Hmmm: Shadowrun Won’t Be Entirely DRM-Free After All

Oh, well this just won’t do at all. I was having a very nice day – frolicking in the bunny-infested fields and devising new ways to make game developers weep sincere, beautiful tears, as is my way – when the world decided to remind me that Shadowrun Returns exists, but it’s still not mine yet. Now I’m quite sad, and devs will have to bear the loathsome burden of their intrinsic, inescapable pain all alone. But I suppose I can’t be too pessimistic, given that I was snapped out of my willful cyberslumber by word of concrete Shadowrun Returns release details. First, the good news: it’s arriving in June, with Steam Workshop support straight out the gate. But wait, if it’s launching on Steam, what does that mean for all of Harebrained’s much-ballyhooed promises of being DRM-free? Well, it’s kinda complicated.

So yes, Steam’s going to be Shadowrun’s neo-fantastical future lair – exclusively, if you want any DLC or player-created content. You will, however, still be able to download a DRM-free version of the main game from Harebrained’s website.

“After a lot of prototyping and research, we decided that our best delivery option for OSX/Windows/Linux is to go the route that great games (like Skyrim!) have taken and embrace Steam and the Steam Workshop. Steam allows us to provide up-to-date downloads and patching along with a vibrant ecosystem for developing community-created content and file sharing.”

“We realize that for some of you, releasing on Steam isn’t your first choice but there are a lot of really great things we get from this decision that allow us to focus on the game rather than on making things like backend servers to deploy and manage shared content. From the start, we’ve had to make practical decisions like this one to ensure we get the most out of the support you’ve given us. We consider this to be the best option for everyone.”

And technically, Harebrained is fulfilling its promise of a DRM-free game – just, you know, without any promise of future support. The question, then, is whether or not this slight switcheroo is technically dishonest, especially in light of the fact that backers spent money under the assumption they’d be getting a DRM-free experience. I’m going to argue “no,” given that the original reward text read “A Digital Downloadable copy of the game, DRM free on PC, Mac, or Linux.”

That said, I still don’t feel particularly great about this turn of events. Sure, Harebrained seems to be doing it for good reasons and maybe I’m just splitting hairs (hohohohohoho and now here’s something we hope you’ll really enjoy, etc), but this strikes me as one way Kickstarter developers could – intentionally or not – mislead their backers. On the upside, this is ultimately a slight change of plans, and it’s not like Harebrained up and decided Shadowrun would be an Origin exclusive with mandatory SimCity integration and hacker holes the size of 27 Uplays.

Still though, it’s brain food well worth chewing. When we plunk down our dollars upfront, it leaves plenty of room for plans to change behind the scenes. In most cases, I don’t imagine malicious intent is involved in the slightest, but just remember: at the end of the day, you may not get exactly what you thought you signed up for.


  1. Javier-de-Ass says:

    that’s shit

    • Dunbine says:

      Seems perfectly reasonable to me, and people are getting exactly what they were promised (as far as I can see).

      If it only released through Steam, that would be a different issue.

      • Zeewolf says:

        If people are getting a DRM-free version with reduced functionality, then that isn’t exactly what I would call honest. Regardless of the technicalities.

        • Ranger6six says:

          It’s called trying to be realistic.

          • Prime-Mover says:

            Then they should have been realistically honest. There should go a lot of planning into even preparing the kickstarter, and if you make a promise, you better make damn sure, that you’ll be able to follow through on it, in complete terms.

          • Ranger6six says:

            Hindsight is always 20/20, you simply can’t predict everything. Stop acting like steam and the steam community is the end of the world, because it ain’t.

          • Prime-Mover says:

            Not claiming it’s the end of the world. It is however a legitimate complaint. It’s somewhat comparable to them comming out a saying that the game is no longer free for the “game included” backers, that they have to charge say 0,5$ extra because of some extrodinary cost. It certainly wouldn’t be the “end of the world”, but it is certainly grounds for complaint.

          • meijianqian says:

            Pretty sure there’d have to be a reason before they remove content that you’ve bought, regardless of any user agreement or T&Cs, otherwise it’s illegal.

          • IgnitingIcarus says:

            You like Steam, and you’re probably happier that it’ll be on Steam. Now stop acting like anyone who disagrees with your mentality is unrealistic. You are currently the only one exaggerating.

            That said, I have Steam. I use Steam. I like Steam (most of the time). I’m not prepared to dismiss people who feel differently about it, though. Also you’d probably do a better job convincing people of how wonderful Steam is if you weren’t so ham-fisted about it.

          • sabrage says:

            Holy shit that’s a good spambot.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            Also known as going back on your promises.

        • Lemming says:

          Reduced functionality being, no access to the Steam Workshop. umm.. Not really sure how they could reconcile that for you?

          If stuff can work through Steam Workshop, then indie sites for mods will work for the DRM-free version a la Nexus. You aren’t losing as much as it’s implied, I’d wager.

        • InternetBatman says:

          The Kickstarter clearly says that they will use DRM for the multiplayer.

          While the details are still being worked out, we hate draconian DRM as much as the next guy. We expect there will be an account system but it would be primarily used to enable the social elements of the game like mission and character sharing–not to restrict access to the game itself.

          link to

          It’s not fair to be mad at them for doing what they said they were going to do.

          • Aaarrrggghhh says:

            But it’s not the multiplayer that now requires Steam.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Yes it is. Single-player is available (for backers) DRM free from their website.

        • Apocalypse says:

          You are asking for reduced functionally if you do not want steamworks. Steamworks is a lot more than DRM, it offers an API for cloud storage, patch management, mod deployment, achievement handling, and much more. It offers as well DRM, which is optional, besides that you need steam to install steamworks games.

          It is a very sensible move to offer for all those steam-haters a version without steamworks, just to shut them up without DRM.

          It would be a very hypocritical move than to implement as much DRM as they possible can into the steam version. The use of Steam-DRM in steamworks games is more or less just as optional as the use of steam-cloud or steam-achievements.

          So far, it seems that they just want to use the additional APIs from the framework, which sounds like a smart move to reduce development cost. There is no need to invent the wheel anew each time a game is made.

    • Alextended says:

      Yeah, that’s a pretty shitty excuse, it’s not like id or Valve ever made servers to handle Quake and Half-Life mods back in the day yet those are still some of the games with the most community support so far. Just leave that stuff up to the community, as long as you still provide a fully functional game and tools for them to download.

      I don’t think anyone expected for them to build their own Steam-like service to handle all this automatically within the game so the cost excuse doesn’t work. At all.

      Well, it says you can’t manage that stuff “from within the game” so is it at least possible to do if you get the files elsewhere, or are they still being outright dishonest?

      Anyway, I’m sure something like a Shadowrun Returns Nexus or similar would show up if the game’s tools are any good. They never said the DRM-free version would not be fully functional though, as in, be unable to get patches, DLC or fan created content. At the very least they should provide a fully patched version of the main game + first “DLC” and tools for every backer whenever they release a patch for the Steam version. They will already be going through the trouble of maintaining some version’s game files on a server with backer authentication, why not update it to the latest version and so ensure any mods work with both versions just as well? It makes absolutely no logical sense.

      Now, with it being backer-only appeal would be limited and such websites wouldn’t have a reason to file host, so even that would be a half-measure. They seriously need to make good in their initial promise, in that the game would be available TO THE PUBLIC DRM-free. That’s what I FUNDED, regardless of what I personally get as a backer. A public DRM-free release I could gift to others and others could buy too. With TWO non DLC cities.

      For everyone who is unhappy with the uncertainty regarding Steam, DRM and future DLC, go back Divinity: Original Sin. It’s not just looking like a fantastic game, the developers at Larian also confirmed that everything will be available both via Steam workshop integration and DRM-free options. The way it should be done. I guess Larian are kind enough to spend millions of dollars and months of man-hours to deliver on their promises if we go by these cost and time excuses people like to sprout.

      • El_Emmental says:

        I think it’s very likely peoples will *still* be able to install DLCs and user-created content by putting the files in the right folders and maybe changing a few lines in an .ini file.

        And I hope that, eventually, some modders and soon officialized by the devs, will make a tool for that.

        There is no technical reasons why it wouldn’t it be possible, other than an intrusive DRM preventing you from modifying the games’ files.

        • Alextended says:

          Even if you’re right I’ve addressed that (separated it in paragraphs for easier reading now). It’s still just a half-measure, if that, especially if they leave the DRM-free version as unsupported as the text implies, which would mean mods could run into compatibility issues between versions at the very least.

    • AlienMind says:

      Basically they shit on the hands which fed them and help discredit Kickstarter, because future games use the “but that game did it too” argument.
      Glad I didn’t donate to a Steam Exclusive title.
      Hopefully Shadowrun Online will not be a Steam Exclusive as well.

      • Llewyn says:

        You will, however, still be able to download a DRM-free version of the main game from Harebrained’s website.

        Or are you complaining that you won’t be able to buy it on Origin?

      • S Jay says:

        AlienMind, try trolling harder.

    • Arkh says:

      Agreed. I’m sorry for people who backed and wanted a DRM free game.

      I almost backed this project. Glad I didn’t.

      • InternetBatman says:

        People who backed and wanted a DRM free game are getting a DRM free game.

        • Emeraude says:

          The depends on things yet to be defined. The editor was a big part of the game for some backers.

          *IF* the choice fractures the community into Steam-users with access to all community content – and the later upgrades and DLC which *will* eventually be necessary to access that content, and second class non-DRM with no such thing, then no, backers did not exactly get the non-DRM game they were promised.

          • InternetBatman says:

            They specifically said in their pitch that the multiplayer would require some form of DRM.

          • Emeraude says:

            See my reply to that further down the thread.

            There is no multiplayer.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Rather, they said the social aspects would require DRM. They said there would be no coop or multiplayer in the pitch in bold letters.

      • Lemming says:

        Well I didn’t back it, but intend fully to buy it, now through Steam. I guess we cancelled each other out.

        • Emeraude says:

          It’s not as if such a small company needed all the sales they could muster, is it ?

    • S Jay says:

      I was going to start my comment with an offensive remark about how exaggerated is to call the devs dishonest.

      I won’t start with an offense remark, so I just will finish my comment.

    • GuybrushThreepwood says:

      It’s fine that there’s a segment of the gaming population that refuses to use Steam, but in the end the reasons given are sound. Save development time and money for the game instead of reinventing the wheel for backend systems. Steam is competent at what it does, especially now with the Workshop. Whether or not Steam is truly “DRM” is a debate that will rage until the end of time. What remains is that you can get a non-Steam, completely unencumbered version of the game directly from the dev, but without the support that the Steam version will provide. Steam supports Win, iOS and Linux. It’s the best decision, but any decision will make a segment of the KS backer base unhappy anyway.

      • The Random One says:

        Do notice the problem is not so much that they’re using Steam as much as that they’re releasing the game to non-backers only with DRM when they said they wouldn’t.

  2. Zeewolf says:

    Another thing that confuses me is that the second city, which was a stretch goal for the game, is now suddenly paid DLC.

    I mean, yeah, backers will get it for free. But it was my expectation that I was backing a game project with two cities, thanks to the extra funds. Not a game with one city plus DLC.

    I feel making it DLC is a very liberal interpretation of their initial promise, and I don’t like it at all.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      > But it was my expectation that I was backing a game project with two cities, thanks to the extra funds.

      That is what you are getting. Only the adventure set in Berlin is released later.

      • Zeewolf says:

        No, Kickstarter isn’t a pre-order. I don’t care what I’m getting as a backer, I care about the project I backed. It went from being a game with two major cities to a game with one major city and one major, _paid_ DLC-expansion.

        • Deano2099 says:

          I’m sure if you get in touch with them, they can arrange to not send you the game when it’s released to everyone else, and just send you the complete game+DLC package when the DLC is done instead. That way you’ll get exactly what you want.

          • Alextended says:

            What part about him not caring what he gets as a backer but what kind of product is released altogether don’t you get? No matter what he receives and when he receives it they will still sell a slightly different product than they promised to make with money from him and others on Steam.

          • Zeewolf says:

            Yeah, what he said. This isnt about what I _get_, it’s about what I _funded_.

          • Deano2099 says:

            I don’t see how a game with 2 major cities is necessarily different to a game with 1 major city and one other major city added later as DLC. Especially if you wait until they’re both out to play it.

            Yes, it means there won’t be much interaction between quests in each city, as that won’t be possible. Which it would be if they were all in one game. BUT they wouldn’t necessarily be that way.

            It’d be perfectly possible for them to make the extra city as a completely secondary thing , but just not launch the game until it was done. When the game came out you could say “well the second city seems tacked on and doesn’t seem to relate to the rest of the game in any way” and you’d be right. It would kinda suck. But you’d still be getting what you backed.

            No promise was ever made that the city would be integrated with the rest of the game. It sucks that it’s not, but that’s not what was promised.

          • Alextended says:

            You’re being dense on purpose (I hope). This has nothing to do with any of what you posted, try to comprehend his simple post, please.

            We funded a DRM-free game with two cities. That’s what the Kickstarter claimed, regardless of reward tiers for the backers. That the goal was to develop and release TO THE PUBLIC a DRM-free game with TWO cities, with no talk of DLC being part of it.

            They will now release a DRM-based game with one city and another as DLC. That is not the same.

            Whether backers get the above for free and without DRM or not is not the point. It’s not the product they intend to sell. They will sell two products, with DRM.

            My friends and other CRPG fans won’t be getting what I funded and may get myself, but instead a distorted version of that, and the community that forms will in fact be affected by these decisions.

            There will be no Shadowrun Nexus if you only get mod support via Workshop, a DRM service, because every buyer outside the backers gets that version and is unable to get a DRM free version.

            Everyone else who buys the game will have to pay extra for the DLC, rather than buy the base game with two cities that I and others funded.

            Being DRM-free and with two cities wasn’t only a reward tier, it was the goal of the project we funded and was stated in the campaign text clearly. The Steam release was a secondary possibility.

          • Deano2099 says:

            You’re assuming they won’t sell the DRM-free version direct on their website. Since the infrastructure is already there for distributing, I don’t see why they wouldn’t.

          • Alextended says:

            You’re assuming they will sell it when they don’t even offer it for pre-order anymore, while they do offer pre-orders for the Steam version, not to mention how they explicitly state it won’t even get any support beyond the second city addition. Why?

      • S Jay says:

        A long long long long time ago they announced they would do this because they want to ship the game faster. Remember they received a lot more funds than the goal, which means a larger game, which means later delivery time.

        If anything, they were thinking about the backers when they thought of releasing the core game earlier and the extra city later as free DLC to backers.

        • tyren says:

          Frankly I’d rather they push their game back if they have to in order to deliver all the content promised in one go in the best possible way (since, as noted above, the city being a paid DLC means none of the main game’s quests can involve that city in any way).

          • S Jay says:

            Thanks for your opinion, sir.

            I am glad the devs are “following” my opinion though. I am much happier having the game on June and the DLC later.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @S Jay
            Of course, no one would complain if they released extra content later for free a la Witcher 1 & 2’s enhanced editions. By some weird coincidence, the decision probably being the result of a coin flip, the current plan will net the devs some extra filthy lucre.

    • Chris D says:

      I think handling stretch goals is likely to be a source of difficulty for many kickstarters. It means you’re essentially promising different products at different points during your funding period.

      The person who backed towards the end may be happy to wait an extra few months for extra content but is the person who backed at the start also happy to wait for a feature they may not care about? Releasing extra content as DLC seems to be a reasonable way of trying to keep both types as happy as possible.

      So is it fair to make it paid DLC? I think so. The point of kickstarter isn’t that you make all your money from backers. It’s that you get enough to fund development and then get other people to buy it, which is hopefully where you make your money from. As such developers need to be able to retain control over pricing, and that includes DLC.

      Now if they’re turning round and asking backers to pay again for something they thought they already paid for then that would be a problem but, as far as I can tell, that’s not happening here.

      • El_Emmental says:

        It is not *that* fair since some people pledged/pledged more because they thought they were funding a two-city-Shadowrun project.

        What if someone, upon learning that the stretch goal of the second city was almost reached, raised his/her pledge ? What if someone, in the same position, decided that the project was so good he/she needed to spread the word about it ?

        What about the people who pledged a few hundreds or thousands dollars ? They pledged for a very specific project, not just “oh yeah, some sort of game”.

        Sure, it is not the end of the world, but it is an important point to raise regarding all Kickstarter projects – especially since these people fund these projects, and not just pre-order the games.

        • Zeewolf says:


          An example would be the Kickstarter for Dreamfall Chapters. They reached all kinds of stretch goals, resulting in a bunch of extra locations added to the game. What if they now decided that, hey, these locations should be paid DLC instead. Everyone would obviously complain, because the idea behind these stretch goals was that they were going to make the game better.

          It’s the same thing here. The developers said they’d add a second city to the game if they reached a certain amount of money, which they ended up doing. Adding a second city made the game look a lot better. Now they’re saying that no, this isn’t going to be a part of the game after all, it’ll be paid DLC. That means the end product is going to be quite different from the project that we backed.

          This is what I’m uncomfortable with. I know I’ll get Berlin, and that’s nice. But I don’t like the idea that they turn around like that, to “monetize” content that was in fact paid for during the campaign. They didn’t have to promise an extra city, but they did it to get more funds – and it worked.

          I worry that they’re setting a precedent here. If they do, the whole idea of stretch goals becomes, well, plain and simply bogus.

          • S Jay says:

            If Dreamfall chapters is priced at 1 million dollars, I don’t care, I got my product for being a backers. Why should I care if it is paid DLC or not? I get it for free because I am a backer.

            Being a backer has its advantages (and risks). I don’t care if Shadowrun is turned into a single game priced at 1 million dollars or 1 million DLCs priced at 1 dollar. I will get all of it, which is the promise they made when I delivered the money to them.

            They never said they would offer the same backer advantages to the rest of non-backers.

          • twitch201 says:

            Exactly! Kickstarter stretch goals are not for everyone, stretch goals are for the backers, hence the reason you want to help kickstart a project. I have no problem with the devs breaking up stretch goals into DLC and charging people who didnt back the project for it.

          • Brise Bonbons says:

            For myself, and I imagine many others, backing a project like this is about supporting an alternative to the DLC- and prepurchase- focused, exploitative business models embraced by the big publishers. Suffice to say that had it been clear from the start that the project was going to leverage paid DLC, my desire to back it would plummet.

            I chip in to a project to make it better for everyone who plays it, from fellow backers to the guys and gals who buy it 3 years later in a Humble Bundle. If it were simply a pre-order, I would ignore it like all the other pre-order offers/bonuses/exclusives out there.

          • Chris D says:

            “This is what I’m uncomfortable with. I know I’ll get Berlin, and that’s nice. But I don’t like the idea that they turn around like that, to “monetize” content that was in fact paid for during the campaign. They didn’t have to promise an extra city, but they did it to get more funds – and it worked.”

            Development costs may have been paid for during the campaign but, again, kickstarter isn’t intended to provide the sole source of income for the entire project. The extra funds also include profits from selling on the results to customers who didn’t back it. That’s ok. That’s how the system is supposed to work.

            When you back a kickstarter you get whatever rewards that you were promised for your level of support. What you don’t get is any further say in how the game is sold after release.

          • WrenBoy says:

            When you back a kickstarter you get whatever rewards that you were promised for your level of support.

            So the second city was a reward for higher tiers and not a stretch goal? Are you sure?

            Torment made a large number of its stretch goals recently. Imagine if at release each of the stretch goals was made available as day one DLC, given for free to backers, but base game only for the rest of the world. People were paying over the odds to create a game worthy of PST. If it turned out to be some legally minded meaness do you think such backers would have no right to be annoyed?

          • Chris D says:


            No, that’s not what I said and, in any case, I was trying to address kickstarter in general, not just this particular game. From what I understand backers get the second city free anyway.

            To my knowledge, no kickstarter has ever granted backers at any level say over the pricing of a final product. So, to pick some numbers out of the air for the sake of discussion, if they were to release the game in a year for say £20 that would be fine. Why should it then be worse to release the first part of the game for £15 in eight months and then the DLC for another £5 four months later?

            A lot of people are throwing words like “exploitative” around, and sure, some DLC can be exploitative, but that doesn’t have to be the case. So long as both the base game and DLC are value for money in their own right then I don’t have a problem with it.

            People may pay over the odds for many reasons and even if a developer could know what those reasons were trying to satisfy everyones conflicting expectations is likely impossible in any case. You have a right to whatever compensation was agreed at the time but you don’t get more than that.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Chris D
            Its exactly what you said. I copied and pasted.

            I didnt say anything about the pricing. This is about the content of the final product. Backers pay to meet stretch goals which include extra content in a game only to find out that the final game doesnt include that content.

          • Chris D says:

            The bit you cut and pasted was fine but I disagree with your implication:

            “So the second city was a reward for higher tiers and not a stretch goal? Are you sure?”

            That’s not what I said, and I’m struggling a little to see how you got that from it.

            The point I was trying to make about the pricing is that nobody actually loses anything by releasing part of the game as DLC. The backers get it anyway. The developers have discretion over the pricing anyway so there isn’t really any point in claiming that this is motivated by greed as they could always have kept everything back and released at a higher price anyway. The only thing that changes is that now it will be possible to play the first part of the game earlier than would have been possible if it had been released as one lump, and that seems to be a good thing.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Chris D
            I see what you meant now, sorry.

            The price is irrelevant though as I said. If the devs had just increased the price of the base game I wouldnt see anything shady. What is shady is that the final base game is not what the backers were promised.

            As I said in my first example, imagine if Torments host of stretch goals were released individually as DLC. I am a backer of that game. Even if I got the DLC for free as a backer I would be very disappointed as that is not what I was promised. No promise was made on the price though so I wouldnt feel cheated there at all. Like I said, the price is irrelevent. Its the broken promises or lying by omission which is wrong here.

          • Chris D says:

            Ok, help me out here. To take your Torment example. Why would you feel cheated that the stretch goals were delivered as DLC rather than as a single lump? If the game had been artifiically sliced up that would be a problem, but stretch goals are by their nature things that aren’t intrinsic to the core of the game but things that can be added on later.

            What’s the difference between receiving everything as one and receiving some of it as DLC but ending up with exactly the same thing?

          • WrenBoy says:

            Simple, its not what I paid for. Stretch goals as DLC is like horse meat in my beefburgers.

            Edit: I think the difference results from how you view Kickstarter. If you view it as a preorder system then your viewpoint makes sense, you as a customer end up with what you were expecting.

            If you were sold on the idea of being a patron and funding a game, then the game itself is also important. You as a backer get the stretch goals for free but the base game is not what you were promised.

          • Chris D says:

            I don’t understand why that should be the case. Isn’t the worst case that you just wait till it’s all available and download it all at once anyway? At that point you still have exactly the same product you would have had if it had been released all at once.

            By splitting it up they allow those who didn’t necessarily care about the stretch goals to get access to the core game faster than by waiting for everything to be complete.

            Edit: Ok, have just seen your edit…. give me a moment

            To recap a little from earlier, I think this is part of the problem with stretch goals. You’re promising different products at different points during the timeline of the kickstarter. Person A might order towards the end of the campaign swayed by the extra stretch goals while Person B might have backed right at the start and not really care about the stretch goals but just want the base game as soon as possible.

            There isn’t really any way to keep both those people happy. Personally, I think releasing stretch goal content as DLC is as good a compromise as you’re likely to get but it certainly isn’t a perfect one.

            I think the tension between backers’ expectations and what developers’ are actually able to deliver is going to be a problem for many kickstarters. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Stretch goal content released as a free patch wouldnt break any implicit promises to kickstarter backers and would allow the impatient an early start.

            Edit: To address your last paragraph, yes I agree completely. If I feel that developers in general are not being clear about the game I am funding then I would treat Kickstarter as a pre-order system and would avoid using it.

          • Chris D says:

            I think the thing is that there are no implicit promises. If it’s not explicit it’s not a promise.

            And we seem to have arrived at pricing again. I see no difference between a free patch and paid-for-DLC providing the base game is cheaper to compensate.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Out of curiousity, do you think that the Witcher series’ enhanced editions and Oblivion’s Horse Armour DLC are similarly identical?

            If you do fair enough, you are at least consistent. Bear in mind that the rest of the world didnt see the two as being equal though.

            Also if it turns out that you have to read the small print in Kickstarter projects I dont see them staying popular. They rely on goodwill to fund their project. Although, as I said before, I guess if you see it purely as a preorder medium then its normal to shrug and think buyer beware.

          • Chris D says:

            Not familiar enough with either example to comment specifically but in general I think that DLC is fine providing both the base game and the DLC represent value for money individually, and that the game can stand on its own without it.

            As I understand it, the Horse Armour DLC was overpriced and didn’t represent good value for money. Examples of DLC done well might be some of the Crusader Kings 2 expansions that add new mechanics for different religions, although CK2 also has its share of pointless, cosmetic DLC too. Alternatively most people seem to like the Borderlands DLC, level cap increase possible excepted.

            For the purposes of this particular case I’m assuming the same total price for all content however it’s packaged. So £20 for everything is equivalent to £15 game + £5 DLC. If the DLC was purely an extra expense then that’s obviously less good but, as there was never a starting price to compare to, that’s impossible to say.

          • WrenBoy says:

            If the devs would have gotten the same money by increasing the price by 5 bucks then they should have done that as it would not have made them look so dishonest.

            Patches are viewed as part of the core game. Paid for DLC is not. It is pretty clear to me that stretch goals are understood to be part of the core game. They are breaking at least the spirit of the agreement with their backers by releasing core game features as paid for dlc. Its as simple as that. Total price is a red herring.

    • welverin says:

      Berlin is paid DLC for non-backers and people who don’t preorder of the collector’s edition.

      If you backed the game you get Berlin for free, did you not understand that or are you offended for all the people who will be buying the game post release?

      • Unruly says:

        He’s offended on behalf of all the people who are going to be buying the game when it actually releases.

        He was under the impression that his funding the game was going to create a game with two cities as part of the initial whole. That’s what he put his money towards. Instead, they’re releasing a game with only one city as the initial whole, and then making other people pay extra for the second city. The city that he funded the creation of.

        His intention was to make the game better for everyone who would ever buy the game, not just for the people who decided to shell out extra money.

        • effervescent says:

          That’s some pretty good reasoning. I didn’t really know where to stand on this issue but now it clear.
          Thank you.

        • Apocalypse says:

          And yet the game is a better one for everyone. Or is the DLC making the game any worse than the game would have been without it?

          What he complains is the price and character of a day-one expansion, and somehow I bet he complains about that without even knowing the pricing of both for regular buyers. A lot of indie games are smaller in scale, but with a lower price. This DLC will add scale, and increase price for those who want more content.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I agree that it’s murky territory ethically, but not exactly wrong.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Yes, it’s stupid they want to “kickstart” their project and now they have DLC for something that hasn’t even been “started” yet.

      Obviously KS is not being used as a donate to fund site, it is a preorder site.

      • darkath says:

        It has always been a pre-order site, i don’t know what gave you another impression.

        Effectively giving money for a product that is not released yet, is in any case, a pre-order. Not a donation.

        If you were donating, you would not receive anything for the money (ie when you donate to the red cross, unless you count the sticker and the smile as a product)

        • The Random One says:

          Well I backed Maia under the minimum reward because I wanted the game to be made, so your point is invalid and you have to eat your pants. Them’s the rules.

      • Apocalypse says:

        Kickstarter was always a pre-order site for projects that lack founding without pre-orders.

        You get what you pay for in this case. Furthermore many kickstarter projects use kickstarter exclusive content as goodies for their backers. It is nothing new. It still would be unusual to not mark kickstarter exclusives as such in the stretch goals, most other projects do this.

    • Foosnark says:

      From the email:

      “Now to be clear, our Backers and Collector’s Edition Pre-orderers will get the Berlin Campaign at no charge. Any DLC developed after launch will require payment. “

      • RProxyOnly says:

        “All future DLC will be through Steam only”

        That statement alone puts them 100% in the wrong.. NO WHERE in the KS did it state that I would ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO REQUIRE STEAM to get access to future content that WE BACKERS have set it up for them to be able to MAKE in the first place, nevermind sell.

  3. Parge says:

    Absolutely no problems with this whatsoever. I’m sure there will be people that will moan, because people love to moan, but if you are a PC gamer, and you don’t have a Steam account for one reason or another, then you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    • cw8 says:

      Doesn’t mean that PC Gaming is synonymous to steam. And doesn’t mean that if you have no problems with steam, everyone else automatically has no problems with steam. I personally have several problems with steam in the past including the client screwing up my games and having to deal with the darn offline mode and I’m also a backer to Shadowrun, so I’m hoping for them to at least put their games on GoG or other drm-free sources as well together with future updates and content.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Some people seem to be looking for a reason to rage, but every single backer is getting what they paid for. Nothing in the Kickstarter made any promises about the ability to run future DLC, and nobody is forcing anyone to buy DLC or use Steam’s mod support.

      The game that was promised is not ‘crippled’ in any way, it will be 100% playable and DRM free for anyone who cares.

      People seem to consistently forget that a $15 backer pledge doesn’t suddenly make one co-owner of the IP.

      Regardless, most people will be thrilled to get Steam keys and not have to worry about patching or stuffing around with settings and subdirectories in order to get mods to work.

      • jpvg says:

        I was promised to get a DRM free version _and_ get mods! May I rage now?

        • S Jay says:

          You *WILL* get. You *WILL* be able to download DLC/mods at their website, like any normal game that is 100% DRM-free, with no sort of online checks, etc.

          You *WON’T* get Steam Workshop integration (if you don’t want to use Steam).

          Could you stop raging now?

          • jpvg says:

            I get a DRM game + mods OR non-DRM – mods. I’m not actually getting both. One of their promises won’t be fullfilled, they might as well have promised me a ferrari.

          • S Jay says:

            I am pretty sure you can copy & paste files (like any non-Steam modable game).

            Just like Skyrim mods don’t require Steam Workshop, but make them easier to manage.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I think SJay is probably right. You will find the mods available outside of Steam.
            He is wrong about Skyrim, though. Nexus Mod Manager is so much better than Steam.

          • Tacroy says:

            I bet you anything the Nexus guys will have Nexus Mod Manager ready to go with mod support for Shadowrun within a week of the game’s release.

            Seriously, I don’t understand why people think it’s going to be impossible to install mods outside of Steam. It would take more dev effort to make it something other than copying a file to a certain folder.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Modders have managed to make mods for games where the developers were *hostile* to mods. I have absolutely no doubt that they’ll make mods for Shadowrun, where modding is encouraged.

          • S Jay says:

            Well said, FriendlyFire

          • Baines says:

            “Nexus Mod Manager is so much better than Steam.”

            I’m starting to wonder what isn’t better than Steam Workshop, at least when it comes to any game with any decent mod community.

            Steam Workshop is okay for one-click download and install, but it seems pretty awful for any sort of organization or details about the mods themselves.

        • AngoraFish says:

          How much was your pledge for this game again?

        • Unruly says:

          You’re still able to get mods, though. How does having to manually install mods rather than having them installed for you equate to not getting mods at all? If you want your mods to install with a single click of a button, you download and play the Steam version. If you want the DRM-free version, you install mods with significantly more button clicks.

          It’s that simple. In no way are you not receiving mods if you don’t use the Steam version. You’re just not getting the ease of use/installation that the Steam Workshop provides. Instead, you have to install mods the old fashioned way.

          • Tacroy says:

            There’s probably going to be free fan-built mod managers that are better than Steam within a week of release anyway (which isn’t hard, Steam’s mod support is kinda shitty).

          • pmh says:

            Frankly, I’d be more concerned about patch support than mod support.

  4. trout says:

    “…rather than on making things like backend servers to deploy and manage shared content”

    Is this a really tough task for developers/programmers tho? I ask because I don’t have a super firm technical grasp of these things – for example, Overgrowth seems to manage regular-ish updates, and they just roll out whenever they’re done, with the help of a community made patching program. To be a steam exclusive only if you want to pursue all the dlc/expansions and such, seems to be going against the spirit of what they promised their backers?

    • basilisk says:

      Well, it all boils down a pretty straightforward trade-off. Either you use a pre-made solution and spend more time on your game, sacrificing some control over your product, or you write (and debug and support) your own and spend less time on your game. Neither solution is perfect, but quite honestly, I know which I’d choose if I were an indie dev.

      Also, it is worth repeating yet again that Steam’s DRM component is not mandatory. Not even if your game uses DLC, cheevos, the workshop and all that jazz. See Dungeons of Dredmor and about a hundred other games.

      • MichaelPalin says:

        Steam IS DRM, you cannot install a Steam game without calling home.

        • basilisk says:

          You cannot install it, but you can run it. And in cases when the “installation” Steam does actually means simply downloading files from servers, then yes, that obviously requires an internet connection. Once you have that data, however, you can “install” the game by simply copying them somewhere else without phoning anyone’s home.

          You can nitpick about terminology all you want, but it does not change the end result, i.e. running the game whenever and wherever you want. Perhaps it’s not “truly” 100% guaranteed organic DRM and GMO-free, but who the hell cares?

          • AlienMind says:

            I do.

          • Arkh says:

            I also care.

            I don’t “rent” games, I own them. And Steam, besides being DRM, IS renting games.

          • S Jay says:

            Oh god… they *ARE* providing a DRM-free version. In case Steam cancels your account, you just go to the devs website and download the game. It is yours. You own it.

            Steam is an added feature (to help with community content management).

            Oh my… it would be possible to make 1000 first world problems memes with this thread.

          • elderman says:

            I cringe at the ‘first world problems’ meme. I know folks in India who play games and care about this stuff.

          • S Jay says:

            If you play games on a computer, you are richer than 90% of the people.

            PS: I live in a 3rd world country.

          • Emeraude says:

            If you play games on a computer, you are richer than 90% of the people.

            I’ve set up LAN parties for people in small agricultural villages in some of the poorest countries in the world – the machines are still there, they’ are now networked, and people routinely play there.

            That sentence is 10 years past any validity, except as an example of “on the spot statistics”.

          • elderman says:

            If you play games on a computer, you are richer than 90% of the people.

            Ok (ignoring things like the OLPC project), and many of the world’s richest people live in ‘third world’ countries. But the meme isn’t ‘rich people problems’.

            I don’t like that it’s a meme people use, among other things, to shut each other up (“don’t complain about stuff like that, it’s a first world problem”). But the point is that I feel the meme often rehearses an uninformed, simplistic view of poorer countries. ‘Third world’ countries are varied, (in many cases) diverse, and not always as different from the ‘first world’ as unfamiliarity would make them. First world folks share interests, desires, appetites, foibles, crimes, and many other things with (some) people in countries we don’t know.

            So I don’t like the meme, but, hey use it if you like, I can’t do anything about it.

            In this specific case, I don’t see how a Shadowrun Returns contributor in a third world country would necessarily have any less concern about the distribution of the game than someone living in the most uniformly wealthy European state.

            My disclaimer in turn: I do not live in a third world country, and never have, though in my family and community I represent more the exception than the rule.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Steam does not imply Steamworks DRM.

            There, that’s a single line, easy to digest, easy to understand. It is factual. Can we get over it now?

          • S Jay says:

            This is exactly why this discussion is a great example of “idiot problems that are not really problems” (this is why I mentioned the MEME “first world problems”, which is not about truth, but about showing funny little “problems” that are really ridiculous to consider as a problem).

            So, in short:
            1. Devs are offering DRM-free option. If you want, you can even burn it in a DVD if you feel one day the internet will vanish and you will be outraged because you can’t download the game anymore.

            2. even if you lose your Steam account (or it goes bankrupt/bought by EA), you own the game (see point number 1)

            3. You can simply copy & paste mod files if you don’t want to use Steam because it is against your religion or whatever.

            STOP complaining about a problem that does not exist. We all know most people complaining will get the Steam code anyway…

        • zomgponies says:

          You’re being facetious. In this scenario, Steam is a download service. You do not need to “call-home”/have an active internet connection (or even login to steam once the initial download is complete) in order to start, run or play the game.

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          If you buy the game from a high street shop, you’re on CCTV, if you buy it boxed from Amazon or wherever, they get your credit card details and mailing address, if you buy a download from GoG or whoever they get your credit card and billing address.

          Your only chance is really to either pirate it, or buy from a very small games shop that takes cash, and doesn’t have CCTV, where the owner is an amnesiac.

        • Epsz says:

          If “can’t install without calling home” is the criteria for what has DRM, then no game download service is DRM free, not even GoG. If you start a download forma server,t eh server will know; it can’t give you your files otherwise.

          In my opinion, if you can do whatever you want with the files once you have them (namely, running and copying them without any restrictions), then it’s DRM free. It is possible to provide this via Steam. I don’t understand whether that’s what Shadowrun would provide, but if it doesn’t, they are _choosing_ not to provide, and that is really shitty.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            You got it.
            This is my test for DRM: I bought the game, now I want to install it on my three computers. If I have to crack the game it has horrible DRM, but if it allows me to install what I own where I want, then it does not have horrible DRM. I don’t mind calling home, even, as long as the game doesn’t mind multiple instances of the same copy calling home at the same time… which is basically every game that calls home..

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      I think what he meant was primarily Steam Workshop and not game updates. I could very well imagine that making a platform for managing and delivering usermade mods, maps or whatever will be distributed there can be a huge pain, especially if you want a similar featureset as the one that’s present in Steam Workshop.

    • solidsquid says:

      This seems strange to me tbh, I’d assumed stretch goals were supposed to be extra content for the game being advertised on the Kickstarter, so should be included in any release. New content that *isn’t* a stretch goal is fair enough, but splitting one of the stretch goals off into DLC and then saying you won’t supply it with the same promise you made for the game itself seems dishonest

    • InternetBatman says:

      Yes. Yes it is. Don’t forget Overgrowth was made by the same people who had the skill and foresight to create the Humble Bundle and support Linux before Unity did.

      Think about all the games with incredibly buggy multiplayer, even from publishers. Or the number of hiccups RPS has. The internet isn’t easy.

  5. Core says:

    I am more concerned of the fact that the game has no loot or inventory management.

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      Yes, those disappearing, unlootable bodies in their video came as a shock to me.

    • Bhazor says:

      There is no looting in Shadow Run. Unless things have changed weapons and equipement are all ID tagged in the Shadow Run world. On a run you grab your target and run, you don’t rifle through their desks to steal their paper weight.

      The inventory management is done between runs. Again, this is the way Shadow Run has always been. You get a mission, you tool up, you go in. You don’t drag your entire armory with you.
      link to

  6. Dowr says:

    This is slightly dishonest to backers, yes. But the benefits of Steamworks for a developer are very good and I’ve come to accept Steam over these years, so I have no issue with this.

    But then again, I’m not a backer.

  7. FunkyDarkKnight says:

    “You will, however, still be able to download a DRM-free version of the main game from Harebrained’s website.”
    Uh, then it is entirely DRM-free (provided you get it from their website)?

    • ix says:

      It appears you will have to go through steam to get the usermade content though, or am I reading that wrong?

      • zhivik says:

        It’s not 100% certain, but this appears to be the case so far. They are publishing a FAQ on Friday, which may (or may not) shed some light on the issue. What has been confirmed so far is that future DLCs will be available only through Steam.

        I am a backer (gave a total of $140), and I will be very disappointed if it turns out the only way I can access user-created content is through Steam. Nothing against Steam personally, but if I have the option, I always buy non-DRM software (not only games). It’s a shame, though, as this could have been a game with a very vibrant community, and now the spirit appears to be clouded even before the game is released.

        I guess we’ll have to wait until Friday and see what the FAQ will offer. I’m not very optimistic though, but that’s life; I guess I’ll know better when I have to choose whether to back another project.

        • Tacroy says:

          Oh my god why is everyone assuming the only way to get mods is going to be through Steam?

          By what mechanism do you think they’ll enforce that?

          Mods are almost always just some files you drop into a particular folder. Anything more complicated than that takes development time and energy.

          I promise you there will be a version of Nexus Mod Manager and probably like five other fan-made mod managers within a week of release, alongside fan sites with collections of mods.

          It’ll be like Skyrim. You’re not restricted to Steam Workshop mods. You can install mods from anywhere, and the game doesn’t care.

          • zhivik says:

            Probably because of this paragraph (direct quote from the latest update):

            Now, that may prompt the question, “What about DRM-free?” To honor our original promise of a DRM-free version of the game, the Harebrained Account Website will also contain a downloadable version of Shadowrun Returns that does not include Steam integration. While this version will include the Seattle story (and Berlin, via a one-time update), without Steam integration, it will be unable to browse and play community-created stories from within the game. Any future DLC will only be available through Steam.

  8. Ranger6six says:

    Oh no, not the evil Steam DRM that wipes my HD, locks my computer up and punches babies in the face (via Skyrim mods)!

    Steam has never felt like DRM to me, its benefits outweigh its few downsides by a landslide, so I consider it a service. And to those who can do nothing but look at Steam with disgust, I hope you realize that the only reason that PC gaming is still a thing is because Steam exists.

    I hated Steam too back in the day when we lost WON.NET and it was unstable as hell, but people who still condemn it today need to lighten up.

    • Bhazor says:

      Yep the evil Steam that still has a broken offline mode, that can block you from playing the games already on your hardrive and that has all my personal details in a centralised database ready for anyone willing to make a deal Valve feels is suitable.

      • Ranger6six says:

        Whoa, thanks for bringing me up to speed. I managed to toss my PC out of my window, just before it would have been too late!

        Seriously though, did you type just that with a straight face? Steam offline mode has issues with certain people, I’ll be the first to admit that. But at least they’ve been working on it to improve it. And if you’re talking about VAC banning you, they won’t lock you out of your account.

        Lastly, the only information they’re getting is whatever you put into it. Complaining about that is like complaining that you got wet when you chose to stand in the rain.

        • elderman says:

          the only information they’re getting is whatever you put into it. Complaining about that is like complaining that you get wet when you chose to stand in the rain.

          Well exactly, which is why some of us might avoid the platform: so as not to get soaked.

          Any data miner with an ounce of imagination must see the open-ended potential for extracting monetisable information out of Steam games. Then if you have ambitions in addition to short term profit, you can also think up all sort of other questions to ask that might be answered by the way a person plays a game, and in particular a game designed to extract information from the player… As Bennett Foddy tweeted the other day: the question is “why do they want me to be connected?”

          • Bhazor says:

            And that’s assuming that Valve won’t change their terms. There is nothing in their terms preventing them for example charging a fee for redownloading games. Or requiring a monthly subscription to access “premium features”.

          • Ranger6six says:

            You can perfectly leave no trace whatsoever on steam by going to your friends list, and clicking on log-out. It won’t track your game progress, achievements or anything. You can further protect your profile by even making it unavailable for outsiders, so they can’t even see your games or achievements.

            The only trace that you leave behind, is an e-mail adress. If you’re that paranoid about releasing even a bit of information, you should posses more than one of them already. If you do not, there are plenty of options to create them (and if you’re really paranoid, you can even use a proxy to create them).

            You show on steam what you want to show, you only give valve what you want them to know.

          • suibhne says:

            And yes, Bhazor, it would be meaningless even if there were something like that in the terms, because they likely wouldn’t encumber future TOS. But your argument is still a bit delusional, because it applies equally well to the developer: there’s absolutely nothing stopping them from charging you for a re-download of your DRM-free game after the first week. Whose vague future commitments do you think most consumers are more likely to trust – a developer they don’t know, or a platform with which they’ve had a long relationship? It all comes down to risk assessment; there are no absolutely guarantees from either source, just a judgment of the likelihood of which source will last longer and better respect its (temporary) commitments to you, the customer.

            The only argument that holds water here is that, with a DRM-free copy from the dev, you can download it once and keep it and run it forever (barring hardware/software obsolescence, but w/e). That’s a perfectly reasonable point. But this doesn’t guarantee any sort of support, ever – nor does it guarantee free access to any support that does occur. For anything beyond playing forever on the executable you downloaded the first time, you’re placing a similar amount of trust in the dev that you’d have to place in Steam.

          • Bhazor says:

            Except with the DRM free version I can keep it on my 1 terabyte backup external hard drive and then it doesn’t matter what the developer/publish/store front did.

          • elderman says:

            Thanks Ranger6six there’s some useful information there. I’m new to Steam.

            I realise that a statement of the potential of data mining can sound paranoid. I have to say, though, when I talk to people who design surveillance systems and online platforms, they see exactly the same potential. If I had access to this enormous source of reliable data, I know some of the questions I would ask it. It’s a leap forward for the social sciences and for marketing.

          • elderman says:

            @suibhne, and one of my favourite indie developers (Jonas Kyratzes) does exactly that: buying the game gives you the right to download it for a week.

            However, when the game is fully downloadable independent of DRM, you also have the great backup disk that is the Internet. A hundred thousand copies on other folks’ computers is another form of insurance against lost data, trapped IP rights, closed servers, etc. And that’s already helped rescue many games for oblivion.

            You seem to take for granted that we need to abandon control to some centralised platform. I often miss the 90s.

          • suibhne says:

            I’m not sure why you claim I take for granted the need to give up control to a central authority. That seems…bizarrely hostile. :D

            And you make a good point about DRM-free –> lots of (fully legal) backup copies all over the internet. That’s some real antifragility for you.

            At the same time, for better or worse, I don’t see these considerations offering a compelling value proposition, on their own, to the average consumer. I suspect it works more like sustainability in consumer products: consumers might value it, but only if they don’t have to pay more for it or give up any cherished features.

            @Bhazor: I don’t think you even read what I wrote, because you simply repeated exactly half of what I said.

          • elderman says:

            Oh, I certainly didn’t meant to sound hostile or even to disparage your points.

            I only meant that there seems to be a class of important arguments you dismiss when you write that “the only argument that holds water” has to do with an individual’s relationship with the corporate repository. In this I think you articulate common, unnoticed assumptions. My mind immediately goes to the interactions between private individuals, reasons external to the transaction.

            (writing in a hurry)

          • El_Emmental says:

            “Except with the DRM free version I can keep it on my 1 terabyte backup external hard drive and then it doesn’t matter what the developer/publish/store front did.”

            Same with all the DRM-free games released on Steam, you download the files once and can keep them forever on a backup solution.

            If a game uses the DRM part of Steam (Steamworks CEG), it is up to the rights holder (publishers or developers), not Steam.

      • tormos says:

        As a person who has a facebook/google/amazon account etc, Steam is welcome to whatever of my information they want since it already has been bought by someone. and in what way can they prevent you from playing games? they can ban you from some games for cheating I guess but that hardly seems worth whinging about

        • Bhazor says:

          Last year I was unable to use any Steam game, unless I logged in before getting the train on the first day, which involved setting up my mobile internet (this would be about 5am in pitch black) and then keeping my netbook on and connected to steam all day.

          I use Steam. I don’t want to have to use Steam. But it’s become so ubiquitous that people are actually defending it and denouncing anyone who might disaprove of it as heretics and fear mongers. Talk about brand loyalty.

          • suibhne says:

            I see what you did there. :D

            Maybe don’t conflate logically-argued rebuttals of your argument’s weak points with the torches and pitchforks of an ad hominem holy war, okay?

          • Bhazor says:

            People who criticise Steam have just been called hysterical and a wringer. For disliking a drm store front.

            Again, talk about brand loyalty.

          • P7uen says:

            I love Steam get all my games there for convenience, and the DRM aspect never intruded on my gaming.

            Until I moved house and didn’t switch to offline mode, then I was unable to play any games for a few weeks.

            I was sad and bored.

            Still love Steam, still get all my games there for convenience, still can’t deny it’s a problem, one of varying magnitude depending on your location and habits.

          • Milky1985 says:

            So did you actually attempt to follow any of the many procedures for fixing the offline mode or was it the classic “I told it not to save my info via the little checkbox on the login screen so it didn’t, now I can’t use it offline because it did what i asked and its valves fault”

          • tormos says:

            It’s less a case of a witch hunt for you and your fellow steam detractors than it is me getting fed up with seeing the same small group of people making the same inflammatory posts on every comment section that is even vaguely relevant to the service.

          • suibhne says:

            Bhazor, I don’t particularly care what’s happened in the past in the passive voice. You’re not helping your credibility by tilting at straw men. What I’m seeing, right now, is that some people are responding to your posts logically (yet again), and you’re responding by saying “Woe is me, Steam brand loyalists resort to name-calling!”

          • Zekiel says:

            @P7uen – don’t feel too bad – I just moved house and I *did* remember to switch to offline mode before disconnecting from the internet. Got to new house, switched on computer, started Steam – “Sorry we can’t access Steam because login credentials aren’t stored on this computer” (or however that hateful message is worded) What???? Rage…..

      • Lemming says:

        It’s been proven, years ago, that Steam offline works fine. If it doesn’t work for you, you’re not offline enough (ie pull the cable out, it’s still detecting the router!)

        • Zekiel says:

          Well lots of people still have problems, including me. I followed the procedure to go offline, offline worked fine. Then I switched my PC off, moved house, and when I switched my PC on again a day or so later (with no router anywhere near it) offline mode was unavailable. Great, thanks Steam. All my games unplayable until I reconnect.

          Offline mode does not work reliably for all people.

          • twilightusk says:

            Did you go into your files and try to launch any game .exe files? Or did you assume that offline mode not working locked you out of everything? While not all games will let you do this, a surprising number will let you just launch straight from the .exe, not caring if it’s connected to Steam or not.

    • zeroskill says:

      Honestly, I feel the same. I don’t think we would be in such a comfortable spot, as PC gamers, without Steam. What Valve did with Steam wasn’t a service to humanity either. They made Steam, in a time where most other developers considered the PC dead as a gaming platform, and moved to console development, such as Bethesda (remember, Bethesda used to make PC exclusive titles) Epic games or ID software and many more to protect their personal working environment, so they could continue to create PC games in an profitable way.

      The bitter truth is, when it comes to triple A games development, that publishers don’t like to take risks. They want to see some solid numbers before they are going to invest money into a PC port, let alone a PC exclusive title.

      When they look at console numbers, they can say: “look here, if we develop and publish a game for consoles we can be sure that 90%-ish of the consumers that are going to play the game are also going to pay for it”. When you look at CD Projects self released numbers about how many people, that played the game, actually didn’t pay for it, you can see why publishers are not releasing DRM free. In their mind, they are protecting their investment. Now with Steam, we have a different scenario. Developers, when they are asking for money from a publishers, can point at Steam and say: “if we release on Steam we can guarantee that a large majority of consumers are going to pay for the product” and so the chances at getting a PC port, or even a game primarily developed for the PC, rises.

      Developers actually want to develop for the PC. it’s much more exciting to develop a game for the PC, with possible community support the PC offers, higher fidelity of visuals, working with today’s hardware as opposed to working with hardware that has either strange and foreign architecture like the Playstation or just plain old hardware like the Xboxes (and dealing with Microsoft is obviously a pain in the butt).

      So DRM is a necessity if you want to keep getting PC games that cost a lot of money to develop. It’s not the developers who care about it primarily. It’s the investors. We all want to live in a DRM free world. But the realities are different. Valve has realized that and this is why Steam exists, with a fairly non-intrusive DRM system that most people are OK with. The alternatives are either DRM solutions that are intrusive, or just plain broken like GFWL. Or no triple A titles.

      • basilisk says:

        Valve has realize that and this is why Steam exists, with a fairly non-intrusive DRM system that most people are OK with.
        Actually, if you stop to think about it, Steam’s solution is pretty much the most customer-friendly and most benign DRM solution you can do without going the no-DRM-whatsoever route. I mean, it’s got unlimited installations, unlimited downloads, it’s account- instead of hardware-based, the DRM server check is not always-on, but on-launch, and the last time I tried the offline mode, it worked quite flawlessly (anecdotal evidence, sure, but the same goes for people claiming it’s broken). Also, it’s apparently trivial or at least easy to crack, which helps tremendously in future-proofing the games (which is the only really meaningful concern with DRM).

        It’s undeniable that DRM-free is better, but if you have to have DRM at all (and with skyrocketing budgets, I am not surprised publishers insist on that), Steam is a remarkably good solution for the digital world. Understanding that way back in 2003 was pretty damn prophetic on Valve’s part.

        • Lemming says:

          Not only that but people need to stop and think just how amazing crossplay is on Steam. Could you imagine console developers saying “well, you already bought this game for ps2, so naturally, you can have it for free on the Xbox 360!”

          It’s got to the point where people can change between Mac/Linux/Windows without worrying they are losing their games.

        • El_Emmental says:

          Well, they initially made Steam to roll updates for Counter-Strike more easily and avoid the usual huge drops in players (and the slow climb back to normal levels).

          But, since everyone and their dog was cracking HL1 to play CS (and I mean everyone – every kid I knew had a cracked version and keygen (because even the 2 CD keys in the later retail copy weren’t enough to have a slight chance at getting a still-not-used one) lying around, only getting a legit copy when they found one in stores out of respect for Valve), Valve had to do something. It was also an easy way for cheaters to dodge bans, they could change cd key and cheat again without any problem.

          So they added the DRM part to protect Half-Life 2, and avoid having to use the utterly terrible StarForce/SecuRom DRMs (funfact: a week ago, I tried to install a SecuRom-“protected” game from a retail copy – hopefully TPB was there).

        • neolith says:

          “It’s undeniable that DRM-free is better, but if you have to have DRM at all (and with skyrocketing budgets, I am not surprised publishers insist on that) […]”

          Funny. I am quite surprised they still insist on it. It costs money to aquire DRM tech, it costs money to implement it, it costs money to support it, it is alway potential trouble for customers and it is never trouble for people who pirate your game. So, in a nutshell, you waste a lot of money and time to make your game less attractive to your customers and make it more attractive to pirate it. Seems like a not so good decision.

          • basilisk says:

            But you see, those are things Steam solves as well:
            It costs money to aquire DRM tech
            Steamworks is free. Valve takes their cut from units sold through their store, but that’s it. If you buy your copy directly from the developer/publisher, for example, none of that money went towards the DRM solution.
            it costs money to implement it
            As far as I know, Steamworks is relatively easy to implement. A few hours of a coder’s work certainly don’t come for free, but it’s a pretty minor thing compared to the rest of game development.
            it costs money to support it
            Again, Steam/Valve does that for you.
            it is alway potential trouble for customers and it is never trouble for people who pirate your game
            Which is a known risk everyone who decides using any kind of DRM accepts. It’s the price you pay for discouraging casual piracy and stopping second-hand sales which can both be reasonably expected to have a positive impact on your bottom line, and which are both things Steam DRM does very well.

          • Tacroy says:

            Actually, I bet they haven’t even implemented Steamworks.

            You can release a game on Steam without any sort of DRM – users play it through the Steam client like a Steamworks game, but there’s absolutely nothing keeping you from just copying the files on your computer over to somewhere else and playing the game without touching Steam at all.

            Dungeons of Dredmor is like this, for instance; you download it through Steam, get your DLC through Steam, but you can just run the game on its own without Steam and it won’t give a shit.

        • zeroskill says:

          About future-proof. At least Gabe Newell said they are going to release all games to the internet if ever something was to happen to the company. He also said they would rather dissolve the company then to sell it to some publisher, or any other entity, which we know is the truth, since EA tried to buyout Valve and they refused.

          I don’t see any reason they would lie about that. And they gave us no reason, so far, to believe they are liars. You can always say: “But what if they are liars and they plan to take everything away from us because it’s an evil company and all that, and what if this and what if that…”. Yeah that’s a really easy argument to make, and there is no counter argument to that because that’s all in the realms of speculation. But again they don’t have any reason to lie, and the company is doing really, really well if the latest figures are anything to go by.

          Furthermore, yes, Steam protected games are really easy to crack, at least it’s not stopping the crackers to distribute it on the internet and, yeah those games get pirated. As far as I know, there are also certain communities that play games such as COD:MW2 and Counterstrike on private servers. I don’t know how strongly protected those games are but I imagine it is possible to run them without Steam if people are doing it, with cracked version and private servers and such, or Hamachi or whatever.

          I think what prevents people from pirating games these days is more that they are afraid to lose their accounts. Lots of people have huge Steam libraries worth quite a bit of money, not to speak of Steam bound free to play games and a certain value attached to it. Yes, hats. (OMG HATS are DRM) Couple that with the cheap deals you can get on Steam I believe there are much less people that think it’s worth the trouble pirating games these days unless they are students, or kids that don’t make any money.

          • basilisk says:

            About future-proof. At least Gabe Newell said they are going to release all games to the internet if ever something was to happen to the company.

            That’s apocryphal. You won’t find a reliable source for that statement, it’s just something that one long-gone forum post once claimed Gabe had said. Maybe. Also, doing that could result in a rather bombastic lawsuit. They certainly could release the DRM lock on their own games, but the rest of it is just incredibly complicated.

            But I am not losing sleep over that issue anyway; the whole abandonware movement pretty clearly shows how far enthusiasts are willing to go to keep their beloved games alive.

          • zeroskill says:

            “But I am not losing sleep over that issue anyway; the whole abandonware movement pretty clearly shows how far enthusiasts are willing to go to keep their beloved games alive.”

            Agree there very much. I have back up copies of my entire Snes and PS2 library (which I own of course, that goes without mentioning, or does it…) stored on an external hard drive. At the rate technology moves forward, I can’t see any trouble for the future in that respect.

      • drewski says:

        Bethesda never stopped developing for PC, they just expanded their potential market. They likely would never have got where they did without it – making great, incredibly popular games that are by far at their best on PC and which continue to receive publisher backed mod tools, something that’s only possible…on PC.

        And of course Valve develop and publish cross platform too.

        Throw your toys out of your console hating pram if you like, but please try not to be completely dishonest in the process.

        • zeroskill says:

          Mentioning Bethesda in this context could be probably considered troll baiting from me because of the popularity of Skyrim, and it was probably a mistake.


          Morrowind has been the last PC game from Bethesda that has been developed for the PC exclusively and with the PC and it’s audience in mind foremost.

          You have to think about how Bethesda’s priorities have shifted over the years from primarily being a PC developer, to actually primarily developing their games as a console title with console hardware in mind, and with your typical console audience. Later they, of course, port the game to the PC. I’m not saying Bethesda doesn’t care about the PC. I think they care a whole lot about the PC as a platform and about their PC audience. And i’m sure that Bethesda, if they got the green light from Zenimax (the publisher house behind Bethesda) they would like to develop again a game that is truly a game with PC in mind first and foremost. But here is the thing.

          If you have played all the TES games it’s easy to see how Bethesda compromised their game design philosophy. This is especially clearly visible going from Morrowind to Oblivion. Most of these changes made to the TES series can be tracked down to a shift of audience. The shift from a PC audience, to a console audience. And this fits into the timeline perfectly where a lot of developers shifted from the PC to the consoles as a primary development platform. Skyrim is a step up from Oblviion, surely, and it’s also a really good game all things considered. But it’s not a PC game. It’s a console game, with a PC port that, thankfully, still enjoys a very healthy mod community.

          If you don’t believe me, you can always see this here video from someone who cares a great deal about the TES series: link to

          And this is where the context of DRM, the publishers, the shift towards primary console development, and why it’s good that we have Steam now, comes into play. Thanks to the extreme sales numbers of Skyrim on Steam, Bethesda now has an argument they can bring up when they are asking for funding money for the next Fallout or TES from Zenimax. A few years back they didn’t have that argument, and this is, as I see it, the biggest reason why the TES series, and pretty much anything Bethesda has done since Morrowind, has been primarily developed with consoles in mind, because they wouldn’t get funding for a PC exclusive title that is as expensive to make as a TES game.

          So here is hoping that the high sales numbers of Steam will be reason enough for Zenimax to allow primary PC developing for future cross-platform Bethesda titles. It probably won’t, it worked well enough for Zenimax so far, and as I said before, publishers don’t like taking risks. But at least we might see a proper PC port, with a proper interface. The game design element probably will still be adjusted for console play and audience though. At least that’s what you would be thinking if you were a pessimistic person by nature.

          And no, I don’t hate consoles. In fact I have multiple consoles myself. I enjoy playing games like Bayonetta, Fire Emblem, or Persona. That’s just a silly statement to make.

          But I can see the industry realities and how they affect PC exclusives and continue to affect the game design involved.

          • drewski says:

            I think if you’re getting into largely arbitrary distinctions over what you feel epitomises a “PC game”, you’re going to struggle to convince me of anything.

            Skyrim (and Oblivion) are PC games. They are games. Which run on a PC. They are PC games.

            I don’t see any reason there needs to be a distinction, frankly, except that on PC you have a lot more flexibility and, of course, modding tools, and Bethesda have always give the PC community a lot of support there – if they were shunning it to the extent you claim, why would they continue to release dev tools and allow modding and tweaking to such a degree? They continue to devote time and effort to supporting the least important of their platfoms far more than required.

            Bethesda might not be PC exclusive any more, but they can’t get the market they want from a PC exclusive business plan. You and the hardcore fans might think Bethesda are “dumbing down for console” – I say they took a niche PC RPG game and turned it into the biggest RPG series of all time.

          • Cockles says:

            In terms of the elder scrolls, Morrowind was Bethesda’s first title released on console, Daggerfall was the last PC exclusive. Morrowind also first featured their editing tools, which have made them staples of PC gaming and this tradition has carried on throughout all their games since, even during times when PC games were having a little bit of a rough spot and developers were saying that they didn’t want to release mod tools.

            Bethesda appear to be a developer that have always been PC-focused for this reason to me, they allow people to modify and re-imagine their games as they see fit and didn’t make the decision to stop allowing people to mod so that they could exclusively peddle DLC (releasing the editor also added development costs so other companies may have decided against this).

            I agree that there was quality drop between Morrowind and Oblivion but I’m not sure this is because they became console focused, although trying to reach a wider audience was certainly a part in this. I think a large part is due to development costs of games increasing and their philosophy of always trying to make games more immersive (a trend that can be noticed between Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind) in terms of graphics and fidelity. For example, I thought it was a bad decision to voice act all the dialogue in Oblivion because it would ultimately mean less of it and lower quality but that was/is part of the idea to make the world more lifelike (something they don’t always get right).

          • Lemming says:

            The fact they encourage full modding and even release development kits for their games undermines your point hugely. Even with Fallout 3, which didn’t even have a legacy of modding.

          • zeroskill says:

            The fact they encourage full modding and even release development kits for their games undermines your point hugely. Even with Fallout 3, which didn’t even have a legacy of modding.

            Oh is that so? So you think the mod communities are there to fix Bethesda’s freaking games? Do you have any idea how long it takes to make mods that you then go and download in a couple of seconds? You think somehow that it’s ok for Bethesda to be lazy and deliver a game to the PC with an interface that is hardly functional at all, because “some modder” will go and invest a crapload of his free time, working for free, to fix that? You think it’s ok that modders need to fix bugs? You think it’s ok that modders need to provide high resolution textures for all Bethesda games because Bethesda couldn’t be arsed to?

            Have you ever even modded anything for a game at all and do you know how much time is involved in this sort of stuff? Please be more disrespectful to modders by saying: “It’s ok for Bethesda to put out a half-baked PC port, subpar game mechanics that are hardly even more then an simulation of what a real RPG is, BECAUSE the suckers from to mod community will sacrifice their free time to fix what Bethesda screwed up so I can have fun”.

          • Lemming says:

            What the hell are you talking about? I was countering your point about Bethesda shifting focus to consoles to the detriment of PC.

    • AlienMind says:

      Nice that it never felt like DRM to you. Fact is it is DRM.

      • neolith says:


      • zeroskill says:

        Thanks for clearing that up, Sherlock Holmes. It’s good to see that there are still people visiting Rock Paper Shotgun with distinguished opinions.

      • The Random One says:

        Or: just because you are wearing high quality adult diapers it doesn’t mean you’ve stopped shitting yourself.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        Except not. It’s been repeated ad nauseam everywhere. Take a second to read up on it.

      • Tacroy says:

        Actually no.

        Steam is not DRM. Steam is a digital distribution platform. That means they send the bits that make the game to your computer, and give you a nice fancy interface for buying more games and for launching your games. That’s all it does. Steam by itself does not implement any DRM, except maybe by refusing to launch games through its interface if it thinks you’re not connected to the Valve servers (which is trivial to get around).

        Steamworks is DRM. The way it works is by requiring your computer’s copy of Steam to be connected to and authenticated with Valve’s servers.

        A game can be on Steam and not implement Steamworks. See, for instance, pretty much any recent Ubisoft game – the DRM they use is that UPlay bullshit, not Steamworks. You can uninstall Steam completely, and still launch those games from your computer.

        There’s also quite a few DRM free games on Steam. For instance, Dungeons of Dredmor – even if you completely uninstall Steam from your system, you can still play a Steam-bought copy of DoD. Because the game doesn’t have any DRM. Despite being on Steam.

        Note that I’m not talking out my ass here – I just killed Steam, and successfully launched both Far Cry 3 and Dungeons of Dredmor. Steam did not show up at any point in the process.

        Steam is not DRM. Steamworks is. Shadowrun Returns is going to be released on Steam. We have no word yet on whether or not it will implement Steamworks. It is entirely possible that their plan is to release it on Steam without Steamworks support, which means that the game you get from Steam will be DRM free.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Not only that, individual games or the entire steam folder can be transferred to other computers.

          The bigger problem really, is that Steam has done a poor job of advertising this to consumers or making the option apparent in the interface. Same with the offline mode, which sometimes requires that the player go through some extra, poorly documented steps.

  9. JimboDeany says:

    Don’t care much about the DRM feature, I’m a fan of steam especially if they’re doing it to allow easier community built content.

    Any news on the release for Android?!?!

  10. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    I predict a riot.

  11. JohnArr says:

    A post on DRM and a terrible hair gag? There will be hell toupée in the comments.

  12. Bhazor says:

    Is it an either/or situation? Or can I get a DRM free version and a Steam version?

  13. elderman says:

    I’ve only played one game on Steam. I don’t hate it, but would prefer to buy games that aren’t dependent on the service. I’m not yet sure if I would buy a new game, especially an independent one, through Steam.

    The platform’s still unfamiliar, so a genuine question, isn’t it possible to use Steam solely as a distribution platform, or do all games bought through steam need to launch through Steam?

    • Gormongous says:

      Like Yachmenev said below, a lot of Steamworks games like Crusader Kings II, while requiring Steam to install and update, can be run from their executable without Steam running or even installed.

      But there’s no way of knowing if that’s the case until you’ve bought and installed the game.

      • elderman says:

        It’s the required connection and phoning home that I have a problem with. I realise I need to download my games from somewhere. (And I use the word ‘need’ in the sense of uncontrollable addiction, like for chocolate or cat gifs.)

        • twilightusk says:

          But that’s the thing, not all games on Steam require a connection to work. He cited Crusader Kings II as one example, if you kill your internet connection and offline mode isn’t working, you can still dig into your files and launch Crusader Kings II.

    • Low Life says:

      It’s possible to launch (some) games without Steam, this is especially true for older games. But then you can’t get the benefits such as the Steam Workshop (content delivery for user content), which I imagine is the reason the Shadowrun devs went with actual Steam integration.

      edit: Hum, so apparently (if what Gormongous says is true) even some Steamworks games can be launched without Steam. That’s new to me.

      • El_Emmental says:

        It’s very modular, devs aren’t forced to use the whole package or nothing.

        It would be a good thing if devs or Steam were mentionning what they’re using on their games though.

  14. 1Life0Continues says:

    At least they explained it.

    I would much prefer not to have Steam at all, since I do feel it’s an unnecessary layer that can break and prevent me from playing what I want, where and when I want. But I also understand the benefits that Steam distribution brings with it, especially for updates and such. I do hope they skip Steamworks (worthless achievements and such) so I can run the game without Steam in the background, and only check and update when I do log in to Steam rather than requiring it constantly. but I don’t know if or how they could do this.

    And I echo an above question: I can has Android?

    • El_Emmental says:

      They can do this, many other developers did this on Steam.

      However, it’s something that needs to be mentionned to the developers, so make sure to contact them about that (I’m not a backer iirc – missed it – so I don’t have an access to the backers-only areas *if there’s any*).

    • Kiya says:

      As has been said, even for games that do use Steamworks for achievements, cloud etc the drm part is optional for developers to include. I have several games now that use steam cloud, acheivements, all that jazz, and that can also be launched and played fine seperately without Steam running at all. Though of course – as has been said, if you launch the game that way, you don’t get the cloud, achievements, workshop, etc benefits.

      Just a few examples from my Steam library include – Dungeons of Dredmor, Bejeweled 3, Bob Came in Pieces, Eufloria, Faerie Solitaire, and Gemini Rue – it’s mostly indie or small developers and they hardly ever advertise it.

  15. Yachmenev says:

    It’s bullshit.

    I love Steam, I have an account with 100 games, that I have been using since 2007, but Steam is not a DRM free alternative. People should object to this.

    I would say that it’s acceptable if they deliver the game through Steam, but don’t require the client for the game to be run (like Crusader Kings 2 when bought on Steam), but as soon as they require Steam for the game to be run, then they have backtracked on the promise of being DRM free.

    • lcy says:

      I quite agree. I’ve got a huge number of games on Steam, but it’s still tied up with far too much DRM, and is far too centrally controlled. Likewise, none of us know how Valve will act in the future – after all, everyone always said Windows would be ‘open’ forever, but Windows RT is not (you have to get MS to sign off on your code) while Windows 8 is taking the first step towards a closed walled garden itself. Companies change.

      • El_Emmental says:

        There’s a difference between them though: Microsoft is publicly-traded company (shareholders), Valve and Steam are privately-held companies (Doug Lombardi and Gabe Newell).

        • Hicks233 says:

          And with Gabe Newell being a former Microsoft employee and Steam being one of the most prolific drm based schemes the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Ha ! Simply because someone once worked at Microsoft doesn’t mean it will always think, behave and act like the company Microsoft, that’s just a cheap argument.

            Plenty of people inside Microsoft are in favor of open-source, against software patents and against abusing a monopoly, plenty of people joined and left the company (some over ideas and values issues), you can’t just claim that by the mere contact with the company Microsoft tainted all these people for the rest of their lives.

            If Microsoft is so contagious, I hope you wear a NBC suit whenever using a computer running MS Windows or MS Office, otherwise you’re ONE OF THEM ! :P

    • FriendlyFire says:

      They’re providing a DRM-free download from their own site. If they force the Steam version to use Steamworks DRM, then call them up on it, but thus far we have no information on whether this is the case.

  16. JoeGuy says:

    How would they give people Steam like support and features without the Steam-like client part of it? I’m honestly wondering.

  17. Acorino says:

    I don’t understand. I mean, is it stated somewhere that the Steam version will make use of the Steam DRM? Because that doesn’t have to be the case. The Steam versions of Psychonauts and Botanicula don’t make use of the Steam DRM, for example.

    • lightweaver says:

      I think what people are most up in arms about is that you will need a Steam account to get the game in the first place.
      At this point, there seem to be only two groups of people, really. Those who either like or put up with Steam and those who refuse to do so.
      That latter group will not have nor want an account on Steam, regardless of whether the game(s) they’d get there were DRM-free or not.

      Consider also that Steam can block your account if something’s awry, denying you the ability to re-download even the DRM-free games you purchased.

      That said, though, I do think digital distribution is here to stay and nothing will change that. If you don’t like it, you will inevitably have to put up with some drawbacks.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Every digital distribution service can block your account and hence ability to re-download DRM-free games, including GoG etc.

        Steam is, as far as I know, the only digital distribution service that doesn’t use ever use this ability. Steam now only ‘restrict’ accounts for dodgy activity, where they stop you trading, buying any new games or using the community. You can still download and install your previously purchased games, even the ones with DRM.

        By that notion, Steam are far ahead of every other DD company out there.

    • AlienMind says:

      You seem to have a misconception of what DRM free means.
      It means you sit in a room with a PC and no internet and a freshly formatted Windows. You have the game with you, uninstalled and on a storage medium.
      Now the magic happens: You install the game, and play it.

      • Llewyn says:

        So, just to clarify, GOG’s DRM-free games aren’t DRM-free either? In fact, no digital distribution method can ever be DRM-free? So those who knew they were buying digitally-distributed Shadowrun already knew they weren’t getting it DRM-free anyway?

        Glad we got that cleared up at least.

        • The Random One says:

          You can copy GoG’s installers on a disk and install the games on a just-formatted, internet-free computer, Lord Disingenuous. I should know, I’ve done that.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            So just like Steam games that don’t use Steamworks DRM then.

            Hint: go in your Steam install folder and zip up the game’s folder. You now have your own custom-made installer for your Steam games! This will work for any game that has elected not to use Steamworks DRM. It’s up to the developer/publisher to make that decision. Blame them, not Steam.

          • The Random One says:

            Apparently you are correct. Here’s an honest question, though: is there any way to know if a Steam game uses Steamworks other than doing precisely that (or finding the .exe somewhere when not running Steam?)

          • The Random One says:

            Thanks, I kept reading the comments and found that link – I was actually coming back to edit my post.

            If that post is correct, that’s an inordinate amount of work to figure out if a game has CAG or not. If I may allow myself one last cynical snipe, if Valve was as good as people say they’d offer that info on their store page for a game, just like other storefronts inform you if the game you’re buying will be delivered as a Steam key.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        Your stance is based on principle but divorced from reality.

        Games from steam that do not use it’s optional DRM can be transferred to other hard drives, in fact Steam has added a function for that very purpose so the player doesn’t have to muck about with folders and registries.

        The end result is that a non-DRM game (by your definition) requires an indentical set of actions as a steam game: Log in to account, present credit card info, download game. The game can be transferred to any other computer, even an autistic windows box with no steam installed.

  18. thegooseking says:

    Steam is not DRM. Steam has DRM. I’m not reading anywhere here that they’ve opted to use Steam’s DRM (which is optional). Have they actually said anything about that?

  19. MichaelPalin says:

    I’m amaze that games were developed at all before Steam existed. Poor past developers who could not “focus on their games” and had to make extra work like, god forbid, put a patch on a website!

    • tormos says:

      oh, we never used to have a patch, we used to update our games with a damp newspaper

      • AngoraFish says:

        Before Steam we had to dig around on random websites like FilePlanet that may or may not have the latest patch and may or may not require us to create an account to access it, and contained a sequence of patches that had to be installed in order despite having unclear file names and the website inexplicably missing the crucial 6th patch in the sequence of 10 … or we had to search around for a mirror as the developer had gone out of business or had stopped supporting the product and there was no longer an official website… but the patch didn’t work because the game wasn’t installed in the default directory, or the file on the mirror had become corrupted, or the patch actually turned out to be a dupe with a virus… or we can only find cumulative patch 2.0 but this doesn’t work because we already installed incremental patch 1.14a and cumulative patch 2.0 only works for patching v1.3 to v1.18 … and then we had to completely reinstall the game again because we accidentally installed the US version of the correct patch and not the EU one, or installed patches out of sequence, or forgot that we’d installed mods and stuffed the patch sequence completely… but couldn’t reinstall because we’d misplaced our original installation disks, and could never play LAN games with our friends because everybody always arrived with different versions installed and nobody had bothered to save the full sequence of 12 patches required to get everyone fully patched up.

        • tormos says:

          And you try and tell the young people of today that, and they won’t believe you
          (nope, nope, nope)

        • AlienMind says:

          That’s why you go on a LAN with all the latest patches you downloaded conveniently from link to .
          With Steam, you can drive home again if somebody forgot to activate “offline mode” at the correct time at home.
          And obviously you are not from Germany, because with your beautiful Steam, if Carmageddon came out today, everybody at the LAN can run over badly animated Robots. YAY

          • Llewyn says:

            And obviously you are not from Germany, because with your beautiful Steam, if Carmageddon came out today, everybody at the LAN can run over badly animated Robots. YAY

            Valve are to blame for German censorship laws now as well?? Truly there is no end to Gabe’s iniquities. I have to say that it’s a good job Germany isn’t a representative democracy, otherwise responsibility might lie with, you know, the Germans.

        • deaomen says:

          Thanks, you saved my day :D I can remember what kind of pain in the ass the game updating was back then. I remember when Steam came I really hated it. It was buggy, slow and it didn’t work most of the time, but nowadays I absolutely love Steam. Maybe I have been lucky but I haven’t had any technical problems with Steam in past few years.

    • El_Emmental says:

      “Poor past developers” gave away around 80%-85% of the money made from sales to a publisher, to be able to focus on the game, and not work on the distribution and piracy-prevention solutions.

      Steam changed that (and later, other DD platforms/solutions who followed) for indie developers, with a 70 (devs) / 30 (Steam) deal (NDAs prevents the exact % of each agreement to be disclosed, but that numbers is frequently mentionned by devs/people who talked directly irl with devs).

  20. Crosmando says:

    This is ridiculous. Why don’t they just sell the game on GOG and use Nexus Mods like Legend of Grimrock?

    • BobbyKotickIsTheAntichrist says:

      Because (sadly) doesn’t reach as many potential consumers and secondly, convenience takes priority over any other consideration for both consumers and developers.

      • Bhazor says:

        Yet Grimrock is available on both Steam AND GoG. How’d they manage that I wonder? I bet it must be witchcraft.

        • BobbyKotickIsTheAntichrist says:

          They could but if i haven’t missed something in the article, they don’t seem to want to or else it would’ve mentioned it. I hope they reconsider, because honestly, Steam devalues games for me considerably. I won’t be paying full price for a license rental, even if that is only 15-20 Dollars.

          • El_Emmental says:

            It’s always a license rental, it’s just that with GoG you’re able to illegaly and against the agreement (EULA) you electronically signed (by a click on a “I Agree” button), run the game.

            It’s exactly the same if you were downloading a pirated copy online (minus the seeding if it’s P2P). Steam with its (optional) DRM part only gives the possibility (to the rights-holders) of controlling if their licensees use a valid license.

          • engion3 says:

            I would say you are definitely the minority and I wouldn’t even consider purchasing this game if it weren’t on steam. I don’t know how many times back in the day I installed a new game and gave up halfway through installing patches. You have to weigh the pros and cons and for the majority Steam is a no brainer.

      • MichaelPalin says:

        But they could do BOTH. I understand that Steam is very popular and is suicidal not to release there, but there is no reason why you can’t release in various places at the same time. Which, coincidentally, will make those places more popular and Steam less powerful. Go figure!

      • cw8 says:

        You can always release on both Steam and GoG, not sure what’s the misconception is that if a game is on Steam it can’t be GoG.

      • Crosmando says:

        What I meant is, why don’t they do the Steam version with Workshop, and then do a GOG version and use Nexus as the hub for hosting mods, both crowds are satisfied.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Bah, if they used GOG and Nexus then I would have nothing to bitch about, therefore I would bitch about having nothing to bitch about….dammit!

          GOG pwns Steam(ing pile)

    • Hicks233 says:

      Because that would just be far too sensible…

  21. BobbyKotickIsTheAntichrist says:

    Steam is fine as long as your ok with having limited control over your rented games library that can be taken away in it’s entirety at a moments notice.

    • JimboDeany says:

      Pretty sure there’d have to be a reason before they remove content that you’ve bought, regardless of any user agreement or T&Cs, otherwise it’s illegal.

      • MichaelPalin says:

        As far as it does not become a press scandal they can do whatever they want. Do you remember the EA bans regarding Dragon Age II? Do you remember RockPaperShotgun chasing them for a year because they kept doing it?

      • solidsquid says:

        There was an issue with the card I had tied to my Paypal account which caused a payment to Steam to fail (bank deactivated the card due to a compromised website). Steam disabled access to *any* of the games I had purchased until I sorted out the payment problem (which I couldn’t do until a new card was reissued) rather than just blocking access to the game which the payment hadn’t gone through for and maybe preventing further purchases until it’s solved.

        I got it sorted a week later when I got a new card through, but it was a pita when it happened and I very much got the impression that they felt they were doing me a favour by restoring access to the games

        • JimboDeany says:

          These are fairly rare and are a way of stopping people from being ripped off by people with clone cards etc. A pain in the arse yes but what I mean is that they don’t just strip you of access for absolutely no reason.

          • Bhazor says:

            But why lock you out of games bought long before?

            It’s a friendly reminder that Valve can lock you out of your own hard drive at the press of a button.

        • Bhazor says:

          Same thing happened to me. Except it happened at christmas and locked me out for three weeks.

          It doesn’t help that Steam has rubbish tech support. Heck, I had a much better experience with EA’s customer. I had a free twenty minute one on one text chat with a member of staff when I couldn’t get a game bought on Gamersgate to work.

          With valve I sent an email. Got a reply three days later. Replied to that. Got another reply two days later. Told me to cancel a payment which I did. Which as a result had my paypal account flagged for fraud.

        • El_Emmental says:

          Just as a friendly reminder, fraud using Paypal is extremely common, many indie developers realized it when they accepted Paypal payment on their own “store” and had to cover the costs of each cancelled transactions.

          It is mostly because Paypal is acting like a bank, while refusing to be considered a bank, so they don’t have to follow very basic rules and norms, thus getting all the frauders, scammers from around the world.

          Using Paypal to pay online (when you could use other payment services), is forcing everyone to rely on a risky system – if you can, don’t use it.

          ps: If you’re into “but Google/Amazon are evil”, let me remind you that Paypal was one of the first to block Wikileaks too.

          • The Random One says:

            Anyone in the “Google/Amazon are evil” crowd knows Paypal is even worse.

        • Deano2099 says:

          When was that? As far as I’m aware they’ve stopped doing that now, they just put accounts into a ‘read only’ mode, where you can’t buy new games but still can play the current ones.

  22. J_C says:

    I don’t blame them for releasing the game on Steam, most kickstarters do this. However not updating the non-DRM version is bullshit. They could easily do that, just like other kickstarters do with their non-drm versions (GOG version of FTL or Strike Suit Zero for example).

  23. povu says:

    I get the mod support thing, but it sounds like the DRM free version doesn’t even receive patches? Or am I misunderstanding this? Because that would be just silly.

    I don’t know how much they think they’ll need to patch the game, but maybe the DRM free version can just get less frequent patches if it’s more of a hassle to deal with. So you get a few big patches for the DRM free version while Steam gets more frequent smaller ones.

  24. MeestaNob says:

    Really wish I backed this when it was on offer, it’s looking very impressive.

  25. Commissar Choy says:

    Let’s clarify:
    The DRM-free version will include the game and Berlin City.
    The only way to brows/play player-made content and any DLC beyond Berlin City will require you to use the Steam version.
    They weren’t clear about patching/updating the DRM-free version but I’m really hoping they do.
    All in all, I’m okay with this decision.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      But the quote making the rounds here says (roughly) “the only way to browse user made content in-game…” That implies to me that you can still grab user content manually from a website. Is that quote wrong?

      Sorry I can’t post a reference, don’t have a ton of time to dig around right now.

  26. solidsquid says:

    This seems strange to me tbh, I’d assumed stretch goals were supposed to be extra content for the game being advertised on the Kickstarter, so should be included in any release. New content that *isn’t* a stretch goal is fair enough, but splitting one of the stretch goals off into DLC and then saying you won’t supply it with the same promise you made for the game itself seems dishonest

    edit: Commissar Choy clarified that the stretch goal city, Berlin, is included as DRM free. It’s DLC released after this that won’t be part of it, which is fair enough

    • lightweaver says:

      Don’t forget that stretch goals are not part of the original Kickstarter pitch.
      That is what you backed and what you pledged your money towards.
      If a project gets overfunded, it is under no obligation whatsoever to even offer stretch goals. If you originally backed the Kickstarter solely because you thought the stretch goals would follow certain implicit rules or promises, you simply misunderstood how Kickstarter works.

      • El_Emmental says:

        Stretch goals are publicly displayed when the project is still accepting pledges and are used as a promotional asset, I don’t see how they shouldn’t be taken into account regarding what the team behind the project said they planned – many people upgrade their pledges, or spread the news, when stretch goals are reached or almost reached.

  27. lightweaver says:

    While I understand why some people have a problem with Steam, I think it’s too harsh to call this move “dishonest”.

    That would imply that the people behind the game had the intention right from the start to make the game Steam-based and didn’t tell people (supposedly in order to gather more support).
    For one thing, I do not think it would have mattered much in terms of numbers if such an announcement had been made.

    For another, though, consider this:
    Any group running a Kickstarter campaign is gathering money with little more than a promise to turn it into something great.
    That means they have a big responsibility to use this money in the best, most efficient way possible in achieving their goal.
    Anyone who’s ever worked in a big company knows that during the development of a product, tough choices sometimes have to be made to find a compromise between competing – and often mutually exclusive – objectives.

    In the grand scheme of things, I think this decision was the right one as it delivers the most value for the largest number of people.

  28. Lobotomist says:

    Lets look at it this way –

    The game will be heavily dependent on mods ,online co-op , even live Game Mastering.
    Steam has well developed, working technology to support this.

    If you want to play game singleplayer you can still download it DRM free.

    So instead wasting their time on network back-end, they are using popular and well established option. Less time wasting. Less problems. We get to play sooner.

    Lets not nitpick

    • zomgponies says:

      The game will be heavily dependent on mods ,online co-op , even live Game Mastering.
      Steam has well developed, working technology to support this.

      Except it won’t have online co-op, and it won’t have live Game Mastering. Please, at least read the game’s feature list before commenting.

      • Lobotomist says:

        Thats sad, because one of the videos i got as backer was showcasing live game mastering and co-op. Like in NWN1 :(

        • Kiya says:

          Are you perhaps thinking of Shadowrun Online instead of Shadowrun Returns? There were two kickstarters for two different Shadowrun games – Shadowrun returns was and is single player only.

  29. Phinor says:

    Funnily enough, I didn’t back this project because it *didn’t* offer Steam copies at the time. If I only got a DRM free copy, I would have douple dipped for a Steam version anyway because I prefer to have my games organized under one platform.

    You might suggest just adding a shortcut but it’s not the same as having the game in Steam properly.

  30. DarkLiberator says:

    Well, if we can still get a DRM free version and a steam version, i guess its okay, but they should have explained from the very beginning.

  31. mrmalodor says:

    They’re not getting my money.

  32. Drake Sigar says:

    So basically, they sold out.

    • zomgponies says:

      No, Maxis/Simcity sold out (or were bought up, depending on how you look at it). In this case, they are giving us the best bang for the buck possible with their extremely limited budget.

  33. rustybroomhandle says:

    Well, it’s not reduced functionality on the DRM-free version, it just means you have to install mods the old fashioned way. I think I shall file this article under “Needless sensationalism”.

    • drewski says:

      Given that most of the modified content will end up in the Steam Workshop, it’s a functionally limited version, rather than by specific design.

      • Gitchi says:

        IF it ends up like that, then functionality is limited by community, not developers. It just looks like you want all of us to play by “your rules” and fiddle with folders and .zip files.

        • drewski says:

          I personally don’t care one way or the other, but to have a game advertised as DRM free, then have the small print “as long as you never want any new content” added after the sale has occurred, well, I can see why people have a problem with it. I don’t think it’s good business practice.

      • Lemming says:

        The mods worth having will duplicate on sites like Nexus mods. If anything, the mods you manually install for your DRM-free version will be less likely to be shit, rather than “I MADE A LEVELLOL PLS STAR!!!1”.

        Look at Skyrim’s mod scene if you doubt it.

  34. JimboDeany says:


  35. drewski says:

    I can see why the devs did this, but it still feels a bit sordid. “Oh, now we’re got your money, we’ll casually drop in that you need to sign up for our lifetime DRM service if you want to play anything we create after the game is released, or access the majority of community created content.”

    They may not have specifically said that all future content would be available in a DRM-free version, but I don’t think it an unfair inference, and I can understand why some backers are annoyed.

  36. Borsook says:

    Oh come on! Steam is not DRM. Steam is a distribution platform and you have to run it to use it. Which is logical. But it is not DRM, as it allows you to run without the Internet connection. So the whole article is based on a false assumption.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      You’re saying it’s not DRM because it doesn’t require an always online connection?

      I don’t think you know what DRM is.

      • Milky1985 says:

        Nor do you, as Steam can be used by companies as distribution service, they DO NOT have to use the steam DRM. Some steam game are launchable directly via the exe without the need for steam to authenticate according to reports from people in various places online (not tried it myself, too many folders to go to to find the bloody things half the time!)

        So basically just because its on steam, doesn’t meant its using the Steam drm, we can infer that it is as they are making two different versions, but until its released we won’t know for sure.

        • killias2 says:

          Paradox games can launch independently. Heck, once you have an installation, you can copy that folder, put it somewhere else, and play it to your hearts content. You can even zip it up and put it on another PC, and it works. However, you still need Steam for patches and DLC.

          Personally, I think whether Steam qualifies as DRM sort of depends where one places the line. If you didn’t need Steam for updates, I’d say clearly no, but, as is, it’s sort of up in the air. I guess you could also define DRM based on the logic behind it. I really don’t think Paradox, for example, or the Arma developers (BI) are using Steam as a DRM solution. I think they’re looking to use it more for the ease of patching and, moving forward, Steam multiplayer and mod support (though Paradox’s current games do not support either of these things).

          Regardless, I still think this is a bit shitty. I love Steam, and I’m unambiguously in the Steam camp. Nonetheless, I know plenty of people dislike Steam, and I can’t help but feel they’re getting screwed here. If this was the intention, they should’ve made it clear from the go. Then I’d have no issues whatsoever.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Steam the store and launcher is not the same thing as Steamworks, the DRM scheme. Of course the two often go hand in hand, but many games on steam are DRM free and can be launched without the client.

        • Arkh says:

          Except you need a third part program to download.

          • Kiya says:

            Same as you need the the Gog installer for any game you download from Gog – your point?

          • Drake Sigar says:

            The difference between GoG and Steam is GoG is ONLY a distribution service. Once you’ve actually got the game on your computer it runs independently, there’s no third-party involvement, no online requirements, heck you can burn that sucker onto a hard copy, stick it on your shelves, and play it ten years from now right from the CD. You have an added layer of insurance that you’re not going to lose out if your account gets banned, servers go down, or companies go bankrupt.

            And yes, I’m aware there might be ‘some’ Steam games that can be played without Steam, but it seems to be mostly old stuff. I can’t play anything on my list from recent years without Steam booted up.

          • WrenBoy says:

            You dont need the GOG installer to download games you bought from GOG. It is entirely optional.

  37. Rinu says:

    This was the first game I haven’t backed and was interested in buying early if fan reviews are favorable. Hearing that this game might be tied to Steam is sad news. I like to support crowfunding/indie games but not at cost of paying a full price for renting rights to use.

    This information is vague at best, though. I’ll wait for the release date to see what kind of distribution and DRM they chose. The worst scenario what can happen that I will grab it for a buck on HB or GMG year or two later and saving a cash for other titles.

    • El_Emmental says:

      “I like to support crowfunding/indie games but not at cost of paying a full price for renting rights to use.”
      You always buy a license, even on GoG/devs’ store/Humble Bundle.

      The only difference between a DRM-free and a DRM-tied game is the way the rights-holders control (or should I say manage) your digital rights.

      With DRM, they can “reach” you (= your computer) to verify and block/allow you to use a software. Without DRM, they can only trust you to not use it without a legit license.

      If you’re worried about Steam going down, you’ll still be able to either get a working copy from the rights-holders or simply pirate the game.

      I seriously doubt a judge will ever sentence a user, holding a legit license for a software but unable to use it (because the DRM service closed down, and the rights holders didn’t provided a proper alternative), because he used a pirated copy.

      • The Random One says:

        Yeah, the judge will almost certainly side with you if you manage to survive the five years of litigation without startving. Unless of course you are in arbitration court… which version of the EULA you agreed with again?

        • El_Emmental says:

          “Yeah, the judge will almost certainly side with you if you manage to survive the five years of litigation without startving.”

          If your country doesn’t provide free legal aid, nor have consumers organizations (nb: there are international consumers organizations), sure. Otherwise, during the five years you won’t be “starving”, just having to frequently work on your case.

          Oh, and there will be no more than 5 cases like these until the jurisprudence is clear about it – if you happen to be the “chosen” one, you’ll be greatly contributing to the good of everyone by properly doing your duty as a consumer and citizen of the world by standing up for your rights.

          “Unless of course you are in arbitration court… which version of the EULA you agreed with again?”
          EULA are never above the law, and only an extremely corrupt judicial system would throw away its court to favor a bunch of corporations.

          Like they did with debts collectors (of consumer credits banks) in the USA, sure. But in that country, you’ll also end up with millions of dollars to pay for a handful of downloaded mp3s, when the entire court and their families are ALL downloading and sharing mp3s for several years. If you can’t even trust your judicial system to not be overly corrupt, unfair and sadistic (RIP Aaron Swartz), then maybe it’s time to stop voting over a bunch of stereotypes on immigrants and the middle-class, and start paying attention to actual problems.

          Also, if a company sues one of its customer, because the company failed to allow him to use his license, believe me that company is doomed, no one will ever want to work with them ever again – *and* the company will be sued for not providing the necessary elements, with the help of consumers organizations.

  38. yazman says:

    I’m actually really glad to hear this news, I love Steam and I’m glad to hear this is going to get full Steamworks integration. To me that’s only a good thing.

    On another note I do actually kind of agree with Borsook. I don’t think Steam is really DRM anyway.

  39. honuk says:

    kickstarter game lies and requires steam for full content, lies and turns stretch goals into DLC. deemed fine by RPS and community.

    let’s replace these words and see what would happen:

    EA game lies and requires Origin for full content, lies and turns marketed content into DLC.

    do you think RPS would be ok with this?

    • Milky1985 says:

      The stretch goals being DLC was voted OK by the backers I believe, as they had to choice of make it available to non backers or not and voted for yes, and just because its on steam DOES NOT mean it will use the steam DRM. Some games are launchable outside of steam directly via the .exe wihtout the need to connect to servers.

      So your not comparing Apples to apples here, your comparing samsung to apple.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        People keep saying this, but I have yet to see that game.
        What Steam game lets you launch the .exe directly without running Steam in the background?
        Sure you can double click the little desktop icon it created for you, but the first thing that does is run Steam.

        • Llewyn says:

          First one I’ve tried (informed guess, since I’ve read that Paradox don’t use Steamworks) is Europa Universalis III. Runs from the eu3game.exe in the Steam install folder with no Steam-related processes showing in my process list.

          I have no idea how many others there are because, frankly, I’ve never really cared but it’s clear that it is an option that developers have.

        • basilisk says:

          “That game”? How about a hundred of those games?

      • WrenBoy says:

        Im not a backer so I wouldnt know, but from the way you have phrased that it seems that they werent given a choice to make the stretch goals available free of charge to non backers.

        Is that the case? Was this explained before or after the kickstarter funding period ended?

  40. Ashen says:

    Well if Steam isn’t a DRM, then so aren’t GFWL and Origin. I can almost hear the outrage if they decided to use one of those two.

    So hypocritical.

    • honuk says:


    • UncleLou says:

      Only a fool would deny that Steam is DRM.

      And only a fool would tar everything with the same brush and see the world in black and white. People react differently to Steam on the one and GfWL on the other hand for a variety of valid reasons, mostly based on experience. There’s nothing hypocritical about it.

      In my particular case: I’ve not had a single problem with Steam since the day it launched. I use GfWL a faction of the time I use Steam, and constantly have massive problems. GfWL locking me out of my games, GfWL deleting my savegames, Origin only showing half of my library, etc. I am not hysterical enough to let it keep me from getting a game I really want, though.

      *Some* people have problems with Steam, so they will be more critical, understandably, but the reputation of Steam vs. GfWL is not based on voodoo, but user experience in general, and I am certain it is fair to say that, on average, people have a much better experience with Steam than with GfWL or Origin.

    • El_Emmental says:


      As many have said earlier in the comments, the ONLY unavoidable requirement for the Steam platform is creating/using a Steam account to run the Steam client ONCE, to download the games’ files ONCE.

      Then, the rights-holders (publishers or developers) CAN decide to use the Steam DRM (CEG) or NOT.

      IF they decide to use Steamworks CEG, THEY made the choice of using that DRM module.

      Technically, anything requiring you to login is DRM. Like when you buy a Humble Indie Bundle and “claim it” in your account, like when you log in on

      The only thing making Steam “more” DRMish than is the Steam client requirement to download the game’s files – after that, it’s only up to the developers/publishers to not add the Steamworks CEG.

      • cpmartins says:

        “Technically, anything requiring you to login is DRM. Like when you buy a Humble Indie Bundle and “claim it” in your account, like when you log in on”
        On GOG, I’m guaranteed to have to download the game once, and be done with it. That’s not DRM. That’s acquisition. You must acquire the game to play it. On Steam I have no such guarantee. I must log in to play my game, or log in to tell the Steam servers that I’m requiring their permission to go to offline mode.
        As someone brilliantly put it: “I trust GOG, but I don’t trust Steam. Why? Because I don’t HAVE to trust GOG, but I do Steam”. Steam is DRM. GOG isn’t.

        • twilightusk says:

          As several have pointed out already, the Steamworks DRM is an optional component that the developers choose to put in. Several games on steam do not use this DRM, and as such you can launch them even if you are disconnected from Steam, even if offline mode fails, even if you zip up the files and transfer them to another computer entirely.

          Steam itself is just a store and a distribution services. Many games choose to also use it as DRM, but it is not inherently DRM.

          • Emeraude says:

            Steam is a service platform.

            At its core, one the services embedded and provided is a DRM infrastructure.

            It’s a Damocles sword at best.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Steam is the same thing as Uplay, Origin, GFWL or whatever. Obviously it is technically more stable than GFWL, but it’s the same thing as Origin only a different company behind it.
      They all suck and games are better from…if they’re available from there.
      Main reason Steam is so loved is just because it’s been around so long and the library is huge.
      I’d like to think people love Steam and not Origin because Valve is a private company, but I don’t think consumers really give a shit about that.

  41. SanguineAngel says:

    Edit: rewritten to clarify my thoughts

    Urgh a lot of people here seem to have jumped to the conclusion that steam in now a requirement. Steam is just the preferred delivery method.

    The game is still available DRM free directly from their site.

    The only sticking point I can identify is that future DLC (beyond the Berlin DLC) is only going to be available through steam, which does indeed suck. but I do not believe that is a breach of trust. Although if they can apply the Berlin DLC to the base game, I am unsure why they could not do the same with future DLC. Could anyone explain?

    Backers apparently get both versions of the game.

    • The Random One says:

      People jumped to that conclusion because the devs weren’t at all clear!

  42. ass wasp says:

    There i was hoping kickstarter would usher in a generation of games that aren’t dependent on valve’s irritating store.

  43. Zaftrum189 says:

    I think it’s reasonable that people would be annoyed, they are sort of going back on what they promised, which feels a little slimey. That said I can’t really blame them, considering the costs of making a game and how risky it is to be a small developer (relatively speaking), and I can’t say as I’ll mind having Steam integration when I get my copy, it will simplify things on my end aswell quite a bit.

    Hopefully they do still support the DRM free version aswell, even if the updates aren’t as regular.

  44. P.Funk says:

    It occurs to me that for the kickstarter generation games this is actually inevitable.

    We’re all so chuffed about how many awesome games can be made without publishers. No middle men, just pure passion. Except we forgot something. Publisher to most gamers is some evil corporate board that puts the kaybosh on brilliant ideas and meddles in game design from a marketing perspective, but they also do something else thats hugely important – they publish! I mean, they actually do the distribution. They pay for that and have massive structural supports to see it happen.

    How could we really expect a whole generation of games on paper thin budgets to actually survive without some support from the most prolific digital distributor of our day? There is actually a massive amount of work to be done with distribution, even in the digital sphere. Its a big weight on the backs of indies. How many really successful indie projects these days don’t owe steam for half their success anyway?

    We can go on all day about the moral implications of the kickstarter pitch versus the result, but in the end its still business, and this is a harsh reality. Maybe this is a sobering truth we need to accept from kickstarter? Hippie unicorns and fairy tales, and a little dose of the truth?

    I guess its like most real political revolutions in the end. Its a sea change from the worst of all evils to lesser of them. In the end GOG is a pipedream for new distribution. Steam is our sober reality.

    • AngoraFish says:

      All excellent points indeed.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      While I agree that a degree of ‘realism’ is needed, you can’t just sweepingly ignore the huge amount of indie games constantly made and released without the support of Steam. Whether you think they’re good or not is unimportant, the point is that this is also a reality present in the midst of your so-called ‘sobering truth’. You’re confusing the viability of game studios as regular producers with the actual movement of their products: GoG’s most clear lesson is that games live on while developers change, close down, or get bought. That game studios didn’t foresee this (the problem of staying together as producers without a regular form of income) is not the fault of backers or KS itself; if they chose to ignore even the most clear examples of this (Obsidian, inXile, Double Fine, who for obvious reasons haven’t given up on contracts with big publishers) then they shouldn’t have made all sorts of gambles on their survivability as a company on KS alone.

      • P.Funk says:

        Is it possible to run the whole shebang yourself? Use an archo-friendly format for distributin like GOG? Make money enough to live and then keep making new stuff?

        Sure. Its done, but its still hard. As has come to light with Arma 3, the very act of just digitally supporting downloads and updates is a trying enough challenge. It takes people to actually manage and run and pay for the construct which supports the game’s digital footprint.

        I think of it like space flight. Indies are like 2nd rate powers and rich civilians, and the big Triple As are like Russia and the US. If you’re the Triple A caliber you’re making your own rockets, your own shuttles, your own rocket fuel, the tower to launch the thing, the launch sites, the personnel who manage the countdown, capture telemetry, etc etc. It took 400 000 people to put a man on the moon. It was 3 guys in a capsule and thousands on the ground measuring Tang.

        Indies, can build the rocket, they can train the astronaut, and they can plan the mission, but there’s a lot of infrastructure to that sits behind a game release. Its not just about supporting the end user, its about market visibility, actually pushing enough units to not go under, and hopefully having enough cash to make a living at the end of the day. If they’re lucky they can make a new game without having to go into debt, but still probably end up back at kickstarter anyway.

        I am not minimizing the issues that come from a KS supporter feeling duped. Its certainly a bad thing if its quantifiable the case. But this doesn’t change the fact that the KS supporters might have been unrealistic in what they were buying into anyway. The whole KS revolution might be insanely naive in the end.

        No revolution, as I said, is really what we want it to be. We can kick off the oppressor (EA, Ubi right?), thats the easy part, but the hard part is putting it all back together again. 9/10 revolutions end up rehiring the same secret police anyway. XD

        It sucks, but we shoulda better known better. In the end we’re better off, and Steam ISN’T the worst possible reality. We need to be realistic. I’m much happier this way than with Origin only, DRM riddled, derivative half-breed of the games I played before. Some song goes “You can’t always get what you want”. This gamer says: “DUH!”

        • The Random One says:

          Yes, it’s incredibly hard for indie games to succeed without being on Steam’s storefront.

          That does not preclude it from being elsewhere. That does not preclude it from being offered DRM-free through other channels. In fact, assuming some people will not buy games through Steam, that will actually increase their sales. And I doubt that GoG will charge you more money because you’re also on Steam, or vice versa.

          It’s not an either-or situation.

    • WrenBoy says:

      Why is GOG a pipedream?

  45. Alexrd says:

    Buying games with server based DRM like Steamworks is basically a rental.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I’ve always effectively rented my games anyhow. More or less every game I’ve ever owned has either had the media decay or scratch to the point that it is no longer loadable, has been ‘loaned’ to friends and never returned, or was been lost some time during moving house half a dozen times. Alternatively, I can’t find the original download link from my online purchase in my email anymore, searching doesn’t seem to help, and/or the download link has expired. Thankfully I now have Steam to keep track of my games for me.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Every game you ever bought is a rental (unless you bought the IP of game for quite a few thousands of dollars).

      The only thing that changed with online-based DRM is the way the rights-holders control (manage) your digital rights.

      If according to the EULA you’re not allowed to have the game installed on two different computers at the same time, DRM or not you’re still breaching the EULA if you have it installed on two computers at the same time, and could be sued for using a software without a valid license (= what piracy is, minus the crack/minus the seeding if there’s any).

      • Alexrd says:

        Actually, no. The copy I buy is my property. I’m not renting it nor borrowing it. If someone steals it, they are robbing me, not the dev or publisher of the game.

        • UncleLou says:

          What if someone steals a DVD with a game from you, but you have installed the game on your PC anyhow, can play it without the DVD, and the thief can play it as well?

          Looks to me like you can still make use of your license, while the developer/publisher lost a potential sale.

          And what if it’s a Steam game? You can still download it anytime, while the data carrier is worthless for the thief.

        • P.Funk says:

          You’re already rejecting the agreement you’re making with the distributer then. You don’t walk into a Deli, say you’re paying for your sandwich with the Deli owner saying “No, I have the right to pump your stomach at any time to get my gabagool back” then say “Ahuh, whatever” and pay him anyway.

          If you don’t like the way the people you buy games from do business you shouldn’t be buying them. Not if you want to be all moral high ground and shit.

          I suspect you are like me and many others though. You follow your own moral compass on game ownership, play the “game” as a customer, then install the crack when you get home so you can be left alone without DRM, discs, and accounts.

          Your outrage is as funny as it is meaningless. You still pay them. Just admit you’re a benevolent pirate, cracking that which you pay for, and stop acting so aggrieved.

          • jrodman says:

            Sir, you are a horrible person.

            You falsely state there is outrage when there is only plain language.
            You falsely claim piracy when there is only a relatively normal view about ownership of a product.

            If you have an argument to make, make it, but don’t be a viewpoint-inserting jerk about it.

        • El_Emmental says:

          Actually, no. Sure, the copy you buy is your property. You’re not renting it nor borrowing it. If someone steals it, they are robbing you, not the dev or publisher of the game.

          But that property is only on the physical copy, the DVD and its case.

          What’s on the DVD, the data, the actual game, aren’t yours AT ALL. You only have a license (End-User License) over that good, and if you use it despite breaching the license agreement (EULA), you’re illegaly using that software.

          Also, if someone steals you the physical copy, and is able to play the game, he/she IS “stealing” the dev or publisher by using that software without a legit end-user license.

          Before digital distribution, you were buying a physical install support and an end-user license.

          With digital distribution, you buy a digital install support and an end-user license.

          Simple example: with a retail copy back in the days, if your CD Key was not valid, you couldn’t install the game. Because you only ever owned the physical support and the end-user license, nothing more.

  46. Metalhead9806 says:

    I can accept DRM in this case because the game actually uses the Steam Workshop.

  47. InternetBatman says:

    People are just using this as an excuse to complain about Steam, or else they didn’t read the text of the game they backed.

    “For PC, the game will be available on Steam and our website.”

    They only promise a DRM free version to backers. And they’re distributing the game via their website, DRM free, to backers. Just like they promised. Also, this:

    While the details are still being worked out, we hate draconian DRM as much as the next guy. We expect there will be an account system but it would be primarily used to enable the social elements of the game like mission and character sharing–not to restrict access to the game itself.

    So people are complaining when they were in completely good faith and delivered exactly what they promised. The Berlin campaign and Linux are unfortunate and more troubling, but still they have plans to deliver what they said they would. People are just transferring their own values onto the game, when Harebrained’s promises are quite clear.

    link to

    • cpt_freakout says:

      The discussion surrounding this should be elsewhere, in the sense that it’s not Steam or DRM the issue here (as you clearly put it and linked) but the pretty fundamental change in the end-product that offering one of the cities developed with backer money (in principle as a totality) will now be peddled as DLC.

      I think this puts forth a general Kickstarter question (for backers as well as for devs) not many have made so far: what exactly does a stretch-goal mean? Is it like funding an expansion pack / DLC, or is it a part of the base game? Our opinions and our answers here are irrelevant – it’s something we need to start asking devs that put up stretch goals in their projects, as well as those we’ve already backed. As long as the game hasn’t been released, we can still demand accountability for what they’re doing with our money, and this is, in my view, more important than a futile discussion about them just doing what they clearly intended from the start regarding Steam.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Absolutely. The Berlin DLC, backer exclusive dogtags, and to a lesser extent delayed Linux version are far bigger issues. I think kickstarter needs to use the piles of money they’ve been making to build support for stretch-goals into their website, and require developers to reassess risk on stretchgoals.

        My guess is that they promised a bit much, and now they’re looking to sales from the game to fund the Berlin campaign, but are still doing everything in their power to meet the exact promises they made to backers. That’s a tough position to be in, and will probably be common in the future.

        • AngoraFish says:

          Given that crowd funding is an inherently speculative activity, as indeed is all product development, and given that anybody unwilling to accept the risks is very welcome to wait for release, or the first Steam sale, I’m not sure what else developers should be doing other than everything in their power to meet the exact promises they made to backers.

          • InternetBatman says:

            They should provide honest cost assessments and risk assessments with their stretch-goals. That’s pretty much it.

          • AngoraFish says:

            What evidence do we have that might suggest the cost and risk assessments they made at the time weren’t honest?

          • InternetBatman says:

            Oh, I wasn’t implying that they were. Just that we need “$X to implement y” is not the same as a breakdown of the costs. I’m satisfied so far with how the game is turning out.

            In the future, I would like more Kickstarters to go into their cost metrics. But this was also one of the first big ones. So even though I believe they’re making a good faith effort to deliver what they promised, there’s still some growing pains.

          • mbpopolano24 says:

            Although your description of the reality of Kickstarter is correct and directly to the point, you are missing a vital variable:

            The developers using it need us and beg for our money. I was willing to give them a chance, and indeed I backed several projects. One after the other, they disappointed me for a multitude of reasons. As a consequence, I am not willing to fund any more projects and gladly I will be waiting for a 75% discount or above on the finished product. If the projects won’t be funded, bad luck. I’ll play something else.

            The moral here is that while we, the consumers, can live and prosper and maintain our hobby without Kickstarter, those developers cannot maintain their jobs. Giving the differential weight of this dychotomy, I’d be really carefully to piss off some of the people I praised and begged for money just a few months ago.

          • InternetBatman says:

            You are absolutely right about the weight of the customer vs. the weight of the developer. I do expect their next kickstarter (if they need one) to be lower because of this. The solution is to state the realities as clearly as possible and not overestimate developer ability, which they tried to do but didn’t succeed at apparently.

            They made a fair effort to state all these things, and I imagine they’re surprised at the reaction.

          • AngoraFish says:

            I agree that it would be reasonable for many developers to be more detailed about their costs. Indeed, I personally don’t think that developers should be kickstarting at all unless the game is at least in some pre-alpha proof of concept stage, like kickstarter now expects for actual products. This would at least give them a more concrete basis from which to derive future estimates.

            Nonetheless, I question the assumption that there will be any long term fallout from this. Most people like and use Steam, and anti-DRM is clearly not a significant motivator as we discovered with SImCity preorders. If the game comes out to rave reviews I suspect that most people will be falling over themselves to pledge again.

  48. imagine says:

    I am very sensitive about DRM issues, and I would never back a game that included a distribution service such as Steam. Of course, it’s fine if they want to put the game on Steam as well, but if they want my money to fund their game, I want them to COMMIT to have it available through a truly DRM-free, no-bullshit channel, be it GOG or their own website.

    For this reason, I support Kickstarter projects only when this commitment is clear and when it’s not, I ask clarifications myself (for instance, in the case of Divinity: Original Sin the rewards indicated a DRM-free copy of the game through Steam “or GOG if available”, so I sent an e-mail to the developers and they confirmed, even before the official announcement, that GOG would in fact be available).

    In this case, it turns out that the developer is honouring its DRM-free commitment in the most limited way; namely, the backers that don’t want to use Steam, and that funded the game under the assumption Steam would not be needed, will receive an inferior product to the one released under the developer’s preferred distribution channel.

    I did not back Shadowrun. I’m glad I didn’t, since otherwise now I will be pissed as hell. For sure, I am not going to support any future project by Harebrained either. I shall regard this news as a learning experience, that I need to enquire more about DRM-free promises before I spend money on Kickstarter. I encourage everybody else that feels the same way to do the same.

    • Llewyn says:

      Why is a DRM-free copy through GOG any less bad than a non-DRM copy through Steam? I’m aware that GOG’s downloader isn’t a requirement to download the files, but it’s still a requirement to log in to an account which might not exist in future in order to obtain a fresh copy of your ‘purchased’ game.

      I can easily understand the regular anti-DRM position which opposes Steamworks DRM as much as Origin/GFWL/Securom etc. I can, with more difficulty, understand the more extreme anti-DRM position which also opposes non-DRM Steam games because of the account requirement, but I can’t understand why anyone would hold that position and not oppose GOG’s account requirements (or DRM-free games via Gamersgate etc).

      • Drake Sigar says:

        Copied from above:

        ‘The difference between GoG and Steam is GoG is ONLY a distribution service. Once you’ve actually got the game on your computer it runs independently, there’s no third-party involvement, no online requirements, heck you can burn that sucker onto a hard copy, stick it on your shelves, and play it ten years from now right from the CD. You have an added layer of insurance that you’re not going to lose out if your account gets banned, servers go down, or companies go bankrupt.’

        I think the main issue is you feel like you own it fully in one, and don’t in another.

        • Llewyn says:

          But that’s my point exactly: with a non-DRM Steam game you can do all those things you do with a DRM-free GOG game. All of them. The only difference is that one requires you to access your download account via their client and the other doesn’t.

          • Drake Sigar says:

            Right, the Steam client has to be loaded up every time. That’s a third-party program that has jack all to do with the game. You know all those late 90s games which kept asking if you want to install Gamespy? At least they only asked.

            And you can do all those things I mentioned? I just tried to load up my entire library from the exe in Program Files and it didn’t work. If it’s possible they don’t make it obvious. Please let me know if there’s any workaround without heavy tweaking involved (<– mod virgin).

          • Llewyn says:

            It would help if you read the comments you’re replying to. I made it clear I’m talking about non-DRM Steam games, not Steamworks DRM games.

          • imagine says:

            I don’t see anywhere in the official announcement that the Steam version of the game will be otherwise DRM free. The fact that they repeatedly mention “Steam integration” is also not a good signal in that respect. If that were the case, as a backer I would feel less angry, but nonetheless disappointed, because the underlying issue remains the same.

            You see, I understand some people think that Steam is the best thing ever invented after sliced bread, but I do not feel that way. On the contrary, I do not like Steam; I absolutely abhor the underlying philosophy (games as a service), I am irritated about the DRM mechanisms that Steam includes in order to implement it, and I find next to worthless all the features that are cited as “added value” of Steam. I am a person that votes with his wallet, so I don’t buy games on Steam, and I do not want to support that platform.

            I understand that a developer might want to release a game on Steam, and therefore this is not a deal-breaker in Kickstarter as long as a DRM-free alternative is provided and people can choose which version they prefer. What Harebrained is doing here is exploiting a loophole – an unstated caluse, if you want – in such a commitment, by releasing two versions that are not equivalent, nor they differ simply by features that are Steam-specific; in particular, the non-Steam version is going to be crippled. I consider this behaviour highly questionable.

          • Llewyn says:

            Imagine, from your original comment:

            for instance, in the case of Divinity: Original Sin the rewards indicated a DRM-free copy of the game through Steam “or GOG if available”, so I sent an e-mail to the developers and they confirmed, even before the official announcement, that GOG would in fact be available

            You’re perfectly entitled to dislike Steam as a whole or in part, but that doesn’t change the fact that a GOG DRM-free game and a Steam non-DRM game are functionally equivalent.

          • imagine says:

            Llewyn, I take it for good that a developer may decide to make use Steam only as a downloader, with no additional DRM. This is not the main usage of that platform, however, and it does not seem to be the case here, at least from the way the announcement is worded (I’d be happy to stand corrected).

            However, I am not only concerned about technical details here: the fact remains that pledging on Kickstarter implies supporting different things: a) a game concept, b) the developer of the game and c) the underlying business model (think about the difficulties of pitching a f2p through Kickstarter). I think I have the right of deciding not to give money if either of a), b) or c) are not of my liking, and I expect reasonably accurate info in order to make an assessment about whether a particular project fulfills my acceptance criteria or not. As far as point c) is concerned, my preferred option is direct download from the developer’s site; GOG is also fine, while for other distibutors I judge case by case. Steam-only is no-go, and this includes having pieces of the game such as later DLC Steam-only, since those DLC wouldn’t be there if I hadn’t funded the game in the first place.

            The devs state in their announcement that the decision is taken to “get the most out of the support” they were given; I am not a supporter (I was interested in the project, but then somehow it escaped my attention until well after the campaign was closed), but for sure this is not what I’d have given my support for.

    • InternetBatman says:

      The problem is that those backers didn’t read the Kickstarter text. They clearly state that the multiplayer will need DRM. They only promise a DRM free version to their backers. They say that the game will be available on their website, and on Steam.

      They’re cutting some other corners, but they’re not breaching this grand imaginary contract.

      • Emeraude says:

        There is no multiplayer though, that part was abandonned.

        What there is is a sharing of user created content, which isn’t the same thing.

        • InternetBatman says:

          They said there would be no multiplayer, for any version, in bold letters. I used the wrong word.

          link to

          They did say that the “social aspects” would require some form of DRM.

          • Emeraude says:

            Ctrl+F “social aspects” gives zero results on that page you linked.
            Ctrl+F “DRM” only shows “DRM-free”.

            Would you mind pointing me to the exact quote you had in mind ?

            (Not implying you’re lying, but I can’t find it, and all I can remember is social aspects needing *an Internet connection* – which is not the same thing at all. But then I have little trust in my memory)

          • Emeraude says:

            Think I found it: “We expect there will be an account system but it would be primarily used to enable the social elements of the game like mission and character sharing–not to restrict access to the game itself.”

            So an account system for in-game sharing, no mention of DRM.

      • imagine says:

        I wouldn’t say that they are “breaching” the Kickstarter contract, but they are for sure stretching its terms. When a developer promises “on Steam or DRM-free through our website” the normal understanding of such a commitment is that a choice will be offered between two essentially identical versions (minus the features that are specific to Steam integration, ça va sans dire). Given that a Kickstarter pledge is mainly a matter of trust, making qualifications on these promises once the campaign is concluded seems to me in bad taste.

        • InternetBatman says:

          They promised the backers a DRM free version but explicitly stated before the kickstarter ended that the social aspects would require some form of DRM. They are delivering exactly what they promised (in regards to DRM at least).

          It’s one thing to mislead the customer. It’s another to put it in an FAQ and then listen to the customer complain when the game matches the FAQ.

          • imagine says:

            Just to be precise, the FAQ you mention was put on April 23th, after funding of the project and roughly five days before the closure of the Kickstarter. In the same FAQ, it was written that the game would be available DRM-free from their website and they were “also” – as in additionally – “looking into a Steam release”. Now Steam seems to have taken centre stage and direct download has become almost an afterthought.

            By reading the most recent announcement, one wonders what level of support will be left for those who have the direct download version (e.g. patches) as well as whether DLC bought (necessarily) on Steam can be integrated with it. I guess it’s still possible for them to arrange things so that non-Steam users won’t suffer too much, but the fact remains, as Nathan said in the OP, that I don’t feel particularly great about this turn of events.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Wait, how is it inferior?

      The only thing it’ll be lacking is SteamWorks integration and Steam Workshop features.

      It’s fairly tough to provide those features in the non-Steam version, I leave deducing why as an exercise to the reader.

    • twitch201 says:

      You are splitting hairs to finely. They ARE providing a DRM free version of the software in its form of the kickstarter. The only thing you cannot get without steam is the user created content.

  49. Beernut says:

    I suppose that the base-game will probably be the same, so the steam-workshop-mods might work as well. It works this way with torchlight, where the mods are compatible, no matter if you obtained them via a workshop download or via hotspot or sites like rgf. So the steam-workshop is a convenient way of having a “mod-distribution-infrastructure” ready to go upon release, but doesn’t mean that mods couldn’t be shared or loaded via other means. This would change of course, if they decided to publish the updates for the main game exclusively at steam so that the drm-free version remained at vanilla. That would be a huge problem which kickstarter-backers should be complaining about very loudly!

  50. The Random One says:

    If only there was a short, pithy phrase I could use to express my thoughts right now. Perhaps, for consistency, one that had its origins in another cyberpunk costume videogame.

    But there isn’t.

    What a shame.