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Valve Takes on Piracy With Free, Pre-Packaged Game Publishing Tools

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the stamping-out-the-bad-stuff dept.

PC Games (Games) 190

Heartless Gamer writes "Valve is rocking the boat in a big way, especially for PC gaming piracy. They have just announced the release of a complete collection of publisher tools, called Steamworks. They're making it available to developers and publishers completely free. Valve notes that beyond simply making the product available to consumers some of the tools can integrate copy protection, social networking services, or even server browsing features into a developing game."

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Valve and piracy (4, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240168)

They don't really have anything to worry about- their madly popular titles are all multiplayer so piracy is impossible and "cracked" servers are rarely of any quality..

Re:Valve and piracy (3, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240198)

Oh, also they're the only game publisher that actually charges a reasonable price for games, and the steam platform is fast and I love steamcommunity. Steam is really the first digital RIGHTS management system instead of digital restrictions management.. they provide so many top-quality services at the mere input of your password on any computer in the country that I'd rather have the DRMed version than the CD version. This is what the music industry should be somehow doing..

Re:Valve and piracy (4, Insightful)

MvD_Moscow (738107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240320)

Yeah, I have to agree with you on that one. Using steam is actually better than buying a DVD. You can access your whole game library just by logging onto steam. No need to to care a HD with all the image/patch/no-CD data. Automatic updates, near instant access as soon as you pay for the game.

Though some parts of steam still need some work. The 'Favorite Servers' options in CS:S is kind of buggy and it doesn't always remember your favorites. The steam game store can also at times feel slightly slow, they need to make use of more AJAX with less reloading and new windows and stuff. They also need to improve their screenshots section. More screenshots and higher resolution.

Re:Valve and piracy (1, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240358)

Oh, also they're the only game publisher that actually charges a reasonable price for games...
Uh, not really. Valve charges about the same price any other publisher would charge. Half-Life 2 was $50 when it was released, and the price has come down since then due to age... just like would happen at any publisher. Not to mention that Valve has some shining examples of unreasonably high pricing, like charging $20 for Portal, which is all of a 2- or 3-hour game.

Re:Valve and piracy (4, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240468)

I find Valve's pricing to be very reasonable. I bought the Deus Ex collection for $30, a better deal than I would've gotten at any other store, and the ability to find old titles certainly beats rummaging around the bargain bin at EB.

$20 for Portal is iffy, I agree, but consider that you get TF2, Portal, HL2, Ep1, and Ep2 for $50, it's a fricking steal. Even if you've already played all the singleplayer Half-Life games, TF2 + Portal combined is IMHO easily worth $50, particularly TF2.

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240558)

Except I'm not talking about the Orange Box here. The Orange Box is a great value (unless you only want one of the games), but that's not Portal. Portal's pricing has nothing to do with the pricing of the Orange Box, they're separate prices to be considered separately.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

KyleTheDarkOne (1034046) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241672)

But you can not forget that maybe it was a marketing ploy to help push portal, tf2 and episode 2. With all those saving people felt that it is worth it to get the whole bundle. Besides many people would not have experienced the brilliance that is portal except for the fact that it was in the bundle.

Re:Valve and piracy (4, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240472)

Do you still think Portal's price is unfair when it's part of Orange Box? Counter-Strike: Source and TF2 are both worth a full $50 but they've always retailed at $20 and $30. Episode 2 is worth eh $20. So portal's free per valve's pricing, and TF2 is disounted the entire price of portal for what I would pay for it!

Re:Valve and piracy (3, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240516)

Do you still think Portal's price is unfair when it's part of Orange Box?

Hell, I thought Portal's price was fair when packaged alone! I normally expect to pay something like $50 for a really big game, so $20 for Portal, which is shorter than most games but quite excellent, was a good deal.

Re:Valve and piracy (4, Insightful)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240704)

I agree. When some other companies are charging 50 bucks or more for utter crap games that make better coasters than pasttimes, I'm more than willing to pay 20 dollars for something of quality. LENGTH != QUALITY.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240528)

I'm not talking about Portal as part of the Orange Box. I'm talking about the price of Portal, downloaded separately on Steam, which is a completely different issue.

Re:Valve and piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240642)

It's not worth arguing with fanboys. When it's a company that they don't like, DRM and bundling is WRONG WRONG WRONG. But when it's Valve and their precious widdle wideo-games, it's A-OK in their book.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

TheSpengo (1148351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242438)

Actually, I don't mind Steam DRM mostly because once I pay for the game it pretty much lets me do whatever I want with it. I can log on to steam from any computer and download and play any game I own rather than having a limited number of installs with a CD key or something. There's nothing particularly restricting about Steam other than you do need one copy of the game per person (can't have the same account logged in at two locations). Also, although the software used to be horrible, hard to use, and with really really slow download servers, it has since evolved into a much better program and the new Steam Friends stuff has pretty much replaced Xfire for me. On a side note, it's still pretty easy to pirate steam games if you want, but as usual you will get no online play except on cracked servers. This goes for pretty much all recent games though, heh.

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Informative)

croddy (659025) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240848)

I found $20 to be quite reasonable for Portal.

Re:Valve and piracy (0, Redundant)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240928)

More power to you, I guess. I felt like Valve has thoroughly raped the wallet of anyone who chose to purchase the game stand-alone (which I did, for better or worse): it's a really, really short game, which provides nowhere near $20 worth of entertainment, in my book. Excellent game, horribly overpriced.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

Sczi (1030288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241808)

Play it over a few times and listen to the dialog again, that's what I did. Or play the challenge maps where you try to beat the levels using the fewest number of portals possible. I think it was the last one where I actually beat the #1 score by 2 portals (14 instead of 16). Hell, the end song alone would be worth a buck on itunes. =]

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241850)

I judge a game based on how long my initial play-through of the single-player game takes (if it's a single-player game, at any rate). I consider that to be a fair, relatively impartial standard. While I may play a game through more than once (and I have played Portal 3 times, I think), I still make my judgement of its value based on the initial play-through, and nothing more. Anything after that is a bonus, not something which factors into my judgement.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241954)

I judge new games against the $9.99 I paid for The Bouncer [gamespot.com] by Squaresoft. I figure, if a $9.99 game lasts 2 hours, then getting 4 out of Portal would be ok.

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Funny)

Xinef Jyinaer (1044268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242654)

By your logic I could sell you Space Invaders for an infinite amount of money since there is no ending. There is always a score left in which you can beat, unless you never stop playing (never die).

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241234)

IF it was part of the original TF2 release, I would ahve bought it. Since I already bought TF2, paying 50 bucks for the Orange Box is too expensive for me.

# of hours != Value (1)

MattW (97290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241962)

There are plenty of measurements beyond number of hours that are pertinent to game value. $20 for 2-3 hours of entertainment is not unreasonable if people enjoy it that much. (And compares favorably against plenty of choices for entertainment, from fine dining to sports games to concerts)

Re:Valve and piracy (4, Insightful)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240878)

How can I sell my DRM'd Steam games though? I might not actually get around to selling any of my old games, but I feel I should have the right to.

You mention that the music industry should be doing similar, but this is the equivalent of being unable to buy or sell second-hand audio CDs.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

FreyarHunter (760978) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242658)

Technically you can't. The license (which is what you buy) is to you, and only to you. The medium itself is trivial.

Re:Valve and piracy (4, Insightful)

ahoehn (301327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241032)

Exactly. With Valve games on Steam, you can:

1. Play your games on as many computers as you like, downloading them as many times as you want.
2. Install them on a friend's computer, and just like lending a book, your friend can use it any time that you're not.
3. Receive automatic content updates
4. Often chose to buy games individually or as a package.
5. Back up your downloaded copies of games
6. With HL2 Engine based games, even play them in Linux with Wine.

While I suppose you don't "own" physical copies of Steam games, I have enough rights that I never notice the downside.

The music and movie industries could learn a thing or six from Valve. I've never even thought of pirating a Valve game because they're so convenient and affordable to purchase.

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Insightful)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241640)

7. Forget to perform some witchery when closing steam before disconnecting from the internet for a while, and find yourself unable to play any steam games until you can get back on the internet days or weeks later.

Re:Valve and piracy (3, Informative)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242246)

I hope you read this because I'm blowing my chance of modding something, and for once a subject that actually interests me has coincided with mod points..

You are obviously doing something wrong. Steam is open, you disconnect from the internet? Close steam, restart steam, click the "Start in Offline mode" button. OR, simply open the Games menu, go to File, and down to the "Go Offline" option. ... it's really not hard. You can use steam and never ever connect to the internet and still play any of the single-player games with no problems whatsoever.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

AstrumPreliator (708436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242242)

The music and movie industries could learn a thing or six from Valve.

Let me preface this by saying I've not used any other services except iTunes so this may be different elsewhere.
Recently my laptop hard drive died and I lost most of my music. For the most part this was stuff I ripped from CDs however, I had bought about 4 albums off of iTunes but only had 2 of them backed up somewhere. After I reinstalled everything I was kind of pissed I would have to buy the 2 albums I lost again, instead I just pirated them. If there's one thing I like about Steam it's that if your hard drive crashes or you want to play on a different computer then that's cool, you can just redownload it. I really do wish the music and movie industry were more like this, but then again they would prefer to make more money by having you repurchase the same thing.

While I suppose you don't "own" physical copies of Steam games...

With Steam it's like they give you the right to play the game, you bought it so you get to play it until your eyes bleed, it's yours*. With the music and movie industry they sell you the right to listen to it until they want more money from you which is around the time you lose your physical copy or they want you to buy it on a new format**.

(*) I'm aware of all the things that could go wrong with Steam and its business model, but so far it's been pretty good. There are things I don't like about it but I think it'll continue to improve.
(**) Higher definition video and sound is great, but with even more (potential) DRM I'm not sure it's worth the money to buy my movie collection over again.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241046)

I've never used their platform. Can you be more specific about the services that you find beneficial and that make this a rights management instead of restrictions management system? Thanks!

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Insightful)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241500)

Ah, you forgot they give you the right NOT to transfer your account to someone else, they give you the right NOT to re-sell your game, they give you the right NOT to complain if a publisher charges too much (eg, Call of Duty 4 for Aussies ), they give you the right NOT to loan your game, they give you the right NOT to complain when they delete your thread from the forums... Yes.. seems they give you lots of RIGHTS..

Re:Valve and piracy (4, Interesting)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241536)

I'm actually pretty curious why they don't let you transfer rights to someone else - its not like you couldn't do it anyways. There's no limit on the number of accounts you could create, so you could:

a) Create a new account for each game
b) Buy the game with that account
c) Play game until you're bored
d) Sell account on ebay

I'm sure they have rules against this, but I'll bet it happens anyways. I know I did it when steam first launched to give a gift for christmas. I just created my brother an account, bought the game, and gave him the login. Now they have gift giving, and they let you transfer HL2 to someone else when you bought orange box, so I say "why not let me loan out the rights to one of my games to someone else?" I can't play it while they have the rights, and I can take the rights back when they're done. They could have a "transfer for good" or "let my friend borrow it" program. Its going to happen anyways, so why not enforce it and stop people complaining once and for all. They only hurt paying customers otherwise, because if your friend doesn't borrow it from you and doesn't want to pay for it, well, we know where they're going next.

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241772)

Probably because too many more people would start doing it. Then when their friend/ex-roomate, etc doesn't 'give-it-back' when they are supposed to and keeps playing it and locking out the guy who paid for it, he's gonna go complaining to Valve and it's going to increase support costs for them for no real good reason.

So can folks do it already now if they really want to? Yes. Does Valve want encourage it and have to take on extra support for no extra income? I kinda doubt it.

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Informative)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241822)

Ah, but you have two types of transfers - a "transfer ownership" and a "loan". The ownership gives them the rights for good: they can transfer it to someone else or keep it forever. The loan means you can take it back whenever you want - the other guy is just borrowing it (but even better giving them than the disc or powertools- you can actually get this one back! :)

Re:Valve and piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22242312)

Valve has a VeRO account and will shut down any eBay auction that tries to sell the account on eBay. Just read Valve's terms and conditions.

You forgot one (2, Interesting)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242624)

How about the right to be locked out of ALL of your Steam games [consumerist.com] if you dare to buy a game outside of your country?

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241828)

The Steam service is busy. Please try again later
You should never see a message like that on a single-player game.

Re:Valve and piracy (0)

ludomancer (921940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242002)

Do you work for valve or something? Because I've got some pretty valid counterarguments to your rediculous assertions here:

- There is no difference in the cost between valves pricing and a physical retail package. I consider Valve an even larger thief than the usual publishers, specifically because they don't have the overhead of a game that sells in physical stores.

- You say they have Digital Rights and not Restrictions. When was the last time you tried to play Half Life 2 without being logged on to Steam (so they could monitor your usage, your PC specs, and other data for marketing research)?

You're blind or full of shit. I don't know who modded you up, but if I had a gravity gun I know exactly which one of your orifices I'd stick it in....

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242618)

"There is no difference in the cost between valves pricing and a physical retail package"

This is sometimes true, sometimes not. Your best deals usually come in the bundles. Besides, one should look at the value a game provides them, not how much it costs in relation to publisher expenses. How does that really matter to the end gamer?

"When was the last time you tried to play Half Life 2 without being logged on to Steam"

"Offline mode". It works as advertised.

I don't like DRM and there are parts of Steam I don't like either. Overall, though, I am not offended by Steam. It's relatively unrestrictive about how you play your games and what systems you install it on and does add features of its own.

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Interesting)

asdfghjklqwertyuiop (649296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242600)

they provide so many top-quality services at the mere input of your password on any computer in the country that I'd rather have the DRMed version than the CD version.


I'll take the CD version any day. I just create an image of it and I don't have to log on to anything, don't have to have an Internet connection, don't have to worry about someone else's servers or connections getting flaky, don't have to worry about the company going out of business or just deciding one day that they don't want me to use my games any more, don't have to ask other people for permission to use my own stuff, etc...

CD imaging software is the sort of Digital Rights Management system that I prefer - one that is focused on managing MY rights rather than someone else's.

Exactly (2, Interesting)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242694)

Steam and similar DRM schemes are killing computer gaming for me. I refuse to buy any games that can't be run with a disk image or a crack, so I can play the games I've paid good money for when and where I want to play them. Morrowind and my Collector's Edition of Oblivion run without any hassles. Screw Valve.

Re:Valve and piracy (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240426)

They don't really have anything to worry about- their madly popular titles are all multiplayer...

You mean "except for Half Life, Half Life 2, Episode 1 and 2, and Portal", don't you?

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240522)

But who plays HL2 for more than 20 or 30 hours total, ever? That's how much TF2 many people play in a WEEK, and how much CS players play in a day.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240602)

That's true. You're thinking playing time, I'm thinking sales. I think both make sense.

Re:Valve and piracy (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240772)

Playing time does correspond somewhat to sales though.. it's the ultimate word-of-mouth when your roommate or friend plays CS every day and bugs you to play with him

Re:Valve and piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240796)

I've played HL2 well over 100 hours (mostly Ravenholm). As for TF/TF2 & CS.. never played them. Multi-player bores me.
For me, Orange Box was a waste of money.. $70 (UK prices) just for Portal & Episode 2 but I still bought it and gave HL2 & EP1 away. Unfortunately there is currently no way to give away TF2.

Finally! (3, Funny)

PopeGumby (1125507) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240178)

social networking services

After all these years, my dreams of playing as a violent, gun-toting, car-stealing, cop-killing psycopath who uses MySpace to invite all his BFFs to his Sweet-16 party is coming true.

As a longtime XboxLive user, I'd prefer it if they were reducing the amount of social networking in games, rather than increasing it.

Re:Finally! (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240232)

Have you seen steam community? Basically you join a group of people that you know from elsewhere on the internet, and any time in game you just open the overlay (hit pagedown) to display your open chat rooms and steam IM windows. You can see what games everyone's playing and can join the same server as them. This is great for games with long respawn like Counter-Strike.. just hit the overlay and spec the rest of the round through the semitransparent chat windows as you chat

Finally!-GTA meets Myspace. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240536)

"After all these years, my dreams of playing as a violent, gun-toting, car-stealing, cop-killing psycopath who uses MySpace to invite all his BFFs to his Sweet-16 party is coming true."

Oh I don't know. That actually would rock with GTA. Me and my hommies could come over and trash your place, steal your car, and date your sister.

Insert steam hate (1, Interesting)

discord5 (798235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240254)

They have just announced the release of a complete collection of publisher tools, called Steamworks

Which will probably mean you'll be forced to deal with steam as an end-user. This is great news for all those who've seen Steam flat out refuse to start their games because the Steam servers were too busy (yes, single player games).

As a developer I'd be extremely wary of this as well, since I've just become dependent on something I have very little control over. I'm pretty sure that when I'm not paying a penny, Valve will gladly make sure that everything is working 100% of the time.

FWIW, steam does have its benefits, but the amount of problems I've had with steam as a player don't give me much confidence as a developer.

Re:Insert steam hate (2, Informative)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240314)

This is a real problem, though it should be noted that this doesn't happen after a game is signed to play offline.

also, the early implementations of the platform were quite buggy, in both client and network services. Most of these issues are sorted, but not all of them.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240340)

Leave it to a slashdot poster to find something to complain about with a free development kit. It's free, man. You get what you pay for.

Re:Insert steam hate (-1, Troll)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240514)

We're on Slashdot.
We have an article here, that (regardless of content, I didn't read it), has in its title something about some company doing something against piracy.

And you're surprised to see people complain? This site might as well be hosted on the same servers as The Pirate Bay.

Re:Insert steam hate (2, Insightful)

Grant_Watson (312705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241792)

Leave it to a slashdot poster to find something to complain about with a free development kit. It's free, man. You get what you pay for.

And I as an end-user get what the developer pays for. I've avoided Steam and any game that requires it so far; I just wish there were more like me.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241902)

I see your point, but I still don't think it's something to complain about. I'm assuming it will be mostly small, independent developers that use this kit. And I doubt Steam distribution and validation will be required if the developer decides not to use the methods of protection included in the kit.

I guess it just seems absurd to me that people would criticize Valve for giving out free shit, especially when that free shit is primarily helping the little guy (little guys being so rare in todays gaming industry).

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

lachlan76 (770870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241842)

The point is that you can't use the game, and hence you don't get what you pay for.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240346)

I've never had any problems with steam connecting, but if you can't connect to the steam servers just disconnect your network and it'll let you play single player games with no fuss, since I've played HL2 many times without networking. "offline mode" it's called.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240840)

The problem occurs most often with a new, boxed game, on a computer with limited (or no) network access. Often, the people who buy games aren't fully aware that they'll need to activate them via steam, and that's where the problem arises. Of course, they could just read the packaging..

If you use steam the way it's really intended to be used (downloading all your games via a decent connection) it works great.. but there's never a one-size-fits-all solution.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242102)

The problem occurs most often with a new, boxed game, on a computer with limited (or no) network access.
Or on computers with broadband access. If the servers are overloaded, which happens with new games sometimes, then you're out of luck. It happened to me with HL2/CSS.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242362)

Sure, but that was released over 3 years ago, and Steam has come quite a way since then.. Haven't seen it happen with a release game in a while. Have seen it with other authentication platforms recently though. Bioshock's authentication, for example, was a nightmare on release. Those of us in the southern hemisphere effectively had the release delayed by two days while they tried to get the auth servers stable again.

Re:Insert steam hate (2, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240362)

I've been using Steam for over two years now and have NEVER had a game fail to start. The only problem I had was with Trackmania, and that was entirely down to the games own servers, not Steam.

Steam's benefits far outweigh it's problems IMO. I can buy a game and be playing it within an hour. Within minutes if it's a small game. ("Gish" for example.) No disks to lose, no serial numbers to lose. If I have to reinstall I can just download all my games again rather than having to find disks, installers, license keys etc...

Curious to see how many developers take Valve up on this.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240512)

I just had a problem last night starting EP2. I think it wanted to update itself, and the servers were busy. I turned off automatic updating (didn't try offline mode though), but that didn't work.

A minute later it did successfully start though, so this wasn't too bad.

The HUGE annoyance I had with Steam was when I bought Portal not long after its release. For several straight hours, their servers were too busy to serve it to me.

The new annoyance I have is that you can't give a game to someone else. I bought Portal standalone, then later got the Orange Box. So I should have an extra Portal license I can give away, right? No.

Re:Insert steam hate (2, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240830)

You can buy games specifically for someone else, and with the Orange Box valve let you gift your HL2 and/or HL2E1 if you already owned it, but there's no way to transfer games. I think that's literally the only restriction you have on what you can do with the games... they even let you copy your games to discs if you really want a hard copy!

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241186)

but there's no way to transfer games. I think that's literally the only restriction you have on what you can do with the games... they even let you copy your games to discs if you really want a hard copy!
That's generous of them, letting us simple folk copy games to disc if we really want a hardcopy.

I guess it's to much to ask for them allow us our legal right to exercise the first sale rule [wikipedia.org]

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241274)

well, not allowing people to resell is going to bite them in the ass sooner or later. The resale Doctrine in the US is taken very seriously by the courts.

Re:Insert steam hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22241762)

well, not allowing people to resell is going to bite them in the ass sooner or later. The resale Doctrine in the US is taken very seriously by the courts.
If that were true, wouldn't they have gone after Apple for the iTunes Music Store by now?

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240524)

I've only once had an issue with Steam's servers. The year Seattle got taken out by storms, their servers were down for a day. That's in all the years that I've played with Steam. One day.

I'm willing to give them that, given that's a better track record than my computer or any of the MMO's I've played, or any other similar platform (i.e. Xbox Live).

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241646)

We have total annihilation tournaments every 2 or so weeks around these parts. There's ungodly amounts of mods to go through, so we're busy killing each other with super-nukes, extremely long range plasma cannons, walking spiders 3x as big as krogoths, teleportation systems, you name it. And to top it off, unofficial patches for 5000 units per side (up to 10 players).

TA requires that you honor the license. They asked that you buy 1 legit copy for every 3 lan players. Yes, a decent lan gaming policy, along with the 30 second "multiplayer install". There were no serial numbers to keep track of, no codebooks to flip through, no cd checks (the one is solved by copying that big texture file over to HD).

It's been 10 years since TA started. Will your license servers be up in 10 years? Not even googles' servers were...

Re:Insert steam hate (2, Informative)

Elyscape (882517) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240584)

Actually, you can use SteamWorks without using Steam. Or at least, that's what the SteamWorks website [steamgames.com] seems to say:

Whether you're publishing your games on Steam or not, Steamworks lets you take advantage of Steam features in retail products.
Obviously, using SteamWorks would make things more easily added to Steam and allow for better integration, but it doesn't seem that you need to use Steam to get its benefits. You might not be able to reap all the rewards without it, but at least some of them are independent.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240690)

Nope; what they're saying there is that publishers can use SteamWorks without offering up their game for download via Steam. I think you still have to use Steam to run the games.

Re:Insert steam hate (1)

Reble_45 (1230264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241982)

I definetly have to agree. I have had so many problems with steam that its not even funny anymore. I run a laptop and its a pain in the ass when i'm away from home or a wi-fi connection, and the HL2 Engine will crash my computer or steam will lock up and force me to reboot it, and when i get it back up, I cannot play any of my OFFLINE games because i havent connected to the Internet FIRST. WTH is the deal with that anyway. I understand the anti-piracy deal, but i paid for the offline game, and want it to work offline period. on the other hand for games such as EVE online which are just doing marketing and selling initial cd-keys, and then just booting the games EXE file seperately, thats great, it gets games like eve more spotlight attention and in the end, is good for the whole community, because it brings new players in. thats great, but if your going to work a program like this in, at least make sure the god damn thing works correctly. Reble Out....

And this will stop piracy how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240270)

It seems like Valve will be opening their game engines up for people to make their own content, bypassing valve directly.. Isn't this worse than piracy?

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT IS KILLING PC GAMING (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240274)

We pulled some disturbing numbers this past week about the amount of PC players currently playing CoD4 Multiplayer (which was fantastic). What wasn't fantastic was the percentage of those numbers who were playing on stolen copies of the game on stolen / cracked CD keys of pirated copies (and that was only people playing online).

Not sure if I can share the exact numbers or percentage of PC players with you, but I'll check and see; if I can I'll update with them. As the amount of people who pirate PC games is astounding. It blows me away at the amount of people willing to steal games (or anything) simply because it's not physical or it's on the safety of the internet to do.

Re:INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT IS KILLING PC GAMIN (2, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241154)

So your telling me that the developers of CoD4 didn't think to validate the client keys agianst a database of valid keys, and flagging accounts that have multiple logins from different IPs? I refuse to believe that.

I don't know what do suggest the mods rate you... hmm. Not troll, (There really should be a -1 wrong), maybe overrated...

Re:INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY THEFT IS KILLING PC GAMIN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22241446)

-1 Automated Troll. I've seen the same post before.

Mod parent down please (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241502)

How many times are you going to keep repeating this BS [slashdot.org] ? It doesn't even make any sense seeming as when you play CoD4 Multiplayer they validate your key..

neet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240298)

neeeeeeeeeeeet

Because Valve doesn't get pirated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240342)

What kind of bs headline and summary is that? If even their invasive online DRM can be defeated, of what value could their dev kit possibly be towards fighting piracy?

Re:Because Valve doesn't get pirated? (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240386)

I think he means that they are fighting piracy because they are supplying free tools to independent developers that will aide them in securing their source code. It is a little unclear, though.

Re:Because Valve doesn't get pirated? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240436)

Because valve is so ridiculously awesome.. they give away their whole SDK package for making Source games, which has given us tens of thousands of maps and some crazy fun mods like Insurgency and SourceForts. Now they're giving away the tools to not only produce the games, but also deliver them yourself without getting your profits sucked dry by a useless publisher. If you can still pirate games from a company as awesome as Valve, div by zero universe panic

Because Valve doesn't get "borrowed"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22241024)

For those with a short memory. Valve has been pirated in the past and I've spotted non-steam versions of their games on the Internet. Which simply proves that piracy is one big lie and exists for ONE reason only. And it's NOT world peace.

Am I strange? (1)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240410)

I'm against the idea of buying anything on physical media, which I then have to validate/register/"complete the purchase" online.

However, I'm okay with the idea of downloading the very same software (validation being one of the requirements for downloading).

I guess I feel that the "buy then validate" model is a cheat- If I bought it in a store, that should be proof enough. Whereas with downloading, they can do the validation/purchase at the same time.

Re:Am I strange? (1)

Frenchy_2001 (659163) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240592)

The only reason I buy the Steam games off line is that you can very often find better prices in brick and mortar stores at release dates than on Steam. Once you have bought it, just input that same CD key in your steam account and never even touch the media.

Personally, I just go for the cheapest route when offered possibilities and the more possibilities (competition at retail and online), the cheaper it gets. Steam itself has sales regularly, with lots of titles discounted 10% to 50% or packs for reduced prices.

So, for me, the delivery is irrelevant. I must say that I do like Steam. Want to play one of your game while on vacation at a friend or at the family's house? just grab steam, put your password and choose your games. Reinstalling or switching PC? Just install Steam and all the rest will follow. If they just could implement a feature to sell back your games (transfer from account to account), it would be perfect (but I wont be holding my breath, resale is the worst enemy of game makers).

Re:Am I strange? (4, Interesting)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240662)

I'm against the idea of buying anything on physical media, which I then have to validate/register/"complete the purchase" online.

However, I'm okay with the idea of downloading the very same software (validation being one of the requirements for downloading).

I guess I feel that the "buy then validate" model is a cheat- If I bought it in a store, that should be proof enough. Whereas with downloading, they can do the validation/purchase at the same time.
No you are correct. Note that this whole kit is really a steam integration kit. So the primary purchase method will be online purchase. However, having a physical box sitting on the shelf at Walmart is still great for advertising, and even better for giving as a gift. What I find really weird, is that unlike with Valve's boxed games, the steamworks games will apparently not include the exe file on the CD. The CD will have all the resources, and everything, but the exe itself will need to be downloaded over Steam. The advantage (to the developer) is that the exe downloaded can be watermarked with the name and account information of the downloader, which makes distributing a no-steam crack for the game (which is necessary for widespread piracy) a risky proposition.

Re:Am I strange? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22241006)

Steam Activation is the reason I never purchased HL2. After buying HL1, Blue Shift and Opposing Force I felt that Valve had no right to treat me like a criminal for buying HL2. I had no desire to play any of the MP games valve had out and thus had no need to install Steam. I had tried Steam before and just wasn't impressed with it's UI and what it had to offer so I uninstalled it. I fail to see why I need to install an application to only use once. It's also easier for me to purchase games at a store than it is to wait for them to download from a Steam server. Perhaps if I could have validated a HL2 cd through a web page without the need to install Steam I would've actually bought the game. I'm sure I'm in the minority here but Valve lost out on $$$ from me.

Re:Am I strange? (1)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241048)

You're looking at it backwards. Steam is the preferred delivery method, CD's where you then have to use steam to 'activate' are the halfassed hack they put together to let luddites buy it.

It's only a matter of time until you can only buy games on steam.

Re:Am I strange? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22241152)

I'm a luddite because I'd rather spend 20 minutes driving to the store, buying a cd, going home installing and playing it instead of waiting 20 hours for multiple GB of data to download because the only "high" speed connection I get is about 2 times faster than 56k or Valves servers get hammered and the connection gets disconnected, etc.

Distribution via CD has worked for years with very little problems. I realize it makes you feel like a unique snowflake to download games of the internet, I mean you'd never have to leave your mother basement except to run down to the unemployment office to get your check, or wait, they can mail those to you! You've got it made.

Re:Am I strange? (1)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242270)

I'm a luddite because I'd rather spend 20 minutes driving to the store, buying a cd, going home installing and playing it instead of waiting 20 hours for multiple GB of data to download because the only "high" speed connection I get is about 2 times faster than 56k or Valves servers get hammered and the connection gets disconnected, etc.

Yes, that's pretty much what I'm saying. You might have noticed that your local EB doesn't have quite as many shelves dedicated to PC gaming as it used to. This is only going to get worse, and game devs are going to be forced to use some online distribution method.

Rural broadband? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241950)

Steam is the preferred delivery method, CD's where you then have to use steam to 'activate' are the halfassed hack they put together to let luddites buy it.

How much does a decent Internet connection cost in rural North America[1]? Or how much does real estate cost in areas of North America with cheap broadband?

[1] North America counts because Slashdot is in the United States.

Re:Rural broadband? (1)

TeraCo (410407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22242290)

I'm not sure why you think I'd care about that.

Sure, DD sucks for people living in the country. But as a kid I lived in the country, and we went without a lot of other things that were much more important than broadband, such as a hospital within an hours drive. People who live in the country tend to be pragmatic and will most likely download a gigabyte of game over a dialup connection if there they want to play it and there is no other option available.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240430)

Bullshit. Steam doesn't prevent piracy; it's just a way for you to spend money on games you don't really own. I bought Day of Defeat and wanted to play it on my new (better) computer. Unfortunately, my serial number was already registered in their database, they didn't respond to e-mails, and the only solution left was either to buy another copy, or play only on my old computer. Well, fuck if I'm going to piss my money down that rathole again. Fool me once, shame on you ... fool ... not gonna get fooled again!

Oh yeah, and nice slashvertisement. Hope Valve paid you a lot of money for this blowjob Zonk.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240534)

I bought Day of Defeat and wanted to play it on my new (better) computer.
If you bought it new from a retail store, someone probably already opened it and just copied the CD key. If you wanted to play it on another computer that you have, you should have read the EULA. In either case you are SOL.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Frenchy_2001 (659163) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240610)

you will have to explain how you can play on one computer but not an the other one.
Steam is computer independent. You install it and you can play/install games when you enter your login. If you can login correctly on one computer, you should be able to install steam on the new computer and login on it too.

Of course, if you created a NEW login on the new computer, when you try to register the same serial on both account, it will fail...

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240710)

You can play on different computers, but not at the same time. If you leave steam logged in on a running computer, you won't be able to log in on another one; which could be the source of GP's problems.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Ailure (853833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241678)

Actually in that case you're just logged out on that other computer.

Had this happen once when I was out of boredom screwing around with Valve games on a (fairly dumb) lecture. It logged me out at home.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22240756)

They probably have an e-mail feature that filters out all e-mail from people too slow to understand how to use their software. I can sum up your post as "Durrrr, I no understand that if I create two account with same serial, I play two copies. If me only knew to log in under same account, I wouldn't be angry tool on Slashdot. Oh yeah, me hate Zonk because me think other think that cool."

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22241302)

No publisher can afford to avoid the stupid people -- there are too many of them.

Smart one (4, Funny)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240624)

Because copy protection has never been broken before, making it free will mean that game copying will stop forever. Just like how DRM ceased all music and video copyright infringement.

Warning: (4, Interesting)

feepness (543479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22240968)

Steam is great for first party Valve games and older games that have been out for awhile and had their issues sorted out.

It absolutely sucks for newer games which have their own copy protection schemes. See BioShock and Company Of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. I had trouble with Opposing Fronts and had to wait for a runaround before I got my money back, after which they said they would not do another. If you do a chargeback and they disable your account you will lose access to ALL your games.

I like Steam for Valve stuff... but just be careful with untested third party software. You can check there own forums on steampowered.com to see if people are having issues.

Re:Warning: (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241392)

be careful with untested third party software

Pretty insightful if you ask me.

My only concern is... (2, Interesting)

Joelfabulous (1045392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22241588)

There are some issues I have with the service, namely if it ever goes under (doesn't seem likely in the near future, but technology can be picky), what happens to all my purchases? (I only have currently one registered game on there but plan on picking up the Orange Box some time soon.) I don't know that Valve can just unlock the (already) sold products once and for all if they go under or if they'd have to keep running the authentication servers, etc. Also, I don't have any problems with the whole needing to update before I play thing as I've always lived near major metropolitan centres in Canada, but for those people without broadband... Well, I remember 28.8 baud and 56k connections... That can't be much fun. Oh, and you need an internet connection before you can actually run the game. For some people, I can see how that'd be a show stopper. You can't really buy a Steam game used, either. At least the prices are decently fair, particularly when bundled. I almost wonder if they bundle since it increases sales figures / helps them squeeze a few bucks more out of people since the bundles are a far better deal than buying things in singles... That said, it's nice to not have to search for no-cd patches or duplicate my existing copies by working around really crappy copy protection schemes just so I can ensure my legitimately bought and paid for game is still playable five years from now, accidents notwithstanding. It's nice to not have to keep track of CDs and stuff when moving, and that I can wipe it off my hard drive and install it from the net with no consequences. In my mind, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages by a long shot. If you're worried about Valve taking the information they can collect re: your anonymous system statistics or just making a cash grab and running for it, well, they haven't done so thus far, but they could... As it stands, it's a pretty solid service, and they have to pay for the bandwidth / server costs / uptime somehow.

Re:My only concern is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22242570)

Why is 'plain old text' not the default?
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