Sunday, 28 November 2010

Why not to use Steam

My wife was never particularly "into" computers. However, once she met me, she saw me playing a particular game and gradually became addicted.

That game was Sid Meier's Civilization. In those days, it would have been Civ II. When we were dating she would quite happily kick me off my computer (the only one in the house in those days) to spend hours on this game.

For those not in the know, Civilization is a turn-based world domination game. Very complex, games can typically take anything up to 10 hours gametime, so its the kind of game one can definitely "get into"!

Anyway, we got married, we moved house, we bought computers. Civilization, too, evolved. Through III, to IV, she bought them all. After the "standard" Civ IV, there were spin-off games, and she bought them all. Two or three years ago, she even bought herself a laptop, for other stuff as well but playing Civ was a big factor.

You get the picture...

Anyway, imagine her excitement when she hears that Civ V was being released! I must admit, I thought I had her christmas present sorted, but she just couldn't wait and went out and bought the game herself. It was then that her problems began. You see, what she didn't realise was that her laptop was not longer a good enough spec to run the new game. Very disappointing.

But still, I quite like Civilization too, and the spec of my computer is good enough to run the game. So, disappointing for Jacqueline, but at least the money wasn't wasted. It could have been her christmas present to me.

Until, that is, Steam get involved. Steam is a software distribution mechanism which is used by Civilization and other programs. And because Jacqueline installed and attempted to play the game, it is registered to her. The only shortcoming of their mechanism is that once registered, it is not possible to de-register - an intentional oversight, perhaps? So, bang go any hopes of registering it to me instead.

This really pisses me off since my wife has bought this dvd, a totally pucker piece of software, complete with totally pucker license to run it, and what she is left with is nothing, nada. She can't even mitigate her mistake by giving the software to someone else. So there's thirty quid just gone.

Ostensibly this is about piracy, but of course it is plain to me that it is just about profiteering. They are forcing people to buy the game from them and from them alone, and completely taking out the second-hand market. I'm sorry but when confronted with such an intransigent attitude all I can say is good luck to the pirates.

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