We're all moving towards an age where online servers are handling our data and delivering our entertainment. This technology is typically referred to as the "cloud," and let me start by saying that the term is bogus, plain and simple.
The cloud was coined by people selling content-management solutions. They were trying to make something old sound like something new. Our Facebook photos, YouTube videos, and the words on this site are all floating blissfully somewhere — along with just about every other element of our online world.
In gaming, digital-distribution platforms are storing our save points and profile settings on their own servers. Our data is available at all times, even when we lose the actual games linked to that information.
This ultimately benefits consumers, except when it comes to certain aspects. When I consider myself the owner of something, I assume to have full control over that item. It's mine, and I can affect it however I see fit. Steam will frequently refer to the titles I own or would like to own. The service, however, prefers to give me limited access. It would like for me to just play games through its interface. But what happens when I'm feeling a little adventurous? What happens to those reverse engineers who break things down into individual pieces, so they can put everything back together? Suddenly, their downloads don't belong to them anymore. If they attempt to make modifications, they risk being banned and losing their investments.
This is where the idea of ownership dies.
When we buy a slew of bargain releases from Steam during a summer sale, we end up paying for access, not ownership. It's like having a lifetime pass to a theme park. At the end of the day, we're not taking home a roller coaster or swinging ship. Everything stays in the park, and we need to come back if we want to go on another ride.
I understand that things like achievements keep people from having full rights to their purchases, but there are solutions that could address these issues. For instance, implementing a warranty-seal function could give people the option to decline achievements and support, basically unlocking a download. The title would still have limited compatibility within the specific platform. An idea like this is worth a thought.
I've bought 47 games on Steam. This shows that I'm content with the service. I just don't fully agree with the way it's advertised.
These games are not mine. They're only available to me.