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PC Games (Games)

Valve Takes on Piracy With Free, Pre-Packaged Game Publishing Tools 190

Posted by Zonk
from the stamping-out-the-bad-stuff dept.
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 Takes on Piracy With Free, Pre-Packaged Game Publishing Tools

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  • Valve and piracy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:58PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:00PM (#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..
      • by MvD_Moscow (738107) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:10PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bigstrat2003 (1058574)

        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.
        • by p0tat03 (985078) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:22PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

            by bigstrat2003 (1058574)
            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.
          • by urbanriot (924981) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @12:14AM (#22242720)
            I spend more than $20 for a round of drinks when I'm out at night... $20 for the wonderful enjoyment that Portal gave me, a game I'll never forget, was well worth it. $20 is f-all.

            $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 (Score:5, Informative)

          by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:22PM (#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!
          • by ThinkingInBinary (899485) <thinkinginbinary@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:25PM (#22240516) Homepage

            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.

          • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

              by croddy (659025) *
              I found $20 to be quite reasonable for Portal.
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Morkano (786068)

                I found $20 to be quite reasonable for Portal.


                In fact I found the $50 to be quite reasonable. Getting HL2 and episodes one and two along with TF2 for free was a nice bonus. But portal was worth the price of admission alone.

                A game doesn't have to be long to be fun. It was tight with no wasted moments. A lot of games could be a lot better if they just cut out a lot of the crap that's just designed to make it take longer to finish.
          • by geekoid (135745)
            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.
        • 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)
      • by RonnyJ (651856) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:58PM (#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.
        • ... have that right? Aside from, "Well, it used to be that I got my media on a physical artifact, and we have always been able to sell physical artifacts."

          From an econ view, if you're buying your game on a physical artifact, you're buying both the utility of the product with an implied option to sell. The option to sell costs you money -- this is precisely why a game you can finish in 8 hours on the XBox360/PS3/whatever (provide your favorite example, I don't own either system) costs $70 and a Portal, whi
        • by OakLEE (91103)
          Well if you're paying less for them on Steam than you are for the CD, I'd venture that the discount you get factors in the loss you suffer by not being able the resell them, assuming that you could even resell a used game for $20 ($50 for the CD minus $30 for the Steam copy).
      • by ahoehn (301327) <andrew@@@hoe...hn> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @08:16PM (#22241032) Homepage
        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Sparr0 (451780)
          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 (Score:4, Informative)

            by Kreigaffe (765218) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @10:56PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

              by deadpool42 (1144515)
              Have you actually tried playing anything after doing that? If you want to actually play offline, you need to enable offline mode, run the game you want to play so it updates (even though when I tried it with TF2 it downloaded nothing, but still wouldn't play until you ran it first in online mode), and then it will be available in offline mode.

              Regardless of difficulty, it's pretty ridiculous that you have to prepare for an Internet outage.
            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              The main problem I have with Offline mode with Steam is it is impossible to start in offline mode (for whatever reason you choose) if you have an active internet connection. You have to disable the ethernet link or pull the cable out before starting steam. Surely you should be able to choose offline mode whenever you want? The case in point would be if you want to play a game now but not wait to download an update that you don't want or need.
            • Re:Valve and piracy (Score:4, Informative)

              by Sparr0 (451780) <sparr0@gmail.com> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:35AM (#22246066) Homepage Journal
              I always read replies, so thanks... But perhaps Steam has changed since I gave up on it. When I last used it, if you disconnected from the internet before going into offline mode then you could not play any games (for lack of "Authentication") until you got back online, even SP games.
        • 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 pirat
      • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by gfxguy (98788)
          The most important thing, in that respect, is that you are free to copy your stuff anywhere you want - work, other computers at home, friends computers, wherever; like the old philosophy "it's like a book, you can share it, but only one person can read it at a time," your account can only be logged in from any one location.

          So you can make backups, you can transfer to as many computers as you want (I have it on my laptop and several desktops at home) - they still have their rights, and you still have yours.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Spikeles (972972)
        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 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by badboy_tw2002 (524611) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @09:14PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by LurkerXXX (667952)
            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: (Score:3, Informative)

              by badboy_tw2002 (524611)
              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! :)
        • You forgot one (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Rob Simpson (533360)
          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?
        • by Talgrath (1061686)
          You could just let someone use your account...the only thing preventing anyone else from using it is YOUR username and password. And, you are quite welcome to complain if a publisher charges too much, as much as with a physical copy; you can send a letter to the publisher, you can write an e-mail to the publisher or you can call the publisher's complaint line (assuming they have one anymore). True, you can't let someone borrow a game from you, but you could let them borrow your account (just change the pa
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FlyveHest (105693)

          hey give you the right NOT to complain if a publisher charges too much (eg, Call of Duty 4 for Aussies )

          Why in the world would you complain to Valve about this? The price in EU is also priced about 18$ above store-price, but this is in not part Valves fault (or, problem for that matter)

          If Activision decides that the price point should be this and that, then Valve, as a distributor, really can't (and shouldn't, imho) begin to, its wholly up to the publisher to decide.

          If you want, send an e-mail to Activisio

        • by randyest (589159)
          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 complain when they delete your thread from the forums... Yes.. seems they give you lots of RIGHTS..

          Did they mess up giving you those rights "not to complain?" Because it sure looks like you're complaining about both of those issues to me.

          You're wrong on the other bits too: you can transfer an account (just give away your username/pw,) you can re-sell a game (same a
      • by lachlan76 (770870)

        The Steam service is busy. Please try again later
        You should never see a message like that on a single-player game.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        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 g

        • Exactly (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Rob Simpson (533360)
          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.
          • by Talgrath (1061686)
            Then buy a physical copy and quit complaining, dumbass; money talks and so long as physical copies sell well they will continue to exist. By the way, if you download from Steam, you CAN play your games when and where you want to so long as you have an internet connection; you install Steam, log on to your account and then download and install your games. Tada asshat! It's the magic of the series of tubes. What it really sounds like is you want to download a game from the internet without paying for it;
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Pyrion (525584)
        I guess you've never heard of Stardock?

        Unlike Steam, I can have SDC running on multiple computers downloading games and updates to games without any of this "you can only log in on one machine" bullshit.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by wild_quinine (998562)

        Steam is really the first digital RIGHTS management system instead of digital restrictions management.

        I really don't see how it's any better to call it that. They manage your right to resell the games you've paid for, by not letting you. They manage your rights to play the games you've paid for if you break any of their terms and conditions of service, by cutting you off. They think you've tried to cheat in Counterstrike? Bang. Goodbye to every other online steam game you've bought and paid for. Refund? Don't make me laugh. That right is extremely managed. If they're rights I honestly don't see why the

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by EvanED (569694)
      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?
      • 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.
    • Eh? Half Life and Half Life 2 are both single player, are madly popular, and are what made Valve the giant corporation they are today.

      True, they have multiplayer spin-offs (Deathmatch) and third-party mods - but the basic games are single-player.
  • Finally! (Score:3, Funny)

    by PopeGumby (1125507) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @06:59PM (#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.
    • 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
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "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 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by discord5 (798235)

    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 p

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gideon Fubar (833343)
      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.
    • by enderjsv (1128541)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Grant_Watson (312705)

        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.

        • by enderjsv (1128541)
          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 ind
          • by Travoltus (110240)
            I don't care if Valve pays me to download their developer tools, I don't want anything to do with Valve.

            Their policy of forcing you to register and identify yourself with them to play a single player game, grates HARD against my sense of privacy (I never play multiplayer games anyway because of all the flaming racists and trash talking pimple faced teenagers). When I buy a game to play it in single player mode, I do not tolerate, I DO NOT TOLERATE companies that make me have to identify myself to them. Zero
      • by lachlan76 (770870)
        The point is that you can't use the game, and hence you don't get what you pay for.
    • 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.
      • 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.
        • by Danse (1026)

          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.
          • 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.
            • by Ash-Fox (726320)

              Sure, but that was released over 3 years ago, and Steam has come quite a way since then..
              I had problems getting Orange Box, Call of Duty 4: Modern warfare on release. So no, I don't agree.

              I'll also note that Steam has regular downtime when it comes to the friends system still.

              And no, I didn't do the preorder thing, where it downloads the game in advanced (but unplayable until it's released) before it's even officially released.
              • Well you should have. I bought orange box and had it fully downloaded the week before the release. At the tick of the second hand past midnight, the game instantly unlocked and I played ep2 all night.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      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
      • by Chyeld (713439)
        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).
      • 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 w
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Elyscape (882517)
      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.

      • by makomk (752139)
        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.
  • 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.
    • 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 p
    • Re:Am I strange? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tacvek (948259) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:37PM (#22240662) Journal

      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.
  • Smart one (Score:5, Funny)

    by obeythefist (719316) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @07:34PM (#22240624) Journal
    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: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by feepness (543479) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @08:08PM (#22240968) Homepage
    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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DingerX (847589)
      They're giving away the tools for DRM, automatic updates, encrypted delivery (unlock at release date), voice comms, community access and server browsing. They are not giving away access to their network.

      So, they're giving away the parts of their toolkit that would make all those 3d-party games not suck with Steam.
  • 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 needi
    • by Jearil (154455)
      Well a few things...

      Valve did state in an interview once that if they ever actually went under, before doing so they would make an update through steam that would permanently unlock all games so that steam validation isn't required to run them.

      Also, you can set steam to "Offline Mode" to play your games without an internet connection. I've had to use that a few times myself on my laptop when traveling and also at a few LAN parties that didn't have net access.

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