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Valve Has No Plans to Charge For Downloadables

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the ponying-up dept.

Games 98

In an interview with Eurogamer about the upcoming Team Fortress 2, Valve's Robin Walker discusses Valve's philosophy when it comes to downloadable content. In short, when you buy a game from them you buy 'all of it', even the downloadable maps that will be released after the game launches. "'[In multiplayer games] the content you're playing is being created by the players you're playing against, so the more people that get into the game, the more content you're going to have,' Valve's Charlie Brown concurred. Valve's strategy is roughly in line with the traditional PC model, but in recent years services like Xbox Live Marketplace have popularised microtransactions as a means of continuing to extract development capital from completed games." Relatedly, the company annouced last week that there will be no Black Box release for Half-Life 2, Episode 2. The original plan was to have a retail release of just the three new games (Episode 2, Portal, and TF2); now only the orange box with the complete HL2 experience will be available on store shelves. Gamers can still purchase the new content separately from the Steam service.

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98 comments

you heard it here first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19225433)

No charge for downloadables? Valve is giving EVERYTHING on Steam away for FREE! You heard it here first, folks!

Sarbanes-Oxley? (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225457)

In short, when you buy a game from them you buy 'all of it', even the downloadable maps that will be released after the game launches.
Is that legal? [slashdot.org]

Re:Sarbanes-Oxley? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225537)

Just read the thread of highest-moderated comments that fills in the head of the story to which you linked, and you will see why that idea is patently ridiculous.

Re:Sarbanes-Oxley? (3, Funny)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225585)

You obviously don't live in the U.S., do you? "Patently ridiculous" is generally the first tipoff that a bill will make it through Congress with flying colors... :)

Re:Sarbanes-Oxley? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19225809)

Irrelevant. The extra functionality is created in this case by users, not the company that created the original product. Therefore, that extra functionality is not part of the production process and cannot be considered for accounting purposes.

Re:Sarbanes-Oxley? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227709)

That's scary. But if it were to be upheld, MS would have to charge for every minor hotfix, patch, service pack, etc etc etc, which would give free Linux distros a vital edge in the desktop market. Every software company would do whatever it took to get that bill repealed if it were used that way... of course add-on content is a bit different from bug fixes, but even then, it seems to me that entity A should be able to freely give stuff to entity B if he wants to.

It may be legal (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234067)

I asked myself the same thing. I think it is legal if they distribute the earnings from the game over the period where they are still making content for it.

Re:Sarbanes-Oxley? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19249123)

Is that legal?
Yep. That was just Apple's hairbrained way to charge $5 for a free driver update. And it worked -- Apples fanboys were just like "oh, Apple says they *have* to charge for this update, so it must be true." 8-)

Pricing on new content? (3, Interesting)

Canthros (5769) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225545)

So, have they made any announcement with respect to Steam-only pricing of Episode 2, Portal, or Team Fortress 2?

Re:Pricing on new content? (1)

xintegerx (557455) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226007)

They said clearly in the article, and this is what the news story should have been, that Valve-created addons are free for those who own or buy HL2. What I wonder about is why then I had to buy a Platinum Pack for Hl1 for $50 with CS, TFC, and HL1. :)

Re:Pricing on new content? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226461)

Then you got hosed. ;) I pre-ordered the Gold package of HL2, which came with Valve's entire back catalog, as well as HL2, CS:S, and DOD:S. The silver package was $60 and included all this, gold was $90 and came with that, plus all of the merch you could ever want. ;)

Re:Pricing on new content? (1)

Sark666 (756464) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227331)

I know nothing really about steam. It seems like a forced play for the majority to buy it via steam. I'm curious, what are your options for reinstalls? Can you burn this for the future? Do you have to redownload it if you are reinstalling?

Re:Pricing on new content? (4, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 6 years ago | (#19228449)

I'm curious, what are your options for reinstalls? Can you burn this for the future? Do you have to redownload it if you are reinstalling?

You can download your games as many times as you like, on to as many machines as you like. Technically, you can only have a Steam account active on a single machine at a time, but you could probably fudge your way round it with use of the offline mode which is invoked if no network connection is present.

You can also manually copy game data files between machines - if you've forgotten anything, it'll get redownloaded when Steam reconnects and does a file check on game startup. There's also a function built-in for neatly archiving files into CD or DVD-sized chunks, and restoring them accordingly.

Yes, ideally you do have to connect to Valve's servers every time Steam starts up (where it'll download any game updates unless told otherwise) - so if Valve and/or Steam were to mysteriously disappear, then you'd be stuck either with offline mode or with none of your games working. Valve persons have indicated that in such an eventuality a final, check-disabling update would be a nice thing to do, barring any particularly severe catastrophes.

It's not brilliant, and the need-to-authenticate-online thing has drawn a lot of criticism, but it's pretty cool once you get the hang of it. Plus the catalogue of third-party games keeps on increasing - there's a nice little line in critically-acclaimed, market-ignored titles like Psychonauts available. I'd recommend it for that alone. ;-)

Re:Pricing on new content? (1)

Slushie31 (857901) | more than 6 years ago | (#19243649)

Due to Steam, I became introduced to, and subsequently purchased, two excellent games that I would otherwise have not even likely known about: Psychonauts and Shadowgrounds [steampowered.com] . My Steam games list currently contains about 20 titles.

Re:Pricing on new content? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19244981)

I'd also consider Darwinia to be among the excellent games popularized by Valve through Steam. I didn't buy it, but then again, I'm a poor college student. The demo was cool, though, and I know several people who did purchase it.

Re:Pricing on new content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19227501)

Just read about the pricing in PCGamer. $40 for HL2:Ep2, Portal, and TFC2. Slated for a September release, but this IS Valve we're talking about, a company that seems in competition with Blizzard to see who can delay their games longer.

No thanks, Valve. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19225627)

At long as they force Steam on end-users, and require registration with the mothership to install the game, count me out. Half Life 2 was the coolest game I have ever played in my life. But it's not worth it to me, as a paying customer, to be treated like a crooke. I won't be purchasing any more Valve games until Steam has evaporated entirely from the list of system requirements.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (3, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225851)

you won't be missed, because the gains they get from online registration in terms of reduction in casual piracy far outweighs the 0.01% of their audience who feel the way you do.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chrontius (654879) | more than 6 years ago | (#19229765)

What percent of their customers are like me -- people who buy the game and can't make it run?

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232169)

Insignificantly small would be my guess, given Valve's tendency to completely ignore you and the two or three other people who experience the same problems. If you mattered to their bottom line, they'd do something to help you out.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19232769)

What percent of their customers are like me -- people who buy the game and can't make it run?

Insignificantly small would be my guess, given Valve's tendency to completely ignore you and the two or three other people who experience the same problems. If you mattered to their bottom line, they'd do something to help you out.

pwned

Re:No thanks, Valve. (4, Insightful)

Hydryad (935968) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225957)

You know what, steam is possibly one of the best systems I have used. I mean seriously, there is absolutely no problems with reinstalling games you own, using games you own.. there has yet to be a day where I was unable to play my games on steam. Saying steam should not be used for distribution is a lot like saying that CD drives are evil and should not be allowed. I presume that you think 'registering with the mothership' by making a steam account, which as far as I recall does not even require personal information, is a horrible thing. This is the best implementation of a next gen distribution system I can conceive. I simply do not get why so many people bring so much hate against it.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226171)

I agree, and I have had no problems with Steam either.

However, one day Steam will not exist. How will we play HL2 then?

Re:No thanks, Valve. (5, Informative)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226403)

Valve has announced that if they go out of business, they will release one final Steam update that disables the need to authenticate.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226593)

Yeah, and I could "announce" that I'm the King of France, but that doesn't make it legally binding! When Valve puts it in writing, in the Steam customer agreement, let me know.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227245)

Even if they don't release that update, you still have all of the game resources available through tools like GCFscape. At the very least, people are able to make hacked versions despite Steam, so that at the very least the single-player experience is available. If Valve were to go out of business and not update Steam, I'm sure someone could even make a patch so that the multiplayer games would be available.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227357)

So? It still doesn't change the principle that I shouldn't have to get permission from anyone else to use my own property!

Re:No thanks, Valve. (2, Interesting)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227465)

Feel free to play in offline mode, so you don't have to authenticate. Personally, I'd rather give up a few of my rights in this particular area in order to play on nearly cheat-free servers. Remember how CS got its reputation for hackers? That was back in the days of WON and VAC1. Now with Steam and VAC2, I don't really see that, but I still do in other games, like Q3A, COD, etc.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19228239)

sweet, veryone has their price, and your is exactly 1 game.

way to hold out there, comrade.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19228419)

We're not talking about my right to self-defense, or my right to privacy, or anything major like that. We're talking about my right to cheat in an online game. I'm willing to give up that right if it means it's taken away from you.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

EyelessFade (618151) | more than 6 years ago | (#19230899)

Its not the right to cheat. Its the right to use it the way you want. Have people already forgotten all the banned steam accounts because of the no-cd "patch", making every game they had ever bought from steam unusable. I hate to always have to put in a cd just to let the program read it once and then read all other content from a hard drive. There is no reason why it should do so. I have already typed in my cd-key, waited 2 hours for steam to decrypt all the content. And the people who bought the game from steam didn't have to go through this. Was it just to get more people to buy online?

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232259)

No one was ever banned for just a no-CD patch. I've used them for years on Valve games with no problem. But it's funny that you complain about steam requiring a CD in the drive for a game bought on CD when steam gives yout the choice to buy the game online with no CD ever needed, unlike all those other publishers/games that don't give you that choice.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

nohup (26783) | more than 6 years ago | (#19229203)

One weekend I invited all my friends over to have a LAN and play Counterstrike and HL2 Deathmatch. The Valve servers happened to go down that weekend due to the storm in Washington. No big deal, I thought, we are just playing on a LAN afterall and we can just use offline mode. Turns out that when we tried, the game wouldn't give us an option to play in offline mode. It ticked me off to no end that I couldn't play the game that didn't require any Internet component at all, and it wasn't playable for several days until Valve fixed their servers. This is not acceptable.

not only with Valve; Blizzard is also guilty ... (1)

freaker_TuC (7632) | more than 6 years ago | (#19230865)

I couldn't get on World of Warcraft for almost 3 weeks (inbetween two patches). I always got "World server is down" and other errors; I could just not use their servers anymore. I tried to notify this through their website, forum, everything I could try. I also lost stuff inbetween server restarts; stuff like 240g at a time; which the user also has to grind for and PAY EVEN MORE for because all that time is wasted, just because that piece of software decided to die at the wrong time (and wrong place).

They tell me they are not responsible and they will not return me the money or time which I was unable to play in; while this is an error caused by this company. I even wonder such business tactics are legal; if a webhosting company would disconnect me 3 weeks from the Internet with my sites I'd be crying havoc!

As a note: Blizzard removed the forum posts; they seemed not to like the fact that I have screenshots and "accountant" installed. They returned to their normal technical blahblah where you need to check proxy settings etc.. while the problem was *SURE* not the proxy/network or computer because it did not work on 2 computers at that time; AFTER the patch was installed. They seem to be in a defensive stance not being able to help their customers on a normal way; while I'm already Blizzard customer since their early games, Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo, ...

I feel screwed to say the least; I still wonder if this is legal (in Europe)...

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227309)

Besides...

I could "announce" that I'm the King of France, but that doesn't make it legally binding!

What do you think the Paris Commune did in 1792? ;)

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

seaturnip (1068078) | more than 6 years ago | (#19231671)

They announced the new order... and then they killed everybody who disagreed (not to mention many who agreed but were suspected of secretly disagreeing).

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#19228181)

yeah, that will last, what 5 minutes? please, and if they are in backruptcy, they WON'T be allowed to give away the assests.

So they can say that all they want, but it is completly against all evidence of what happens to a company that fails.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

cttforsale (803028) | more than 6 years ago | (#19234709)

Too further parent comment, If Valve is like most large corporations, they might be putting the update in escrow with explicit instructions to release under X circumstance?

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 6 years ago | (#19235191)

Valve has announced that if they go out of business, they will release one final Steam update that disables the need to authenticate.


That reminds me of France's promise to England during WWII that, in the event they were forced to leave the war, they would put their navy out of the reach of Germany. However, once France actually was at the mercy of Germany they weren't able to make good on the promise. Their navy was one of the few remaining assets they had that Germany was interested in. England ended up having to find the French capital ships themselves and blast them to bits (with their earstwhile allies still aboard) to prevent their later use against England.

If Valve were to go bankrupt, it would be at the mercy of its creditors and the courts. Steam may be its only remaining asset of any value. A promise such as is quoted above in that situation means absolutely nothing.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226841)

Well it kinda sucks because if I want to hook up with some friends for lan play, they all have to buy the game. In counterstrike/ hl1, you could just copy the directory. Theres also the fact that if you ever pirate ANY valve game and they somehow findout, you lose access to ALL your other paid for games. Its nice to be able to go to a friends house, put my l/p in and have it auto download and update the client on their pc, but you do lose some freedom for that convenience.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19227325)

Theres also the fact that if you ever pirate ANY valve game and they somehow findout, you lose access to ALL your other paid for games.
How about you don't pirate stuff, then? It's hardly a difficult concept to master.

Its nice to be able to go to a friends house, put my l/p in and have it auto download and update the client on their pc, but you do lose some freedom for that convenience.
Yeah, you lose the freedom to steal their hard work with impunity. Wow, that's a real infringement of your human rights there. It's unconstitutional, too - I'm sure there's something in the 3rd Amendment that says Americans should have the right not to have to pay for games. You should take this to the Supreme Court, I'm sure they'd support your constitutional right to give your friends free copies of Counterstrike.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19228085)

Ahh, the Third Amendment. The cornerstone of today's societal freedoms.

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

What a great nation we live in. :-D

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19228183)

Easy solution for a LAN game using one account:

1. Install Steam on each computer.
2. Copy the appropriate .gcf files from the "host" machine to the Steamapps directory of each other machine.
3. Login as that user one at a time on each machine, and run the game, then log out.
4. Disconnected from the live network, have each user login as that user, and each Steam client will go into offline mode.
5. Start the game.

This is no more difficult than the "old" way of installing tons of games on tons of machines at a LAN party.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19233819)

that's way harder!
god damn it, you'll still have to install tons of gcf files for each game on each machine
so the other steps are EXTRA steps
plus you'll have to rely on your friends' competence and you have to trust them to perform the login
with your USER account. But i'll stop since i am a biased anti-steam (slackware 11) user, but i do still play cs 1.5 pretty often
check out these links if you're interested:
http://forum.zvdk.nl:8000/forum/viewtopic.php?Topi cID=15885/ [forum.zvdk.nl]
http://forums.steamlessproject.nl/ [steamlessproject.nl]

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19245057)

If you're at a LAN party, then the host can physically login himself on each machine, without revealing the password to anyone.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232273)

Yes, that does suck if you were counting on buying 1 copy for more than 1 person to share and play simultaneously. But since that's how the law and the license both currently work, it's not clear how this is a "Steam problem" instead of a "Steam benefit" (from Valve's perspective.)

Re:No thanks, Valve. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19227225)

The problem is the DRM-like qualities of Steam. Why do I have to authenticate to play a single player/LAN game I forked out hard earned cash for ownership of? What if I don't have an internet connection? Its also about the liberties to use something purchased without being cavity searched.

Services like Steam and Live (Live especially), make the case for seamless ease of use and anti-piracy and other sometimes trivial bonus features, to lull you into forking out money for less. Less in terms of more centrally controlled content with the option to nickel and dime you for it. It can be a way to fashion and control the consumer's experience and expectations so they confine with corporate marketing expectations and goals.

For instance, many Xbox Live users have not gamed online before on the internet, so their sense of freedom is not dimished and they think its just dandy. Indeed many users may not have the technical know-how to set up a PC game w. roger wilco, or know which servers to go to, in order to avoid hackers etc...
Services like Live take advantage of this and then some. By making a habit of charging for extra content/levels and having advertisements on the dashboard and in games the consumers standards are dimished, but offset by 'conveniance'. The conveniance in allowing someone else to make sure they have the right game version, correct audio software and that no one else is hacking etc... The 'dumb' consumer is actually paying 3 times, once for the 'conveniance' of using Live and twice for the game they are playing and thrice for the extra content.

The publisher side too is effected since content which is deemed inappropriate by the content provider can never be released.

A similar analysis can be made for Hollywood movies, TV and other mass consumption industries like automobiles and fashion. All have managed consumer expectations, and the dumber you can make your consumer, the more profit you can extract.

I gather you can disable authentication for future plays in Steam, which I do applaud by the way. I'm not having a go at Valve itself, just the way content services are going in general.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

pelrun (25021) | more than 6 years ago | (#19231665)

What if I don't have an internet connection?

Maybe that would have been valid a few years ago, but now? May as well complain about that annoying requirement for electricity too. "If I can't play by candlelight, I won't play period!" :D

And the rest of your argument seems to concern the charging for extra content... when this whole story is about Valve promising NOT to charge for any of it. Hmm.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19228031)

(original A.C. poster responding here)

I mostly agree with you - I think that Steam is a good system for those who choose to use it. I don't have anything against the happy users of this system or the system itself. What I take issue with is that 1) You must upload your game's serial number to Valve upon installing the game, and 2) The Boxed version of the game (which I bought) did not make this clear on the cover.

I would be happy to buy a game that gave me the option of using Steam if I choose to, registering my serial number to ensure legitimacy, etc. But I am offended that they require it, and didn't make it clear that this would be the case when I bought a boxed copy of the game. (listing an "Internet Connection" as a system requirement isn't quite the same as saying, "The discs in this box are encrypted, and you will be required to upload your serial number to Valve in order to access the content." - which is exactly what it should have said on the box)

Another poster stated that I won't be missed - after reading all the responses (yours, and others in the same vein) I'm inclined to admit he is right. Regardless, Valve has lost a customer. If enough clods are washed away by the ocean, the island will eventually cease to be.

People with a computer but no Internet (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#19228979)

there has yet to be a day where I was unable to play my games on steam.
Even for people who bought a computer to use as a stand-alone word processing and games machine and never to be connected to the Internet? For such people, the first Steam game purchased at a brick-and-mortar retailer in each year would incur a $120 surcharge for a 12-month commitment to dial-up Internet access.

Re:People with a computer but no Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19231199)

That's me. I bought Half Life I. And I play my computer games on a Windows box which I would never connect to the Internet. (I use Linux for most of my computer needs).

I refuse to buy HL II until I can buy a standalone version for single player use with no need for activation or Internet, ever. You'd think at the very least Valve would release a non-Steam version a couple of years after the Steam version has been out.

Because of Steam, Valve lost me as a paying customer.

Re:People with a computer but no Internet (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19245079)

Well, the XB360 and PS3 versions will be out soon, so there's your chance. ;)

The other option: take your Windows machine downstairs for a while (or run some Cat5, or connect to a WLAN...), install the game, take it back upstairs and play the game in offline mode.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

StillAnonymous (595680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19231929)

Check out StarDock Central. It offers online purchases and instant downloads. You can download any game you've purchased as many times as you want. It updates all those games for you as well.

In short, it's just like Steam, except:

It doesn't run all the time, hogging resources. It only runs when you tell it to. Update your game, then close it. Buy a game, close it. You don't need it if you just want to play a game. So if StarDock ever goes out of business, there's no chance of you being screwed like with Steam.

There's no ridiculous "offline" mode that breaks and locks you out of your games. It's not required to run the games you've purchased or the demos you've downloaded. Single player games don't require Internet access.

It doesn't force updates on you. You can choose to update or not, you can choose to apply beta updates. You can make an archive any installed game you have, update it, roll it back if you don't like the update. You can burn the archive to a CD (it's basically just a zip file of the game directory).

StarDock Central is the way Steam SHOULD have worked. Too bad Valve got greedy. I know where my money's going to be spent. To a company that trusts their customers and treats them with respect, that's where.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

acidrain (35064) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232107)

Also a big steam fan here. I bought a few titles via ign's direct2drive and when a patch was released for one of the games the only way to apply it was "reinstall". I never bothered downloading that gig of data over their slow connection, I just abandoned my account. Steam seems to work closely enough with content developers to avoids this kind of disconnect.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 6 years ago | (#19233591)

And let's not forget that all the privacy ranters are playing a closed-source game which could be spying on them ANYWAY.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

p4rri11iz3r (1084543) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225977)

Wow, it sure must be nice, that fantasy world you live, where there is no piracy and everyone plays by the rules.

The fact of the matter is, though, piracy does exist, and to an extent that it has put companies out of business. Not only would it be reckless, but also downright foolish for Valve to not protect it's investments, nevermind their constitutionly given right to.

But oh no, Valve should just release all future games with no copy protection whatsoever, so that they can make profit off of the one copy sold and then watch as it gets copied to everyone else's hard drive. Then they can declare bankruptcy and we will never see games of Half Life quality ever again. Hooray! Cookie-cutter EA games for all!

Also, nevermind that the solution that Valve came up with is far less intrusive that installing some malware on your computer. All it requires is a simple, one-time linking to an online database to ensure your copy is legitimate. Boy, you sure have it tough.

This may seem off-topic and even troll-like, but believe me, there will always be the "OMG STEAM SUCKORZ" post whenever there is an article about Valve. It just bugs me that these people seem unable to take an economical viewpoint of the situation and realize that Valve's solution was actually quite elegant.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226693)

Oh yeah, which company was it that got put out of business due to piracy? There is absolutely NO evidence to support this claim. If you doubt this, just go try to find it. You won't even bother looking though, of course, because such evidence DOES NOT EXIST.

And how come you seem to think that everyone would copy Half-Life (blah, I'd rather play something good anyway) but they wouldn't copy EA games? You do realize that you sound like a complete idiot, right?

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

p4rri11iz3r (1084543) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226925)

No, I don't remember the game company's name offhand, but I DO remember reading about in PCGamer a few years back. I'll look it up tonight.

As for your other question: Because EA does a much more efficient job of it than any no-name hacker could ever hope to.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227515)

I know that I personally have never bought a game from EA, but I've played nearly every FPS that they've come out with.

Not only that, you seem to be in the minority of not liking HL. Storyline too deep for you? ;)

Re:No thanks, Valve. (4, Insightful)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225989)

Anytime there is an article having anything to do with Valve, there's always a couple of you that feel the need to complain about Steam. Guess what... we all know there are a few of you who don't like it. Fine, we get it. Its not going anywhere. The number of people who like Steam far outweigh you.

Personally, an agent that keeps my games up to date, lets me purchase new hardware, and reduces the number of cheaters out there is something I like. I don't care if it authenticates my copy of HL2. Go ahead, I paid for it, it doesn't impact my experience negatively at all.

I can still play offline. I don't have to let it update games as soon as a patch is released. I don't have to run it all the time. I can play games offline.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (4, Insightful)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226057)

Plus, it allows Valve to sleep at night while I don't have to deal with a monstrosity like Starforce [glop.org] , which acts as a device driver and really screws up your CD and DVD ROM drives. I think Starforce is ten times worse than anything Sony did for anti-piracy, hands down.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

pelrun (25021) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232257)

Oh yeah. I bought a game a couple years ago, but before I installed it I found out it had StarForce on it.

It's still sitting on my shelf, unopened. I never bought another game from that series or that publisher.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226911)

And any time there is an AC who trolls about Steam, there are a bunch of you that feel the need to reply to a comment that no one will even read. But at least you get mod points for it ;)

(and I, of course, agree that Steam works fine and I have not had a single problem with it)

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

nohup (26783) | more than 6 years ago | (#19229251)

The problem is that for some reason you can't always play your games offline. Remember the incident when the Valve's servers went down all weekend? See this story [digg.com] . I had a LAN party planned that weekend and we were unable to play our legally purchased games on a LAN, even when we disconnected from the Internet. The game didn't allow the offline mode for some reason during that time. It's crap like this that Valve does that makes us complain.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232209)

I'm going to have to guess that you and your LAN pals had never validated your game installations online, becausse after you do once there's no problem playing in offline mode ever again. It's almost sounds as if someone tried to install one copy of a Valve game on more than one machine for a LAN match. But I know you and your friends would ever try to do that, so there must be another explanation. EBKAC maybe?

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

nohup (26783) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232281)

First of all, let me make it clear that we each have our own legal copies of the games and our own Steam accounts. I used to think that although I don't like Steam, I'm willing to live with it because since I've validated my accounts online once, I can always play in offline mode. I was DEAD WRONG. It turns out that this isn't how Steam works at all. We all had validated our accounts long before this incident happened and we've played regularly, usually connecting in through Steam each time we play the game.

When we launched the game to play a LAN on that particular occasion, it detected that we had the Internet so it tried to connect to the Steam servers. The servers were down obviously, and after sitting there for a while it asked for our Steam account usernames and passwords. I thought, that's unusual, normally it just asks me if I want to play in offline mode. So we all re-entered our usernames and passwords, but it wouldn't work. I guess that in some circumstances when it can't contact the servers, it's like the activation token gets disabled. So it wanted us to authenticate from scratch, but we couldn't because the servers were down. We were completely locked out of all of our Steam games, no single player, no multiplayer LAN, nothing. You would think you could play a game you paid for single player anytime you want. That's why Valve and Steam tick me off so much! Thanks a lot Valve.

Valve got the situation under control a few days later and all our accounts started working again right away, but the point is that the supposed "offline play mode" failsafe completely failed us, and I'm ticked off enough about it to consider not being a customer of Valve at all.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (2, Insightful)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232323)

Interesting anecdote. This has never happned to me, even when steam is down, so I guess my anecdote cancels out yours.

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 6 years ago | (#19243973)

Steam, I said I'd never buy a game which used steam and I never have. I'm an FPS junky I loved HL and CS and it would have pained me sooo much to do it but I stuck with my guns. Then I got HL2 from a friend (ATI deal back in the day) so I can review steam.

Pros: Updates, Security is simple, some kind of centralized download service.

Cons: Fewer anti-cheat services (They don't work, this leads to cheaters ruining games and me getting banned for "cheating." Super), crappy browser and friends service (people are using x-fire but the best ever AllSeeingEye is constantly broken and seems to be going out of business while GamespyArcade is growing, a crappy product), goes down OFTEN and you can't get online, purchasing system doesn't seem to work.

Overall things have gotten worse,

Re:No thanks, Valve. (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19245163)

After this incident they decentralized their authentication servers, so that if Seattle floats into the Pacific again, Steam won't be down for good.

Not only that, I think (but I'm not positive) that they revised their auth system after the incident so that even if the auth servers can't be reached, offline mode might still be available.

fixed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19225749)

"In short, when you buy a game from them you buy 'all of it', even the mandatory patches that you may not want and that may add from in game advertising to new maps that will be released after the game launches."

Seeing is believing (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#19225753)

I'll believe it when I see it. I still remember the words "Nobody plans to build a wall", though those were said in German...

Re:Seeing is believing (1)

idonthack (883680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226055)

Steam subscribers that play the Half-Life games have already seen it. We get free new content in the form of maps, updated character models, and so on. You get free mini-expansions (like Lost Coast) and they even released Half-Life 2 Deathmatch, which could pass as a whole game on its own, completely free to Half-Life 2 owners.

Re:Seeing is believing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19231979)

Yeah, cause nobody got free [unrealtournament.com] additions to games before Valve and Steam, right?

Re:Seeing is believing (1)

nczempin (822340) | more than 6 years ago | (#19230277)

I'll believe it when I see it. I still remember the words "Nobody plans to build a wall", though those were said in German...

You must be fairly old then, because the wall was built in 1961. Much more recent is "The wall will stand for 100 years", which was said shortly before 1989...

Team Fortress 2 is FREE (0)

xintegerx (557455) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226033)

The first sentence of the article: Valve has no intention of charging for downloadable content for games like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2, despite the increased prevalence of premium add-ons in the PC and console markets.

Re:Team Fortress 2 is FREE (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226149)

downloadable content for games like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2...

Grammar police!

The sentence is ambiguous (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226271)

Did the writer intend to write "Valve has no intention of charging for (downloadable content for games) like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2," using CS and TF2 as examples of "downloadable content?"

Or did he mean to write "Valve has no intention of charging for downloadable content for (games like Counter-Strike and Team Fortress 2)," using CS and TF2 as examples of "games?"

It could be either (but I'll bet it's the latter).

Re:The sentence is ambiguous (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227091)

I don't think it's ambiguous at all, the second meaning you stated seems like the only possible one to me.

No it's NOT (1)

Kawolski (939414) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227969)

Team Fortress 2 updates (new maps, patches, etc.) will be free. Team Fortress 2 itself will not be free.

Actually, it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19230989)

You buy Episode 2 and you get TF2 and Portal for free. ;)

Wonder how (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226083)

Microsoft feels about this. Doesn't it make them look greedy and well, childish? I mean, the Live microtransactions always did sound like nickel-and-diming to me, coming from a PC gaming background. And here's good old Valve promising to avoid such a strategy, but will Microsoft try to pressure them in the coming months? I remember them charging for those Halo 2 multiplayer map packs when, in the face of a very underwhelming multiplayer game, one might say they already owed those to the community anyway. Say what you will about Steam, but I really like Valve's style.

Re:Wonder how (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226247)

Microsoft wants valves business. Valve doesn't need the xbox 360 sales. Portals and TF2 on there own will sell very well.

Re:Wonder how (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226615)

Right, but Microsoft is also trying to build a new revenue stream by charging for things that PC users have grown accustomed to getting for free. This flies in the face of that and if I'm a customer I'm wondering why game X charges for new levels while game Y (HL in the example, no slouch of a game) does not. Why would I buy Halo 3's new levels, when I'll be getting Teamfortress 2's levels for free? Judging from each company's respective history, I can bet those free Valve levels are going to have way better design than Bungie's mirror-command abortions. I know Microsoft enjoys the licensing revenue from Half-Life 2, but Valve is also pissing all over their shiny new "community" driven micro-economy.

Re:Wonder how (1)

Sark666 (756464) | more than 6 years ago | (#19227609)

Ok, I'm going off topic but when you mention microsoft and valve in the same sentence it makes me think back to when half life 1 was first released. I was really surprised they ported an opengl engine to d3d. I've always wondered why valve did that. And quake 1 was big, but half life exploded with cs, tf2. If half life 1 was opengl only, maybe ati would have had to get it's act together a lot quicker and opengl might have more of a foothold in gaming. Microsoft saw how big gaming was getting way back then and knew the way to tie the users to one platform was to tie the developers to one platform, and that started way back then with their big push for d3d.

And it's not like anyone praised d3d back then, this is the time when Carmack had his famous open letter to microsoft regarding opengl. So I've always wondered why valve decided to go with d3d back then, and I also wonder if valve is one of the main companies that further tied us to one platform for gaming. So forgive me, if I don't gush with praise for valve the way most people do. And yes in the end it might be simply a business decision, but I'll quote Carmack on his decision with opengl and cross platform (with their games being win, lin, osx) because "it's a good thing."

Re:Wonder how (1)

fredgiblet (1063752) | more than 6 years ago | (#19230663)

Well for one thing OpenGL is (supposedly) harder to code for then D3D, thus it's more expensive to make games for OpenGL then D3D. Additionally D3D has come a long way from when Carmack had his say to the point where he almost used D3D for one of his game recently (but OpenGL put in the feature he wanted to use just in time).

Re:Wonder how (1)

Sark666 (756464) | more than 6 years ago | (#19233121)

Well, my point was back then (10 years ago), no one would argue that d3d was better. So I'm not talking about the current climate, but would make them go out of there way and port it to d3d back then? And yes I read Carmack almost did, but you can see he still really wants to stay cross platform, which in turn makes it much easier to port to another platform which of course microsoft doesn't want. And again, Carmack wants to stay cross platform not because it's where the money is at, but because he thinks it's the right thing to do. I only wish other developers thought the same.

Re:Wonder how (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232351)

I'll forgive you if you promise to try to make the same game in D3D and openGL. As much as I wish I didn't have to admit it, D3D really is a lot better than OpenGL if you're selling a game to a mostly-windows audience. Which most game publishers are.

On Slashdot everything's a Microsoft conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19232551)

I was really surprised they ported an opengl engine to d3d. I've always wondered why valve did that.
Uh, could it be the fact that Valve founders Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington used to work for Microsoft, so they would have had more familiarity with that engine?

Oh perhaps Valve itself is a plot by Microsoft to control the gaming industry!

What!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19226097)

No Black-package!? So us computer players will have to purchase each game separately, probably at an even higher price than previously stated. Not fair IMO.

Re:What!? (1)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226735)

There is a Black package, but not in retail stores. If you want to buy a boxed copy, you'll need to spend the $50 and buy the full Orange Box. You'll still be able to buy a bundle of EP2, TF2, and Portal through Steam.

Re:What!? (1)

enjerth (892959) | more than 6 years ago | (#19229749)

Great. I already have 2 copies of Episode 1 (needed an extra seat for a deathmatch lan party).

Awesome. Now I can have another copy of Episode 1 to put next to my AOL disks.

Multiplayer expansions don't work well... (3, Interesting)

RichPowers (998637) | more than 6 years ago | (#19226193)

Not everyone buys "booster packs" and expansions for multiplayer games. This forces many servers to keep new maps out of rotation. Consequently, new maps are limited to a few dedicated "NEW MAP!!!" servers, some of which are located in different continents. I noticed this with Battlefield 1942 in particular. Its two expansions were solid, but, if I remember correctly, only a small handful of servers had the new maps. Because of this, I was never compelled to buy an expansion that few people actually played online, especially if I was dependent on just one server. Contrast this with the free maps DICE/EA gave us. Battlefield 42's Coral Sea map is still played today, oftentimes with a full 32 players. Everyone downloaded the map because it was freely included with a new patch. The great thing about free multiplayer content: everyone gets it, so it'll actually be played online.

Re:Multiplayer expansions don't work well... (1)

randyest (589159) | more than 6 years ago | (#19232161)

While your point is well taken and may apply to some games, you remember incorrectly in the case of Battlefield. A good 2/3 of the private servers, and almost all of the EA servers included at least a few maps from the expansion packs in their map rotations. Many players were displeased, but a few of the maps from each were very good, and unarguably fresh compared to the originals, so they found little support in their bitching. Of course, one or two good maps and a few extra vehicles and armies may or may not be worth $20 depending on your perspective, but overall they were accepted and "original map" servers were the exception rather than the rule. Maybe that's unfortunate, but with games like the BF series, where the desire for POINTS in the stats tracked by centralized servers (which could only be obtained on "official servers") were so desirable to so many, that it's really not very surprising.

The BF statistic tracking feature did more to sell expansion packs and keep people on "official" servers than anything else, regardless of the quality and value of those expansions. EA knows this, and has continued to milk that cow through BF2 and BF2142. My guess is they won't stop milking it. On the contrary, they've started adding in-game advertisements to both of those titles to allow even quicker milking of the cow, so to speak.
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