GameTap Free Game Cutbacks

The GameTap Blog announces a large number of games will be removed from their library of free offerings as of Thursday, at which time one of their paid "Gold" memberships will be required for continued access. Their reasoning is this: "As many of you know, over the past year or so we’ve released well over one hundred games for free, in order to entice people to sample what GameTap has to offer and, hopefully, subscribe to our service. This strategy has worked incredibly well for us, and now we’re ready to move on." This leads to a pitch to subscribe, but they offer the following outlook for penny-pinchers: "If you can’t afford that, don’t worry, we’ve still got quite a few games for you to try out. Not only are we keeping over 40 games around for you, we’ll also continue to entice you with weekly samplers - full, free games you can play for one week only. Going into the future, these games include Sid Meier’s Pirates!, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, X-Com: UFO Defense, and many more we have not yet announced. You can guarantee that a lot of the games we’re removing will make brief appearances in the future!" Thanks Voodoo Extreme.
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1.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 11:41
1.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 11:41
Jan 19, 2009, 11:41
 
Gold membership is 9.95 a month, .99 the first month...

I like their approach but I don't see games on their worth paying 9.95 a month to play... I think their price is too high for what they offer. I was expecting 4.95 a month or less.
2.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 11:48
2.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 11:48
Jan 19, 2009, 11:48
 
Actually, if you bought for a whole year it would be $60, which breaks down to 5 bucks a month.

It's a good deal if you like checking out different stuff without buying it.
3.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 12:34
3.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 12:34
Jan 19, 2009, 12:34
 
I took a free month from them awhile ago only to find they didn't fully support 64-bit OSes; they sevice is great and all, but I'd love to get all of what I'm paying for, ya know?

This comment was edited on Jan 19, 2009, 12:34.
4.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 13:01
Kxmode
 
4.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 13:01
Jan 19, 2009, 13:01
 Kxmode
 
GameTap is a good service but my only gripe is the lack of ownership. So long as you have a subscription you can play the games. GOG is MUCH better, but lacks the library GameTap has. But GOG is getting there.

GO GOG GO!
"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it is almost impossible to eradicate."
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5.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 13:22
5.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 13:22
Jan 19, 2009, 13:22
 
The thing about their service is that most of their games are kinda screwy. Baldur's Gate had some issues with dropped items having a black box behind them. It was annoying. Planescape : Torment had some issues too, which I had to go back to the menu screen to load an area to keep the "fog of war" bug from appearing.

Also, Freespace 2 just didn't work. No text in the game appeared on the screen.

The good thing about Gametap is that the first month is 99 cents, and if you try to cancel, they offer you a free month.
6.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 14:04
6.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 14:04
Jan 19, 2009, 14:04
 
The regional restrictions are the biggest problem, making the service rather flaccid outside of the US/Canada. And the list of games no longer free is rather weak - I wasn't enticed to play them when free, let alone to part money for them. If it doesn't fully support 64bit operating systems then that's the final blow, as all the old DOS games I have on Steam run fine. I don't like the idea of a lack of ownership - I'd much rather use Impulse, Steam, Gamersgate and GOG.

That said, I welcome competition in the digital distribution market.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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7.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 14:32
7.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 14:32
Jan 19, 2009, 14:32
 
I don't like the idea of a lack of ownership - I'd much rather use Impulse, Steam, Gamersgate and GOG.

How do you "own" games on Steam? You can't install them and run them without at least one online connection to the Steam servers. How is that "owning"? It's renting. If you have no problem with that, than fine. I myself spend money on the Orange Box. But don't call it "owning".
8.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 15:19
8.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 15:19
Jan 19, 2009, 15:19
 
How do you "own" games on Steam?
You buy them. You don't have to keep paying money to have access to them. 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. It's just like buying a retail game - you don't "own" it, just the ability to use it. For casual conversation there's no point making a distinction, as you pay for a non-expiring licence. You know exactly what I meant and therefore I don't see your point. With games on Gametap you pay rent; when you stop paying you lose access to the games. That doesn't happen on Steam.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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9.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 17:37
GT
9.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 17:37
Jan 19, 2009, 17:37
GT
 
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.
10.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 17:53
10.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 17:53
Jan 19, 2009, 17:53
 
Aye. I realize the uphill battle the company has, but I really wish it would rework its pricing structure somehow - having more of the "good" stuff go free more frequently, have plans for certain genres, and have a much better high end platform.

There are a few gems in there, but any real gamer already owns them, to say nothing of playing them to death. Likewise, a lot of the free stuff really does suck outright, doesn't hold up, or is better done elsewhere. I would love to see some genres blown wide open, letting me play the "B" games that I thought were interesting, but I would never purchase, or pay a premium rate to have access to more current, mainstream content. Or what about some cheap purchase option for the really dead titles?

It's a good deal for, oh, twice a year simply to catch up on Sam and Max or burn through the single game that interests me, but the current system cannot hold my attention on a monthly basis.
Meanwhile, I'll gladly pay $15/month to Blizzard...
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11.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 18:47
GT
11.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 18:47
Jan 19, 2009, 18:47
GT
 
having more of the "good" stuff go free more frequently
Sure, everyone likes a free lunch, but doing that would dramatically remove the incentive to subscribe.

There are a few gems in there, but any real gamer already owns them
The real benefit of the service is that there are plenty of games to play for one low fee that one would otherwise never pay full price for. Yes, for the real gems with replay value, it is more economical to buy them outright. Where Gametap makes sense is for all of those games that you would like to try but don't want to spend the money on them. If you are not using piracy for those games, then Gametap is a great deal.

but the current system cannot hold my attention on a monthly basis.
It really depends on how many games you typically buy and play. If you are someone who tends to buy a lot of games, play through them, and then never touch them again, Gametap is a great deal because you'll spend a lot less for the same play.
12.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 18:56
12.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 18:56
Jan 19, 2009, 18:56
 
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.
You might want to read your EULAs one of these days You don't own shit, all you ever do is purchase a license that allows you to use your software.
13.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 18:57
Kxmode
 
13.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 18:57
Jan 19, 2009, 18:57
 Kxmode
 
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.

Oh gees. It's not hard to know WHY that's in the SSA. If their service went down they need that text to cover their asses. As was mentioned in an earlier post Valve has already promised to "free" the games if it becomes clear the Steam servers have to go down. But I suspect with the service being as popular and profitable for Valve that's unlikely to occur for a VERY long time. And if it looked like the service might go down I'm sure Valve would take steps to free games well ahead of schedule.

You should think about things before flapping your keys...

Edit: Sorry about the flapping your keys reference. I guess that was a tad impolite.

This comment was edited on Jan 19, 2009, 19:05.
"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it is almost impossible to eradicate."
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14.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 19:30
GT
14.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 19:30
Jan 19, 2009, 19:30
GT
 
You might want to read your EULAs one of these days You don't own shit, all you ever do is purchase a license that allows you to use your software.
If you are an American, you need to educate yourself on the right of first sale. Americans have the right to sell or transfer their copies of copyrighted works including computer software and video games. It is both enshrined in statute and case law.

As a practical matter EULA's mean nothing if the DRM can't enforce them. Steam's can which is why it is so restrictive, but those which rely solely on physical media or reusable keys/tokens cannot which makes their EULA's moot.

This comment was edited on Jan 19, 2009, 19:47.
15.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 19:34
GT
15.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 19:34
Jan 19, 2009, 19:34
GT
 
As was mentioned in an earlier post Valve has already promised to "free" the games if it becomes clear the Steam servers have to go down.
That is simply not true although it is an often repeated myth (but not by Valve). If it were true, it would be specified in the Steam Subscriber Agreement, but it isn't. It would be very easy to do so. In addition while it is far more likely that you as an individual will lose your Steam account than for everyone to do so, it could still happen, and Valve guarantees nothing in return in either case.

Edit: Sorry about the flapping your keys reference. I guess that was a tad impolite.
If you were really sorry for it, you would have removed it in your edit.

This comment was edited on Jan 19, 2009, 19:42.
16.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 19:47
16.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 19:47
Jan 19, 2009, 19:47
 
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.
Short of being able to resell games it's the same. The physical media means nothing, it is the licence to use the software that is important - that you never own. The physical media is effectively the game as the downloaded content sitting on your drive.

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.
I lost my internet connection for a few days recently while engineers were working on the main connection - Steam loaded up in offline mode and I was able to play all of my games. I don't foresee Steam shutting down but even if it does I'll still be able to play my games.

Americans have the right to sell or transfer their copies of copyrighted works including computer software and video games. It is both enshrined in statute and case law.
You'll find that software licences actually operate outside of that. There have been test cases like Autodesk but they always get overturned on appeal. Even so they can simply be called a subscription despite not needing a regular payment and it bypasses such restrictions. I've been following it because the instrumental samples I use for music production have a licence that prevents resale - this is because if you produce work with the samples and then sell the licence on to someone else then effectively two people have the licence, which obviously isn't allowed. There was a huge discussion on the forums but the end result is that there isn't any around it - software developers can produce software that you can't legally resell.

The great thing about Gametap is that you don't have to pay a large fee upfront to pay a game like on Steam.
You mean the cost of buying a game. Well, the same can be said about renting a car but that doesn't mean renting a car is better than owning a car - most would agree that owning a car is better, even if not necessarily as good value.

I have not seen anything that shows the Steam software licence to be any different than a retail software licence other than the fact it is enforced. Fortunately the other features provided by Steam far outweigh the limitations.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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17.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 19:49
17.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 19:49
Jan 19, 2009, 19:49
 
That is simply not true although it is an often repeated myth (but not by Valve).
It already is true. You can play all the games on Steam without any connection to the internet - you don't even need to do anything special. If Steam can't detect the internet then it boots into offline mode and works as usual. If Steam goes down permanently you can simply use the backup feature to keep them safe.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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18.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 20:10
GT
18.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 20:10
Jan 19, 2009, 20:10
GT
 
Short of being able to resell games it's the same.
That is a huge difference. Being able to sell, lend, or otherwise tranfer a game is a major benefit to many people like me who resell their games or simply want to pass it along to a friend or family member when they are done playing it.

it is the licence to use the software that is important
No, it isn't. The license itself means absolutely nothing especially since U.S. courts haven't and don't always recognize it as a valid contract. What ultimately matters is the physical media because that is what determines if the game is playable or not. With the overwhelming majority of PC games, the physical media is still the only key to their play even with DRM so possessing valid media means being able to play the game. Only with Steam and other services which rely on online authentication, does the physical media mean nothing.

I lost my internet connection for a few days recently while engineers were working on the main connection - Steam loaded up in offline mode and I was able to play all of my games. I don't foresee Steam shutting down but even if it does I'll still be able to play my games.
You won't be able to do that if you reinstall your Windows installation or change your PC. Steam's offline mode uses a generated GUID for offline mode which is unique to your hardware and Windows installation. Offline mode also requires a stored login which can be easily lost/reset especially accidently. Don't count on the permanence of offline mode or you will be unpleasantly surprised.

You'll find that software licences actually operate outside of that...software developers can produce software that you can't legally resell.
That's not true in the U.S. and has been proved repeatedly in the courts, but I don't feel like wasting time looking them up and writing them necause you would still be too stupid or stubborn to admit it. Your instrumental samples example isn't applicable because that is a derivative works issue. The bottom line is that software is legally resold everyday in the U.S. and has been for decades despite EULA's.

Well, the same can be said about renting a car but that doesn't mean renting a car is better than owning a car
What a bullshit comparison! Almost no one would buy a car and then drive it once and discard it. However, many people buy games which they only play through once if that. Renting these games is better than owning them from an economical standpoint, and that is exactly the point I made about Gametap below. Next time read the entire paragraph before you foolishly reply to it.

Fortunately the other features provided by Steam far outweigh the limitations.
Not if you sell, lend, or share games, and certainly not if you lose access to your Steam account (and all of your games) especially permanently. If you are stupid or lazy, yes, Steam has some advantages, but anyone who has some computer skills and upstream bandwidth can negate those by making his own game backups online without DRM or Steam's other restrictions.

This comment was edited on Jan 19, 2009, 20:48.
19.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 20:12
Kxmode
 
19.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 20:12
Jan 19, 2009, 20:12
 Kxmode
 
Edit: Sorry about the flapping your keys reference. I guess that was a tad impolite.

If you were really sorry for it, you would have removed it in your edit.

Because people sometimes respond to my comments while I'm making edits. I didn't want someone quoting that right when I was deleting it. So I figured it would be safer to show the original text then apologies for it. And yes my apologies for it.
"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it is almost impossible to eradicate."
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20.
 
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks
Jan 19, 2009, 20:14
GT
20.
Re: GameTap Free Game Cutbacks Jan 19, 2009, 20:14
Jan 19, 2009, 20:14
GT
 
You can play all the games on Steam without any connection to the internet - you don't even need to do anything special.
Yes, you do need to do several things special. That is how Valve prevents people from sharing their Steam installations/files to have working copies of games. You may be too stupid to see the restrictions of offline mode, but they are there, and you will run into them sooner or later especially if your Steam account disappears.

Reformat your PC, reinstall Windows, and then try to run your games without first authenticating with Steam and see how far you get. Offline mode relies on a stored hash, and that hash varies from PC to PC and Windows installation.

If Steam goes down permanently you can simply use the backup feature to keep them safe.
Steam's backups are useless without first authenticating and building the hash to enable offline mode on the PC on which you wish to play them. Therefore if Steam disappeared or you lost your account those backups would be worthless.

This comment was edited on Jan 19, 2009, 20:40.
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