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Showing 1-22 of 22 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Oct 2007 22:43:22 BDT
Ok, I'd like to analyse this 'review' because it contains a few 'myths' that are constantly debunked again and again, but never seem to permanently ridden of. And I'd like to debunk them... again

"(a) considers me a criminal - although has pocketed my £25"

Where is the grounding in this statement? Unless you mean by using Steam to protect against copying? In which case pretty much every single game on the planet made since ~2001 will do the exact same thing. Welcome to the world of piracy.

"(b) wants me to ask for permission EVERY BLOODY time I want to play even a single player game"

If you read the actual manual provided with the game, you'll find that you can enable "Play off-line". It's a feature that has worked since the original HL2, and continues to do so.

"(c) installs an auto-updating, commercial-reporting and in-constant-contact-with-the-mothership utility that retains backdoor access to my computer, and "

Ok, let's break this down:
- Auto updating. Well so does Windows. Where's the problem with it updating? I'm certain you'd be more angry if it crashed your computer mid-game due to a bug, than you would be if an update had fixed such a bug

- Commercial reporting. The most that Steam does is report data about your hardware. And it asks _permission_ - and the data is used to help developers make sure that their software works on your machine (hardware demographics). Most importantly though, no matter what data it is supposedly 'reporting back', you _agreed_ to it by installing the application.

- Backdoor. That's just plain stupid. Oh no an open port. What about port 80, are you going to shut that 'backdoor' as well? :/

"(d) does not concede to the fact every "security system" eventually gets cracked and every "OnLine activation requirement" eventually gets bypassed."

The auto updating thing you mentioned - that's the whole point of it. If Steam is constantly live, and updated, it is exceedingly difficult to evade. There are few, if any, functioning hacks/cracks around Steam's protection, and holes are being closed up constantly.

"What makes you think this cannot happen to VALVE?"

Gabe Newell has already been over this a million times; if Steam goes down, they'll deactivate the authentication servers, so they will no longer need to authenticate to install/play.


In reply to an earlier post on 23 Oct 2007 22:13:35 BDT
Totally agree with you, I think the person seems to have it in for Steam or something.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Oct 2007 23:12:04 BDT
You make some good points and I do agree that, while I was hostile towards steam at first I now realize now that it's fully off the ground that it works very well and is acctually quite handy. However, there ARE ways of getting around steams copy protection - i'm always seeing torrents for the latest steam games.

But still though, Steam isn't a bad little program at all. Plus, since playing Portal my faith has been fully restored in Valve's abilities. I thought they were turning slightly EA-esque (i.e. big mega super evil corperation) but Portal was just brilliant - short, but brilliant, and hence my faith has been restored in Valve. Come to think of it, they don't make bad games really. HL2 was a tad dissapointing but it was so overhyped there was no WAY it could have satisfied everyone!

They aint that bad.

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Nov 2007 12:24:26 GMT
Hmmm. I don't think anyone has mentioned the problem of tying down software to a "License". Steam is another step to the pay-per-view disposable gaming that we can expect to see in the near future. Surely you guys must occaionally load up an old game for a blast? Well if the Steam-style vendors get their way, you will have to pay for anything you play beyond a certain timescale. It works ok with MMOGs, but they have spawned a number of unsettlingly pricey offshoots, like XBox Gold, which force players to choose between what they can afford to keep playing beyond the initial purchase price of the game. Kids especially, due to their limited financial resources, get a somewhat narrowing choice of entertainment. Steam DOES work well, but I fear it is simply a step toward hideous overpricing in the name of antipiracy, which incidentally never stopped computer games from being a majorly lucrative business - just less lucrative than the suits would like it to be.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2007 17:07:46 GMT
Chris says:
It's very recently been found out that Episode 2 actually records a huge amount of data as you play through it. It records what levels you played, how often you died, areas you apparently found difficult, and more. What's really rather alarming is that Valve only released this info about a month after release.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Nov 2007 22:20:58 GMT
Deneb says:
I wonder if DW Roberts works for Valve? This thing is messing up my computer. All sorts of strange things happen when I use it. For example I shut down HL2 about an hour ago and now am told by steam that it has to replace some damaged files. It tries to do so and then tries and tries again. I imagine it can't log on to a server or something. It won't let me play off line so I am without the game I paid for. Amazon should not sell stuff like this in my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Dec 2007 17:47:40 GMT
Work for Valve? Ha ha, I wish.

Seriously though; every app has problems and issues, and I'm not saying that they don't exist (for instance, the problem you described, which I have experienced myself with HL2:Ep1).

The thing that irritated me into making this posting was not to sing of Steam's perfection, but more to 'blast away' some myths etc. that continue to perpetuate. I hope I don't come across as "OMG STEAM IS AMAZING, U CANT DISS IT LOL" etc. as all I intended to do was 'fix' some qualms related to Steam

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Dec 2007 17:53:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 10 Dec 2007 17:53:48 GMT
Chris: Yeah, I heard the level data being sent that too. Although a lot of "reporting data home" stuff is instantly regarded as 'dodgy' or somehow illicit, don't you reckon sending info on where you die etc. in the level is quite a legitimate cause?

I mean, if you're creating a game, obviously your paramount priority is ensuring a player has fun, so whilst you've got a mammoth great digital distribution tool at your disposal you may as well use it to help you to this end; so I'm not too fussed about the level thing.

You do raise an interesting point though: If they get this data, what else can they get? And that is a genuine concern, but am I the only one doubting the 'issue' of it though? I mean, they could conceivably _get_ a lot of data, but what on earth can they use it for? The level thing has a legitimate use, but the only thing that strikes me for any other data they collect is advertising: and tons of apps/websites do that as it is.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2007 11:23:06 GMT
Axeman5000 says:
I'm with D.W Roberts on this one. Valve are being very open about the info they collect from players and I honestly think it's a good thing. It just allows them to address issues that plyers are facing, for example if a certain bit of HL2 is just proving too hard and players are giving up, they can tweak it with a patch that all players will get automatically from Steam. It also means that future games releases can be developed to the needs and tastes of the players.

It's worth noting that Valve are aware what spec of machine players are using, which means they can develop games that will work for their customers, instead of blindly heading down the DX10/Vista pathway and only have 10% of end-users getting any real value from it.

I know there's the argument of "Big Brother is watching", but provided information is being collected for the right reasons I've no problem with it. D.W Roberts is right - you can't escape being marketed these days. Even your Tesco Clubcard is just a marketing tool, designed to let shadowy organisations examine our shopping habits and tailor their marketing to target us.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Dec 2007 15:03:00 GMT
Last edited by the author on 14 Apr 2008 09:38:11 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
As the author of the...Review you are discussing, first of all, I have to thank you all for taking the time to comment on it.

Most expressed opinions have merit (well, maybe except the one that claimed that since Windows can auto-update, we should give such backdoor access to every piece of software installed). By the way, after installing SP2, personally I have disabled the auto-updating feature of WinXP: I take care of my own security and I see no need to give such access to MICROSOFT. Let alone VALVE.
Now, to add insult to injury (to those who bought the Box and have to deal with STEAM), once again, there are tons of pirated copies of the HL2-OB floating the torrent sites. No honest or sane person would touch them with a pole - yet one has to ask: since it effectively failed (...again) to curb piracy, what did STEAM accomplish exactly?
Permit me to point out the core issue at hand.

As Mr J.E.GRAY has already mentioned above, the whole STEAM project (as with MICROSOFT's LIVE and BIOSHOCK mandatory auto-updating) are exploratory, yet determined steps in the direction of PAY-PER-PLAY: gaming distributors have wet dreams of the day they will be charging us BY THE MINUTE for games we will own NOT in any form or medium - but will have to log-on solely through the internet (sorry AMAZON: unless you don't get absorbed by some "Googlesque" mega-corporation, you will have no piece of this).

THAT is what the whole debate is all about.
In a true pyramid-scheme symmetry, they will try to make us entangle our own friends; they will sweeten the deal any way it takes; they will throw in any combo-offer imaginable; they will iron out most of STEAM connection problems. But they will KEEP US CONNECTED! And once they have us, they will NEVER let our computers break free and out of their sight.

They see them as their cash-cows. And they have just started herding them in...

That is what I am expressing in my review as well. I guess people who had already bought the game did not appreciate reading about how bad their decision truly was...

In reply to an earlier post on 12 Jan 2008 12:18:22 GMT
Chris says:
In this case, the data logging is legitimate, but Valve didn't say anything about it until well after the release date. Look at the furore that Bioshock's mandatory activation caused - Valve were simply waiting until the right time to say so.

What if the logging *hadn't* been legit, and you had no way to know until a month later ?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jan 2008 18:13:42 GMT
Dr Bob says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2008 17:44:56 GMT
A. Mcbride says:
Where did this pay-per-play hysteria come from?! You buy a physical game on a CD, activate it on steam and its yours to keep and play as much as you want! In fact, steam actually acts like a backup system so that if you ever lose the cd you can just download steam and download your games again. Why do you think valve will suddenly start charging for updates (They aren't apple!)?? Steam doesn't just exist in order to prevent piracy (a job that it does MUCH better than any other game out there), it's also a platform for independent publishers who don't have the resources to physically distribute and market their games. I for one salute steam for creating this new marketplace.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Nov 2008 20:18:30 GMT
Look at it this way, Valve is a big registered company who would not gather information illegally simply because if they got caught there goes all of there business.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2009 10:07:05 BDT
NeuroSplicer says:
Yes. We never saw THAT happen before.
I guess the whole banking mess precipitated because big business always behaves ethically...

Posted on 29 May 2009 12:04:04 BDT
P. Prosser says:
i have never had a problem with steam and i would rather have my games on this host than solely on my computer.
But as someone previously mentioned, the computer has to be healthy and preferably up to scratch. But having said that,
if you are wanting to play numerous games on your computer it should be upto a good standard anyway, to get the best out of
the game..?
I have also since bought a game off steam, and it did not take long to download and obviously no faffing around with discs. It was
available to download as soon as payment details were entered; no waiting for days for it to send. Understandably, the gamer
has to find out instructions and gameplay info themselves, as the games do not come with a manual nor box.
It is aruged that buying a game from steam has no substantial matter for these reasons; the game does not have discs nor box,
giving it an almost virtual appearance. However, the gamer can log in from any good system and play through their steam account, and tbh, if the gamer is purely wanting to buy the game purely for their own enjoyment, why is this a problem?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2009 21:56:49 BDT
steam is just the worst thing ever. Protecting from Pirates? Its killed all the birds with one stone, and half the birds wernt doing anything wrong. I remember the days when you could install the same game on more than one pc, so you could play a lan party. OHH no not allowed 2 do that anymore, must spend another 40 odd quid so steam can accept the fact people have friends and not everyone is a pirate. anyway who would honestly torrent a valve game? There all terrible!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2009 16:01:54 BDT
NickNacks says:
"Surely you guys must occaionally load up an old game for a blast? Well if the Steam-style vendors get their way, you will have to pay for anything you play beyond a certain timescale."
Where some other copy protection systems limit the number of times you can install each piece of software Steam actually rewards you for playing some of the older games, by updating the graphics and making your older games even better should you wish and there's no limit on how many times you can do this or on how many PCs. I have had HL2 for a while and when I bought Orange Box recently it even allowed me to send a FREE license for HL2 to anyone I wanted - now how does this sound like the big bad company that's trying to skin you for every last penny?

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2010 17:39:17 BDT
Dr Bob says:
They are a big bad company because they are cash-cows and they want my personal details and they have backdoor access to my computer and they have details on my hardware so that they can make more games with my hardware in mind and they always want me to be connected and always want me to keep my games up to date and they are bad people.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Apr 2010 17:41:31 BDT
Dr Bob says:
Umm, you know you can use the same Steam account pretty much anywhere, right? Take your games with you to holiday and stuff like that?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2010 16:31:53 BDT
J Ward says:
Holy crap NeuroSplicer, you are one paranoid guy! You disabled windows auto update? In case of what? Maybe windows might suddenly decide it wants to steal all your money? They already did that when they made you pay 200 odd quid for an operating system in the first place!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jun 2012 11:53:25 BDT
Last edited by the author on 28 Sep 2012 22:08:54 BDT
Cobaltmotari says:
But you CAN install a game on more than one PC with Steam. You just don't need the disk. The only excuse for you would be if the only game you bought on the service was Driver: San Francisco, or most other Ubisoft games. If that is the case, that's not Valve's fault.
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Participants:  16
Total posts:  22
Initial post:  21 Oct 2007
Latest post:  16 Jun 2012

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