What would happen to our games if Steam goes out of business?

Simple question that I guess has its answer buried within Steam's License agreement that I must admit was too long/didn't read but that I hope you guys can answer: What would happen if Steam goes out of business? Are we full owners of the games we purcharse through them? Will we be able to keep our games (store them in our hdd as backups) or would be lose them? I want to think they have a plan for that scenario, but I have never heard anything about it and it kind of makes me think if I should keep buying games from them.

Sorry if this has been discussed before, but I didn't find any thread related to this matter.
 

Windu

never heard about the cat, apparently
another service would take its place

edit: misread, don't know. I assume the individual companies would honor your purchase.
 

JaseC

gave away the keys to the kingdom.
Gabe has said on more than one occasion that Valve would release updates to what games they could (i.e. are allowed to; some publishers are bound to be sticks in the mud) to remove the Steam-related DRM. At the very least you'd have your Valve games completely DRM-free. I'm sure szaromir and water_wendi would be most pleased in this hypothetical scenario. ;)
 

SteveO409

Did you know Halo invented the FPS?
Gravijah said:
more important question: would valve die in this hypothetical scenario?

A service that tens of millions of people login daily? yeah highly unlikely in our lifetime
 
StuBurns said:
You get offline mode forever essentially.
But what about those games that we don't have installed in our hdds? I only download and install those that I am playing. If I finish my game I delete it from the computer.
 

6.8

Member
 

StuBurns

Banned
Gravijah said:
more important question: would valve die in this hypothetical scenario?
Well this will never happen, but if something happened that meant they couldn't afford to run Steam, presumably it also means they aren't making games, and everyone has pulled their content off Steam. Steam will only die in a scenario in which Valve does yeah.

bytesized said:
But what about those games that we don't have installed in our hdds? I only download and install those that I am playing. If I finish my game I delete it from the computer.
You'll have to get them else where. You'd still own CD keys for most, so persumably some other services will get you most games. In fact if this did happen, their peers would likely jump at the chance to grab the fifty million users, by letting you attach the keys and download your games.

But again, Steam is going no where.
 

JaseC

gave away the keys to the kingdom.
bytesized said:
But what about those games that we don't have installed in our hdds? I only download and install those that I am playing. If I finish my game I delete it from the computer.

I would imagine you could re-download your library provided there exists at least one active content server.
 
bytesized said:
But what about those games that we don't have installed in our hdds? I only download and install those that I am playing. If I finish my game I delete it from the computer.


That's not really Valve's problem assuming they die, before then simply backup all of your purchased games onto storage drives.
 

LogicStep

Member
bytesized said:
But what about those games that we don't have installed in our hdds? I only download and install those that I am playing. If I finish my game I delete it from the computer.
I would assume that they would let their users know ahead of time so that everyone can download their games before they shut down.

Don't worry though, Valve and Steam aren't going anywhere anytime soon or late.
 

Chinner

Banned
i can't see a situtation where valve can die tbh. they think long term with their game and community support, they treat their employees well, steam and they're privately owned so theres no stockholders to fuck anything up.
 
Start creating back-ups today! Just joking! :)

However, I think that another company would buy the whole Steam service instantly, not that Steam will let that thing ever happen.
 

Sober

Member
JaseC said:
Gabe has said on more than one occasion that Valve would release updates to what games they could (i.e. are allowed to; some publishers are bound to be sticks in the mud) to remove the Steam-related DRM. At the very least you'd have your Valve games completely DRM-free. I'm sure szaromir and water_wendi would be most pleased in this hypothetical scenario. ;)
Source? I see this all the time but I never seem to be able to find the source, nor does anyone cough one up.

Besides, isn't everything we buy on Steam just subscriptions for the license? It's not like we technically "own" anything, we just have permission to play the game on their service for forever or until Steam goes under or they disable our account.
 

Stumpokapow

listen to the mad man
Either Valve would release a DRM patch or they wouldn't.

If they didn't, enterprising crackers would offer a solution so you could still play your games, and you would make a decision about whether or not cracking and/or pirating a game you bought and own but can't play due to DRM is something you view as acceptable or not.

I own ~250 games on Steam. If I can't play them due to DRM, I'll crack the ones I've downloaded and "pirate" the rest. I'm not troubled by this.
 

XiaNaphryz

LATIN, MATRIPEDICABUS, DO YOU SPEAK IT
bytesized said:
But what about those games that we don't have installed in our hdds? I only download and install those that I am playing. If I finish my game I delete it from the computer.
Isn't there an option to backup games? Though whether or not you can recover those games from the backups without an online server to authenticate against is a different matter I suppose.
 

StuBurns

Banned
scorpscarx said:
Don't joke, there is nothing wrong with doing that and it's easy, and common sense.
Anyone backing up games for fear of Valve dying can't be applauded for 'common sense'.

Seriously, this will never happen. It's not something people need to be concerned about. It would take something like an asteroid destroying Valve's office and killing the staff.
 

MultiCore

Member
Stumpokapow said:
Either Valve would release a DRM patch or they wouldn't.

If they didn't, enterprising crackers would offer a solution so you could still play your games, and you would make a decision about whether or not cracking and/or pirating a game you bought and own but can't play due to DRM is something you view as acceptable or not.

I own ~250 games on Steam. If I can't play them due to DRM, I'll crack the ones I've downloaded and "pirate" the rest. I'm not troubled by this.
This is where EULA's get interesting to me.

Your standard EULA makes sure to get across the idea that you do, in fact, NOT own any of those games, but instead are granted a limited license to use this software at their sole discretion, and on solely their terms.

Personally, I completely agree with you, but I'd extend this to movies and music too, if you want to really discuss this whole thing. (I mean, how many licenses do we all have for Super Mario Brothers at this point? How many formats have we purchased Star Wars on?)
 
StuBurns said:
Anyone backing up games for fear of Valve dying can't be applauded for 'common sense'.
.

That's not why I do it, your putting words into it, backing up for faster re-install also has the added benefit of protection against the death of Valve however.
 

Blizzard

Banned
MultiCore said:
This is where EULA's get interesting to me.

Your standard EULA makes sure to get across the idea that you do, in fact, NOT own any of those games, but instead are granted a limited license to use this software at their sole discretion, and on solely their terms.

Personally, I completely agree with you, but I'd extend this to movies and music too, if you want to really discuss this whole thing. (I mean, how many licenses do we all have for Super Mario Brothers at this point? How many formats have we purchased Star Wars on?)
I feel like one should be morally/ethically allowed to crack the DRM on a Steam game they purchased if Valve went out of business, but legally I would suspect you're correct, and the Steam EULA is the normal "You don't own any game, you're merely using a service, and it can be discontinued at any time for pretty much any reason."

*edit*
JaseC said:
Gabe has said on more than one occasion that Valve would release updates to what games they could (i.e. are allowed to; some publishers are bound to be sticks in the mud) to remove the Steam-related DRM. At the very least you'd have your Valve games completely DRM-free. I'm sure szaromir and water_wendi would be most pleased in this hypothetical scenario. ;)
This occasionally comes up, and I have never seen any source that is still around as far as I know. Supposedly there might have been a forum post to this effect once. I think I emailed Gabe Newell, maybe twice, but I have never gotten any response from him in regard to any question I have sent him except for the (presumable) auto-response during the Portal 2 ARG.
 

StuBurns

Banned
scorpscarx said:
That's not why I do it, your putting words into it, backing up for faster re-install also has the added benefit of protection against the death of Valve however.
That's true. I'd say one of the best features of Steam is not needing all the code stored locally, but that's a question of taste.
 
Can't see it happening. The only way Valve could die is if they split Steam off into it's own company and then Steam would still be a thing so I wouldn't care.

If Steam was to go away and all the stuff I bought was DRM'd, I'd probably crack or pirate them.
 

Zzoram

Member
Valve has about the same chance of going out of business as Microsoft and Sony do. It's not something anyone should be worried about.
 

JaseC

gave away the keys to the kingdom.
Sober said:
Source? I see this all the time but I never seem to be able to find the source, nor does anyone cough one up.

Besides, isn't everything we buy on Steam just subscriptions for the license? It's not like we technically "own" anything, we just have permission to play the game on their service for forever or until Steam goes under or they disable our account.
Blizzard said:
This occasionally comes up, and I have never seen any source that is still around as far as I know. Supposedly there might have been a forum post to this effect once. I think I emailed Gabe Newell, maybe twice, but I have never gotten any response from him in regard to any question I have sent him except for the (presumable) auto-response during the Portal 2 ARG.

There's this, which seems to be legit, and this comment from Gabe, the original source of which is a purged Steampowered forum thread.

Whether or not this is still the case remains to be seen. I think Valve have been coy on the matter ever since they added the "Valve cannot guarantee access to Steam, etc." clause to the EULA.
 

Shig

Strap on your hooker ...
SteveO409 said:
A service that tens of millions of people login daily? yeah highly unlikely in our lifetime
Tens of millions of people used to login to MySpace and America Online everyday. Millions of people walked into a Blockbuster or Borders on many days.

No brand is unimpeachable, things can always go south real quick for a company, given the right competition.
 
Shig said:
Tens of millions of people used to login to MySpace and America Online everyday. Millions of people walked into a Blockbuster or Borders on many days.

All of those examples were a) terribly run and b) publicly held, which is actually a really stupid thing to be in this day and age.

Valve is well-run and, far more importantly, 100% privately held. I cannot see Valve dying in my lifetime, and I'm 27 years old.

FWIW CF at least does have contingency plans in place to make our games DRM-free if Valve should ever die (prepare for everything and all that) but we don't see it happening.
 
Chinner said:
i can't see a situtation where valve can die tbh. they think long term with their game and community support, they treat their employees well, steam and they're privately owned so theres no stockholders to fuck anything up.

It's much more likely that they would be bought/taken over by assholes who ruin the service if something happens to Gabe and others, rather than them shutting it down. In fact, I'd say this is likely, but not for perhaps decades.
 

StuBurns

Banned
Shig said:
Tens of millions of people used to login to MySpace and America Online everyday. Millions of people walked into a Blockbuster or Borders on many days.

No brand is unimpeachable, things can always go south real quick for a company, given the right competition.
Which is probably why Valve have been so dedicated to staying very small. If they stopped making money today they could probably operate without anyone taking a pay cut for a decade, seriously.

Publishers know the value of having Steam like services. They will all have one, they will all pull their games from Steam, any possible end to the service will be clear a long time ahead of it's death.

For this to be a real issue it would need to die over night, and without something incredibly unlikely happening, like a H-Bomb being dropped, that won't happen.
 
Shig said:
Tens of millions of people used to login to MySpace and America Online everyday. Millions of people walked into a Blockbuster or Borders on many days.

No brand is unimpeachable, things can always go south real quick for a company, given the right competition.

Exactly, I am sure Steam is going to kee doing well and they are certainly not an "evil" company, but I certainly think they could be much more transparent about this matter and give us some assurance for these kind of scenarios, as odd as they might be.
 

Souljiro

Member
The world would simply end good question I never actually thought about this. I bet EA will gladly pick up steam and have everyone transfer there games to orgin. *shudders*
 

Zzoram

Member
Shig said:
Tens of millions of people used to login to MySpace and America Online everyday. Millions of people walked into a Blockbuster or Borders on many days.

No brand is unimpeachable, things can always go south real quick for a company, given the right competition.

Steam doesn't have the same operating costs though. They just pay for servers and bandwidth. If sales slow to a trickle, those costs drop dramatically. It's not like they're paying rent on 1000 store locations like a retailer.

Valve also keeps their number of employees really small. They have fewer employees than the Farmville developers have after all, and Valve does a hell of a lot more stuff and of better quality than the Zynga guys.
 

nexen

Member
On a long enough timeline the survivability of all things goes to zero.

You do not own your Steam games, you have subscriptions to them. Read your EULAs

If Valve died it would be the same as if your cable company shut down - no more content. They are under no legal obligation to provide you with anything should they fold, close, or sell out.
 
Shig said:
Tens of millions of people used to login to MySpace and America Online everyday. Millions of people walked into a Blockbuster or Borders on many days.

No brand is unimpeachable, things can always go south real quick for a company, given the right competition.

I'd agree with this 100% and I'm a Valve fan in general. Stuff changes really quickly and I'd consider myself quite pleasantly surprised if Steam is still around and doing its thing 10, 15, or 20 years from now.

However, this really isn't anything that blocks me from loving and using the service now. It's really rare that I get the chance to replay a game these days as there are so many great new things to occupy my gaming time. And when I do replay it tends to be a game released in the last four to five years. I just consider the fact that I might not be able to play the game five years from now as one of the factors when purchasing and I find that honestly not to be that big a deal given the crazy low prices and convenience of using Steam. Then if the games do happen to still be around that is just a nice bonus.

To put it this way, if Steam offered a imaginary policy (don't worry about the implementation, it's just a hypothetical) that you could pay $10 extra to guarantee that you could download the game for your entire lifetime, even if Steam / Valve goes under I wouldn't take that options. Longevity is just not worth that much to me in my games collection.
 

ZealousD

Makes world leading predictions like "The sun will rise tomorrow"
StuBurns said:
Anyone backing up games for fear of Valve dying can't be applauded for 'common sense'.

Seriously, this will never happen. It's not something people need to be concerned about. It would take something like an asteroid destroying Valve's office and killing the staff.
One of the things Enron did before they went belly up is sell insurance to companies. Essentially, these companies would put some money away into Enron and if their business crashed, they could get back some of that money.

Nobody ever had a plan of what would happen if Enron crashed itself. Afterall, how could a company as huge and successful as Enron ever go under?

Now I am not saying that Valve is like Enron or that it could even crash the same way. But you can't ever plan or expect for it to be impossible that any company might fail. Shit can happen and it is foolish to never have contingency plans for this sort of thing.
 

nexen

Member
Anyone who thinks it is guaranteed that Valve will still be around in its present form come 10, 15, or 20 years is either very young or hasn't been paying attention to how accelerated business cycles are becoming.
 

fernoca

Member
Is part of the "risks" of digital purchases. Even if they release DRM-tools to well, break the DRM so you can play it anytime. What's going to happen if your computer dies or something and you need to re-download the games again?

In the end, when it comes to digital purchases, pretty much like retail ones; I do it for the moment and enjoy the ride. Not thinking if in 10 years I'll be able to play it without any problem.
 
bytesized said:
But what about those games that we don't have installed in our hdds? I only download and install those that I am playing. If I finish my game I delete it from the computer.

you download them all before they go under.
 

Dunlop

Member
StuBurns said:
A mod said he'd pirate above, if he gets banned for that post that's some harsh shit.


ah, I missed that. Normally the mods are trigger happy with the ban stick when the topic of pirating comes up
 
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