Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just one of many reasons STEAM is a bad idea

STEAM, for those not familiar with the system, is a software distribution system where users can download software directly online without the "need" for physical media like CDs or DVDs.  Many of the programs you can buy at the store have STEAM as the backend registration system.

Those that subscribe to the program say the system is needed to help prevent piracy.  I can understand that. I don't like it, and I don't agree with it, but I do understand.  Frankly, I think it is ludicrous that someone buys a game at the store (PAYS for it) and then MUST have an internet connection in order to register the game before they can even play the game. But that is another issue.

In the "old" days, once I got done playing a game, I could give the disc to a friend or relative and they could play the game.  I would remove it from my computer.  This was no different than giving someone a cassette or music CD once I was done with it.  And this brings me to my point.

My father passed away in 2007.  I have many of his games and wanted to try out a "classic" called "Red Orchestra."  During the install, the game prompted to enter the CD Key.  No problem.  The STEAM system responded that the key was already registered to another STEAM account.  DUH.

I contact tech support, letting them know that my father had passed away in 2007 and that I wanted to install the game.  This was their response:
Hello David, Thank you for contacting Steam Support. Steam game subscriptions and CD keys are non-transferable and cannot be reset or moved between Steam accounts. We will be unable to transfer this game to another account. You must be logged in to the original account it was registered to in order to play the game. If you have any further questions, please let us know.
"Cannot be transferred" and "Logged in to the original account."  Are you kidding me!?  So, I basically have to throw the game away simply because my father passed away and I have no idea what his STEAM account was!?  I find that ridiculous.

Ah, I know, some of you are saying, "If you want to play it that bad, just buy it." The problem? You CANT buy it anymore.  So, off to the landfill it goes.  What a waste.
Did I mention that I am *NOT* a fan of the STEAM distribution system?  Well, I'm not.

BTW, here is my response to their email. I'll keep you posted:
So, since I already have the CDs in my possession, and since this game is nearly a decade old, is it possible for you to issue a NEW key to me to use?  Would it be possible to buy a new code for the game?  If so, what will that cost?

I will interject here that this is one of many reasons I am not a fan of the whole STEAM distribution method.  I do understand some of the reasons behind it and I have read where others got all their games back after a full re-install of Windows.  But, I *do* keep my discs (and now have my father's collection since his passing).  I find the system controlling and overbearing.  But, since it is obviously something I have work with, I am at least willing to play by the rules.

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