Friday, 28 August 2009

Why I don't use Steam

Valve's Steam, an online software store, sounds great in principle. I suppose in most ways it is very good: a wide selection of games at good prices, delivered digitally and available to you anywhere your online Steam account is. My one objection is the copy control mechanism, which is both unnecessary and invasive. It "phones home" every time you start a game to check whether you actually have a license to play it. In bricks-and-mortar analogy, it's like having to go back to the store where you purchased a game to ask permission any time you want to play it.

Now, like a lot of DRM, this doesn't get in the way for most people most of the time. Some DRM proponents argue that it's just to "keep the honest people honest", which is as noble a goal as keeping the sky blue. People who are going to copy games are going to do it in spite of DRM, and people who aren't will only notice when it goes wrong and prevents them from playing legitimately. That is to say, DRM's only noticeable effect is keeping the honest people from doing honest things occasionally.

Count me out, for now.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I only buy a few games a year, so it's not like they're losing a lot of business from me.
PPS - If DRM made prices lower by orders of magnitude, I might consider it.

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