked down version, you have to wonder if some patches might get "delayed" or games wholly abandoned eventually... I seem to remember this coming up in one of my decisions to get a D2D or boxed version of a popular game in the past.

Re:Maybe this says something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25132011)

Its 2k not EA thats responsible for BioCock even though they have regressed the state of gaming recently.

Signed up at Good Old Games Today (3, Informative)

joetainment (891917) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131607)

I used Good Old Games today. I was pretty happy, because it worked instantly and no fuss. Even came with pdf manual and mp3s of the soundtrack. The game I got was descent 1 and 2, replaying those games reminds me that its not just nostalgia, the games were actually great. I've played similar games since, but even though they have better graphics, they've not been better games. The early descent games *nailed* it. Also, I was impressed at the way it came with a pre-prepared version of dosbox, so it ran right away, no hassel. Very worth the purchase price, and the lack of DRM sealed the deal for me. I'm planning to grab Freespace 1 and 2 shortly.

my favourite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25131633)

the piratebay

http://www.thepiratebay.org/ (0, Redundant)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131647)

http://www.thepiratebay.org/ [thepiratebay.org]

For informational, theoretical, hypothetical purposes, of course.

Re:http://www.thepiratebay.org/ (2, Funny)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131843)

OMG I claim Super-DMCA-Triple-Ass-Violation!

You linked to a site which links to files which tell you about a server which has a list of addresses for people which might have pirated software!!

YOU NASTY PIRATE

GamersGate is missing (2, Informative)

NateE (247273) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131739)

GamersGate is a good service. Has some exclusives and hard to find games. Just picked up King's Bounty. The Legend and will be picking up the 2nd Sword of the Stars expansion soon.

http://www.gamersgate.com/ [gamersgate.com]

DRM doesn't seems to be a big deal,
"How many times can I download and/or install my games?
Any game bought on GamersGate is yours to download and install as many times you like. Some games are protected with an activation limit but that limit is easily reset with an email to support@gamersgate.com"

Steam (1)

wfulks (1370515) | more than 6 years ago | (#25131801)

I have been using Steam.com for a while and like it pretty well. I usually only buy the weekend deal stuff, though. My problem with those download sites, and really iTunes, is that the downloads have ZERO resale value. You can spend a ton of money on that stuff and then you can't sell it when finished. Lame!

There is only one answer: Good Old Games (1)

Dimble ThriceFoon (567451) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132599)

http://www.gog.com/en/about_us/ [gog.com] You buy it, you keep it. Don't let your DRMs turn into nightmares (clever, no?). You won't find any intrusive copy protection in our games; we hate draconian DRM schemes just as much as you do, so at GOG.com you don't just buy the game, you actually own it. Once you download a game, you can install it on any PC and re-download it whenever you want, as many times as you need, and you can play it without an internet connection.

direct from the developer? (2, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132785)

Is there a reason why people are so keen to stick a middleman between them as gamers and the game creators?

How much effort is it to just remember who you bought the game from, in case of needing any tech support. For multiplayer I can see how a buddy list might be nice, but for singleplayer, why add a new layer of middlemen, precisely the thing that the web was supposed to free games developers from?

Every service you mention takes a cut off the money and gives a royalty to the actual game developer. Many devs support direct sales, and they ALL want you to buy direct, as they often get 90%+ of the money then, rather than the 40%+ they get from the mentioned services.

Re:direct from the developer? (1)

MWoody (222806) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133153)

So your solution is to purchase all digital downloads directly from the game publisher/developer, then. Meaning you have as many different download systems/clients/logins/ etc. to remember as you have games. I hope you detect my oh-so-subtle sarcasm when I say THIS IS AN EXCELLENT IDEA.

(See: EA Download Manager.)

Re:direct from the developer? (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133445)

*sigh*

if you buy my games, you get a direct .exe link to an installer. there is no client, no services, no bullshit, no account, no login needed.

Don't tar DEVELOPERS with the same shit publishers try to pull.

When games buyers decide to stick with just one middleman to cut down on the installed bullshit, they just give that publisher huge monopoly power to fuck over the developer. If you buy direct from the developer, 90% of the time they won't install ANYTHING but the game.

You don't need to have an account to re-download my games either, you just need to remember your email address and your name. Easily done surely?

That is exactly what you want right?

DRM? (1)

278MorkandMindy (922498) | more than 6 years ago | (#25132905)

I have used D2D and found it to be fine. I don't know why people are complaining about DRM, If I want the game on another computer I d/l it again? Or did I miss something? DRM is only crap where it stops you using the software for its intended purpose. In this case, playing the game. If you can play the game and re-install it later, what is the issue? (not root-kits etc)

Best game download services (-1, Redundant)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133175)

The Pirate Bay, Mininova, Black Cats, SnesOrama, Planet Emulation, Underground Gamer...

Not much of an article (1)

Tridus (79566) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133249)

Hardly any content here, really. Far as I can tell, his scoring system isn't based on the platforms themselves at all, but simply how many games there are. Nothing got less then 3.5.

In particular he's got no problem with D2D games requiring special patches and usually being unmoddable, unlike the other services.

So why is this on Slashdot?

How about Gametap? (3, Informative)

WDot (1286728) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133465)

Gametap is a subscription service, yes, which means that if you stop subscribing your games stop working. However, they have tons of arcade games, classics, Sega console games, and even a startling amount of PC games for roughly the price of an Xbox live subscription. They try to sweeten the deal with tv shows and other extras, but you can take 'em or leave 'em. Some of the games you can buy to own.

Whether Gametap's the best or not is up to you, but it seems odd that they left it out but put Good Old Games in (nothing against GOG, but Gametap's been around a bit longer and offers more games)

ThePirateBay, definitely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#25133603)

Some of us claim themselves `mature enough not to seal games', but some of us are really mature to not believe that copyright and patent laws are sane in any way and needed in modern society.

Re:ThePirateBay, definitely (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134125)

They're currently unbalanced because of the excessive copyright duration, but I wouldn't call them insane. Gaming would be worse off without it. I think that there wouldn't be any games if copyright wasn't available to the creators. It takes a massive amount of time and effort to make a modern game, and if they didn't get paid for it, nine times out of ten they just couldn't make the game.

Another possibility.. (1)

Cookie3 (82257) | more than 6 years ago | (#25133999)

I recently happened to stumble across Good Old Games -- GOG.com [gog.com] -- which is a (supposedly) new download site. If it lives up to the claims on the first page, it'll singlehandedly be the best direct download game site ever. No DRM, cheap (under $10) games, Vista/XP-compatibility, after-sales support, etc.

Whether it's legit or not, and/or whether it's actually capable of being as awesome as it sounds remains to be seen. Supposed to go live sometime this month (but we're running out of month, so..)

Direct2Drive would be good... (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 6 years ago | (#25134277)

But unfortunately it has stupid region protection games. I tried to buy Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 off it for the PC the other day but it said it's not available in Europe. The game also wasn't available on Steam.

If they think I'm going to drive all the way in to town to buy a physical copy in Europe due to some artificial restriction they've created based on my IP they have another thing coming.

Oh and then they wonder why people resort to piracy.

Steam doesn't seem to impose these stupid restrictions but it also unfortunately didn't have GRAW2 for sale on it else I'd have just purchased from there.

The problem with rating these game download sites is just that, whilst D2D may seem awesome in the US it's pretty crap in Europe etc. due to the fact you're not actually allowed to buy half the games on it if you live here.

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