Earlier this month, PC game fans have learned that the highly anticipated Borderlands 3 Initial launch only on Epic Store, not on the older and more popular Steam platform of Valve Corporation, and a number of them exploded with rage. Steam users magazine-bombed the earlier Borderlands Games, calling Epic Games "a dreadful business" and its actions "to slap in the face". Critics posted to the litany of reasons for hate the epic storeranging from complaints of minor characteristics to serious concerns about private life and Security. They had organized similar protests against previous Epic exclusivity agreements, including the shooter. Metro: Exodus.
Other critics, however, were incredulous at the level of anger. "Review of shelling? Seriously? On your favorite choice of DRM [digital rights management] platform? "asked a person.Many of the complaints against Epic were undeniablebut others have been exaggerated, including a theory that investor Epic Tencent channeled relations with the Chinese government. And the argument reminded many observers small scale console war, something that was based more on a fandom analysis than on an unbiased analysis. "At this point, Steam is not just a place to buy games", Motherboard note. "It's part of the identity of some people."
But vitriol against Epic is not just on a dedicated fandom defending a company, or players preferring one software to another. It is rooted in a long war against copy protection and DRM, which is one of the most important and ugly points for controversy in PC games.
For more than a decade, virtually every The best PC game management system has aroused annoyance and suspicion. The EA Origin store, Steam's first major competitor, had a decidedly cool welcome in 2011 when players uncovered troubling clauses in his diary. user agreement and accused EA of put spyware on their computers. Steam was one of the first online DRM systems and, as a ExtremeTech recently explained, many users knew that Valve was routing all of its new games via the service, including the first Steam exclusives Half-life 2. Why, they wondered, should you connect to the Internet to start a game? Did you really "own" something that you downloaded via software that could easily close?
Ultimately, Steam not only succeeds in surviving, but consolidates Valve's position as one of the "good guys" in PC gaming. And it owes part of its reputation to a particularly violent war of DRM.
Around 2008, as Steam completed its transition from a Valve gaming platform to a versatile showcase, large-scale PC games began with a universally hated copy protection system called SecuROM. Sony's software has added seemingly arbitrary restrictions to titles such as Mass Effect and BioShock, limiting PC players to a few installations and re-checking their legitimacy every two weeks. This did not help that the customer support staff had any problems even explaining restrictions.
I was playing computer games in college when SecuROM games started to be commercialized, and it seemed like a real gesture of disdain to gamers, at a time when media companies, in general, treated their fans as adversaries . aggressively pursue pirates in addition to locking the content. Kotaku called the "draconian" system and the customers complained on "being treated like a thief". All the controversy almost eclipsed the launch of the simulation game Spore, with Amazon users, bombing the highly anticipated project in the forgetfulness of a star. An angry buyer even filed a class action against Spore the EA publisher, claiming that it had misled him about the operation of SecuROM. EA settled the case in 2010.
Steam games were not necessarily exempt from additional copy protection such as SecuROM, and Steam itself was obviously a locked platform; the excellent (but much smaller) GOG store, launched in 2008, makes him ashamed with a resolutely DRM-free catalog. Steam has raised as many questions about the property as any other copy protection system.
But Valve had also worked to make his platform more convenient and user-friendly. It has added an offline mode for games you have already installed and, as the third party expands, it has started functioning as a centralized library while allowing players to 39, avoid the hassle of buying physical disks and typing the keys of the CD. When Steam worked well, this seemed to be proof that a company could offer anti-piracy restrictions as a fair compromise, not a precautionary sanction. To paraphrase my buddy of that time, to love movies and pirate music with a surprisingly large library, Valve had made DRM fun.
This was not an unusual evaluation. Kotaku editor Brian Crecente describes Steam as a way forward for the entire gaming sector. As I said, Steam had at least "a core of player interest", compared to SecuROM's "golden handcuffs". In the end, Steam and similar digital storefronts thrived, while SecuROM became a shortcut for everything that was wrong with anti-piracy efforts. In 2015, Microsoft was more support the software.
I felt a deep love for Steam in the late 2000s and early 2000s and an endless hatred for products such as SecuROM. (I remember that the software had been heavily criticized by a game manager who had gone to my college, a decision that now seems more delicate than just.) It was a fair position, but over years ago, she also took on darker shades. My version of the fight against DRM focuses almost exclusively on the rights of players. She is encouraged by a flawless Manichean approach in the fight against perceived injustice, even when the injustice is to install a video game. I have seen this approach repeatedly appear in the harassment campaigns and "consumer revolts" of recent years.
Obviously, my perspective has changed with the world. Once, the gaming industry was for me a distant series of faceless businesses, until I started talking to game creators for The edge. But I do not think that's the only factor. "The interest of the players" seemed noble in 2008. Today, a vocal sub-group of self-identified "players" regularly crosses the border between demanding fair treatment and the customers demand at all costs satisfied. The bombing review has become more strongly associated with angry bigots and hyper-skilled consumers with legitimately frustrated players – even if this remains one of the easiest ways to express a complaint.
There is also an increasingly important spotlight on how big studios and shops have failed developers, often in the name of keeping the fans happy. The elements that made Steam so practical – like its holiday sales and its de facto monopoly that gives many people the right to buy their PC games – have been less positive for video game studios. Playmakers regularly complain about having to compete with Valve's relentless discovery algorithms or not being protected from abusive players.
Even now, however, Epic Furor reveals a real and long-standing fear of losing control of how we play games. This fear only becomes more relevant as the physical media erase in the past.