Published on July 11th, 2013 | by Adam DeMarco3
Steam summer sale begins, people suddenly stop caring about DRM
It’s that special time of year again, boys and girls. The precious twelve-day span during the Summer doldrums when your list of backlogged games should be getting shorter, but instead becomes significantly longer. That awe-inspiring time when PC gamers realize just how much better life can be once you’ve unshackled yourself from the binds of consoles. It’s the glorious semi-annual event that makes people set aside their hatred for DRM because they can get amazing games for a fraction of the normal cost. So get your Futurama inspired memes ready people, because the 2013 Steam Summer Sale is officially on from now through July 22nd.
As seems to be the tradition when they have one of their major sales events, both the Steam client and webpage have been a bit hit-and-miss today, the large amount of traffic, it would seem, occasionally rendering their servers incommunicable. Don’t move your finger too far from that refresh key, though, because some of the deals on offer are too good to pass up. Among the bevy of deeply discounted digital distractions you’ll find such gems as Don’t Starve for 40% off, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger marked down to ten bucks, and the highly-praised puzzler Antichamber, which normally costs $19.99, on sale for a very reasonable $6.79. These particular price cuts will only last until about midday tomorrow, so if you’re interested it would behoove you not to dawdle. While some games will remain marked down for the duration of the sale, the best deals will be rotated on daily and three-times-daily bases, so check back often to see what new discounts Steam has drummed up in an effort to empty our wallets. If there’s a particular game you’ve had your eye on, but you’re too
lazy busy to keep track of the current deals, you can even add it to your wishlist and you’ll be notified by e-mail if it goes on sale. If a fool and his money are soon parted, then pass me a funny hat and a jester’s rod, for a fool am I. Damn you, Newell, for making it all so easy.
And now for something completely different. The Steam Sale (coupled with all the recent craziness surrounding the Xbox One’s announcement problems) has really had me thinking about DRM, and I’ve been examining exactly how I feel about it. Today — and I’m fully bracing myself for the verbal beat down I’m likely to receive as a result of saying this — I came to the conclusion that I really don’t mind it that much. Not only that, but if it’s implemented well (as is the case with the vast majority of the games available on Steam), I actually think it can be a boon to consumers. If the popularity of the Steam Summer Sale (and Steam in general, for that matter) is any kind of indication, it would seem that quite a few other people are okay with it too.
Now “Adam,” you might say “draconian DRM has ruined some games, and severely affected the launch of others like Diablo III and Sim City,” and you would be right, of course. Perhaps this is just because I have never personally been prevented from playing a game due to faulty DRM implementation, but I don’t think that’s a valid argument against DRM as a practice on the whole. Many titles release with game-breaking, non-DRM related bugs, but I wouldn’t necessarily boycott one of those games out of principle, so why would I boycott Diablo III? If I decide against playing Diablo III it’s not going to be because Blizzard bollocksed up the DRM and the game was unplayable at launch, it’s going to be because Torchlight 2 is a much better game.
“But wait,” you may posit, “I can’t trade-in or loan games to friends if they’re DRM restricted,” and, once again, you would have a valid point. But signs are beginning to show that those restrictions may be lifted in the not-too-distant future. Until that day, I’m more than willing to grin and bear it if it means I can get games like Thomas Was Alone for two-fifty, because at that price I don’t need to trade in games to be able to afford others.
“Wait a minute” you could submit, “you said DRM could actually be good for gamers,” and that I did. The ease with which I can access my Steam library (or my Amazon Prime videos, or my iTunes music) on any other computer is a convenience I love. The ability to have all of my media saved to the cloud, ready to be re-downloaded at the press of a button, incorruptible by potential damage from fragile physical media or hard drive failure, is a feature I adore. If the cost of these services is the incorporation of DRM software, I’m okay with that.
I’m certainly not opposed to DRM-free games, nor am I trying to say that more studios should incorporate DRM into their titles, I just think it gets a bad rap. So what’s your take? Do you buy DRM restricted media? Do you, even if you hate DRM, think the low cost of some of the games in Steam’s sale makes up for it, and buy them anyway? Do you think I’m a corporate shill trying to convince you to give up your ownership rights? Come at me, bro.