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posted by martyb on Monday March 07 2016, @09:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the Embrace-Extend-Extinguish dept.

GamingOnLinux reports

Gabe Newell from Valve was quite right to fear about the future when he starting talking up Linux, and now it looks like Microsoft will be trying to push their own store even more.

Microsoft are moving to combine Windows 10 and Xbox One into one platform, and with that the Windows Store will become a bigger thing for them. This is something Gabe Newell of Valve feared, and it looks like it really is starting to become true. While there's nothing wrong with having universal games that work on W10 and XBone, making sure developers have to stick to their store is a problem.

The problem here, is that Microsoft are using their money and their exclusivity deals to keep certain games only on the Windows Store which locks out Steam in the process. There may not be too many doing it yet, but you can be sure over time Microsoft will sign more of these Windows 10 exclusive deals like they have with Quantum Break. Ars [Technica] actually put it quite well in their article here:

Unfortunately for Spencer, not only has the PC as gaming platform seen little improvement from Microsoft--bar DirectX 12--but the company's one-platform-fits-all approach simply isn't going to fly on PC. The PC community has its own rules and expectations. Forcing console-like restrictions on a group that values freedom was never going to end well. And now, with those people backed into a corner with Quantum Break--one of this year's most highly anticipated games--the backlash is only going to get bigger.

On this same theme (different kingpin), El Reg reports:

[Continues.]

Microsoft wants to lock everyone into its store via universal Windows apps, says game kingpin

The founder of Epic Games says that Microsoft is trying to lock Windows developers into using its app store for all their products.

Tim Sweeney reckons the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is a power-grab from Redmond to force software companies into selling their work applications solely through the Windows Store.

"Here, Microsoft is moving against the entire PC industry--including consumers (and gamers in particular), software developers such as Epic Games, publishers like EA and Activision, and distributors like Valve and Good Old Games", Sweeney writes.

[...] While Microsoft says that the aim of the platform is to simplify software development and compatibility, Sweeney charges that UWP, and the unique Windows features it gives access to, will also kill off third-party software stores and developers who want to directly sell their software without paying Microsoft a 30 per cent cut.

"The ultimate danger here is that Microsoft continually improves UWP while neglecting and even degrading win32, over time making it harder for developers and publishers to escape from Microsoft's new UWP commerce monopoly", he said.

"Ultimately, the open win32 Windows experience could be relegated to Enterprise and Developer editions of Windows."


Original Submission

Related Stories

UK Government Blocks Microsoft's Proposed Activision Purchase 12 comments

UK government blocks Microsoft's proposed Activision purchase

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2023/04/uk-government-blocks-microsofts-proposed-activision-purchase/

In its long-awaited final report, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority said that Microsoft's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision would "result in a substantial lessening of competition" (SLC) in the supply of cloud-gaming services in the UK. As such, the regulator said that "the only effective remedy to this SLC and its adverse consequences is to prohibit the Merger."

The final report cites Microsoft's "strong position" in the cloud-gaming sector, where the company has an estimated 60 to 70 percent market share that makes it "already much stronger than its rivals." After purchasing Activision, the CMA says Microsoft "would find it commercially beneficial to make Activision's titles exclusive to its own cloud gaming service."

Microsoft has in recent months signed deals with Nvidia and smaller cloud-gaming providers in an attempt to "mak[e] even more clear to regulators that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will make Call of Duty available on far more devices than before," as Microsoft Vice Chair and President Brad Smith said in a statement last month. But the CMA said these kinds of cloud-gaming deals—which Microsoft submitted to the CMA as a proposed remedy for any anticompetitive effects of the merger—were "limited to cloud gaming providers with specific business models" and thus not sufficient to address the regulator's concerns.

Previously:
Microsoft and Activision Will Miss Their Contractual Merger Deadline 20230115
FTC Moves to Block Microsoft's Activision Acquisition 20221209
The Biggest Deal in Gaming is Under Fire From U.S. Senators 20220403
Microsoft Set to Purchase Activision Blizzard in $68.7 Billion Deal 20220118

Related:
Microsoft's Latest Tactics Show that Gabe Newell of Valve was Right to Worry 20160306

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Monday March 07 2016, @10:14AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday March 07 2016, @10:14AM (#314842) Journal

    Finally, Microsoft gives developers a good reason to support and even promote alternative operating systems.

    The more you tighten your grip, the more computer systems will slip through your fingers.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by elgrantrolo on Monday March 07 2016, @11:33AM

      by elgrantrolo (1903) on Monday March 07 2016, @11:33AM (#314871) Journal

      When I started reading these news and reactions like yours, I get some conflicting feelings about what MS is up to.

      One one hand, it looks like restrictions, looks like having the PC behave more like Android/iOS and less like the Setup.exe-next-next-next that we've been using for many years. However, as a buyer, I expect to use app stores, I expect that apps are vetted and that virus/adware spreads due to stupidity and using pirate sites. In other words, I am wary of using Setup.exe-next-next-next.

      If it's fair to blame Microsoft for the lack of security from the old way of doing things, it is also fair to expect them to do something about it. Whether they take a 10%, 30% of 90% cut for vetting and making the software available from a trusted market is not my business, it needs to be worked out between the publisher and the store owner (like what happens in other retail outlets).

      As things stand in 2016 (and 2012 to be honest), "PC" means many millions of devices that are not using Microsoft OSs, with the growth of conventional PCs being slower than that of Android/iOS devices. I think that if this kind of rules about access to OS features and to App stores needs to be regulated, stating that MS is abusing a dominant position in the PC market is not the right starting point.

      • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday March 07 2016, @11:53AM

        by Nerdfest (80) on Monday March 07 2016, @11:53AM (#314877)

        There's a big difference between having a store like Android and *forcing a single store* like Apple. I'm pretty sure Microsoft wants to do what Apple has now 'made acceptable'. They get approval over all software, and a cut of all sales. They can block competing products, etc. For them, it's the Holy Grail.

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday March 07 2016, @02:54PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Monday March 07 2016, @02:54PM (#314956)

          One would HOPE that the instant they try that shit they get their pants sued off over antitrust stuff.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
          • (Score: 1) by Francis on Monday March 07 2016, @03:36PM

            by Francis (5544) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:36PM (#314993)

            Apple didn't get sued when they did it, why would MS get sued?

            Which really gets to a huge part of the problem, you have to do something particularly egregious before the DoJ files an antitrust suit at a company these days. During most of the noughties, the DoJ basically didn't have any resources assigned to antitrust enforcement because the attitude by the Bush administration was that companies being large would give them efficiencies of scale that would benefit the consumers.

            • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday March 07 2016, @03:56PM

              by tangomargarine (667) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:56PM (#315016)

              MacOS isn't running on 92% of PCs in the market. Come on, man: you know the definitions we're talking about here.

              --
              "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
              • (Score: 1) by Francis on Monday March 07 2016, @04:52PM

                by Francis (5544) on Monday March 07 2016, @04:52PM (#315069)

                Since when is having a monopoly a requirement for running afoul of antitrust laws? If that were the case, we'd be buying absolutely everything from the railroads.

                • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday March 07 2016, @05:19PM

                  by tangomargarine (667) on Monday March 07 2016, @05:19PM (#315088)

                  Even if it isn't, Apple has like 5% of the market (for PCs, anyway) so I have a hard time seeing how you could possibly argue they have a large impact on said market that needs to be curtailed.

                  And iPhones vs. Android is around 40-50% each it looks like, so there isn't really a problem there, either.

                  --
                  "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
                  • (Score: 1) by Francis on Monday March 07 2016, @10:37PM

                    by Francis (5544) on Monday March 07 2016, @10:37PM (#315266)

                    Apple has had a massive portion of both the Cell phone market and the MP3 player market. They had so much market share in the MP3 player market for a while that people use the term iPod to refer to portable music players.

                    And they built that marketshare up by violating antitrust laws by preventing people from using music purchased in the ITMS from being used on other devices while signing up huge numbers of artists in exclusive deals. The whole thing was anti-competitive and served to damage competing products and consumer choice.

        • (Score: 1) by danaris on Monday March 07 2016, @03:40PM

          by danaris (3853) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:40PM (#315001)

          There's a big difference between having a store like Android and *forcing a single store* like Apple.

          There's also a big difference between forcing a store like iOS and providing a store like Apple does on the desktop.

          Apple does not require that all Mac development happen through the Mac App Store. There are a couple of things that you have to use the Mac App Store to enable (off the top of my head, iCloud support is the only one of any consequence, and it makes some sense that to use Apple's cloud service, you have to be fully within their ecosystem), but Apple is definitely not "continually improving" capabilities of App Store apps while "neglecting and even degrading" the rest of the OS.

          No matter what you think of the two companies and their relative business practices, Apple's not using the Mac App Store to try to force people into its walled garden. This move of Microsoft's, at least from what we can see now, looks like that's precisely its intent.

          Dan Aris

          • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday March 07 2016, @03:57PM

            by Nerdfest (80) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:57PM (#315017)

            Sorry, I was referring to iOS, although I would imagine that if Microsoft pulls it off, Apple wouldn't be far behind doing it to OS X. I always thought they'd do it first, actually.

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Webweasel on Monday March 07 2016, @02:23PM

        by Webweasel (567) on Monday March 07 2016, @02:23PM (#314937) Homepage Journal

        If it's fair to blame Microsoft for the lack of security from the old way of doing things, it is also fair to expect them to do something about it.

        But they are not. Have you look at the windows store? It's 99.9% scamware.

        Given up with windows phone as a platform, I can't find ANY bit of software for it that i'd be willing to trust.

        No your qcode scanner does not need access to my calls and texts.
        No your mapping software does not need access to my contacts.
        No your clock software does not need access to everything (Damn phone does not even have a stopwatch or countdown timer installed, i have to use another app! But I don't want two clock apps STUPID)

        Its just as bad on desktop platform. I briefly flirted with it, tried trello's metro app for example. It was shit, half the functions compared to the web version.

        So no, MS are doing nothing about security. I have reported scam applications and they are still online 6 months later. You'd think the 100+ 1 star rating with "This is scamware" in the comments might make MS remove the software.

        But they don't. I trust the MS store to be nothing other than scamware, so I don't use it.

        But hey, the market will prevail right? Steam is not going away no matter how much MS try and restrict it.

        --
        Priyom.org Number stations, Russian Military radio. "You are a bad, bad man. Do you have any other virtues?"-Runaway1956
    • (Score: 2, Touché) by Tork on Monday March 07 2016, @11:43AM

      by Tork (3914) on Monday March 07 2016, @11:43AM (#314874)
      What dictates the OSes that a game developer chooses is the number of potential customers. No, this won't have that effect.
      --
      🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Vanderhoth on Monday March 07 2016, @01:26PM

        by Vanderhoth (61) on Monday March 07 2016, @01:26PM (#314910)

        I'm pretty sure it will.

        Steam is the number one game distribution center now, which was a direct result of MS talking about a windows store for Win8 (which crashed and burned). A metric shit ton of games work on Linux [steamdb.info] (<- this isn't even a full list) now because of steam, if you go to the steam store and just look at all the games for "Steam OS", all those games work on any Debian disto. On top of that more devs are building cross platform games because Steam gives them a huge audience/market. If MS locks steam out of Windows and/or windows games out of steam, they'll seriously be hurting themselves. I'm pretty sure if devs had to choose they'd rather their games be on Steam, where gamers actually go to buy games that aren't just bejeweled clones.

        Aside from Steam, other retailers are also offering Linux games now to. I've got a bunch from GoG.com [gog.com] that have native linux installers, and a bunch more that will run under WINE even though they're not "Linux games", and bunch of others (older games) that will run under DosBox. Not everything works, but I've had much more success than failure.

        --
        "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Pino P on Monday March 07 2016, @03:14PM

        by Pino P (4721) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:14PM (#314967) Journal

        What dictates the OSes that a game developer chooses is the number of potential customers.

        That and the ease of getting a newly founded studio's first finished game published. Even if a traditional video game console or a traditional handheld video game system has the largest installed base, "the number of potential customers" is zero if its manufacturer puts up an "INDIES KEEP OUT" sign.

        Windows desktop has the lowest theoretical barrier to entry: buy a domain and VPS, and post updates on your site and in the relevant Twitter and Reddit communities. Then once your game is near completion, set up payment through Stripe or PayPal and install an open-source download store web app. The drawback here is a hang-up that some people have against building a second gaming PC for the living room, which means couch co-op ends up less popular among users who don't have a Steam Link box to stream the game from the PC to the TV.

        Android is the next step up: $25 for a lifetime Google Play Store sub plus 30% of sales, but Google handles all the download store and payment processing. The primary disadvantage of Android as I see it is that phones and tablets tend to have a touch screen as the only input device, with a few uncommon exceptions (largely by JXD), and not all game designs can easily be reengineered to use a touch screen well. Platformers, for example, usually need to be reimagined as endless runners.

        Windows Store is in theory similar to Android, except also including an annual fee. iOS and Mac App Store are likewise, except they have built a reputation for more expensive developer hardware (namely having to buy Macs to replace whatever commodity PCs you currently use for development) and heavier-handed censorship.

        Steam is more curated than the "app stores", though I'm told not quite as curated as the big three consoles. It uses the Greenlight process to approve new games, which reportedly requires 28,000 people to upvote your game [tutsplus.com] before you can even think of selling anything. An unknown studio might not necessarily have the marketing experience to reach this goal even with a nearly finished game.

        The major consoles have traditionally required all developers to show "financial stability" and "relevant experience" before they can even buy a devkit. This is code word for "we don't want your first commercial release" as they let the desktop and mobile markets filter out new studios that aren't composed of alumni of the mainstream video game industry.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @10:18AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @10:18AM (#314845)

    The more Microsoft publishes crappy games for a crappy OS, the better Steam for Linux and OS X will look to gamers.

  • (Score: 0, Troll) by altanar on Monday March 07 2016, @10:27AM

    by altanar (5612) on Monday March 07 2016, @10:27AM (#314848)

    Windows will always be an open system, and no amount of Microsoft promoting the Windows Store will ever change that. No one is forcing game developers to take Microsoft's publishing money, which is the *only* occasion in which these game developers are forced to use the Windows Store... When they accept Microsoft's money to publish their game. This story is FUD.

    How many PC games are based on Steamworks? Why is no one decrying those games being locked down on their chosen closed monolithic platform (Steam)? Why does Valve get a pass?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Monday March 07 2016, @10:50AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday March 07 2016, @10:50AM (#314856) Journal

      No one is forcing game developers to take Microsoft's publishing money, which is the *only* occasion in which these game developers are forced to use the Windows Store

      What part of "the unique Windows features it gives access to" did you not understand?

      At the moment, those features may not be strictly required. But over time, you probably won't be able to write a competitive game running on Windows without using such features. Which means either you support only Windows, or you don't support Windows at all.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by theluggage on Monday March 07 2016, @10:57AM

      by theluggage (1797) on Monday March 07 2016, @10:57AM (#314858)

      Why does Valve get a pass?

      Because they don't have a near-monopoly on personal computer operating systems and can't (e.g.) force Steam on to 90% of all PCs sold, or provide Steam apps with "special access" to OS features.

      Oh, and they support Linux and Mac too (maybe not perfectly, but at least they're making an effort to encourage cross-platform gaming that has significantly improved the range of games available on those platforms).

      • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Monday March 07 2016, @01:40PM

        by Vanderhoth (61) on Monday March 07 2016, @01:40PM (#314919)

        Steam actually is DRM done right. Completely unintrusive, let's you install games on multiple machines and eve share games between "family" accounts. My brother and I share games between our accounts. Only one can play the game at a time unless we each own a copy, but it's great for me to test out games he's bought that I might want to get myself.

        Sure I have a ton of games on their platform and if they ended tomorrow I'd likely lose those games, but I can put steam on any Windows/Debian Linux/Mac machine, install my games and play them from there no hassles. If I have a game already installed, but no internet connection I can still play my steam games, which I've do when I go to sea. I only have to connect to steam to get updates or download/install things. I don't know why OP is going on about Steam Works [steamcommunity.com], that's basically a mod community that allows people to develops additional content for games. It's a great concept that opens games up to the community to create content, as far as I know nothings locked there.

        TL;DR - OP doesn't know what they're talking about.

        --
        "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by vux984 on Monday March 07 2016, @04:03PM

          by vux984 (5045) on Monday March 07 2016, @04:03PM (#315022)

          Steam is DRM done mostly right.

          Completely unintrusive

          Not quite. Just ask my son.

          Only one can play the game at a time unless we each own a copy

          That's fine; hell that's even as it SHOULD be. My son and I both have copies of Borderlands 2, for example, so we can play together and I have no issues buying 2 copies for that. But if I fire something up then he can't play any of the 250 OTHER games on my steam account either.

          Yeah, there is offline mode and other hoops we can jump through in some cases, but then you forfeit steam cloud saves, pulling stuff from the workshop, and obviously: multiplayer. (e.g. I can't play game A online while he plays game B online)

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @02:07PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @02:07PM (#315512)

            I fire something up then he can't play any of the 250 OTHER games on my steam account either.

            Well it's a good thing you give them so much money since it's such a wonderful system...

            • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Tuesday March 08 2016, @06:07PM

              by vux984 (5045) on Tuesday March 08 2016, @06:07PM (#315613)

              Well it's a good thing you give them so much money since it's such a wonderful system...

              Less money than you'd think. HumbleBundles and Steam sales make a big chunk of it. And I'm not saying steam is bad, I like it, I was just countering the parent post that the DRM is unintrustive. Family sharing still leaves a lot to be desired.

        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @06:21PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @06:21PM (#315125)

          Steam actually is DRM done right. Completely unintrusive

          Hogwash. Steam behaves as if it owns your PC, disobeying explicit orders against automatic actions back when it was first released, continuing through 2013 (last time Steam was allowed on my systems), and likely still treats your PC like its own to this day. Such insistant and forceful auto-updates are typically expected to be found only in malware; not even Microsoft Windows is so abusive.

          The offline mode is designed to be a pain in the butt to use, and the licensing terms only escape being called "criminal bait-and-switch" because while everyone talks about "buying" games via Steam, the terms of service which everyone reads and understands reveal nothing but a revokable-on-a-whim license. Steam gives the middle finger to the first-sale doctrine.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @11:19AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @11:19AM (#314866)

      Windows will always be an open system

      Yes, proprietary software is so open that it completely disrespects all the users' freedoms. Now that's openness!

      Why does Valve get a pass?

      Only fools give Valve a pass. Steam is definitely not good, since it is proprietary and promotes DRM.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @11:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @11:50AM (#314876)

        The games I buy are also proprietary. Steam's DRM is livable. I don't have to hunt for CD's or enter ridiculous unlock codes. I can install as many copies of games I own on as many computers as I want, so long as I only play on one machine at a time. And I don't have to drive to a brick and mortar store and overpay for a poor selection of games, I can immediately download any game from a massive inventory, often at bargain prices when sales events are on. What's not to like? Oh yeah, one day Steam will die and take all my games with it. Hmm how many CD's of mine from 20 years ago aren't scratched to hell and still actually work...

        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @11:57AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @11:57AM (#314880)

          The games I buy are also proprietary.

          There's your problem. Saying that Steam's DRM is less bad than other DRM doesn't mean that Steam's DRM is not bad. If only the software respected your freedoms, none of this would be an issue.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Pino P on Monday March 07 2016, @03:18PM

            by Pino P (4721) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:18PM (#314974) Journal

            The games I buy are also proprietary.

            There's your problem.

            The traditional means of funding development of free software, such as selling support or being sponsored by businesses that themselves use the software, don't apply nearly as well to games as they do to libraries or tools. What means of funding development of professional-quality free games did you have in mind?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @04:49AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @04:49AM (#315388)

              What means of funding development of professional-quality free games did you have in mind?

              Shop the idea to the public. Make an arrangement to get paid for the good ideas. Do the work. Get paid ONCE. Release the game "for free" because the work to create it has already been paid for. Basically just Kickstarter, except you fund the whole damn thing (not just a "kickstart"). This works. As more devs do so they're able to ask for more up front and sell copies for less and less, and even nothing (free). Then you eliminate piracy, because you can't pirate what isn't created, and the more players, the more noteriety you have -- it's free advertising for your next work. This is how some FLOSS devs also make money... They contract to have a needed software or a feature added to a project, and then give the output to the community since the work was paid for.

              In other words: Where have you been for the past 5 years?!

              • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Tuesday March 08 2016, @04:23PM

                by Pino P (4721) on Tuesday March 08 2016, @04:23PM (#315574) Journal

                Shop the idea to the public.

                I imagine that the public is unlikely to be willing to contribute if they can't get a trustworthy sense of what the finished product is likely to look like and how it will function. This goes double for a studio that has not already built a reputation. When people pay for proprietary video games, they're paying for assurance that the product will resemble a video of playing the completed game.

                Basically just Kickstarter, except you fund the whole damn thing (not just a "kickstart"). This works.

                Where has the model of crowdfunding a professional-quality game from concept to completion been seen to work, so I can try to answer these objections myself?

                Besides, a lot of popular video gaming platforms ban copylefted software. There was a case about the Wii version of Pajama Sam using ScummVM, and Nintendo objected to the legally required release of complete corersponding source code. One could just skip these and just target GNU/Linux and Replicant OS, but when people pay for proprietary video games, they're paying for an assurance of compatibility with the computing hardware and game-focused input devices that they already own.

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by damnbunni on Monday March 07 2016, @12:52PM

          by damnbunni (704) on Monday March 07 2016, @12:52PM (#314894) Journal

          Steam's DRM fails to let me play my games pretty damned regularly. It decides it can't reach the server, so nope, no games for you. Offline mode only works if you can get Steam online and then manually PUT it in offline mode - and once every so often (monthly, I think) it forces back into online mode to check its DRM.

          Frankly, I've been rebuying games I've got on Steam on GOG, just to not have to deal with the bullshit.

          Steam is better than SecuROM or Safedisc or Starforce, but it still sucks.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by Vanderhoth on Monday March 07 2016, @01:52PM

            by Vanderhoth (61) on Monday March 07 2016, @01:52PM (#314922)

            It decides it can't reach the server, so nope, no games for you. Offline mode only works if you can get Steam online and then manually PUT it in offline mode

            Not been my experience. I've taken my laptop to sea for months at a time where there is no internet connection. As long as the games I want to play are already installed, I've never had an issue putting steam in offline-mode and playing them.

            But I do like GoG.com more for the fact that you can just download and save the installer so even if they do go offline some day all your games are still available. or even just carry the stick with you to install games when you don't have an internet connection.

            As far as DRM goes, I'd rather have none, but steam at least makes it painless for me to move between computers, share my games library with family members, install mods/extensions and you know upfront what they're doing. Unlike in the past where you install Spore only to have all your CD readers disabled because of conflicting DRM shit.

            --
            "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
            • (Score: 2) by quacking duck on Monday March 07 2016, @04:24PM

              by quacking duck (1395) on Monday March 07 2016, @04:24PM (#315042)

              I've taken my laptop to sea for months at a time where there is no internet connection. As long as the games I want to play are already installed, I've never had an issue putting steam in offline-mode and playing them.

              Emphasis added to what I think is the key point. With no internet, you probably just turn off your laptop's networking. The Steam client is probably aware of this and doesn't bother checking, figuring there are good reasons you're "crippling" your system.

              • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Monday March 07 2016, @04:40PM

                by Vanderhoth (61) on Monday March 07 2016, @04:40PM (#315052)

                I'm sorry if I didn't understand what you said.

                I still get a little pop-up that says something like, "Couldn't connect to steam, do you want to start in offline mode" Click yes and the game starts just like it should. So answering the GP, I just said I've never had an issue with not being able to connect to steams server to run my games.

                --
                "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
          • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Monday March 07 2016, @03:20PM

            by Pino P (4721) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:20PM (#314977) Journal

            Offline mode only works if you can get Steam online and then manually PUT it in offline mode

            How long ago did you observe this misbehavior? In the first few years, the Steam client did have defects causing it to lose the receipts that allow offline play of purchased games. But I'm told most of those should be fixed by now.

            • (Score: 2) by Taibhsear on Monday March 07 2016, @07:24PM

              by Taibhsear (1464) on Monday March 07 2016, @07:24PM (#315165)

              It's been years, possibly over a decade since this has been an issue.

          • (Score: 2) by Hawkwind on Monday March 07 2016, @03:38PM

            by Hawkwind (3531) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:38PM (#314997)
            Another single data point that hasn' t had trouble playing games offline. Steam with Wine and PlayOnLinux has been great.
        • (Score: 1) by Francis on Monday March 07 2016, @03:38PM

          by Francis (5544) on Monday March 07 2016, @03:38PM (#314998)

          Buggy software is also generally livable unless it's something like airtraffic control software or medical software.

          Steams software is something of a mess. Most of the ugliness isn't noticed by the users because they wouldn't see it. But, I remember having serious issues getting steam put into offline mode because it's buggy as hell. Sometimes it'll go into offline mode and sometimes it won't no matter what you do.

        • (Score: 1, Redundant) by everdred on Monday March 07 2016, @04:21PM

          by everdred (110) on Monday March 07 2016, @04:21PM (#315039) Journal

          Oh yeah, one day Steam will die and take all my games with it.

          Hmm how many CD's of mine from 20 years ago aren't scratched to hell and still actually work...

          I don't have to explain to you how different these things are.

  • (Score: 1) by bitstream on Monday March 07 2016, @10:56AM

    by bitstream (6144) on Monday March 07 2016, @10:56AM (#314857) Journal

    1) Hope Microsoft get a antitrust suing RELOADED.
    2) Release DRM stripper that enables people to use the games on platform of choice (for free..).
    3) Some software may self-replicate.. :p
    4) Write killer-games (or help those that do) for platforms that has a real incentive to stay open.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Geotti on Monday March 07 2016, @11:14AM

    by Geotti (1146) on Monday March 07 2016, @11:14AM (#314861) Journal

    Felixgallo from lobste.rs wrote this (IMHO insightful) comment regarding this topic:

    Microsoft’s plan is skating to where the puck was several years ago. “Apps” – the bundling of everything into one little nugget, priced at 99 cents and delivered into a giant undifferentiated vending machine – no longer work as a commercially viable business model for 99.999% of software development houses; the race to the bottom has been spectacularly achieved through the use of an intermediating rentier walled garden. So Microsoft Apps™ is not going to assist Microsoft in this competition. It’s like declaring you’re going to become a lumberjack after the world has been deforested by your competitor. The trees are all fucking gone, guys.

    Microsoft’s problem is that they reflexively leap at everything to maintain monopoly preservation. Browsers, ipads, iphones. Hell, I remember when they did it with AOL (“Blackbird” and MSN). MSNBC! They can afford to do it, but so often they think it’s a gamechanger enough that they fuck their core product as a result, which is now a hemorrhaging mess of conflicting design ideas and UX confusion on the front, and woefully decrepit on the back.

    They should do the opposite of what they think they should do. They should just say, we’re built on the backs of all the developers. Our store will be free. We will create trustable computing using all the research and tech which we’ve amassed over the years. Development is what we do, and we’re going to make it work for 2020 and beyond in ways that Apple never could.

    • (Score: 5, Funny) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Monday March 07 2016, @11:31AM

      by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Monday March 07 2016, @11:31AM (#314869) Journal

      > They should just say, we’re built on the backs of all the developers. Our store will be free. We will create trustable computing using all the research and tech which we’ve amassed over the years. Development is what we do, and we’re going to make it work for 2020 and beyond in ways that Apple never could.

      In other words... DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS!

      • (Score: 2) by Balderdash on Monday March 07 2016, @11:44AM

        by Balderdash (693) on Monday March 07 2016, @11:44AM (#314875)

        By Ballmer's Big Bald Bootie!

        I think you've got it sussed, mate!

        --
        I browse at -1. Free and open discourse requires consideration and review of all attempts at participation.
        • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday March 07 2016, @11:56AM

          by Gaaark (41) on Monday March 07 2016, @11:56AM (#314878) Journal

          By Ballmer's Big Bald Bootie!
          I think you've got it sussed, mate!

          Balderdash!

          --
          --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by coolgopher on Monday March 07 2016, @12:08PM

          by coolgopher (1157) on Monday March 07 2016, @12:08PM (#314882)

          Ballmer? Wasn't he the chairman? Of the board, I mean? >.>

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @01:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @01:22PM (#314904)

    With Windows 10 being complete spyware Microsoft have simply killed themselves off. The computer geeks of the new generation won't touch it with a barge pole. Both my kids will only run Linux or Android based hardware. Their friends are all doing the same as they're all clever enough to realize that they don't like being spied upon.

    Nobody will be using Windows in 10 years. Microsoft have killed themselves off.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @02:16PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @02:16PM (#314930)

      Well, that requires that all even remotely important software gets ported to both linux and osx. It might take a while.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @02:11PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @02:11PM (#315514)

        What do you wish to do? I've been exclusively using GNU/Linux and free software for a decade now and don't think that anything is missing...

        Ready when you are.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Pslytely Psycho on Monday March 07 2016, @02:49PM

      by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Monday March 07 2016, @02:49PM (#314951)

      "Nobody will be using Windows in 10 years."

      Where have I heard that before....hmmmm

      Oh yeah, about 20 years ago....
      Christ, I think I heard how MS is on the verge of Death/Irrelevancy/Whatever since WIN95.

      --
      Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @04:14PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @04:14PM (#315033)

        Still waiting for Netcraft's confirmation on this one.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @05:15PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @05:15PM (#315083)

        Ecosystem anarchy has been MS's hidden key selling point since forever. Throwing that away would be an incredibly risky move. If they actually did that, it could very well be their demise, but that's not what's gonna happen. Instead, all this bullshit will eventually be watered down to the point that business can go on as usual, as usual.

      • (Score: 2) by stormwyrm on Tuesday March 08 2016, @01:43AM

        by stormwyrm (717) on Tuesday March 08 2016, @01:43AM (#315328) Journal

        Arguably they already are irrelevant today. Witness their pathetic attempts to break into the mobile sphere for instance, which I think no one will deny is the direction in which personal computing is going. I am old enough to remember what kind of power they held in the late 1980s to the early-mid 2000's or so. People back then when starting a computing venture would ask "what would Microsoft do in response to this?" and even the merest hint that one would go toe to toe with them on something would make the faint of heart back away. Today, the companies people talk about like that are Google and Apple. Microsoft isn't even in the running.

        Oh, sure, Microsoft might still be profitable, they might even grow some, but they'll be relegated to having a status like IBM or SAP, no longer relevant to the leading edge of the computing industry. Unless they do something really stupid in a misguided attempt to restore the glory days, and possibly this shit with Windows 10 might just be the blade with which they will cut their own throats.

        "My name is Microsoft, the corporation to rule all. Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"

        --
        Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @03:36AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @03:36AM (#315360)

        This time, Microsoft might have a "hostage" to claim as collateral damage: the Win32 API. With Steven Sinofsky's Charge of the Metro Brigade [theregister.co.uk], Windows 8's Metro campaign ramped up to attempt to replace all programs with "Metro apps". That failed on multiple fronts, not least of which were Microsoft failing to check to see if Metro was already trademarked in Europe [wikipedia.org], and learning the hard way that desktop Windows users are not amused by attempts to force-feed them a new user interface. With Windows 10, the force-feeding continues through the deceptive account setup screens (in Home, Pro, and Enterprise, local users are second-class citizens, hidden away behind a screen that force-feeds Microsoft Account or Azure Active Directory).

        And now that more details are revealed about Microsoft's next sleazy maneuvers in the PC gaming space, we're seeing the start of the potential of Microsoft walling off the ability to run Win32 programs at all. A stretch, yes, but think of how this inexorable march started with Windows XP's desktop styled by Fisher-Price [arstechnica.com], and forced activation that led to users becoming stuck on the phone because their Windows or Office wouldn't activate. (In Microsoft's defense, they backed down their policies to a more sane level, to the point where it never nagged if your product key hadn't been stuck in some sort of shady mess.) Look at the games landscape that Microsoft is pushing right now with Windows 10: freemium Solitaire and Minesweeper, hobbled UWP "PC games" [arstechnica.com], and forced driver updates that fight with known stable vendor-supplied versions. And that's not even covering older PC games whose developers have closed down, but are still actively played, and are encountering compatibility problems. Oh yes, Microsoft is also notorious for buying developers and shutting them down:

        • Ensemble Studios (Age of Empires series)
        • FASA (Crimson Skies, MechWarrior)
        • ACES (Flight Simulator series)
        • Lionhead (Fable, Black & White)
        • Rare (let's be honest; they're almost shut down, and are just an IP war chest, after having been exhausted making "NXE" avatars and Kinect Sports titles
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @07:47AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 08 2016, @07:47AM (#315429)

        Yes, but they've always managed to come back.

        Windows 95 was to be the death of Microsoft, but then they came back with 98SE. ME was to be the death of Microsoft, but then they came back with XP. Vista was to be the death of Microsoft, but then they came back with Windows 7.

        Windows 8/8.1 was to be the death of Microsoft, but then they came back with Windows 9. Oh wait, they didn't. They went straight for Windows 10, which is even worse than Windows 8.

        Windows 8 is like a schizophrenic. Windows 10 is like a schizophrenic working for the KGB.

        • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Tuesday March 08 2016, @11:44AM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Tuesday March 08 2016, @11:44AM (#315479)

          Just to fill in the gap there, Windows 8.1 was suppose to be windows 9. They botched 8 so bad people were turning away in droves so they pushed 9 out early as 8.1, a free update to 8, to fix the major issues people were complaining about. That's why there was no Windows 9 and they skipped right to 10.

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday March 07 2016, @06:09PM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday March 07 2016, @06:09PM (#315121) Journal

      Since this article is about Steam, how is SteamOS doing?

      I don't use a desktop, but if I did, maybe I would stick SteamOS on it.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @08:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @08:07PM (#315189)

        Word is, they aren't even counting that.

        Linux usage on Steam is better than people think [gamingonlinux.com]

        The first and most important thing is that SteamOS and Steam Big Picture just don't show a survey, and that's a fact [gamingonlinux.com] we actually covered.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 2) by riT-k0MA on Monday March 07 2016, @02:07PM

    by riT-k0MA (88) on Monday March 07 2016, @02:07PM (#314928)

    Here's [bravehost.com] a quick and dirty way of checking your Steam collection for Linux-compatible games.

    Does anyone have a similar link for checking WINE compatibility?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @02:18PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @02:18PM (#314933)

    srsly? exclusive? for a software making troll company that just makes software?
    there should be a law forbidding a company to demand exclusive rights if they hold more then 51% of a market.

    obviously M$ is bigger then 51% on all CPU that leave a factory (and mice, and keyboard, and monitor, etc. etc.)

    ofc this would still allow a shady back-ally deal between a game software company and m$ to be made
    along the line of: "we are not releasing for other OSes/Platforms because they suck donkey balls in comparison
    to the windows operating system, mua-hahaha, money, mua-hahaha".

    • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Monday March 07 2016, @06:40PM

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Monday March 07 2016, @06:40PM (#315135)

      Actually most of the CPUs manufactured in the world are used in embedded systems that do not use a MS OS. MS currently has the majority of the desktop market, but they are not nearly as big in the embedded CPU market, around 30% of the "smart phones" and such IIRCC but for things like microwaves, automobiles, planes, missiles, gps units, TVs, VOIP phones, space probes, etc. they have no where near the market share they would like and likely they never will.

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @03:42PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @03:42PM (#315003)

    will also kill off third-party software stores and developers who want to directly sell their software without paying Microsoft a 30 per cent cut.

    This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Do you really think that I, as a developer, am dumb enough to pay M$ 30% of my application sales? Fuck no. THE CONSUMER WILL PAY M$. I am smart enough to do basic algebra. So, that means my product which cost CONSUMERS $20.00 from my website will cost CONSUMERS $28.57 in the M$ store. M$ takes their cut AT THE POINT OF SALE, that means I don't pay M$ 30% of anything! The CONSUMER pays 30% more to M$ for the pleasure of using the M$ store, and I get my $20.00 either way.

    If M$ was actually charging DEVELOPERS like me 30% it would work much differently: I would charge the customer and get the full sale amount in my account, THEN M$ would attempt to collect their 30% of my sales -- allowing me to perhaps make some interest in the interim. This is NOT how it works. If it worked that way devs would revolt.

    It is FUCKING STUPID to keep saying DEVELOPERS will pay M$ 30% cut. This is marketing propaganda that leverages CONSUMER self interest and their lack of concern for DEVELOPERS against the CONSUMERS. In reality it is the CONSUMERS who are paying M$ 30% more for the stuff they buy in the M$ store. If you say it like this, then you not only reflect reality much better, but you also put it in terms of CONSUMER impact so they can readily see how shitty the $MS store is for them.

    Here's the implementation details: I take whatever price I need to earn on a sale, divide it by 0.7, and that's the inflated price that CONSUMERS will be charged in the M$ store:

    #include <brains.h>
    // Compute how much CONSUMERS will pay in the $MS store for a $20 application.
    $20 / 0.7 =
    // Multiplication by reciprocal is faster than division.
    $20 * 1.428571429 =
    $28.571428571
    round( $28.571428571 * 100 ) / 100 = $28.57
    // M$ will pilfer CONSUMER wallets for $8.57 each sale.

    • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Monday March 07 2016, @05:00PM

      by Vanderhoth (61) on Monday March 07 2016, @05:00PM (#315074)

      I agree with you that the consumers will be the ones paying more. However, and it's just speculation on my part, I imagine MS will probably charge devs an arm and a leg up front to even get their application listed in the windows store. Maybe not at first to keep people from revolting in order to build up a catalog, but once they build a good repository I think it's likely.

      --
      "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @07:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07 2016, @07:27PM (#315166)

      "This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Do you really think that I, as a developer, am dumb enough to pay M$ 30% of my application sales? Fuck no."

      For now, probably. But one of those fears is that if MS gains traction, devs releasing in the Windows Store will also be signing a contract forbidding them to undercut the Windows Store pricetag. So it'll end up being:

      Customer pays 28 dollars to the windows store, of which you get 20 bucks.

      or

      Customer pays 28 dollars to you, and you keep the 28 dollars.

      or

      Customer pays 20 dollars to you, and you receive a lawsuit from Microsoft for breach of contract.

      and of course that's assuming Microsoft doesn't add a clause into contracts when they get enough of a majority to forbid you from selling it outside the Windows Store or forces you to sell it more expensively outside of the windows store.

      Yeah, TODAY you can just work directly with your customers. But it's TOMORROW that people are worried about.

    • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Monday March 07 2016, @09:48PM

      by vux984 (5045) on Monday March 07 2016, @09:48PM (#315245)

      Here's the implementation details: I take whatever price I need to earn on a sale, divide it by 0.7, and that's the inflated price that CONSUMERS will be charged in the M$ store:

      Where do you get your transactions processed for free? And who hosts your downloads for free? You're looking at 5-10% to self host, after costs which makes the MS premium closer to 20% than 30%.

      Microsoft also (theoretically) has consumers payment information, and also trust; which removes to barriers to making a purchase. When people look at some rando's website, and might make an impulse buy... they'll just skip it if they have create an account, enter their credit information, make a decision to trust the site with their card info...etc. Its much easier to buy from a "store" you already deal with. That has some value.

      Now, in an ideal scenario the "storefront" will actually generate sales too, which has value to you as well. Steam for example, gets games in front of people they would NEVER discover on their own; and the developer ends up far ahead of where they would otherwise be.

      I'm not sure how much that holds true for the Microsoft store at this point but its definitely not invalid as a concept. If the store becomes a mainstream vibrant "portal of commerce" a developer can potentially net far more sales there than he'd ever get relying on people finding him from google.

      30% is steep, REALLY steep, for a must-have app that has a wide audience that will come to you to get it anyway. We're not going to see AutoCAD on the Microsoft Sore anytime soon. But 30% is a good deal if you do not have that marketshare / market awareness; and the store is actually generating sales (as Steam does, or GoG, or the Google Play store).

      The itunes store for ios doesn't tell us much... because its that or nothing so its not possible to compare direct sales vs app store sales. The Mac app store might though.