Besides that, don't be upset that a lowly graduate student wanted to get a degree.I am certainly not upset that you wanted to get a degree. However, what is somewhat upsetting and certainly surprising is that your school would give you credit for such a study in obviousness.
Just because people think that my study is interesting doesn't mean it was intended to be a profound discovery.Anyone who would think your supposed study is interesting most likely lacks the capability to read it because both its premise and conclusion are so blatantly obvious.
It does seem clear to me that your obvious lack of creative thoughtYou shouldn't be throwing that stone given the banality of your study.
I guess your going to tellSpeaking of things that are obvious, English is obviously not your field of study. You should go back to grade school before you get your Ph.D.
I should make fun of someone else and maybe they will think I'm cool!I'd much more likely think you were cool if you had actually conducted a study in something other than common knowledge.
Why don't you find something better to do with your time.A much better use of your time would be to spend it on conducting an actually worthwhile study instead of attempting to trade insults with critics on a Internet forum. By the way your insults are just as banal as your study.
Valve cannot, as you appear to be suggesting, modify your install media of old software pre-Steam in order to stop you running a server that these older games can connect to.Actually Valve doesn't have to modify the older games to prevent Internet play if WON support disappeared because they were already written that way. If you run a version of Half-Life 1 which predates Steam, it will refuse to allow client connections from outside the server's subnet in LAN mode (so no Internet-based clients can join), and it will refuse to function in Internet mode if the master server is unavailable (which it is because Valve has the old master server tell clients that Internet play via it doesn't function).
*yawn* Apparently you also forgot Half Life 2 released at retail also required Steam.There you go again not considering the text in context to the referring posts which preceded it. I didn't forget. I was referring to how Steam changed the catalog of Valve's games which predate Steam. Happyclam responded to that point, and I was addressing it again. Next time read my post in context to the referring ones.
LOL, you don't keep your original CD's?Again, seriously learn to read. The operative word here is "online." I cannot play the games which predate Steam ONLINE, i.e. in Internet multiplayer mode.
Apparently the "2" attached to the title Team Fortress didn't come to your attention. You should regain your reading comprehension. The intention of most game sequels is to carry on or build upon the original's gameplay.A game sequel doesn't necessarily and certainly need not duplicate or carry on the original's gameplay. From what I have read, Team Fortress 2 is basically Team Fortress Classic gameplay right down to the same venues (maps), classes/characters, and weapons. Whereas to use your example of Battlefield 2142 versus Battlefield 2, there are much greater differences between the two games, e.g. the vehicles are different, the weapons are different, the maps are different so both games create a different gameplay experience even though similarities exist between the two games.
Or would it make more sense for Battlefield 2142 to completely dump what made its predecessor so popular?
As compared to what? You conveniently don't provide a similar situation with Valve in which to compare.One similar situation I am comparing it to is obvious. One poster in the thread at http://www.bluesnews.com/cgi-bin/board.pl?action=viewthread&threadid=77166 can't play any of his Steam games because Valve disabled his account. Can you read and find out who?
But you'll put up with their unfinished, derivative games that almost always need patching right out of the box?Again learn to read. That is basically what I meant by "That is not to say that I agree with EA on its game release and support policies."
EA is also the 800 pound gorilla of the game industry. They should be able to more than afford decent customer service.If a small company like Real can afford responsive and available customer service with telephone contacts, then so can Valve. Enough said.
You've read about it, but you've never actually contacted them yourself.I have not contacted Valve because it would be futile. I want Steam to be made optional to play its games, and it is not about to do that.
So, it still begs the question, how do you know you're not hearing from the most vocal minority?I don't, but it's a moot point. Fundamentally Valve has poor customer service because it doesn't have telephone contact for it, it doesn't compensate users when they are unable to play their games due to problems with the Steam software or network, it hasn't provided sufficient redundancy in the network to avoid the outages and capacity shortages over the years, it doesn't provide any guarantees of availability especially the long-term availability of games purchased via Steam, and it doesn't provide users with the flexibility to have final control over the use of their own purchases. The individual accounts I have read by aggrieved users who are afflicted by one or more of these many limitations and shortcomings simply demonstrate their existence. Even if the majority of Steam users haven't yet experienced any of these problems doesn't mean they won't at some point because Valve has done nothing substantial to rectify them.
But Microsoft released those features after they recieved a lot of grumbling from their customers, not through any sign of goodwill.You are dead wrong. Backward compatibility for the newer editions was on the release media. Forward compatibility for the older editions was available shortly after the new version was released. Regardless of the motivations the bottom line is that Microsoft accomodated its customers' wishes. It did NOT disable functionality of its customers' older software as Valve did.
And do you really think so? Well, let's see...what about the multiplayer games that require you to use their service for multiplayer? Like Warcraft/Starcraft? Or GPGnet for Supreme Commander? And then you have games with such crappy multiplayer supports that you wish they had some sort of service like those, like Ghost Recon 2 when it first came out.I would take those over Steam because in addition to its restrictions and limitations, Steam forces that an entirely different version of the game be run than what is on the release media and it forces updates whether customers want them or not. For example, the current Steam release of Counterstrike 1 contains embedded advertising and tracking. If customers don't want the ads they are shit-out-of-luck because they can't downgrade to a previous version and still play online.
So let me see, you like Half-life and Half-life 2, and yet here you are calling them crap?I have written nothing in this thread about what I think about the quality of Valve's specific games, and Half-Life 1 & 2 are far from the only things for sale on Steam. However a great deal of what is available on Steam is crap especially crap that didn't sell well when it was released into the retail channel.
Is Red Orchestra crap as well?I have never played it, but since it requires Steam I never will.
Or The Ship?Since it requires Steam, I won't play it, but from the descriptions it sounds like some real crap.
How about Team Fortress 2 when it comes out?Team Fortress 2 looks like a retread of the same old gameplay and venues of Team Fortress Classic with some new visuals. It's too early to definitively declare it crap, but it's not looking too good to me.
Personally, I'm not doing anything to warrant the removal of my ability to play games,Unfortunately for you that is not enough because you don't make that determination. Valve does. And, in addition you have no express rules to even know what to do or not to do.
If you're so violently opposed to Steam, then don't use it.I don't, but that means that I cannot play any of the games I purchased from Valve which predate Steam online.
Your arguments here are doing nothing to convince people it's evilIt certainly does make some at least reconsider their opinions on the matter even if they don't admit it or reply.
I've had no major problems with Steam, so I'm not going to hate it simply because someone else has.Well I don't believe in waiting to be burned myself to realize that fire is hot. The numerous reported outages and unavailability of Steam since its release coupled with its tenuous nature by design and Valve's poor customer service policies and practices have clearly demonstrated to me that I should not waste money on it when it could disappear tomorrow.
Though I will say that EA is on my shitlist.Despite the fact that so many who frequent this forum complain about EA, I have only had good experiences with its customer service department over the years. Many years ago I got some free replacement media from it by simply calling its customer service department, and once it re-issued a CD key for C&C Renegade to me with minimal hassle and wait. That is not to say that I agree with EA on its game release and support policies, but its customer service department and policies have been head and shoulders above those I have read about Valve's.
You are a fucking retard.Your name for me is as bone-headed, idiotic, and unimaginative as you are.
I believe, as with everything else, it is up to the consumer to do his homework before he purchases a product blindly.A customer can't make an accurate, informed decision when he is misled or not sufficiently informed by the company which produces or sells the product.
As I said in my post, which you decided to ignore, that it does state that Steam is required to play.I didn't ignore it. What you are too biased to realize is that the mere brief statement that Steam is required to play a game does NOT delineate (I used it below but get a dictionary if you don't know the meaning of the word in this conntext) exactly what that requirement entails. Even Valve's Steam subscriber agreement does not spell out specifically and comprehensively what conditions and conduct will cause the termination of a user's account. For example I did not know before mOOzilla mentioned it here that profanity used in a customer service message would result in a Steam account termination. The agreement simply uses broad and wordy legalese which is meaningless to the average consumer. Plus the presentation of this agreement is certainly not as overt as it should be especially prior to purchase.
I'm still not sure what point you are trying to bring across here.Reading comprehension is obviously a lost art for you. You need to discover it before you reply again.
You seem like the person who would complain about buying a crappy game because you didn't read the reviews on itDepending upon a game review to determine if you will like a game is like asking someone else to taste your food and tell you if you will like it. Depending upon a game review from a major game industry publication is like asking a chef's wife if you will like the food he prepares.
and the box had a misleading graphic on it.Of course a game's packaging shouldn't be misleading. Almost no other packaged products can get away with false and misleading packaging so why should the video game industry? At least most other packaged goods can be returned once they have been opened, so misleading packaging for games is even more detrimental to consumers than other products.
I've been in situations where I had to put up with idiots like you because I needed your money. Now I'm past that, just like a lot of other businesses out there.You should work for Valve's customer service department. With your "I treat my customers like crap because I can afford to" attitude, you would be right at home.
Get over it and get off your high horse.Actually it is you who needs a good reversal of fortune to bring your aloof, pompass ass back down to earth. Your customers made you, and they can break you.
As far as your 'influence' goes, you might want to check your self-importance in at the door.LOL! Let me guess, pot, I am also black. Your sense of self-importance is so inflated you look like the Hindenburg. I can't wait to see your fiery crash.
so I'll let you have the last word after this.You have made that empty promise several times before. And, like the rest of your posts, it's hollow and meaningless.
was wondering when you would break out the big guns and start the name calling.I call it how I see it, and my descriptive names for you are not some mere personal attack. They are apt to your ludicrous positions and statements.
As a business owner, something I /know/ you know nothing about, I'm not about to let some snot-nosed little shit spew profanities at me for something that is his fault. I will not only lock his ass out of my store, but I will make sure that his products are not supported and he can rot in hell for all I care. There is a thing called consumer responsbility, my friend, of which he had none, and my responsibility to the consumer ended when he took it upon himself to violate the basic tenets of human interaction and the rules that govern my business.LOL! That is one of the most unprofessional and short-sighted attitudes I have seen. Clearly it is you who doesn't know how to properly run a business.
There is nothing coy about Steam.LOL! Do you even think about what you write before you do it, or is it just an autonomic response? Do you honestly believe that all of the limitations and the tenuous nature of Steam are expressly, clearly, and simply presented to the consumer especially prior to the purchase of a game which requires Steam? If so, your sycophantic bias has reached the point of outright delusion.
You've stated yourself, as well as others here, that Steam is required to run in order to play the game.Yes, but that fact is not overtly and simply presented prior to purchase nor are all of the limitations and the tenuous nature of Steam. The mere statement that Steam is required does not delineate exactly what and all that requirement entails and its consequences.
It even states that on the box before you purchase the game, along with the notifications that you have to have an internet connection to play onlineWhile it may state on the box that an Internet connection is required to play online, that is FAR from the extent of the requirements and limitations of Steam. Plus an Internet connection is not just required for online play with Steam. It is required for any play initially and even repeatedly depending upon various conditions.
I'm not sure how much more clear you want it to be.I have no doubt that a toady like you has no idea what a good service agreement should look like and how it should be presented to best inform and serve customers.
'The customer is always right' is not a literal statement. It is simply a guideline to follow.You are arguing semantics while I am talking about a proper business phillosophy. Doing what is best to satisfy the customer may not bring the most immediate financial reward, but it is the most ethical way to run a business.
You think you matter to Wal-mart because you go in and buy your clothes there? They could give a rat's ass about you. You're simply a number to them that has no discernible effect to their business as a whole. Welcome to reality.I have no delusions about the insignificant value of a typical single customer to a large business. I even stated so myself below when I commented that Valve didn't give a damn about mOOzilla because it believes it doesn't have to. He is just one customer of their millions. My point though is two-fold. First I am advocating a position of how things should be NOT simply recounting how things are. Second, even a single disgruntled customer can have a significant detrimental impact on a business if he can rally enough others or influential others to his cause. The very fact that you are so vigorously defending Valve's position demonstrates that. If my complaints pose no threat to the company then there is no need for you to attempt to counter them.
Instead of whining about Steam here, why not try to get a movement started.Actually my repeated complaining about Steam here and elsewhere does have an impact because you obviously would be surprised at the particular people and the overall number of people who read these forums. Someone reads an idea that I have written here, and it gets passed along or reused by others elsewhere. And, such exchanges occur repeatedly and snowball so they start to reverberate amongst those who are dissatisfied with Steam and Valve's policies. It does have an impact regardless of whether you see it or are willing to admit it.
Oh...so when we had Office 95 and Office 98 came out and suddenly we couldn't read the new Office files, which most businesses upgraded, btw, then that doesn't force us to upgrade our Office suite as well?You fail to see why your analogy is flawed. Regardless of the features and functionality of new software releases existing software should still perform the functions it is designed to peform. So as I cited in my example above, features like spell checking continue to work in the existing versions of Office regardless of what features later versions of Office have. In addition regarding Office, Microsoft released free converters for the older versions of office like Office 95 to read the later version's files and later versions of Office can still open up and save files in the older versions' formats. So you analogy is flawed on two fronts both generally and specifically.
If you're hating Steam for that, then you might as well hate every company that's out there.The problem with Steam with regards to the existing games is that Valve disabled the multiplayer functionality that was already present in games which predate Steam. So, customers were forced to upgrade to continue playing the same games they had already purchased in some cases years ago. No other company I can think of has done that. I can still play all of the many other games I have purchased from other companies without being forced to upgrade anything.
And disabling a feature in Word is very different than what we are discussing.You brought up Word not me, but my analogy of it is much more apt.
Another situation you might enjoy is the whole Xbox live Microsoft vs. Developer scandal, where developers are trying to release content for free and Microsoft is blocking the move and making them charge for the content they post on Xbox Live.The fact that Valve is not alone in its exploitation and mistreatment of customers is of no comfort to its customers.
And Steam is merely a method of DRMSteam is much more than just a heinous means of copyright enforcement. It is also the means by which Valve monitors its customers and sells crap to them. It's a triple threat.
you can thank the little script kiddies and such out there who want the free ride for these little gems.Steam has NOT eliminated or even lessened the unauthorized use and distribution of Valve's games. There are ample means to play Valve games without compensating it. Only legitimate customers like mOOzilla are affected by the Steam outages and account terminations.
Steam, on the other hand, is simply a running application in the background as I play my games.It is so long as Valve lets you play your games. The biggest problem with Steam is that Valve NOT you ultimately controls if you can play the game you thought you bought.
You're accepting m00zilla's statements at face value, while I see that there is something more to the story.There is nothing more to it that could even remote justify what Valve has done. Valve has completely terminated mOOzilla's ability to play the games which he bought from it. There is nothing that any paying customer could possibly do to justify that action. I can understand but not justify Valve refusing to help an abusive customer, BUT nothing justifies completely disabling a customer's purchase as Valve has done here. If Valve treats its games as a tenuous subscription-based service and not a product like other video games, then it needs to stop being coy about it and overtly, directly, and simply inform consumers upfront at every step of the purchasing process that it can and will disable their purchases at any time and spell out the exact conditions under which it will take that action. Valve's current cryptic, obscured, and overly broad Steam subscriber agreement doesn't cut it. That way consumers will not be misled into throwing their money into something which might be pulled out from under them at any moment.
And you're right about Valve not caring about m00zilla. Why should they?They should because he is a paying customer. If you can't understand why that makes all the difference in the world, then you are exactly the kind of apologist
And your viewpoints of Steam are again biased by your own ideas of self-righteousness, not through any sort of logic or fair-mindedness.LOL! "The customer is always right" is not just my idea. It's a basic tenet of business. There is nothing logical or fair about your position. You are simply a sycophantic idiot who lets his adoration of a company's products blind him to its faults and transgressions.
Um...no. If the customer is being a particular ass and sending hateful email that isn't conducive to solving his/her problem, then the representative can only do so much to help that person.There you go again refusing to actually read and understand what is written before you pop off about it. The problem in mOOzilla's case is that the customer service representative disabled his Steam account so that he can't play any of his games. The problem here is not simply that Valve's customer service representive refused to help mOOzilla. This customer service representative and presumably Valve's customer service policy actually CAUSED THE PROBLEM by cutting off mOOzilla from the games he had already bought.
Even if it takes "several phone calls" the process is not nearly as difficult with Valve as you complain.LOL! First Valve has no telephone contact for customer service so an aggrieved customer can't even call it to complain. That already creates distance and delays in the remediation process. Second, if you had actually read what mOOzilla has written, you would have easily seen that it IS as difficult as I have said because Valve refuses to even further address mOOzilla's account termination at all. It has cut him off and has refused to do anything to restore his access despite its automated reply.
Let alone the fact you never quite say what is wrong with the company's public service dept.LOL! I and others have spelled it out countless times in this thread. Read, grasshopper, read!
Calling the article "pubescent ramblings" is too harsh and misses the intent of the writing entirely.I didn't miss the intent. The intent is either a puerile attempt by the author to ingratiate himself to his female peers or a juvenile demonstration of chauvinism under the guise of egalitarianism (i.e. a male defending helpless females from the evils of the game industry and speaking for them by telling it what they want) or some of both.
Part of its charm is the deliberate juxtaposition between the position it has taken defending the female gamer and the gender of the author (male).It's not charming. It's such an obvious ploy at ingratiation or chauvinism, it's laughable. The boy is most likely trying to curry favor with some girl he would like to play video games with and sleep with.
the article is still a thoughtful read and should be given due credits.There is nothing thoughtful about it. It's the same, tired, distorted crap only this time it is being regurgitated by a 16 year-old.
Blue, I support your choice to post links to articles such as this. Something different.I would prefer something different AND worth reading.
Oh, so this is totally different when you have a software suite like Word that won't read new versions of Word filesYes that is totally different. What Valve did is disable the functionality of software I had already bought from it and force me to use a new version to regain that functionality. It would be like Microsoft disabling a feature like spell-checking in existing releases of Word and forcing customers to use a new version to get the functionality back. No responsible company would do that, but Valve did it to make money and get control over customers' previous purchases.
Valve is trying to carve out a niche, and it gambled on the fact that people don't play a lot of software they own that's old.LOL! Given that Half-Life 1-based Counterstrike is still the most popular online game even today, your supposition is just ludicrous. Valve counted on Counterstrike and Half-Life 2's popularity to force Steam down its customers' throats. It leveraged their popularity to give Steam an immediate, huge userbase. It was no gamble at all because any amount of business Valve lost because of it was trivial and more than offset by the increased profits through its direct sales via Steam.
It's just their way to cut down on piracySteam doesn't reduce unauthorized use any more than the previous online CD key authentication did especially for products which predate Steam.
Which is worse, perhaps. Steam or Starforce?That is like asking me to pick my poision. It's a moot question as neither is desirable.
He broke the rules, as simple as it gets.And, that is a MUCH too simple outlook. The bottom line is that should NOT be the rule. No paying customer should ever be prevented from using his purchased products because of his verbiage to a customer service representative.
Going back to my movie theater analogy, with him swearing at the movie, do you think they will allow him to stay?That is a completely specious comparison to this situation. The only reason why an unruly patron would be removed from a movie theater is because it would prevent the rest of the patrons from enjoying the movie. A customer swearing to a customer service representative especially in an email message most certainly does NOT prevent any other customer from utilizing his purchase.
Or how about someone acting raucously at a nice, quiet restaurant? Same thing.Yes, that is the same specious analogy.
Since he did pay for services, that means that the company feels favorable that the law will side with them.I have no doubt that Valve is hiding behind its Steam subscriber agreement here and doesn't give a damn about mOOzilla since he is just one customer among millions. My point is simply that such horrendous customer service is unacceptable, and Valve does not deserve its customers' business because of it.
Is Steam malware? Have you encountered huge machine stopping problems with Steam? Is it the threat that you might get banned for some percieved 'wrong' reason, such as cheating, excessive profanity, unsportsmanlike conduct, etc? Is it because they don't have someone to phone in case you have a problem running your software?Yes to all of the above and more.
Read the whole post next time.I read the whole post. You shouldn't have used Microsoft as an example because Valve and Steam pale in comparison to it.
I have checked all the ones under Wikipedia's list of digital distributiors (four or five) and not one had a phone line.Well if RealArcade is not in that list then obviously that is not ALL of them.
That's because most people don't talk like complete twats to people trying to help them. Phone up Microsoft next time you want to do an activation and say "Oi motherfucker activate my f..." (you get the point) and see how far you get.Although I have never spoken that way to Microsoft, I have done it on numerous occasions with previously intractable customer service representatives and surprisingly gotten my desired result. Sometimes a customer has to demonstrate just how serious he is when he has been wronged by a company, and profanity can certainly assist in conveying that. The bottom line though is that the customer is always right even when he is not. While Valve may not have liked mOOzilla's verbiage, the fact is that at worst it should have ignored his suggestions. It should NOT have disabled his ability to play the games he bought.
If you act like a 9 year old, you can hardly expect much sympathy from the person on the other end of the phone.It's not a question of sympathy. It's a question of responsibility. A business has a responsibility to satisfy its paying customers regardless of their personal disposition.
Yes there is. Microsoft is an enormous company with sufficient resources to have 24 hour helplines.Then you should not have used the company as an example. In addition Valve has sufficient financial resources to provide telephone contact for its customers. It doesn't have to be 24-hour customer support. Valve simply chooses not to spend the money because too many of its customers are sheep like you who don't demand it.
No other digital distributor even has a telephone helplineThat is not true. I have not recently checked every one of them, but RealArcade does. It's 1-866-597-5509, and it is available a generously accomodating seven days a week. Live chat support is available for more extended hours. Valve is certainly a large enough company to provide the same thing.
- the whole point is that they try to keep things digital.No, the whole point for those that don't provide it is to save money and to avoid having to immediately answer complaints.
My point was that a problem with Windows Activation puts people SOL until it's sorted.But, your point is specious because the problem can be solved very quickly due to Microsoft's superior customer support. Requiring no activation is obviously the best policy from the customer's standpoint, but at least Microsoft has made it much less burdensome than Valve by being much more immediately available and accomodating.
A problem with Steam puts people SOL until it's sorted. That's a valid comparison in my opinion.It would only be valid if those other companies handled problems as poorly as Valve. They don't.
Why would it guarantee error-free operationI don't expect a guarantee of error-free operation. That is unrealistic. However, customers do deserve some kind of guarantee of operation so that they can play their games whenever they choose in virtual perpetuity regardless of the existence or whims of Valve. Traditional retail games delivered on physical media do have such a virtual guarantee. So long as the customer possesses the media and keeps it in operating condition, he can play his game whenever he chooses in virtual perpetuity. Right now the only thing Valve guarantees is that it can terminate customers' ability to play their games at any time for any reason. And, in mOOzilla's case and others, it has done just that.
And think about where the company makes its money. It certainly doesn't make it off of subscriptions, except from Cybercafe's perhaps.That is no small exception. According to the financial figures released by the hacker in question, Valve had collected nine million dollars from such fees at the time the hacker accessed the records. That was probably a quarterly or monthly accumulation, but even if it were for a longer period, that is still no trivial amount of revenue.
With that in mind, who pays for the servers you play on?Fellow users. Valve does NOT run most if any of the game servers which host its games. They are paid and run by users who purchased its games.
Would you rather have to pay more for a game just so you can talk to someone on the phoneI don't pay more now when I buy games from other publishers who do have telephone contact for their customer support. Valve is simply being cheap and skimping on servicing and supporting its customers.
Email and the web interface seems to service them well enoughThey don't serve customers well enough, and that should be the goal NOT the company's bottom line.
Gamers are one of the most fickleNo, they aren't on a large scale. They are sheep and lemmings. That is why they still play Valve's same old games online after all of these years despite Steam, despite the outages, and now despite the addition of in-game advertising.
Lol, and you thought mine was a specious comparisonThere is nothing specious about my comparison. It was YOU who brought up Microsoft's activation in comparison with Steam. My point is that Microsoft's customer service is MUCH more available and responsive than Valve's AND Microsoft's activation is much less burdensome because of it. When Steam fails (even on a large scale as has happened numerous times in the history of Steam), the user is shit out of luck and when service is finally restored if he is luckly, he gets the perfunctory apology from Valve after the fact. With Microsoft's activation I have gotten back up and running withing minutes regardless of the time of day.
Moozilla's problem is that he's an ass.Yes, mOOzilla is an ass, BUT he is still a paying customer. Your problem is that you are a Valve apologist. Valve has no moral right to prevent mOOzilla from playing the games for which he paid his hard-earned money. At most Valve could refuse to handle his customer service requests (which even then isn't really justified regardless of his language or demeanor), but there is absolutely no justification for preventing mOOzilla from being able to play the games for which he paid. Valve's games are presented at retail as products like other video games NOT as tenuous subscription-based services. Valve should NOT be able to terminate a customer's ability to play a game he has purchased from it.
And if you think that such horrible service isn't common, you need to get out more.First, no horrible service is justified regardless of how common it may be. Second, I have NEVER seen another company prevent a paying customer from using his purchase after the fact due to his language in dealing with customer service. Imagine if Dell could disable a customer's PC because he cursed at its customer support department. Valve has done the equivalent here.
And if you look around the net, you'll find a lot of gaming sites that follow the same type of rulesAgain the huge difference here is that Valve's retail games are overtly presented to the customer as a product NOT a tenuous service which can be terminated at any time. Sure subscription-based games usually have restrictive terms of service because those games are a service and the customer is fully made aware of their tenous nature prior to paying for the subscription. With Valve's retail games, the Steam subscriber agreement is never presented to the customer prior to opening the box and installing the software. So the customer cannot return the product if he does not assent to the agreement. And even then, the Steam agreement is cryptic and flies in the face of the consumers' normal expectation of a retail video game as a product not a tenuous service.
It's merely an application that performs a useful service.Steam is NOT merely an application. It is tied into every game Valve has released (including those which predate Steam) so that those games cannot be run without Steam. There is no technical reason for Valve to do this, but it wanted an immediate, large captive audience to which to sell crap via Steam and back when Steam was optional over half of the existing users didn't use it. If Steam were merely an optional application to run Valve's games, it wouldn't be the lightning rod it is.
If you don't like it, don't use it.I certainly don't use it, but the consequence is I cannot play any of the Half-Life 1-based games online which I purchased prior to the release of Steam.