So I was tooling around up at Best Buy today, picking up some stuff for work, and I stopped by the game section before I left. And let me just say kudos to Best Buy. I used to check Target for their low price clearouts, but Best Buy has become the king of the ten dollar games. So several stood out to me, but I finally narrowed it down to one – Red Orchestra. The package for it also included some of the mods and add ons. I had heard great things about the game, so I was excited to give it a whirl.
I get it home, pop it in, click the install button…and the dreaded popup stares me in the face. I am normally really, really good about checking games for that crap before I buy them, but I missed it, and with the game already opened, there was no returning it. So ten bucks down the drain, which I am not happy about.
So let me just take this opportunity to say: I dont get it. And apparently not because of what some other people say. For example, there is a thread on the Red Orchestra forums asking why they use Steam and complaining about Steam’s speed and reliability. It then devolves into a discussion about number of downloads. One
enterprising clueless person even compares using Steam to using Windows. Apples to Oranges anyone?
Those, though, are not my concerns. I’ve never used it, so I don’t know how reliable it is. I didn’t know how many downloads or re-downloads you got, but I assumed it was unlimited. I don’t have some beef with the digital age – I regularly use Direct2Drive and enjoy their service. Some people have said that there were specific issues with Steam early on – and I’ve heard rumors of some of those, but again – I’ve had no direct involvement, so that’s not the point here either.
No, my beef is this:
NOTICE: Product offered to your acceptance of the Steam subscriber agreement (“SSA”). You must activate this product via the internet by registering for a Steam account and accepting the SSA.
First of all, registering a product is a voluntary act. Usually you do it to get a bonus like a warranty, or some Nintendo points, or to help out companies that you like. Forcing someone to do it is onerous in and of itself. We are not talking about firearms here. I’m not going to be using it for any terrorist acts, not could it harm the public good. So that’s a no-no in my book. But even if it was required, I could probably get around that. If that’s what a company wants – to make it required rather than optional, well, I could see where, from a business standpoint, they may feel that this was beneficial or useful.
But secondly, the act of registering this product requires you to get into bed with a second product. A product I have no interest in using. Now you can say to me: “Its a great service, I enjoy all that it does for me, and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to use it too!” And I would say to you – if its such a great service – why am I required to have it? Why doesn’t it stand on its own merits?
And the icing on the cake is these two things taken together. If Steam was the preferred choice for registering Red Orchestra, well, that’s their choice. And I have no problem with them choosing a third party to help them with that process, if that is beneficial to the company. But since its also required…now we have a problem.
However, here is my disclaimer…I am curious about this notice on the Wikipedia entry:
It is necessary to authenticate every Steam game online, whether purchased via Steam itself or installed via a retail disc, the first time it is played. After the initial authentication, an offline mode allows games to be run without being connected to your Steam account.
If that is true…if I can install Red Orchestra, check down on the regstration, and then uninstall Steam from my computer and wash my hands of it…well then I can live with that compromise. But that is not my understanding. My understanding up to now has been that Steam is required to be on my computer so that it can continue to validate my software from time to time. So if any of you can clear that up for me – go.
Until then…Tripwire: I’m sure your game is good, but its not that good. Enjoy the money you made off of me today, you got lucky.