Still Steaming

By Shamus Posted Saturday Jan 21, 2006

Filed under: Video Games 8 comments

So, I wanted to play some Half-Life 2. I launched the game, which in turn launched Steam. It signed on and it discovered there were updates available. They like to issue updates for these games that came out last year at the rate of one every couple of weeks. Since I hadn’t played in a while, there were lots of updates queued up, waiting for me.

It did not ask if I wanted to install them. It just began downloading updates, not just for Half-Life 2 but for several “freebie” games that I never play. It was downloading three updates at once, at about 2kb per second. It did not give me any clue as to how big the total download was or how long it would take. All I know is that I’d carved out a solid twenty minutes where I could sit down and play some Half-Life, and I couldn’t because the ninny software wouldn’t let me. There was no “skip” button, no “ask me later” option. I did not care what was in these updates. The game ran fine for me and I didn’t need whatever fixes they might contain.

It boggles the mind how anyone could make a software system like this. I can only conclude that they designed it with the knowledge that they are thousands of miles away from me and my fists.


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8 thoughts on “Still Steaming

  1. Shane says:

    They’re assholes, what do you expect…? Oh well. Eventually, one by one, some day soon, or maybe much much later, the companies willg et what they have coming to them.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind storming Microsoft; I just need to go and attract a dragon cohort first!

  2. gahaz says:

    um, right click and select “pause download” button and play your game away, and as long as you have them paused they will never start again until you tell it to.

  3. Evan says:

    wow i still don’t see eny problems with steam! exept that it hates windows vista.

  4. Mardiggan says:

    The problem with STEAM is that you must have an internet connection, and a 3rd party software package’s permission, to play a game that you have legitimately purchased. If, for whatever reason, you lose your internet connection, or you don’t have the time to wait for STEAM to do its thing prior to your game starting, or if somebody spills coffee on the STEAM servers, you can’t play the game you’ve paid for.

    Aside from the sheer inconvenience of the matter (I myself have had periods of time where I couldn’t afford the internet, and rather like having games that I can actually play in the meanwhile), it’s the overall principle of the thing. You’re paying for the purchase of a software license, and finding out—subsequently—that what you’re getting is somebody else’s software license, to be used at their convenience and by their say-so.

  5. Sigma says:

    Mind you, there is one good thing about Steam. I had to format my hard-drive(without backing up), and when I re-installed and logged back into Steam, it redownloaded all my games for me.

  6. DungeonMonkey says:

    I have Steam. I like Steam.

    Now that that’s out of the way, I want to say I think you’re overstating it.

    It isn’t so much that you have a game that you can play at their convineance as that you have a game that deoends on them. This means that if someone “spills cofee on Steam”, your game is temporarily disabled. It ALSO means that if they fail to restore said game people like you go to their computers and type rants, Steam loses face, and Valve loses money. When Valve loses so-and-so much money, it will be devoured by other companies and we will be back to CDs, and therefore Valve really wants to avoid letting Steam go down for too long.

    The indevidual is at the mercy of the corporation. The corporation is at the mercy of the public.

    1. Richard says:

      This post was written back in 2006, DungeonMonkey. Steam has improved a lot since then.

  7. Paul says:

    Oh Valve. How can you be simultaneously responsible for such wonderful games and such poorly designed software?

    Though at least, as Richard said, it has improved over time.

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