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Default Shadowrun Returns - Update #50 What’s the Deal with DRM-Free

April 13th, 2013, 05:38
In update #50 of Shadowrun Return the developers explain the drm controversy and answer other questions.
Our Tuesday Kickstarter update generated many questions, particularly concerning the Steam vs. DRM-Free versions of the game. As we said, we wanted to wait until today to allow time for everyone’s questions and feedback to bubble up so we could write another update to address as many as we can, in one place.

You funded this project because you saw something in our Kickstarter that resonated with you personally and made you want to be a part of it. Backers pledged more than financial support - you invested your belief in our ideas and gave us your trust that we would do what we said we would. We take that trust very seriously and are doing our best to be worthy of it.

With your support, we will always do our best to fix problems or concerns that arise, with the understanding that some of the issues we must deal with may not always appear obvious to the community. We will endeavor to communicate such things more clearly and promptly to you, our Backers, whenever it is possible for us to do so.

So let’s start here: We clearly left some critical information too vague, which resulted in some bad feelings and speculation. We are sorry about that and we’re going to fix that poor communication right now.


More information.
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April 13th, 2013, 05:38
I think people will still have issues with this, but, generally speaking, I think this is a pretty decent setup.

killias2:
Steam is the only answer. It's convenient, it's easy to use, it's simple and fast. It's great.
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April 13th, 2013, 05:49
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
I think people will still have issues with this, but, generally speaking, I think this is a pretty decent setup.
Yes it sounds just like the Elder Scroll games. There are many who use the nexus to install mods instead of Steam. The only downside is you cant buy and use the dlc.

I don't think people will still be happy after reading this.
We said that post-Berlin Campaign DLC would only be available on Steam but we never said why. We regret the omission. The reason is that our license to develop Shadowrun Returns actually requires that the game and its DLC be distributed under DRM. This didn’t come up earlier because the situation was complicated by the number of parties involved in the license and because the process was “ongoing”. Ultimately, we were able to successfully negotiate an exception with Microsoft for us to provide our Backers with a DRM-free version of the Kickstarter rewards (specifically the game and the Berlin Campaign) but that exception does not extend to non-reward DLC. So unfortunately, we cannot sell or give away DRM-free versions of the game or DLC on stores like GoG, and that’s why any future Shadowrun Returns DLC will only be available for purchase on Steam.
So that right there is the main reason. Microsoft forced them to only sell the dlc with Steam DRM.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; April 13th, 2013 at 12:13.
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April 13th, 2013, 06:18
Its odd that they mention the "non steam version of skyrim." I wonder if they're trying to subtly suggest that they don't personally mind people who purchased - or received as backers - the game on steam going that route to get whatever patches and DLC they might want then decoupling it from steam as they will.

I also wonder if they merely did not fully understand the limitations and requirements regarding DRM placed on the deal with Microsoft until running head-first into it when MS's legal reps kindly clarified their interpretation. That would sort of explain the lengthy and detailed updates suddenly coming out this last week. I hope that's what it was because some people are probably going to see it more as HBS being intentionally obtuse about it until almost as late as possible. I think that's putting it more mildly than some of the more vitriolic posts I've seen (on the official forums ranging from incredibly negative-yet-civil to full-blown walls of rage-text with some of the worst giving the moderators little choice but to delete them.)

Rather than this being any sort of planned deception on their part, it seems to me it might be more likely that it was a failure to adequately plan for success. Going into the funding period they have described themselves as having doubts they would even reach their initial goal. The Berlin expansion itself was seen by them as a pretty lofty stretch goal so I would be willing to believe that the idea they could be in a position to be putting out substantive DLC beyond that might have been outside their focus and seemed presumptuous to some of them.

The ramifications of specific requirements set out in the license agreement on possible future DLC beyond even the stretch goal might not have even crossed their minds. Basically I think the author of the licensing deal had considered a wider spectrum from failure to run-away success and long-term profitability than HBS was willing to think feasible. So as things are now these details which HBS might not have considered immediately relevant while they were uncertain they'd even succeed are coming into conflict with some of the features/promises (or at least perceived implications of those promises) they may have offered in hasty enthusiasm during the campaign.
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April 13th, 2013, 07:10
Have they cited a reason for the delayed Linux release or was this the initial plan?

I'd just like to interject here and point out that I'm not going to say anything to spoil the mood, Chief. I'll just float here and watch. Don't mind me, just sitting here, floating and watching, that's me.
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April 13th, 2013, 07:22
Originally Posted by Kostaz View Post
Have they cited a reason for the delayed Linux release or was this the initial plan?
They haven't mentioned why yet in the last couple of updates. Maybe time and resources running thin forced them to push the Linux version back.

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April 13th, 2013, 09:17
I have some sympathy for the reasons that DRM exists in the first place. My feeling is that the collapse of PC gaming and the rise of consoles had a lot to do with piracy and that Steam is an important part of the recovery of the PC games market.
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April 13th, 2013, 09:51
Good for Steam people. Not very profitable for the Backers. And I wont buy it on Steam.
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April 13th, 2013, 11:54
If you look at what games were coming out and the increasing amount of casual gamers coming into gaming you would see the reason for the "downfall" of PC gaming. PC gaming didn't really go down in numbers it is the amount of people gaming that went up along with the budgets of games. Also there have been far fewer games of a high quality which goes right along with the increase in budget and the increase in casual gamers.

PS. Actually PC game sales have actually increased and I remember when it was a big thing when Baldur's Gate broke a million copies sold. Many PC games now go past a million and into multi-millions of copies sold.
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April 13th, 2013, 12:59
Imo, Steam is actually one of the better things to happen to PC gaming in recent years. Especially now with Greenlight and the increased recognition Indie titles will receive because of it.

On a side note, I need to start paying more attention to the updates for this game. I didn't even know that they're already planning a DLC to take place in Berlin.
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April 13th, 2013, 13:03
Evidence has shown that the 'donwfall' of PC gaming is more imaginary than real. The greed of people working on the industry has gone up substantially. Although piracy is a huge problem due to the inner nature of humans, it has been reported many times that piracy does not directly correlate with loss in sales (in other word, people who steal software won't buy it anyway). To assess this claim, the best route is to check actual facts, maybe in the form of the viability of enterprises like GOG or Kickstarter. As HBS has shown, though, we also need to keep in mind how greedy developers can be. I am pretty sure that many of them, seeing Project Eternity or Planescape, started to think: "Give me that, baby".

Bottom line, HBS is contributing to the 'donwfall' of PC gaming. Had they just admitted it, I'd be happy to go separate ways without grief.
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April 13th, 2013, 13:18
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Imo, Steam is actually one of the better things to happen to PC gaming in recent years. Especially now with Greenlight and the increased recognition Indie titles will receive because of it.

On a side note, I need to start paying more attention to the updates for this game. I didn't even know that they're already planning a DLC to take place in Berlin.
Berlin is the original stretch goal additional city campaign. It is released as (payable) DLC to the general public but will be a free download for backers.
They further mentioned additional DLC plans:
Here’s what we’re planning to make available for paid download after launch:
■Berlin Campaign (new campaigns also allow you to build with an expanded set of tiles)
■Map Packs (new terrain tiles and props for you to use in your own campaigns)
■All New Shadowrun Stories (created by HBS)
■Additional Outfits and Portraits for your character

Now to be clear, our Backers and Collector’s Edition Pre-orderers will get the Berlin Campaign at no charge. Any DLC developed after launch will require payment.
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April 13th, 2013, 17:13
Originally Posted by mbpopolano24 View Post
Evidence has shown that the 'donwfall' of PC gaming is more imaginary than real. The greed of people working on the industry has gone up substantially. Although piracy is a huge problem due to the inner nature of humans, it has been reported many times that piracy does not directly correlate with loss in sales (in other word, people who steal software won't buy it anyway). To assess this claim, the best route is to check actual facts, maybe in the form of the viability of enterprises like GOG or Kickstarter. As HBS has shown, though, we also need to keep in mind how greedy developers can be. I am pretty sure that many of them, seeing Project Eternity or Planescape, started to think: "Give me that, baby".

Bottom line, HBS is contributing to the 'donwfall' of PC gaming. Had they just admitted it, I'd be happy to go separate ways without grief.
I'm not sure how you reached that conclusion….
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April 13th, 2013, 17:16
Some people just have a Steam axe to grind, and will grind it whenever Steam is mentioned.

Molehill.
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April 13th, 2013, 17:17
Originally Posted by mbpopolano24 View Post
Bottom line, HBS is contributing to the 'donwfall' of PC gaming.
That's an assertion in search of some evidence.
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April 13th, 2013, 17:37
Originally Posted by Merin View Post
Some people just have a Steam axe to grind, and will grind it whenever Steam is mentioned.

Molehill.
It's amazing because, despite what we say now, PC gaming was very much in crisis in the mid-naughts. Major, lifelong PC developers were abandoning PC in droves. Not only were many going multiplat, some were just straight up abandoning PC. Major game outlets were massively downsizing their PC sections (which is still basically true to this day). DRM in this era was atrocious. Sure, always on is pretty reprehensible, but I think I might prefer it to some of the shady Starforce and SecuROM shit that was virtually omnipresent back then. I remember buying games and straight up not being able to get them to work because the DRM was so terrible.

Steam has turned everything around. It's massively lowered prices, while also increasing profitability and ease of access for developers. It's made it so small developers, including HBS, can release their products and actually make money off of them. I mean, ask a developer like Paradox what they think of digital distribution. Or Larian. Larian simply wouldn't be in this position of independence in the mid-naughts.

Does that come with downsides? Sure. I love Steam, but I understand people's issues. They have a lot of power, and it's a bit of a pain to get games working in offline mode. You basically have to plan ahead, unless said game doesn't use any of Steam's DRM. Nonetheless, if I had to pick between a pre-Steam world and the present, it's not even close.

Not even close.
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April 13th, 2013, 18:10
People love something to bitch about, and an issue like this will have a few people climbing onto their white horses to charge at the evil Steam. I didn't like Steam 6-7 yrs ago but I've come to accept it as a necessary evil. The offline option works for most of my games, and even having to play online for a few isn't too bad.



-Carn
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April 13th, 2013, 18:33
Originally Posted by mbpopolano24 View Post
Bottom line, HBS is contributing to the 'donwfall' of PC gaming. Had they just admitted it, I'd be happy to go separate ways without grief.
Melodramatic, much? Steam used to annoy me, because the client is very ponderous, especially on my old PC. However, with my new, super-fast PC, coupled with their insanely cheap pricing (particularly during their sales events), I've come to really appreciate the service. As far as "DRM" is concerned, Steam is pretty non-invasive. It's like Carn said, people just love to bitch and moan…
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April 13th, 2013, 20:03
Originally Posted by jhwisner View Post
Its odd that they mention the "non steam version of skyrim."
This is the very first time I read this term. Does it exist at all ? I mean, an "steam-free" Skyrim ?

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 13th, 2013, 20:12
Originally Posted by killias2 View Post
Steam has turned everything around. It's massively lowered prices, while also increasing profitability and ease of access for developers.

[…]

Does that come with downsides? Sure.
I believe that most people don't even realize the greatest "downside" of Steam :

It's an Monopoly.

And that's why the "Steam Box" comes into being. It's like the XBOX, like the PS3, like the Gameboy etc. … It's practically an own distribution platform in its own right.

Only, that Steam is not bound to an Operating System or Hardware platform - it's an Distribution platform, so to say. It's something Meta.

Of course, you can buy some of these games via other distribution channels.
But here in Germany I know too many offline, packaged games from retail which *requires* Steam. If you want to buy a packaged game - and that at retail ! - then you're doomed.

But that of course isn't valid for those gamers who already got used to online distribution …

That's why there's a thing like the Record store day : To make people wake up and offer them something unique that they can only at *retail* - *only* in tiny record shops … - Which is quite the opposite to the Electronic Chains retail shops and the online distribution … Via online distribution, you get only bity & bytes, but no Vinyl … And you don't get any Vinyl by Electronic Chain shops, either …

I think we need something like the Record Store Day for video gaming …

(At least here, where I live, there aren't anymore independend video games shops left …)

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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