To combine a wide swath of responses and thoughts...
Anyone who thinks they own the IP to a video game they bought is insane, but the problem with DRM is we don't even really have the fair use rights we used to have with purchasing a video game. I have never had much use for fancy multiplayer features, its not that I don't appreciate multiplayer, I do, but it isn't why I buy games. I am one of those people who is getting left behind by the "multiplayer and social experience being required for success" mentality...
We have always only licensed fair use of the dev's software through our money paid. Ownership of the DEV's IP was never the intent.
Zeta1127's post repeated for emphasis. I never meant to imply intellectual property ownership, but ownership of the copy purchased. I've known for a long time that we license the software, but own the copy and--eh, Zeta1127 probably said it better. Piracy shouldn't have meant legitimate customers needed to give these rights up. Further, just because the medium is changing doesn't mean we should have to give up those rights. That there isn't a more meaningful opposition to the loss of consumer rights pushed on us by EULAs, TOSs, and the like is a major piece of the problem.
The other issue is that singleplayer-only games are on the 'out' with the videogame landscape, day-one patches are the norm and robust multiplayer and social experience in gaming are required these days for a game to be successful. It only makes sense for any smart developer to embrace not only digital distribution but a platform that also integrates easy MP matchmaking, stat-tracking and other social interaction all under one roof.
Not my issue. I only ask an RTS to have a Skirmish mode. I have no problem with patches, no matter how soon or late they're deployed, I even like seeing a game evolve as I come back to play or replay it, reading patch notes all along the way. I brought up day one patches because the problem with patches is making sure they are delivered properly. In reading about The Witcher 2's patches on Steam, and if I'm remembering correctly, they called normal patching binary patching. Why Steam didn't do this for the first seven odd years after release is beyond me. Other PC games and even console games have done it for years both before Steam caught up and after without any real problem, whether in an auto-update system or a stand-alone patch a user might have to go find for themselves (assuming Valve has changed patching methods, read they were working on it, but haven't seen much on it since).
The bigger issue with Steam is that all of these conveniences are integrated into it's DRM. Even in games that don't have Steamworks, so long as you bought them on Steam. I appreciate that this isn't a problem for anyone who buys into their ecosystem, but it is a huge barrier added to Steamworks games for those of us who don't or won't. I have no problem with multiplayer stats. I accept that social is where everything is going. It just has no value to me, personally. To tie them together again, bonus multiplayer-centric functionality plus Steamworks to me means [functionality I'm largely indifferent to] + [DRM]. That combination, I don't care to accept, hence my refund. As I said, I'm happy that Stardock issued my refund and deactivated my Steam key as quickly as they did.
When did Steam and DRM become interchangeable? Steam is a distribution platform, not DRM. AFAIK there's no more DRM in Sins than there ever has been. (Registration of key to account.)
Since Steam had to be running in some capacity or another for the games to run.
If you disagree vote with your wallets but it isn't like digital distribution and stat-tracking MP integration are something that (by being opposed) could still be reversed. It is the only way videogames will be sold/patched/played etc. in the future. If an individual isn't getting all of their entertainment media digitally yet, they are simply behind the curve and it is only a matter of time before that will be a requirement. It really is that simple. Personally I prefer boxes and jewel-cases as well (in fact I'm the guy who always takes a product from the back so as to ensure no one else has touched it, and the boxes don't have prints and/or scuff marks etc.). I am also a realist though, and digital distribution and integration of ALL entertainment media is the future. I know resistance is futile......so I've embraced it. Someday (if you expect to continue to consume entertainment media) you will too!
I do vote with my wallet. That is precisely what I have done yesterday/today, but as I said, it seems I'm increasingly more irrelevant as an audience. Still, GameStop, GAME, and many more stores still sell physical copies of even computer games, so it must still be worth it to someone. I buy my game copies both on (non-Steam) digital platforms and on physical discs, and to quote you:
Don't hold it against me, I won't hold it against you if you don't understand why.
...considering how people have been throwing the GBOR in your face is understandable. I'm sorry I added to that, I just wish I had warning. I think a mass e-mail to pre-orderee`s would have been justified and an easy, cost effective solution. Especially an e-mail that outlines the merits of that decision. That would have helped me understand why you chose this route. Though it`s not required.
My opinions on the
I don't think the anti-Steam demographic is large enough to justify giving it special attention. In fact, I know it's not.
line in particular are a little different, but in all honesty, I had forgotten all about the Gamers' Bill of Rights. I didn't even find this thread until yesterday and, when I read it in the opening post, I never thought to associate the GBOR with Stardock.
As to notifications, I don't need an explanation of the merits behind the decision, it's business, I never needed to know more than that. I just think that the e-mail addresses we supplied when we pre-ordered should have been the channel for important notifications, like nailing down the final system requirements. That I was blind-sided by the inclusion of Steamworks is the only fault in this situation that I have ever felt Stardock bears any responsibility for. Even if you disagree and say that I should have been more active in researching these things for myself before yesterday when I was charged, the thing about communication is that it goes both ways. Stardock includes Steamworks in Rebellion, that's my problem to deal with and I have, I requested a refund and received it.
Ugh, more posts while I'm typing, more additions to this response...
So let me say to you, and I mean this sincerely, that almost nobody cares about the Steam vs. non-Steam thing.
Coincidentally why I suggested that a notification e-mail be about the whole of system requirements, not Steam specifically.
What, DRM, specifically, do you think we are using in Steamworks?
Not a matter of how deeply you integrate Steamworks. That Rebellion uses Steamworks is integration enough to require it.
I keep seeing people say this without actually explaining the "Digital Rights Management" involved here. Let's use the broadest version of DRM here, you have a serial/password that is attached to an account (much like your forum account here). How is this different than what we already have? When you buy a Stardock software product, and this goes back to the OS/2 days, you get a serial number which you then attach to an email address. If you lose your serial number, you type in your email address to get it so you can redownload.
So, I ask: What specifically is the issue with Steamworks? It's "DRM" is something I don't see. We're not using it for DRM and there's no indication that it is providing any to us. You want to install Sins on all your computers? Knock yourself out. We don't stop you.
I'll try to break down my opinions on DRM, but first, a side comment: with respect to to consumer rights and all as I expressed above, I would love it if games would require a disc in the drive again if it meant I could bring a PC game back to a retailer and return it for a full refund if I didn't like it or it didn't work on my system, or like a used console game at GameStop, I could just return it within seven days, no questions asked. The ESA is fine with users personally making back-ups of their members' software or hiring someone to do so for them, so long as the back-ups are included or destroyed when the original is sold or traded. Isn't that a novel idea? Licensing a game, as one does to be a Steam subscriber, spits in the face of that idea.
Now, returning to how I would define DRM: First, I would broadly split DRM into active and passive DRM. In the basest sense, I would call serial keys passive DRM, but depending how they are used. If there are controls checking registration/activation counts of a specific key, where it is being used (by looking at IP addresses), etc., I would consider the serial key DRM to be more active. Tying a serial key to an account is also more active. Even the consoles still don't do that for retail boxes and at least on the Xbox you can transfer all your digital ownerships once a year. A program or game that stops at only checking internally if the serial key is valid I would define as passive DRM.
I doubt I know anyone (outside Ubisoft, at least) who would not consider Ubisoft's Always-On to be DRM. Steam may have an offline mode (not that it ever worked for me), but in typical usage, it is still not fundamentally different than Ubisoft's Always-On. Steam authenticates your copy before you can play. If Steam is not running, it will start up. I would define active DRM as Steam-like or Ubisoft Always-On-like systems that utilize the cloud to authenticate not just installation, but play. I see Steam as the larger potential problem because...well, think about playing the stock marketplace, how many professional advisors will advocate that their clients keep all their eggs in one basket? In a way, I see Steam as getting towards the "too big to fail" status of the Titanic or Enron.
The issue outside traditional releases and DLC is that of MMOs. I can see similarities, but I have a hard time considering the systems inherant to MMOs as DRM. Most MMOs will have anti-cheat systems like a PunkBuster parallel to keep a level playing field between players, but I see the log-in process of an MMO as account security, much more like logging into Amazon or an e-mail account than DRM.
To finish this post (before someone else posts, I hope) :
I think people who are playing Rebellion can see the fruits of that philosophy.
Having played all previous Sins titles and knowing what I do know about Rebellion--not to mention how excited I was before yesterday--I'm sure you have made a lot of improvements and progress, and that by release, Rebellion will be the best Sins game to date, but I guess when it comes right down to it, like Zeta1127:
My gripe is that I don't want to deal with Steam, period.
That being the case, I say again, I'm irrelevant. So be it. Next up: sell me on SoaDA.