15 November 2015

Games Needing Downloads for Physical Copies (Rant)

So Fallout 4 came out a few days ago. Yay.

I have enjoyed the past two installments of the Fallout series, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas (NV) although I was disheartened by the fact by the fact the Bethesda decided to get in bed with Valve and their Steam service (a service which I am openly critical about) and require the game to use Steam and their highily intrusive DRM system. (Yes it's intrusive, any software that forces its way onto your computer just to play a game that otherwise isn't remotely affiliate with Valve/Steam against the user's will is very intrusive, I don't give a shit who says otherwise.) I have not used Steam in over three years and probably won't be using it again for a long time to say the least.

However recently I've seen some rather shameful abuse of the online-only system. Not only is it being used as an intrusive DRM system, it is also being used by big developers - case and point Bethesda - to ship the game with only part of the game and forcing the end user to download the rest via Steam.

A few people may have seen these tweets from my Twitter account:

Well, that's me basically summing up the situation but they don't quite tell the full story.

I'll start by reiterating what I said on Twitter, the fact that they're forcing users to download the game online poses a major issue for people with slow internet (not everyone's using bloody fibre-optic you wazzocks) and God forbid if you're one of the few who's not got internet access at all. People buy physical copies to avoid having to download the game, or to avoid using services like Steam or Origin (Steam being the main bastard) however this advantage is now being sadly nullified by big names such as Bethesda, Valve, and numerous others and is the reason why I've considered switching from PC gaming to console gaming. Steam and other DRM services need to keep their grimy hands off physical retail and stick to their own domains online.

I'm not referring to it as the so-called PC Gaming Master Race as a master race wouldn't allow themselves to be fucked up the arse by a heavy DRM-laced system, I'd also like to use this moment to point out the incredible irony behind this image. Plus it's also amazing how some of these "PC Master Race" people actually see the Steam service as a distinct advantage over console gaming, case and point - this image. There's PC gaming, but there's no PC Gaming Master Race (eagerly awaits controversy and butthurt fanboys.)

The other issue I see here is a bit more deep-rooted than the simple lack-of-good-internet argument I put forward previously. I am seeing this as a way of forcing users to use an online service against their will or to force greater integration with Steam. Like I said I am an outspoken critic of Steam and its lack of openness and how it restricts the freedom gamers have with their games and the less I personally have to do with it the better. However less about Steam, this rant is directed at Bethesda and as much I think Steam is a real abhorrent piece of shit, let's get back to the actual point of this rant. Other people share this viewpoint and personally if I see that a game requires Steam and there's no alternatives, I will personally avoid it as will the majority who share my opinion.

If that's really Bethesda's motive in this, then I will personally be staying well clear of their products in the future although in all fairness, this does seem like a rather far-fetched theory. That being said they did announce that they were partnering up with Steam, and if they are trying to get people using its online service then maybe I'm spot on with what I say. Surely if they'd just ran out of space on a single disc they'd include multiple discs or use a larger storage medium such as Blu-Ray. I just read up that the game is a 24GB download, a Blu-Ray disc can hold up to 50 GB storage. Why not do the logical thing and switch to Blu-Ray?

However it all boils down to this - Bethesda's tactic of forcing users to download a massive game via Steam exposes their blatant disregard for the physical retail market and why people may decide to go for a physical copy over a digital copy. As mentioned previously, there are people out there who may not be able to download such a large amount for whatever reason, whether it's slow internet or whether they have a quota on their connection (before late July this year for instance I was using a connection which had a 40GB quota, bear in mind that I'd be downloading and streaming plenty of other things as well.) I do not use Steam or any similar service, I will avoid any game that forces Steam (or similar service) up my arse and I will certainly be avoiding any game forces me into a 24GB download despite having bought a physical disc. Disgraceful.

That being said, I honestly can't say I'm all that shocked, they forced Steam up our orifices with Skyrim and Fallout NV. It was only a matter of time before they went full tilt and did some bullshit like this.

I will conclude this rant the same way I concluded my second tweet - Shame on you Bethesda!

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