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Windows Why Steam is bad for gaming

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Trekari, 4 Oct 2004.

  1. Trekari

    Trekari What's a Dremel?

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    Attention: Valve Software

    Several years ago I was a happy gamer and exploring Half-Life on a Pentium II 400 in a big full-tower server case, and I was simply amazed at the game. The graphics were incredible and exciting and the gameplay was fantastic; all of this by a little-known company.

    Your development team is now known as a common name around the globe. The Half-Life mods have spawned hundreds of thousand of Counterstrike addicts along with Day of Defeat, and everyone is eagerly awaiting the release of Half-Life 2. Well: not quite everyone.

    I am writing this because I feel that you have the right to know and understand why I plan on keeping my fifty dollars to myself rather than purchasing your game. My reasoning is quite simple really, and involves one word: Steam.

    I have several reasons for disliking Steam enough to refuse to purchase another Valve/VUG title, please bear with me as I try to cover all of them in hopes that you will change how the system works.

    1) When I purchased Half-Life in 1998, I agreed to the contract inside the box (EULA) and never agreed to a forced changing of that contract. When the WON system died and you forced Steam onto your user base, many do not realize that they were also forced to agree to Steams EULA in order to retain functionality of a game they had already purchased under a contract earlier. Now if I want to play Half-Life online, I am forced to agree to a contract (Steam) that I do not agree to. Your company has stolen functionality from a game that I have already paid for.

    Section 2.A of the Steam EULA states that:

    License Terms.
    Steam and your Subscription(s) require the installation of the Steam client and the automatic download of software, other content and updates thereto onto your computer (“Steam Software”). You may not use Steam Software for any purpose other than the permitted access to Steam and your Subscriptions. You understand that Steam may automatically update, pre-load, create new versions or otherwise enhance the Steam Software and accordingly, the system requirements to use the Steam Software may change over time.

    In essence you are stating that I agree to your downloading of material onto my PC that I have no control over. If I refuse this section of the EULA, I cannot play any of my Valve software online, despite having paid for it under a previous contract. I for one refuse to have any software on my machine auto-update or auto-download content without manually doing so myself because, quite simply, my PC is my property and nobody has a right to install things without my express permission and full control over such installations.

    2) Section 3.F of the Steam EULA states:

    F. Third Party Sites.
    Steam may provide links to other third party sites. Some of these sites may charge separate fees, which are not included in any Subscription or other fees that you may pay to Valve. Steam may also provide access to third-party vendors, who provide content, goods and/or services on Steam or the Internet. Any separate charges or obligations you incur in your dealings with these third parties are your responsibility.

    So here we have a clause stating that despite my original purchase being ad-free and not directing my computer to third-party sites that I do not initiate a connection to myself (as Half-Life did not include ads or web links, merely a master server list), that I will have ads and links directed to me which I have no interest in receiving.

    3) One of my more favourite sections in the EULA (section 8) state:

    VALVE DOES NOT GUARANTEE CONTINOUS, ERROR-FREE, VIRUS-FREE OR SECURE OPERATION AND ACCESS TO STEAM, THE STEAM SOFTWARE, YOUR ACCOUNT AND YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS(S). YOU ASSUME THE ENTIRE RISK WITH RESPECT TO THE PERFORMANCE AND RESULTS OF THE STEAM SOFTWARE IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR HARDWARE.

    This is an interesting statement when you combine it with item number one. It is stated that I agree and understand Steam will auto-update and auto-download content onto my PC, but in this disclaimer of liability you state that Steam is not guaranteed to be virus-free or secure. So Steam could conceivably auto-download virus and Trojan files if I agree to this EULA that you would attempt to claim no responsibility for. Or my other option is to refuse the Steam EULA and render portions of products I had already paid for, useless and void of functionality that I originally had without Steam. The rest of section 8 goes on to state that you are not responsible or liable for any damages if I am unable to access my account or subscriptions, but once again, those subscriptions are games I have already paid for and agreed to previous contracts not involving Steam.

    4) Section 10 of the Steam EULA and Section 11 will be dealt individually despite their close relationship:

    10. AMENDMENTS TO THIS AGREEMENT
    Valve may amend this Agreement at any time in its sole discretion. As a Subscriber, you agree that Valve may amend the terms of this Agreement. If Valve amends the Agreement, such amendment shall be effective thirty (30) days after posting the new amended Agreement on Steam. You agree to review the Agreement periodically to become aware of such amendments. You can view the Agreement at any time at http://www.steampowered.com/. Your failure to cancel your Account thirty (30) days after an amended Agreement is posted on Steam will mean that you accept all such amendments. If you don’t agree to the amendments or to any of the terms in this Agreement, your only remedy is to cancel your Account or a particular Subscription.

    This section states that Valve may change this agreement without my consent and I am forced to conform to the changes, or I must cancel my account and/or subscription. This is not how contract law works. A contract is only valid if there is a meeting of the minds on both sides. I refuse to agree to a contract that states the terms may be changed to anything the other party wants and my only remedy is to cancel, when canceling takes games I have paid for previously and renders them partially non-functional.

    5) Section 11 of the EULA, subsections B through C:

    …In the event that your Account or a particular Subscription is terminated or cancelled by Valve for a violation of this Agreement or improper or illegal activity, no refund, including any Subscription fees, will be granted.

    C. Termination by Valve.
    1. In the case of a recurring payment Subscription (e.g., a monthly subscription), in the event that Valve terminates or cancels your Account or a particular Subscription for convenience, Valve may, but is not obligated to, provide a prorated refund of any prepaid Subscription fees paid to Valve.

    2. In the case of a one-time purchase of a product license (e.g., purchase of a single game) from Valve, Valve may choose to terminate or cancel your Subscription in its entirety or may terminate or cancel only a portion of the Subscription (e.g., access to the software via Steam) and Valve may, but is not obligated to, provide access (for a limited period of time) to the download of a stand-alone version of the software and content associated with such one-time purchase.

    Item B states that no refunds will be given for cancellation due to a violation of this agreement (fine), illegal activity (fine), or improper activity (not fine). Improper activity as determined by whom?

    Section C has two glaringly obvious issues, one in each of the subsections. In item 1, if a subscription or account is terminated “for convenience,” prepaid usage of that account or subscription is not a guaranteed refund for the time not used due to no fault of the user. How can you expect people to agree to a contract that says you can cancel their accounts and keep their money when they did not get what they paid for? The second issue with section C is in item number 2: my subscription or account can be terminated by Valve at any time, and I am not promised the ability to still own the game(s) I paid for?

    That is called theft. Nobody in their right mind would give someone $50 for a game to download over the internet while signing away their rights to use, own, or operate that software without your permission and access to a proprietary system such as Steam. It is inconceivable that you would include this statement in your EULA and assume that you can get away with allowing the download of a retail game (which cannot be burned onto a CD as an image), and then decide that if you cancel their account, the customers $50 worth of downloaded content that is subsequently rendered useless is not valid for a hard-copy of the game that can be played without Steam.

    I for one refuse to play any games, or use any software, that requires Steam. I refuse to play a game that does not allow me to control whether a patch is downloaded or installed. If my game is functioning properly and all I play is single-player, why should I risk the possibility of a patch causing my game to not work properly or losing my save game progress? Why should anyone agree to hold a company unaccountable for the forced downloading and installation/updating of software through a system that specifically states it isn’t promised to be virus-free or secure?

    I agreed to the Half-Life EULA. I never agreed to have Steam thrust down my throat as a forced contract or end up losing functionality from my original game.

    Until updates for your software are once again downloaded in .exe format, and Steam is nothing more than an optional service to enhance your software’s functionality, and the preceding items are removed from the EULA, I can promise you that no more of my hard-to-come-by dollars will ever go towards your company or any other company utilizing a Steam-like system.

    -Jason Cavanaugh
     
  2. djengiz

    djengiz Pointless.

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    Very interesting! Sue them!
     
  3. MrWillyWonka

    MrWillyWonka Chocolate computers galore!

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    Didnt read all that, but I get your meaning, interesting

    Can someone find a way to sue Microsoft too?
     
  4. Herbicide

    Herbicide Lurktacular

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    Yeah, doesn't SP2 have a default option to automatically download updates?

    - H.
     
  5. MovieFreak

    MovieFreak What's a Dremel?

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    When you install service pack 2, you select from one of 3 options:

    be notified of updates and do nothing
    automatically download and install updates
    automatically download and wait for you to allow them to be installed.

    Your point is moot.
     
  6. BvBart

    BvBart What's a Dremel?

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    Very well thought out and quite well executed, and it brings up many quite intriguing points. My most surprised moment when reading was that Steam forces downloads upon you, though does not guarentee that these downloads are safe or secure. I liken this to someone forcing you to upgrade your home's security or locks, but giving you no promise that noone else has access to the keys/codes.

    Would you trust a company that did that? No. So why trust Steam when they could potentially set your computer up as a patsy in some deviant hackers quest for noteriety?
     
  7. DanMcr

    DanMcr What's a Dremel?

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    In fairness though, they would have had to of put that bit in as an arse covering measure incase it did happen. If it did and they hadnt covered themselves then everyone (Trekari included im sure) will jump on the newly formed bandwagon of "Steam gave me a virus, lets sue them".

    There are some good points to this argument, but what you have to remember is that Valve can do what it wants with the software/rights it owns. If you dont like it, then dont use use it. Simple as that.
     
  8. quack

    quack Minimodder

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    Same goes for all EULAs. Don't like them, don't use the software they cover. Take the unused software back and demand a refund.
     
  9. Lord_A

    Lord_A Boom baby!

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    I agree that if you don't like an EULA then just don't use that software, but (if what Trekari states is all true) then the whole Steam/Valve relationship seriously sucks IMO.

    I haven't seen Steam, and last time I used Valve software was back when Half-Life first came out, I haven't played any of the expansions or add-ons, so this might be a bit of a dumb question...

    If I go out and buy Half-Life 2 from my local store, am I not able to play it unless I actually sign up and use Steam?
     
  10. CyberSol

    CyberSol 1337 Pants

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    Thats a good question...
    /me runs off to google
     
  11. Mace

    Mace Ohh, it stings.

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  12. CyberSol

    CyberSol 1337 Pants

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    after looking around and googling some stuff, I have decided that everyone else is just as curious as we are.
     
  13. Kevo

    Kevo 426F6C6C6F636B7300

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    You will need steam and a working internet connection to play the single player of HL2.
     
  14. quack

    quack Minimodder

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    Does this include the store-bought versions on CD or DVD? I assume it does from that answer.
     
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2004
  15. BioSniper

    BioSniper Minimodder

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    it would appear so.
    I assume this is an attempt to crack down piracy like with winXP.. the "activation" thing all over again basically.
     
  16. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    anybody else hear a cracking sound?
     
  17. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom What's a Dremel?

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    /me huggles his "legitimate" copy of XP pro corperate edition.

    but I don't think that there will be corperate editions of HL2 though :blah:
     
  18. davew

    davew What's a Dremel?

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    The person who posted there also goes by the name 'Trekari'. What an incredible coincidence! Damn you Trekari for copying Trekari's rant.
     
  19. LockmanX

    LockmanX What's a Dremel?

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    I'd be real interested to see a valve representative's reaction to this. You can play ball from both sides (as in, you can see valves reasoning) but it would still be nice to hear from 'the man' himself.
     
  20. JavaBoy

    JavaBoy What's a Dremel?

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    so lets post it on the steamforums

    is that ok with you?
     
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