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The anti-DRM thread

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SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
12,719
2,174
126
I agree about Steam when it first came around, but let's face it, once they hashed out most of it, it works. That was many many years ago. Hating on Steam now is just...well stubborn. There's much worse things in the world of DRM.
I agree. I've said it many times here on these forums, Steam is DRM done right. It does stop some level of piracy through technological blocks, but does it much more by simply making it easier to buy the game than pirate it. It adds to the experience more than it removed from it. Steam gives me a handy way to shop for games, store games, download games, launch games, stay informed on information from the developer about the games, get the updates, talk about the games, even get some community support for the games. All in a package that mostly just works and stays out of my way. It even lets play in offline mode.

Before Steam came along, as a lifelong avid PC gamer, I owned maybe 30-40 PC games in my entire life. I now have a library of over 300 PC games thanks to Steam sales. It is doing something right.
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,515
744
126
I agree. I've said it many times here on these forums, Steam is DRM done right. It does stop some level of piracy through technological blocks, but does it much more by simply making it easier to buy the game than pirate it. It adds to the experience more than it removed from it. Steam gives me a handy way to shop for games, store games, download games, launch games, stay informed on information from the developer about the games, get the updates, talk about the games, even get some community support for the games. All in a package that mostly just works and stays out of my way. It even lets play in offline mode.

Before Steam came along, as a lifelong avid PC gamer, I owned maybe 30-40 PC games in my entire life. I now have a library of over 300 PC games thanks to Steam sales. It is doing something right.
Yes and no. Steam is mostly good, and is the only way i buy games now for PC. However this may change in Jan 1 2019.
Steam has stated they are ending xp support. Lots of games will not run on win7 or newer, id say around 3-5% of my 1000+ games library will simply not run on win 7 or 10 . I play these old games regularly on steam in a XP VM i have setup strictly for old gaming, ive also got an old PC if i need to run games on actual hardware not a VM. If Valve does not release a legacy client that can work on xp to give people access to their old steam games that will no longer run on the new steam client then they are going to loose me as a customer.

I mean they are still selling hundreds of old games right now that wont run on new OS's and they are planning to cut that off in a month and just leave anyone who purchases those out in the cold? thats insane. Even fallout 3 says right on its steam page that it doesnt run well on win7 or newer OS.

If steam doesnt either:

A. Release a legacy client to allow access to old games on XP.
B. Send out DRM free versions of games to everyone who has purchased through steam a game that wont run on win7 or 10 so they may continue to play them as they wish in a VM or on old machine.
C. Refund everyone the purchase price of the games they can no longer play on new win7/10 steam client.

Then they are loosing me as a customer.

Valve has stated in the past that if they ever close down they will remove the DRM from steam so you dont loose your games forever, well closing winxp support is essentially closing down part of steams games catalog forever, as you will never again be able to play any game you purchased on steam that needs xp or older OS to run. So lets see what happens come jan 1st.
 

ImpulsE69

Lifer
Jan 8, 2010
14,794
824
126
Yea, if they are arbitrarily removing support for XP, but their games haven't been fixed to work on Win7/Win10, then yes, that is something to complain about and I am sure everyone will - one would think they have the foresight regarding this subject. On the other hand, if you go out to GoG and link your Steam account, you will get all those games free at GoG, and they have fixed many games (probably not everything) to work on the newer OS's.

I generally never have bought any games that old on Steam, so I wasn't even aware of this change, it won't imapact me at this point, but I could see it impacting a lot of people.
 

GodisanAtheist

Platinum Member
Nov 16, 2006
2,217
598
136
mad about a changing market leaving his preferences behind
- Ok.

I don't want to go back to the "old days" of gaming. It was a pain in the ass and I just don't have that kind of time anymore. Give me convenience or give me death. Sorry I destroyed your industry.

Dunno if it's been touched on in this discussion, but Steam as a platform has allowed publishers to take chances on indie devs and smaller publishers to flourish thanks to the infrastructure and distribution Steam provides.

Yeah "AAA" publishing houses are making questionable decisions with their games but... You know... Don't buy them?

Get into painting Warhammer figurines if you have money burning a hole in your pocket and hours of time to waste. Get into the game if you need 15 minutes of hate to center yourself (Codex creep!!!).
 
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BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
1,480
214
106
Steam gives me a handy way to shop for games, store games, download games, launch games, stay informed on information from the developer about the games, get the updates, talk about the games, even get some community support for the games.
It does, though the problem with such comparisons is people end up including every other unrelated feature they like about Steam as a whole (which has nothing to do with DRM) - vs the specific issue of DRM. Eg, an Internet store, digital downloads, a gaming discussion forum, community support, updates / patches, Indie devs, big sale discounts, big picture mode, cloud saves, achievements, etc, are unrelated features that can and do exist without even basic SteamWorks DRM (if a developer requests it), let alone CEG or Denuvo tacked on.

Yes and no. Steam is mostly good, and is the only way i buy games now for PC. However this may change in Jan 1 2019. Steam has stated they are ending xp support. Lots of games will not run on win7 or newer, id say around 3-5% of my 1000+ games library will simply not run on win 7 or 10 . I play these old games regularly on steam in a XP VM i have setup strictly for old gaming, ive also got an old PC if i need to run games on actual hardware not a VM. If Valve does not release a legacy client that can work on xp to give people access to their old steam games that will no longer run on the new steam client then they are going to loose me as a customer.
The best advice I can give here is to check out this list. It's a non-exhaustive community made list of games sold on Steam that don't include SteamWorks / CEG DRM and technically run without the Steam client even installed. Many older games can't have SteamWorks in, eg, it's impossible to link Windows Steam libraries to 16-bit DOS .exe's, so a lot of DOS / ScummVM games on Steam lack DRM). Any games on that list, you can basically download via the Steam client once and then zip up their folder into a zip file, and they should then be portable for future plays / reinstalls (like a GOG installer) even on different hardware without the need for the Steam client. I've tested it for several on that list, eg, Portal, Half Life 1-2, The Cave, Styx, some DOS titles, etc, and it does indeed work. So if you grab any needs XP titles now before 1st Jan 2019, zip them up then back them up, that might help minimise some damage. Likewise, anything that runs via source-ports are often immune. ScummVM, GZDoom, QuakeSpasm, etc, that kind of stuff.

Valve has stated in the past that if they ever close down they will remove the DRM from steam so you dont loose your games forever, well closing winxp support is essentially closing down part of steams games catalog forever, as you will never again be able to play any game you purchased on steam that needs xp or older OS to run. So lets see what happens come jan 1st.
Unfortunately, this is more urban myth that people want to believe than is actually truth. It goes back to one single post by Gabe Newell who said: "If you right click on a game in Steam, you'll see that you can back up the files yourself. Unless there was some situation I don't understand, we would presumably disable authentication before any event that would preclude the authentication servers from being available. We've tested disabling authentication and it works".

http://web.archive.org/web/20100108013432/http://forums.steampowered.com:80/forums/showpost.php?p=10642189&postcount=28

^ First up, that's an unofficial forum post by Gabe theorizing, and is by no means the same technical / legal / functional guarantee as say GOG's offline installers (for which it's written into their user agreement you have a legal right to continue to use post-GOG). Secondly, it only applies to stuff you've already downloaded and have installed / backed up locally. ie, if you have a big 4TB HDD with all your Steam games on simultaneously installed, you're good to go (as long as you back them all up). But if you only install a couple of games at once out of say 500 Steam games whilst the other 498 exist only on the cloud, then they can maybe change the client to allow those 2 you have installed to work, but if they ever shut down the authentication servers they'll obviously be shutting down the download servers at the same time and you won't be able to download the uninstalled 498 cloud games anyway, ie, the lack of GOG / Humble style offline installers will leave many people without most of their games anyway. And even then, any fix (which they may not even have a legal right to do so for non-Valve games nor can remove 3rd party Denuvo, etc) will almost certainly involve some client level workaround, eg, Steam Client patched to return an auto-check without even checking. Problem is, 5-10 years down the line, you may hit the same wall as you are now with XP if a then 10 year old Steam Client stops working due to Microsoft being Microsoft (but the games themselves run fine), and you're basically screwed if Valve isn't around to update it.

Of course, Steam are unlikely to go bankrupt financially. OTOH, they are a private business not beholden to shareholders and if Uncle Gabe ever got bored / cynical or just dropped dead in his old age and less than optimal weight and whoever in his family inherited it wanted nothing to do with gaming and just pulled the plug, poof, the whole lot would be gone overnight with zero legal recourse to anything (and with zero offline installers, no ability to continue to install the games you don't already have installed post download server shutdown). That's why they call it the Steam Subscriber Agreement - just like Netflix, everything you "own" ceases when the server's go down and your "subscription" ends regardless of that "We guarantee you'll be able to play everything" urban myth that literally no-one at Valve (including Gabe) has actually ever said.
 
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Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,515
744
126
It does, though the problem with such comparisons is people end up including every other unrelated feature they like about Steam as a whole (which has nothing to do with DRM) - vs the specific issue of DRM. Eg, an Internet store, digital downloads, a gaming discussion forum, community support, updates / patches, Indie devs, big sale discounts, big picture mode, cloud saves, achievements, etc, are unrelated features that can and do exist without even basic SteamWorks DRM (if a developer requests it), let alone CEG or Denuvo tacked on.



The best advice I can give here is to check out this list. It's a non-exhaustive community made list of games sold on Steam that don't include SteamWorks / CEG DRM and technically run without the Steam client even installed. Many older games can't have SteamWorks in, eg, it's impossible to link Windows Steam libraries to 16-bit DOS .exe's, so a lot of DOS / ScummVM games on Steam lack DRM). Any games on that list, you can basically download via the Steam client once and then zip up their folder into a zip file, and they should then be portable for future plays / reinstalls (like a GOG installer) even on different hardware without the need for the Steam client. I've tested it for several on that list, eg, Portal, Half Life 1-2, The Cave, Styx, some DOS titles, etc, and it does indeed work. So if you grab any needs XP titles now before 1st Jan 2019, zip them up then back them up, that might help minimise some damage. Likewise, anything that runs via source-ports are often immune. ScummVM, GZDoom, QuakeSpasm, etc, that kind of stuff.



Unfortunately, this is more urban myth that people want to believe than is actually truth. It goes back to one single post by Gabe Newell who said: "If you right click on a game in Steam, you'll see that you can back up the files yourself. Unless there was some situation I don't understand, we would presumably disable authentication before any event that would preclude the authentication servers from being available. We've tested disabling authentication and it works".

http://web.archive.org/web/20100108013432/http://forums.steampowered.com:80/forums/showpost.php?p=10642189&postcount=28

^ First up, that's an unofficial forum post by Gabe theorizing, and is by no means the same technical / legal / functional guarantee as say GOG's offline installers (for which it's written into their user agreement you have a legal right to continue to use post-GOG). Secondly, it only applies to stuff you've already downloaded and have installed / backed up locally. ie, if you have a big 4TB HDD with all your Steam games on simultaneously installed, you're good to go (as long as you back them all up). But if you only install a couple of games at once out of say 500 Steam games whilst the other 498 exist only on the cloud, then they can maybe change the client to allow those 2 you have installed to work, but if they ever shut down the authentication servers they'll obviously be shutting down the download servers at the same time and you won't be able to download the uninstalled 498 cloud games anyway, ie, the lack of GOG / Humble style offline installers will leave many people without most of their games anyway. And even then, any fix (which they may not even have a legal right to do so for non-Valve games nor can remove 3rd party Denuvo, etc) will almost certainly involve some client level workaround, eg, Steam Client patched to return an auto-check without even checking. Problem is, 5-10 years down the line, you may hit the same wall as you are now with XP if a then 10 year old Steam Client stops working due to Microsoft being Microsoft (but the games themselves run fine), and you're basically screwed if Valve isn't around to update it.

Of course, Steam are unlikely to go bankrupt financially. OTOH, they are a private business not beholden to shareholders and if Uncle Gabe ever got bored / cynical or just dropped dead in his old age and less than optimal weight and whoever in his family inherited it wanted nothing to do with gaming and just pulled the plug, poof, the whole lot would be gone overnight with zero legal recourse to anything (and with zero offline installers, no ability to continue to install the games you don't already have installed post download server shutdown). That's why they call it the Steam Subscriber Agreement - just like Netflix, everything you "own" ceases when the server's go down and your "subscription" ends regardless of that "We guarantee you'll be able to play everything" urban myth that literally no-one at Valve (including Gabe) has actually ever said.
Thanks for the list, i will check it out.

Really though it wouldnt take much for valve to release a legacy client that will run on only XP for old game access, with all the online and social crap striped out, just a bare client to allow people to play games from their library and thats it, dont even need to ever update or support it after the release.
 

zink77

Member
Jan 16, 2012
98
11
71
Either way corporations got what they wanted, preserving games in the future is going to be a nightmare since more and more games are going the "live service" always online direction. Definitely it sucks compared to getting level editors like QeRadiant with quake 3 in the 90's and programming sdk's.
 
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DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,995
833
126
Where were you guys in '2000 when this discussion was relevant?


Hey look every single thing we predicted came true; where's my medal?
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,515
744
126
Where were you guys in '2000 when this discussion was relevant?


Hey look every single thing we predicted came true; where's my medal?
All you can really do is vote with your wallet, and so far steam has been great for gaming.

But the second they decide to pull the no support at all for old games and we wont give you any way at all to play them crap then thats a different story.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,639
468
126
 
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TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
3,034
305
126
Thanks for the list, i will check it out.

Really though it wouldnt take much for valve to release a legacy client that will run on only XP for old game access, with all the online and social crap striped out, just a bare client to allow people to play games from their library and thats it, dont even need to ever update or support it after the release.
I'm pretty sure that's what steamOS is for,it not only adds support for linux but it will pretty much be able to run anything from any windows version but of course the work for doing any extra tweaks that might be needed will be on the devs of the games so don't hold your breath,anything that will stop running will probably be ported to steamOS at some point but it will probably take pretty long.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,639
468
126
Watch as EA remotely crashes Origin, then removes the guy's entire gaming library:


The service/client/store remote DRM killswitch(tm) in full glorious action.
 
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BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
1,480
214
106
Watch as EA remotely crashes Origin, then removes the guy's entire gaming library:

The service/client/store remote DRM killswitch(tm) in full glorious action.
Yeah I saw that. Even if he were in the wrong for breaking an NDA of one game, the fact ALL his games appear to have vanished (not just Anthem Beta) for giving them free advertising has to be the pinnacle of lameness. What's sad is it isn't the first time EA have proven how fragile online cloud-only libraries are. Personally, I wouldn't even think about buying classics like Dragon Age Origins, Crysis, MoH:AA, etc, anywhere that didn't offer a GOG-style local DRM-Free installer / backup option. Not just for incidents like this but also other stuff, eg, music / soundtrack rights expiring and the publisher starts remotely force deleting songs not just from new copies sold but everyone's existing copy in their game library too. The only two groups of people immune to that are those with GOG-style offline installers, and of course pirates who yet again get the more stable / superior version as time goes by... :rolleyes:
 
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SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
12,719
2,174
126
The only two groups of people immune to that are those with GOG-style offline installers
This is only really useful is you download and maintain all your own installers. If you keep them on GOG's cloud server then you are just as susceptible to this sort of thing as you are on EA or Steam.
 

BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
1,480
214
106
This is only really useful is you download and maintain all your own installers. If you keep them on GOG's cloud server then you are just as susceptible to this sort of thing as you are on EA or Steam.
I do just that though. So do a lot of GOG customers as it's the main selling point of the store. Other advantages of having installers locally (eg, on a NAS) = much faster re-install times for very large games vs re-downloading and full version control (if a new update breaks or adds / changes something unwanted, then you get to keep the old version). Already experienced the latter with a couple of games.
 

TheELF

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2012
3,034
305
126
I do just that though. So do a lot of GOG customers as it's the main selling point of the store. Other advantages of having installers locally (eg, on a NAS) = much faster re-install times for very large games vs re-downloading and full version control (if a new update breaks or adds / changes something unwanted, then you get to keep the old version). Already experienced the latter with a couple of games.
I don't know how well known this is but any folder in your SteamLibrary\steamapps\common works as an "installation" or backup, you can archive (zip/rar) individual folders (or all of it) and unzip them back into place whenever you want,steam will notice if it's not really installed and will install dependencies and/or fix the registry as needed.
The only difference is the DRM of course,most games won't work without steam.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,639
468
126
More evidence of the performance cancer that Denuvo is on legitimate customers:

If you see people claiming online that Denuvo has no performance impact, they're patently wrong.

Credit where credit's due: Dishonored 2/Outsider has had Denuvo removed. They replaced it with an optional Bethesda.net logon. As long as it stays optional, that's fine with me.

Kudos to Bethesda/Arkane for this great customer-centric decision. If you've boycotted the game because of Denuvo, now's a good time to respond with your wallet.
 

BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
1,480
214
106
More evidence of the performance cancer that Denuvo is on legitimate customers:

If you see people claiming online that Denuvo has no performance impact, they're patently wrong.
They've been wrong all along. Denial is a powerful emotion and some people just don't want to admit paying customers regularly get a worse experience than pirates. I think one of the more comical comparisons was when Syberia 3 came out and the removal of Denuvo reduced startup times from 47s (with Denuvo) to under 7s (without) for a simple point & click adventure game. "Nope, nothing to see here folks, it must all be a conspiracy, tinfoil hat or something". LOL. Gotta love how anti-consumer some modern "gamers" have become...
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,995
833
126
Try not to focus on the *quality* of DRM but rather on the concept. If Denuvo didnt suck performance-wise, it would still be bad. You cant concede on the Final Sale ideology.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,639
468
126
Look's like Steam's fallen over:
Hurrah for cloud DRM!!! :rolleyes:

Of course the pirates are fully enjoying their cracked Steam games as we speak, for $0.00.
 

KeithP

Diamond Member
Jun 15, 2000
5,557
142
106
Man there is so much idiocy in this thread...
Which you have so eloquently demonstrated.

Where were you guys in '2000 when this discussion was relevant?
Hey look every single thing we predicted came true; where's my medal?
Nobody had to wait, the same thing happened with Windows 98 and ME… Steam Windows 98 and ME Notice
I don't remember a huge outcry back then although I could be wrong about that.

-KeithP
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
10,995
833
126
So Steam doesnt run on ME and 98 ? Good. people who genuinely run ME should not be allowed online.
 

zink77

Member
Jan 16, 2012
98
11
71
Which you have so eloquently demonstrated.

-KeithP
Well when your drm infested games disappear and you can no longer play "MMO's" (AKA rpg's that were server locked with drm to add a subscription to sell to the gullible). Gaming history will have been destroyed by people like you. Only idiots would pay for software they don't own or control.
 

BFG10K

Lifer
Aug 14, 2000
21,639
468
126
The Division 2 won't be available on Steam but on the Epic Store: https://www.pcgamer.com/the-division-2-will-be-on-the-epic-store-not-steam/

This is the future, folks. Mutually exclusive groups of games silo'd to various DRM'd launchers, masquerading as "services". And yet more opportunity for personal customer data to be leaked with no consequence to the gatekeepers.

What's particularly ironic about this example is that the game will no doubt link back to uplay and will probably have Denuvo, which makes the whole thing even more incestuous. Multiple storefronts launching multiple DRM layers just to start a single game.

Meanwhile, the pirates just double-click the exe.
 
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BSim500

Golden Member
Jun 5, 2013
1,480
214
106
Meanwhile, the pirates just double-click the exe.
It is absurd isn't it. "But I want all my games in one place & don't want to have to keep track of what client launches which game, don't want my games locked to my hardware with custom .exe's, don't want to lose my whole game collection if the distributor ever pulls the plug, don't want up to -30% performance penalties from multi-layered virtualized based DRM, don't want every single thing I do in-game tracked online, don't want to be punished for missing out on pre-order exclusive bonuses due to doing the responsible thing and waiting for the post-release reviews, and don't want 3rd party licensed content such as soundtracks being retro-actively remotely disabled for everyone in future when their contract with the publisher expires". So the score remains at Pirates (8) : Paying Customers (0) on pretty much every store but GOG...
 

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