Steam Gets Civilized

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Steam Gets Civilized

Some long-time Civilization fans are getting pretty steamed.

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As a long-time Civilization fan, I say this is fantastic news.
I have honestly never seen a Civilization game in a brick-and-mortar store in my entire life.

As always, I really don't get what the controversy is about. As far as I can tell, Steam is just plain BOSS (for lack of a better term).

"If they want to play the game they must install Steam, even if they don't want to play multiplayer."
So?
I don't get what all the fuzz is about.

Why should we not support the platform that offers the best value, excellent connectivity and a good friend system just because it might become bad in the future.
There are plenty of people who hate Modern Warfare 2 but none of them regret cod2 or 4.

Auto patching can be turned off and if you want to play multiplayer you would have to patch it anyway so thats not a major deal.

The steam client is one of the best if not the best. Impulse is a joke. I love soase but trying to use the impulse matchmaking was terrible. It uses irc as the group chat which is fine but not exactly user friendly.

Just because its "cool" to take shots at the big guy doesn't mean it makes sense especially if the competition is so far behind.

Edit: Also if it didn't have steam it would probably have an even more restrictive drm system that would need an internet connection at least once.

I'll be the first in the thread to be on the anti-steam side of the fence then.

The controversy is about having to install a programme that will do absolutely nothing for me bar sit there taking memory.

I have no intention playing Civilization online, mainly because the AI is superb and I am perfectly happy with playing the computer; and secondly I personally don't feel multiplayer is well suited to this particular game.

This is enough of an aggravation for me that I'm seriously considering not getting this game (and I've been a devout fan since the Amiga), I really am not willing to encourage a developing trend of tertiary software requirements.

I really don't get the argument about Steam basically being "always online DRM", it DOES have an offline mode, and you can set it to auto-login for you when you load up Windows, so really once you've installed it then you can just pretty much ignore it if you don't want any of the benefits Steam has to offer.

"Six years ago Half-Life 2 came out as a Steam exclusive. Fans of the series got a chance to figure out what the platform was all about, and then they had to decide if they were willing to accept it, or miss out on the flagship of all FPS games."

Not a bad column by any means but.. what? Half-Life 2 the flagship of FPS? Yes, I'm an admitted HL2 unbeliever but even if I stretch my imagination (and tolerance) as far as it (they) can go, I still can't see any truth in this statement.

Don't Poke My Bobcat:

The controversy is about having to install a programme that will do absolutely nothing for me bar sit there taking memory..

That's about the only drawback I can see. But Steam takes up roughly the same resources as a Web Browser.

And in Offline Mode... About half as much as Firefox.

I myself use Steam mainly because it's an easy way to try games for $5-$10... BUT I prefer to have the option. If I'm paying full retail price for a game, I expect to get a disc, and the abillity to back it up and play it anytime I want from now until the stars go cold. As much of a juggernaut as STEAM seems to be right now there is no guarantee that 5 or 10 years from now things will be the same way. They could sell out to another company, go bankrupt, or any of a million other things... and when they do, they take my games with them. Now granted, I probably have spent a couple hundred dollars on Steam for all these little games that were on sale, losing them will tick me off, but then again that risk was mitigated by the price.

What slots me off is when I go out to a retail store, and buy a physical copy of a game, and then get home and find out that the game is basically a glorified download code. An example of this kind of thing is "Mount and Blade: Warband" which being a small developer I should have expected something like this, but I pretty much jumped at the oppertunity to own that game on disc and then (admittedly stupidly now) found out it still required STEAM.

The thing is that all the bellyaching in the world isn't going to change things. In general the game industry has learned to ignore the fans, because we'll buy the games anyway despite our complaining. Really the only way to stop stuff like this is going to be if enough people (by the millions internatioally) decided that they would stop buying games entirely until the industry changed it's practices.

JEBWrench:

Don't Poke My Bobcat:

The controversy is about having to install a programme that will do absolutely nothing for me bar sit there taking memory..

That's about the only drawback I can see. But Steam takes up roughly the same resources as a Web Browser.

And in Offline Mode... About half as much as Firefox.

If this is a problem for your machine then you have far more pressing concerns then installing steam.

What I hate about steam is their online activation system for hard disk games - I have Half Life 2 and Half Life 2 Episode one - they've been by my desk for weeks now - but can't play them because the store ripped me off - they weren't labelled as preowned, but the code has been activated.

Pandora92:
"always online DRM"

It may not be "always online", but it is "always on", This is terrible news as I would buy games like this on other platforms to avoid having to run steam to play them.

Steam, while browsing the store, is using 24mb of ram, roughly 0.7% of one cpu core and doesn't even touch my video card at all. In game, it offloads most functions to the game itself and uses even less. Offline mode cuts the RAM usage in half ontop of that. If this causes a noticeable slowdown on your system, I advise you to install it on a PC instead of a phone.

Acidwell:
Why should we not support the platform that offers the best value, excellent connectivity and a good friend system just because it might become bad in the future.
There are plenty of people who hate Modern Warfare 2 but none of them regret cod2 or 4.

Auto patching can be turned off and if you want to play multiplayer you would have to patch it anyway so thats not a major deal.

The steam client is one of the best if not the best. Impulse is a joke. I love soase but trying to use the impulse matchmaking was terrible. It uses irc as the group chat which is fine but not exactly user friendly.

Just because its "cool" to take shots at the big guy doesn't mean it makes sense especially if the competition is so far behind.

Edit: Also if it didn't have steam it would probably have an even more restrictive drm system that would need an internet connection at least once.

Well, To be fair to the competitors, Steam has taken pages from the Impulse play book with regards to sales.

I love steam, I love valve, I also love Civilization. I have around 150 steam games, and I've not regretted the purchase of a single one. (around 3 were BAD games, but I got them for so cheap, i can't even be angry.)

I can understand though, why people who don't need steam for anything else feel. It's how I felt about rockstar social club when playing GTAIV, I HATE rockstar social club.

Steam is a blessing for those who want it's features. Steam is a curse for those who don't need it.

That said, as far as DRM scheme's go, just having steam as one is preferable to me than Securom, or pretty much ANY other DRM scheme out there now.

StriderShinryu:
"Six years ago Half-Life 2 came out as a Steam exclusive. Fans of the series got a chance to figure out what the platform was all about, and then they had to decide if they were willing to accept it, or miss out on the flagship of all FPS games."

Not a bad column by any means but.. what? Half-Life 2 the flagship of FPS? Yes, I'm an admitted HL2 unbeliever but even if I stretch my imagination (and tolerance) as far as it (they) can go, I still can't see any truth in this statement.

When it came out, i'd go so far as to call it the Flagship. It's not NOW but the genre has shifted towards the multi-player death-match since it's release.

I think the problem here comes from the Civilization 4: The Complete Edition (it could be on the others, but I only have this edition, so if it is on others let me know and I'll edit accordingly). For those that did get the hard copy of the game, there was a little something on the back:

DRM Free: The complete Civ IVTM experience with no Digital Rights Management limitations.

So really, whether you like Steam or not, this is already a step backwards from where the series was with Civ IV.

Emlyn:

If this is a problem for your machine then you have far more pressing concerns then installing steam.

Though Civilization games have often appealed to people with lower-end machines, because they're not as taxing as games of the same generation.

I do remember a time when "You have a program running in the background that takes up 12-40 MB of RAM" was a terrible burden.

Acidwell:
Why should we not support the platform that offers the best value, excellent connectivity and a good friend system just because it might become bad in the future.
There are plenty of people who hate Modern Warfare 2 but none of them regret cod2 or 4.

Auto patching can be turned off and if you want to play multiplayer you would have to patch it anyway so thats not a major deal.

The steam client is one of the best if not the best. Impulse is a joke. I love soase but trying to use the impulse matchmaking was terrible. It uses irc as the group chat which is fine but not exactly user friendly.

Just because its "cool" to take shots at the big guy doesn't mean it makes sense especially if the competition is so far behind.

Edit: Also if it didn't have steam it would probably have an even more restrictive drm system that would need an internet connection at least once.

I somewhat agree on best vaules, some old games are a bit pricy, and Team Fortress 2 is $20 on steam and $10 in stores.

Damn it why do i need steam, I don't play multiplayer(except local) and I hate auto-updates not to mention I despise having steam on my computer. The only reason I have it right now is because I need to for DOW2 and I hate the fact that it takes about 5 min for steam to launch, then update, then look for updates for the game, then it prepares to launch for another 3, then finally lets me play my damn game.

JEBWrench:

That's about the only drawback I can see. But Steam takes up roughly the same resources as a Web Browser.

And in Offline Mode... About half as much as Firefox.

It isn't about what it consumes, its the point of having it there in the first place.

Emlyn:

If this is a problem for your machine then you have far more pressing concerns then installing steam.

My rig has no issues with these things in the slightest - I think people are getting too hung up on this. I like how its a "concern" however.

Perhaps I should have stopped at "The controversy is about having to install a programme that will do absolutely nothing for me".

To put it blunt, I shouldn't have to turn on my air conditioner to drive my car.

I'm a long time civilization fan and I have no problem that with this. I'm just glad that I have a insurance that if I lose my game or the disc breaks I can download it from steam. That is why I like when a game I buy come with a steam code. ;P

StriderShinryu:
"Six years ago Half-Life 2 came out as a Steam exclusive. Fans of the series got a chance to figure out what the platform was all about, and then they had to decide if they were willing to accept it, or miss out on the flagship of all FPS games."

Not a bad column by any means but.. what? Half-Life 2 the flagship of FPS? Yes, I'm an admitted HL2 unbeliever but even if I stretch my imagination (and tolerance) as far as it (they) can go, I still can't see any truth in this statement.

I think he means the half-life series was a flagship.

Here's the thing about Civ V. It's using steam for it's community, mod distribution and online multiplayer matching. Would you rather they used gamespy or something else? Steam filled the gap with easy to use tools that did exactly what they needed, so they took advantage of that.

I agree it's a kick in the balls to NEED to install steam (even though I love steam) but at least understand the reason for them doing this. Ideally, they would allow you to install a "non steam" version of the game that doesn't use steam at all or have any community or online features for the people who want that. Even if they did I would use the steam version.

StriderShinryu:
"Six years ago Half-Life 2 came out as a Steam exclusive. Fans of the series got a chance to figure out what the platform was all about, and then they had to decide if they were willing to accept it, or miss out on the flagship of all FPS games."

At the time is was released (and the whole brouhaha about the mandatory Steam install) it was definitely the flagship FPS game. Hell, it's not that far from it now, as far as story-driven shooters go - which is kind of a sad thing to think about, given how much time has passed.

theSovietConnection:
I think the problem here comes from the Civilization 4: The Complete Edition (it could be on the others, but I only have this edition, so if it is on others let me know and I'll edit accordingly).

I don't believe that was the case for previous releases. I know for sure that Civ IV: Colonization included SecuROM in its release, and that's a part of the Complete Edition (without DRM).

By the time a collection like that comes out, it's practically a bargain bin title anyway, so the need for DRM is pretty low.

I'm a Civ fan and really don't mind this. I would have them on steam then the crappy Impulse and Gamers Gate junk. Steam has better tech support for my needs and my games have forums which are very easy to get to.

SirBryghtside:
What I hate about steam is their online activation system for hard disk games - I have Half Life 2 and Half Life 2 Episode one - they've been by my desk for weeks now - but can't play them because the store ripped me off - they weren't labelled as preowned, but the code has been activated.

And how is that Steams problem?

Your issue is with the store that ripped you off not Steam, what sort of dumb system would allow you to register a code that's already been registered on a different account, that'd just give pirates free reign.

Granted, I have stepped out from the PC gaming for quite some time, trading all that lovely hardware upgrading for the comfort of my couch, HDTV and a Xbox360 console.

This sounds much of a hassle for me. I am somewhat 'happy' I am using Xbox Live. Auto-patches, everything in reach with a few scrolling and clicks. Fast and reliable. No activations needed, no idiotic DRM from publishers.

All in all, I wonder where PC gaming is going towards lately. An interesting article!

It is sad there is no other option, perhaps if they released on Impulse concurrently?

But, I love steam. After losing my HL2 discs, I was suprised to find out that on reinstalling steam-- to buy a new copy electronically-- I already owned it, and it was already downloading the installers.

Wow.

I now have about half my collection, and most recent games, purchased through steam.

Baron Khaine:

SirBryghtside:
What I hate about steam is their online activation system for hard disk games - I have Half Life 2 and Half Life 2 Episode one - they've been by my desk for weeks now - but can't play them because the store ripped me off - they weren't labelled as preowned, but the code has been activated.

And how is that Steams problem?

Your issue is with the store that ripped you off not Steam, what sort of dumb system would allow you to register a code that's already been registered on a different account, that'd just give pirates free reign.

No, you're missing my point - it's about the general idea of Steam, and how stores could very easily do this in future, not because of Steam's ignorance but because of the store's greediness. It'd be quite easy for them to do.

*stores in bank of money making schemes*

I WAS looking forward to this one. While I used to hate the console controller and long for a good old mouse and keyboard instead, I find I'm getting pretty okay with the dualshock nowadays.

As a long-time Civilization fan, I must say that this is a *huge* step backwards. Civ is simply not a game you need an internet connection for whatsoever. About 1/3 of the time I play, I'm *without* an internet connection, and Steam requires to be booted with an internet connection before being able to turn on the off-line mode. This is shamelessly selling out those playing on laptops or the few who are without a stable internet connection.

On Steam, I only buy games which are really cheap and which I won't regret losing when the company/service goes bust. Actually quite a few of the games I own on Steam I already own on physical media, but wanted to have a digital copy so I'd avoid installation and shit (like SW:KOTOR on 4 CDs).

But actually I do favor Steam somewhat. I wanted to give D2D a shot when they had some sweet deals, but guess what - those weren't available in Europe, so screw them. Underdogs are fine, if they actually behave like they want me to purchase their stuff.

And don't clog up the memory. Steam already takes up 160 Megs, geez.

Also, I don't care if the games on digital distribution systems are multiplatform or exclusive. I just want them to compete with each other, so I get more weekend deals.

Huh. I don't care, frankly. Even though I've never once played Civ 4/Warlords outside of singleplayer, I also use and love Steam. So, this doesn't really affect me at all. I was planning on buying it via Steam anyway.

I really cannot wait for Valve to get put under investigation for their anti-competitive practices. They are simply bullies who make everyone else happy.

As much as I usually enjoy your columns, I feel that this one misses the point. The outrage at Civfanatics is promarily directed at the DLC. I mean, jesus christ, this is not only day-one DLC in a game people had already pegged as a bastion of old school gaming, but they will actually sell an entire Civ as a DLC!!!

Not only is this extremely pointless, seeing as Firaxis have already promised "unprecedented modability" which means that copying the civ is a matter of ctrl-c/ctrl-v, but this is also a potential slippery slope I am afraid to even think about. I mean, when does the "tropical luxury resource" DLC (2) come out? What about "civilizations of the far east" DLC (10$) or the "modern tech" DLC (5€) that allows a couple of more advanced future techs?

DlCs makes people feel like they are buying an incomplete product. Of course, had you asked us two weeks ago we would have laughed at the idea of good ol' Sid making a game with day one DLC, but now that that illusion has been broken we aren't able to trust the series anymore - people capable of releasing day one DLC are capable of anything. Who knows if Firaxis takes the Sims approach to civ, releasing ever new useless content at vastly inflated prices, while making everyone that doesn't have it feel like they are having half a product (that they have paid for btw)...

No, this is definitely decline of the civilizations series.

Shamus has got me thinking. I hate it when he does that. Basically there's two outlooks

1) Steam provides the superior service, why shouldn't it be rewarded with Market Share?
or
2) Even a superior Digital Distribution Service isn't ideal, shouldn't the consumers who disagree with the entire concept have an alternative choice?

I think both sides are right, Consumers should have final say AND hard work and good policy should always be rewarded. In the end though, its all irrelevant. Companies don't care about consumer agency any more than is absolutely necessary, and if hard work and good policies were the only metric for success then Ubisoft would have gone out of business forever ago.

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