Steam Vs. GoG or any other service

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Steam Vs. GoG or any other service

Post by borg101 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:13 pm

So for a long time I railed against Steam because of bad customer service...i.e. none at all, but a few years back, my brother in-law got me back into it. I recently had an, albeit first-world, terrifying thought last night. What happens if/when Steam changes and my content is no longer mine. Is this something that should be worried about in all digital platforms?
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Re: Steam Vs. GoG or any other service

Post by xenopeek » Tue Mar 20, 2018 3:53 am

If you're worried about such things stick with All their games are DRM free. So once bought and downloaded, they will work without Steam instead is a subscription service and you don't own your games. Steam has about 5 times as many games for Linux as

Other digital distributors may appease your worries better than Steam but none are comparable to I think. For example GamersGate also sells games DRM free but unlike the download you get is for an installer program that does need an online connection and your account info to complete the installation.

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Re: Steam Vs. GoG or any other service

Post by rene » Tue Mar 20, 2018 5:38 am

borg101 wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:13 pm
What happens if/when Steam changes and my content is no longer mine. Is this something that should be worried about in all digital platforms?
Basically, and theoretically always, but in practice dependent on platform as well as the country you live in.

Your digital content is also at this moment not yours. You have a license and if for whatever reason that license expires, you no longer have it. In the case of ("offline") software on physical media this is a legal reality, in the case of a DRM-free platform such as GoG both that and one in the sense of not being able to download or re-download it. In the case of DRM-encumbered platforms such as Steam it is also a practical one.

For example, when you subscribed to Steam you gave them the right to deny you access to your account and all games on it when you violate the subscriber agreement. If any such violation is real and serious you likely have little recourse but if not a court may have an opinion. As a general rule law and courts in for example many European countries side with consumers earlier than in for example the USA, where producers are granted more rights. In a situation concerning not just you alone the primarily American concept of the class-action lawsuit may conversely protect American consumers more effectively.

Certainly there's safety in numbers generally. There are over 100 million Steam subscribers some of which have easily more than a month's salary invested in their Steam account. Steam can also in a practical sense not just do whatever the subscriber agreement may empower them to theoretically, what with potentially massive numbers of lawsuits being poured onto them. If Steam goes bankrupt they have at some point said to disable the DRM; to make your licensed games from that point on be (Steam-) DRM-free. Even if they do not voluntarily there may again well be legal recourse available.

The current demise of Microsoft's "Games for Windows LIVE" PC DRM-platform is somewhat of a first in this respect: a number of GFWL games have been transferred to Steam, c.f. ... -the-dirt/, and some like Grand Theft Auto IV have still not but have made Microsoft keep enough parts of GFWL up and running to have them still work, even the online parts. As far as I'm aware there's no case, yet, of a game not being available to be played anymore specifically due to GFWL's demise.

But certainly what it boils down to is that DRM-encumbered platforms such as Steam (not GoG) do not grant you all rights and/or possibilities you may still be used to from the physical age. To what extent and practicality varies but some -- and I myself very much consider this fact weighable against other facts. The primary characteristic of any economic transaction is not price but price-performance ratio; I have a Steam account with at this point quite a few (adventure) games on it but in majority less expensive than EUR2 each: Steam sales do a lot for said price-performance ratio. I'd in fact say that even most of those that I haven't played yet have already provided me with more enjoyment/value than the more expensive cup of coffee that I bough yesterday and which is by now gone in a much more fundamental sense than a game will ever be.

Steam also makes you try out games: you can refund a game if you within two hours of playing it find out you don't want it. Seeing as how Steam needs to track your playtime for this, needs the DRM, that one is a very concrete example of how DRM can also provide you with some value. Again helps price-performance, now by upping performance rather than lowering price. Add in the mentioned Steam sales, even some free games, the Steam platform itself if you're into the discussion/social aspect and all of the above concerning differences between theory and practice, and it is my own strong opinion I need not worry about it. If ever I lose access to my Steam games certainly I'd not like it and certainly I'd try my best to get them back. But it is a slim chance to begin with, mostly theoretical rather than practical, and even if it were to happen I'd have lost very significantly more on unnecessary and less enjoyed consumables during that same period than on Steam games.

If you have a large collection of EUR/USD 60 games on there I suppose you may differ but I'd really advise to concentrate on price-performance ratio. If you do honestly Steam is in fact likely quite good also in your case. Other DRM-encumbered platforms will need their own, specific analysis...

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