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EA Is Now Officially On Steam, Spore Loses SecuROM

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the baby-steps dept.

PC Games (Games) 354

Trevor DeRiza writes "Today, Valve and EA revealed that this week's earlier rumors were true: Spore (and other EA games) are coming to Steam. As of today, Spore, Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack, Warhammer Online, Mass Effect, Need for Speed: Undercover, and FIFA Manager 2009 are all available for download on Steam. In the coming weeks, EA will add Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, and Red Alert 3. On the official Steam forums, when asked whether or not Spore would contain the dreaded SecuROM DRM that contributed to it being the most pirated game of 2008, a moderator replied, 'It does not have third party DRM.' EA has also finally launched a 'de-authorization tool' to free up limited installation slots." Several readers have written to point out other news about Steam today: they've begun selling games priced in local currency for European customers. The only problem? Their conversion rate seems to be $1 per €1, somewhat less favorable than the current exchange rate, which is roughly $1.40 per €1.

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AKA (5, Funny)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180583)

The fight against DRM gains Steam.

Re:AKA (5, Funny)

madhurms (736552) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180611)

all it needed was a valve!!

Re:AKA (5, Insightful)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180701)

Steam is DRM laden.

How can Steam fight DRM?

Re:AKA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26180765)

WHOOOOSH!

Re:AKA (5, Insightful)

Si-UCP (1359205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180871)

Steam is DRM laden.

How can Steam fight DRM?

Steam's DRM, in my opinion, is much less intrusive than SecuROM. Sure, it requires an authentication server. Sure, it runs in the background while you're playing the game. But it's much less intrusive and much more transparent than installing a device driver (or something along the lines of that) that's hard to remove and putting a hard limit on the number of times a game can be authenticated.

Think of it as a "gateway drug" to what I hope will be a DRM-free future, like what iTunes did with its less restrictive DRMing (and eventually, the lack of DRMing) of music downloads (yes, I know that iTunes still DRMs a majority of their content, but that's because Apple's deal with the RIAA restricts them from DRM-free sales).

Re:AKA (2, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181525)

The driver issue is the dealbreaker for me, i don't want ridiculous DRM code touching the kernel, ever. Using rootkits to prevent removal of kernel code is even more absurd.

Re:AKA (5, Interesting)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180893)

DRM in and of itself isn't evil, in fact Steam brings a lot of features that make it actually appealing to me.

No media, no serial numbers, just a single username and password for all my games.

Re:AKA (5, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181063)

No media, no serial numbers, just a single username and password for all my games.

Free unlimited downloads, relatively automatic updates, etc... Though changing the install directory could be good.

I bought Crysis through the EA store download method as an experiment. While I captured the download file that should allow me to reinstall, I'm not sure I'd be able to today. With steam, that wouldn't be a problem.

I have to agree, I like steam. They manage to do online download gaming right.

Steam doesn't suck any more? (4, Informative)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181289)

I see so much praise for Steam these days. Has it improved significantly over the monstrosity I swore off ~four years ago? I am talking about the years when you could not play a Steam game offline if you did not put yourself into offline mode while still online. Steam trying to authenticate itself killed the network at dozens of LAN parties, and that behavior could not be stopped without closing Steam.

Re:Steam doesn't suck any more? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181327)

I haven't fucked with Steam since they banned the account linked to my copy of Half-Life 2 with no provocation and no warning. They refused to amend the issue in any way. DRM is a bad idea as long as the company handling it has the ability to take your games away from you.

Re:Steam doesn't suck any more? (1, Informative)

Erie Ed (1254426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181539)

I haven't fucked with Steam since they banned the account linked to my copy of Half-Life 2 with no provocation and no warning. They refused to amend the issue in any way. DRM is a bad idea as long as the company handling it has the ability to take your games away from you.

This happened to me to, since then I refuse to buy any steam/valve products anymore.

Re:Steam doesn't suck any more? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181399)

Protip: Nobody gives a shit about LAN parties anymore.

Re:AKA (4, Interesting)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181163)

No reselling of your games...

Re:AKA (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181201)

DRM in and of itself isn't evil, in fact Steam brings a lot of features that make it actually appealing to me.

No media, no serial numbers, just a single username and password for all my games.

You forgot "no right of first sale".

If you can't sell it, is it really yours?

Re:AKA (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181261)

More to the point, if it walks like a duck and looks like a duck, and I can use it to pick up pretty girls. Do I really care if it can quack like a duck?

Re:AKA (2, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181533)

Only if you have a quacking fetish, which, after hearing about you using ducks to pickup girls, i have to wonder...

Re:AKA (1)

Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181329)

You can still sell your account credentials.

Re:AKA (2, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181291)

And all it takes is one database quirk to lose them all at once. Or one person to steal/guess your password. No thanks. I guess I've bought my last PC game from EA.

Re:AKA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181527)

That is not a troll.... Who moderates this shit?

Re:AKA (3, Funny)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180945)

Then perhaps just:
"Spore's DRM is Half-life'd"?

It is an improvement, after all...
>.>

Re:AKA (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181039)

Steam DRM doesn't limit you at all compared to modern DRM. You can play without an internet connection, at your friends house, etc.

Re:AKA (1)

Drakonik (1193977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181303)

Yes, but Steam has assured us that in the eventuality of their auth servers going down, they'd give us ways to continue playing.

Also, any computer than can run the Steam client can install and play any game you've purchased via Steam. An unlimited number of installs, without the need to authenticate, then deauthenticate as you install on a new system.

Yes, it's DRM, in a technical sense, but in a practical sense, it's almost a liberating as owning a 100% un-DRMed game CD that does not do disk checking.

I would LOVE to have all my games on the Steam machine, because then I wouldn't have to dick around with saving CDs or installers.

Re:AKA (4, Insightful)

kat_skan (5219) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180829)

Steam is DRM. It controls what you can and can't do with a product you have bought and paid for. It's dependent on activation servers, which it contacts every time you launch a game, just like Spore was going to before the outcry.

In a very meaningful sense it's less abhorrent than SecuROM, as it doesn't go out of its way dig its tendrils into the OS, breaking random things and throwing hissy fits if it finds innocuous software it doesn't like. There's no bullshit "activations" to use up, and it doesn't leave bits of itself behind when you uninstall it.

But in other ways it's worse. You don't really own a Steam game. You can't loan a copy of a Steam game to a friend, or sell it to someone, or even give it away for free, except in specific cases where Valve decides to let you. If something happened to Valve, or they just decided they didn't like the cut of your jib and aren't going to let you play your game anymore, you'd be shit out of luck.

Re:AKA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26180971)

Steam won't let me play a single player game if I'm not connected to the internet. That's just lame.

Re:AKA (2, Informative)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181051)

You can put it in offline mode. Don't criticize things if you don't even know how they work.

Re:AKA (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181061)

Which games can't you play? All the games I have let me play even if I have turned off (firewalled) net access. Not saying that you're wrong, I'm just interested because my limited collection of games all work (for single player) with no net once they're activated.

Re:AKA (2)

SinGunner (911891) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181031)

We used to let our friends log in with our Steam accounts to play Counterstrike back in the day. We were never all using our accounts at the same time, so it worked fine. And despite the fact that I've gone through about 5 computers since then, I can still boot up Steam and have my games running without wondering what the hell I did with my CD-key.

Re:AKA (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181119)

To put it another way, while I've given up the ability(for now) to lend/sell/give away my games, on the other hand I'm also able to play any games in the future with relatively no problems, simply by re-downloading it.

As the success of iTunes and such shows, the ability to redownload your purchases whenever you want often trumps the portability/sellability of physical mediums.

As all my friends are either non-gamers or get the same games anyways, it's not a big deal there, and I like occasionally playing an old game.

Re:AKA (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181123)

Steam is DRM, but it's very clever DRM. As for not being able to share games, just give your friends your account information. Oh, yeah, I mean, if you can't trust them you might have some problems... but, I trust all my friends... I think...

That's a good question to ask someone, "Do you trust your friends?"

"Oh yeah, I sure do!"

"Yeah, but would you let them use your Steam account you've spent like, 600 dollars on?"

foreign currencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26180609)

That's not new news, and its no longer correct.

Re:foreign currencies (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180749)

Sources?

Will they remove SecuROM from other Steam games? (1)

mahsah (1340539) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180641)

If they remove it for Crysis Warhead I will buy it immediately.

Finally! (5, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180643)

Now I can buy Spore! I knew they'd drop it sooner or later and then I can finally buy it.

Wait... why would I?

Maybe the lesson here is, if you avoid DRM like the plague, you avoid buying overhyped games as a beneficial side effect.

Re:Finally! (2, Interesting)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180735)

Well I was excited to try it, and I will now.

Re:Finally! (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26180769)

Spore? Even without DRM, it's a seriously over-hyped game. It gets repetitive after the first run-through. I hope the Sims 3 won't be as lame...

Re:Finally! (1)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180775)

Aren't all games over-hyped?
I'm still excited to play it.

Re:Finally! (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181067)

No. Not all games are over-hyped.

Really good games, for instance, are so under-hyped that they never get mentioned at all. That's why no one buys them.

Re:Finally! (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181189)

So the only really good games are ones that never get mentioned and no one buys?

Re:Finally! (4, Funny)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181283)

And once people start buying the game, it stops being good. Haven't you ever heard the term "Sell out"?

Re:Finally! (3, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180813)

Lets rephrase:

"we've replaced a very restrictive form of DRM with another form of DRM. How do you like it?"

opportunist (166417): "I LOVE IT! *hands cash*"

This is not the drm you are looking for.

Steam is DRM - its better, but still DRM.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181001)

Steam is DRM - its better, but still DRM.

Steam as DRM hits the gamer sweet spot. It may be slightly more onerous for older and casual gamers, but the activation server and required network connection isn't even an issue for traditional video gamers. So yeah, Steam is still DRM, but it's *usable* DRM.

Re:Finally! (4, Interesting)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181235)

It's getting more annoying as time goes on. For instance, I bought a few games for the kids to play on the laptop. Last night, I wanted to play Left4Dead but couldn't because Steam was logged in on another PC.

Steam should allow the client to run on multiple PCs and then just ensure the same game isn't being played.

Re:Finally! (4, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181169)

Steam is DRM - its better, but still DRM.

But maybe it'll convince EA that at least over restrictive DRM IS an issue - and SECUROM, limited installs, complicated activation schemes and all that is the incorrect method to go about doing DRM.

Or maybe a correct wording would be 'you can't get something for nothing' - you CAN get consumers to accept DRM as long as you offer true advantages to go along with it. I happen to like the idea that even if my house is struck by a meterorite and everything is destroyed I'd be able to play my games again as soon as I got a new computer and an internet connection.

This is good...Maybe. (2, Interesting)

peculium.infirmus (1261356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180647)

Maybe I will purchase EA games again. I gave up on them after I tried to no end to get Battlefield 2142 to run just half way decently. I now buy most of my games through Steam, which means I miss out on a few titles, but the advantages of Steam far out weigh missing out on them for me.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1, Flamebait)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180757)

What are the benefits exactly? Digital download?

I don't know why Steam is so popular, seems like another point of failure to me. Someone please sell me on Steam.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (4, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180799)

Digital download. Ability to download your games on as many machines as you want (and play on one at a time, which I consider fair). Integrated grouping/friends-lists with Steam Friends and a built-in matchmaker.

It's pretty excellent.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180881)

and i can't do that with non drm laiden titles because....? admittedly i used steam years ago, but it was shitty and the concept still doesn't do anything for me.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26180973)

You can't do it legally. With steam, you know that it's legal because they're explicitly enumerating that right in the terms of your license and providing the mechanism to do it.

And that ignores the additional benefit that you don't have to worry about misplaced or damaged original media (free download is a lot cheaper than "cost of media plus nominal fee plus S&H" where available. And faster, too), or that nonsense about "insert disk to play" that other software uses.

Sure, it's DRM, but it's DRM done right: you get something in return for what you're giving up.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181269)

"You can't do it legally"

it can be perfectly legal without steam, it's just up to the distributer to be more reasonable with thier t&c's. the question you need to ask yourself, is is piracy more or less of a problem now than before DRM? what's that, it's just as big of a problem??? that's right DRM isn't the solution. kthxbai.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (4, Interesting)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181355)

it can be perfectly legal without steam, it's just up to the distributer to be more reasonable with thier t&c's.

But they aren't, so Steam it is.

the question you need to ask yourself, is is piracy more or less of a problem now than before DRM? what's that, it's just as big of a problem??? that's right DRM isn't the solution. kthxbai.

The question you need to ask yourself, is piracy more or less of a problem now for Steam-only games than it is for non-Steam ones? and the answer is, from what I've seen, that it's much less of a problem now. Yes, pirated versions do exist but most of the people I've met who've played HL2 have done so on a legit copy, which I can't say for Crysis or CoD4 for example. Therefore, by your own argument, Steam *is* the solution.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181385)

DRM has risen as the means of distribution for pirated software have increased (fast broadband). So if it is "just as big of a problem" then DRM is successful (from the publisher's point of view). Don't forget that napster almost put the music business out of business, and it is a hell of a lot cheaper to produce and market an album vs a video game.

And I'm not sure if "it's just as big of a problem". I just don't know - it could be more, less, or unchanged. But to pretend that if there weren't drm (or other barriers) to software piracy that there would not be more of it? I don't buy that for a second.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

peculium.infirmus (1261356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180909)

Digital download. Ability to download your games on as many machines as you want (and play on one at a time, which I consider fair). Integrated grouping/friends-lists with Steam Friends and a built-in matchmaker.

It's pretty excellent.

What he said :) Plus I don't sell my games, I still have and play on a regular basis Unreal Tournament 99, 10 year old game and still has plenty of replay left in it.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180941)

The only major feature Steam is lacking IMO is storing and being able to download your save games. Having your game installed at your buddy's house doesn't really matter much if you can't pick up where you left off.

Yes, you could just copy the save game files and take them with you, but it's something that could easily be seamless on Steam's part and should be.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26180961)

that's under works. steam cloud or steam works(not sure which) already syncs up keyboard set ups etc and they are in the process of doing that to save games/

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

Nick Kirven (688016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181003)

Steam has that major feature. It's called Steam Cloud [steampowered.com] and was initially implemented with Left 4 Dead.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181209)

On one or two of their proprietary games, yes. I'm talking the saves of every game you have, Valve or non-Valve.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181229)

http://bluehost.com/ [bluehost.com]

You're welcome. :D

Re:This is good...Maybe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181211)

Digital download. Ability to download your games on as many machines as you want (and play on one at a time, which I consider fair).

Reminds me of that Monty Python sketch about the Piranha brothers:

Yes, definitely he was fair. After he nailed me head to the table, I used to
go round every Sunday lunchtime to his flat and apologise, and then we'd shake
hands and he'd nail me head to the floor. He was very reasonable. Once, one
Sunday I told him my parents were coming round to tea and would he mind very
much not nailing my head that week and he agreed and just screwed my pelvis to
a cake stand.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181463)

So you should be able to play your games on as many computers concurrently as you want?

Gee, I can't imagine how that doesn't screw the publisher.

Idiot.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181019)

Digital download?

Is there any other kind?

Or does "digital" now mean "not on CD"?

Re:This is good...Maybe. (4, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181299)

Digital download?

Is there any other kind?

Back in my day we only had analog downloads! And we were glad to have any at all! Why, if we wanted to play a video game one of us had to mentally interpret and reconstruct the current running through our hands back into the original binary! Then we had to crack the DRM - by slamming our heads just right against a stone wall to purge it from our memory. And we were grateful for the opportunity!

...
Then our father would cut us in two wit' a bread knife.

Re:This is good...Maybe. (2, Insightful)

svallarian (43156) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180885)

EA was only partially at fault. Dice just designed the game badly and didn't test worth a damn against Vista clients before releasing it to the masses. Now whether or not that EA forced them to release early is something else, but just look at the SIZE of the patches for BF2 and BF2142. 512MB for the last BF2 patch...compared to the smaller 16-30MB patches for CoD4. It just screams bad early design.

Well. (2, Interesting)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180659)

Well about time. About what two years ago I bought BattleField 21**, they had released it with their then new downloading service. It was, annoying to say the least, your account had to match the email you had used to buy, not that this was well sated. After that things only got worse, on my end at least, the service went through two other names till a year or so later I come back and try to play the game I bought. Guess what? They donâ(TM)t even have my account anymore! Turns out at some point in time they decided that I would only be able to download my purchase X amount of days after I bought it, oh and it was retroactive. Of course they never sent me a check for the money they stole. Well at least they're smartening up now.

Re:Well. (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181247)

There was an "extended download" option (about an extra $5) that you would have unticked to save some extra cash on that purchase.

I got the 2 x-pacs for BF2 in the same way, I have since lost my BF2 disks but I can still download the update packs.

Not defending this opt-in, just stateing that at the time you purchased they were doing that kind of thing, I was "this close" to opting out as well, then I figured, what the hell.

No problem (5, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180733)

The only problem? Their conversion rate seems to be $1 per â1, somewhat less favorable than the current exchange rate, which is roughly $1.40 per â1.

Yeah but they don't have to physically ship pixels when they change money. Pixels are heavy, bytes are dense.. it's a complicated system of pipes and transmission lines.

Re:No problem (2, Insightful)

moriya (195881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181007)

It's not complicated. It's a series of tubes. It's as simple as that!

Re:No problem (0, Offtopic)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181353)

Whenever I see this I'm always expecting it to be followed by the obligatory long explanation of how "it's not a bad analogy blah blah blah" scattered with links to other people who are saying the same thing.

I'm kinda happy that there wasn't one after yours, although I'm secretly cheering for it-wasn't-a-bad-analogy to become its own meme, representing that portion of the tech community that cares just a bit too much about the logic of memes.

Hmmm...now that I've spent so much time on this response I feel like a should copy-and-paste it everywhere I see a lonely "tubes" comment...but I won't.

Or will I?

No, no I won't.

Is this really an improvement? (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180767)

Its been widely hypothesized that EA's intent with the DRM on Spore was not really to prevent piracy, but to impede second-hand sales. Doesn't Steam do exactly the same thing? Can you feasibly resell a license/copy of a game purchased on Steam?

Re:Is this really an improvement? (1)

GFree678 (1363845) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180895)

Can you feasibly resell a license/copy of a game purchased on Steam?

Nope. There's no way to detach a game once it's purchased onto a Steam account. The best you can do is try to sell the account and hope that Valve doesn't find out if done on eBay or something similar, since they will do their best to deactivate the account.

Steam really isn't the best option if you like selling your games after a while.

Re:Is this really an improvement? (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181285)

I don't know about Spore, but you can de-authorize Half-Life and sell that component.

You can also sell the Steam account as a whole.

Run as Admin (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26180779)

Now why, why on earth would Mass Effect be required to Run as Administrator?

For most of the games it also says "INTERNET CONNECTION AND END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT REQUIRED TO PLAY." Well, yeah, Steam games already require that. Are they trying to say that Offline mode is disabled for that particular game? There an extra EULA hand-crafted by EA on top of the Steam one?

This all sounds very suspicious to me.

Not a problem (0, Offtopic)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180787)

The only problem? Their conversion rate seems to be $1 per â1, somewhat less favorable than the current exchange rate, which is roughly $1.40 per â1.

Not a problem for me. 25 years ago I got a bottle of St. Emelion that tasted funny. Paid big money for it too. Later I found out that it was from a vintage that had been doctored.

The French have been keeping the good stuff and exporting the dregs forever.

Revenge is sweet.

Nice Try, but No (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180789)

Sorry. I won't install Steam, either. I've been very consistent on this point. It's the reason I still haven't played Half-Life 2.

It may also be worth pointing out that, since a company the size of EA believes Steam is a reasonable substitute for SecuROM, that Steam may not all the harmless sugardrops and fairydust that its supporters have been adamantly claiming all these years. Which is, pretty much, what I suspected all along...

Schwab

Re:Nice Try, but No (4, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180959)

No one is claiming anything about steam.

It is what it is.

A service that allows you to buy(rent), download your game to any computer with the client, and play. It has a functional offline mode that works for every valve developed or published title I have played. It has introduced me a to few indie games that were fun. The prices are good, and I've bought most of my games on discount. It has community features that I find useful. It keeps my game up to date.

It is the only authentication system that actually gives you something in return for authenticating your game, and it doesn't bitch about me having virtual drive software.

The only major issues I've had with a game on steam was when a publisher(THQ not Valve) decided that the steam authentication wasn't good enough and decided it needed another DRM solution on top of steam, and it didn't let me actually play the game while their authentication severs were buggered.

Steam is what it is. Nothing more nothing less.

Re:Nice Try, but No (1)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181207)

It is the only authentication system that actually gives you something in return for authenticating your game, and it doesn't bitch about me having virtual drive software.

Well, there's also stardock [stardock.com]

, but their game list is more second-tier, if you know what I mean.

Steam is winning on number of games in my list right now, mostly due to their offering package deals quite frequently, as well as the 75% off deals. Even though I have a physical CD somewhere, I might just buy their 75% off($5) Stalker deal right now.

Re:Nice Try, but No (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181457)

I love stardock's games.

Re:Nice Try, but No (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26180965)

and yet, no one gives a fuck what you do, loser.

Re:Nice Try, but No (0, Flamebait)

gparent (1242548) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181065)

Might giving a reason for all that worthless critic? Steam is a kickass platform for game delivery, and has been widely adopted by multiple high-profile companies now.

Its DRM is a LOT less limiting than pretty much every alternative on the market (except no DRM), and it brings a load of features to boot.

But hey, you can just stop playing some of the greatest games ever made because you *gasp* need an internet connection (ONCE). Nobody will stop you.

Re:Nice Try, but No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181311)

I just bought S.T.A.L.K.E.R. on steam for 5 bucks. five bucks. That right there should be worth installing steam.

If for some reason steam goes away and I can't play it ten years from now, or even a year from now, it was only five bucks.

But, since steam was released (ha ha) I have never had a problem with it, and even my old half-life and expansions install and play without issue on new xp and vista machines.

How many of your "DRM free" games from 10 years ago install and play on modern OS without issues? I normally end up spending a bunch of time hunting for long removed patches when attempting to get older games running on current systems. As a service, Steam keeps the games functional on modern OS.

And Steam makes your content easily available. I have installed my copy of steam on probably 2 dozen different machines over the course of its existence. No issues with "you've installed too many times so we turn you off now nice knowing you a-hole"

Steam is a great solution for modern commercial software distribution, because you need to face facts, DRM is not going away. Not buying things (at reasonable prices) because you have a moral objection to commercial software (and the associated DRM) is one thing, but if you are not purchasing games distributed on steam because you fear them going away in the future, well I think you are only punishing yourself.

I can't understand all the steam haters...

Re:Nice Try, but No (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181415)

Or, it could mean that EA has finally seen the light and is trying to be an actual videogame company instead of the marketing-driven behemoth pushing yearly crap it has been until now, and is now trying to sell good games in consumer-friendly formats for a change.

Call me naive, but after Mirror's Edge I'm willing to give them the benefit of doubt, and if IBM could change, so can EA.

Re:Nice Try, but No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181455)

Steam may not all the harmless sugardrops and fairydust that its supporters have been adamantly claiming all these years.

I think you accidentally a whole verb.

Wait, what? (1)

Kranerian (1427183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180791)

EA doing something intelligent? Something that is appreciated by users? No... It can't possibly be true.

Great, any benefits to adding my copy to Steam? (1)

Praetor.Zero (1048272) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180931)

I didn't want to buy Steam because I didn't want to support EA in their DRM habits. However, I had no problem installing it when it was given to me for my birthday. Is it possible to associate my serial with the digital copy that EA will provide with Steam? Right now, I just have a shortcut in the My Games tab. Would there be any benefit or downfall in doing so?

Re:Great, any benefits to adding my copy to Steam? (1)

bakedpatato (1254274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180997)

Nope. When you add the game via "My Games", you only enable the Steam overlay in the game and it tells people you are playing the game when they look at your Steam Friends status. For non steam games(even if there is the same game on Steam), the "My Games" way of adding games makes Steam merely a launcher with the benefit of using the overlay ingame.

Re:Great, any benefits to adding my copy to Steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181107)

Nope, converting retail to steam only works for games made by Valve.

Re:Great, any benefits to adding my copy to Steam? (1)

Dude McDude (938516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181179)

Not true. I bought Football Manager 2009 and used the key on the manual to install the game via Steam's 'Activate a product on Steam...' feature.

Conversion rate (1)

psnyder (1326089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26180995)

The only problem? Their conversion rate seems to be $1 per 1 euro

Converting currency properly isn't Freeman.

Wait a minute... (4, Insightful)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181059)

I am seeing praise here that they are dropping the SecureROM for Steam.

Why?

The way I see it, I still have to rely on some kind of authentication server in order to play my games. What if 10 years down the road I want to play some spore, and Steam is no longer online. What then?

Sorry, but I still refuse to buy until I have a hard copy in my hands that I can install at any place any time.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181265)

I am seeing praise here that they are dropping the SecureROM for Steam.

Why?

The way I see it, I still have to rely on some kind of authentication server in order to play my games. What if 10 years down the road I want to play some spore, and Steam is no longer online. What then?

Sorry, but I still refuse to buy until I have a hard copy in my hands that I can install at any place any time.

Doubtful that such a large platform will drop off the face of the earth in such a short span of time. Hell EverQuest is still pretty lively.

Re:Wait a minute... (3, Interesting)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181279)

If steam went under, someone would probably release a hacked steam client that lets you play without authentication (similar to offline mode in steam but without the week-long or whatever it is timelimit). They might also do a client update that would do the same.

I find that very unlikely though. Steam would be bought out and passed around before it would go away. Its like trying to imagine a once popular website going away. Think about the sites from the '90s you dont use anymore, like excite.com or ubid.com. They're STILL there.

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181429)

so instead of

1)break the law
2)play video game

you're saying i should

1)pay money
2)lose my rights to play when they go under
3)break the law
4)play video game

Re:Wait a minute... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181529)

What you're talking about has already existed for a while. Essentially, you can play all the single-player Steam games without Steam... and some non-Steam hacked servers.

Third-party? (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181193)

a moderator replied, 'It does not have third party DRM.'

So it only has their own DRM? And lots of it?

Sorry EA management. You're still a bunch of greedy criminals in suits, sniffing drugs, threating your programmers like slaves, destroying nice companies and making shitty games (or no games at all) out of their ideas. And you can't sue me, because I got proof of all I said right now!
That's the problem when you screw over the people that you need(ed). They know what you did. And they collected proof on the go.

Even if you remove all DRM, you would still have to stop behaving like assholes before I would even start thinking about buying something from you.

Re:Third-party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26181369)

Someone has serious issues. Baby need a bottle?

Sheesh... (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181249)

"The only problem? Their conversion rate seems to be $1 per 1, somewhat less favorable than the current exchange rate, which is roughly $1.40 per 1. "

Man, this is a huge step in the right direction and this all you can fucking think of?

There's a better alternative to Steam (1)

Kashell (896893) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181275)

Companies such as Stardock have zero DRM on their games.

It explains why Stardock, even as an extremely small company in hard economic times, is having incredible profits. Their game Sins of a Solar Empire got rave reviews back in March and is now receiving top 10 game awards from almost every game site / magazine.

They even released their company report to the public! That's a cool company.

http://74.125.45.132/search?q=cache:saGoWJP1dCsJ:www.stardock.com/media/stardockcustomerreport-2008.pdf+stardock+2008+report&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us [74.125.45.132]

From a business prospective, it's important to create DRM that doesn't prohibit the user, but still protects your product at the same time.

That's what I've observed in the industry anyway.

Exchange rate not 1:1, some better, some worse (1)

mattbee (17533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181309)

Contrary to the headline, I think the prices are all "locally adjusted". Left 4 Dead is now £26.99 where it was $49.99 (£33.34), so that is discounted. However World of Goo was $19.99 (£13.33) but has now gone up to £16.99.

So I'll carry on checking against amazon.co.uk / Game boxed prices for big releases. For indie titles, it's always worth looking at the $ price they charge on their own web site, which are sometimes more and sometimes less than what Steam charge.

So nothing changes, but maybe Valve realised that the plunging £ had lost them some sales in the UK (it was $2 : £1 not so long ago, now it is $1.4 as the story points out, so Steam prices used to be pretty sharp for us).

Re:Exchange rate not 1:1, some better, some worse (1)

mattbee (17533) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181319)

Ah, oops, headline was talking about EUR prices, I am talking about GBP. That *is* insane if they're suddenly asking 50EUR for Left 4 Deaad ($70) though.

Interesting step, but nothing has changed. (1)

dtmancom (925636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26181363)

Interesting step. But I'm still a collector, I still want the box, and I wont buy any of that while it has SecureRom. And the used games market still suffers.... can't sell your Steam download to a store or buddy. EA has given up nothing except an expensive license to SecureRom.
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