You buy them. You don't have to keep paying money to have access to them.
That doesn't make it ownership. It simply makes it a one-time lease/rental payment. Valve can turn off the spigot to your account at any time for any reason it chooses without any compensation to you. I suggest you read the Steam Subscriber Agreement and Steam's other usage policies.
They've even said that if Steam is ever shutdown that they will do all they can to allow users to keep access to the games they've bought.
That is a canard, and even if it were true, the Steam Subscriber Agreement trumps it. I suggest you actually read it. Valve guarantees nothing of the sort, and those users who have had their accounts terminated or otherwise lost them have had this agreement thrown in their faces when they protested the termination.
It's just like buying a retail game - you don't "own" it
It is not
just like owning a retail game. With a retail game the customer owns the media and can resell or transfer it to another person. With Steam you cannot sell your account/subscription nor can you sell or transfer any or all of the game subscriptions you have "purchased" in your account. Yes, a few retail games have DRM which inhibits sale or transfer, but those are still rare and it is still possible to sale or tranfer even these games.
With games on Gametap you pay rent; when you stop paying you lose access to the games.
Yes, Gametap's terms of subscription are akin to a traditional rental. The great thing about Gametap is that you don't have to pay a large fee upfront to pay a game like on Steam. For $10 or less (99 cents for the first month), you can play as many games as you want for that flat rate. For games with little or no replay value such as almost all single-player games, this is a true bargain price that is only bested by piracy.
That doesn't happen on Steam.
No, with Steam it happens whenever Valve or a game publisher says it happens. And, when it does happen you will lose a hell of a lot more than just $10 a month if you have paid for a lot of games.This comment was edited on Jan 19, 2009, 18:53.