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To Steam or not to Steam? The slings and arrows of DRM

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Posts: 103
Further to the discussion in the Guns of Icarus thread, lets talk about steam, drm and all that jazz. Hopefully some people more in touch with the games business will be able to post their thoughts.

As I see it from a devs point of view, having steam handling your multiplayer functions takes a huge load of your shoulders, thats a lot of programming hours saved.

From a players point of view, it works straight out of the box (most of the time, unless the devs messed up and if they mess up steams stuff, their own DRM free solution would be a nightmare)

So why do you like steam or clients like that? Why do you hate them?


Posts: 848
Location: Utah
I'm just going to regurgitate my post from the other thread, since it is about all I have to say on the matter. We vote with our wallet and when we buy DRM, we are endorsing it in a way. So I am just careful what type of DRM-laden games I purchase. Nothing IndieGameStand has featured concerns me in the least. Most of the nastiness is from the AAA titles.
PlayerReview wrote:
Almost all my games have DRM of some sort. I just like the idea of non-drm and am afraid that without fighting against it that we will continue to see more intrusive forms of DRM. Personally, I'm okay with Steam and key activations. Not okay with persistent online, TAGES Solidshield, GFWL (sometimes), uPlay (sometimes) and some other nasties I can't think of atm.


Posts: 564
Location: Wilmo Delaware! Represent

Guys, we are really just trying to offer the best games and deals that we can to our user base. Is our preference to get DRM free downloads? Yes. Is our preference to get games that are available on PC, Mac, Linux and Android? Yes. Is our preference to offer keys on Steam, Desura, and GoG? Yes.

It's very hard to find games that meet all of these requirements. We've featured over 50 games on this site and only 2 have had online DRM and both were online multiplayer games.

Guns of Icarus definitely got negative marks for being Steam Only with DRM, but we made an exception because of the overall deal and quality of the offering. If you don't want to support the game, that's great. Our site was designed with choice in mind and we always appreciate your feedback. We did our best to communicate that this game was not DRM Free and was only available on Steam, so that people could make informed decisions.

Post April 19th, 2013, 12:44 pm

Posts: 1360
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Guys, calm down.

There is literally no way Guns of Icarus could come to IGS without being steam-only; it's only offered on Steam. Personally, I think it's great that the game is getting more exposure here (although it should have been Air Buccaneers grumblegrumble), DRM or not.

I also don't really feel like you guys have the right to call a developer 'lazy' for choosing to use the Steam platform (or any other platform) for their game; it's a perfectly valid system, and it has its advantages, just like other platforms have their own.

If you don't have Steam (and don't want it), then in four days there will be a different game for you to check out. But you don't have to flip your shit at the IGS admins. That's just as pointless as demanding that a film be reshot because you didn't like the ending.
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Posts: 103
The point of this thread is not for anything really about IGS. Its a great site, and features great games, and we all love them.

My question is to those people and to all the people. Why do you say no to a game if its not on steam or why do you say no to a game because it is only on steam?

I see a interesting game and get it, if I can afford it. Some I check out reviews or other players feelings on it if I am unsure about the quality. I have a lot of dross because of this, but I have also played so many wonderful games. I have been to crap bands in concert, but I have also met some pretty girls at those concerts so you never know until you try.

What goes through your head when you do that? What is the reasoning behind it?
Last edited by Kiril on April 19th, 2013, 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Posts: 92
Kiril wrote:
The point of this thread is not for anything really about IGS. Its a great site, and features great games, and we all love them.


Well, my complaints today (and I'm pretty sure also Toyotame's ones) are actually about IGS. So I'm going to post them here as Mike has also written about IGS (and not about Steam and DRM) and I'm not really in the mood to open a new thread.

I'm not bashing the developers for releasing a Steam-only game. I'm sure they have their own technical/financial reasons to do so. I'm merely disappointed for them not offering a DRM-free alternative, although not very much since I don't particularly like multiplayer-only games.

I AM bashing IGS for accepting and featuring such a deal. It's not only that they led us to believe they fully supported DRM-free games, but they advertised their own site as always offering DRM-free games! (see the Guns of Icarus Online thread). And when some customers find they are being offered something else and they consequently complain, IGS goes and is confused about why anyone even cares about this whole DRM free thing. If that's not being hypocritical, I don't know what it is (that goes for spoderman's reply to the other topic).

Post April 19th, 2013, 1:38 pm

Posts: 102
GnomeSlice wrote:
If you don't have Steam (and don't want it), then in four days there will be a different game for you to check out. But you don't have to flip your shit at the IGS admins. That's just as pointless as demanding that a film be reshot because you didn't like the ending.


Exactly. If you don't like the deal, don't buy it. Hell, I'm always disappointed when a deal is completely DRM-free on here with no Steam/Desura keys, but I don't complain about it.

No need to freak out just cuz IGS is starting to sell Steam-only games. Now if they ONLY sell Steam keys when the game has a DRM-free version available, then you should complain ;) . Otherwise, it's incredibly pointless. Yes, their old policy was that they'd always supply a DRM-free version.. but business practices change all the time. It's silly to expect things to stay the same forever, this isn't GOG (which completely depends on being DRM-free).


Posts: 103
muntdefems wrote:
Kiril wrote:
The point of this thread is not for anything really about IGS. Its a great site, and features great games, and we all love them.


is confused about why anyone even cares about this whole DRM free thing.


Thats the point of the thread, to explain to everyone that cares to read, what your reasoning behind wanting DRM free games and not accepting steam. All this without bashing of IGS or the devs. Give reason why DRM free is important, why people should care. This will give the IGS guys and the rest of us a better understanding of where some people are coming from.

spoderman wrote:
this isn't GOG (which completely depends on being DRM-free).


GoG have recently had surveys about keys being given with games for online. With Dragon Commander coming and it will have multiplayer, I think GoG is changing to have some key based DRM.


Posts: 92
And now, my views on the topic at hand.

Kiril wrote:
My question is to those people and to all the people. Why do you say no to a game if its not on steam or why do you say no to a game because it is only on steam?


I say NO to Steam because of a mix of practical and ideological reasons, much alike the ones Toyotame expressed on the other thread. I like to own what I buy. I want to have it at home, be able to touch it and be the sole responsible for its conservation and well-being. In the case of software or digital information, I want to have a copy stored on my hard drive (and in a couple of external backups) and don't have to depend on a third party: e.g. I use a Yahoo email address, but I keep all my mail locally on my computer.

And focusing on games only, of course I want to be able to play MY games whenever and under the circumstances I see fit, without anyone else telling me otherwise.

Post April 19th, 2013, 1:56 pm

Posts: 92
spoderman wrote:
Exactly. If you don't like the deal, don't buy it. Hell, I'm always disappointed when a deal is completely DRM-free on here with no Steam/Desura keys, but I don't complain about it.


Brilliant. Since I've never complained, you have no right to do so and stand for your ideas and principles. Plus, it's not that IGS ever advertised itself as always providing Steam/Desura keys, so your comparison doesn't stand.


spoderman wrote:
No need to freak out just cuz IGS is starting to sell Steam-only games. Now if they ONLY sell Steam keys when the game has a DRM-free version available, then you should complain ;) . Otherwise, it's incredibly pointless.


Again, thanks for telling me when I should or shouldn't complain.


spoderman wrote:
Yes, their old policy was that they'd always supply a DRM-free version.. but business practices change all the time. It's silly to expect things to stay the same forever, this isn't GOG (which completely depends on being DRM-free).


«Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.» I'll like to see your reaction when business practices change in a way YOU don't like.

Post April 19th, 2013, 2:13 pm

Posts: 102
muntdefems wrote:
spoderman wrote:
Exactly. If you don't like the deal, don't buy it. Hell, I'm always disappointed when a deal is completely DRM-free on here with no Steam/Desura keys, but I don't complain about it.


Brilliant. Since I've never complained, you have no right to do so and stand for your ideas and principles. Plus, it's not that IGS ever advertised itself as always providing Steam/Desura keys, so your comparison doesn't stand.


spoderman wrote:
No need to freak out just cuz IGS is starting to sell Steam-only games. Now if they ONLY sell Steam keys when the game has a DRM-free version available, then you should complain ;) . Otherwise, it's incredibly pointless.


Again, thanks for telling me when I should or shouldn't complain.


spoderman wrote:
Yes, their old policy was that they'd always supply a DRM-free version.. but business practices change all the time. It's silly to expect things to stay the same forever, this isn't GOG (which completely depends on being DRM-free).


«Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.» I'll like to see your reaction when business practices change in a way YOU don't like.


I think you're reading WAY too much into what I'm saying. I never said you can't or shouldn't complain. I was trying to say it's more necessary to complain if there's a DRM-free version available yet not included in an IGS featured deal. You're acting like IGS is obligated to sell DRM-free games 100% of the time, and they're betraying you by not doing so. It's THAT type of complaining that I think is pointless. Maybe the comparison I made wasn't the same thing, but my point is that I wouldn't freak out if they originally promised to sell Steam only games and then started selling DRM-free because I know they'd keep selling Steam games anyway.

IGS will continue to sell DRM-free games, and I'd bet the majority of the games they sell will have a DRM-free download included so I really don't see the point of freaking out when they start selling Steam exclusive titles. I don't see how this change is going to affect you in any way. So they start selling Steam-only games.. you don't have to buy them. Wait until there's a deal for something you want, problem solved.


Posts: 92
I don't think anyone here is freaking out. I'm not, that's for sure. If anything I'm sad and disappointed, that's all. On the other hand, you still seem to try to tell me what is worthy of complaint and what not (or what is more worthy, anyway). I'll continue to complain for what I see fit, thank you very much.

And yes, I think IGS was somehow obligated to sell DRM-free games 100% of the time because this is what they bloody advertised themselves to do. Except now the rules have changed, apparently. Very well, they can do as they please (as long as they clearly communicate the details of every deal, which they perfectly did in this case), but they can't be very surprised to see people complaining about it since they led them to expect something they are not delivering.


PS: You may have read me in this forum advocating for multiplatform games and Linux ports of them. Take for sure that if ever IGS was advertised as always offering multiplatform games I'd have complained the very moment a Windows-only game were featured. But it wasn't advertised as such, so I never complained. I expect this makes my point perfectly clear about why I'm complaining.


Posts: 204
For what it's worth, i mostly agree with muntdefems in regards to steam only or drm protected games in general.

I won't go into my whole reasoning but in my own experience, both as a warez games user (when i was young :P) and nowadays, when i pay for what i like/play, all i can see is drm=always a problem for customers and NEVER an issue for the pirate scene (there can be a delay, but everything gets cracked eventually/usually in a matter of days or even before the official release).

That said, i can live with a Steam only game on IGS from time to time- however, i strongly believe we should all encourage drm free games (btw, as far as i heard not all steam games use the steam drm, some are drm free).


Posts: 867
Let me barge in this discussion.
First, i want to say, that i absolutely not forbidding to anyone to use Steam or any other distribution platform. I would be happy to forbid it, but as long as it dont hurt anyone they can even drink own piss if they want to. That i dont agree on that is lack of CHOICE.
I have also nothing against games released on Steam, actually. I totally oppose games released ONLY in Steam

Developers can release games anywhere they want, Desura, Steam, Humble Store - all is Ok. But a lot of developers is Saying "No, we will be Steam only" and not releasing games anywhere else. This is source of all problems. WHY i should be forced to use some obscure service that rents me games? Putting aside all technical questions just WHY i should rely on them?
Stop telling me how cool Steam is. I dont care about that pitiful cloud. I dont care about achievements. Autoupdates? Big deal...
You can tell me how i wrong, but if its that i should gain in exchange for wearing golden shackles, when its too cheap.

You, guys, can use Steam all you want. I, on contrary, want choice at least.
Peoples saying that Steam is not Drm - maybe, for some games. Why then we cant download it without using client that watchs all my moves?
You saying that this all helps to fight piracy and i'm pirate if ask for DRM free? But looks how much on net games from Steam with DRM stripped. How its helping?

I'm can understand why all of you want to store game in one place, its convenient. But why Desura provides some idea but allows you to download and backup anything?
So, i want - freedom to control that i have, freedom to leave (download all games and say goodbye) if i want.

You saying "multiplayer should Steam only, lets say "supposably".
But there is TONS of singleplayer games tied to Steam too. How can you describe it?

And IGS in final - they can skew as much as they want, but they PROMISED DRM-free game and they BROKE promise.


Posts: 867
mgnade wrote:
Is our preference to get games that are available on PC, Mac, Linux and Android? Yes.

Just by the way let me bash IGS about android games.
1) your game wallet dont allow to download android games from android browsers.
2) You dont keep builds updates

In form IGS have Android support right now you better not feature them at all.

dliebner Site Admin

Posts: 27
Toyotame wrote:
1) your game wallet dont allow to download android games from android browsers.


On what phone and browser? I just tried it out on my friend's Android and it worked fine, although we should probably allow developers to upload .apk files.

muntdefems wrote:
And yes, I think IGS was somehow obligated to sell DRM-free games 100% of the time because this is what they bloody advertised themselves to do. Except now the rules have changed, apparently. Very well, they can do as they please (as long as they clearly communicate the details of every deal, which they perfectly did in this case), but they can't be very surprised to see people complaining about it since they led them to expect something they are not delivering.


This is a totally legitimate complaint. When we launched, we did want to offer every game as DRM-free. Unfortunately, not all games are available as DRM-free, and we decided that it's better to occasionally offer good indie games that have DRM than not to offer them at all. Our preference is most certainly DRM-free, and games with DRM always lose points in our considerations when we schedule games to sell.


Posts: 867
I tried on tablet, Boat browser and Firefox mobile, all just dont have any reaction on button push. Strange for me too, but i try other browsers later too.


Also, speaking about Drm and Steam, why you guys dont asked customers about their meaning in some way?
OFC, you are owners, but its not type of business where customers can be ignored completely.
Probably most would be voting for and it passed more smoothly. Now, then, we feels like rules can be changed anytime in anyway.


Posts: 26
I'd hate to think all this bloody complaining is going to make it harder for IGS to sell steam games. Thanks for constantly whining about a good thing.


Posts: 103
Toyotame wrote:
That i dont agree on that is lack of CHOICE.
I have also nothing against games released on Steam, actually. I totally oppose games released ONLY in Steam

Developers can release games anywhere they want, Desura, Steam, Humble Store - all is Ok. But a lot of developers is Saying "No, we will be Steam only" and not releasing games anywhere else. This is source of all problems. WHY i should be forced to use some obscure service that rents me games? Putting aside all technical questions just WHY i should rely on them?


I fully agree with you about choice. I also understand the annoyance of steam only games BUT you need to look at it from a devs point of view.

For a multiplayer game, the benefits of steamworks are huge, you get the matchmaking, persistent profiles, anti cheat that works and people are used to it. Add to that the beta testing, crash reports and the real time sales data its huge for devs.

Steam is of such a benefit to devs, and EVERY game has to have multiplayer these days :roll: I can only see the number of steam only game increasing. We need to show that we want choice, and that needs more people to buy IGS games that have multiple options over Steam only.

I get your annoyed by IGS saying they are going to do drm-free, but this is only the second game, and it is selling like hot cakes. From a business point of view, they would be silly to say no to games like Guns of Icarus.

TigerClawTV wrote:
I'd hate to think all this bloody complaining is going to make it harder for IGS to sell steam games. Thanks for constantly whining about a good thing.


Selling a steam game is good, but selling a steam only game isn't great for people that don't want to use steam, its the same as not selling a MAC or linux version. Its cutting off a decent, wealthy part of the player base.


I wonder if IGS had any stats on whether people download the files, use the steam key etc, and which is the most popular way of going about it. Over 6000 copies of Guns have been sold, yet there is only a handful of people posting on the forums about it, its kinda hard to jump in a talk about the game in such a hostile thread though. It would be interesting to see whether the IGS customers on a whole like DRMfree or Steam more. I am a big fan of numbers.


Posts: 564
Location: Wilmo Delaware! Represent

We do have stats on the number of keys redeemed. It's not aggregated for us but is accessible to each developer (so they know how many keys are left for each distribution platform). I don't have firm quantitative stats on key redemption, but I can tell you that Steam is by far the most requested key, followed by GoG and Desura. There is a big difference between these 3 platforms too. As a point of reference, here's some stats on key redemption from games that offered multiple keys:
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Keep in mind that people who purchase these games can request keys to every platform so the percentages will add up to more than 100%. It is very likely that folks who request Steam Keys are also requesting Desura/GoG keys in their wallet (I know I would). That being said, we believe there a very strong contingent of people that download the games DRM free directly. The percentages of key requests for Desura DO NOT increase significantly when a game is not available on Steam and stay around 20-30% meaning that 70% of most of our sales that are Desura only are being downloaded/installed directly from our site (Cognition Ep 1 had 28.8% of buyers request a Desura Key and sold 1708 units - that's over 1100 people that just wanted the game direct DRM free download).

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