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hipposexxxy

to Steam or not to Steam ? DRM is the question

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I would be curious to know why the Steam version does not allow for the user to take the game directory and run the game on a computer without Steam installed.

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I would be curious to know why the Steam version does not allow for the user to take the game directory and run the game on a computer without Steam installed.

Doesn't it? I thought it did for all products that didn't opt in to Steam's (minimal) DRM.

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Many small devs I've talked to say they would not be making the LIVING they have if it were not for Steam.

We've been talking about dependency issues earlier. Had there never been a Steam service, these developers could still make their living by other means, because PC gamers would still know how to inform themselves about and buy PC games via other platforms. As there's only Steam, NATURALLY developers make their living through Steam. There's nothing good about the fact that the existence of those devs hinges on their 'getting on Steam', absolutely nothing.

It's really the thing that saved PC gaming

There's no untainted statistical data to support this opinion, yet plenty of data to show that Valve controls the PC market in much the same way Sony controls the PlayStation market. Like Steam if you want to, it certainly is a neat service, but Valve's monopolous structure does not "save PC gaming", that is a very strange thought in my opinion. Today, quite opposed to yesterday, a single mere third party provider of game hosting services would be able to kill the PC as a gaming platform if it chose to do so, and steer the market and their customers into any direction they may choose.

But let's not act like not getting into the Steam ecosystem is some sort of moral argument and that it is somehow hurting pc gaming in any way.

Yes, this has always been a question of ideology for me; yes, I will continue to question Steam exclusivity decisions of developers on moral grounds; yes, I do believe crowd funded developers have an obligation to offer sound and complete alternatives to monopolous publishing services; and yes, seeing the fate of PC gaming in the hands of one, absolutely just one single publisher has indisputably cost PC gamers their freedom of choice already and might indeed have ugly consequences for the entire platform in the future.

What @Vainamoinen meant was that it's not "a platform" but "THE platform" (the monopoly argument), and he'd also contest the "equally", I'm sure.

As Valve presently seems to launch the interesting marketing strategy of flat out renaming every ordinary gamer PC to "Steam machine", I would like to reopen the discussion whether Broken Age has yet been released for "our platform" (yes, this last bit is satire ;) ).

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Regardless of the fact that Steam has the monopoly on PC distribution, it is not the ONLY digital platform out there. GoG has long since abandoned its old game-only business model and has been releasing newer titles as well. Not just Indies either (though they are favoured, it seems like), but also a few AAA titles. And it's getting bigger. The Humble Store is also now available. While focusing on mostly Indie games for now, I can see that changing in the future as well (Double-Fine and other larger developers have used it already). Origin is also out and, despite my dislike of it, looks like it could be a decent contender to Steam eventually. GFWL failed because it had worse DRM than Steam does. Make no mistake, Steam is not the only option out there and hasn't been for a while. Yes, it does have the monopoly, but I don't think it's going to stay that way.

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Make no mistake, Steam is not the only option out there and hasn't been for a while. Yes, it does have the monopoly, but I don't think it's going to stay that way.

What I've seen in this thread are a lot of literal "I can't imagine PC gamers still without Steam" comments. And I find these comments enlightening because each of them does suggest heavily that there in fact are no worthwhile other options. I do see where these people are coming from, and can only repeat that this is the problem and it needs a solution.

The AAA titles on gog.com are mostly self developed (i.e. by CDP); a distribution service the first EULA of which effectively described its own client as spyware must not put a dent into Valve's publishing monopoly; and a mere vendor who largely still relies on Steam as its actual distributor will always rather help than hinder the same monopoly.

I don't see which service could take that monopoly from Valve, when and how. For that to happen, Valve would have to make a really stupid move, and it's very obvious that they're being very clever instead.

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It's not that there are no other worthwhile options, just that Steam is the best option out there presently. Steam has the monopoly because it does so much right. Which points the finger at other methods of distribution, potential or actual, with the question "why don't you do as much 'right'?" The solution is other distribution models that want to compete with Steam need to offer as good or better services. It's Steam's community integration that makes it as successful as it is. Some people don't care about this, but most people do. It's obvious that the majority doesn't care about DRM if it's easy enough to get their product, which it is, and on top of that also bonus content, leaderboards, the in-game overlay (which gives access to basically everything Steam can do), reviews, ratings, achievements, guides, screenshots, videos, etc and all of it is available from any computer. Clearly not near as many people worry about DRM as the people who are against Steam do. So until a distribution model can compete with equal or exceeding features that Steam already has on top of DRM-freedom, Steam is still going to be the most successful "platform". That's why it has the monopoly in the first place.

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It's not that there are no other worthwhile options, just that Steam is the best option out there presently. Steam has the monopoly because it does so much right. Which points the finger at other methods of distribution, potential or actual, with the question "why don't you do as much 'right'?" The solution is other distribution models that want to compete with Steam need to offer as good or better services. It's Steam's community integration that makes it as successful as it is. Some people don't care about this, but most people do. It's obvious that the majority doesn't care about DRM if it's easy enough to get their product, which it is, and on top of that also bonus content, leaderboards, the in-game overlay (which gives access to basically everything Steam can do), reviews, ratings, achievements, guides, screenshots, videos, etc and all of it is available from any computer. Clearly not near as many people worry about DRM as the people who are against Steam do. So until a distribution model can compete with equal or exceeding features that Steam already has on top of DRM-freedom, Steam is still going to be the most successful "platform". That's why it has the monopoly in the first place.

Don't forget that everyone wants their collection in one spot, and any new competitor is going to have to somehow convince you to rebuy 500 games on their platform.

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The Shadowrun desaster is the sole reason why I wouldn't back a Ron Gilbert Monkey Island Kickstarter. The same doubtful legal control over his own brainchild would apply.

He has absolutely no access to the Monkey Island IP and has said exactly that on his blog. So, no chance of it ever happening.

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Which points the finger at other methods of distribution, potential or actual, with the question "why don't you do as much 'right'?" The solution is other distribution models that want to compete with Steam need to offer as good or better services.

They'd lack the capital for "good" services in the first place, we don't even need to speak of "better" services. 2.5 billion in equity would be a good start for that strange new digital game publishing usurper.

Nordic Games tried to set up its own, DRM free vending/distribution service last year with "The Raven". It was a complete desaster. Very limited downloads of your game, very limited time of availability, costly options to extend the time of availability to two years. Imagine that. And of course, once those episodes were released, nothing worked and downloads failed. Now, probably a budding digital distributor with a bit more capital under his belt would fare better, but even if the Nordic Games shop is the lowest possible step, the stairway to the top does extend into the clouds.

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Now, probably a budding digital distributor with a bit more capital under his belt would fare better, but even if the Nordic Games shop is the lowest possible step, the stairway to the top does extend into the clouds.

In this case, it's Humble that will most likely be doing the DRM free fulfillment (I'd be super surprised if it were done any other way), so that is thankfully not an issue for Broken Age.

You're definitely right, but it's not just limited to DRM free stuff - sometimes developers stuff up their releases (even big publishers can be plagued by problems - look at Diablo 3's launch). I didn't quite get to follow The Raven's DRM free woes (IIRC, I was given a Steam key by KingArt when we did it for Game Club), but it's definitely disappointing to hear that things turned out so badly.

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I agree it's probably quite difficult to come up with a digital service that rivals Steam. Even Steam had problems starting out in the beginning, but they had the advantage of zero competition. That was back when almost everybody hated it. But there are digital platforms that have come about and are succeeding so it is possible. The key maybe be to start out small like GoG or Humble and build your feature list (much like Steam did) over the course of time. I don't really see any other way combat Steam's success. It'll take time.

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Don't forget that everyone wants their collection in one spot, and any new competitor is going to have to somehow convince you to rebuy 500 games on their platform.

Not sure about "everyone", I've often seen people citing the "don't put all your eggs in one basket" rule in favour of their decision to spread purchases over various platforms. And honestly, do people really stick to literally just one spot? I mean, it would be the most convenient I suppose, but seems kinda extreme and also unpractical to me due to exclusives, sales, bundles and what not.

Personally I like to use multiple vendors for added "organization" - GOG/DotEmu for classics, Humble/Desura for indies, Steam/Origin for whatever else that requires them (wouldn't mind ditching those for a client-less distributor though; I really like the recently opened ShinyLoot, DRM-free, optional keys to other services where applicable, and a great search functionality).

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Don't forget that everyone wants their collection in one spot, and any new competitor is going to have to somehow convince you to rebuy 500 games on their platform.

Yep, my "one spot" is my hard drive :D

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Steam might be DRM, but its the good kind of drm, ive never had any problems running my games in offline mode or anything. Not to mention the advantages you get with steam, cheap steam sales. cloud saving, auto updating, easy to read review, forums. easy screenshots take and share. easy chat with friends.

As an old PC gamer, ive experienced all the drm schemes from the last 20 years or so. Steam might be DRM, but its as good, mild and nonintrussive as it gets, short of not having any obviously.

Nothing gets in your way on steam. compared to uplay or origin, thats slow, complicated, annoying.

Steam single handedly saved introversion, you know the company that made uplink and such games, now working in prison architect and is making millions of dollars, They wouldn be here if it wasnt for steam, they would have went bankrupt. One steam sale, and they were back in business.

I know EA tries to smacktalk calling sales bad, yeah sales are bad, what a concept. if something is bad, its keeping the game price high or near full price even years after game is out. Time and time again cheaper games and sales, makes millions of dollars for indie devs.

I would actually argue that its so easy to buy games on steam, i sure know sales have made me bought many games ive yet to play, just because its so damn cheap. It wasnt that long after deus ex human revolution was released, that it was like 50-75% off. Yeah some people might hold off, i dont have any problem buying a game at full price, if its worth it, and the letting other people having it cheaper because of sales. doesnt touch me at all. I know some people become all angry.

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We've been talking about dependency issues earlier. Had there never been a Steam service, these developers could still make their living by other means, because PC gamers would still know how to inform themselves about and buy PC games via other platforms. As there's only Steam, NATURALLY developers make their living through Steam. There's nothing good about the fact that the existence of those devs hinges on their 'getting on Steam', absolutely nothing.

I guarantee this is not true. That somehow there's a limit in the ability for PC gamers brain space to find games on the internet. This ignores the fact that the thing that existed before Steam was a retail store, the same people who would go there to see what games they wanted are the same people who get info on PC games exclusively through Steam.

The idea that somehow Steam is taking away sales from independent sites is ludicrous, like there's some sort of quota of games on the internet that will run out and Steam stole it all. You really think that if Steam didn't exist and Doublefine put up Broken Age on their website (or whatever existed before steam... I dunno the adware laden tangent games?) they'd get more revenue?

The thing about that retail crowd, they were never exposed to indie games before, hell there was barely and indie scene before Steam (alongside Xbox 360 marketplace and PlayStation Network.)

So yes, the benefits to the indie dev for having a centralised gaming marketplace is great. Again, indie devs I've talked to personally managed to quit their jobs after putting their games up on Steam. Now they're games are on there exclusively because they could actually make a living from game development. This means we, as a public get more good games. I mean it's not like they sign a contract with Steam saying that they're games need to be on the service exclusively and if Steam ever stops being viable platform nothing is stopping them from jumping ship.

It's too bad you're missing out, there's a tonne of great games. I'm going to go play some more Banner Saga.

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I started using gog recently and I love it. Personally I prefer it to Steam. They do all the same marketing shenanigans offering discounts and stuff, and they offer a single price worldwide, whereas Steam has different stores for different countries with slightly different pricing. And it's all DRM-free, and you get lots of 'bonus content', like soundtrack and artwork downloads (also DRM-free), and I get to manage my own collection in my own directory structure whilst also having the convenience of being able to re-download the games whenever I want and see my collection in a nice 'shelf' design in a clean and usable web interface. It's fantastic!

I used to use Steam and I know it has an offline mode, but in practice I could never get it to work. It always insisted I go online. I don't know if there's a way to fix that, but it was a deal-breaker in my case because the wifi mysteriously broke down on my Windows system and I haven't been able to fix it. (I have to use the net on my Linux system.)

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I think Steam's buggy offline mode of "play online at least once and then you can play offline" has been fixed. That is, I used to have a problem where I'd have to run a game 4 or 5 times online before it would finally let me play offline. I haven't had any issues with it and it requires no workarounds. I used to have a problem with it years back, but it's just not the case anymore. I can even play games offline that I hadn't played online previously, I believe. The problem now is just that it needs you to log back in in a couple weeks to a month or something (so I've heard).

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The idea that somehow Steam is taking away sales from independent sites is ludicrous, like there's some sort of quota of games on the internet that will run out and Steam stole it all.

I wouldn't use the word "stole", but apart from that, well, duh. The demand is obviously limited. Valve's solution to the sated market is as obvious as it is ridiculous (warning, satire site). PC gamers, it seems, mostly do not wish to frequent more than one platform (see comments above). "Competitor" Humble Store mostly distributes Steam keys. When PC customers buy from "entirely" independent sites, they expect to receive a Steam key as well; for them, not putting up huge "you don't receive a Steam key with your order from the XX Store" signs is fraudulent behavior (Oh, the complaints I've seen on the Telltale site!)

Call it "stealing" or "successful enterprise", Valve covers the market entirely and that leaves no real space for competitors.

You really think that if Steam didn't exist and Doublefine put up Broken Age on their website (or whatever existed before steam... I dunno the adware laden tangent games?) they'd get more revenue?

I have no idea. Neither do you.

Maybe (just maybe!) without Steam, adventure game prices would not be in free fall. Maybe Double Fine could have asked 50$, nay, 60$ from the American market (which mostly seems to have noticed only domestic adventure games during the last 15 years). With such a profit margin, without 30+% flowing into the distributor's pockets directly, and without huge distributor deals starting just two or three months after a game releases, seriously, who knows?

The thing about that retail crowd, they were never exposed to indie games before, hell there was barely an indie scene before Steam (alongside Xbox 360 marketplace and PlayStation Network.)

This interpretation doesn't take the history of the PC into account, and is factually incorrect at least in parts. The indie scene has practically started on the PC and is still most prominent on this platform. The reason for the lack of success of indie devs during the late 90's/early '00s was due to high demands: gamers insisted on state of the art graphics and massive production value, which smaller teams could not produce.

That has changed - and was amplified with the ready availability of the internet. NOTHING indicates that Steam had a hand in the matter. Players are looking for fresh ideas today, because they're just fed up with the recycled marketable ones, and they're looking for the old and less complicated ideas which happened to drop off the market somehow. That would have happened regardless of a games publishing monopoly.

PC players naturally look for these games on Steam, because they're looking for all of their games on Steam.

Again, indie devs I've talked to personally managed to quit their jobs after putting their games up on Steam.

These developers got on Steam in the first place because a sufficient number of Steam users signalled to Valve that they would buy the game. There is a simple user survey in place to guarantee that Valve is risking nothing as a publisher. They can do that only because they have the monopoly and do not need to take risks. Steam does nothing to 'promote' these games. Only those projects which have already acquired a large fanbase before they attempt to be "Greenlighted" will succeed.

Sure, let indie devs be thankful for getting on Steam. 'Cause, if they don't, they die. Dependency, yadda yadda yadda.

I, however, insist that would the market situation be different, an actual alternative distributor exist, and individual distribution systems actually be accepted by PC gamers, these devs would be able to make a living by other, more diversified means of distribution.

I'm going to go play some more Banner Saga.

Have fun. Say, wasn't that a Kickstarter that explicitly promised DRM free? Huh, I wonder why they break THEIR promises. Steam exclusive, who would have thought. Ah, it's probably because the other digital distributors are just stupid.

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I'm going to go play some more Banner Saga.

Have fun. Say, wasn't that a Kickstarter that explicitly promised DRM free? Huh, I wonder why they break THEIR promises.

Mh, I just investigated a bit - and as it seems as of right now there is seems no DRM-free version, but it will be available soonish. Just to say it: Hearing that I'm kinda glad I backed out before the end of the KS. I don't need yet another game where I need to ask why the version I payed for doesn't happen or is delayed.

But seeing all this "DRM-free" advocated projects have problems delivering on it makes it kinda unlike that I'm going to back another video game Kickstarter in the near future. And if I do I think I would need to ask some serious question how they plan to treat the DRM-free version/backers.

But right know I have the feeling that many developers on KS* just say "Mh, everything promises DRM-free, so we do it to! And then we forget about it later... Oh some backers have problems about not getting DRM-free games?... Mh, we try to make it happen some day - but for now have other people have their fun with the game." And I have the feeling that this doesn't help anybody in the long run. Promising stuff and not doing it (or delay it without reasons) is a good way to make people stop caring about what you promise them.

* I have no clue if that is a fair conclusion, but from the Games that are more or less finished from KS that I have heard about it I haven't seen one that stayed truly faithful to their DRM-free promise (Shadowrun Returns [though they at least managed to sort that out mostly], Broken Age and The Banner Saga - so that sample size is kinda small.)

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I'm going to go play some more Banner Saga.

Have fun. Say, wasn't that a Kickstarter that explicitly promised DRM free? Huh, I wonder why they break THEIR promises.

Mh, I just investigated a bit - and as it seems as of right now there is seems no DRM-free version, but it will be available soonish. Just to say it: Hearing that I'm kinda glad I backed out before the end of the KS. I don't need yet another game where I need to ask why the version I payed for doesn't happen or is delayed.

But seeing all this "DRM-free" advocated projects have problems delivering on it makes it kinda unlike that I'm going to back another video game Kickstarter in the near future. And if I do I think I would need to ask some serious question how they plan to treat the DRM-free version/backers.

But right know I have the feeling that many developers on KS* just say "Mh, everything promises DRM-free, so we do it to! And then we forget about it later... Oh some backers have problems about not getting DRM-free games?... Mh, we try to make it happen some day - but for now have other people have their fun with the game." And I have the feeling that this doesn't help anybody in the long run. Promising stuff and not doing it (or delay it without reasons) is a good way to make people stop caring about what you promise them.

* I have no clue if that is a fair conclusion, but from the Games that are more or less finished from KS that I have heard about it I haven't seen one that stayed truly faithful to their DRM-free promise (Shadowrun Returns [though they at least managed to sort that out mostly], Broken Age and The Banner Saga - so that sample size is kinda small.)

Maybe it's not as simple as it sounds?

I mean, if it was really a trivial matter to release the DRM free version, why wouldn't they just do it right away? I'm pretty sure that Double Fine or the makers of Shadowrun Returns or The Banner Saga don't buy into the idea that DRM is good copy protection. That's not a niche idea that only anti-Steam folks have - it's pretty widely accepted. And without a publisher and shareholders to demand DRM, there's no real motivation.

But the thing about Steam as a service for developers is that:

1 - Most companies already have a working relationship with Steam, so it's easy to set stuff up there

2 - The tools for delivering releases and updates are really mature and solid, they've made it so that it's almost trivial to push updates through the service.

There are DRM-free services available, a few have been mentioned, but they each come with their own drawbacks and benefits - like Steam, it's a distribution deal that the company has to enter into. The alternative is to provide the infrastructure yourself for the release, which of course is a technical challenge for any large release.

So there are probably decisions to be made about releasing the DRM free version, and it's probably not inaccurate to say that it's easier to release a DRM free version once the game is fully complete. Since they never promised day and date DRM-free releases (and never knew the game would be split in two until 6 months ago) they're not breaking any promises at all. However, as they have posted before, they are looking into options for the DRM release right now - so I don't know why this is still a discussion.

(and as a lot of people have mentioned, Steam's DRM is optional and no, installing a downloader is not DRM by any reasonable definition so I'm not entirely sure why some people refuse to even get an account when it's quite possible to investigate whether a title will play independently of Steam or not - but it's their choice not to and so I won't press the point)

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Maybe it's not as simple as it sounds?

I mean, if it was really a trivial matter to release the DRM free version, why wouldn't they just do it right away? I'm pretty sure that Double Fine or the makers of Shadowrun Returns or The Banner Saga don't buy into the idea that DRM is good copy protection. That's not a niche idea that only anti-Steam folks have - it's pretty widely accepted. And without a publisher and shareholders to demand DRM, there's no real motivation.

But the thing about Steam as a service for developers is that:

1 - Most companies already have a working relationship with Steam, so it's easy to set stuff up there

2 - The tools for delivering releases and updates are really mature and solid, they've made it so that it's almost trivial to push updates through the service.

There are DRM-free services available, a few have been mentioned, but they each come with their own drawbacks and benefits - like Steam, it's a distribution deal that the company has to enter into. The alternative is to provide the infrastructure yourself for the release, which of course is a technical challenge for any large release.

So there are probably decisions to be made about releasing the DRM free version, and it's probably not inaccurate to say that it's easier to release a DRM free version once the game is fully complete. Since they never promised day and date DRM-free releases (and never knew the game would be split in two until 6 months ago) they're not breaking any promises at all. However, as they have posted before, they are looking into options for the DRM release right now - so I don't know why this is still a discussion.

(and as a lot of people have mentioned, Steam's DRM is optional and no, installing a downloader is not DRM by any reasonable definition so I'm not entirely sure why some people refuse to even get an account when it's quite possible to investigate whether a title will play independently of Steam or not - but it's their choice not to and so I won't press the point)

But if they don't know when and how to release it DRM-free, why say "DRM-free" and not say "we will bring this in a DRM-free version, but we can't tell if we are able to do it on launch."? The first wording strongly implies that it will be released DRM-free (baring problems). Not some random time later. And it should be possible to investigate in nearly 2 years what options are possible and what not. They just could offer the DRM-free build as DL from their own site. Or if there are bandwith problems they could use Torrents to deliver it. And even the split is something you said they know for half a year. It should be possible to look into methods to deliver Act 1 DRM-free and not just say "Act 1 is Steam-only and we don't even give you any reason way we don't make a DRM-free version" two weeks before public release.

And to the whole "they promised only a full game DRM-free". Yeah they did that (or more precisely they promised "the finished game DRM-free"). But if DF wants my support again, they should show me that they care about me. And just treating me the way they do right now is not showing that. Also you have to see that this thread got a lot better since Greg posted here [it shifted to a more general topic to regards in DRM, and not this stupid Steam vs. non-Steam bashin] - I hope we will hear more soon (and possible resolve it in a way that I'm able to really trust DF again). But if they need to stick to the letters to keep their promises than I don't see any reason to trust them in the future.

They didn't say "ONLY the finished game will be DRM-free". When do you think the game is finished? I think that a finished game is the release version. Or do you say that the "finished game" is the game after it received its last patch? So in that case do we need to wait a year after Act 2 release to get to patch v1.39 so that then finally a DRM-free build will be distributed?

(I think we have had enough of this. If you have the opinion that requiring Steam to install your game is not DRM, feel free to do so)

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Another GOG user here.

I love the guys behind it and I love their policy. They really respect their legitimate customers.

I'm going to go play some more Banner Saga.

Have fun. Say, wasn't that a Kickstarter that explicitly promised DRM free? Huh, I wonder why they break THEIR promises.

Mh, I just investigated a bit - and as it seems as of right now there is seems no DRM-free version, but it will be available soonish. Just to say it: Hearing that I'm kinda glad I backed out before the end of the KS. I don't need yet another game where I need to ask why the version I payed for doesn't happen or is delayed.

But seeing all this "DRM-free" advocated projects have problems delivering on it makes it kinda unlike that I'm going to back another video game Kickstarter in the near future. And if I do I think I would need to ask some serious question how they plan to treat the DRM-free version/backers.

But right know I have the feeling that many developers on KS* just say "Mh, everything promises DRM-free, so we do it to! And then we forget about it later... Oh some backers have problems about not getting DRM-free games?... Mh, we try to make it happen some day - but for now have other people have their fun with the game." And I have the feeling that this doesn't help anybody in the long run. Promising stuff and not doing it (or delay it without reasons) is a good way to make people stop caring about what you promise them.

* I have no clue if that is a fair conclusion, but from the Games that are more or less finished from KS that I have heard about it I haven't seen one that stayed truly faithful to their DRM-free promise (Shadowrun Returns [though they at least managed to sort that out mostly], Broken Age and The Banner Saga - so that sample size is kinda small.)

Pretty much this.

I'm glad I didn't back The Banner Saga.

And I don't think I'll back something on Kickstarter ever again. I will wait for the release, from now on.

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Maybe it's not as simple as it sounds?

I mean, if it was really a trivial matter to release the DRM free version, why wouldn't they just do it right away? I'm pretty sure that Double Fine or the makers of Shadowrun Returns or The Banner Saga don't buy into the idea that DRM is good copy protection. That's not a niche idea that only anti-Steam folks have - it's pretty widely accepted. And without a publisher and shareholders to demand DRM, there's no real motivation.

But the thing about Steam as a service for developers is that:

1 - Most companies already have a working relationship with Steam, so it's easy to set stuff up there

2 - The tools for delivering releases and updates are really mature and solid, they've made it so that it's almost trivial to push updates through the service.

There are DRM-free services available, a few have been mentioned, but they each come with their own drawbacks and benefits - like Steam, it's a distribution deal that the company has to enter into. The alternative is to provide the infrastructure yourself for the release, which of course is a technical challenge for any large release.

So there are probably decisions to be made about releasing the DRM free version, and it's probably not inaccurate to say that it's easier to release a DRM free version once the game is fully complete. Since they never promised day and date DRM-free releases (and never knew the game would be split in two until 6 months ago) they're not breaking any promises at all. However, as they have posted before, they are looking into options for the DRM release right now - so I don't know why this is still a discussion.

(and as a lot of people have mentioned, Steam's DRM is optional and no, installing a downloader is not DRM by any reasonable definition so I'm not entirely sure why some people refuse to even get an account when it's quite possible to investigate whether a title will play independently of Steam or not - but it's their choice not to and so I won't press the point)

But if they don't know when and how to release it DRM-free, why say "DRM-free" and not say "we will bring this in a DRM-free version, but we can't tell if we are able to do it on launch."? The first wording strongly implies that it will be released DRM-free (baring problems). Not some random time later. And it should be possible to investigate in nearly 2 years what options are possible and what not. They just could offer the DRM-free build as DL from their own site. Or if there are bandwith problems they could use Torrents to deliver it. And even the split is something you said they know for half a year. It should be possible to look into methods to deliver Act 1 DRM-free and not just say "Act 1 is Steam-only and we don't even give you any reason way we don't make a DRM-free version" two weeks before public release.

And to the whole "they promised only a full game DRM-free". Yeah they did that (or more precisely they promised "the finished game DRM-free"). But if DF wants my support again, they should show me that they care about me. And just treating me the way they do right now is not showing that. Also you have to see that this thread got a lot better since Greg posted here [it shifted to a more general topic to regards in DRM, and not this stupid Steam vs. non-Steam bashin] - I hope we will hear more soon (and possible resolve it in a way that I'm able to really trust DF again). But if they need to stick to the letters to keep their promises than I don't see any reason to trust them in the future.

They didn't say "ONLY the finished game will be DRM-free". When do you think the game is finished? I think that a finished game is the release version. Or do you say that the "finished game" is the game after it received its last patch? So in that case do we need to wait a year after Act 2 release to get to patch v1.39 so that then finally a DRM-free build will be distributed?

(I think we have had enough of this. If you have the opinion that requiring Steam to install your game is not DRM, feel free to do so)

You're still ignoring the fact that at the time they didn't know the game would be released in 2 parts. When it was split 6 months ago, they decided at first they'd manage it through Steam Early Access, and it's much more recently still that they've changed their mind about that, and decided to just release it as a season pass style deal. So they really haven't had that long to consider their options about a DRM free release for part 1 only, and it's quite reasonable to suppose that they might want to take their time over deciding on their non-steam release strategy and that while they were in crunch-mode to finish part 1 probably wasn't the best time.

If they were releasing all in one go, it would be reasonable to expect them to have had a longer lead time to organise stuff like release infrastructure on other platforms. But plans changed and with that we have to expect some level of flexibility.

Double Fine have actually bent over backwards to honour backer promises - they kept a lot of info private to backers even after it became apparent that in some cases this was really harming their PR. They did so again with the Beta release even though it risked (and arguably caused) a messier launch than they'd like. They've frequently given us information prior to an announcement even though the chance of a leak was high.

I don't think it's completely unreasonable for their response at this stage to be 'we're looking at it, please hold on a little longer'

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Another GOG user here.

I love the guys behind it and I love their policy. They really respect their legitimate customers.

I'm glad I didn't back The Banner Saga.

And I don't think I'll back something on Kickstarter ever again. I will wait for the release, from now on.

I'm not into GOG since they don't support my Platform (I think they should really do something about doing something for Linux-Gaming), but I love their position on DRM!

As to not backing something on Kickstarter: I had no problems with non-video-game Kickstarter. I backed >50 different projects (of which only 10 where video games - most of them aren't in a release status yet, next is probably Wasteland 2, but I haven't personally heard of any DRM shenanigans there myself). I had never had a problem myself with other projects, best example probably being a whole bunch of books. For each book I got a DRM-free copy in .epub .mobi or .pdf (as was promised). Maybe some people are right that bigger names hurt Kickstarter though, but my personal Kickstarter experience is still pretty positive. I will definitely continue using KS, but I will probably dodge video game project in the future (or at least make sure that they are in fact try to do their best to deliver what is promised somehow).

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You're still ignoring the fact that at the time they didn't know the game would be released in 2 parts. When it was split 6 months ago, they decided at first they'd manage it through Steam Early Access, and it's much more recently still that they've changed their mind about that, and decided to just release it as a season pass style deal. So they really haven't had that long to consider their options about a DRM free release for part 1 only, and it's quite reasonable to suppose that they might want to take their time over deciding on their non-steam release strategy and that while they were in crunch-mode to finish part 1 probably wasn't the best time.

If they were releasing all in one go, it would be reasonable to expect them to have had a longer lead time to organise stuff like release infrastructure on other platforms. But plans changed and with that we have to expect some level of flexibility.

Double Fine have actually bent over backwards to honour backer promises - they kept a lot of info private to backers even after it became apparent that in some cases this was really harming their PR. They did so again with the Beta release even though it risked (and arguably caused) a messier launch than they'd like. They've frequently given us information prior to an announcement even though the chance of a leak was high.

I don't think it's completely unreasonable for their response at this stage to be 'we're looking at it, please hold on a little longer'

No, I'm not ignoring that. I am fully aware that DF has looked into this thread and I think (or at least I hope) that this will get resolved in a satisfactory way for all parties involved. Also that is exactly one part of why I and others are grumpy about it: We (the people who care about DRM-free) are treated like 2nd-class consumers/supporters/backers/whatever because they don't include us in their planning!

But you are ignoring what DF is announcing to us! The didn't announce "We decided to make the public release earlier than planned, but we probably aren't going to make a DRM-free launch the same time, but we are looking into getting it in your hands ASAP!". They did say: "We release Act 1 Steam-exclusive". If they would have provided a good reason for it, than I would be saying: "Sucks, but you have tried what you could have done at least.". But they have given NO reason thus far.

And only after a whole bunch of pages (and possible other people contacting them/complaining/asking about it through other channels) they said "we are looking into it".

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Chill the hell down.

You see hefty walls of text, granted, but if you don't read or understand them, you can't just conclude people would be raving in here.

Steam's DRM is optional and no, installing a downloader is not DRM by any reasonable definition

Rights verification programs and drivers installed on your PC are in fact the entirety of the DRM technology, congratulations.

With your kind of stance, you wouldn't even have identified StarForce or Tages as DRM. I find that idea alarming.

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