The DRM-Free Paradise Behind the Curtain

Giant Bomb, GameSpot and many other press outlets cover Steam almost exclusively when it comes to the PC, to the point where one would be forgiven for thinking that Valve's DRM service was the only place to get games. I got to thinking about this after seeing GB's quick look for The Chaos Engine. I'm not sure if there's some sort of agenda driving the "Steam is PC gaming, submit to DRM" mantra, and I hesitate to call it a fanboy agenda (though, let's be honest, Valve and Blizzard the Nintendo of PC gaming), but I thought I'd take a moment to highlight a few great PC gaming services that offer a wide variety of DRM-free gaming.

GOG.com - This is perhaps the most famous DRM-free service out there. Starting out mainly as a means of reviving classics for modern PCs, they've grown into more and more current game experiences, including the reboots for Rise of the Triad and Shadow Warrior. Of course, since the service is run by CD Projekt, they really got on the map with the first new AAA game release on the serive, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. They have an enormous library of games, and it's constantly growing. The sales are pretty cool too. This was also the first place to get the re-release of System Shock 2.

DotEmu.com - While not quite as vast as GOG, DotEmu makes itself known with a variety of arcade collections, as well as a ton of Sega Genesis titles for those who'd like legal, DRM-free alternatives to running them on emulators. there isn't QUITE as much overlap between GOG and DotEmu as one would think, making it worthwhile to look at both stores from time to time. The only thing is that bringing up their genre catalogs can be a bit slow at times - the site needs some serious streamlining. However, DRM-free means client-free, so once you buy, it's all good. They also have android and iOS stores, but I mainly look at their glorious DRM-free PC selection.

The Humble Bundle (mostly). While not always DRM-free, the Indie bundles are almost always DRM-free in addition to Steam Keys. They even have an Android Widget to offer DRM-free android games, which is well beyond the call of duty.

Bundle In A Box - Another "pay what you want" service, this one is far more committed to DRM-free gaming, which makes it a fair alternative even to Humble Bundle.

These are the ones I know off-hand, but if you know some more, let me (and other readers) know! And please, don't take this as some Steam hate post. While I've fallen out of love with DRM, if you can deal with it, that's cool. However, I hope that by posting this, people become more aware that there are options for DRM-free gaming on PC... LOTS of DRM-free gaming. Hopefully, by making people more aware of the many viable alternatives, we can get the gaming media, and even some of the Steam fanboys, to acknowledge that there's a world beyond their walls.

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Posted by punkxblaze

@yukoasho said:

Giant Bomb, GameSpot and many other press outlets cover Steam almost exclusively when it comes to the PC, to the point where one would be forgiven for thinking that Valve's DRM service was the only place to get games. I got to thinking about this after seeing GB's quick look for The Chaos Engine. I'm not sure if there's some sort of agenda driving the "Steam is PC gaming, submit to DRM" mantra, and I hesitate to call it a fanboy agenda (though, let's be honest, Valve and Blizzard the Nintendo of PC gaming), but I thought I'd take a moment to highlight a few great PC gaming services that offer a wide variety of DRM-free gaming.

First off, thank you for all the links. While I was aware of GoG and, of course, the Humble Bundles, the others were new to me; I'll have to check 'em out.

But also, I think GB primarily quick looks PC games on Steam for one of two reasons-- A: It's a commercial title that they get free to review on a press account, which is a tidbit they've references a few times on the Bombcast, or B: Steam is super convenient, especially when it comes to having your PC library in one big, singular place. I don't think it's necessarily any sort of agenda, I think it's just a matter of convenience, kind of like them often playing the 360 version of things because that's what gets sent to them.

Posted by mlarrabee

I freaking love GOG (the service mentioned that I've used the most). I check it so much more often than Steam, and I have everything I've ever bought zipped up and on an external drive.

Because everything there doesn't rely on a running process or (possibly eventually) volatile service, I can buy with complete confidence, so if something is available on both I always go with the GOG version.

Edited by YukoAsho

@punkxblaze said:

@yukoasho said:

Giant Bomb, GameSpot and many other press outlets cover Steam almost exclusively when it comes to the PC, to the point where one would be forgiven for thinking that Valve's DRM service was the only place to get games. I got to thinking about this after seeing GB's quick look for The Chaos Engine. I'm not sure if there's some sort of agenda driving the "Steam is PC gaming, submit to DRM" mantra, and I hesitate to call it a fanboy agenda (though, let's be honest, Valve and Blizzard the Nintendo of PC gaming), but I thought I'd take a moment to highlight a few great PC gaming services that offer a wide variety of DRM-free gaming.

First off, thank you for all the links. While I was aware of GoG and, of course, the Humble Bundles, the others were new to me; I'll have to check 'em out.

But also, I think GB primarily quick looks PC games on Steam for one of two reasons-- A: It's a commercial title that they get free to review on a press account, which is a tidbit they've references a few times on the Bombcast, or B: Steam is super convenient, especially when it comes to having your PC library in one big, singular place. I don't think it's necessarily any sort of agenda, I think it's just a matter of convenience, kind of like them often playing the 360 version of things because that's what gets sent to them.

You know, I can't help but wonder if GoG and DotEmu and the like are even ASKED for press access... Obviously I'm on the outside looking in, but I'd love to know how that works.

Of course, nothing stops the publishers of these titles from just emailing them, so maybe asking THEM would be a better avenue.

Posted by punkxblaze

@yukoasho said:

@punkxblaze said:

@yukoasho said:

Giant Bomb, GameSpot and many other press outlets cover Steam almost exclusively when it comes to the PC, to the point where one would be forgiven for thinking that Valve's DRM service was the only place to get games. I got to thinking about this after seeing GB's quick look for The Chaos Engine. I'm not sure if there's some sort of agenda driving the "Steam is PC gaming, submit to DRM" mantra, and I hesitate to call it a fanboy agenda (though, let's be honest, Valve and Blizzard the Nintendo of PC gaming), but I thought I'd take a moment to highlight a few great PC gaming services that offer a wide variety of DRM-free gaming.

First off, thank you for all the links. While I was aware of GoG and, of course, the Humble Bundles, the others were new to me; I'll have to check 'em out.

But also, I think GB primarily quick looks PC games on Steam for one of two reasons-- A: It's a commercial title that they get free to review on a press account, which is a tidbit they've references a few times on the Bombcast, or B: Steam is super convenient, especially when it comes to having your PC library in one big, singular place. I don't think it's necessarily any sort of agenda, I think it's just a matter of convenience, kind of like them often playing the 360 version of things because that's what gets sent to them.

You know, I can't help but wonder if GoG and DotEmu and the like are even ASKED for press access... Obviously I'm on the outside looking in, but I'd love to know how that works.

Of course, nothing stops the publishers of these titles from just emailing them, so maybe asking THEM would be a getter avenue.

Good question, for sure. I'd imagine as far as up-to-date games go, it's probably more up to the developer or publisher than the service themselves, but for older, emulated/etc titles it would be interesting to know if that's a factor.

Posted by ZombiePie

@yukoasho said:

@punkxblaze said:

@yukoasho said:

Giant Bomb, GameSpot and many other press outlets cover Steam almost exclusively when it comes to the PC, to the point where one would be forgiven for thinking that Valve's DRM service was the only place to get games. I got to thinking about this after seeing GB's quick look for The Chaos Engine. I'm not sure if there's some sort of agenda driving the "Steam is PC gaming, submit to DRM" mantra, and I hesitate to call it a fanboy agenda (though, let's be honest, Valve and Blizzard the Nintendo of PC gaming), but I thought I'd take a moment to highlight a few great PC gaming services that offer a wide variety of DRM-free gaming.

First off, thank you for all the links. While I was aware of GoG and, of course, the Humble Bundles, the others were new to me; I'll have to check 'em out.

But also, I think GB primarily quick looks PC games on Steam for one of two reasons-- A: It's a commercial title that they get free to review on a press account, which is a tidbit they've references a few times on the Bombcast, or B: Steam is super convenient, especially when it comes to having your PC library in one big, singular place. I don't think it's necessarily any sort of agenda, I think it's just a matter of convenience, kind of like them often playing the 360 version of things because that's what gets sent to them.

You know, I can't help but wonder if GoG and DotEmu and the like are even ASKED for press access... Obviously I'm on the outside looking in, but I'd love to know how that works.

Of course, nothing stops the publishers of these titles from just emailing them, so maybe asking THEM would be a better avenue.

Many publishers have gotten to the point where they send Steam codes instead of copies of games that can only be redeemed on Steam Press Accounts.

Moderator
Posted by YukoAsho

@zombiepie: Well I can certainly see the appeal of games that can't be played away from the press, but at the same time, I wish gaming media would stop pretending that Steam is the only digital platform out there, or the only profitable one, simply because it's convenient for them.

Then again, I could say that about many things we see in the gaming media. The press seems to confuse what THEY want with what everyone wants. I remember there being more than a bit of confusion among press types when people rejected the Xbone DRM, and I think it's because of that inability to separate their position of privilidge from the normal person's experiences. Most of us don't need to move a save to four consoles, many of us DO take our games to a buddy's house (some even make a huge party of it - including these crazy mother fuckers) or just lend/give to friends and family and would rather not have to do a dance.

Again, if Steam or pre-reversal Xbone living is for them, I'm happy for them. But it's not for me, it's not for a ton of people, and I just wish the gaming press would acknowledge the world beyond them and those like them.

Edited by Skytylz

i pretty much only buy stuff from Steam at this point so it's all in the same place. I don't buy stuff from GoG because it doesn't have Steam DRM. The convenience of having stuff on steam heavily outweighs the almost non-existent draw backs of the DRM. Even when i don't have internet access I've never tried to play something on steam and not been able to.

Posted by YukoAsho

@skytylz said:

The convenience of having stuff on steam heavily outweighs the almost non-existent draw backs of the DRM. Even when i don't have internet access I've never tried to play something on steam and not been able to.

I don't get how it's any more or less convenient than just having the game. Is double-clicking on the desktop really that hard?

Posted by TowerSixteen

@yukoasho said:

Again, if Steam or pre-reversal Xbone living is for them, I'm happy for them. But it's not for me, it's not for a ton of people, and I just wish the gaming press would acknowledge the world beyond them and those like them.

A great way to have a reasonable discussion is to assume the people who you are criticizing are doing what they're doing because they're massive, black-hole egos don't allow them to think from any perspective but there own. It makes you seem like a person whom talking with wouldn't be a massive waste of time.

Actually, everything you've posted since the top reeks of a kind of "wake up, sheeple!" rhetoric. Steams got the most comprehensive game library, the most sales, and the largest multi-game online community, for those who care about that. And what do you get for forsaking it? You get rid of one of the least obtrusive DRM systems ever.

There's no agenda to keep other sites down. Your overestimating how common it is to be bothered by steam, and it's not like people never talk about other services when they do something relevant, the humble bundle store in particular gets a fair amount of play. And your not fooling anybody, so stop hiding behind, faux-diplomatic talk. It's pretty obvious that you think people SHOULD be bothered by steam's DRM, and that there is a right and wrong choice here. Just say that.

Posted by YukoAsho

@towersixteen: I'm sorry that's how you take it. However, what does bother me about Steam is that it's become all-powerful, to the point where being allowed on Steam is, for many, the sole barometer of whether they should even bother putting their games on PC at all. This is becoming an all-too-common story in the once-diverse landscape of PC gaming. I don't mind Steam, but I strongly object to Steam becoming the monopoly that it is fast becoming in the PC landscape. Oh, and you say that other services get talked about when they do something relevant, but where was the talk about System Shock 2 hitting GOG after ages of legal crap kept it from being re-released despite demand? That was a landmark victory for classic game preservation, and not even one story. Or how about being able to claim GOG copies of Witcher 2 off retail codes? their massive #NoDRM sale in June of this year? All ignored while the press went gaga over their gods, the American Nintendo.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@yukoasho said:

Where was the talk about System Shock 2 hitting GOG after ages of legal crap kept it from being re-released despite demand? That was a landmark victory for classic game preservation, and not even one story.

I think there actually was at least some discussion about this. I don't have anything readily available, but I'm pretty sure I remember this being discussed. Hell, Giant Bomb played it on Unprofessional Friday's, at one point.

(I also wanted to say something about Steam being a bottom-up monopoly in addition to your comments, but couldn't figure out how to make it relevant.)

Posted by YukoAsho

@yukoasho said:

Where was the talk about System Shock 2 hitting GOG after ages of legal crap kept it from being re-released despite demand? That was a landmark victory for classic game preservation, and not even one story.

I think there actually was at least some discussion about this. I don't have anything readily available, but I'm pretty sure I remember this being discussed. Hell, Giant Bomb played it on Unprofessional Friday's, at one point.

(I also wanted to say something about Steam being a bottom-up monopoly in addition to your comments, but couldn't figure out how to make it relevant.)

I only found two news articles here at least on the System Shock 2 page, neither about the GOG release. Also, no talk anywhere of the sale (Steam sales are pimped relentlessly), or about their indie outreach, which isn't a damned popularity contest like Greenlight, but actually curated by them directly. Hell, if it weren't for GameVerse, I doubt I'd be able to find any sites outside of the vendors themselves who talk about them.

Posted by believer258

@yukoasho said:

@skytylz said:

The convenience of having stuff on steam heavily outweighs the almost non-existent draw backs of the DRM. Even when i don't have internet access I've never tried to play something on steam and not been able to.

I don't get how it's any more or less convenient than just having the game. Is double-clicking on the desktop really that hard?

I think he's getting at the idea that with Steam, everything you own is in one neat list of games. You don't have to keep track of which games are tied to which accounts along with the usernames, e-mail addresses, and passwords of all of them.

Your point that Steam's monopoly on PC gaming isn't such a great thing is a good point, but if PC gaming must have DRM then I'd rather it be Valve's than have every publisher release their own DRM. We've seen what happens when a company like, say, Ubisoft decides to push their own DRM and it is not pretty.

For the record, a preferable future - and the one I believe you're talking about - is one with no DRM, where most PC games are available in both digital and physical forms and you can easily trade them among your friends in the same way that you would PS2 games. Unfortunately, that future simply will not exist. GOG has proven that it can work for older games and in special cases like The Witcher's, and Ubisoft did a complete 180 and removed DRM from all of their PC games, but I seriously doubt that EA, Activision, Square Enix, and 2K will let DRM go unless they can find another way to deter pirates that doesn't involve (sarcasm incoming) touchy, unproven things like appreciating the consumer and treating your customers well.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Well, I bought that "Bundle in a Box" of RPGs that aren't on any services that I use (sort of a warning light for me) and will most likely become the subject of some blog-based mockery. So thanks for that.

Posted by YukoAsho

For the record, a preferable future - and the one I believe you're talking about - is one with no DRM, where most PC games are available in both digital and physical forms and you can easily trade them among your friends in the same way that you would PS2 games. Unfortunately, that future simply will not exist. GOG has proven that it can work for older games and in special cases like The Witcher's, and Ubisoft did a complete 180 and removed DRM from all of their PC games, but I seriously doubt that EA, Activision, Square Enix, and 2K will let DRM go unless they can find another way to deter pirates that doesn't involve (sarcasm incoming) touchy, unproven things like appreciating the consumer and treating your customers well.

Well, I personally think that the PC is completely fucked outside of indie. The deification of Steam has made sure of that. However, the hard stance against the Xbone's DRM by mainstream audiences gives me hope that gaming consoles will continue to offer physical games without online checks for at least the forseeable future. And if the time comes where consoles fall in line with PC, well, I guess that'll be the time for me to get back into anime.

Posted by believer258

@yukoasho said:

@believer258 said:

For the record, a preferable future - and the one I believe you're talking about - is one with no DRM, where most PC games are available in both digital and physical forms and you can easily trade them among your friends in the same way that you would PS2 games. Unfortunately, that future simply will not exist. GOG has proven that it can work for older games and in special cases like The Witcher's, and Ubisoft did a complete 180 and removed DRM from all of their PC games, but I seriously doubt that EA, Activision, Square Enix, and 2K will let DRM go unless they can find another way to deter pirates that doesn't involve (sarcasm incoming) touchy, unproven things like appreciating the consumer and treating your customers well.

Well, I personally think that the PC is completely fucked outside of indie. The deification of Steam has made sure of that. However, the hard stance against the Xbone's DRM by mainstream audiences gives me hope that gaming consoles will continue to offer physical games without online checks for at least the forseeable future. And if the time comes where consoles fall in line with PC, well, I guess that'll be the time for me to get back into anime.

How is it "fucked"? Just by DRM? Steam's DRM is really good. It never gets in the way and allows you to download a game as many times and on as many computers as you want to. It has become acceptable because it has become very good. It doesn't require online checks, either, except in the case of games that have additional DRM layered on top of them.

If I were to make a guess, the objective of Sony is to slowly slip players into a digital, Steam-like future. The Xbone's problem is that it tried to force that idea onto consumers now instead of slowly doing it.

Despite that, If Microsoft had stuck to their guns, I seriously doubt that the Xbox One would have been a failure, and "mainstream audiences" (I'm going to assume that you're talking about the CoD and Madden audience) would have bought the thing without or regardless of knowledge about the online stuff. And most "core" (it's a word, deal with it) gamers would have probably given up on their boycott halfway through a daydream about Titanfall.

DRM will continue to stick around, and digital goods are going to continue to become bigger and bigger. Will they ever wipe out physical goods? I don't think so. But at some point avoiding DRM is going to mean paying regular visits to a certain Bay, if you catch my drift. If DRM must exist, then I would rather have DRM from a company that has proven itself in the field (Valve) than shitty DRM, so I'll continue to support Steam and their well-made, well-thought out service. And if it ever goes kaput, well, I'll be seeing you around that aforementioned bay to get my goods back.

Edited by RoarImaDinosaur

Physical will still exist for a while still but Cloud Gaming is the future for Sony and Microsoft. The end game for their gaming divisions are to be able to have access to all your games on any device connected to the internet. Fully expect Sony to have their Gaikai service platform on PC once it overcomes it's initial hurdles and slow adoption rate over the course of this generation. The earlier you accept DRM, the better it will be. DRM gave life to the pc platform yet their are some that will speak out against steam in such a matter that those AAA games that now exist on PC would still be there without it. Valve made PC a viable platform which still grows and I truly hope they compete with consoles because if Cloud gaming doesn't become a thing in 10 years or so, expect them to copy the Steam Machine model. I want valve to prove it will work. I want a future where I can dual boot SteamOS and Sony's OS. Let me choose my hardware and provide me with a software platform to launch games from. They are losing money on hardware so why not take out that initial R & D investment and put that towards exclusive content? It is a much more viable and safer investment I would assume. The biggest issues might be different API's which I would love if someone would make a standard across all hardware. It would save time and money for third parties

Posted by YukoAsho

Physical will still exist for a while still but Cloud Gaming is the future for Sony and Microsoft. The end game for their gaming divisions are to be able to have access to all your games on any device connected to the internet. Fully expect Sony to have their Gaikai service platform on PC once it overcomes it's initial hurdles and slow adoption rate over the course of this generation. The earlier you accept DRM, the better it will be. DRM gave life to the pc platform yet their are some that will speak out against steam in such a matter that those AAA games that now exist on PC would still be there without it. Valve made PC a viable platform which still grows and I truly hope they compete with consoles because if Cloud gaming doesn't become a thing in 10 years or so, expect them to copy the Steam Machine model. I want valve to prove it will work. I want a future where I can dual boot SteamOS and Sony's OS. Let me choose my hardware and provide me with a software platform to launch games from. They are losing money on hardware so why not take out that initial R & D investment and put that towards exclusive content? It is a much more viable and safer investment I would assume.

I'm not going to accept DRM ever, and if that means I can no longer be a gamer, c'est la vie. Thankfully, that doesn't seem like it'll happen any time soon.

You talk about choice, yet by deifying Steam and burying alternatives, the gaming media and Valve's fans seek to deny people like me a choice other than Steam DRM.

Lastly, I don't understand why gaming needs to be the special snowflake to which I should bend over and surrender all consumer rights. People aren't talking about getting rid of physical movies because of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and music is DRM-free across the board now, mostly because Steve Jobs understood that was what the people wanted. This is the thing that will prevent gaming from ever reaching the level of penetration. If a platform cannot exist unless consumers give corporations the keys to the kingdom, that platform doesn't deserve to exist.

Posted by RoarImaDinosaur

@yukoasho: I'm not praising steam for anything other than giving life to pc gaming. Any game that has steam works integration I pirate after I make that purchase from the store because I want the option to play without it. We all have to make our own choices in regards to what's okay "drm". Digital is going to succeed whether we like it or not which kinda sucks. I didn't own a console this entire generation so I'm going to jump in this time buying everything I can physical if possible. This is likely to be the last where we have that opportunity.

Posted by e30bmw

@yukoasho said:

I'm not going to accept DRM ever, and if that means I can no longer be a gamer, c'est la vie. Thankfully, that doesn't seem like it'll happen any time soon.

You talk about choice, yet by deifying Steam and burying alternatives, the gaming media and Valve's fans seek to deny people like me a choice other than Steam DRM.

Lastly, I don't understand why gaming needs to be the special snowflake to which I should bend over and surrender all consumer rights. People aren't talking about getting rid of physical movies because of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and music is DRM-free across the board now, mostly because Steve Jobs understood that was what the people wanted. This is the thing that will prevent gaming from ever reaching the level of penetration. If a platform cannot exist unless consumers give corporations the keys to the kingdom, that platform doesn't deserve to exist.

The sales of physical media for movies crashed super hard when stuff like Netflix started to become popular. They talked about it a little bit on one of the movie podcasts. Blu-ray will never get the market penetration that DVD did.

Also, what led to your militant aggression against Valve other than them having DRM? I guess I mean what part about it don't you like? Because for me (and I suspect a shit ton of people) the convenience and consolidation of Steam is worth the totally unobtrusive DRM.

Posted by YukoAsho

@yukoasho: I'm not praising steam for anything other than giving life to pc gaming. Any game that has steam works integration I pirate after I make that purchase from the store because I want the option to play without it. We all have to make our own choices in regards to what's okay "drm". Digital is going to succeed whether we like it or not which kinda sucks. I didn't own a console this entire generation so I'm going to jump in this time buying everything I can physical if possible. This is likely to be the last where we have that opportunity.

I'm not entirely sure that's true. The masses aren't as likely to be willing to spend $60 on something they can't actually have, and much of the driving force for Steam is sales that reduce game prices to that of value meals or, well, rentals. As long as discs keep getting bought, they'll keep getting made. At the end of the day, shareholders aren't going to let tech zealots cut off millions of potential customers because it maybe kinda limits piracy but not really.

After all, if that were the case, we'd still be dealing with DRMed music and we wouldn't have millions upon millions of Blu-Ray discs being sold every year.

The future isn't written, and while digital may succeed, it will be in tandem with physical, at least if gaming ever wishes to get a sniff of the mainstream popularity that other entertainment mediums enjoy.

And barring that, at least GOG has managed to become profitable and stable even in this landscape of the media making Steam out to be the ONLY way to game on PC. Markets are going to get filled so long as there's demand.

And yeah, I'm sorry I snapped at ya there. I'm kinda used to people on this site trying to convince me that Steam is the most wonderful thing ever and I shouldn't complain, so I jumped to conclusions.

Posted by YukoAsho

@e30bmw said:

@yukoasho said:

I'm not going to accept DRM ever, and if that means I can no longer be a gamer, c'est la vie. Thankfully, that doesn't seem like it'll happen any time soon.

You talk about choice, yet by deifying Steam and burying alternatives, the gaming media and Valve's fans seek to deny people like me a choice other than Steam DRM.

Lastly, I don't understand why gaming needs to be the special snowflake to which I should bend over and surrender all consumer rights. People aren't talking about getting rid of physical movies because of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and music is DRM-free across the board now, mostly because Steve Jobs understood that was what the people wanted. This is the thing that will prevent gaming from ever reaching the level of penetration. If a platform cannot exist unless consumers give corporations the keys to the kingdom, that platform doesn't deserve to exist.

The sales of physical media for movies crashed super hard when stuff like Netflix started to become popular. They talked about it a little bit on one of the movie podcasts. Blu-ray will never get the market penetration that DVD did.

Also, what led to your militant aggression against Valve other than them having DRM? I guess I mean what part about it don't you like? Because for me (and I suspect a shit ton of people) the convenience and consolidation of Steam is worth the totally unobtrusive DRM.

Netflix is something of a false correlation. It's basically an all-you-can-eat rental service, and there's still a market - and a large one - for physical rental if Redbox's meteoric rise is any indication. And Blu-Ray's slow adoption has as much to do with DVD's continued dominance as anything else. People forget how long it took for VHS to go away. There are many factors in any business as large as motion pictures, from increased piracy to Blu-Ray being higher-priced to prevalence toward rental versus purchase, to slow HD adoption during the format war. Here's some fun stats for revenue for Blu-Ray and DVD for the week ending the 14th of September:

Blu-ray vs DVD: 35.83% vs 64.17%

Blu-ray sales total spending: $47.65 million

DVD sales total spending: $85.34 million

Compared to the same time last year:

Blu-ray vs DVD: 25.26% vs 74.74%

Blu-ray: $34.26 million

DVD: $101.35 million

BD is gaining steam (har har), and considering these are weekly revenues, I don't see where physical discs are going away any time soon.

And I'm not really militantly against them. I don't use them, because I don't want the DRM, but I'm fine if that's what you're into. My issue is how Steam has been placed on such a pedestal that Valve has essentially become the sole gatekeeper of the supposedly-open PC platform. Stories like the one I linked regarding Race the Sun earlier in this thread are becoming more and more common, mainly because so many people won't even look at a game unless it's on Steam. It's ruining the openness of the platform and making it harder rather than easier for startups to find success on the PC.

If Gabe weren't made to be some kind of Christ figure, if promotions from other services received even half the attention that Steam's did, if a developer who couldn't win the Greenlight popularity contest wasn't handicapped in the PC market, I wouldn't have had to write the original post.

And don't tell me what I should find obtrusive and what I shouldn't. Everyone has to make that decision on their own, and I'd rather just be able to direct install a game without asking for permission. I don't see how that makes me some crazy person.

Edited by e30bmw

@yukoasho said:

@e30bmw said:

@yukoasho said:

I'm not going to accept DRM ever, and if that means I can no longer be a gamer, c'est la vie. Thankfully, that doesn't seem like it'll happen any time soon.

You talk about choice, yet by deifying Steam and burying alternatives, the gaming media and Valve's fans seek to deny people like me a choice other than Steam DRM.

Lastly, I don't understand why gaming needs to be the special snowflake to which I should bend over and surrender all consumer rights. People aren't talking about getting rid of physical movies because of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and music is DRM-free across the board now, mostly because Steve Jobs understood that was what the people wanted. This is the thing that will prevent gaming from ever reaching the level of penetration. If a platform cannot exist unless consumers give corporations the keys to the kingdom, that platform doesn't deserve to exist.

The sales of physical media for movies crashed super hard when stuff like Netflix started to become popular. They talked about it a little bit on one of the movie podcasts. Blu-ray will never get the market penetration that DVD did.

Also, what led to your militant aggression against Valve other than them having DRM? I guess I mean what part about it don't you like? Because for me (and I suspect a shit ton of people) the convenience and consolidation of Steam is worth the totally unobtrusive DRM.

Netflix is something of a false correlation. It's basically an all-you-can-eat rental service, and there's still a market - and a large one - for physical rental if Redbox's meteoric rise is any indication. And Blu-Ray's slow adoption has as much to do with DVD's continued dominance as anything else. People forget how long it took for VHS to go away. There are many factors in any business as large as motion pictures, from increased piracy to Blu-Ray being higher-priced to prevalence toward rental versus purchase, to slow HD adoption during the format war. Here's some fun stats for revenue for Blu-Ray and DVD for the week ending the 14th of September:

Blu-ray vs DVD: 35.83% vs 64.17%

Blu-ray sales total spending: $47.65 million

DVD sales total spending: $85.34 million

Compared to the same time last year:

Blu-ray vs DVD: 25.26% vs 74.74%

Blu-ray: $34.26 million

DVD: $101.35 million

BD is gaining steam (har har), and considering these are weekly revenues, I don't see where physical discs are going away any time soon.

And I'm not really militantly against them. I don't use them, because I don't want the DRM, but I'm fine if that's what you're into. My issue is how Steam has been placed on such a pedestal that Valve has essentially become the sole gatekeeper of the supposedly-open PC platform. Stories like the one I linked regarding Race the Sun earlier in this thread are becoming more and more common, mainly because so many people won't even look at a game unless it's on Steam. It's ruining the openness of the platform and making it harder rather than easier for startups to find success on the PC.

If Gabe weren't made to be some kind of Christ figure, if promotions from other services received even half the attention that Steam's did, if a developer who couldn't win the Greenlight popularity contest wasn't handicapped in the PC market, I wouldn't have had to write the original post.

And don't tell me what I should find obtrusive and what I shouldn't. Everyone has to make that decision on their own, and I'd rather just be able to direct install a game without asking for permission. I don't see how that makes me some crazy person.

Those Blu-Ray numbers are interesting. I'd like to see some stuff about Blu-Ray adoption now vs. DVD in a similar time in that cycle. Also if places like Amazon and Netflix released more numbers about their stuff, that'd be interesting, but that's a conversation for a different time or place.

I never told you what to find obtrusive or not. Or I didn't mean to. I thought it was implied in context, but I what I meant was the people who like Steam don't find the DRM obtrusive enough to outweigh the benefits that it provides.

I never called you crazy, not sure where you got that from. I was genuinely interested what your opposition to Steam was in more in-depth terms that I don't like DRM.

And you come off as militantly aggressive towards them. Most (at least Giant Bomb) coverage of PC stuff barely involves Steam, if at all. It's almost always about the game, Steam sometimes pops up if the game crashes or they look up a price. And sometimes they mention stuff like Steam sales on podcasts and stuff, but of course they do. They're huge times for PC gaming. They have also talked about other services, like GOG. The reason I called your attitude militant is because it appears you are trying to find issues where most people. Maybe it's worse on other sites, but I just skim other sites and Giant Bomb is the only one I spend a lot of time on.

Posted by Mento

If you're talking bundle sites, make sure to include these two:

  • Indie Royale - Either affiliated with or owned entirely by the Desura people, Indie Royale have generally had the next best bundles after the Humble Bundle. There's codes for Steam (when applicable) and Desura (usually applicable) but they always have just straight up DRM-free downloads as an option. The bundle they're currently selling has Electronic Super Joy in it.
  • Groupees - Groupees do all sorts of shit, including video game bundles. They have this reward system where they add new items to bundles after so many have been bought, which is a clever way to drum up word of mouth.

I probably should clarify that I don't work for these people. I've just been buying up bundles all year in preparation of Steam May Madness and Desura December Dementia. It's possible I may have overdone it a bit.

Moderator
Posted by GreggD

Well, I bought that "Bundle in a Box" of RPGs that aren't on any services that I use (sort of a warning light for me) and will most likely become the subject of some blog-based mockery. So thanks for that.

Were they really that bad? They didn't look great, but...

Posted by RoarImaDinosaur

@yukoasho: No problem. I just feel as though if they destroy retail with digital, they destroy used game sales and they get a bigger cut since there is no money being paid for shelf space. It makes too much sense for them to do everything in their power to destroy physical. It just makes too much sense. Sony are starting to open their own stores in Japan and Microsoft have their own to boot. I can only imagine that this will lessen their dependencies on Gamestop/EB and such.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

@greggd said:

@arbitrarywater said:

Well, I bought that "Bundle in a Box" of RPGs that aren't on any services that I use (sort of a warning light for me) and will most likely become the subject of some blog-based mockery. So thanks for that.

Were they really that bad? They didn't look great, but...

Haven't played 'em yet, but let's just say that I'm keeping my expectations in check. RPGs of this sort are usually either mediocre imitations of stuff that I already own or deliberately inscrutable for all but the most dedicated grognard. There are exceptions (see: Spiderweb's stuff), but I've been burned enough times with crap like Inquisitor to stay wary.

Posted by YukoAsho

@yukoasho: No problem. I just feel as though if they destroy retail with digital, they destroy used game sales and they get a bigger cut since there is no money being paid for shelf space. It makes too much sense for them to do everything in their power to destroy physical. It just makes too much sense. Sony are starting to open their own stores in Japan and Microsoft have their own to boot. I can only imagine that this will lessen their dependencies on Gamestop/EB and such.

Oh it's entirely possible that the gaming industry will cut off its own nose to spite its face. I just wonder if there are really THAT many who would be willing to sacrifice the inroads that have been made in the past decade with regards to mainstream appeal just to cut off used games. The cost-benefit balance can't be worth it if the market retracts to pre-2006 or, worst case scenario, pre-PS1 levels...

Posted by GreggD

@greggd said:

@arbitrarywater said:

Well, I bought that "Bundle in a Box" of RPGs that aren't on any services that I use (sort of a warning light for me) and will most likely become the subject of some blog-based mockery. So thanks for that.

Were they really that bad? They didn't look great, but...

Haven't played 'em yet, but let's just say that I'm keeping my expectations in check. RPGs of this sort are usually either mediocre imitations of stuff that I already own or deliberately inscrutable for all but the most dedicated grognard. There are exceptions (see: Spiderweb's stuff), but I've been burned enough times with crap like Inquisitor to stay wary.

Oh god, I picked up Inquisitor during one of those build a bundle sales on GOG. Man, what a big mistake.

Edited by ArbitraryWater

@greggd said:

@arbitrarywater said:

@greggd said:

@arbitrarywater said:

Well, I bought that "Bundle in a Box" of RPGs that aren't on any services that I use (sort of a warning light for me) and will most likely become the subject of some blog-based mockery. So thanks for that.

Were they really that bad? They didn't look great, but...

Haven't played 'em yet, but let's just say that I'm keeping my expectations in check. RPGs of this sort are usually either mediocre imitations of stuff that I already own or deliberately inscrutable for all but the most dedicated grognard. There are exceptions (see: Spiderweb's stuff), but I've been burned enough times with crap like Inquisitor to stay wary.

Oh god, I picked up Inquisitor during one of those build a bundle sales on GOG. Man, what a big mistake.

That game is just a massive bummer all around. There were parts of it I found appealing, but most of that was buried under the part where it plays like a Z-tier Diablo Clone with some serious difficulty issues (Also? Not really into torture). But I've started playing these bundle games, and thus far I'm not especially impressed, though one of the games is totally a "choose your own adventure" type thing, but with stats so that's pretty cool.

Posted by GreggD

@greggd said:

@arbitrarywater said:

@greggd said:

@arbitrarywater said:

Well, I bought that "Bundle in a Box" of RPGs that aren't on any services that I use (sort of a warning light for me) and will most likely become the subject of some blog-based mockery. So thanks for that.

Were they really that bad? They didn't look great, but...

Haven't played 'em yet, but let's just say that I'm keeping my expectations in check. RPGs of this sort are usually either mediocre imitations of stuff that I already own or deliberately inscrutable for all but the most dedicated grognard. There are exceptions (see: Spiderweb's stuff), but I've been burned enough times with crap like Inquisitor to stay wary.

Oh god, I picked up Inquisitor during one of those build a bundle sales on GOG. Man, what a big mistake.

That game is just a massive bummer all around. There were parts of it I found appealing, but most of that was buried under the part where it plays like a Z-tier Diablo Clone with some serious difficulty issues (Also? Not really into torture). But I've started playing these bundle games, and thus far I'm not especially impressed, though one of the games is totally a "choose your own adventure" type thing, but with stats so that's pretty cool.

Wait, you mean like Oregon Trail or King of Dragons Pass? Or like that Encarta 95 dungeon crawler?

Posted by audioBusting

I'm going to recommend Indie Game Stand for another DRM-free game store. It's pretty small so far, but they have nice deals sometimes and they let the game studios to choose the charities to support.