And Stardock raises the white flag (to Valve)

By on February 20, 2012 4:24:49 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

GoaFan77

Join Date 10/2008
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Its the end of an era folks.

Quoting Yarlen,
The Steam client will be required for Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion for initial install, updates and Internet multiplayer, regardless of purchase location. You can choose to play in offline mode via the Steam client after initial install, though ICO features and achievements will no longer be available.

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4. Gamers shall have the right to have their games not require a third party download manager installed in order for the game to function.

...

8. Gamers have the right to use their games without being inconvenienced due to copy protection or digital rights management.

Now its debatable whether this news actually goes against the PC gamers bill of rights Stardock pushed forward 3-4 years ago, but it certainly seems an ominous change of pace for the company to me. Are the other Stardock gaming communities concerned? Will other Stardock titles follow suite? Does this symbolically show the finalization of the Steam monopoly, short of the self sufficient EA and Blizzard titles? What does the wider community think, and what can we do about it?

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February 20, 2012 10:49:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

Quoting Rebell44, reply 26
Quoting Frogboy, reply 25In all these discussions, I have never heard someone suggest what alternative should be used for the features Steamworks provides.

The issue for us isn't Steam. It's Steamworks. I've talked about this very issue for literally years.  IMO, the OS vendor should be providing this stuff for free and aggressively supporting it. But they're not.  

Frankly, as a game developer, I think it's ridiculous that there aren't viable alternatives to Steamworks. But there aren't.  And at the end of the day, we want to make great games. And Steamworks helps us do that.  

If someone wants to point to a viable alternative to Steamworks, then do so.  Otherwise, asking us to cripple the experience for 95% of the player base (in-game achievements, leader boards, multiplayer help -- people are going to freak when they see how well Rebellion does in MP compared to Trinity, player stats, etc.) is unreasonable.  People want these features. They're expected in modern games.  

Too much of this reminds me of the days when people railed because we started making Windows games (when we started out an OS/2 developer).  We just want to make cool stuff that people enjoy using.   

Will you please implement SteamCloud for saved games? I often play on several PC on multiple location and SteamCloud is great - its also very usefull when I reinstall Windows, that I dont have to hunt for saved games from every game I currently play.

It's not my call.  The team will use whatever they think has the most benefit / cost ratio.

For me, the turning point was seeing the multiplayer performance.

 

 

Great call, Frogboy.  I'm no fan of "renting" my games on Steam, but there IS NO ALTERNATIVE to the great multiplayer experience.  Its quite simply this... do you all want the best game they can make or not?

 

Then eat your vegetables and enjoy the prime rib

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February 20, 2012 10:51:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
I guess my principals are based on cost. What am I paying to play a game with Steamworks? I have to pay money and allow some data collection. I have to give up some rights to the software, but I generally get access to a cloud network. I have had Steam since Counterstrike: Source came out. Never had a problem as a customer. As far as Stardock games, in my opinion you are getting some extremely great service and guarantee of quality. Supporting a great company like them should override any principals about cost. You can't stop Steam by not buying Rebellion, but you can potentially stop Ironclad and Stardock by not buying their games.

This is why I think it is an overreaction. Your very limited buying power should have logical boundaries on which you found your principals. My only goal is to purchase directly from Stardock Central so that they get as much  of my money as possible. 

 

Problem with that sean.. is that Stardock and/or Ironclad knew there was going to be some people who wouldn't purchase it in response. They didn't care about those people.. yet you expect those people to toss out their Principles to support a group that has pretty much stated.. we don't need you.. to hades with your principles.

As far as I'm concerned any dev or publisher that requires steamworks.. can fail and I hope they do. Its nothing personal but thats the only way we're going to see companies move another direction is if they do take a hit to the pocket book for decisions that consumers don't like.

Of course not everyone shares my opinion or principles.. but if you don't speak to companies in the language they understand.. that is bottom line.. they are just gonna do whatever they want. People who don't like steamworks but continue to purchase steamworks games are just enablers who are providing positive feedback to companies even when/if overall consumer sentiment is negative.

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February 20, 2012 11:06:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But they are making economic decisions to gain sales and save money. In capitalism, that is the right move. It's a terrible system, but it's the best system we have. They would only fail if they tried to keep up to your unwavering principals. Steam will offer thousands of more users. So following your logic, you want them to fail if they try to survive, but you want them to survive if they allow themselves to fail? It's not like they all sat in a room thinking of ways to piss off gamers. They just don't have a different viable option. If you think Ironclad is a good company and you like their games, that should supersede any principals that are based on disliking the future of software rights or cloud networks. If it does't, then you are more loyal to your views on software rights than to good companies making quality games with good service. I guess that is one way to go in life. In my opinion you are only punishing yourself. 

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February 20, 2012 11:07:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Why don't you release new Sins in two versions: (1) on Steam with multiplayer mode, and cloud saves, and chat, and achievements, and all other fun stuff, (2) without all those things, just good old singleplayer? CD Projekt did it with Witcher 2 -- they released it on Steam (with cloud n'stuff) and on GOG.com. I know that there is no multiplayer in Witcher 2 so both versions were almost the same, but still.

ps Steam requires an internet connection to run (offline mode doesn't work, at least for me). Not everyone has permanent access to internet. I know that those people are a tiny piece of market (or maybe not so tiny...), but they are kinda discriminated. If I lived in a 2nd world country (or in a trailer) I'd definitively like to have a possibility to buy non-Steam Sins, without multiplayer mode.

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February 20, 2012 11:07:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Fistalis,
Problem with that sean.. is that Stardock and/or Ironclad knew there was going to be some people who wouldn't purchase it in response. They didn't care about those people.. yet you expect those people to toss out their Principles for a group that has pretty much stated.. we don't need you.. to hades with your principles.

As far as I'm concerned any dev or publisher that requires steamworks.. can fail and I hope they do. Its nothing personal but thats the only way we're going to see companies move another direction is if they do take a hit to the pocket book for decisions that consumers don't like.

That sounds very personal.

Companies aren't making a statement about principals or anything else; companies are making business decisions. They're executives may agree with your values and yet still use Steamworks because it makes the most financial sense.

As a consumer, you vote with your checkbook. If you don't like Steam, don't buy a single game on it. But I think you should understand that most developers can't afford to take a stand against something that can easily make the difference between having a hit game and having a dud.

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February 20, 2012 11:15:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
But they are making economic decisions to gain sales and save money. In capitalism, that is the right move. It's a terrible system, but it's the best system we have. They would only fail if they tried to keep up to your unwavering principals. Steam will offer thousands of more users. So following your logic, you want them to fail if they try to survive, but you want them to survive if they allow themselves to fail? It's not like they all sat in a room thinking of ways to piss off gamers. They just don't have a different viable option. If you think Ironclad is a good company and you like their games, that should supersede any principals that are based on disliking the future of software rights or cloud networks. If it does't, then you are more loyal to your views on software rights than to good companies making quality games with good service. I guess that is one way to go in life. In my opinion you are only punishing yourself. 

The problem is.. that economic decision would be far less viable with out the enablers. Those who dislike steamworks but are willing to support it  by purchasing games that support it.

As to the punishing myself.. I'm just making an economic and legal decision that protects my rights as a consumer. Handing over all my rights to valve isn't acceptable regardless of the company or game. What really surprises me is that anyone who reads and understand the steam subscriber agreement still gives money to companies that support it regardless of the company.

I'm a good guy.. buy my PC from me but let me draw a contract that says I can take it back at any time for any reason.. I'll give you a good deal for it.

Quoting juryal,


That sounds very personal.

Companies aren't making a statement about principals or anything else; companies are making business decisions. They're executives may agree with your values and yet still use Steamworks because it makes the most financial sense.

As a consumer, you vote with your checkbook. If you don't like Steam, don't buy a single game on it. But I think you should understand that most developers can't afford to take a stand against something that can easily make the difference between having a hit game and having a dud.

There is a difference between selling a game on steam.. and using steamworks.. which one are you referring to? I don't care what distribution methods a game uses(aka selling a game on steam).. its when they tie their game to a third party contract I have an issue with.(steamworks)

My Choosing not to accept a bad contract that is totally skewed to the other party is also a business decision. (a very sound one I might add) Its nothing personal.. I would prefer good game makers not try to force horrible contracts on people. As you stated.. the only way they are going to do that is if its seen as a good business decision. Which as of right now it apparently is not.. if companies that used steamworks started getting reduced sales due to people actually having the courage of their convictions.. that might change.

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February 20, 2012 11:32:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It is impossible to change people's minds about these things. I can tell you that in a decade I have gotten more access to games from Steam sales and gotten better games with better MP from Steamworks. Why should I care about who technically owns the software? It's not like there is ever going to be a point where I will lose access to my games. In more than a decade I have not lost a single one. It should be illegal to sell a game on a disc that requires that disc to play. Discs will inevitably get ruined. In that respect steam is much better. 

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February 20, 2012 11:35:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
It's not like there is ever going to be a point where I will lose access to my games. 

Tell that to valves lawyers. Because according to valve its totally possible.. which is why they Covered their Arses in the subscriber agreement. (also tell that to anyone who bought games from Direct 2 Drive and said the same thing and now are stuck with Gamefly and access to half or less of their purchased games)

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February 20, 2012 11:36:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm agreeing with you. You have every right to not only refrain from buying games for any reason you choose but to attempt to convince others to refrain. Steamworks doesn't bother me nearly enough to outweigh the pleasure I get from buying games that incorporate it. I believe many people agree with me. We're not enablers; we're making a rational decision based on values that differ from yours.

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February 20, 2012 11:45:49 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Its not that I will be voting with my money or principles if I don't buy Rebellion due to Steam, it will be that I don't want to use Steam.

Pretty simple if you ask me. 

Edit: And by Steam I mean Steamworks, the program I don't want to have on my computer that may or may not need to be online to run my games. 

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February 20, 2012 11:47:22 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

SO I cant MP without this crap? I'm sorry if getting in bed with Steam gets some devs excited, but I'm sick and tired of the Googles of the world watching everything I do, what time I wake up, when I go to bed, what I eat, what I drink, and what color my feces happen to be on this particular day.  If it doesn't bother you then I'm glad for you.  I, on the other hand, am very bothered.  So someone please point me in the direction of how to get my refund, and we can part ways.  And thus ends my marriage with PC gaming.

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February 20, 2012 11:48:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The only response to that is to come back in another decade with all my games from Steam still playable. See you in 10.

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February 20, 2012 11:54:08 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting seanw3,
But they are making economic decisions to gain sales and save money. In capitalism, that is the right move.

If Stardock was a purely capitalistic company (in the narrow sense of making as much money as possible), they wouldn't have sold Impulse and maybe we'd have Impulse reactor available to avoid this whole problem. Of course they're free to make whatever choice they wish, no one is saying they don't have the right to do that. But that doesn't mean their customers have to like it. Their former customers are simply voicing their displeasure with the decision as is their right.

Yet at the same time the fact that they made this choice should be more transparent than it is. Many people who preordered this game probably do not check the forums nor the gaming interview where the news was released. Even worse they may have done so at a time when Stardock making a steamworks game was unthinkable. When they preordered there was absolutely no indication that a third party DRM scheme would be required. In fact with news about a new Stardock store starting up, it sounded like it was back to the good old days when Stardock controlled all the services to its own products. It seems we could not have been farther from the truth.

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February 21, 2012 12:08:21 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I can understand the main reason as to why they made the decision. Money is money. But it won't change the fact that a certain percentage (admittedly not a large one) does not want to use Steamworks. Since Stardock and Impluse was an alternative, that percentage will be a little higher than normal (still probably not a figure that's anywhere significant) but I and a fair few people in this thread do sit in that percentage. Many others who pre-ordered also sit in this percentage and I agree with Goafan that they need to be told.

Currently happy I didn't pre-order but not because I hate Stardock now or that Steam is the orphan-blood-sucking devil, but because I don't want to use Steam's software. 

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February 21, 2012 12:22:23 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

 

To those worried about having "some additional software" just for one game:

Years ago I had to get STEAM in order to get the MOD (which later became a full game) called "Red Orchestra".  I thought it sucked that I needed STEAM and never thought I'd use it for anything else.  Then I started paying attention to those unbelievable sales seemingly always going at STEAM (nothing out there beats them.......I mean NOTHING) and I now have 200+ games on STEAM.

 

To those worried about "losing access to THEIR purchases":

Even in situations where people have been caught cheating in games (ban-worthy offenses) I have never heard of people losing access to their entire library, just that one product.  What's the problem there?  Simple.......don't cheat.  If you do, you deserve to lose access to the software being used regardless of the fact that you "paid for it".  Oh and I do know about that MW2 fiasco where VALVE banned a hell of a lot of people erroneously..........again.......erroneously......and everything was set straight.

 

I have in my many years of being a STEAM customer not had one single issue.  I run STEAM on 7 different machines, sometimes in OFFLINE sometimes in ONLINE, sometimes in PRIVATE and sometimes in PUBLIC modes.  I have at various times in those years downloaded and re-downloaded many of the 200+ titles in my library all without one single hitch.  Steamworks makes finding/joining/inviting to games the easiest thing on the planet.  If you don't want your stats visible for everyone make your profile private.  There is simply nothing else quite as simple as STEAMWORKS in existence.

For many years STEAM was the ONLY non-windows/OS piece of software besides TeamSpeak on any of my gaming computers.  Then with the advent of Impulse and EA's new Origin I had to add a few pieces of software to the stables.  I can tell you that everything I just said about STEAM I cannot say about the others.

 

EDIT:

Since the following comment seems to have stuck a nerve and I agree that my use of the term "assumptions" below of course in itself implies an assumption on my part.  So if you're not one who silently "assumes" STEAM doesn't work for anyone disregard the below.  Thanks! 

 So while I'm sure there are those who's experience with STEAM does not reflect mine, please cease with the assumptions that experiences such as mine do not or cannot exist.

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February 21, 2012 12:25:13 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Ya know... I have Steam... I use it daily... I like it... I don't see what you guys are getting so worked up about. This won't effect me negatively at all.

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February 21, 2012 12:31:44 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Oh I agree, Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I agree that its actually a minority who feels this way about Steam, nowhere near the idea that experiences like yours don't exist. I don't think anyone in this thread (no matter how zealous) has stated that non-one gets a good time from Steam, just that they don't like the risks/breaking their principles/supporting Steam/etc.

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February 21, 2012 12:37:03 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Maybe the word "assumptions" was a wee bit of an assumption of its own but I do believe that many who's posts show STEAM-nervousness do in fact find it hard to believe that experiences such as mine could possibly exist since so many of their fears seem (at least to me) rather far-fetched. 

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February 21, 2012 12:37:08 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting the_Monk,
So while I'm sure there are those who's experience with STEAM does not reflect mine, please cease with the assumptions that experiences such as mine do not exist.

Where did anyone make that assumption? I'm not saying some, perhaps most people have bad experiences with it. Its that I have had bad experiences with it or dislike it for philosophical reasons. I think that is more than fair enough grounds to make a respectful complaint as this is a series and company first.

Quoting the_Monk,
Maybe the word "assumptions" was a wee bit of an assumption of its own but I do believe that many who's posts show STEAM-nervousness do in fact find it hard to believe that experiences such as mind could possibly exist since so many of their fears seem (at least to me) rather far-fetched.

Feel free to think that as much as you want, but to others its a very real fear and real or imagined they should both be fully informed about it and have the right to complain and take any other actions they feel are reasonable.

And its not necessarily a black/white I will/won't use steam either. I may refuse to buy a new steam game because I feel its system inhibits my enjoyment of the game to make it not worth while, but may purchase Rebellion later when its on sale for $15, at which point its enough value to be worth the hindrance. But of course neither Steam or Stardock gets as much money off of that, and is a way to reward companies who don't use steam by being willing to buy their games at full price.

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February 21, 2012 12:38:10 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

^^^  please see above. 

 

 

 EDIT:

Also, while I have no issue with someone opposing something on priciple (as long as they don't suggest that principle as fact) some people have identified "risks" (as they see them) as being a reason not to like STEAM.  Some of those "risks" my experiences do speak to.

 

Again, as already stated the last statement of my initial post makes its own assumption so those not labouring under the assumptions my statement addresses should obviously ignore mine.

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February 21, 2012 12:45:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting the_Monk,
^^^ please see above.

I did and edited mine.

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February 21, 2012 12:48:52 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

In all these discussions, I have never heard someone suggest what alternative should be used for the features Steamworks provides.

I've got nothing against you for your decision.  You have every right - and the responsibility, for that matter - to make the best business decision for your company.  For me as a consumer, I tried to support the competitors to Steam.  Up until recently, that was you.  Now I don't really see any competitors worth supporting.

So long as your games use Steamworks, I will not purchase them.  I understand your decision, and I'm sure you understand mine.  Nothing personal Stardock, best wishes Sins community.  This is where we part ways.

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February 21, 2012 12:52:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
In all these discussions, I have never heard someone suggest what alternative should be used for the features Steamworks provides.

The issue for us isn't Steam. It's Steamworks. I've talked about this very issue for literally years.  IMO, the OS vendor should be providing this stuff for free and aggressively supporting it. But they're not.  

Frankly, as a game developer, I think it's ridiculous that there aren't viable alternatives to Steamworks. But there aren't.  And at the end of the day, we want to make great games. And Steamworks helps us do that.  

If someone wants to point to a viable alternative to Steamworks, then do so.  Otherwise, asking us to cripple the experience for 95% of the player base (in-game achievements, leader boards, multiplayer help -- people are going to freak when they see how well Rebellion does in MP compared to Trinity, player stats, etc.) is unreasonable.  People want these features. They're expected in modern games.  

Too much of this reminds me of the days when people railed because we started making Windows games (when we started out an OS/2 developer).  We just want to make cool stuff that people enjoy using.   

 

Ultimately, on your end it's about making money (which is what a business needs to do).  The question is: given how few people play MP Sins, is this worth the cost?  Then again, I don't think many people will boycott this game over Steam install.  Which group is larger?  That said, you can at least play without Steam.

 

I just don't like how Steam has become outright necessary these days.  It's a good service, but it's setting up the potential for a very nasty monopoly once Gabe is replaced- it scares me.  You are right in that there isn't a good replacement, but that's largely due to Steam's market power and the expense required to get into the game.

 

I always make sure I have one non-Steamworks game installed, just in case their servers get hacked to shreds as a buffer- which is my other concern about Steam's dominance.  What happened to Sony last year could happen to valve.

 

I'm not buying this game anyways, as I don't think I'd like it or have the time for it.  I do hope FE ends up on Steam and Origin- so more folks will be able to buy it, but I'd want to keep the option to purchase directly and not have to go through any 3rd-party sites in order to install/patch future Stardock developed games.   That is something that would influence my purchasing decision if I was on the fence.

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February 21, 2012 12:54:59 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting GoaFan77,

Feel free to think that as much as you want, but to others its a very real fear and real or imagined they should both be fully informed about it and have the right to complain and take any other actions they feel are reasonable.

Of course, I have never suggested anything different.

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February 21, 2012 12:59:03 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Darvin3,
So long as your games use Steamworks, I will not purchase them. I understand your decision, and I'm sure you understand mine. Nothing personal Stardock, best wishes Sins community. This is where we part ways.

I second this, I already don't have a computer to play Sins on, and now Steamworks is involved, so I have absolutely no reason to get Rebellion.

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