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hipposexxxy

to Steam or not to Steam ? DRM is the question

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Well, it is awfully pompous, yes. And it makes an assumption about why someone would be in favour of DRM free that I don't think is fair. You're basically arguing, with your vegetarian analogy, that I'm not REALLY pro-DRM free, because I use some DRM.

No, I'm not arguing against you or against anybody. I just wanted to answer your question why some people just can't make an account for one time and download the game. The statement was just to show in what way people with that principle perceive it. It's subjective, and thereby there isn't any right or wrong, so I'm really not against you or your position in any form, sorry if I haven't made that clear in the first post.

Okay then. I do think that there are a range of legit views, that's what I wanted to get across.

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I understand, as I said at the top, that it's a personal choice and that's cool, but I guess what I'd like to see from the discussion some more words on why it's so bad to have a Steam account at all that you're not willing to temporarily use one for games that will, ultimately, be DRM free. To me, it's the principle that such versions will be made available that really matters.

Well, the vegetarian simile wasn't that far off. If you want the big picture, it also stops being about DRM or Steam only, and becomes something more fundamental. What that is can vary, I guess.

Personally, I object in every way possible the trend that everything has to be online. Cloud this, cloud that, always-on, "it's so convenient", "for more information, check www dot whatever dot com" ... Maybe it's a different generation (god, how old do I feel when there are now teens born after the millennium ...), I didn't grow up with the internet as it is today, but in any case, for me, internet still is -- and probably always will be -- the 56k-dial-up-modem-version: something you turn on, do something with it, and then turn it off again. People basically spending their entire lives online is something I can't wrap my head around. I'm also very conscious of potential risks, e.g. I wouldn't trust any cloud service offering me to store data online if I didn't personally know the person that's running it and couldn't physically access the server by going there, if I wanted (luckily, at Uni, both requirements are met, if I do desire online-storage -- I've rarely used that, though). As a consequence, I don't use any of the social services and also don't own a smartphone; and not as some sort of "sacrifice" either, I simply don't need it. I keep "online" and "offline" mostly separated, and it's working fine for me -- except if I e.g. would like to play a game and can't quite get it ;)

Which brings the topic back to this discussion and Steam, where I'm offered an account, and a way of gaming that tells me, being online is what it's all about (you know the thing, starting from cloud-saves, to managing your game library online, to sharing stuff with other gamers in the forums ...). The Steam offline-mode is treated like a cast-out stepdaughter by Valve, and that's entirely fair, because that isn't what Steam is about. It's an online gaming service. The vision Steam has is streaming games. And that, in the end, is why I don't want Steam.

Arguing for DRM-free software itself becomes also a means instead of merely a self-purpose that way, because it is a way I can get software that does not require me being online. Ideally, software for me works like this: I get an archive, unpack it and start an executable. The really funny thing about that way of getting software is that that is the way pirated software used to be distributed. One archive file containing everything you need, cracks that avoid stuff like CD-checks etc. So I can entirely see where the thing with the "pain-in-the-butt-dollars" is coming from.

And short of getting this, the next best thing is downloading an install file, also containing everything that's needed, so I can move it around, install it here, there, and everywhere, with no other dependency than my OS. That's the way e.g. GOG is working for me -- I download all my games onto the HDD, and never have to bother with GOG again if I don't want to. Alternatively, I buy boxes in retail stores (the market hasn't entirely disappeared here, yet), avoiding any online stuff entirely.

So if you ask me "why no Steam", that is the answer.

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So basically you're saying that the only option Double Fine had was to distribute the game themselves, using their own hosting services. The impression I'm getting is that you depict things very black and white

No, you're just reading them that way, and you excel at that forced interpretation.

Basically, there are a million options to do this that are more acceptable than just plain distributing Broken Age via the market dominating service exclusively for more than half a year.

Steam is the devil and all digital game stores using "DRM free" in their marketing are saints.

"Good and evil" are your classifications, not mine.

I've heard that the Valve people are great guys and I've heard that the gog.com people are arrogant assholes. So what? The fact of the matter is that Valve has an absurd monopoly over the PC games market and CDP/GOG doesn't. "Good" and "evil" do not come into play here.

Furthermore, you're reducing this to a DRM or not issue, which I've also tried to carefully diversify.

Personally I believe in choice.

Congratulations, what do you think I have been arguing for? Now let's talk about backer and customer choice for receiving Broken Age come Tuesday. What, no choice? Oh damn.

Steam doesn't have a monopoly on PC gaming

We've been there before. People here repeatedly "can't believe" that PC gamers would not use Steam. Valve has the monopoly. Valve sets the prices. Valve factually has no competitors, hence there is no competition. Valve has more than 70% of the market share in digital game distribution, more than google has in search engines.

Unless you're defining the monopoly by the principles of traditional economy, which is founded on the 'scarcity of goods' principle, then, yes of course, that's a monopoly, plain and simple.

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For me Steam is a dog collar with a chain attached to a big heavy unmovable rock.

It's a super shiny dog collar with sparkles and everything.

But a collar with chain nontheless.

Steam offers you only as much freedom as is necessary for it to overcome competitors but still maintains as tight a grip on THEIR games of which you only have a measly non-transferable license as they can.

The benefits of accessing a game via download faster than to go to the nearest retailer and buy it there can be given to any customer in a non-restrictive way. Amazon does practice this to some extend: E.g. you can buy a CD and start downloading and listening right away (DRM-free!) while your physical copy is on the way. That gives you ALL of the benefits with no downside (except for even more reenforcring Amazons grip on the market and weakening local retailers).

So, download services are not per se evil. But if it's all about restraining your rights (that's true for Steam, Apple iTunes and some others) it's certainly not a good thing either.

I also would rather have a simple DRM-free download for the Beta than a Steam key. If "keeping control" is an issue (which is a crazy-backwards view which is already disproven - see the already pirated copies online...) why not just add digital water-marks to the individual copies? 90.000 copies is not that big a deal and there must be a download service to provide this service (or is there?!) Could also just be the executeable so it would reduce the individual amount of data drastically and it would make for a nice "collectors piece" if the game starts up saying that this "exlusive Beta is licensed to YOUR NAME HERE". Of course it would also be leaked but that is still true for a Steam-Version.

Well, but it's a little late for that as it seems...

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"Good and evil" are your classifications, not mine.

I've heard that the Valve people are great guys and I've heard that the gog.com people are arrogant assholes. So what? The fact of the matter is that Valve has an absurd monopoly over the PC games market and CDP/GOG doesn't. "Good" and "evil" do not come into play here.

Fair enough. But I don't think I'm mistaken in reading an extreme dislike of Steam in your posts, which I think clouds your (harsh) judgment on this issue at least a little bit. Ultimately the reasons why you don't like to use Steam, don't really matter in this case. Double Fine did need a third party to distribute their game to backers, so people who hate Humble for whatever reason (and I saw at least one guy on these forums who had issues with it) had to leave their principles behind as well.

This leads me to the conclusion that the issue doesn't directly have to do with DRM, but with the fact that backers have to sign up for a specific service to download their game. If Double Fine had decided to distribute a DRM-free version via GOG.com, we would have the same problem. Since several backers have expressed discontent with the Steam-only release, I think it would be a good idea to add at least one extra option.

Basically, there are a million options to do this that are more acceptable than just plain distributing Broken Age via the market dominating service exclusively for more than half a year.

This, for instance, is one of your arguments that don't really hold up for me. The idea behind the kickstarter was never to distribute the game free from the market-leading retailer. So if Double Fine would decide to distribute a DRM-free version of act 1 via Humble to backers and sell it only on Steam for now, then that's fine. This may be different if Double Fine has signed a contract with Valve to distribute act 1 exclusively via Steam, because then it becomes more like publisher involvement. So far, the arguments they've given are purely technical and, considering how they've communicated so far, I'd like to believe that they don't have an exclusivity agreement with Valve.

People here repeatedly "can't believe" that PC gamers would not use Steam. Valve has the monopoly. Valve sets the prices. Valve factually has no competitors, hence there is no competition. Valve has more than 70% of the market share in digital game distribution, more than google has in search engines. Unless you're defining the monopoly by the principles of traditional economy, which is founded on the 'scarcity of goods' principle, then, yes of course, that's a monopoly, plain and simple.

Okay, so we can agree that Steam doesn't have a monopoly, but is currently market leader. I'm not sure what their current impact is, as developers/publishers set the prices of their games and can decide if they'd want to participate in a sale or not. Steam sales have had a big impact on the market, but I would say that's for consumers ultimately a good thing.

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Just a note, Steam doesn't technically "stream" games. It's not technically a cloud gaming service like OnLive, where it literally streams you a video feed of the game playing on another system somewhere while you control it with your computer. I tried it once...terrible lag and abysmal quality. But you don't need high system specs at all to play any game you want. Steam also doesn't stream game files to your system, it downloads the files to your actual system. Streaming means you don't actually have the content (at least not permanently).

I say this because the terms "stream" and "cloud" get thrown around a lot and are used incorrectly.

/captain grammar

Also I've asked before but nobody responded, what specific problems do some of you have against the Steam subscriber agreement?

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Also I've asked before but nobody responded, what specific problems to some of you have against the Steam subscriber agreement?

I can tell you what problem I have, even though I use Steam - they provide no guarantees that the service will be working or accessible by you at all, and can take away all your games and remove your account at any time because of even the tiniest breach of user agreement (including cheating or sharing a game with your friend) without any compensation. They also can change the agreement at any time, so you may not even know what is not allowed until you get completely banned.

Not that they would, of course, do that en masse, otherwise they will go bankrupt etc, but they certainly can. And that's why I hesitate to really invest in Steam library, I usually buy only heavily discounted or Valve's own games. It mainly comes down to trust - user agreement does not really protect you from anything "evil" Valve might do, so if you don't trust in their goodwill and not prepared to go to court if serious problem arises - then you would definitely avoid paying Valve any money.

This is irrelevant in Broken Age's (and Humble Bundle's in general) case of course - Steam is just a temporary vehicle for delivery, even if they remove my account I would still own and could play the game.

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Just a note, Steam doesn't technically "stream" games. It's not technically a cloud gaming service like OnLive, where it literally streams you a video feed of the game playing on another system somewhere while you control it with your computer. [...]

Also I've asked before but nobody responded, what specific problems to some of you have against the Steam subscriber agreement?

Well Steam is no streaming-service, but one could argue that it is a cloud service in that it keeps the copies of your games, your licenses, your game data and more on their internet-based server-structure. That you "download a game" is in this case merely a form of caching because your local cached version ("Download") expires when not regularly connected to Steam servers. So in this definition it is a cloud service, because without their service your copies get useless.

Which is exactly my gripe with Steam. If you would download complete copies and also have to option to download the installers for your own safe-keeping, than it would be OK. Steam could even use automatic water-marking to prevent users from spreading such downloads.

But that is not their goal nor their business model. They do not want you to have the games at your free disposal. They want you to come back to Steam as often as possible. The offline mode is only in their to accomodate users that are often on the move (Laptop users).

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But that is not their goal nor their business model. They do not want you to have the games at your free disposal. They want you to come back to Steam as often as possible. The offline mode is only in their to accomodate users that are often on the move (Laptop users).

This is down to publishers (or developers). Whether they want to use Steam's DRM or not.

If the game doesn't use Steams DRM then you can copy it to another computer or archive it for safekeeping or whatever - offline mode is needed only for DRM protected games. And btw, I hate it too - it always breaks when it is actually needed.

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Fair enough. But I don't think I'm mistaken in reading an extreme dislike of Steam in your posts,

I'm not using it and, as a C128/AMIGA/PC player for 25 years, see its influence and position on the market with steadily growing concern. But that is the extent of my 'dislike'.

people who hate Humble for whatever reason (and I saw at least one guy on these forums who had issues with it) had to leave their principles behind as well.

Humble distributes Steam keys in many, many cases. So, even though 'hate' is always too strong a word, I get behind the idea that this service is not exactly a solution to the problem at the moment.

If Double Fine had decided to distribute a DRM-free version via GOG.com, we would have the same problem.

Registration with a third party service is always a privacy issue. Here at least, I'm not sure if it can be totally avoided. Humble doesn't technically demand a registration, but of course DF has to give away your email address to that third party for the whole thing to work.

This, for instance, is one of your arguments that don't really hold up for me. The idea behind the kickstarter was never to distribute the game free from the market-leading retailer.

That is certainly a matter of perspective, and allow me to relativize at least parts of your statement. As I've said quite a few times above, the market situation is such that for a game developer not to distribute via Steam means he'll die. Consequently, of course, distribution via Steam has to take place. I wouldn't back a game on Kickstarter asking a developer not to sell his game on Steam. That would be seppuku from the developer's side. However, he is advertising with the independence he is about to achieve with backer funds. In my opinion, being then financially dependent on that one service for months doesn't hold up to the advertised prospect of independence. Yeah, I get how the lack of an 'investor' allows the developer to make the game of his dreams, I get that and back because of it as well, but it simply is not everything that "freedom from publishers" means.

This may be different if Double Fine has signed a contract with Valve to distribute act 1 exclusively via Steam, because then it becomes more like publisher involvement.

I don't think so. While the Steam exclusivity might be coincidental, the results are the same. Eventually, Double Fine will probably have 95% or more of their sales happen on Steam ("OMG Steam has even saved Double Fine!"). It's any publisher's wet dream. Is it really that relevant whether the agreement is consensual?

I'd like to believe that they don't have an exclusivity agreement with Valve.

As I understand it, there are no exclusivity agreements of any kind on Steam and have never been. Valve's success story is the opposite of drawing in the reins. They don't do that.

Okay, so we can agree that Steam doesn't have a monopoly, but is currently market leader.

Nope, it still depends on the definition of monopoly. ;)

I'm not sure what their current impact is, as developers/publishers set the prices of their games and can decide if they'd want to participate in a sale or not. Steam sales have had a big impact on the market, but I would say that's for consumers ultimately a good thing.

Prices for PC games have dropped through Steam's influence. Initially, that was certainly a good thing for consumers, but has become a bit ridiculous in the meantime. Alas, other services have walked in their footsteps, so we can't really say that Steam would eliminate competition by undercutting their offers. We can only wait and see in that respect. I do think there's a hefty pressure on developers to participate in sales though, because in the myriad of other offers on the same platform, it's the only thing that makes their game stand out.

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This is a side point, I think this is why I have a problem with the criticism of Valve's 'monopoly' (depending on how we define that). They've done it not through shady exclusivity deals or buying their way to success, but simply by providing something that both developers and users have gravitated towards.

So what are they to do in this situation. Make their service worse so that others can catch up? Enforce multiplatform? That'd be weird.

Basically I want to see games on as many different platforms as possible - exclusivity really isn't much good as a concept. But I can't really fault Valve for providing a service which for devs and users provides a good balance between value, accessibility and extra features.

(Yes, it also shouldn't be the only platform Broken Age is on, and won't be, and I think some good answers have now been provided on why they are still working on this.)

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So what are they to do in this situation. Make their service worse so that others can catch up? Enforce multiplatform? That'd be weird.

No one's asking that of Valve. They're doing a good job. They're being clever entrepreneurs.

It's the developers and the PC gamers who will have to understand what they're maneuvering themselves into.

I thought Kickstarter would be a good starting point, but...

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Consequently, of course, distribution via Steam has to take place. I wouldn't back a game on Kickstarter asking a developer not to sell his game on Steam. That would be seppuku from the developer's side. However, he is advertising with the independence he is about to achieve with backer funds. In my opinion, being then financially dependent on that one service for months doesn't hold up to the advertised prospect of independence. Yeah, I get how the lack of an 'investor' allows the developer to make the game of his dreams, I get that and back because of it as well, but it simply is not everything that "freedom from publishers" means.

Okay, cool! I'm starting to see your point now.

As I've said quite a few times above, the market situation is such that for a game developer not to distribute via Steam means he'll die.

Do you have evidence for that? Minecraft is a good example of a game that has become massively popular without having to rely on a third party. With the amount of coverage that Double Fine has had for this game, I bet they would also have done well if they had sold it independently. Obviously I don't have any evidence either, so this is all pure speculation.

I do think there's a hefty pressure on developers to participate in sales though, because in the myriad of other offers on the same platform, it's the only thing that makes their game stand out.

That's true and probably also the way in which Broken Age is going to get most of their sales, unless it is included in a Humble Bundle maybe.

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He's not here to help. He's here to derail the discussion into poop flinging, which in turn makes all participants look like idiots, in the strange hope that people would leave the thread only with an impression about Steam opposers, yet not about the fans of the service.

I find the best way to deal with that is to ask for rational engagement and sidestep the poo flinging. Worst case is that that gets ignored. Best case is that some meaningful discussion ensues. It feels like there are more chances for positive outcomes that way than from just ignoring them.

I mean, seriously, what's keeping me from assuming Shodan to be the 'model' Steam user?

As a hypothetical random forum-goer here, or as someone who's previously crossed paths with them on the Telltale Forums? :D

That attitude has been pretty common in other threads. It's troubling that many who embrace platforms like Steam feel the need to belittle and demean those who don't :(

I can't speak for anywhere else, but the Steam communities that I'm involved with/coordinate aren't rife with those sorts of attitudes.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-ways-your-brain-turning-you-into-jerk/

#5

Let's not feed the troll, ignore him and keep a civil discussion between grown-ups.

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On the Steam is/isn't streaming: Basically I think it is streaming: It streams the game installer to present you an installed game. But you don't get that installer. Sometimes an installed game is working fine - but there are circumstances where it doesn't work (e.g. Steam is installed on a different OS than you have on the target platform). Which in my eyes also demonstrated that it is using DRM.

I also haven't anything against Steam because it is Steam. I only don't like Steam because they forcing some kind of DRM (namely the installation process) onto all games, whether a game uses Steamworks (or whatever) on top or not.

If Steam would change that (so they could deliver truly DRM-free), then I would have no problems with that.

But possibly they don't even want to to that, because it would kinda contradict their "Steam Subscriber Agreement", which explicitly say they in fact don't sell any software, but only licenses:

A. General Software License

Steam and your Subscription(s) require the automatic download and installation of Software onto your computer. Valve hereby grants, and you accept, a limited, terminable, non-exclusive license and right to use the Software for your personal, non-commercial use (except where commercial use is expressly allowed herein or in the applicable Subscription Terms) in accordance with this Agreement, including the Subscription Terms. The Software is licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Software. To make use of the Software, you must have a Steam Account and you may be required to be running the Steam client and maintaining a connection to the Internet.

(emphasis mine)

So according to that they are in fact very generous that there is even an offline mode or that some games work moved. But if they would sort that out (and give proper DRM-free games), then I would have no problem to go and use Steam.

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To be honest, all software is licensed and not sold. It's not a steam prerogative.

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To be honest, all software is licensed and not sold. It's not a steam prerogative.

That might possibly be an idea no older than 15 years, but, yes, it's absolutely the norm today.

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To be honest, all software is licensed and not sold. It's not a steam prerogative.
Yes, exactly the same type of wording is used in all boxed games, even back in the 90s. The idea that software licenses are a new restriction is a myth. It's only methods of enforcement that have changed

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To be honest, all software is licensed and not sold. It's not a steam prerogative.

That might possibly be an idea no older than 15 years, but, yes, it's absolutely the norm today.

nope, it's very old indeed. Predates The Secret of Monkey Island, easily.

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Ok, than I'm kinda misinformed about that part, but doesn't change anything for me - (also the argument "because others do so", isn't the strongest one).

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Ok, than I'm kinda misinformed about that part, but doesn't change anything for me - (also the argument "because others do so", isn't the strongest one).

It's not an argument about the merits of it, but I think it is an important point which should inform the discourse. When people say stuff like "we used to own games and I want that back" then companies can quite rightly point out "no you didn't" and point to the wording in the manual of your favourite old game or the eula on the install.

So I think discussions framed around ownership are wasted breath. What people want is to be able to access games in the same way they did 20 years ago but with all the benefits of modern technology. Companies understand thus not as ownership but as license terms. It's to effect change by speaking in a language they "get" rather than claiming rights that they can easily assert you never had, even if you thought you did.

Besides, ownership of other developers' games is not valves right to give, so they couldn't grant it if they wanted to. 

Ugh sorry for all the typos, on a phone

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That's why buying something real can be a lot more satisfying.

Buy yourself a guitar, amp, cable, pick, *boom* It's all yours, you own it, and you can have fun. The neighbors might give you a visit as well, so it's even social, playing with your friends is Multi-Dingsbums, ...

Buy yourself some music software, deal with DRM/bugs/updates & maybe with new agreements/security issues/after some time you need to renew the licenses/the dev goes out of business/changing you OS/...

Obviously software/virtual goods have their cons as well but there exists this certain kind of magic about real stuff. In the 60s there existed a number of interesting sf stories about men who invented cloning devices and how this science changed their worlds or put them into interesting conflicts and adventures they had to go through, so many new, exciting ideas, some even were thought through quite well.

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Steam doesn't stream an installer. It doesn't have one. It's literally like downloading a zip and unpacking it. There is no install process, besides maybe some registry entries or third party libraries upon first run, but that's after "install". Though, you can create backups that install from disc. So there's nothing hidden that you can't access. And it even has the ability to create an installer for you if you want one, where there wasn't one initially. Steam is something of a closed torrent delivery system with built in extra features designed for gamers. I do agree that the old method of having physical media that required no outside permission to run gave more control to the consumer and that was easier for peace of mind.

And yeah, we've been buying licensed games since the 80s.

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Steam doesn't stream an installer. It doesn't have one. It's literally like downloading a zip and unpacking it. There is no install process, besides maybe some registry entries or third party libraries upon first run, but that's after "install". Though, you can create backups that install from disc. So there's nothing hidden that you can't access. And it even has the ability to create an installer for you if you want one, where there wasn't one initially. Steam is something of closed torrent delivery system with built in extra features designed for gamers. I do agree that the old method of having physical media that required no outside permission to run gave more control to the consumer and that was easier for peace of mind.

And yeah, we've been buying licensed games since the 80s.

So either you misunderstood me (I'm talking about the games, not Steam itself) or I'm quite misinformed (which I don't think, since then this wouldn't be a problem).

Could I turn on my steam client on my Windows PC, Download something there (for example Broken Age). Move that stuff to my Linux machine (which had never any contact with Steam) and use this something to get an working/running version of Broken Age to play?

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My point was that there is no hidden install process that Steam initiates when downloading a game. It literally just downloads a game straight to your hard drive without an install process. You can call that an install process I suppose but it's no different than downloading a ZIP file of a program, unzipping it, and running it. I'm referring to the games themselves here, not the Steam client.

No, you can't download a game on Steam and transfer it to your Linux machine to play. First of all because Windows games don't work on Linux (obviously), if you download a game that's Linux compatible on Steam inside Windows you will only have the Windows version. You'd need to install the Linux Steam client on Linux to download the Linux version of that game. They're not the same files. They use different compiled binaries for one thing. That's an entirely different issue. But Steam doesn't "install" games in the traditional sense. There are no installers, that's all my point was. The backup installers that Steam can make (for a single game or many games) will still require Steam to run, but just provide an offline install so you don't have to wait for your internet connection. It merely cuts out download time. Like installing a Steamworks game from a store-bought retail disc (Skyrim, for instance). I think the backup installer creation feature might be Windows-exclusive, though. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

You can copy Steam games to another system independent of Steam if they don't utilize Steam's optional DRM (optional for the developer, not the consumer). Batman Arkham Asylum used to be able to do this, but that required GFWL. Now GFWL has been removed from the game and it uses Steamworks instead (a step up, to be sure, as you couldn't even play the game if you were offline). There used to be (probably still is) a list of Steam games on the Steam forum that can be run outside of Steam (doesn't require Steam). But some of them might require other clients instead.

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My point was that you only get a "installed" game. Whether it is "installing" something or not, you get only get the the a version that is usable on this system (or might work on others if your lucky), not the version of the game you want to use. Why can't give me Steam not just the "zip"/"installer"/"call it whatever you want" to get the game on the system I want? That is where Steam leaves the realm of being only a download service and starts being DRM. For example if I buy a DRM-free game for a Windows PC, I can just download it on any machine (Linux, Mac, whatever) and move it to that Windows PC. Also it doesn't make things better that Steam doesn't give me any help whether it is moveable or not (and on what circumstances).

I personally would compare it with streaming content - I can watch it now (so on the machine I'm on), but I can't move it to another machine to watch it there (without being lucky or circumventing some shenanigans). But if you want to say you don't think it is streaming than I'm fine with it, but it my eyes it just feels like the same.

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That's no different than retail. In fact, if you wanted to play a game on a Mac back in the 90s you'd have to buy a whole new copy of the game! At least with Steam you have all three at no extra cost. The fact that places like Humble offer three different copies for platforms is a bonus, not implied.

You're using the word 'streaming' and defining it by its effects not by what it is. Downloading is simply not streaming. It's misleading to say otherwise. You can say it's LIKE streaming as far as your experience goes.

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That's no different than retail. In fact, if you wanted to play a game on a Mac back in the 90s you'd have to buy a whole new copy of the game! At least with Steam you have all three at no extra cost. The fact that places like Humble offer three different copies for platforms is a bonus, not implied.

You're using the word 'streaming' and defining it by its effects not by what it is. Downloading is simply not streaming. It's misleading to say otherwise. You can say it's LIKE streaming as far as your experience goes.

I'm not asking to get a Windows and Linux version. But why I can't simple choose what version I want? It's like I go into a store and buy a Windows game, and at the checkout I get told "sorry, but you can only buy a Windows game if you show us that you have a Windows PC". That is the same ridiculous thing as Amazon does with eBooks: Why need I some kind of "registered kindle device" to buy an eBook?

Yeah ok, maybe I have used streaming false here (but that is mostly because I have no experience with Steam, I just said how it feels to what I heard from it, maybe I should have made that clearer), but from a technical point of view streaming is pretty weird to start with ;) (since it is a download, but only a "temporary" download. But I don't want to turn this into a discussion what streaming is or not)

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At least with Steam you have all three at no extra cost. The fact that places like Humble offer three different copies for platforms is a bonus, not implied.

Actually, that's not true. It's something that Valve encourages via the "SteamPlay" branding, but there are titles out there that you need to purchase separately for each platform (generally Aspyr stuff). Most of these have disappeared over the past 12 - 18 months, but this COD title still stands out as a notable example.

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I think the backup installer creation feature might be Windows-exclusive, though. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

Seems to be available in the Linux version of Steam too. I haven't tried it myself, but at least the option is there.

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