Steam is perhaps one of the most well known and well used services by pc gamers and requires no real introduction. Gamers like myself have steam libraries filled with hundreds of games that we have bought over the years. But are they our own?
In short, no.
Gamers like me have over the years built up a large collection of games but the fact is these libraries may as well be empty.
I love steam don’t get me wrong. Steams sales alone are a thing of gaming legend (ok maybe not quite legend but you get the idea) pc gamers live steam and that includes myself.
However, when we purchase games online wether through steam or any other download system we aren’t buying the game. We gamers are only buying a lease allowing us to play the game through our accounts. This means that our access to all our favourite games is entirely at the whim of steam and the other download programmes.
At any point we could loose access to our entire libraries, to every game we have spent hundreds (if not thousands) on. The most common reason, our account could be banned (usually it’s because a gamer has broken the Ts and Cs but not always) but it could just as easily be because the provider has been shut down or any other reason they choose.
With the move away from physical discs to downloads gamers access to the games we play and love are at there most fragile. We have sacrificed the permanence of a disc for the convenience of a download. While even a disc only offers a license for the software on them a downloaded game offers even less security.
What’s true is that gamers access to their downloaded purchases is entirely at the decision of steam or any other online provider. How right that is in truth we don’t know but it is the state of gaming in the modern world.