Steam sucks — cripples good games

I was shocked and delighted today when I found an ad on cnet.com for Sid Meier’s Civilization 5 (who says nobody clicks on ads)! Who know it came out about two weeks ago? I didn’t.

I’m not somebody you would call a “gamer,” but I do enjoy my fare share of strategy games. I’ve been a long time fan of the Civilization series, spending many nights playing well past bed time.

I had to run right out and buy it! I’ve spent so many countless hours enjoying the franchise, I couldn’t begrudge the developers $49.99 (+tax). Once home, I quickly made dinner and booted up my computer. In goes the DVD and … nothing.

It turns out the game uses Steam. Ok. I try to install, but it won’t work until I’ve configured my router. Of course. If I weren’t highly educated in computers, I don’t know how I would get this thing to install! For those curious, a port list is available on Steam’s site. Plug those ports into your router and it should begin.

Of course, it will only work when the Steam servers aren’t overloaded. Great.

I sat clicking furiously for a single download slot to open! It doesn’t make sense to download a game install when I purchased a physical DVD. Sure, everyone has the internet, but this type of thing only works if the gaming system doesn’t suck!

About an hour later, it finally begins downloading — and it takes 4 hours to complete. Mind you I have pretty fast internet, and it still takes four hours. Steam definitely fails. The network usage seemed to bounce frequently between 400 and 600KB/s. That all seems fine and well, except I need to download 4.5GB of data. Oh yeah, and it keeps pausing the download.

Why is this game so hard to install? If I hadn’t opened the package, I would return it.

I understand the rationale behind Digital Rights Management (DRM) software, but I don’t see why they should be so draconian that it must cripple the software I PAID for. Heck, at this rate it would be easier to pirate (and cheaper)! I feel for the developers — I do. They need to protect themselves from piracy by creating ridiculous DRM systems like in Steam. Maybe, if they charge me for their time, and I charge them for my time (you know, the time it’s taken me to make the installer work), we’ll break even and I won’t owe a cent! Although, that works out to be the same cost as piracy — I might as well go that route (it’ll be faster).

All I can say is this game better be worth it. The Civilization series is an amazing brand — it’s a shame the execution smears the product’s good name.

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