How important is it for you to own your movies and books and videogames?
I am one of those people who fills with righteous indignation on hearing stories about how EA or Steam can (allegedly) ban people from playing the games they paid for based on what they did on the forums. And yet I endeavor to only buy games on Steam – if there is no Steam version and its not an MMO, it doesn’t exist to me. The last console I owned was a PS2.
As I was reflecting on this seeming dissonance, I glanced over at my bookshelf. And what I saw were a lot of DVDs I had not touched in nearly a decade (or more), and unlikely to touch ever again.
What I realized I wanted was:
- the ability to play a game, watch a movie, or read a book.
- the ability to do so again, at some later date, without paying again.
- paying a discounted price for the loss of ownership.
To be clear, by “ownership” I am referring to my ability to resell or gift the item.
My Steam library is sitting at 205 games. There are exactly two titles out of those 205 that I paid full MSRP for, and they were Fallout: New Vegas and Portal 2. At $40, Skyrim was the next highest amount of money I was willing to pony up for the Steam service for an individual game since I first downloaded the client with the Orange Box.
So when people ask that “what if Steam shuts down?” question, a large part of it is moot: there is no scenario in which I’d miss Singularity or KOTOR or Far Cry. I might want the possibility of booting up Portal or Half Life 2 (like when Episode 3 comes out, cough) years down the line, but in all likelihood they would share the same fate as my pristine copies of Xenogears, the Tenchu series, and FF7-FFX in indefinite shelving purgatory.