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Valve Will Let Gamers Pick Games To Appear On Steam

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the looking-forward-to-more-games-about-hats dept.

PC Games (Games) 129

Valve has announced a new system called Greenlight, which will allow the gaming community to select which games get chosen for distribution via Steam. Developers will post information about their games — this can be screenshots and videos, or even concepts and potential game mechanics for titles still in development. Once posted, the Steam community will be able to vote on which ones are the best. This will prioritize which games become available on Steam first. Greenlight is Valve's attempt to solve what they call an "intractable problem" — figuring out ahead of time what games players will like. They also hope to facilitate the development of interesting games. "We think it's going to encourage this virtuous development cycle. The problem we had of, how do we encourage somebody when they're not done developing yet? This we think will work. We think a bunch of people will be looking at it going, 'oh my gosh, I want that.'"

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Okay then (5, Insightful)

kat_skan (5219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605757)

I pick Episode 3.

Re:Okay then (2)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605775)

I pick Episode 3.

The developer has to submit it first...

(besides, Valve can't count to 3)

Re:Okay then (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40606177)

I pick Episode 3.

The developer has to submit it first...

(besides, Valve can't count to 3)

Well, alright, then. I pick Episode Many.

Re:Okay then (1)

kiriath (2670145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605815)

This * 10000

Re:Okay then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40605825)

Sadly, it doesn't work that way. The game has to first exist, then the developer has to submit it (though Valve suggests contacting the developer if it's not on their system already), then you get to vote.

Re:Okay then (1)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605913)

Does the developer have to submit it for vote or is Value going to be proactive in putting games up to vote? I know the developer has to actually make arrangements for the game to actually be sold but I don't see why they need to be included in the vote. I think such a system could actually encourage developers to sell their games on steam when they might not otherwise do so. If they know they are highly sought and already have a huge customer base on Steam, why wouldn't they put their games on Steam?

Re:Okay then (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605983)

Per TFA:

You'll need a valid and non-limited Steam account (yes, that means you'll need to own a game on Steam). Then, you'll need to fill out the submission form, including some information about you and your game. The submission will require:

        A square branding image (similar to a box cover) to represent your game in lists and search
        At least 1 video showing off your game or presenting your concept
        At least 4 screenshots or images
        A written description of the game along with tentative system requirements

I don't think Steam can do this without the developer cooperating, though I'm sure they'll be as proactive as always in courting the developers.

Re:Okay then (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606061)

It was already tried with Mass Effect 3. Of course since EA is actively trying to replace Steam with Origin it probably isn't the best example. I'm guessing Valve gets inundated with indie developers wanting to get on Steam. This would crowdsource the selection process instead of leaving it to a handful of people who's taste in games may or may not be similar to yours. That way Valve devotes its resources to titles which already have interest instead of the "lets toss this against the wall and see if if it sticks" model.

Re:Okay then (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606079)

If they know they are highly sought and already have a huge customer base on Steam, why wouldn't they put their games on Steam?

Because they're competing with Steam?

I can predict what the results would be if they tried putting up any game for vote. Battlefield 3 and all the other Origin-only games. Followed by Minecraft and the "Games for Windows"-only titles.

Minecraft sells itself - it doesn't use any "stores", because given how frequently they used to update, no store in their right mind would take them. And now they've found they can sell it themselves without much difficulty.

The others are because the parent corporation (EA and Microsoft) have their own, competing platforms, and either flat-out refuse to put their games on Steam (Microsoft), or deliberately refuse to follow the Steam ToS regarding stuff like "can't use non-Steam sites to sell DLC in-game" (EA). At least Microsoft is honest about it - EA is trying to make Valve out to be the bad guys, but nobody's buying it.

Just a small aside on EA: I'm never buying any of their DLC again, even packaged with the game. When I bought Dragon Age, I bought the "Deluxe" version that included most of the DLC. I had to fiddle for a week to get it to actually let me use the DLC I bought, and it seemed to reset itself every time I *rebooted*. I made the mistake of thinking they'd fixed it when I bought the Deluxe version of Mass Effect 2. That one, I *never* got my DLC working. So yeah, I'm never paying for DLC from them again. And if the game itself is incomplete without the DLC, then I'm just not buying the game, period.

Re:Okay then (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606185)

The others are because the parent corporation (EA and Microsoft) have their own, competing platforms, and either flat-out refuse to put their games on Steam (Microsoft)

Erm, microsoft *do* list games on Steam, as Microsoft Flight's on, as are a couple of other titles. But it's entirely their choice whether they go on steam or not, as you say.

Re:Okay then (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606677)

Similar experience here. EA's DLC system for the ME/DA games is awful. I still haven't managed to get non-broken archives of the two largest DLC for ME2. I don't have problems with large downloads from anyone else. That's on top of the huge hassle their site is to navigate (whoever designed it should never ever be allowed to design a user interface again) and their stupid "points" you have to purchase to buy things.

Their DLC portal is shit, Origin is shit, and both seem designed to make giving them money as painful/undersirable as possible. EA can go to hell.

Re:Okay then (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607019)

Minecraft sells itself - it doesn't use any "stores", because given how frequently they used to update, no store in their right mind would take them.

How often is that? Team Fortress 2 (not just a Steam game, but a Valve game) in general updates 1 or more times a week, every week.

LEGO Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606271)

I pick Episode 3.

I thought LEGO Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was already on Steam, as part of the VI-pack [steampowered.com] .

Re:Okay then (1)

Shadowhawk (30195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606613)

This ^

Re:Okay then (1)

TechwoIf (1004763) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608791)

"Episode 3" of what? I did goggle it and it pointed to a dozen things this phrase could refer to.

Re:Okay then (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40609227)

Hell why don't you wish for an Alyson Hannigan sexbot delivered to you in a flying car? both are about as fricking likely.

This could be good. (1)

kiriath (2670145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605805)

Basing this on the fact that there are quite a few rather lame games on steam, I'd say this is welcome. I'd vote!

Re:This could be good. (2)

magarity (164372) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607059)

I'd rather have it the other way around; how do I vote to get a game OFF Steam? I bought a game on retail DVD and missed the fine print on the spine that said Steam was required. The miserable thing had to go through a huge download despite the DVD and it always wants to be connected to log in to the Steam account to play in single player mode. Highly irritating!

Re:This could be good. (1)

All_One_Mind (945389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607619)

Just put steam into Offline mode. Problem solved.

Re:This could be good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608123)

I see that bandied about, but let me share with you an actual real thing that happened to me.

My Internet connection went down for an entire evening. I figured that I'd play a couple of games on Steam to pass the time. Except, I couldn't even start Steam to switch it to Offline mode. Even choosing to 'start in offline mode' required me to sign into Steam to activate it. So I suddenly had 100 or so games sitting there, fully patched and installed, that I couldn't play because my Internet access was down. Maybe I should have had the foresight to switch to Offline Mode before the backhoe working the next block over snapped my ISP's line, but my clairvoyance has fogged with age.

I guess my point is: having to be online to activate "offline mode" is almost as useless as not having an offline mode at all.

Re:This could be good. (1)

Airballp (1077091) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608905)

I read somewhere that this happens if you shut down your computer without first exiting steam. I had exactly the same problem you describe, and then I started closing steam manually before shutting down. Works for me, hopefully it will for you too.

Two birds, one stone (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605817)

1) Kickstarter effect, developers can see what the fans are craving and can use it to get funding.

2) "Hey, don't blame us. You picked it!"

Re:Two birds, one stone (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606015)

Re: 2

Valve wants to squeeze the absolute maximum money from steam users. Don't forget.

Re:Two birds, one stone (3, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606137)

If they're doing that by helping to promote games people want... what's the problem?

Re:Two birds, one stone (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606259)

I wasn't saying there was a problem, I was saying things not being popular isn't something they can deflect by blaming the users. If the users pick a loser, that's a problem for valve.

Re:Two birds, one stone (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606311)

Define "loser" in this context. A game that doesn't live up to what the users expected, or what?

Re:Two birds, one stone (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606455)

From Valve's point of view, as a company, if it makes money or not.

Re:Two birds, one stone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40608039)

1) Kickstarter effect, developers can see what the fans are craving and can use it to get funding.

Not really. It's much easier to vote with your mouse than your wallet.

A sudden spike in games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40605819)

Featuring busty protagonists who find the skimpiest possible clothing to wear, even in what would normally be a formal situation.

Re:A sudden spike in games (2)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606295)

They already have that genre, it's called JRPG/MMO.

Re:A sudden spike in games (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608613)

Featuring busty protagonists who find the skimpiest possible clothing to wear, even in what would normally be a formal situation.

I'd take that idea to Hollywood - it'll be a goldmine.

Seems like the entire point is advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40605861)

Seems like this is just advertising. Go watch ads and tell us which ones are good. It's not as if there is a limit to what can be released or when.

I'm old and jaded though. I stick to free roguelikes and muds.

Re:Seems like the entire point is advertising (2)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606013)

Seems like this is just advertising. Go watch ads and tell us which ones are good. It's not as if there is a limit to what can be released or when.

I'm old and jaded though. I stick to free roguelikes and muds.

Of course there is a limit. It takes resources to convert a game to play on the steam platform and show up in thier store. Since these resources are limited, the number of games released is limited.

Re:Seems like the entire point is advertising (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607593)

What's to convert? We're talking about new games here. If the developer would like them to one day be distributed on Steam, they're certainly going to design them with Steam in mind. Single-player games need little or no work to be usable on Steam. The Steam client already has a wrapper to let you use the Steam overlays (chat, etc.) within arbitrary games if you use Steam as the launcher. The little bit of actual work would be to throw in some dumb "achievements" and allow games to be saved on the Steam servers. And if the programmers at Valve are at all competent, saving to the server should use an API that's a drop-in replacement for native file I/O.

Multi-player games probably need (slightly) more work to function with Steam's backend. But still, it's not Valve doing it. It's the game developer working with the Steam SDK.

The only work Valve has to do is to add the title to the store, maybe format the screenshots into something that looks good as an advertisement, and cash the checks. In fact, I'm really surprised that Steam hasn't already turned into a cesspool of cheap-ass amateur crap like the Apple App Store has.

Re:Seems like the entire point is advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40606085)

Steam actually does limit the number of games they sell. It is a non-zero cost to have a bad game in their system. And for indie developers with no street cred built up it can actually be a real challenge to get their games listed. You basically have to market to Steam as if they were going to be the publisher for your game. I think this is going to be something interesting. Developers will need to be able to sell their game's concept and gameplay to people before they actually have a genuine opportunity to sell them the game. There's not THAT many game distribution platforms out there and Steam is the best and most successful one.

Posting anonymously to not undo mods

Apple App Store (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40605921)

What happens if my game never gets accepted?

Your game will remain on Greenlight unless you decide to take it down.

Ugh. At least make them renew it every X months. This is gonna get filled up with dreck fast, and then only the most popular will get votes because that's all anyone will be able to find. Not to mention I don't want to vote for any abandoned projects.

Intractable Problem? (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605933)

What makes their problem intractable? What is the marginal cost of publishing a game on Steam, once that game is fully produced and (presumably) ready to be sold on a DVD/BD? If their business process or technology makes it's very expensive to publish via Steam such that they have to go through an editorial process to insure highly salable content, then I think the problem is not with the editorial process but the underlying publishing technology/process.

Perhaps I don't understand the intricacies; how is this different than publishing a game via the Android or Apple app stores? Why can't a developer just upload their binaries to Valve/Steam and let people buy what they want? Why is voting twice (first in Greenlight, then next by buying the game) better than voting once? If anything, I think this would cause less games to get made as developers abandon projects that get a lukewarm response via Greenlight, either because of bad presentation by the developer; stiff competition for eyeballs at the time they upload their concept art, etc.; or simply because people didn't see it because there is a lot of pre-release content to sift through.

Re:Intractable Problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40606131)

Publishing angry birds onto the Apple store is easy because apple has a dedicated team to sift through the crap from the cream. This also leads to Apple favouritism in apps and makes publishing very luck of the draw. Valve wants the neat, tidy, clean environment Apple products have, but without all the politics and costs. Even the Google play store has a minimal approval process. Valve does not want to hire a team, lest that be another expense and essentially hold them liable for review and what makes it.

So they developed an intelligent solution: they don't have to hire a team that sifts through and decide what looks good, the users do. They aren't liable for what makes it on their, its up to the developer. They aren't directing games, they aren't influencing game production, its straight on just being a conduit between gamers and developers, for a smaller cost than hiring people to manage that connection.

Re:Intractable Problem? (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606383)

The filtering that Apple is doing is simply to prevent malware and pornography from entering the App Store. They aren't selecting Angry Birds in favor of Contented Birds because the latter is a shitty, boring game that no one will buy.

This Greenlight idea won't prevent malware from entering the Steam marketplace (Valve still needs to do a QA check for that), and if anything it will increase the pornographic games available.

Re:Intractable Problem? (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606783)

Apple absolutely claim they will reject apps because they're shit. They in fact do reject apps that are just websites loaded in a webview, or that are nothing but marketing material, or are inferior clones of apps of a type that are already numerous in the store (the way they put it is something like "we have enough fart apps, thank you"). They also reject apps with obvious bugs, or that just work very poorly.

That's not to say there aren't examples of all of those things that make it through, but if you try submitting a sluggish app that does nothing but load your website, which just has a really crappy HTML5 Tetris clone on it, odds are good you won't meet with much success.

Re:Intractable Problem? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606753)

Publishing angry birds onto the Apple store is easy because apple has a dedicated team to sift through the crap from the cream. This also leads to Apple favouritism in apps and makes publishing very luck of the draw. Valve wants the neat, tidy, clean environment Apple products have, but without all the politics and costs. Even the Google play store has a minimal approval process. Valve does not want to hire a team, lest that be another expense and essentially hold them liable for review and what makes it.

So they developed an intelligent solution: they don't have to hire a team that sifts through and decide what looks good, the users do. They aren't liable for what makes it on their, its up to the developer. They aren't directing games, they aren't influencing game production, its straight on just being a conduit between gamers and developers, for a smaller cost than hiring people to manage that connection.

Valve does have a team for this, and they still will (since the community is most certainly not 100% reliable). I'm still slightly uncertain what the point of Greenlight is, but I imagine Valve probably got contacted by angry developers/fans screaming "why is x game not on Steam?!?!?" This helps to solve that issue. Now they can point to Greenlight and say "well, it either isn't on there or doesn't have enough people who want it on Steam. You want it on Steam? Fix those problems." Boom, problem solved for Valve.

Re:Intractable Problem? (4, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608145)

It would probably have more to do with the legal issues and that a game developer must allow Steam to have digital distribution rights and quite an incredibly powerful license to the software. You see, Valve doesn't sell games on Steam. They sell subscriptions to a license to a game. Valve owns the licenses, you own a very limited subscription to that license, and it affords you no rights under law, and it can be terminated at Valve's discretion for any reason or no reason. To distribute a game under that framework, I presume there's legal footwork to be done, and to do that for EVERY SINGLE GAME ANYONE EVER MADE, EVER would be an intractable problem indeed. If you go into it with a publisher saying "our customers want this game" and they deal with the legal issues up front, customers get games they want and Valve has less legal work to do.

I still say nobody should ever buy a game from Steam again. The reason they can sell games at 80% off is because you never actually own a copy of any game purchased through Steam, so you're literally paying Valve to let you play in their sandbox; at the end of the day, you have to go home, and all the toys stay with Valve. This is the most anti-consumer system I could imagine; complete and total dismissal of all consumer rights.

don't buy into DRM (-1, Flamebait)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605955)

will be able to vote on which ones are the best

Why would I want the best games incumbered by Steams DRM? I refuse to buy any game with this DRM, and if enough people did then DRM would wither and die. Most of the /. community seems to understand the evils of DRM, it continues to amaze me that they become such sheep when Steam is mentioned.

Re:don't buy into DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40606003)

Calling people "sheep" for not matching your views perfectly (and yes, that IS the only reason it's ever done) proves you to be more "sheeplike" than the people at whom you're hurling that teenybopper invective.

Re:don't buy into DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40607351)

What an ovine response.

Re:don't buy into DRM (2)

Aphonia (1315785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606103)

if its on steam, chances are its better than the alternatives (origins, blizzard's always online thing, etc).

Bioware had "leave the dvd in" if you played Dragon Age, but now that a lot of people are using laptops and dvd drives may be disappearing in the forseeable future (see: retina mbp, mb air), an online option is desirable. (they even were relatively reasonable on selling used copies - just that you wouldn't get some DLC which was desirable)

Good luck with your not buying into DRM - its not going to wither away and die, because frankly, not enough people care. I'll still buy a good game so long as it works and isn't overly intrusive.

Re:don't buy into DRM (4, Insightful)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606251)

it continues to amaze me that they become such sheep when Steam is mentioned.

I'm not sure sheep is really the right word here. Fairly certain most, if not everyone, on /. who uses Steam (myself included) are well aware that it is DRM. Hypocrite would seem to be a better word, though even then I would have to disagree. Finding some instances of DRM to be deplorable but other forms to be acceptable does not a hypocrite make.

Re:don't buy into DRM (2)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606443)

You might be surprised. Not so much here, but on a few game forums I frequent, it's head-deskingly painful how often someone will decry Steam's DRM and get a slew of "it's not REALLY DRM" excuses, plus the new Diablo III favorite "Get a real internet connection, looser[sic]!"

Re:don't buy into DRM (2)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606653)

the new Diablo III favorite "Get a real internet connection, looser[sic]!"

This is my favorite, because it is very suburban/urban centered, and is easily argued against by pointing out that not everyone lives in urban areas. It is my favorite, because that line of conversation invariably leads to my second favorite pearl of wisdom, "WELL, if you don't like crappy internet, move out of the country."

It's as if people don't understand where food comes from, that the people who make that food also enjoy/have a use for technology, and that the countryside isn't actually full of castles, serfs and fucking mud farms.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606577)

I'm not certain it's hypocrisy, as much as acknowledging DRM done well (not right, just well). -- at least this way I can trade a game or play offline if I want to!

As a side note, I'm not excited that this is the way the world is going, because I live in BFE, and my internet connection is T.E.R.R.I.B.L.E. at best, and suicide inducing at worst.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608235)

So long as we define "DRM done right" as "no DRM at all."

Re:don't buy into DRM (2, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608225)

Steam's subscription model is anti-consumer; that itself is sufficient to warrant dismissal of Steam as a valid outlet for purchasing games, regardless of any DRM they impose, be it permissive or not. You don't have any rights to that content outside of what Valve says you can do with it (sure, you can run it offline and you can make backups to save us money on bandwidth, but nope, you can never resell it, or run it without steam, because you don't own the copy!). Nope. Buy games THEN put them on Steam. Never the other way around.

Re:don't buy into DRM (5, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606343)

Because Steam DRM is "consumer-friendly".

It doesn't encrypt anything except unreleased, pre-loaded content (which is decrypted when the game is actually released).
It allows you to go into offline mode, and to back up your games to DVD.
It doesn't itself restrict anything except the .exe - I copied the DLC files from my Steam install of Oblivion to my retail install of Oblivion with no problems (it was cheaper to buy the "Deluxe" all-DLC-included version on Steam than to buy all the DRM alone).
It includes a notice on any game that includes additional DRM
It doesn't do any spying other than the opt-in Steam Hardware Survey
It tries to be a beneficial service, including chat and modding features
It hosts, for free and without DRM, user-created mods for several games
It supports OS X, and is expected to shortly support Linux
It does not in practice restrict what you can do with your data (the ban on sharing, trading or selling accounts is not strictly enforced)
Valve has pledged to, should they go out of business, release a DRM-remover for any games they legally can. (and Steam is easily broken, if you wish to)

So given a choice between "not getting the game at all", "pirating the game", "buying it on Steam" or "buying it on some far more DRM-encumbered platform", is it really a wonder that people choose "buy on Steam"?

Yes, in theory, everyone should boycott DRM. But this is the Real World, and out here, you have to make compromises. Steam is the best compromise solution - it eliminates or ameliorates the problems with DRM, but still placates the corporations' concerns about digital distribution and "piracy".

Customer-centric (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606767)

Indeed. When you look at a lot of the "other" gaming companies out there, Steam/Valve seems to generally be the most customer-centric. They make a lot of effort into providing useful services to their customers.

Other companies' foray in the world of DRM has met with broken CD-ROM drives, unplayable games, and a generally lousy customer experience.
Steam is making inroads to embrace a wider market and is quite supportive of indie-style games. IMHO, others seem to have opted for a poor parody of the Steam platform, but nobody else really comes close.

My only real complain with steam is that all games are locked to a single account on a single PC (e.g. I can't have two games across one account active on two different systems). Well, that and I'd really like to see HL2e3 (or HL3) come out sometime soon :-)

Re:Customer-centric (3, Informative)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606955)

My only real complain with steam is that all games are locked to a single account on a single PC (e.g. I can't have two games across one account active on two different systems).

Offline mode. I use it regularly for LAN gaming.

Start Steam on one computer, go into offline mode. Repeat for all (n - 1) remaining computers. Last one can stay in online mode. Start up a local server on any of them, have the rest join. Bam. LAN party on (n) computers with 1 copy of the game.

The only thing offline mode really stops you from doing is updating, chatting or using the server browser (IIRC, you can still directly connect to internet servers). So for single-player games or for LAN, it works perfectly (at least until one of them updates and gets out of synch).

Re:Customer-centric (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40607279)

This doesn't solve the following problem:

I'd like to play L4D2 online... my wife would like to play Dungeon Defenders online...

We can't use one account to do that simultaneously. :(

Re:Customer-centric (1)

SpanglerIsAGod (2052716) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608627)

I thought I had the same game going on two different computers once, but maybe I was just logged into the same steam account on two different computers. Hmmm....

Re:Customer-centric (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607097)

My only real complain with steam is that all games are locked to a single account on a single PC (e.g. I can't have two games across one account active on two different systems).

As mentioned by others, Offline mode can be used to bypass this... except for the online components of games, for obvious reasons.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607027)

You forgot that the DRM is mostly in furtherance of the primary benefit to consumers, namely that it allows you to redownload your games anywhere you want, as quickly as your internet will go. Without DRM, it's effectively a free-for-all, since Steam works by basically allowing anybody to get the files, but not be able to use them unless the account is authorized. A friend can log into your machine with his account, download and play one of his games, and it'll still show up in the list on your machine, but your account can't play it. That's the extent of (Valve's) DRM on Steam, and without it they'd have to massively redesign the service (to strongly authenticate downloads) or just give their games away.

tl;dr - Valve's DRM is really a consequence of their download-easily-and-everywhere model. Even if you don't agree with it, you can't deny that Valve gives you a desirable feature with their DRM, where most companies just take things away.

Re:don't buy into DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40607089)

I don't think the Steam Hardware Survey is opt-in. AFAIK, there's no way to not have it collect all of the info about your machine. Including a list of installed programs.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607965)

Weird, I distinctly remember opting into it. And a bit of Googling brings up the same results.

It actually doesn't even give everyone a chance to opt-in - when they do a new survey, they randomly select people to have a chance to participate. So no, it does not default to spying on you.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1, Insightful)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607191)

Except they have the most draconian DRM system ever invented in the history of man: all you purchase is a revocable once-billed subscription to a license of a game. That means you don't have first sale rights or any rights under copyright law. That means you don't even own a license. Valve owns your license, and all you have is an active subscription to the game via Valve. Non-ownership of paid for merchandise is far beyond anything else you listed.

It does not matter what Valve puts on Steam. I will never purchase another game via Steam. I will always purchase the game in such a manner that I have rights and own a copy, then I will add the game to Steam. I do not need a potentially illegal DRM system controlling my access to things I purchase.

Its legality is questionable since all Valve employees and even Steam's own store website use terms such as "buy" and "purchase" and "game" instead of "subscribe" and "Valve owned license," yet in their legal verbage they refer only to subscriptions, never mentioning purchased products. "People who bought game X also bought the following: " -- this is misleading since technically nobody on Steam has ever actually purchased a game through steam.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607223)

Just to point out, what Steam does is the epitome of anti-consumer. You have NO consumer rights, whatsoever, over anything you "purchase" on Steam.

Re:don't buy into DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40607679)

I'm certain your presence will be missed.

Re:don't buy into DRM (2)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608273)

I've owned many Steam games for years. I have never had any problem at all with them. While what you say is technically true, experience has shown me that it's more of a conspiracy theory than anything substantial to worry about.

Valve is no EA, they're no Ubisoft, they're no Activision/Blizzard. I trust Valve. And I think Valve knows that a lot of their company is built on goodwill and trust from gamers.

Until I see Valve treat their customers like shit, I'm going to keep buying games on Steam in preference to every single other form of distribution. Why? Because I can have access to AAA titles for $5 on sale when that same title costs $20 in the store.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608333)

Buy a game and have it not work. Valve will "troubleshoot" for you and then tell you to go fuck yourself. Do that to a legitimate software retailer and they'll give you a refund. Buy a car, have it not work, take it back to the dealer and they'll fix it or give you another one, or a refund. Buy a new computer, have a part that's defective, get it replaced or get a refund. Hell, buy a new computer, sell your old one to someone else. Have you tried selling a CS 1.6 copy on Steam to another person? Hint: you can't. Whoops.

Buy a game on steam, have it not work, be told there are no refunds and that they can't do anything about it. And legally, they aren't obligated to either, because they sold you a subscription to a license, and they upheld their end of the bargain.

It's up to the consumer to decide whether they trust Valve or not, though there should be a very clear disclaimer that you never actually buy a game through Steam, and if one day GabeN decided to shut down Steam, nothing you purchased through Steam would ever work again, but if you buy games THEN add them to Steam, you still get everything, and if you ever decide you want to sell a game, you can do that too. I'm not even certain their business model is legal, as I can't find any court cases where it's been challenged, but Valve is basically writing their own laws, so I have to think it's probably not.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

humanrev (2606607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608661)

Forget it. When you've got a minority viewpoint (e.g. not trusting Steam) it's extremely hard to get anyone to listen and those that do already have their mind set and would rather joke about you "missing out" rather than seriously consider your words. There's something about games that gets even Slashdotters to forget their anti-DRM principles - as if they can't non-DRM games from somewhere else legally, but they chose not to because they can't handle not having the latest regenerating-health shooter.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608687)

I don't think you 'own' Windows, other games, music CDs, the DVDs and BluRays you have in your collection, the books you read, etc etc. Not 'own' in the sense that you can run off copies and distribute them yourself, pocketing the cash. With those products you have a 'licence to use'. Steam is the same.

From your post, (I will never purchase another game via Steam), it sounds like you had a bad experience with Steam. What was it?

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

humanrev (2606607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608633)

Yes, in theory, everyone should boycott DRM. But this is the Real World, and out here, you have to make compromises. Steam is the best compromise solution - it eliminates or ameliorates the problems with DRM, but still placates the corporations' concerns about digital distribution and "piracy".

I strongly disagree. You don't have to buy with Steam - why not GOG.com? They won't have quite the selection sure, but are you honestly going to tell me you have the time available to play all the games you want anyway? Shit, there's plenty of people who buy during Steam sales as an impulse purchase and never get around to playing their games, and GOG.com has recently had a string of sales and continues to do so as well, so you'll always have something to play.

As for the games themselves, well GOG has Alan Wake + American Nightmare, so they are starting to improve with having big new titles (AW and the mini-expansion appears on GOG and Steam at the same time). It's not like the newer games are magically better than older ones I've never played, so the outcome is the same to me anyway. Plus you get extras not available with Steam.

And... you don't get DRM. I refuse to bind all my software purchases to a single account that may at some point reject my authentication for any number of reasons, or the company may be sold out of private hands to a less respectable corporation (think EA/Activision) who then changes the terms of Steam to something less palatable, etc. I just can't resolve not having control over the stuff I purchase. I don't care what "pledge" Valve have stated about going out of business - when the creditors come they won't care. You can't guarantee anything unless it's codified in a legal document somewhere, and I don't like the idea of having to crack my games should this single point of failure (i.e. Valve) cause me to be unable to play the games I purchased.

Yes it's a minority viewpoint and yes this idea of giving up control of your software to a third-party is the way the world's heading, but I don't have to fucking follow it.

Picking which Nutjob will kill you (2)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606355)

The thing about Steams DRM/Platform is its not all that bad

1 they are semi cool about redownloading games
2 they include a patching service
3 it works well and does not trash most systems in the process
4 you buy in some cases multiplatform versions (i think some games if you buy the windows version but log into a Mac system it will download the Mac Version)

in cases where a publisher does not ADD DRM on top (or otherwise futz with things) it looks to be the best setup around for DRM Platforms.

So Steam is like a True Professional doing a hit on you Yah you end up dead but at least you are DEAD AND GONE not jammed into some hospital bed wondering why the pain meds don't work or crippled or...

Re:Picking which Nutjob will kill you (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607517)

1 they are semi cool about redownloading games

Unless there are problems I've not heard about, Valve are more than "semi-cool". Every game I've bought is still showing in the list and I've redownloaded my whole library more than once without so much as a single email to Valve.

.exes were also mentioned further up. Depending on the game, a simple no-cd crack is all that's needed to de-Steam them.

What puzzles me is how users are expected to sift the crap without already having bought the game from somewhere else; if they have then why would they vote to add it to the Steam store?

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606861)

Why would I want the best games incumbered by Steams DRM? I refuse to buy any game with this DRM, and if enough people did then DRM would wither and die. Most of the /. community seems to understand the evils of DRM, it continues to amaze me that they become such sheep when Steam is mentioned.

I guess one man's flamebait is another man's insightful. I do like Steam and have a few games on it, but the consolation I had to make when getting those games is that one day they'll suddenly disappear.

I have the same concern that the original poster has about us getting lured in with candy. It's worthy of discussion, therefore not flamebait.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607663)

I guess one man's flamebait is another man's insightful.

True, but bandying words like "sheep" does tend to tip the balance for some people. If someone makes an insightful point but does it in such a way as to sound like a hot-headed ass then obviously they're less likely to get the +1 they deserve. (Not a comment on the parent, BTW, just in general.)

Incidentally, if you trust Gabe the last thing Valve will do before going bust will be to release a master key or something to remove the DRM on games. Mind you, I think he said that before 3rd party games were sold so I'd take that with a rather large pinch of salt.

Re:don't buy into DRM (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607807)

I'd say that you can play those games offline as long as you keep your steam folder intact. It's not like that will suddenly disappear. Unless, of course, Gabe goes crazy and pushes an update wiping your steam folder.

what to vote for (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | more than 2 years ago | (#40605985)

Generic FPS #1, Generic FPS #2, or Generic FPS #3?

Re:what to vote for (1)

Dunge (922521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607013)

I finished pretty much every FPS released since 10 years and loved them all. I have to say, they all pretty much have big differences. I wouldn't call any "generic".

Linux (3, Interesting)

Taibhsear (1286214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606147)

Can we vote to prioritize Linux versions? I'm sure the Apple guys would like a button to prioritize games (that already exist on steam) to get OSX versions as well.

Re:Linux (1)

subanark (937286) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606621)

Part of the requirement of being on Greenlight is that your game must support Windows. If you want to make it a selling point that it also supports Max OS (and linux once steam adds that) you are free to do so.

Re:Linux (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606719)

Naw, we run real OSes on our Macs, so we don't actually have a problem playing the better supported windows version.

Since Steam and most games are broken and don't work on case sensitive file systems, running Steam on a properly configured Mac requires a case insensitive disk image mounted and half a dozen sum links just to get it to run. So it's far too obnoxious to be considered a viable platform on OSX and also unlikely to ever be useful for anything other than a dedicated server launcher on mac

Re:Linux (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607843)

I think that case-sensitive is a rather deliberate setting that is not default at any Mac system, and Valve may not even have had the idea they needed to fix that. However, with the Linux release, maybe they will patch it on Mac too.

Re:Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40607675)

Can we vote to prioritize Linux versions?

No, there is no need. You got TuxRacer, Nexuiz, and World of Poo. That's enough for everybody. You want more? Spoiled brat. Go away before I kick you in the Tarballs.

I don' t think there's a correlation here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40606241)

Window shopping + Beta testers?

I think that you'll get a lot of participation in this "pre game" rating thing, but ultimately, the people who have strong opinions will not necessarily be the people who will buy. And keeping creative control will be difficult. You might get random backlash...
People will boycott the game because a developer said "no" to having a god mode or what have you.

Sounds like more trouble than it's worth.

Re:I don' t think there's a correlation here (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606851)

I'm sure Valve will be watching closely how many people vote for a game vs how many of those same people actually buy it. The whole thing is largely an experiment: Valve likes to do that. Some of them fail (like the Half-Life episodes, which was supposed to be small bits of content every few months. Yeah, about that...) Some of them succeed beyond their wildest dreams, like F2P TF2.

But.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40606415)

What about Steams summer sale.

Popularity=quality for reals, yo! (2)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606551)

I look forward to seeing the first games featuring Pedobear and/or Goatse.

Re:Popularity=quality for reals, yo! (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607079)

I hope not. Still, it will be interesting to see how many of the people that vote "yes" to a game end up purchasing it when/if it appears on Steam. Lots of games look promising, then fail to deliver. Just because a lot of people said "get it on Steam" doesn't mean I'm going to skip reviews.

I think where this process could really shine is with older back catalog games. I'd bet plenty of publishers would love to release older games and milk them a little longer, but there's a good chance the cost of doing so would be more than the profits, so they don't bother. With this, a publisher could test the waters ahead of time and then make a decision on whether to re-release based on demand.

4 words on the Wisdom of the Crowd (1)

Dan Morenus (179942) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606601)

Snakes on a Plane

Diablo 3 and Blizzard killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40606609)

http://www.grimdawn.com/

Re:Diablo 3 and Blizzard killer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40607929)

No, it won't be.

Mass Effect 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40606821)

won't buy or play the last installment unless it's either on Steam, or free

Why (2)

Dunge (922521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40606969)

What was wrong with the previous method of having ALL games available?

Iffy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40607065)

If we can vote games onto the steam platform then we should be able to downvote them off. I look forward to the day when Activision games aren't available at all.

Why not let everyone sell through steam? (1)

DL117 (2138600) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607329)

Why the need to limit it? Just only feature the good ones prominently.

Re:Why not let everyone sell through steam? (1)

BanHammor (2587175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607865)

It can bring them into lots of trouble in selling disturbing, obscene and pornographic material. Also, their reputation is pretty stellar, so they wouldn't really want to get it stained.

Re:Why not let everyone sell through steam? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40609061)

Short answer: Resources.
Long answer: Server space, bandwidth, screenshot selection, community moderation.

Boycotting? (1)

n30na (1525807) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607731)

It would be interesting if this could be leveraged to enable boycotting of games that are slated to use nasty drm or are made by less liked companies. I doubt it would end up seriously happening, but it would be interesting to see how things go, if all games go through this for initial approval. The vocal people tend to be those with strong opinions, after all.

No time to explain. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607733)

It's about damn time... My first vote goes for No Time to Explain. [tinybuildgames.com]
Which is a Kickstarter funded game that's better in quality and humour than many games on Steam, but was rejected for some unknown reason -- I can only assume the Steam folks are intractable morons: This game is awesome, and I know of many indie devs with the same story, "Everyone likes my game, except Steam reviewers." I've met folks who only buy games if they are on Steam, I've also met folks who only shop at Walmart... Neither situation is all that good for creators of content, or their intended audiences.

I'd like to see... (1)

Fatch Racall (2330110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40607893)

Vendetta Online!!!!
3d first person space combat(a la freelancer/xwing series/etc) MMO that runs on windows, mac, linux, and android tablets? Heck yeah.

Great Idea (1)

x181 (2677887) | more than 2 years ago | (#40608393)

Great idea but it assumes customers know what they want...
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