cross-posted from: https://sh.itjust.works/post/15970074

Valve:

  • popularized DRM on PC
  • killed the used games market on PC
  • bans people for selling their Steam account
  • contributed to popularizing microtransactions, loot boxes and Battle Pass
  • forces you to run a proprietary app to play your games
  • forces updates on you
  • pretends they invented Wine
  • ships devices with a proprietary SteamOS
  • forces devs to use proprietary libraries to use Steam’s features

Gamers:
Yes uncle Gaben more of that please!!!

  • @[email protected]
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    244 months ago

    DRM was already a thing on Pcs, and Valves was less intrusive as a player at the time.

    I didn’t participate in the used games market, but the steam sales are like paying used game prices.

    I must have missed how vavle contributed to lootboxes and microtransactions, was that in their games?

    Updates are turned on by default, but honestly moat games need the regular updates and steam made those so much easier.

    The devices with steamOS installed are sold to distribute steamOS…

    f course they have to use proprietary libraries to use features. That is how it works…

    Some of those are true while being a reasonable tradeoff for the convenience. The only one I see as an absolute negative is the banning for selling accounts.

    • @lemmeeeOP
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      -144 months ago

      DRM was not popular on PC before Steam became popular. It used to be possible to buy physical copies of games without DRM. On consoles that is still the case.

      I didn’t participate in the used games market, but the steam sales are like paying used game prices.

      I don’t know, but you can’t sell your game anymore if you get bored of it, so it’s still a loss. Games are overpriced most of the time only to have a -75% off sale a few times a year.

      I must have missed how vavle contributed to lootboxes and microtransactions, was that in their games?

      Yes, Team Fortress 2, Dota 2, CS:GO.

      Updates are turned on by default, but honestly moat games need the regular updates and steam made those so much easier.

      They have also removed content from people’s games.

      The devices with steamOS installed are sold to distribute steamOS…

      Which is proprietary software.

      f course they have to use proprietary libraries to use features. That is how it works…

      So I can’t release a libre game on Steam and use those features. I can’t compete on the same level with proprietary games.

      • @[email protected]
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        4 months ago

        DRM was not popular on PC before Steam became popular. It used to be possible to buy physical copies of games without DRM. On consoles that is still the case.

        Apparently you don’t remember SafeDisc and all the bullshit for PC games in the 90s which required physical discs. All kids of games had DRM that was not the same as always online DRM, but was actually even more annoying than what we currently have.

        I don’t know, but you can’t sell your game anymore if you get bored of it, so it’s still a loss. Games are overpriced most of the time only to have a -75% off sale a few times a year.

        Games are still mostly $60 or less like they have been for decades, and 75% is cheaper than my friends bought used games a couple decades ago. The sales let me buy so many more games than I did before steam at an overall lower cost.

        Hell, I can still games that are a couple decades old while games in the late 90s/early 2000s were hard to get working after a few years because of DRM.

        Everything else is a tradeoff, but your memory is failing if you think PC gaming was a better and cheaper experience before steam.

        • @lemmeeeOP
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          -54 months ago

          Apparently you don’t remember SafeDisc and all the bullshit for PC games in the 90s which required physical discs.

          I do remember and it restricted the user way less than Valve’s DRM. What kind of argument is this anyway? We were also abused in the past (just less), so abuse is good?

          All kids of games had DRM that was not the same as always online DRM, but was actually even more annoying than what we currently have.

          Inserting a disc (or mounting it is an ISO) is more annoying than installing a proprietary app on every device and logging in to your account? To me it isn’t, but that’s subjective. Valve’s way is certainly more unethical, though.

          Everything else is a tradeoff, but your memory is failing if you think PC gaming was a better and cheaper experience before steam.

          It certainly was better, since our rights were abused less. I can’t tell if it was cheaper, though. But since you used to be able to sell games that you no longer played, I assume that it was. I can’t sell my Steam games or trade them for other games.

          • @[email protected]
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            34 months ago

            I do remember and it restricted the user way less than Valve’s DRM. What kind of argument is this anyway? We were also abused in the past (just less), so abuse is good?

            Being abused less is an improvement.

            Inserting a disc (or mounting it is an ISO) is more annoying than installing a proprietary app on every device and logging in to your account?

            Yes, but only because valve has made it seamless for me. If they go the route of media streaming services are currently going then it wouldn’t be.

            It certainly was better, since our rights were abused less. I can’t tell if it was cheaper, though. But since you used to be able to sell games that you no longer played, I assume that it was. I can’t sell my Steam games or trade them for other games.

            I never bothered to sell a PC game. My friends that sold games barely did, and didn’t get a reasonable amount when they did. Console games sold reliably, but were still a mediocre return on games that rarely dropped much in price even when used.

            If you want DRM games then GoG has you covered, go with them. I don’t because it would be slightly less convenience at the same price for no real benefit to me. They should exist and I’m glad they do, but that doesn’t mean that every storefront needs to be the same if there are benefits worth the tradeoff.

            • @lemmeeeOP
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              -24 months ago

              They should exist and I’m glad they do, but that doesn’t mean that every storefront needs to be the same if there are benefits worth the tradeoff.

              But you are not getting any extra benefits. Whatever you are getting can be achieved without DRM and with free software. Valve is just screwing you over, because they can. Instead of admitting it, you choose to defend them for some strange reason.

                • @lemmeeeOP
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                  24 months ago

                  As I said, in this case you could have both convenience and freedom. You just don’t care enough to try to change your situation. Most gamers do the same and that’s why the game industry is so bad.

      • @[email protected]
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        44 months ago

        I remember not being able to sell PC games second-hand in 2005 due to all the DRM on it, long before Steam became as ubiquitous as it is today

        Also I’m pretty sure SteamOS is just a fork of Arch with drivers specifically designed for the deck’s controls. Hell, there’s a fork of SteamOS that AFAIK gives you the same experience as SteamOS (HoloISO), which wouldn’t be possible with proprietary software

    • @lemmeeeOP
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      4 months ago

      You should add to your microtnx bullet that they literally invented the Battle Pass. They also recently abandoned it for Dota 2, but that’s probs because nobody wants to work on it.

      Woah, you are right! There is even a Wikipedia article about it.

      I don’t know of any actions they are taking to stop people putting a better OS on their hardware.

      Microsoft doesn’t prevent me from using another operating system on my PC either (you are right that it would be way worse if they did, though). But they developed Windows - an operating system that takes away user’s freedom. Valve does the same with SteamOS. Most software they make is proprietary, but Valve fans get distracted with things like Proton, which is just a fork of Wine.

      I wouldn’t criticize some company for sticking Windows on a machine, if the machine is meant to work out of the box, and the chosen OS is Windows.

      If Windows is an unethical operating system and some company makes money distributing it, isn’t that unethical?

        • @lemmeeeOP
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          24 months ago

          Windows and other proprietary software is unethical, because it gives developers power over users. People can’t easily see what such software does on their device and they can’t change it. So they can’t control those programs and as a result they have no control over their own devices. It’s also very easy for developers to abuse those users with spyware, DRM and other malicious features. In case of Windows we know for a fact that it does those things. But even if it didn’t, people deserve to be able to control their computers, so it’s unethical to take that right away from them.

          Free software gives you the 4 essential freedoms. Any programmer in the world can audit what such program does and change it. So it’s very hard for a developer to abuse their users. If they add some malicious feature, any programmer can remove it and share the modified version with others. So with free software, it’s the users who are in control (as long as there is at least one programmer among them that can make the changes they want).

          https://piped.video/watch?v=Ag1AKIl_2GM

  • @[email protected]
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    4 months ago

    The downvotes proof how right you are.

    Everyone has also forgotten what a mess Steam was in the beginning and it’s getting worse lately in my opinion, at least one major new bug per week.
    The Steam client is also what introduces most young people to online scams more than everything else on the net, on the side of becoming a scammer and being scammed.
    The microtransactions and the API that can be used for stuff outside of Steam also created a whole black market that is worth millions and introduces kids to completely unregulated gambling and betting.
    After so many years Steam still has no real age verification option.
    If you die, you can’t give your account to your heirs (you can give them login credentials, but it’s against the TOS), it’s not just that you can’t sell your games or your account.
    Steam has lost a plethora of law suits for not following consumer laws all over the world, some ongoing as far as I know.
    On top of everything else and despite a few mostly non profitable competitors, Steam is a monopoly which comes with its own problems for users and developers/publishers.

    Valve is a company, companies are not your friend. Is it the worst company that exists? No, but that bar is low.

    • riseuppikmin[he/him]
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      4 months ago

      I’m hoping the EU takes them/other digital storefronts to court at some point about my right to sell/transfer my licenses to all these products.

      I should absolutely be able to sell my license to a game to another person. It’s bizarre that I can in the physical world but not the digital world where the actual “transfer” is 1000000x easier.

      Also from just a platform standpoint it’s absurd I can’t disable updates on steam. I know some games offer alternative solutions to this through the beta branch feature but that is a band-aid over the full solution.

      • @lemmeeeOP
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        4 months ago

        I should absolutely be able to sell my license to a game to another person. It’s bizarre that I can in the physical world

        Actually you can’t, since most PC games contain Valve’s DRM, even if you buy a physical copy :). So best you can do is sell your Steam account and risk getting banned.

        Edit:

        Also from just a platform standpoint it’s absurd I can’t disable updates on steam

        People have told me that you can do that now. But once you update, I doubt that you can go back to the previous version if the new one turns out to be worse. Devs can literally remove features from their games. Most patches are useful though, so if your only options are getting all updates or not getting any, it sucks.

  • @[email protected]
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    4 months ago

    OP is somewhat correct, but still “short-sighted” with a misleading conclusion. All these valid downsides should be mentioned, but as always there are pros and cons to everything, and in Valve’s case, the pros still outweigh the cons, and you always have to weigh pros and cons against each other.

    Valve has done a lot in the last ~10 years to push desktop Linux for mainstream gaming viability and several other features as well (open source shader compiler, Direct3D-to-Vulkan translation stuff, HDR support in KDE Plasma, lots of improvements for the open source AMD GPU drivers, and much more stuff). You can’t simply disregard that. Sure, there are lots of companies involved in improving Linux - but it’s mostly for the server side or the enterprise desktop segment. Almost no big company invests meaningful amount of resources into improving the common Linux desktop significantly and challenging Windows’ dominance for home entertainment/gaming, read: the casual home user. Valve did just that, of course also mostly for their own reasons, but their own reasons still do benefit general desktop Linux massively, and they are almost alone in doing so. And I probably don’t have to mention that having a rich company investing lots of money into pushing stuff does really help development speed. The development pace of the Linux kernel for example is only so high because many big corps spend developers and resources on it to improve it for their own data center use cases. Almost no one (again, except Valve) pours any significant amount of resources/devs into the desktop Linux ecosystem and drivers so far.

    Look at GOG - in theory a shining example of how to do several things better than Valve (no DRM, etc.), but they still do close to nothing for desktop Linux, probably because they lack the resources or see it as a wasted effort overall. Like many companies do – the typical chicken-egg-problem. Linux won’t be better supported by companies until its market share grows, but its market share won’t grow until it is better supported by companies. The GOG Galaxy client probably still has no Linux version. That’s just how things have been for a long time and I’m glad to have Valve really be serious about it and demonstrate it publicly that this can work and that this is an example for other companies to also look at it. Their exact reasons or methods don’t even matter - we need companies pushing desktop Linux, or otherwise you can still sit in a corner and cry about Windows’ dominance in 2050 still because nothing really changes on a fundamental level fast enough. Which is why I see it as important to be favorable to Valve for doing this when no one else is doing it. If you want things to change, then do support changes that meaningfully contribute to Windows losing exclusive market share in certain areas like gaming, and tons of people will migrate away from Windows over time because they will start seeing Linux as a viable, practical alternative, not just a theoretical thing. Sure, always be mindful of any disadvantages. But please don’t act as if there weren’t any major advantages as well.

    Be glad for how things are developing currently. It could always be better, sure. But it could also be massively worse. And it has been massively worse for a long time. It’s high time to change, and desktop Linux needs all the help it can get to become mainstream. It’s on its way there, thankfully, but that way hasn’t been so clear all the time. Desktop Linux share has always been sub-1% for many, many years. Only very recently it made significant strides forward.

    • @lemmeeeOP
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      04 months ago

      I wasn’t disregarding Valve’s contributions to free software. I’m glad to hear that they have contributed so much and I would like to read more about them if you have the links. They deserve to be praised for that, but it doesn’t cancel out all the bad things that they’ve been doing for many years. Microsoft (for example) contributes to free software too, but at the same time they take away their user’s freedom. Valve deserves criticism for this just like Microsoft deserves criticism for the unethical things that they are doing. It’s awesome that Valve is contributing to a good cause in the last few years, but look how much freedom they have taken away from us.

      It seems very important to you that people use GNU/Linux, but if they will be using Steam and other proprietary software, how is that better than them using Windows? They still won’t be able to control their own computers, so what’s the point? The goal isn’t to have people leave one proprietary ecosystem to become trapped in another. The goal is for them to have freedom. I want to live in a free society. The only way to make that happen is to destroy proprietary software. So as long as Valve makes non free software and takes away their user’s freedom with DRM, they are our enemy. Just like Microsoft, Apple, Google and any other company that does the same.

      It seems that your goal is to have the most features, but the goal of GNU/Linux and the free software movement is to have freedom - something that Valve doesn’t want their users to have.

      PS
      GOG’s client is proprietary, which is terrible, but at least it’s not required and there is a libre alternative - Heroic Games Launcher (it works on GNU/Linux too).

      • @[email protected]
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        24 months ago

        https://piped.video/watch?v=KW6E51xXcWc for Valve’s contributions, by a KDE dev. According to a 2022 interview they pay over 100 open source developers working full-time on various important open source projects, from Mesa to Vulkan to AMD GPU drivers to KDE Plasma to gamescope to Wine to DXVK and VKD3D to you name it. The whole desktop ecosystem is benefitting from this, not just the Steam Deck, and not just gaming.

        I get that proprietary software and DRM is a general problem, and Steam is part of that problem, but completely getting rid of that is simply a battle for another time, further in the future. The first battle is to get Windows users abandon their Microsoft/Apple cages, and that’s a win that’s actually within reach now. Windows also becomes worse by itself, further accelerating the change. That’s important, because running a proprietary OS is still much worse than running some proprietary applications or games on a free OS. A closed OS completely shifts control away from the user, leaving only what the developer allows you to do, and it allows the dev to always push his or her agenda by favoring applications from the same developer, and allowing the developer to establish proprietary APIs and libraries like DirectX which was problematic for the competition for quite some time. Establishing Linux as a neutral, user-controlled, non-proprietary, much more trustworthy OS is the first step away from that. And to reach that, users will have to be able to run at least some of their usual applications or games on Linux as well. Otherwise they simply wouldn’t switch in the first place. For a regular user, using Linux cannot feel like being a downgrade. A regular user does not understand the ethics behind closed and open source and will never choose a worse free option over a better proprietary one. That either means the free options must become true rivals, or - which is the easier goal for now - the proprietary apps have to run on Linux just as well as people are used to.

        A “war” isn’t being won all at once instantly, but by winning several smaller battles after one another. Which takes time.

        • @lemmeeeOP
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          04 months ago

          I get that proprietary software and DRM is a general problem, and Steam is part of that problem, but completely getting rid of that is simply a battle for another time, further in the future. The first battle is to get Windows users abandon their Microsoft/Apple cages, and that’s a win that’s actually within reach now.

          The free software movement was started 40 years ago. We can’t just give up now. How many years should we wait? People are only becoming more dependent on computers and our problems keep getting worse. Windows users have been able to abandon it many years ago, but they don’t care about freedom.

          Windows also becomes worse by itself, further accelerating the change.

          I had the same feeling about 10 years ago, but users of proprietary software are willing to take a lot of abuse. It’s almost impressive how stubborn they are. This includes users of Reddit, Twitter, Apple and others. I don’t think Microsoft will lose any significant amount of users just by abusing them more, and when it comes to features, Windows is improving lately.

          That’s important, because running a proprietary OS is still much worse than running some proprietary applications or games on a free OS. A closed OS completely shifts control away from the user, leaving only what the developer allows you to do, and it allows the dev to always push his or her agenda by favoring applications from the same developer, and allowing the developer to establish proprietary APIs and libraries like DirectX which was problematic for the competition for quite some time.

          I agree that more freedom is better, but if people don’t understand the end goal, they will keep making the same mistakes. SteamOS is proprietary. Most of the popular GNU/Linux distros have proprietary software in their repositories. On mobile I see people switching from proprietary Android to proprietary Sailfish OS. They just keep falling in the same traps over and over again. Steam is one of those traps. If GNU/Linux became mainstream on desktop today, I have no doubt that it would be a proprietary distro. Then it will be only a matter of time before it turns into something even more proprietary like Windows. Because why wouldn’t it?

          A regular user does not understand the ethics behind closed and open source and will never choose a worse free option over a better proprietary one. That either means the free options must become true rivals, or - which is the easier goal for now - the proprietary apps have to run on Linux just as well as people are used to.

          That’s why we must explain it to them. Some will listen and others will not, but there is nothing else we can do. We are doing our best to rival the proprietary apps, but it’s a battle we’ve been fighting for 40 years. There will always be something missing and even if there isn’t, it will always be inconvenient to switch from something you already know. Reddit users could switch to Lemmy, but they won’t. If at some point they decide to switch to some other proprietary alternative, that will not fix their problem. It will be only a matter of time before the other company or developer starts abusing them too.

          A “war” isn’t being won all at once instantly, but by winning several smaller battles after one another. Which takes time.

          I know, but if we make compromises on our freedom, we will never keep it. The companies that make proprietary software will not let us. They could make money from developing libre software instead, but they don’t have to, because our society thinks non free software is fine.

          • @[email protected]
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            14 months ago

            The free software movement was started 40 years ago. We can’t just give up now. How many years should we wait? People are only becoming more dependent on computers and our problems keep getting worse. Windows users have been able to abandon it many years ago, but they don’t care about freedom.

            It’s not about giving up. It’s about continuing the fight while also making sure that people have real, tangible alternatives in the meantime. Look at GNU/Hurd - it might just as well never grow into something useful or competitive. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The first “goal” is to get rid of Windows, and Windows is for the first time in like 30 years losing one of its pillars (gaming) to Linux (and by extension also MacOS, because every non-Windows OS profits from the developments). It doesn’t matter if the overall situation isn’t perfect. It’s still real, tangible progress. Also the market share jump from < 1% (since pretty much forever) to 4% recently.

            I had the same feeling about 10 years ago, but users of proprietary software are willing to take a lot of abuse. It’s almost impressive how stubborn they are. This includes users of Reddit, Twitter, Apple and others. I don’t think Microsoft will lose any significant amount of users just by abusing them more, and when it comes to features, Windows is improving lately.

            Not by itself maybe, but in combination with Linux becoming more mainstream-viable for sure. I’ve heard from so many long-time Windows users lately that they’re considering switching to Linux in the near future. I don’t think Windows is in it for long, except on business desktops because they’re usually vendor-locked-in with special applications. Maybe a generation after that, when home users aren’t all guaranteed familiar with Windows anymore as they are today. I also don’t think people will take much more abuse, the EU is also pushing back hard against abusive US companies. Also, if the AI copilot stuff blows up or doesn’t become popular enough, Microsoft will have put all their eggs in one basket in vain. Currently it seems more like a very expensive gimmick - who needs an AI admin copilot to clean up the trash bin, change font size or toggle dark mode? Sure, you’ll be able to talk to your bot, but everything you do will be harvested and the gain you get from it is almost irrelevant. Maybe if you have a disability or so it could be cool.

            I agree that more freedom is better, but if people don’t understand the end goal, they will keep making the same mistakes. SteamOS is proprietary. Most of the popular GNU/Linux distros have proprietary software in their repositories. On mobile I see people switching from proprietary Android to proprietary Sailfish OS. They just keep falling in the same traps over and over again. Steam is one of those traps. If GNU/Linux became mainstream on desktop today, I have no doubt that it would be a proprietary distro. Then it will be only a matter of time before it turns into something even more proprietary like Windows. Because why wouldn’t it?

            I don’t think it would. It would be a mixture of libre software and propirietary software, which is better than 100% proprietary software still. The most important component is the OS itself.

            That’s why we must explain it to them. Some will listen and others will not, but there is nothing else we can do. We are doing our best to rival the proprietary apps, but it’s a battle we’ve been fighting for 40 years. There will always be something missing and even if there isn’t, it will always be inconvenient to switch from something you already know. Reddit users could switch to Lemmy, but they won’t. If at some point they decide to switch to some other proprietary alternative, that will not fix their problem. It will be only a matter of time before the other company or developer starts abusing them too.

            Yes, we must continue advocating for libre software. However, it’s still time to celebrate the beginning of the end of Windows.

            I know, but if we make compromises on our freedom, we will never keep it. The companies that make proprietary software will not let us. They could make money from developing libre software instead, but they don’t have to, because our society thinks non free software is fine.

            We will keep enough freedom. It’s a gradient. The world isn’t black and white. Playing a proprietary game or playing back a BluRay on an otherwise fully free system is still much more progress than running 100% proprietary sofware. Change also won’t come in a perfect way. First, desktop Linux needs to fight back on equal footing against Windows, and that (unfortunately) means it needs to be able to run whatever proprietary apps or games the users still need. Because otherwise they wouldn’t switch and your utopia would remain an utopia without any measurable progress towards it.

            • @lemmeeeOP
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              14 months ago

              People deserve to be able to control their own devices, but you are saying that we should be happy if they can get only some control? Having to run even one program that you can’t control is bad. So I see no reason why I should be happy with that. I see no reason why we should lower our standards and let somebody get away with doing unethical things to us. We can do much better than that. Hurd is irrelevant and we don’t need it. We certainly don’t need to let Valve abuse us.

              You are right that the world isn’t black and white, but proprietary software and libre software are incompatible ideas. You can’t have freedom when someone is actively trying to take it away from you. Developers of proprietary software are our enemies and we can’t support them. If we let developers have power over us, they will abuse it. It’s been happening for decades and it will never stop. We need to work on making our society less dependent on non free software, not find ways to sustain our dependence. If you want to run a proprietary game on your system that’s your choice, but we don’t have to pretend that the developer of that game isn’t doing something unethical and that there isn’t an ethical way.

              I also don’t think people will take much more abuse, the EU is also pushing back hard against abusive US companies.

              Yes, but it’s not good enough by itself. It’s nice that Windows users can now uninstall Edge or whatever, but it’s only in EU and that’s just one of many terrible things Microsoft has been doing to their users. It is a small improvement and I’m glad they are doing something (other than spending lots of money on funding free software projects every year), but the law is not enough.

              We will keep enough freedom. It’s a gradient.

              But you are not just proposing a journey to freedom. You are proposing that we should accept proprietary software and praise companies that develop it, because it will somehow give us more freedom in the future. You want us to support the same type of abuse that we need to get away from.

  • @[email protected]
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    12 months ago

    imo, those are pretty weak reasons to criticise valve – they’ve definitely done worse

    afaik, they took years to crack down on csgo gambling websites, and still massively benefit from it. the whole portal64 thing still feels wrong to me. i don’t like the fact that they walked back on their anti-ai content stance. the people make game documentary on working at valve highlights some pretty bad discrimination stuff happening behind the scene imo.

    i don’t think it’s fair to criticise them on not providing an open-source client to download games, or open-source library to access their features - you wouldn’t gain much from those being open-source anyways, since the games you play on stem are pretty much always closed source. i don’t think it’s fair either to say that it’s bad that they ship devices with a “proprietary os” - they are the game console manufacturer selling them most open-source device on the market currently, they’re doing much better than the alternatives in that regard. i don’t know where they’ve said or suggested they’ve “invented wine”, but i’ve never heard of that - they could probably disclose more openly how proton works and its relationship to wine, but i don’t think they are maliciously behaving as if they created wine/vkd3d/…

    i don’t think valve’s a perfect company, but they’re still probably the best one to get most games from. and i don’t think it’s fair to hate on them for exaggerated reasons, it’s much more productive to scold them for stuff they actually did wrong.