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Valve Cracks Down on 20,000 Users

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the third-degree-burns dept.

First Person Shooters (Games) 1942

An anonymous reader writes "Valve have disabled 20,000 steam user accounts belonging to users who have been caught using a pirated version of the game, or have attempted to use a cdkey to bypass the securom protection found on the retail version of the game. The Steam Forums have been swamped with people now claiming they are unable to play, many claiming they have had their accounts disabled for no reason. A Valve spokesman says, 'The number of people who actually had bought HL2 and used the CD key cheat was VERY small. VERY small. Most people just tried to rip off the game and not bother buying it.'" People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything.

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1942 comments

You're wrong. (4, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900205)

You have purchased something. A license to play the game on the terms and conditions that are told to you by the company.

If you violate the terms and conditions, the company can suspend or revoke your license to play the game.

They do not owe a refund to you if you decided to violate the agreement.

HOW DARE YOU DISAGREE WITH MICHAEL!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900231)

OUT, TRAITOR!!!

Re:You're wrong. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900294)

Is this license agreement on the box in a place where I can view it before I purchase it? Not the last time I checked.

Re:You're wrong. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900342)

So you believe you'd have no problems buying a game and then using someone else's CD key? Hah!

And yes, the box DOES state that you have to have a working account on their Steam network.

Fact of the matter is, there's no excuse to pirate this game, and Valve took the logical step that they can to protect their property. Don't even try to front like you've got any ethical ground to stand on.

Re:You're wrong. (4, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900365)

You agree to it before you download it via steam. If you purchase the box, read the EULA and still disagree with it, click "I Disagree" and call Valve saying you disagree with their EULA and would like a full refund for the game. You can send them the game and they will refund the purchase price.

Stores will not accept returns, but the company who put out the product usually will.

Also, check your local laws. Stores in MA cannot have a "No Refunds" policy, because that is against state laws. Also, they cannot turn down a refund within 30 days of the purchase date.. but that's again in MA.

Re:You're wrong. (1, Insightful)

jarich (733129) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900385)

Is this license agreement on the box in a place where I can view it before I purchase it? Not the last time I checked.

So you assume that you can steal any game that doesn't have a EULA on the outside of the box?

Re:You're wrong. (5, Insightful)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900398)

Is this license agreement on the box in a place where I can view it before I purchase it? Not the last time I checked.

This is where the line is drawn; you simply don't know the licence details before buying. As far as you know, as a consumer, you're buying a boxed game which you expect to own, to do whatever you want with it. Sell it, play it, sit on it, burn it with gasoline. Can you even return the game if you don't accept the licence?

Michael put it with little subtlety, but he's right. You buy something and you have absolutely zero control on how it works, when it works and for how long. Hence, you don't really own it. This is fine if you're buying the game online via Steam, where the licence should be agreed on before the purchase. Not for a boxed game.

Re:You're wrong. (5, Insightful)

stecoop (759508) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900302)

Your correct but this reminds me of the Registration backlash against TurboTax 2002. TurboTax lost market share due to having to contact the TurboTax server to get authentication for the tax product. People know that software companies fade over the years and to have something so important tied to a company that may not be there one day turned many customers off to the product. Many sought alternative ETax solutions. And as any license issue, Money talks louder than the Pen.

Now am I expecting people to associate the longevity of a game with the required longevity of tax returns? Of course not but I was thinking about purchasing HL2 but I think I'll pass until the dust settles instead of the risk/hassle of the validation scheme.

Re:You're wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900399)

Your correct but this reminds me of the Registration backlash against TurboTax 2002.

Yeah! Cos in 10 years when I want to go back and do my 2002 taxes again...Oh wait, I don't think I'll be doing that for fun...

Re:You're wrong. (2, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900334)

I can understand people downloading warez and playing the games (not saying I agree with it, just saying I can understand why they do it). But I can not imagine the balls required to complain because the company has instituted protections that they can not get around.

Re:You're wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900436)

You would be amazed at the demands of players who complain for what they get not only get for free, but effectively steal.

Re:You're wrong. (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900395)

And if the company violates the terms and conditions, you have very little recourse unless their piracy department is willing to be cooperative.

Certainly Valve wouldn't willfully violate their side of the bargin, it would only be by mistake, but the results are far harsher... on your side, you've lost $50. If you "screw up", they lose less, since it's merely a set of bits that you may or may not have actually been willing to pay $50 for.

CD hack? (4, Informative)

Izago909 (637084) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900211)

Is there a way to disable the "feature" that forces me to load the CD every time I want to play the game? And will doing so get me banned? Why can't steam disable this annoying problem after we activate our game and prove to them that we bought it? At least there is a hack for Doom 3 and other newer games that disable the CD check without getting you banned from the network.

Re:CD hack? (5, Informative)

RomSteady (533144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900247)

From what I understand, if you uninstall Half-Life 2 after activating it on Steam, then install off of Steam, you won't have to use your media anymore.

Admittedly, you'll have to download quite a bit of data and it's a pain in the rump and it might not work after their next patch, but that's what's been going around the message boards.

Re:CD hack? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900249)

Welcome to the world of tommorow!

I want to see Valve do this! (2, Informative)

Man in Spandex (775950) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900358)

There have been many threads going on where we argued on how useless and unfair (compared to customers who bought it off steam) the cd-check is and valve did not reply even once. Instead, the moderators deleted the "800+ replies" thread but it's far from over because there are many other threads currently on this topic that are open to discussion and hopefully, we will make enough noise to get them to listen.

Using a no-cd patch with steam is a risk that you take because afaik, it could detect it but I can't confirm that. Frankly, this is Valve's job to remove the cd-check which is, like I said many times, utterly useless since activating Hl2 thru steam with your cd key is good enough to prove that one person has a legit copy. Even if the game had no-cd check, sharing the cds would be useless since Steam would popup asking for a valid key which is already in use....

Re:CD hack? (1)

tritium6 (804406) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900377)

If you have a steam account, just download the games through steam. No CD needed ever. Which is good for me, I have no idea what happened to the Half Life CD I bought 5 years ago...

Re:CD hack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900413)

There is a small program available from Microsoft that lets you mount a CD image as a virtual drive. (search for virtual CD) If you can create an image of the disk in question and set it to auto-mount on startup, you won't have to insert the actual disk.

Disclaimer: I don't have HL2, but this has worked for several other games that I do own. YMMV.

Re:CD hack? (5, Interesting)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900430)

I think that's the only real issue here.

The problem's not that people are pirating the game -It's a problem, don't misunderstand, but the issue of legitimate purchasers being locked out of the game because they chose to circumvent the game's CD requirements.

IMHO, it's perfectly alright to bypass such protection on a legally purchased copy of the game. For instance, I downloaded such a hack to circumvent the protection on Civ III for the PC, which required that a CD be inserted to play, and which I had purchased at Best Buy. BTW, the hack works great!

And Valve has a right to 'lock out' customers stealing the game, but they enter a grey area of legality when they lock out legitimate purchasers who simply want to avoid the annoying CD checks on their legal copy of the game.

I think this is going to be a growing problem as game programmers get wise to the hacks and cracks that are put online almost simultaneously with the game releases. The ideal solution would be one in which the purchaser controls where and how they use the product for which they've paid money, while preventing unauthorized users from doing the same. Valve seems to have nailed a lot of actual piracy with the method they've chosen to use, but they've also impacted some legitimate users as well.

Interestingly enough, gamers on the Mac (Yes, there are a few!) don't have as many problems with this kinda protection since they can have store and mount CD images directly off their hard drive. When I play Civ on the Mac, I simply have to click the CD image of the game, mount it as a disk image, and bang!, the game thinks I've inserted the CD. Too bad PC users don't also have this option. It's also too bad that more games are not released for the Mac. The G5's ready, but the gaming company's still don't see it as a viable game platform. 8(

Securom protection (4, Funny)

Cloud K (125581) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900222)

For some reason I thought that said 'scrotum protection'. I always did say anti-piracy measures were a load of bollocks.

Re:Securom protection (1)

digitalgiblet (530309) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900438)

I for one am perfectly happy to trade away a few of my rights for "scrotum protection".

As a matter of fact, I think it should be one of the PRIMARY tasks of the Bush Administration's second term to guarantee "scrotum protection". I would go so far as to suggest that had John Kerry focused more on the issue of "scrotum protection", then HE would be our new president elect.

I think it was the poet Ballsack who said "scrotal protection is one of the inalienable rights of man." And he meant MAN not PEOPLE. He probably said it French or something too.

No problem... (0, Redundant)

z84976 (64186) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900229)

I bought the game, used my key, and it works great. Don't bitch if you didn't buy the game. Simple as that.

Re:No problem... (1)

sboss (13167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900408)

same for me. I activated a steam account, paid for and downloaded HL2 (among other Valve games) via steam. Have played it over and over and over again since last friday. not a problem.

Scott

It's still fair (5, Insightful)

bigman2003 (671309) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900230)

I know that a lot of people will have huge problems with this.

I still don't see why though- most people knew about Steam going in (everyone who tried to use the crack knew about Steam).

Someday, circumventing copy protection won't be seen as a white-hat activity. But it will be seen as people trying to cheat others out of compensation for their work.

Re:It's still fair (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900278)

"Someday, circumventing copy protection won't be seen as a white-hat activity. But it will be seen as people trying to cheat others out of compensation for their work."

How is trying to bypass a broekn and buggy overzellous copy protection system AFTER I've payed money for the prodyct cheating anyone out of compensation for their work? Downloading the game witout paying for it would qualify, but getting their spyware off my computer seems like a good thing to me.

Re:It's still fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900308)

How is a CD check spyware? Please, remove the foil hat.

Re:It's still fair (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900440)


Steam is the spyware [steampowered.com] .

Re:It's still fair (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900397)

Let's see a show of hands of people who have actually purchased the game and who have problems playing online? I doubt you'd see more hands than what you'd get from statistical noise.

Now let's see a show of hands of people who didn't purchase the game, are using some kind of crack to get in, and who have problems playing online? You wouldn't see a whole lot of hands, because these people won't own up to it, but if you could read their minds, I'd guess you'd count quite a few, and they're the ones making noise about this whole locking out problem.

If you don't like the terms and conditions a game -- a completely voluntary activity -- sets forth in order to participate, then don't participate. Simple as that. You want to play, but you don't want to pay? Write your own game.

haha! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900232)

Nelson: Ha Ha!

!whip crack sound! (2, Insightful)

armer (533337) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900237)

seems like someone may have slowed down the pirates for a little bit...

Remeber the good ol' days? (1, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900238)

For rent: a society based on the free exchange of data and ideas.

Paypal only.

Re:Remeber the good ol' days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900357)

Top of the line games do not happen with the free exchange of work, the man hours, ability and resources needed to just do not happen.

Cue zealots comparing the production of Half Life 2 to $open_source_project....

Re:Remeber the good ol' days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900424)

Free exchange of data and ideas?

Just because the "product" is incoded in bits doesn't put it into the realm of "data and ideas". You aren't buying an idea, you're buying a product. If you could buy a laptop then use your "replicator" (read: cd-burner) to create infinate, exat copies laptop makers would be in arms. AND most people would agree that "replicating" the laptop and giving it away free to other people would not be "right."

Valve has put the last X number of years into this product, and they deserve to be compensated for their work. If you don't like the terms by of it, then don't buy it. Nobody is forcing you to play HL2. Is the system perfect? No way! But just because a person doesn't like the system they should start stealing. (Yes, stealing - call it what it is ) Doing so is would be a bit like a person not liking to pay for a game at Wal-Mart because of the chips they have..so they take the CD out of the box and walkout. Similar idea.

What? (2, Insightful)

avalys (221114) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900239)

People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything.

Except...these people didn't actually buy the product, did they? No, they stole it. I don't see what the problem is.

Re:What? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900315)

Except...these people didn't actually buy the product, did they? No, they stole it. I don't see what the problem is.

The implication that one or two who got screwed are legit owners, so we've a flismy excuse for yet another rant against Steam.

But there's nothing to substantiate that.

speculation on your part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900321)

Alot of people do crack versions they buy since they hate dicking arouund with "Please insert disk 1 to play"

Re:speculation on your part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900419)

And a lot more want to play the game and not have to pay for it.

Good thing i didnt bother buying it (0, Troll)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900242)

Coz the version i got is repacked and works sans steam. No auth, no connection needed. I can still play even if valve decides they dont want me to, or they go under in a few years. Im buying the retail this weekend, but dont think ill give up the copy i got from a certain famous bittorrent site

Re:Good thing i didnt bother buying it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900336)

Whats the site? ....stupid 20 second rule....

Re:Good thing i didnt bother buying it (1)

nb caffeine (448698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900414)

ever hear of this place called suprnova.org? I hear they've got torrents in the intarweb now! Actually, i love suprnova, its the only torrent site i go to anymore, they have everything (cept pr0n)

Better than (1)

KaSkA101 (692931) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900245)

I have to say I like this approach better than the RIAA. If you get your account deactivated ok, big deal to some people but life isn't over. The RIAA just wants to run it's customers lives.

cd key? (5, Insightful)

demonbug (309515) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900246)

I can understand someone who bought a real copy of the game using a no-cd crack so they don't have to have the CD in all the time (I do this for most of my games - I HATE having to swap CDs all the time), but using a cracked CD key? There really doesn't seem to be an excuse for this.

Nice response Valve! (0, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900248)

Please, do not post your plea or your story or how sorry you are on the forums. If you follow the link in the post above to the FAQ document, you will find information on just how you can contact Valve if you wish.

I find this to be an arrogant/childish statement. It goes hand in hand with their recommendation that if your mother, brother, or cousin did it you should speak to them... Yeah, people who are cracking your CDs are being stupid but that doesn't mean that you have to act like a bunch of assholes about it.

People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything.

They bought something but that doesn't mean that they own what they bought. People knew what they were getting in to when they just HAD TO HAVE HL2. Personally, I'm glad that I have no interest in the product. It seems like an awful big hassle to deal with the fucktards that apparently inhabit Valve.

Re:Nice response Valve! (1)

fireduck (197000) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900335)

Please, do not post your plea or your story or how sorry you are on the forums. If you follow the link in the post above to the FAQ document, you will find information on just how you can contact Valve if you wish.

I find this to be an arrogant/childish statement.


So, Valve telling affected customers to contact them directly rather than in a forum they don't explicitly monitor is childish? The forums aren't monitored by Valve, but rather appointed moderators. Since getting your account re-activated involves going through Valve, rather than a forum moderator, why is it arrogant for Valve to tell people to talk directly to them?

Re:Nice response Valve! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900425)

It's not, just that garcia [slashdot.org] just likes hearing himself talk and is scoring some brownie/karma points with the local drooling slashbot masses.

Re:Nice response Valve! (2, Informative)

mumblestheclown (569987) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900343)

Yeah, people who are cracking your CDs are being stupid but that doesn't mean that you have to act like a bunch of assholes about it.

People who are cracking your CDs have made a conscious decision that a) you made something of value b) they want it c) they would rather steal it than pay for it. The rebuke that takes simply takes it away is a gentle one and shows restraint. The thieves (or "infringers" - the technicalities of the language are not important) probably deserve punishmnet. Given that Valve is acting with restraint, they certainly have the right to be as preachy as they want.

Re:Nice response Valve! (-1, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900432)

People who are cracking your CDs have made a conscious decision that a) you made something of value b) they want it c) they would rather steal it than pay for it.

I don't agree with your statement. People who steal software aren't doing it to make a profit thus they see no value in it. They are stealing the software for various reasons known only to them... I will go out on a limb to say that they are either doing it just because they can or because they don't feel that it is worth whatever Valve is requiring them to pay for it.

The thieves (or "infringers" - the technicalities of the language are not important) probably deserve punishmnet.

And your point is what? I never mentioned that they were right in stealing the software. I just said that Valve was childish.

Given that Valve is acting with restraint, they certainly have the right to be as preachy as they want.

Yup, and I can certainly counter them by saying that their comments were completely unprofessional and remind me that I have no interest in buying their products now or in the future.

Re:Nice response Valve! (2, Insightful)

dj42 (765300) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900371)

It's their product. Why can't they say what they want how they want? Clearly there are enough people (like myself, who bought it over Steam and has been enjoying it with no issues) that could care less if a bunch of pirates (that don't deserve to play anyway) get booted and talked to harshly. It is AGAINST THE LAW, don't they have a right to be pissed?

Re:Nice response Valve! (1)

Bored Huge Krill (687363) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900422)

It seems like an awful big hassle to deal with the fucktards that apparently inhabit Valve.

why the problem? It works just fine for me, and it's a great game.

If people choose to try to crack the system that's been set up to prevent copying, why shouldn't their accounts be deactivated? There's no hassle whatsoever getting it to work the legit way - it just works.

Activation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900251)

People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything.

Amen

Obviously a jaded warez-monkey. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900254)

"People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything."

Uh, yeah, actually. I BOUGHT THE GAME. I didn't use a stolen key, because I ACTUALLY PAID FOR IT. And I have zero problems.

Puh-lease. Don't even try to slander Valve here, they're so on the ethical right on this they've got halos appearing over their heads right now.

And anyone with half a clue and that can do basic logic realizes that down the road Valve will eventually just patch the game to run without connecting to Steam. Especially if the network itself is in danger of dying for any reason.

bought nothing. (1)

nil5 (538942) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900255)

People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything.

Now that's a heavy handed statement right there. . .

I mean come on, that's not really the case and you know it.

Legit way worked just fine.. (3, Informative)

Soulfarmer (607565) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900256)

I wonder all the hassle about the activation. My Steam-version of HL2 worked fine from the preload to the ending credits. It serves them right to have accounts banned if you tried to use pirated cdkey etc.

Although I wonder also why would anyone use their OWN account to try playing a game they didn't pay for. And the version I know of, pirated I mean, doesn't need the activation at all...

I'm torn (5, Insightful)

dougnaka (631080) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900260)

I got the transgaming notice that I can download the latest with special half life 2 support, and I love all the half life games to date, but I like to buy games that I can *keep* and *own* and play on normally accepted terms. This scares me more and more away from buying the game.

Re:I'm torn (1)

fr0dicus (641320) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900345)

You can *keep* it on your hard drive, which you *own*. It provides facilities to back the software up.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900261)

fp about a fps

Incorrect (1)

comwiz56 (447651) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900264)

You do buy something, but its a liscense to play the game. You agree to this liscense when you install the software. It clearly says (in über-legal-speak) "if you pirate this we castrate you". Alot of EULAs even have clauses making it a liscense violation to give the game as a gift, or install on more than one personal computer.

And by "very small" they mean of course (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900265)

...that they have no clue how many legit customers were affected.

Some of the problems encounterred (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900268)

I have read that many people tried the pirated version, then went on to buy the full legel version via steam, later to have their account suspended 2 days later.

Solution?
1. Call you credit card company and do a chargeback.
2. Make new Steam login name

3. buy Hl2 again and play

Boo hoo hoo!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900269)

I pirated the game and can't use it!!! Waaahhh!

michael: STFU (4, Insightful)

JohnGrahamCumming (684871) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900272)

Just don't post crappy editorial comments like this:

> People are discovering that when you buy any
> product that is subject to "activation", you
> haven't really bought anything.

OK? That's the stupidest thing I've read on /. in a long time; so Valve decided that to attempt to crack down on piracy (and it's not as if we haven't seen lots of leaked games) they would force "activation" of the product, even for single player use. Boo hoo, and now some people got caught trying to stiff Valve. Cry me a river. Valve is a for-profit business selling a piece of closed-source software.

In other news, michael buys car and is shocked to discover must buy gas for it continue working.

John.

Re:michael: STFU (1)

Grey_14 (570901) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900431)

Though the Car and Gas statement is really irrelevant, I agree with the rest of your statement, this site is becoming, or I can probably say, HAS become, a flimsy excuse for a news site, Editors need to keep their opinions to themselves, and provide an UNBIASED bit of information, usually it's fine, "Look at this, very cool: " or "uh-oh, sucks to be so and so" but now it's getting to be "sucks to be so and so, MAN $company is evil!" and the like, so much for professionalism, lets see if this thread get's modded into oblivion too, ever read anti-slash? While the lot of them are right bastards, they have a few good points about the editors.

Violating the license for one locks you from all? (5, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900280)

So, you try to pirate Half-Life 2, and they lock you out from playing it... That's all well and good. But if you've got other products you've legitimately purchased through Steam you can no longer access those either because you tried to pirate Half-Life 2? That sounds like a great reason to never use Steam. If you ever do something they disapprove of with one of Valve's products you could lose access to hundreds of dollars of software that is completely unrelated.

Why aren't they just blocking those users from Half-Life 2 instead of revoking (shall we say "stealing" since they like to mis-use the word too) ligitemately purchased licenses for other products too?

Re:Violating the license for one locks you from al (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900390)

Seems fair. If you try to shoplift something from Sears and get caught, you have to pony up 8x the price of the item you were stealing to avoid charges.

If you try to pilfer Valve, and you get caught, you should definitely be made to pay multiple times over.

The days of stealing are over. Pay your way and if you get screwed, don't start whining about your treatment. You were the one who initiated an act of thievery first.

In other news... (0, Troll)

ylikone (589264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900282)

Valve realizes that the immense popularity of their games would not exist if it weren't from the free advertizing it gets from kids around the world who pirate their stuff. Loses over half of player base, causing the game to suffer in the long run.

Re:In other news... (0, Troll)

RatBastard (949) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900404)

Why should they give a damn about people who do not pay for their products? Half-Life 2 doesn't need "free" advertising from people who warez it. It's a big enough product that the loss of said "advertising" will mean nothing to their bottom line.

Quit PC gaming... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900283)

Now that I have an XBox with XBox live, I have totally ditched PC gaming. Sure I have to pay a little cash but I don't have to deal with this sort of activation garbage, users cheating, etc. So what if I am making Bill Gates rich, he is making me happy. I just nuked my wintendo and made it a gentoo linux box (still looking for type r stickers).

Thank Goodness! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900284)

I fail to see the downside, I guess.

I paid for this game with my hard-earned cash. So I have to activate it? That just ensures that 20,000 other people aren't making my purchase null-and-void and making me look like an idiot for following the law and paying for the game.

Steam is horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900287)

It's amazing that even though people (including myself) spent around $50 USD for this game, they can basically stop us from using it...forever. I do not like this, and it's discomforting to know that they can stop whoever they want from playing the game. If I paid money for a game, I don't want to worry about if I'll be able to play it, or install it later on durring the years.

Re:Steam is horrible (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900307)

You did not pay for the game, you paid for a license to play the game. If you break the contract, your license is revoked.

Re:Steam is horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900370)

If I paid money for a game, I don't want to worry about if I'll be able to play it, or install it later on durring the years.

So follow the instructions to make a copy that works offline. It's not difficult.

Steam Server (1)

KaSkA101 (692931) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900290)

Wll I heard there were problems with the server when the game first came out, it was slow and such. Well it looks like /. has added another problem. On most of the links all I get is "database error". Looks like they didnt upgrade the servers at all.

Editorals for Nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900291)

Stuff we feel like pushing....

No, what they learned was playing a pirated version might get your account disabled.

Good News (2, Informative)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900293)

It's comforting to see piracy protection which works.

People who paid for the product can enjoy it and those who didn't can't. Seems fair.

Legit Owners Screwed? (5, Interesting)

MooseByte (751829) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900299)


"A Valve spokesman says, 'The number of people who actually had bought HL2 and used the CD key cheat was VERY small."

So how draconian are they being? Is that "VERY small" number of users being excluded from the blacklist? Or did they trigger some End Game transgression of the EULA by even trying the CD key cheat?

If the latter, that would SERIOUSLY suck.

Bought, works fine, no problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900301)

I bought it off Steam, works fine, haven't had any problems. I know people have issues with Steam and Valve, but to me this is one of the greatest games ever, so people should pay for it, or shut up.

Activation-based programs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900303)

The question is, will there be enough of a stir from "legitimate" users that software companies will start considering *not* using activation-based methods of validation?

What is a good alternative for a software company that does not want to allow freeloaders, yet doesn't want to hassle legitimate purchasers?

It's not that hard to play a pirated version of it (4, Funny)

DroopyStonx (683090) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900304)

Why is this such a big deal?

Go on usenet, find the appropriate cracks. Enjoy. The end.

See how easy that was?

who cares (2, Insightful)

bung-foo (634132) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900305)

Go valve. Please deny acces to everyone who hasn't paid for the game. And then go on to deny access to everyone who cheats. I couldn't care less about people who stole a product being denied the ability to use what they stole.

Re:who cares (1)

searchr (564109) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900434)

The point of that post and others here is, what do you care for the people who DID pay, who gave Valve or Vivendi their $55, and now CAN'T PLAY? Do you care less? Valve is punishing thieves, yay team, but at the cost of accidentally punishing MANY paying customers, as well as considering ALL custumers thieves before they prove themselves otherwise. Kind of the opposite of how our society has worked up till now.

haven't bought anything? (1)

Hanzie (16075) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900317)

People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything.

Actually, the folks who didn't buy anything didn't get anything. Unfortunately, there is a point, because the folks are apparently purchasing an online service, and consequently, are subject to the whims of fate as to the playability after the online service shuts down (for whatever reason).

You also have to consider that it would be totally in keeping with the strategies of a certain large, yet unnamed, software company to purchase the online service's owning corporation and shut it down, or intentionally degrade it, to make Halo2/Xbox combos.

That is only one scenario. Purchasers would also be unable to set up a reverse engineered online service, because federal courts have ruled that it contradicts the purchase agreement.

On the bright side, those who have paid legitametly are probably having no problems. Just my 2 cents worth. hanzie.

Who wants to bet..... (1)

commo1 (709770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900319)

Who wants to bet that Microsoft is watching these developments very closely? All things told, they have been quite cooperative given the piracy level of their software. I get in fights with them all the time about valid IDs not working because of a failed motherboard in an OEM system or becuase of an added video card or some other component messing up the install ID, but they finally give in and release a working activation code.

Out of the gate, there's no way Microsoft can win by being the big brother overlord, especially when we're talking productivity software (OK, OK, a joke's a joke) as opposed to entertertainment, no matter that funds have changed hands, butwe all know that they will be getting better and better at license authentication.

Just Say No To Activation (1, Informative)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900324)

"People are discovering that when you buy any product that is subject to "activation", you haven't really bought anything."
Exactly. After spending many thousands of dollars purcashing copies of Windows, Norton Systemworks, Photoshop and other programs over the years -- no more.

If a program requires 'activation' I either don't use it or get a cracked/warez copy. I'll be happy to go back to buying their software when they drop the stupid activation schemes.

Re:Just Say No To Activation (2, Insightful)

NinjaPablo (246765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900417)

If a program requires 'activation' I either don't use it or get a cracked/warez copy. I'll be happy to go back to buying their software when they drop the stupid activation schemes.
Yes, because pirating the software in protest to their anti-piracy schemes will encourage them to drop activation. Riiiight. How about just dealing with it and getting on with your life, or finding a competing or open source version of the product?

Reasonable (1)

BigDawgES (821410) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900326)

Over the past ten years, we've observed an overwhelming trend toward completely free exchange of everything digital. This revolution threatens all creators of digital media.

I believe that Valve has taken reasonable steps to ensure its survival in the climate of free information.

HL2 (5, Insightful)

dewke (44893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900331)

I bought Half Life through steam and was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly it went. I was expecting a nightmarish problem judging by Valve's earlier problems with network security.

However, regarding activation. Maybe if so many people in the "community" weren't so busy pirating the games Valve wouldn't need to go through these hoops.

What I'm more concerned about overall is, what happens when people have their steam accounts stolen? How is Valve going to deal with that. I could probably use Visa to get my $59 back, but what a tremendous pain in the ass.

Meanwhile... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10900346)

Everyone is awaiting the "stuttering audio patch"

Poor babies (1, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900376)

Use a cracked game, one which you didn't pay for, and then whine when you can't play.

Awwwww.

How about putting a crowbar in your wallet and actually paying the developers/programmers/distributors for their efforts.

Activation sux... (5, Insightful)

Sefert (723060) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900380)

I bought HL2 the day it came out. The steam servers were so swamped that it took me over 2 hours to get the damn thing activated. Frankly, I do find the idea of being treated like a potential criminal every time I launch the game offensive. It's like having a store run a criminal record check every time you wander in to buy something. I'm not going to argue about the license - Valve certainly does have a right to protect their interests, but I'll certainly think twice once I see any product using Steam as a prerequisite to using it. They can do what they like, and me and my money just won't get involved. (btw - the post above about still needing the damn CD is right - what the hell for? If anything good could have come out of Steam it would have been able to stop having to swap CD's back and forth).

Good, 99.9% of them absolutely deserved it. (3, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900392)

I'm glad that Valve is 'cracking skulls.' Mess with the bull and you get the horns buddy.

In all seriousness, Valve is an intelligent company and has most assuredly been very careful about this. Of course there are going to be mistakes, but out of 20,000 warez a**holes there's probably only a very VERY (to quote Valve) few people who actually purchased the game and then for some reason went out and grabbed a key generator when they didn't need one.

That's very likely 20,000 less cheating bastards at Counter-Strike Source (leaving on a few million to deal with.)

Future Install? (5, Insightful)

don_carnage (145494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900393)

So, what happens in 5 or 10 years when you want to play the game and can't install it on a new machine because Steam is gone or has been replaced? I understand their attempt to thwart piracy, but perhaps they should try a different approach. Perhaps innocent until proven guilty?

The $100 Question (5, Insightful)

jackstraw2323 (730834) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900394)

What happens if I buy the game on ebay that somebody already played. Will steam not allow me since it's already registered to the previous user? More importantly what happens when VU shuts down valve and steam B/C profit margins aren't high enough or some other BS reason, and there are no servers to validate my copy? I don't want to buy a game that might not work in a few years.

Seems strange (0)

sokk (691010) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900396)

I'm not filled in with the details of this particular mass-ban, but does this mean that someone who legally owns eg. Half-Life 1 won't be able to play it on the net anymore.

I'm starting to see problems with this Steam technology: When you connect multiple games to a "profile", and they ban _all_ your games because of something.. then something is wrong. They can't say: "Well, we know you've paid us a great deal of money for our earlier games. But we don't give a fuck, and we will punish you by banning you from your old games". Can they?

Refunds (3, Interesting)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900421)

They are disabling accounts, thus effectively preventing people to play the legal games they did buy. So, is Valve obligated to provide refunds to users who cannot access their previously purchased games.

I mean, if I sell you a car, and you come into my house and steal my laptop, I don't get to take back my car and laptop and keep the money.

this is amusing (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10900433)

Seeing people complaining about companies that go after those who pirate software. yet when stories of EA employees being "explotited" bloody murder is claimed.

i don't think anyone at slashdot realizes how much money it takes to pay those programmers. if everyone purchased the copies they play with i am sure EA employees wouldn't bitch about not getting compenstated enough.
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