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Civilization Comes to Steam 104

Gamespot reports that yet another publisher has joined the ever-growing stable of Steam fans. 2K games is working to bring some of their games to the service, with Civilization III and IV coming to Steam this week, and other titles to follow. From the article: "Also included will be the high-seas adventure Sid Meier's Pirates! and the alternate-history real-time strategy game Shattered Union ... According to a statement released today by Valve, Steam currently has some 10 million customers for both its 'core' products--which include advanced shooters such as Half-Life 2--and casual games, such as PopCap Games' Bejeweled and Zuma. "
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Civilization Comes to Steam

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  • But if you buy retail, Steam is a source of bugs and problems.
    • by Thansal ( 999464 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:32PM (#16584122)
      I assume you are reffering to the problems that came about from the launch of HL2 (assuming as you do not elaborate at all).

      So again, most of the problems that were there have been fixed. Yes, you can play your purely offline content offline with no problems. Yes, you still need to unlock the game from the start, however I personaly prefer that to other forms of copy protection. Yes, the launch of HL2 was rocky b/c of the steam servers getting hammered horribly.

      If you wana bash something, bash it, don't just make random comments.

      As for the Civ series showing up on Steam? Nifty, I am always glad to see the library grwoing, admitedly I have no interest in strategy games so this is not great boon to me.
      • I assume you are reffering to the problems that came about from the launch of HL2 (assuming as you do not elaborate at all).

        Recently, I saw Red Orchestra [] at Target and bought it as an impulse buy because I really liked the Mod. However, to my dismay, I could never get it to run because it could not connect to Steam.

        Even tried connecting directly to the internet without a router and turning off firewall and hacking the WinXP TCP/IP, but to no avail that game would not work.

        I would have reformatted the machin
    • WTF are you talking about? I bought Half Life (original), Opposing Force and Blueshift retail several years ago and activated them on steam when it came out with no problems at all.
  • by sirboxalot ( 791959 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:30PM (#16584068)
    I've been meaning to buy Civ IV for a while now, and now I don't even need to leave the room.
    • Yeah, those torrents come in pretty handy eh? ;)
    • I admire you, sir. You have reinvigorated my dream of achieving such indolence by proving it possible.
    • Once you get Civ IV, you won't leave the room. You might want to email everyone you know a fond farewell while it's installing. Only reason I'm not playing is because my friends formed an intervention group.
      • Luckily enough for me, my computer isn't fast enough for it; otherwise I'd be joining that support group right along with you.

        Right now it's sitting on the shelf waiting for me to feel the need for a processor upgrade. The first 3-4 turns that I could play looked really, really bad ass though.
  • High prices (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LotsOfPhil ( 982823 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:30PM (#16584076)
    Civ 4 is $50 [] and Civ 3 is $30. []
    The latter seems quite high for a 5 year old game.
    • I believe that the CIV 3 includes the expansion packs.
      • Re:High prices (Score:5, Insightful)

        by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:07PM (#16584660)
        Great, Civ 3 Complete is $18.98 [] on Amazon. The listed MSRP is $19.99, so it's not like you're even getting a discount from them. Steam is selling it for $10 more than that. What benefit are they offering you for your $10?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Odin_Tiger ( 585113 )
          I realize that my case is so unusual as to be negligible and so it doesn't really justify it, but...I live 100 miles from Wal Mart (or any other place that would carry these games), so driving to get it, having it shipped next day air, or downloading it for $30 are my options for getting it quickly, and honestly the download would probably be the best balance of time and money. As it happens, I already own (and don't really like) Civ III, so I won't be getting either, though.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          The benefit of not being able to play the game once they go out of business.
        • by FrenZon ( 65408 ) *

          I am happy to pay more for Steam titles - not having to worry about physical media is super great, especially since Steam lets you use your games on multiple computers. I have complete access to my Steam games library anywhere, and the games I do have installed are automatically patched and updated as needed.

          Yes, internet access speeds in the US make downloading some games painful, but it's still faster than waiting for next-day delivery, and gives you a smug "I'm not needlessly polluting the air by drivi

        • What benefit are they offering you for your $10?
          Judging from my expeience with Steam/HL2, the main benefit is that you won't be able to download or ever play it properly, so you'll be saved from Iain Banks's reported problems with Civ addiction.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by brkello ( 642429 )
      Then don't buy it.
    • For the next 3 hours you can get Civilization 4 DVD edition for $29.99 at [].
  • by tcopeland ( 32225 ) <tom@thomaslee[ ] ['cop' in gap]> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:31PM (#16584108) Homepage
    If you've got Steam, give that Shadowgrounds [] game a whirl. It's old-fashioned 2D and is very nifty - lots of weapons, lots of stuff to kill, just fun to play all around. And only $20, so, hey.
    • 100% true

      topdown, mouse aiming, keyboard movement goodness.

      There are not enough games like that one!
    • Shadowgrounds was pretty good... until the ending. Man they REALLY messed that up so badly that I was pretty much cracking up while watching the end credits.
    • I'd like to supply an alternate opinion.

      I found that Shadowgrounds was cool old school retro in appearance only. It was apparently totally lost on the devs that the appeal in that sort of game was lots of enemies that are easy to kill, not a middle amount of enemies that take a bunch of shots to kill, thus requiring endless running backwards. I was higly disappointed with the demo, although I'll probably end up with the game anyway as it's part of the sci-fi games pack I've been eyeing off (x3 AND Darwinia
  • Sadness.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yamamushi ( 903955 )
    Am I the only one who finds this disappointing?
    • How is it disappointing that Steam is expanding their game library? It can only mean more money for Valve, and subsequently more upgrades to the service.
      • I don't know that I find it disappointing but I can see how some people might, and I don't think this should be labeled as Troll.

        I think some people may see this as disappointing because it's a further move towards more restrictive copy protection; restrictive not in the sense that it's harder to crack, but that its more difficult for people with legitimate copies to play. While copy protection is all well and good, requiring an internet connection to play a game isn't always convenient, especially
        • by Nos. ( 179609 )
          Steam has offline play. Once the game is installed and unlocked, you no longer need to connect to the servers for any reason. You can connect when you want to get updates and such, but you don't HAVE to connect.
    • Re:Sadness.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:54PM (#16585216)
      No, you're not (and let the Valve/Steam fanboys mod me down, I've karma to burn anyhow).

      If some games players want an easy life and not to have to worry about applying updates manually then good luck to them and I hope Steam gives them what they want.

      But Steam has also been shown to be as intrusive as spyware in what it "phones home" about in regard to what it finds on your PC - sure, those at "Steam Central" may not be able to do much with any information to any specific individuals but that information is still probably useful statistically and may even be used to justify even tighter restrictions on we consumers further down the line. No, I've nothing to hide whatsoever (apart from my own personal data on my machines) but I also work in operating system and server security - Steam is just another closed server/client application that has the potential to be misused or cracked and is therefore not running on any PC I own - it's that simple.

      What's a real shame is that the original Half-Life (and its expansions) is my favourite game of all time and I would like to play Half-Life 2 and the new Episodes - yes, and like everything else I play, I'll happily go out and buy the full retail version. But I decide what I run on my PC and I simply will *NOT* allow any power-hungry company ride roughshod through my PC for the sake of a game.

      It's even more annoying that I'm also a big fan of the Civilization series and have played them all up to Civ 3 - Civ 4 was going to be a game I was going to ask for a Christmas present from the missus. Hopefully, I'll still have the choice of buying the boxed version and downloading the updates to install manually, otherwise I'll be choosing something else for Santa Claus to bring me.

      But to end on a positive note, at the other end of the scale I think Stardock deserve some real praise with the way they have handled Galactic Civilizations II. Not only is it a superb game (if you're a Master Of Orion fan like I am) but once you've installed it and registered your license key with their web site, you don't even need to put the game disc in the drive to play it - plus they even tell you how to export you registration to another machine so you can have it installed simultanously on a desktop and laptop or so that you don't need to go through the registration process again after a rebuild.

      • Thank you. I love civilization 3 & 4, but I absolutely hate steam. I don't understand why I was modded as troll though..
        • by Raenex ( 947668 )
          I don't understand why I was modded as troll though..

          Probably because you offered no insight as to what you found sad about it. So, it was just empty bashing.

          The follow-up poster filled in the blanks for you. (He also used the trick of saying he would get moderated down to almost guarantee being moderated up, but I digress.)

      • by snuf23 ( 182335 )
        "Hopefully, I'll still have the choice of buying the boxed version and downloading the updates to install manually, otherwise I'll be choosing something else for Santa Claus to bring me."

        Shouldn't be a problem. In addition to Steam, Take 2 has arrangements with Direct2Drive for online distribution as well. These are both in addition to purchasing the regular store bought version. You off the shelf Civ 4 won't become "Steamified" as far as I can tell. Mine certainly hasn't.
  • No Warlords? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I thought maybe they would include Civ 4: Warlords in a bundle.
    • by Wovel ( 964431 )
      You can get a bundle of Civ IV and Warlords at direct2drive for $69.95 downloaded. Not a bad deal and the DLs are pretty speedy, at least as fast as steam. (I have no interest in Direct2Drive, and frankly this entire article was an advertisement)
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:37PM (#16584210)
    ... right, so after Steam get Railroad, then Industrialization. Then build factories, factories, factories, and start churning out the cavalry and artillery units 50% faster than your neighbours. The rest writes itself...
    • after Steam get Railroad, then Industrialization. Then build factories...

      Your tech tree is so 1996. These days, factories come with Assembly Line, well before Industrialism. You don't even need railroad to get them. Industrialism is later, in any case, requiring electricity; but since there's no Mobile Warfare tech, you get to build tanks (and battleships) with Industrialism. So now my typical path is Steam Power -> Assembly Line -> Railroad -> Combustion -> Electricity -> Industrial

    • by Stripe7 ( 571267 )
      LOL! I love your sig.
    • No, no! You can win much earlier by getting democracy, and then building the statue of liberty ASAP. Then switch to a fundamentalism. You can dominate the world with Crusaders long before the discovery of tactics. Not very ethical, but I'm not killing REAL people and REAL liberty.....

      Of course getting steam is nice because the first steam boats are incredibly powerful despite the fact that that has almost nothing to do with reality.

      Now as for Steam and Valve, well that seems stupid and clunky. I don't
  • Old PC Games (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jesterboy ( 106813 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:40PM (#16584252)
    This is all well and good, but what I'd really like to see on Steam is the "ancient school" games that used to run on Win95/DOS running under Windows XP and available $5-$10 a pop. It seems like an ideal situation for Valve; small download sizes, minimal work, and I would think a high demand. As for the gamers, we could get games like the original System Shock running no hassle under WinXP, with possibly some minor graphical improvements (i.e., unlocking higher res video modes [] in this example).

    I know games such as these are widely available on abandonware sites, but I would gladly pay for true support. Referring to System Shock again, I managed to get it to run fine on my old laptop with Windows XP, but my current system is unable to play it reliably, despite trying to use Dos Box, VDM Sound, etc. I would gladly pay for these games if I could easily run them, and would like to support the developers who made them. We could have Lucasarts Adventures, classic DOS games, and older FPSes at our fingertips without delving into a legal quagmire such as abandonware. Is this just a pipe dream?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by secolactico ( 519805 )
      but what I'd really like to see on Steam is the "ancient school" games that used to run on Win95/DOS running under Windows XP and available $5-$10 a pop.

      I'll say! I would gladly pay (again!) for a chance to play "Master or Orion", the Ultima series (incl. Worlds of Ultima) with no hassle on modern hardware/OS.

      Still, this is a good idea. I never bought CIV III or IV, so I guess I'll give them a whirl.
      • Re:Old PC Games (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bluesman ( 104513 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:09PM (#16584688) Homepage
        There's no such thing as giving Civ III a "whirl."

        You can start a game in the afternoon. You'll be "just finishing up this turn" when the sun comes up the next morning, and you haven't slept at all. You've been warned.

        • You can start a game in the afternoon. You'll be "just finishing up this turn" when the sun comes up the next morning, and you haven't slept at all. You've been warned.

          Amateur. If you get up and eat breakfast at the PC you should be conquering the world by lunch (against the AI anyway).

        • I don't need Civ III for that... Civ I already did that for me, and yes, I do play it from time to time in DosBox. Yes, I know there are opensource alternatives by now. *sigh*
      • Ultima?! Forget that -- I'd like to play Wizardry. The one without the roman numeral after it, you know, the first one. Mmmm, Apple II graphics fringing effects!


        • damn you're old!...I haven't heard that game mentioned in a very long time
          I had it for the NES and I played it constantly for months
      • by snuf23 ( 182335 )
        Part of the problem is that there isn't a really good way to run some of those games. At least not 100% (see compatibility with DOSBox and many games). Some reengineering would probably need to be done.

        I know the Slashdot crowd generally hates subscription services (except WoW of course), but if you want to try some old classics GameTap [] is pretty decent. The strategy game selection is really good with classics like:

        Heroes of Might and Magic 1-4
        Civilization 3
        Age of Wonders 1-2
        Tropico 1-2
        Command and Conquer 1
        • That looks pretty nifty. Too bad it isn't available outside the U.S.

          Site makes no mention of legal issues tho, but since it's got limited availability, I guess there are none. Still, they should have a faq or section explaining that users will not be left high and dry because BSA came knocking up their door.
          • by snuf23 ( 182335 )
            They just launched in Canada - although not all games are available there yet due to licensing reasons. The service is legit - it's run by Turner Broadcasting (Time Warner) which is why you will find some systems notably absent (for example they have a lot of Sega stuff but no Nintendo). The selection of games for each platform also varies in quality. Aside from old Epyx games there are few of the top Commodore 64 classics represented.
      • by ahmusch ( 777177 )
        DosBox with D-Fend.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Never mind "ancient school", civ III should be $5-$10. $30 is a total rip-off, and makes a mockery of everything steam is "supposed" to stand for - it cuts out the publishers, they take 99.99% of the cost of a game for themselves - it allows us to deliver cheaper games to the end customer for a moderate inconvenience of not having a physical product and having to have internet activation . Absolute cheek.
    • Re:Old PC Games (Score:4, Informative)

      by damiangerous ( 218679 ) <> on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:12PM (#16584736)
      This is all well and good, but what I'd really like to see on Steam is the "ancient school" games that used to run on Win95/DOS running under Windows XP and available $5-$10 a pop.

      What you want is Gametap []. They don't have System Shock, but they have a lot of old DOS games (including LucasArts adventures).

      • FYI, Gametap just added Civ3 to its lineup. They have a suprisingly large collection of reasonably new games (less than 3-4 years old) available, and they seem to be adding new ones at a rate that just barely keeps me from dropping my subscription.
    • The problem is (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @07:20PM (#16586158)
      That it is generally a non-trivial amount of work to update the game to run on modern systems. I mean the way you dealt with things in the DOS was was just totally different from now. For graphics most games would do something along the lines of directly write information to the VGA card's registers then call an interrupt to switch it to a non-directly supported mode (320x240 with multiple buffers was popular, called Mode X often). You'd then directly write to the off-screen video RAM and flip the page when you were ready to display.

      Ok so there's just no such thing now in Windows. You don't directly access anything in hardware. You instead call upon an API for it (usually DirectX). This means that to make it directly Windows compatible you have to totally re-write large parts of the code. You aren't just hacking one little thing to be different, it's a different way of dealing with a computer.

      The only other option is emulation. You leave the program as is and have something that translates those direct hardware access instructions in to calls to APIs Windows can deal with. That's precisely what DOSBox or the NTVDM do already.

      I just don't think you'd find the market to be large enough to justify the development cost of a Windows port.

      However, as to the Lucas Arts games, you are in luck. Turns out that all those adventure games they made were designed with the same basic software. It was called the Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, or SCUMM. Basically they developed a tool to put together Maniac Mansion. Well when they made another game like it, they started with the same tool and updated it. The upshot is that emulating that engine has become an easy way to make lots of those old games run, and that has been done. See [] for the project.
      • by spacey ( 741 )
        Doesn't a freedos and a virtual x86 (i.e. bochs or something similar) that's self-contained make for a market for this? Just package up a 30-40mb VM (that's enough space built in to save games), and sell it for $10.

        No hassle with trying to turn your teraherz machine into a 8-bit cpu, and your whizbang video card into a BIOS-driven EGA display, just emulate it. The best part is it probably won't become obsolete again. The emulator should work for a long, long time.

        • I think you're missing the point here. That's already done, DOSBox is probably one of the best examples. It emulates a DOS machine, with an eye specifically on games. Ok, great. Problem is, as with all emulation, it's imperfect. For one thing it's really slow (this is partially because the programmers aren't that trained in ways to make it fast) and there's also all kinds of compatibility problems that crop up.

          What the GP was saying he wanted was for companies to actually port their games to Windows, make t
    • This is all well and good, but what I'd really like to see on Steam is the "ancient school" games that used to run on Win95/DOS running under Windows XP and available $5-$10 a pop.

      GameTap [] is exactly what you are looking for: 700+ classic games (including not just DOS/Windows goodies, but console games as well), playable on demand, $7/month.

      Is this just a pipe dream?

      Apparently not ;-)

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Nice for Americans. I tried "Play Now" on a game and it refused with "Only Available in America".
    • by kevmo ( 243736 )
      Have you seen Windows Marketplace [] ? There are some old games on there ...
  • I hope that (a) future versions/expansions to Civ aren't Steam exclusive and (b) no games are Steam exclusive. As you can probably tell, I am not a big fan of Steam.

    I prefer buying retail and patching via ftp downloads, thank you very much. Steam is yet another background process to cause problems on my computer. I'm not sure how it is now, but it caused many a headache back when I used to play HL2 and CS:S.
    • by Twanfox ( 185252 )
      I concur on the headaches from Steam. It seems that, using Steam, it takes for-fucking-ever to start to play a game (5 minutes is not atypical) and my system runs the games themselves just fine (HL2 and CS:S). Not only that, but the forced patch cycle has made it impossible for me to play on occasion (THANKS!) and has caused me grief with my favorite servers in CS:S. Ever since they force-patched my game a year or so ago, my favorites (which used to be fine) now don't show up without me refreshing, and mana
  • When worlds collide (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:48PM (#16584376)
    I've already got Civ 4, but it would be very nice if I can use the CD code to run it off steam. For some unknown reason, my CD Drive trips a copy protection on Civ 4, causing a switch to low priority on my machine. I can reset it to normal, but it doesn't stay for long. It's incredibly frustrating. All tech support could say is "update your CD drive drivers" but apparently my drive's company doesn't support this drive anymore. This drives' not even supposed to work on XP!

    It's really nice to see higher qualities coming to steam. It's even scheduled to have an Unreal Engine 3 based game. The Pop-caps games are just annoying to see advertised; maybe Civ 4 can class-up the place alittle.
    • by Osty ( 16825 )

      my CD Drive trips a copy protection on Civ 4, causing a switch to low priority on my machine. I can reset it to normal, but it doesn't stay for long. It's incredibly frustrating. All tech support could say is "update your CD drive drivers" but apparently my drive's company doesn't support this drive anymore. This drives' not even supposed to work on XP!

      Rather than spending $50 to buy the game again on Steam, why not spend $30 and get a new CD-ROM (DVD-ROM/CD-R/RW). Or see if you can find a no-cd hack a

      • I'm not interested in spending money either way, I was merely wondering if they'll allow retailers to use the steam version, kind of like how HL2 retail worked except after the fact. I've tried no-cd hacks, haven't found one that doesn't crash in the middle of the game (I assume because it also trips the protection.)
    • This may be what you tried, but I just wanted to recommend the potent trifecta of the "pr1m45" Civ IV mini-image, which can be loaded into a virtual drive through Daemon Tools, and the program SD4hide, which masks the fact that you're running daemon tools

      Good luck, I hope this allows you to play this fantastic game
    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )
      For some unknown reason, my CD Drive trips a copy protection on Civ 4, causing a switch to low priority on my machine.
      The copy protection in Civ4 ruined my laptop's DVD-ROM -- I am really tired of being punished for being legit (and before anyone says, yes - I have contacted them on the issue - no, nothing came of it).
      • I am really tired of being punished for being legit (and before anyone says, yes - I have contacted them on the issue - no, nothing came of it).

        Yep, know how you feel. I've got the same issue with several games, and I ended up buying another DVD drive just because of the copy protection. Sure, DVD drives cost next to nothing these days, but it's annoying.

        Yes, I know, nobody is forcing me to buy these games, and yes, I'm well aware of the fact that there are most likely cracked versions on the net, etc e

  • Awww just, when we figure out the multiplayer you give us a new one.
  • Does anyone know (Score:3, Informative)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:50PM (#16584408)
    how these play on Wine and variants?

    I like the Civ games, but I'm not about to buy blind.

  • Steam questions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by batmn42 ( 158573 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @04:51PM (#16584420) Homepage
    I like the idea of Steam, but I have an issue with it that has kept me from buying anything on it (I have tried the Darwinia demo, and liked it, but didn't end up buying the actual game).

    My question is: what if Steam goes away someday?

    I really want Episode One (and for sure will get Episode 2 when it comes out-- Portal is sweet). But if I buy them over Steam, and then my computer dies, and Steam dies someday, I've got nothing left. If I go to the store and buy a disc, then at least I'll be able to reinstall the game and play it even if I don't have a connection to Steam (or is that even possible?). But if I download the whole game on Steam, aren't I losing any chance to play it, should Steam ever disappear?

    I have already bought Half Life and HL2 (in the boxes), and play them over Steam without any problems. But I've been staying away from actually buying things through Steam (even though I'd buy Episode I and Civ III in a second) because of these issues. Any answers?
    • Steam won't go away anytime soon at the rate it's growing. But maybe if it one day disappears, people will come up with some way to get around Steam, or maybe Valve will make a workaround so we can still play the game we bought years ago. Who knows?
    • by Thansal ( 999464 )
      ahh, as you have some valve games already registerd in STEAM this is simple to explain.

      All you need to do is poke around and find the little dohicky that lets you backup your games, then burn em to a CD!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Goose42 ( 88624 )
      Once the game has been downloaded to your machine, it is possible to force Steam into an "offline" mode which won't hit up servers for anything (updates, verification, etc). So, if the Steam service disappears, you will still be able to play your games. As well, you can back up the Steam installer and the game data to CDs/DVDs, so if the service disappears you can load the games back from your own personal backups.
    • Re:Steam questions (Score:4, Informative)

      by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:05PM (#16584638)
      Well, The Steam Review [] has a blog/report on the closing of Triton; an online games distribution system that once hosted Prey.

      The closing of Triton is a lesson on how not to shut down DD systems. While I fully support Steam and buy all my valve products through it, it is always important to know what could happen. We can only hope Valve takes up Triton's lesson and prepares fail safes. As of now, Valve has tested and says they are prepared to allow bypassing the authentication servers should their service be offline for an extended time. This is a good first step in preparations, but it is still a small step.

      You are fully allowed to backup all steam games to disk; it even provides you with a function to do so with minimal work.

      In my personal opinion, Digital purchasing of Steam games is just as safe as physical purchases, easier, and (in some cases) cheaper. The real arguement is what if Steam's gone for good and that'll affect all the Steam games equally.
      • Steam "backups" will still require activation (aka log in on the Steam service) when re installed. It doesn't solve the problem at all.

        Moreover, have a look at the infamous Steam Subscriber Agreement. It clearly states that they have NO obligation to provide offline versions of their games in case they decide to shut down some parts of the service.

        As with most digital distribution services, you never purchase anything on Steam: you merely rent it until the day they change their mind.

    • There are scene releases for all steam games so they can't completely die off, and if Valve ever closes their service they'll probably put out one last update to steam that allows everyone to play without steam being logged in. I think that if Valve ever closes it's doors there will be bigger problems to worry about than how your going to get your old steam games to function. Also, how many of your old games work today? There's a lot of classic games from the nineties that just refuse to function with WinXP
    • by jpardey ( 569633 )
      There are two possibilities: Either for whatever reason, everyone starts to hate Valve and Steam. Valve goes bankrupt, no one buys them out. No more legal department, and cracks are distributed. The other case, Valve falls apart, but someone buys at least steam off of them. Either they charge for access, or use the existing brand recognition to keep the service operating. Either way, I doubt very much that Steam is going away any time soon, and if it does, I doubt anyone will be there to protect the source
  • So what (Score:3, Informative)

    by alnjmshntr ( 625401 ) on Wednesday October 25, 2006 @05:12PM (#16584726)
    I can't understand why releasing a game on Steam is news. These games have been available for online purchase and download from other sites for ages. for example (my favourite) has many top games for sale and their prices go down pretty quickly after release. And you get to download an actual setup file which you can backup to a dvd.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zed2K ( 313037 )
      Which you can't update with official patches until Direct2Drive puts out their own version of the patch. Steam is directly connected to the publisher which just pushes the patches out to the system to update automatically.
      • I don't think this is true, do you have a specific example? AFAIR all the games that I have downloaded have had patches for downloaded games released by the publishers themselves, not by Direct2Drive. For example Ubisoft will release a retail and a download version of their patches, at the same time.

        And, in any case, for single player games patching is not a huge issue. Steam does a good job for patching online games, which need frequent updates.
        • by Zed2K ( 313037 )
          From the Direct2Drive website:

          "IMPORTANT: Please do not patch your Direct2Drive game with patches not offered by Direct2Drive. They are not compatible unless stated otherwise."

          I don't know how fast Direct2Drive releases their patches that work with the d/l versions but you can't just go an d/l the patch from the company that made the game or from the hundreds of mirror sites out there.
    • And you get to download an actual setup file which you can backup to a dvd.

      Steam has had this feature [] since forever. It will even split it up into neat little CD or DVD sized files for you.
  • Question on this Steam thing. If I buy a game and don't like it, or I play it for a while and get tired of it and decide to sell it (box, CD/DVDs and all) - how is this done? Is it possible with Steam?
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      You sell your steam account (which is against the Steam ToS). Basically, I'd create an account for each game that you purchase and then barter that account away somehow.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by toejam316 ( 1000986 )
      Actually, You can sell your games. Simple as hell for the seller, but it can be a nightmare for the buyer. You simply sell the DVD/CD, CD Key and thats it. The whole damn thing, done. And for them to play it? They have to send in the CD Key and $10 to Valve and say "Hey! This game is registered to another steam account! Mine is ****@***.***, Register it to this please!". Then, they get the game. Simplish. ish.
      • CD-key are only for retail product. Downloadabe titles do not have any CD-key.

        Short answer is, no, you can't resell anything (like on iTunes). Long answer is you can resell your account, but try not being caught.

  • Civilization on Steam? Sure, all them 13-year olds questioning my sexual preferences everytime I get a frag are real civilized.
  • The idea of Steam is good. Another site that carries downloads of Civ IV ($49) [] and Civ III ($29) []
    is [].

    There lots of titles, big and small. Big titles like FEAR, Empire Earth II, etc. There are smaller casual-gamer titles like Luxor, etc.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.