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Is the Half-Life 2 EULA Illegal? 164

Posted by Zonk
from the deep-thoughts dept.
Ant writes "Many people are having problems connecting to the Steam servers to play Half-Life 2, and now the legal agreements that surround a purchase of Half-Life 2 have been examined. The German Consumer Association has found that the packaging on Half-Life 2 is misleading. In a report made following complaints from the public, they said that the mere listing of an internet connection under the 'other' category in system requirements did not accurately describe the true extent of the internet tie-in with the game, and ordered Vivendi to amend the packaging and untie Steam from HL2 or face a hefty fine."
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Is the Half-Life 2 EULA Illegal?

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  • Is it just me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by K9black (620592)
    Or is this going a little overboard
  • I think this is great news, and I really, really hope they don't choose the fine!
  • EULA (Score:1, Funny)

    by turtled (845180)
    EULAs - who reads them anymore? I started reading through more, and it's amazing on what they say. Item IIV - you must give us all your money. Item IV - all your money belong to us. It seems crazier with the online games more than anything.
  • Does that mean only the U.S version now will be forced to rely on steam? So we get screwed and have to remain connected to this service while everyone else doesn't.

    • well, that's kind of what they're saying. frankly i'm surprised no-one took it this far before this.

      frankly, i like the european fashion where consumer is the king and there's just these things that you can't waive away with a small disclaimer. it's kind of more capitalistic too, as you know better what exactly it is that you're buying.

    • Re:I am confused (Score:2, Insightful)

      by shufler (262955)
      I shouldn't have to point this out, but you only are required to have an Internet connection to log onto Steam when you first install the game. Once properly verified you're not pirating it, you can run the game in Offline Mode.

      That said, for some reason I feel that since I had to point out that, I should further point out that if you care to play ONLINE, against people, then yes, you do need to remain connected.
  • In a report made following complaints from the public, they said that the mere listing of an internet connection under the 'other' category in system requirements did not accurately describe the true extent of the internet tie-in with the game.

    Wouldn't listing "Internet connection" under "System Requirements" (even under some "Other" category), imply that an internet connection is a requirement?

    I haven't seen the packaging myself, but it seems pretty clear-cut to me.

    • Usually, something like that implies that the internet might be needed to activate the game or to play online. However, in the case of HL2, you have to continuously remain connected even when playing the single-player game. Therefore, the packaging is misleading.
      • Usually, something like that implies...

        I'd say that your assumption is misleading, and not the packaging. It was listed as a "requirement". A requirement is something that, in this case, is "required" to play the game. "Usually..." and "But other games..." arguments apply to just that -- other games.

        In a day-and-age where people are crying foul over cryptic EULA language and raising hell because "things can be interpreted by lawyers in *so* many ways", why shouldn't "requirement" be taken at face val

      • you have to continuously remain connected even when playing the single-player game.

        Bullshit. I played HL2 all the way through on my laptop. My laptop connects to the net with wireless, which has a manual switch on it, that I sometimes forget to turn on. If I turn it off and forget it, when winders boots, I have NO internet connectivity at all.

        Nonetheless, the game played just fine. It prompted me to say "do you want to play in offline mode"? And I said "yes" because another reboot wasn't necessary.

        Try

      • by tolan-b (230077) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:48PM (#11608126)
        What it doesn't say is that you will have to sign a second EULA (the Steam one) as well as having an internet connection.
    • The software for my slide scanner exits if you don't have an internet connection. While I can understand some software checking licenses, It makes no sense that this one should have to check for piracy as the $500 piece of hardware makes a pretty effective dongle.
    • Some might think that it relates to playing multiplayer games over the net.

      Or have heard that it requires internet to activate, but not to actually play the game afterwards (which is how I understood it).

    • Having an Internet connection is a requirement in order to play the game. I don't care if it is only while you're installing it, you still need to have an Internet connection.

      It's not like stores sell some "prepaid internet connection card" you can use for X minutes while installing the game.
  • Internet Connection (Score:5, Informative)

    by Vraylle (610820) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @12:55PM (#11607344) Homepage
    The "mere listing" of an internet connection as a requirement IS misleading, and not just for the reasons they mention in the article. I made the mistake of trying this with my aluminum-line, out-in-the-boondocks 26.4k connection. I returned the (opened) software to the store and told them the system requirements were misleading. Internet Connection!=broadband
    • Is it? It may have taken awhile, but you could have activated the software with only a 26.4K connection. Thus, and Internet Connection is required. Broadband just makes it faster.
  • by Nevita (841283) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @12:57PM (#11607370)
    They're right. The packaging lists an internet connection as required, when a Steam account (which does require an internet connection) is what is actually required. The packaging is false, but I don't think Valve/VU should be fined or forced to disconnect Steam from HL2. THe better solution would be to force them to restate the game requirements (i.e. a public admission that they were misleading). Problem solved.

    Don't turn this into a "we can finally rip Steam out of HL2" issue. It's completely irrelevant.

    • The problem is that thousands of people bought HL2 and cannot play often, because of the Steam requirement. When they try to take the game back to (insert software store here) they wont be getting a refund, unless they happen to know to take a copy of the UCC with them.
    • Unless Valve agrees to refund the money to people have paid for HL2, they must unbundle Steam. And they should definitely be fined, to discourage this type of violations.
    • What do you do if you buy it, install the discs, and can't create a Steam account because Steam is broken? And you can't return it because the retailer won't take back open software. The package should read "You need an Internet connection and a Steam account, but we aren't going to guarantee that you can create one because Steam sux0rz." It sounds like they have a legitimate argument to say "Remove the Steam requirement to play the single player game, because you're screwing customers."
      • Do what I did when i couldn't get an atari game to work with my DVD drive because of secureROM. I called my CC company and disputed the charges. Worked fine for me. Then I noCD cracked the game.
        • So you are effectively a pirate, since you're playing a game you've not paid for.

          I had the same problem, I tried noCD first and it worked. If it hadn't worked, I would have returned the game.

          It seems only fair to compensate developers for their work. I'm not happy with Atari for imposing this annoying 'protection', but I figure that there'll be enough pissed-off customers (and pirates like yourself) to hurt them for it :-)

          They should know by now that it doesn't work, it's only hurting 'nice' customers wh
          • No, he is not a pirate.

            He purchased a copy, which he could not use. He attempted to return it (I assume) and was rejected (which is illegal in most states). He reversed the charge according to his cardholder agreement, which the merchant agreed to when they established their merchant account. At this point he has not broken the law and is in possession of a copy of the game, and there is no law against him playing a game that he has a copy of.

            Where is the piracy? He never made a copy illegally. He ne
            • You're right -- it's not piracy. Perhaps "potentially fraudulent" might be a better description. Or, at the very least, somewhat ethically dubious to get a refund for a product and yet still enjoy the benefits of having it. The person who gets hurt in that case isn't the manufacturer of the game but the merchant.

              The ethical thing would have been that, after obtaining your credit card refund, you then return the game to the store from which it was purchased so that the merchant would have some recourse f
              • Try it. Seriously, I am on good terms with a few software stores here so I have first/second hand experience with the system and have had to use the chargeback method on more than one occasion. Various store policies prevent them from accepting the returned product even after I have done a chargeback.
              • The point is that the attempted return was refused. Nothing fradulent or ethically dubious about it. He was the victim having been given a defective product. We was the victim in being refused a return on that defective product. Had he paid in cash he would have had to sue them in court. Fortuantely his credit card company allowed the less troublesome but still extraordinary step of reversing the payment. He will quite likely be victimized yet again with that revoked payment probably being reported as an un
                • I'd gladly give it back if asked. I have no problem with that, the game sucked (demo was ok, but the finished product was buggy, and boring). But thats the reason I have my credit card. It protects me from fraud. No where on their box did it say that their game does not work with some dvd rom drives. And atari support told me my only solution was to buy a new dvd drive. The store told me to get bent (although to their credit, they did offer to exchange my copy for a new copy of the same game). So I did my o
                • Well, I still think it's in bad taste to have a chargeback issued, then go ahead and download a no-cd crack and still play the game. Not returning the product is one thing. But to obtain a refund, crack the game, and play it anyway?
                  • I'm a little puzzled exactly where your objection lies. Is it in the fact that he played the game? If they had stuck him with a book is he supposed to keep the book on a shelf and not read it? Or is your objection somehow with the no-CD utility? The only way I see that objection making sense is if you somehow think that using a no-CD utility would be in itself objectionable even if this had been a "routine" game purchace.

                    -
                    • Well, perhaps I can try and explain. The guy apparently returned the product because it didn't meet his system requirements. In his words: "Do what I did when i couldn't get an atari game to work with my DVD drive because of secureROM. I called my CC company and disputed the charges. Worked fine for me. Then I noCD cracked the game." So he gets his money back because the game just won't work. Fair enough. But then he keeps the product anyway, and proceeds to download the utility that he could have used
                    • It still piracy, because he didn't buy the game he cracked.

                      What I'm saying is, its ok to me(but no the Law) if you crack a game that you bought, but not this tricking. The trick might work legally with goods, but not with copyrighted stuff.
                    • If someone sells you a car that doesn't run, it doesn't change that fact when you go ahead and get repair parts and repair it yourself.

                      Depending upon how far back in the thread you go there was either (A) an hypothetical that a return was explicitly attempted and refused or (B) a claim of an actual case which assumedly (but not explicitly) also whould have involved an attemptted and refused return.

                      If they don't want the car back, fine. But the fact that you got parts and repaired it yourself does not chan
                    • This post [slashdot.org] explicitly asked about a case where a return was attempted and refused. The reply [slashdot.org] (who actually did this) did not explicily say a return was attempted and refused, but presumably he was referring to the same situation.

                      There is no "tricking" when someone sells you a defective product and then refuses to take it back. Well, there's "tricking" but it's the game publisher or the store attempting to do the tricking. If the store DOESN'T WANT it back, fine. The buyer is the victim and he still has ever
    • What about the people who already bought the game when it was presented to them under false pretenses, and now find out their dialup connection won't work? A public admission might feel nice to them, but it'll hardly give them their $50 back.
  • Sees this and jumps ship. Valve can survive on its own with Steam as their primary distro .And if you have to be online to access steam, well... Kinda stops this kinda thing in the bud.
  • ordered Vivendi to amend the packaging and untie Steam from HL2 or face a hefty fine

    I really hope that this is just the author misinterpreting the decision.

    Vivendi shouldn't be allowed a choice. Well, they should, but it's the wrong choice. The choice should be: untie Steam from HL2 and pay the fine, or stop selling HL2 in Germany.
    • well.. the how these fines work in europe in general is that you get the fine if you don't do anything.

      if you're still not doing anything about it you get the fine, only that this time it's a much larger fine.

      and then again if you don't do anything about it the fine is again increased, and so on untill the company does something about it or goes bankrupt.
    • Thats a great way to screw over German games again, you know. As it stands, the original version of halflife was banned in Germany for excessive gore, and they almost banned Counter-Strike.

      Anyways, stop selling hl2 in Germany is always an option. If I recall correctly, Vivendi is contracted with Valve to provide Steam with HL2, and Valve currently is not impressed with Vivendi. Expect Valve to ask for slightly more than the fine to provide HL2 sans steam. I don't get all the ill will towards steam, but I p
  • Those fuckin bastards at Valve have been stealing my rights for too long. It's about time someone gave it back to them. It's been too long since they sucked my life away with the original game, and I'm damn tired of it!
  • Is it illegal? Probably not. It is an EULA, ergo it is not legally binding, but illegal? Overstatement.
  • by Ahnteis (746045) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:19PM (#11607705)
    For years, large corporate game publishers have been setting all the
    rules for gamers and game developers alike. Valve software, because
    they are privately funded, has a chance to change the way games are
    not only distributed, but the amount of control that the corporate
    pointy-hairs wield. What do gamers do? They promptly shoot
    themselves in the foot by whining about how steam is n't perfect.

    And it's not. Steam still has all kinds of things that bug me.
    However, Steam is a huge step in what I believe is the right
    direction.

    Game publishers have been REQUIRING that more and more copy
    protections be added to games. These protections often make the game
    UNPLAYABLE to PAYING CUSTOMERS. (Note the idiocy of Vivendi in
    requiring a CD check for the CD version of HL2.) They go as far as
    installing stealth DRIVERS for your hardware to enable these copy
    protections.

    Steam offers an alternative. True, it requires an internet
    connection. (Oh no.) True, it's not perfect. But it's got a MUCH
    better future then the alternative.

    Not only does Steam offer an alternative way of authentication, it
    ALSO offers and alternative method of distribution. The beauty is NOT
    that distribution occurs over the internet. The beauty is that
    distribution is easily available to small developers.

    No need to fight for shelf space at distribution outlets. No need to
    coordinate mass-production facilities and release dates.

    Vivendi, et al. would like few things better then to see Steam fail.
    It would be icing on the cake if gamers themselves stuck a knife in
    its back.
    • by Godeke (32895) * on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:32PM (#11607887)
      While I agree that online distribution is a potential boon for the independent developer house, it doesn't have to come at the price of "if we go under, you can't play". Having been bitten by *that* shell game already I refuse to buy any software that requires authentication with the mothership if there is a viable alternative available. There is nothing like upgrading your computer to find that your reg key is missing or invalidated by the upgrade... and that the company either doesn't exist or refuses to issue a new key without a browbeating. I have enough to do each day without battling authentication schemes. (And yes, I have a few disks that fail due to DVD incompatability... that's why I keep a CD drive installed.)

      Off topic: WTF is up with the manual line breaks?
      • No argument there. However, the alternative is hardly more promising.

        I've had numerous CDs fail due to scratches. As more and more copy protections are forced onto CDs, it becomes harder and harder to make a backup copy.

        With Steam, I don't have to worry about physical medium at all. I can (and have) installed HL2 on multiple machines with only my username and password. I don't have to worry about transferring a CD back and forth between computers (possibly being lost or scratched in the process).

        Curr
        • Currently gamers use 3rd party "no CD cracks" to achieve the same thing. However, as copy protections foisted upon us by corporate "geniuses" become more robust, that option may disappear.

          History is repeating itself. Early in the history of the PC, all games came on floppies with copy protection. The user was expected to boot the floppy to play the game.

          No matter how many copy prevention schemes, dongles, or stupid attempts to make entering the 232nd word on page 1008 of the manual look like part of t

      • I typed this previously as a response to a Blues News article. I emailed it to myself because I was waiting for my account password. The line breaks are preserved from the email.

        As a side note, useability studies have shown that somewhere near 2 alphabets of length is ideal for ease of reading. That's why I didn't bother to reformat it. :)
      • It really is a lose-lose propisition. Gamers want something that they can play any time on any computer with minimal fuss. Publishers want to seel copies. Developers want to get paid for every copy that people are enjoying.

        So, instead of bitching about the status quo, come up with a viable alternative.

        You can require a CD in the drive. That sucks and is easily defeatable by Daemon Tools.

        You can check for DT, but then you are violating my right to have my PC set up the way I choose. Imagine MS just o
        • "So, instead of bitching about the status quo, come up with a viable alternative."

          Woah there cowboy... my point is that I *prefer* the status-quo to the online distribution methods that are being created, as they hamper the use I get from the status-quo. I can still play MAX on my XP box, and that makes me happy.

          Not quite sure how that obligate me to create a better solution again. I have *zero* problem with CD checks... that was the point of saying that I keep a DVD *and* a CD drive in my machine. If you
      • Agreed. I dislike the steam authentication idea, because of the inherent tracking/privacy issues among various others. But from a playability angle, I'm overjoyed that I can play the game without needing to cart "My Original Disc" around with me everywhere. Esp with a laptop, this has been a huge PITA, since I need to carry a CD folder full of "Play Discs" in order to play any of my games on the go.

        The issues with valve going down one day.... well at that point they could release a patch of some sort that
    • However, Steam is a huge step in what I believe is the right direction.

      Certainly, Steam sounds kind of neat in theory.

      But I was certainly annoyed that even after buying HL2 at the store, I had to fight with Steam for hours (seriously) before I could play the game. And even after that was all done, it was 5 minutes after I booted up before I could even play HL2 (Steam had to fully initialize first, and that took several minutes) for several weeks. Then that got fixed somehow.

      Distributing games

    • Untrue.
      There already are indie editors who tries to deliver their programs without getting into the publishers greedy hands.
      It is not what valve is trying to do. Valve is trying to become the new big guy around the block instead of the current publishers and is already using the same control freaks tactics, but adapted to the current technology. That is the only difference i see here.

      So don't tell me no nonsense of a better future or that valve's behavior can be compared in any way to "small developpers".
      T
    • " For years, large corporate game publishers have been setting all the rules for gamers and game developers alike. Valve software, because they are privately funded, has a chance to change the way games are not only distributed, but the amount of control that the corporate pointy-hairs wield. What do gamers do? They promptly shoot themselves in the foot by whining about how steam is n't perfect."

      Wow, I don't know how you could possibly be more blind to whats happening. Valve most certainly has a chance to

    • Steam offers an alternative. True, it requires an internet connection. (Oh no.) True, it's not perfect. But it's got a MUCH better future then the alternative.

      So what happens to our precious Half Life 2 in ten years when Gabe Newell suddenly decides to start flying into space or kayaking instead of making computer games, and disbands Valve? Or when they decide to can Steam for Steam 2? While copy protection blows, Steam doesn't really help the consumer because they are as reliant on the company as they
    • The difference between Steam and a good online distribution system is the the difference between a hammer made of steel and one made of uranium.

      Sure, the hammer made of uranium is a step forward from pounding nails in with a rock but it isn't worth the horrible death by radiation poisoning that ensues.

      Steam is a textbook example of a great concept ruined by greed/indifference/incompetence/evil (take your pick).

      Until someone makes a hammer made of steel, i'll stick with my rock, thank you.

      This is coming
    • So what your saying, in very obtrusive formatting style, is that Valve is fighting the man by becoming the man!! Very ironic. I guess your right. Let's all praise Valve for saving our rights... by taking them away!

      I for one welcome our new anti-game-publisher overlords.
  • Two hands (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:30PM (#11607860) Homepage Journal
    On one hand, I think that the box's listing of an internet connection as a requirement is sufficient. It's under requirements. It shouldn't be Valve's fault if people can't read and understand simple [insert language here] when it's the national language of the place where they bought the game.

    On the other hand, I think that requiring an internet connection to use software you bought in the store ought to be fucking illegal, unless the software is internet-centric. HL2 is not; only some of its features are. They are holding your software hostage. You're just leasing it.

    Of course, that's not what the law says, so I think this is the wrong way to go about this.

    • "On one hand, I think that the box's listing of an internet connection as a requirement is sufficient."

      Erm. Not really. I've heard stories of people having to download 10s of megs of stuff to get going with the game. Not everybody has a connection that appropriately handles that.

      (Note: Since I don't have the game first hand, corrections invited.)
      • Re:Two hands (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)
        There are mandatory patches. This is little different from many other games which also required mandatory patches before you could play online. I downloaded hundreds of megs regularly back when I had a modem; I did it via overnight transfers. The lack of a robust file transfer mechanism in Steam is a real issue but not one I take too seriously. In the internet age, all types of software manufacturers have unfortunately decided to replace a significant part of their QA effort with frequent patch releases - t
        • The difference is if I play Warcarft3 (for example) single-player or even over my home LAN I do not have to download any patches: only if I play online through BattleNet (for obvious reasons).

          In addition WC3 (for eg) does not install some piece of spyware (Steam) the insists on a) running on startup and b) reporting back the the mothership on startup and when running their game etc etc.

          As to running in "off line" mode: firstly: it isn't obvious how you turn it on. Second it was easier to just uninstall

          • If you actually read more than one of my comments on the issue instead of assuming that I was defending Steam, you would know that I agree with you. Steam is spyware, product activation is pretty stupid to begin with, because companies do go under, and you might be interested to know that I refuse to buy Half-Life 2 until they fix this shit and I am extremely vocal about it, suggesting that people buy other games instead when they bring up Half-Life 2. I am truly offended by Valve's need to treat customers
      • Re:Two hands (Score:3, Informative)

        Right click on the game in Steam and choose 'do not keep this game up to date' in the drop down box on the window that appears. Simple really. This will allow you to play the game in single player mode with no issues at all.
  • by |/|/||| (179020)
    Maybe I'll finally get to play HL2 after all.

  • by dupont54 (857462) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @01:56PM (#11608255)
    It's simple: by buying HL2, you just haven't bought a game. Not even a user license. What you have paid are "subscription fees". And what you have is just a subscription to some content on an online (?buggy?) service. And don't believe it is a lifetime subscription. Just read the damn SSA, it is definitely not a no-brainer.

    And it's getting really fun when you start comparing with the retail HL2 EULA. There are contradicting themselves on such little details like change of terms and billing, termination and transferability. But bad luck, the evil SSA is suposed to superseed the nicer retail EULA.

    I know I'm paranoid and that Valve may not do something of terrible taste, like for instance adding recurring charges to Steam in order "to defray" bandwith costs (a bit like they are charging $10 if you want to re-sell the game, to "defray the costs" of this operation). But they claim in the SSA to have that kind of rights. And I find this legal trick with the SSA/EULA to be already of VERY bad taste, especially for a company whose marketing line is to be THE company who really cares about its fan base....

    And is there any official clarification on theses issues from Valve? Well, on the Steam forums, apart the "We are tired of these legalese chats" from the mods and the "We are experiencing a troll infestation" by a Valve representative... nothing really meaningfull. (Apart maybe the funny "our $10 re-sell fee is *consistent* with VU after-90-days warranty" which was very rapidly deleted...)
    • It's simple: by buying HL2, you just haven't bought a game. Not even a user license.

      The german courts might not buy that argumentation. We have a law about "terme of service" that says
      a) Terms of service only become a valid part of you contract if you can check them before closing the deal. Most lawyers seem to agree that a click-through EULA or similar falls under that law. If you have bought the boxed version of HL2 in a store, you might not have seen the EULA before buying. Poof, the EULA is invalid.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @02:03PM (#11608353)
    I'm tired of people saying you can't play Steam games offline. You don't need the internet to play Steam games, you just need the internet to authorize the games and unlock them. I unlocked and updated HL2 on a 56k modem. When I am not connected to my ISP through my 56k modem, and I run Steam, it asks me if I want to run Steam in offline mode. When I confirm that I do, it allows me to play all the Steam games offline including the single player Half-Life 2.
    • But for those with broadband, should we be forced to unplug our network connections before firing up Steam? I don't see why I would essentially have to rewire my PC and re-route all my network cabling to make them easily accessable just to play a game. Although I feel like I'm missing out, I am one person who has already voted with their wallet, and refuses to buy into this whole Valve/Steam thing.
    • by raygundan (16760) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @03:47PM (#11609617) Homepage
      1. The offline authorization expires, and requires you to re-authorize periodically.

      2. If Steam goes down, but your internet connection is still working, you'll lose your offline authorization.

      3. Because of #1, if Valve ever goes out of business, takes Steam offline, or disables HL2 on Steam you'll lose the ability to play HL2, even offline, once your authorization expires in a month or two.

      #2 is the really nasty one right now-- it's impossible to know if Steam is up without checking (their status page said "steam is online" during the last whole-day outage), and once you check, your old authorization is cleared out while it waits for a new one from the server. Of course, if the server's down, you won't get a new one, leaving you with an unplayable game until they fix their shit.

      #3 will be particularly nasty in the future. Although they're nice folks now, if Valve is ever purchased by a nasty company, they could push us all out of the game to encourage "upgrades" to newer games. Or, valve could just die and leave us in the lurch.
      • 1. No, it doesnt, if you dont start Steam while the system is connected to the internet. When you put Steam into offline play, it writes a token to disk with a 'check by' date. Steam checks this when its online, but removes the token before it discovers if the auth servers are up or not. The token does not expire on its own - I have a system that has had HL2 on it since it was released, and hasnt been connected to the net since the week after it was released, and it is still allowing me to play single p
        • I agree that there are positives. I love steam as a content distribution system, and the idea of cutting out the middleman in publishing games. But I'm not going to ignore negatives just because there are some positives.

          It's interesting that you report not having your token expire-- I've seen a lot of reports to the contrary, but perhaps they were all doing something wrong. Is Steam smart enough to distinguish between a LAN connection and an internet connection? This could be people's problem-- they ar
          • I *think* Steam relies on whether or not it can get a DNS lookup on the content server to determine if theres a valid net link there or not - YMMV.

            One thing I forgot to mention, Steam also expires the token if its 'check by' date is passed AND Steam wants an update - it forces a check on a predetermined schedule for major updates, once every 60 days I think, UNLESS you have the game set to 'do not keep up to date', at which point it wont expire the token.

            I wont class your #3 as a problem per se, its d
      • How does Steam decide if your 'internet connection' is working or not? If Steam's systems are down, it stands to reason that it can't contact them, so how can it tell the difference between:

        * Steam being down
        * one of your ISP's transit providers having problems shunting packets to the US
        * your phone company doing work on your phone line, while you are still connected to your home network
        • It can't. It's a bug. The steam authentication process goes something like this:

          1. Check for ethernet cable.
          2. Erase offline authentication.
          3. Attempt to contact Steam for new authentication.

          If you've got a cable plugged in, and Steam is down, you're hosed for both online and offline play until they come back up. Fixing this is just a matter of not erasing the authentication info until *after* a connection attempt is finished:

          1. Check for ethernet cable.
          2. Attempt to contact steam for new auth
          3. If ne
  • See here... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DrZombie (817644)
    Seems like the problem here isn't with Steam the distribution system, but Steam the authentication system.

    I have no problem with Valve distributing games via Steam. That's there prerogative. I do have a problem with having to reconnect to steam, unless I want to pull my network cable (offline mode has not worked for me unless I do that), every time I want to play.

    As so many people have mentioned, some of us like to come back to games we've played in 5 or 10 years and just give it another go-round. Stea
    • I guarentee you that there WILL be legitimate ways to play it later on. HL and HL2 are landmark games, and I seriously doubt that Valve would essentially make their backlog unplayable because of shutting down steam.
  • I don't know about illegal, but for me it certainly was illegible. The agreement as experienced on my system required me to scroll to the end before I was allowed to agree to it, and the mere act of scrolling it caused it to become unreadable, whether I was using the scrollbar, the mouse scrollwheel, or just the cursor up and down keys. Portions of letters from some line were mixed in with other lines. Lines were doubled or tripled when they should have been distinct. I don't know what they're using for
  • I really hope people like you don't end up forcing Valve to kill steam. I've had nothing but great results of it, and I really liked the fact that by purchasing it off of steam I...

    A. Can download and play CS:S anywhere I have steam installed without CD's
    B. Bought it without giving a god damned dime to Vivendi.

    I honestly would rather have a fantasticly awesome game that is avalable to play 99.5% of the time than a rushed out garbage heap avalable 100% of the time.

    But then again, I play World of Warcraft

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