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Open Letter To Steam and Firaxis Games

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Aerion, Nov 16, 2010.

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  1. Dale

    Dale Deity

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    Like Zynga.
     
  2. Maniacal

    Maniacal the green Napoleon

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    Yep, I like how even Zynga's CEO admitted to using "every trick in the book" (ie scamminng) when he started the company. I don't believe he really intends to move away from that either.
     
  3. Wardancing

    Wardancing Warlord

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    Civ4 did have DRM. But you didnt even notice it, so i guess we can say it was better than steam as a form of DRM. You say its the best distribution tool, but youre comparing it as a drm in the sentence before.

    I dont care if its a form of distribution, i can choose to not use it. I have a problem when game companies decide to use it as a form of DRM and force the distribution end of it onto me. Again, look at Football Manager 2011. Its steam powered, but the user gets the choice to use steam online checking, or avoid installing steam and ever connecting to them, by having the disc in the computer when you want to play. Everyone wins! You like steam? Use it. You dont like steam? Deal with having the disc in the drive.

    People keep making claims that steam saved pc gaming. Maybe i should start making the claim that steam promotes crappy games. You buy the hype (or super low sale price), in turn the companies think the crappy game is what people want, so they dish out more crappy games.
     
  4. Maniacal

    Maniacal the green Napoleon

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    That does, however, mean the developers have to release two patches, one of Steam and then have their own hosting and patch for the non-Steam copies (with no idea how many people are actually not using Steam). Simpler just to make everyone use Steam.
     
  5. charon2112

    charon2112 King

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    I find steam a much easier option than digging out the physical DVD to put in the drive.
     
  6. Wardancing

    Wardancing Warlord

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    Cool. But what does that have to do with anything? It was said that Civ4 didnt have DRM, when it did. I can take all the pro-steam comments people dish here and parrot them back to you. Such gems as, Who cares what you want, or Deal with it, or Get used to it, or Go play something else. Or is this the marketing direction they took for civ5? Make it easier and they will like it?

    I dont know how many times ive written it in this thread. Im not asking for them to not allow people to use steam, but a method, Like Football Manager 2011, to give a choice.

    If linking the update files via FTP or HTTP is too hard for either steam or firaxis, then the fail runs much deeper and i must find a different place for a strategy game :)

    Do you really think firaxis makes an update patch, sends it over to steam, who does voodoo on it to make it steam-ized?

    But youre right, they can just force everyone to use steam, but they lose sales that way too. Then again, theres people who dont read the back of the box and get suckered into it.
     
  7. charon2112

    charon2112 King

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    My post was in direct response to a post stating that civ IV's DRM was better than civ V's, I disagreed. So that's what it had to do with.
     
  8. Maniacal

    Maniacal the green Napoleon

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    The .exe file is different between non-steam and steam versions. I have no idea how much more work (it may take 10 minutes it may take hours) but it still means more work (hey, time is money). It also costs more and requires someone to do more work to go about hosting the non-steam patch (bandwidth/server costs).
     
  9. Maktaka

    Maktaka Warlord

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    Oh I noticed it, I noticed it quite a bit when if failed spectacularly and refused to acknowledge that I had the game disc in the drive. Just like the copy protection on XIII, Freedom Force, Call of Duty, and Call of Duty 2. Good thing I have the internet (although in the case of XIII, Ubisoft was nice enough to send me a DRM-less .exe themselves.... what happened Ubisoft?).

    Oh, and let's not forget when I lost Rebel Assault 2 those many years ago because my parents upgraded the CD-ROM and the old one was thrown out without me getting a chance to remove the disc. Or when my Oni disc got cracked in transit and I would have lost the ability to play the game if it hadn't already been installed on my computer.

    It's quite nice how Steam has never caused me to be unable to play a game due to hardware failure or DRM failure.
     
  10. Andoo

    Andoo Warlord

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    Exactly. I don't think steam's DRM is any more prohibitting or conceiving than that of Civ4's either. I see Steam as a distribution tool rather than a way of applying DRM as there are many programs that do hell of a better job at that.

    I agree that it would have been better to let gamers choose whether they want Steam or not. However I'm simply trying to convince that being forced to use Steam isn't that harmful at all like many believe and in fact it provides many convinient features as a distribution tool.
     
  11. Wardancing

    Wardancing Warlord

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    I dont own football manager 2011, but i would have to guess that the DRM end of Steam is on the physical disc, therefor the exe must still be the steam version.

    As for the bandwidth and hosting, why dont they take a page from Blizzard, or even NASA? Blizzard torrents their large updates. NASA distributes their ultra high res photos in torrents too, this way other users are actually doing most of the distribution.

    Maybe i would be less vocal about steam if there was some seperation of the two. You know, a full (imo bloated) steam with all the bells and whistles (friends list, advertisements, ability to purchase, achievements etc), and a steam-lite that is only the DRM wrapped in the exe so theres no need for a 3rd party app.

    Would you all be defending K-mart if they had cheap sales on games, they delivered them via the net, but you had to have a K-mart shopping app forced down your throats to play the games?
     
  12. GoNzOTW

    GoNzOTW Chieftain

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    And you still haven't, unless you went on to the internets and found one to install after Civ V came out.
     
  13. Andoo

    Andoo Warlord

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    When every W-mart around the K-mart not only forces 3rd party program but also checks all of your buying records, controls the product you already purchased, send personal data to their net, and plant a spy file that sometimes cannot be removed via hard format, yes.
     
  14. PawelS

    PawelS Ancient Druid

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    Whaat? :crazyeye:
     
  15. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    Still, even this argument I find questionable. How are you to know the cause-and-effect isn't the other way round? Digital sales start to rise... PC game sales in stores drop... Prices of PC games in those stores therefore drop... Selling PC games become less attractive in those stores due to lower sales prices for same shelf space... PC games end up being poorly organised in stores.

    I don't know, but I very little strength (i.e. convincing evidence) to the argument that steam is somehow saving pc gaming. Probably there are all sorts of feedback loops going on. The main thing Steam has done is increase the popularity or awareness of digital distribution. Overall the presence of digital distribution methods in the games market drives prices down for all vendors, even though steam's often aren't the cheapest until well after release. There may be more pc games sold now, but it's probably at a lower price on average. I'm not sure this is good or bad when you get back to the actual developers and publishers. Certainly if you're Valve, it's a good thing. :)
     
  16. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

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    I imagine it's both, actually. From what I understand the PS2 generation of console games ravaged PC Games at retail. This is what resulted in, for instance, the smaller keepsake boxes becoming common. Steam does probably feedback and accelerate this process, but I do not believe it started it.

    Really, I think PC Gamers are just overwhelmed with uncertainty lately. It's a bunch of little things that they could accept(or would even like) one at a time, but they are coming all at once. Onlive, microtransactions, multi-platform gaming, digital distribution, huge changes in well-known franchises, etc. I think most PC Gamers are full on reactionary at this point. Change is bad and they prefer the devil they know over the one they don't.
     
  17. Varanid

    Varanid Warlord

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    Shelf space on retail shelves for PC games has been decreasing since well before Steam became popular. Even go back to like 2005 and you could see it; by the time I left retail in 07 it was hard to find more than maybe 10-15 titles at a store. Even at places like Best Buy or Circuit City (good riddance!). Yeah there'll be a few shelves but it's 2/3 different Sims packs or Diablo battlechest. Ugh.

    I think the biggest hit for retail is that Steam makes it easy to find older, cheaper games; I can find probably 2/3 of the releases from the last 3-4 years on there, and a retail store just can't match that. So I'm a lot more likely to look at my entertainment dollar, and say hmm...I can get two older but not too old games for 20-30 bucks or one new one for 50...hard choice..NOT! I mean they're not usually price competitive on new releases anyhow. But man the catalog of older games that have dropped in price!!
     
  18. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    There are other factors arguably at play.

    -First of all, I get the impression the big department stores are more for the mums and dads buying games. This may be a generalisation but these days I'd expect them more often to be looking for console games (consoles tend to match with families more easily than gaming-grade PCs) than for PC games. The declining shelf space in those stores dedicated to PC games could just be a result of the store making best use of the sales observations it makes. This doesn't necessarily indicate PC games are dying - just that they aren't taking up as much shelf space in big stores. (and instead the 'hardcore' pc gamers are going to better stores to look for games)

    -Secondly, the impression I get is that over the last 10 years or so the games market has expanded rapidly. There are more consoles and more games for each than ever before. PC games against the other consoles had to shrink its relative market share. This doesn't mean PC gaming is dying - just console games are rising in popularity and sales so much faster. I don't know the figures but I thought people had reported that pc games sales have never really decreased, but rather going just as strong as before. The market is more competitive now and there are now even more options aside from PC games.
    Because of this more saturated market and the interests competing for shelf-space even in games-dedicated stores, the shelf-space dedicated to PC games will shrink. Just to repeat myself, this doesn't mean pc game sales are shrinking or dying - just their proportion of shelf-space in stores, which in the end doesn't mean much at all.

    -Oh, and thirdly, I expect that the younger generation of PC gamers, who I'll generalise as being the roughly 16-29 year olds, probably see much more convenience in online services like steam. If they did not have steam, they would probably still be buying games from stores.
     
  19. Maniacal

    Maniacal the green Napoleon

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    There are many video game stores like EBGames/Gamestops that have a pathetically small and poorly kept PC selection, if they even have one at all. I haven't seen the shelf space for the console games grow at the Futureshop, Walmart or Londong drugs here grow at all, but the PC selection has either shrunk or not changed. There's a thread somewhere in ALl other Games about this problem.

    And for your thirdly... the 16-29 year olds probably outnumber the 30+ year olds (though there are many gamers over the age of 30 too). The main attraction to digital distribution for me has always been low prices (mostly due to the sales), plus not having to use the CD/DVD is great too. I still buy games from the store albeit rarely now due to little financial incentive. Going to the store isn't a big deal, especially since I live closer now than ever before (within 5 minutes from leaving my chair I could be at the PC section in London Drugs, and a couple of blocks down are Walmart and Futureshop).
     
  20. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    Good point. I guess by the 'convenience factor' of online service I meant to include the other small convenience factors too. That said, I think the discless DRM is actually beside the point a bit. I say this because you don't need to buy the game on steam to get it (e.g. civ5 comes on disc yet doesn't need the disc to be played).

    I notice one convenience factor that is commonly stated is that people like to have their games organised all in one place. I've spoken to people I meet through steam who won't buy a game unless it's on steam, in some cases even where it's a game they'd almost certainly enjoy and can buy dirt cheap. This indicates Steam/Valve have succeeded in making their service a great convenience to many.

    I do believe the fact it's (the buying of the game) all done online is a big factor though. At least here, steam prices on newer games are pretty much never cheaper than elsewhere. Yes, maybe on games at least a year old steam becomes competitive and its sales actually drop below what most other stores can manage, but how many gamers who are fans of a game or series actually wait that long. I see people mentioning that the price on Mass Effect 2 is going down but it's still 70USD on Steam from where I'm looking. I look on the first webstore I always check for prices (ozgameshop.com) and see it listed for 25.99AUD (~US$25). I don't know what the different DRM schemes with ME2 are, but I can't see myself paying more than double a competitive price in order to enjoy the discless DRM.

    I think Steam actually manages to charge more for the games sold through its service because of these 'convenience factors' that people consider to be of value to them.

    EDIT...
    I just checked the US steam store. :lol:, ME2 is $20 there. Ok, so this is better described as yet another example of huge price discrimination. :(
     
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