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Author Topic: DRM Discussion  (Read 587 times)

DRM Discussion
« on: 22 Sep 2021, 19:57 »
That's a shame.   :cry:

Like I said, the game looks brilliant.  But since I don't support DRM, I won't be buying it from steam.

But I'll gladly give you my money when it's DRM-free. 

Can we please kill the misconception that Steam = DRM? Games on Steam only have DRM if the developer chooses to implement it (and I'm not even sure how/if you could do it for AGS). We released our game on Steam just yesterday, and it's completely DRM-free. You can copy the folder, move it somewhere else in your hard drive, or to another computer, and it will play perfectly without the client.


Frodo

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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #1 on: 22 Sep 2021, 21:36 »
Steam IS DRM.  I can't even access your game to download it or install it, without being forced to install an annoying 3rd party client.  And games shouldn't be locked behind a client. 


Can we please kill the misconception that Steam = DRM? Games on Steam only have DRM if the developer chooses to implement it (and I'm not even sure how/if you could do it for AGS). We released our game on Steam just yesterday, and it's completely DRM-free. You can copy the folder, move it somewhere else in your hard drive, or to another computer, and it will play perfectly without the client.


Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #2 on: 23 Sep 2021, 08:14 »
Steam IS DRM.  I can't even access your game to download it or install it, without being forced to install an annoying 3rd party client.  And games shouldn't be locked behind a client. 

No, Steam is not DRM, and you saying so makes me think you don't actually know what DRM actually means. By your logic, itch.io would be DRM too, because you have to use a 3rd party application (i.e., a web browser such as Firefox or Chrome or Safari) to download their games. Having to install a client to download something is not DRM; preventing you from copying that thing you downloaded is.

If you don't want to install the client, that's totally fair. But you're framing the issue as an ethical one ("I don't support DRM") when it's actually a matter of convenience ("I don't want to have to download a bunch of different clients to get my games").

arj0n

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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #3 on: 23 Sep 2021, 10:39 »
It's DRM once you are forced to sign an agreement.
So a 3rd party client (like steam) is basically also DRM, because it usually does contain a user agreement when you install the client.
Itch.io can host your games as DRM free. GOG has DRM free games.
 
DRM free: when your able to download the game packed as archive, not as an installer that contains a license agreement, and the archive contain the game files itself, not an installer that contains a license agreement

"Having to install a client to download something is not DRM; preventing you from copying that thing you downloaded is."
True, the client isn't DRM, the game itself can use DRM. Steam does not offer standalone DRM-free installers or downloadable archives, which is what Frodo seems to prefer.

"By your logic, itch.io would be DRM too, because you have to use a 3rd party application (i.e., a web browser such as Firefox or Chrome or Safari) to download their games."
The licence agreement of a browser itself isn't related to DRM of games.

"Games on Steam only have DRM if the developer chooses to implement it"
True. Steam has DRM free games too indeed. So it depends on the the game license itself.
« Last Edit: 23 Sep 2021, 11:26 by arj0n »

Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #4 on: 23 Sep 2021, 11:43 »
It's DRM once you are forced to sign an agreement.
So a 3rd party client (like steam) is basically also DRM, because it usually does contain a user agreement when you install the client.
Itch.io can host your games as DRM free. GOG has DRM free games.

I think you're confusing copyright with DRM. A copyright (or a software license) is a legally binding agreement. DRM is a technology used to enforce that agreement. Just because a game or a piece of software is DRM free, it doesn't mean that it's copyright free or that you're allowed to do anything you want with it.
 
DRM free: when your able to download the game packed as archive, not as an installer that contains a license agreement, and the archive contain the game files itself, not an installer that contains a license agreement

You literally just made that up, that has nothing to do with the definition of DRM.

"Having to install a client to download something is not DRM; preventing you from copying that thing you downloaded is."
True, the client isn't DRM, the game itself can use DRM. Steam does not offer standalone DRM-free installers or downloadable archives, which is what Frodo seems to prefer.

Steam absolutely offers DRM-free installers or downloadable archives, for example for every single AGS game ever. When you click that "Install" button on Steam, the only thing the client does is download the game files to your computer. If it's an AGS game, you can easily check that yourself by navigating your hard drive to the install location, and you will see that the files you just downloaded are the usual gametitle.exe, winsetup.exe, speech.vox, etc.

"By your logic, itch.io would be DRM too, because you have to use a 3rd party application (i.e., a web browser such as Firefox or Chrome or Safari) to download their games."
The licence agreement of a browser itself isn't related to DRM of games.

As stated above, a license agreement and a DRM solution are different things. Frodo's reasoning was that if you need to use a third-party application to download your games, then that application is DRM. Ergo, a web browser would be DRM under that definition.

"Games on Steam only have DRM if the developer chooses to implement it"
True. Steam has DRM free games too indeed. So it depends on the the game license itself.

So the statement "Steam IS DRM" is false. Glad we got to the same conclusion.

Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #5 on: 23 Sep 2021, 15:18 »
Interesting discussion which led me to finding out more information on the subject.

I came across this site which offered some clarity.

https://www.pcgamingwiki.com/wiki/The_Big_List_of_DRM-Free_Games_on_Steam 
I'm a slow learner but I like to ask questions.

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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #6 on: 23 Sep 2021, 16:51 »
I upset a few of the people who backed a game I made on Kickstarter, because I promised a DRM-free version. But GOG wouldn't accept it (boo) so the publisher and I were stumped about how to distribute it.

Our final decision was to have an old-fashioned 90s-style serial number at the start of the game if you bought it directly from the publisher. (Not as a realistic barrier against piracy, they just didn't want an open link that anyone could just access without even logging in.) I didn't regard this as DRM, because I thought it predated the entire concept of DRM, it didn't require an internet connection, and it didn't stop you doing any of the things you could do with a game downloaded from GOG. Naturally, some DRM critics disagreed.

So I learned 2 things - don't promise things if you aren't very, very confident you can deliver. And also, the opinions of a tiny minority of gamers about Steam/DRM are valid, but largely inconsequential. Devoting significant resources to pleasing them would be a mistake.

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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #7 on: 23 Sep 2021, 17:05 »
Steam IS DRM.  I can't even access your game to download it or install it, without being forced to install an annoying 3rd party client.  And games shouldn't be locked behind a client. 


Can we please kill the misconception that Steam = DRM? Games on Steam only have DRM if the developer chooses to implement it (and I'm not even sure how/if you could do it for AGS). We released our game on Steam just yesterday, and it's completely DRM-free. You can copy the folder, move it somewhere else in your hard drive, or to another computer, and it will play perfectly without the client.

I'm personally of the opinion that Steam is a form of DRM, simply because you usually have to sign in to play the game. Although I have encountered a few exceptions to this, such as the FNAF games. Steam is only needed to download those games. I'm not kidding, I just found the folder, moved it somewhere else, and don't even bother to sign in to play them. But most Steam games require Steam to be signed in before they let you run them, and I would definitely call that DRM. Needing Steam to download and install them though... that's not DRM. That's just mildly annoying.

But there are around half a dozen cracks for Steam that work on almost every game. And I've been collecting these cracks for years, and they still all work to this day. So as far as DRM goes, Steam is definitely more than acceptable. Probably more acceptable than having to put a disc in honestly.

I think not getting a game just because it's on Steam is petty. And this is coming from someone who absolutely detests DRM to the point where it's become my main argument for why I'd rather play games on a console.
« Last Edit: 23 Sep 2021, 17:07 by Danvzare »

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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #8 on: 23 Sep 2021, 17:36 »
A browser that allows you to use the internet, is completely different from a 3rd party client that restricts access to games.  And restricting access makes it DRM.  So no, itch.io is not DRM. 

The likes of itch.io, GOG, Fireflower Games, and even Direct Download, let you just download the game... and that's it.  You're off. 
You're not forced to jump through hoops, just to download and install something. 

If you like steam and DRM, that's your choice.  But it's petty to dismiss someone for not liking DRM. 



No, Steam is not DRM, and you saying so makes me think you don't actually know what DRM actually means. By your logic, itch.io would be DRM too, because you have to use a 3rd party application (i.e., a web browser such as Firefox or Chrome or Safari) to download their games. Having to install a client to download something is not DRM; preventing you from copying that thing you downloaded is.


LimpingFish

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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #9 on: 23 Sep 2021, 19:06 »
Steam is a content delivery service, that supports DRM. From Wikipedia:

"Prior to 2009, most games released on Steam had traditional anti-piracy measures, including the assignment and distribution of product keys and support for digital rights management software tools such as SecuROM or non-malicious rootkits. With an update to the Steamworks SDK in March 2009, Valve added its "Custom Executable Generation" (CEG) approach into the Steamworks SDK that removed the need for these other measures. The CEG technology creates a unique, encrypted copy of the game's executable files for the given user, which allows them to install it multiple times and on multiple devices, and make backup copies of their software. Once the software is downloaded and installed, the user must then authenticate through Steam to de-encrypt the executable files to play the game. Normally this is done while connected to the Internet following the user's credential validation, but once they have logged into Steam once, a user can instruct Steam to launch in a special offline mode to be able to play their games without a network connection. Developers are not limited to Steam's CEG and may include other forms of DRM (or none at all) and other authentication services than Steam; for example, some games from publisher Ubisoft require the use of their UPlay gaming service, and prior to its shutdown in 2014, some other games required Games for Windows – Live, though many of these games have since transitioned to using the Steamworks CEG approach."


In my experience, it's possible to run some games downloaded through Steam without having Steam running.
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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #10 on: 24 Sep 2021, 07:21 »
I don't like DRM, but I still use Steam. I have a simple rule: If a game I get on Steam uses Steamworks-DRM, then I'll refund it immediately. If after downloading I can run the game without the client running in the background, it's DRM-free. Thankfully many developers, especially indie developers, don't use Steamworks DRM.

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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #11 on: 24 Sep 2021, 19:46 »
DRM arguments!

So much pointless fun! Depending on where your arbitrary wall is, everything can be considered DRM- Steam requires a client, GOG requires an account and sign-in, as does itch.io and fireflower and the like. It's your own goalposts that set what annoys you or not: signing in doesn't bother you, or using a specific client doesn't bother you, or being able to download and then do whatever you want with your game doesn't bother you.

Personally, I consider Steam itself to be a form of DRM, but one that can be bypassed if one wishes to (3rd party software to download games from the steamdb, copying games elsewhere, etc.), as long as the game itself didn't implement some other form of DRM. I use it, but am happier to use DRM-free services, and would be even HAPPIER if all of it was on some open API standard that let me use a client of my own choice to have all my games collected in one place.
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Re: DRM Discussion
« Reply #12 on: 24 Sep 2021, 20:51 »
...GOG requires an account and sign-in, as does itch.io...
itch.io actually doesn't require an account: https://itch.io/docs/buying/already-bought
When you buy (or donate to) something on itch.io you don’t need an account. When purchasing without an account your purchase is tied to your email address. If you used PayPal, it’s your PayPal email address. If you used credit card, it’s the email address you provided when you made the purchase.

And I've bought a few Humble Bundles in the past as well without having an account there.

So I guess that's probably as DRM-free as you can get? Or maybe some stores offer completely anonymous purchases with crypto or something.